Sunday, 23 June 2013

In Her Majesty's Name - first game

In Her Majesty's Name seems to have created a real buzz over the last few months with the Nickstarter launch generating [presumably] a lot of people with a sudden accumulation of figures to paint and scenarios to devise.  I've always liked the whole Steampunk/VSF thing in fiction... anything by Mark Hodder, KW Jeter, Kim Newman etc.  Incidentally is there a difference between Steampunk and VSF??

Having beem surprisingly devoted to getting the figures painted and terrain built, I finally got round to playing a game last week at Guildford.   The table consisted of 3' x 3' boards using floor tiles from Wilkinsons range [it takes a lot to tempt me into Wilkos but these did it!].  The cobblestone effect is a bit oversized but looks surprisingly effective.  Added to these were 2 warehouses and 3 town houses from the Stoezels Structures range of card models.  My modelling skills aren't great and there has been a lot of cutting, gluing and swearing going on the dining room over the last few weeks as I experimented with different ways of putting the models together.  In the end I decided not to make the roofs detachable and planned to replace the model with a floor plan if anyone decided to enter a building. 

The tabletop with the Servants of Ra carting off
their mystical artifact at the bottom of the picture

The scenario pitched the Scotland Yard squad [Anthony] against the Servants of Ra [Keith] who were moving a rare artifact stolen from the British Museum, to an East End warehouse before doubtless using it for some unspeakable purpose. I umpired with the option to interfere with a 3rd home brewed faction if I got bored!  As it was there was plenty going on that meant there really wasn't a need for anymore confusion on the tabletop.

There was a smattering of innocent bystanders to get
 in the way of the police and cultists alike

Anthony's coppers used the tried and test tactic of shooting anyone that looked a little bit foreign or beating them with their electric truncheons.  Keith's rank and file cultists weren't much opposition but the rampaging Mummy and scantily clad Hashashin carved their way through the police ranks. The Egyptian leader (a reincarnated pharaoh of course....there's no cliche left unturned in this game!!) sliced up Holmes and Watson, leading to a showdown at the end between the seemingly indestructible Egyptian and the strangely Ripper Street-like Chief Inspector and Sergeant. It looked as though the forces of law and order had won the day until we realised we'd mis-read a rule and victory swung the other way!

The Inspector is surrounded but managed to fend them off

The rules had the great advantage of being easily pick-up-able... always a good thing when you have limited time in a club evening, but have enough depth to force a lot of thinking and planning between turns.  There were definitely tactics that would be changed now that we've played the game through.

The rules use alternate activation so Player A moves a figure, then Player B until all figures have moved.  This is then repeated with shooting etc.  This does force a degree of tactical thinking [who should I move when, which figure should shoot or fight next etc] but I did worry that it could have slowed down too much if we had a 3rd faction on the table.  We'll have to try this out next time to see how much it impacts on the speed of the turns.  I have a cobbled together faction comprising of Professor Moriarty and his henchmen, assisted by his latest invention... steam powered automatons! [well... why not!]

Overall though the rules were excellent and have huge scope and potential.  They'd be easily usable 'straight' too, for 19th or early 20th Century skirmishes.  I could certainly see these being suitable for my Russian Civil War/Back of Beyond figures as well as the VSF adventures they're designed for.  I'm finding I really enjoy this level of game, both in terms of the physical scale of the number of figure etc, but also in the size of the project.... getting 2 forces painted and some terrain built at this level makes for a fun but achievable project.  I think this says more about my attention span than anything else but it does mean that I'm more likely to stick with it and see a project through. 

I've just spotted Osprey's next rule set... Ronin, a Samurai skirmish game with similar sized forces also available from Northstar... damn... here we go again!!!

Verdict on IHMN.....Highly recommended!!


  1. Thank you for sharing. Followed your link from TMP. Did not buy IHMN although the subject interests me (have The Soldier's Companion and Gaslight already). However, as I do have an interest in feudal Japan (and a lot of Clan War figures gathering dust) I too shall be looking at Ronin. The sohei (monk) starter looks pretty good and Japanese monks are absent from my collection ...

    Good gaming!

  2. Those Wilkinsons' tiles do look pretty good - thanks for letting me know they exist! I'll have to come over to your club as I live in Ash.

    Very glad to read that the game went well, as I have my first IHMN game this coming Friday at Farnborough

  3. I recognise those tiles.......
    there is another set but raised checkout wilco online

    best wishes big pirate game next Tuesday in shed

  4. Great report, digging your style. Keep them coming!

  5. Nice Blog, link added :)

  6. Thanks Al and welcome aboard! I've returned the favour too.

  7. Hi Alastair, I keep forgeting about your (excellent) blog! The game was excellent and I can't wait to gwt my British Rifle Company at the end of July. Cheers, Anthony