Thursday, 19 January 2023

Gunslinger - take 2

So New Year's been and gone and I've managed to fit in one game so far... another outing for the old Avalon Hill game Gunslinger which I played just before Xmas for the first time in ages.

This time we moved out of town to a scenario out in the country with John Wesley Hardin being hunted by some US cavalry troopers.  Unfortunately the 15 year old Hardin has managed to get the drop on them and has a shotgun!  One of the troopers quickly fell to a long range shotgun blast and spent most of the rest of the game slowly bleeding to death on the ground.  In Gunslinger wounds also cause delay points which limit your actions, so this poor trooper was never going to be able to get up again!

The other trooper put up a much more valiant long range fight against Hardin and his companion, trading rifle fire and managing to wounding Hardin in the leg and putting him on the ground... unfortunately he was still able to fire with his pistol from here and the trooper eventually fell to a bullseye result.

The game definitely holds up despite its age but it's a very different experience to, say, Fistful of Lead or Dead Mans Hand which are much more heroic and cinematic.  Each round in Gunslinger lasts 2 seconds and is divided into 5 0.4 second segments so we're talking very detailed!  If you like to know exactly which type of pistol your character is carrying and fine tune a fist fight then it's a great game but it's not fast moving and I think most people would struggle with more than 2 characters per player.

Still good fun but a very granular sort of game

Monday, 2 January 2023

2022, and some 2023 plans

 So that's Xmas and Hogmanay all over and done with and depressingly I'm back at work tomorrow. Which means it must be time for the traditional look back at the last year...

Firstly, my well-placed pre-xmas hints to the family were successful (not so much a hint...I just sent them a list) and I had a couple for game-related pressies at Xmas. A set of Xenos Rampant, the latest version of the Rampant rules family...

...and the European Birds expansion for Wingspan which I'm looking forward to trying out.

There's also a copy of the Deluxe revised version of Never Mind the Billhooks on its way which was my present to myself! I'll post more about all of these as they get played.

So how was 2022 and did any of my plans which I foolishly committed to at the beginning of the year actually happen?

Games-wise it was a good year... I tend to have one gaming night a week and I think most weeks this year featured some kind of in-person game.  As usual the range of games and settings varied enormously... I'm too much of a games-butterfly to stick to one period or rule set... and they ranged from Star Wars to ACW naval, Romans (late and early... Dux Bellorum and Strength and Honour) to WW2 (Blood Red Skies).  Boardgames also featured heavily with several games of War of the Ring, Tokaido, Terraforming Mars, Star Trek Ascendancy, Eclipse and Wingspan.  I'm also still playing in a fortnightly online RPG with a group consisting of a couple of old friends from my uni days and some new ones from across the world.  This started in 2020 as a lockdown game and has carried on with no signs of stopping.  Initially we were playing the old SPI rpg Dragonquest, but this has now morphed in a playtest for a new set of rules and is great fun.

There were lots of games at Eric the Shed's (do check out his blog for all the news about imminent changes to an even bigger and better shed) as well as regular games at friends (Andrew and Anthony)... sadly I don't have space to host games in my tiny dwelling but I'm blessed to have a great circle of friends who are happy to put up with me and for which I'm very grateful!

Last year I posted about some plans for 2022 in an attempt to shame myself into actually doing did any of my plans actually happen?  The usual answer to this is pretty much always 'no' as I'm terrible at sticking to a plan (don't tell my boss!) but for once I can say I've surprised myself and actually seen several projects that were on the list through from planning to a proper game or 2.  I managed to 'complete' my Arthurian armies and have a few games of Dux Bellorum with them and I finally painted up my 1/600 ACW Ironclads and got some games out of these as well.  This was particularly satisfying as these had been hanging around for several years.  I failed to do anything with my WW2 ships (again) but I did get my WW2 planes into action which again was a project that had been in limbo for a long time.  Not on the plan, but nice unexpected diversions were repainting some 30 year old Laserburn figures and then adding a lot more, and discovering Strength and Honour and putting together 2 x 10mm Roman and Celt armies 

So... what's on the cards for 2022?  

#1 paint up the box of Picts I purchased last month at Warfare (and add a few more) to add to the Arthurian armies

#2 Get some games in with Xenos Rampant and my new Laserburn inspired 15mm scifi figures

#3 Once Billhooks Deluxe rules arrive I want to dig out my very old 15mm Swiss and medieval European armies which haven't seen the light of day in many years and see if they can be repurposed for the Burgundian Wars

#4 add a bit more to the 10mm paper Romans

My wargaming stuff is all stored in the loft and it's a place of nightmares so a major project is sorting this out and hopefully getting to a point where I can more easily find things without risking life, limb and the bedroom ceiling!

I hope everyone had a good Hogmanay and the post-xmas break depression doesn't hit too hard!!

Saturday, 24 December 2022

Merry xmas everyone

Well, that's us nearly at the big day. As usual we're back home in Glasgow for the holiday (I think there have only been a handful of xmas's where I've not been here in the 36 years since I moved south)

I hope everyone has a lovely Xmas if you celebrate it and a nice break and time with family and friends and that we all get the toys we're hoping for and to quote Mr S Stevens... "Merry Xmas, Everyone"

Monday, 19 December 2022

Last games of the year

 So we're nearly at the Xmas break (1.5 days left at work as I write this... woo hoo!!!) and I don't think there will be any more games till Hogmanay. We're off to Glasgow in a couple of days so certainly no games till we get back.

In the last week or so we've played what will almost certainly be the last games of the year... sadly no photos as I was too engrossed in the games.

Game #1 was an excellent game of Pike and Shotte using Marks lovely 10mm collection. My Covenanters were trying to seize control of a church held by some Royalist dragoons while the main Royalist army was trying to relieve them. Our forces arrived piecemeal over the first few turns and I was pretty sure I'd lost the game after stupidly deciding to try and bring one of my cavalry brigades on over a narrow bridge. The Royalist cavalry were able to get in position and were attacking each unit as it trotted over the bridge in column. Meanwhile the weight of fire from the Royalists was causing havoc with my infantry. Somehow I managed to hang on with the cavalry, eventually turning the tide and routing the opposition horse. I'd driven off the Royalist cavalry on the other flank and my horse were now able to envelope the flanks and ease the pressure on the this point the Royalists decided the church wasn't really worth the effort and withdrew. An excellent game and on of those where it could easily have gone either way. I'd messed up my deployment of both the horse and foot and it took a long time to get my forces in order and I was very lucky not to pay the price for it!

The other game by way of contrast was a family boardgame night playing Tokaido.  It's  a lovely nd very gentle game where you are travelling from Kyoto to Edo, stopping off at inns, doing a spot of shopping, painting landscapes and praying at temples on the way.  Points are collected for things like collecting sets of items from the shops, visiting hot baths etc as well as donations and paintings.  It's one of our favourite games (I suspect my wife likes it because it's short!) usual I lost! We added a bit of 'flavour' to the game by sampling some of my son's Sake when our characters stopped at an Inn.  I think this could definitely be a good rule to add to boardgames with appropriate drinks for each game... whisky for Isle of Skye, Vodka or Bourbon for Twilight Struggle, Cognac or wine for Carcassone, a shot of Rye for Western Legends or Colt Express and Romulan Ale for Star Trek Ascendancy.  I'm not sure what the equivalent of Romulan Ale is... Special Brew??   I reckon  I'd still  lose but it would be fun!

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

I'm your huckleberry...


A change of games this week as Andrew and I managed to squeeze in a couple of boardgames in one evening.

First up was an outing for the old Avalon Hill game 'Gunslinger', one of my favourite games back in the 80s.  My original set was purchased on a family holiday appropriatley in the USA where I remember being amazed at the availability of games in mainstream shops.  My original set vanished at some point (I think when I moved down to England) and I picked up a rather battered set cheaply a few years ago.

Each player manages a number of characters with clichéd Cowboy titles... the Marshall, the Quiet Man, the Sodbuster etc, there's even a floozy for the bar room scenarios!  Each turn is broken into 5 phases and players allocate action cards (move, draw, cock pistol, shoot etc) for each phase (or phases, depending how long the action takes).  A separate card deck determines whether an attack is successful and what the outcome us, so it's a dice free game.

As neither of us had played for a long time we went with the introductory scenario which pitches 2 opponents facing off close to each other in a  empty corral.  The rulebook claimed this was based on a historical encounter between Doc Holliday and Johnny Ringo although checking afterwards it looks like in reality Ringo shot himself in a drunken fit of depression so not quite the encounter of legend.

In our first run through we blazed away at close range, generally failing to hit each other despite taking the time to aim properly until a lucky shot from my character Ringo hit Doc Holliday in the leg and left him bleeding in the dust (like the pesky varmint he was, etc...).  Holliday is limited by having fewer endurance points thanks to his nasty case of TB.

We replayed the scenario and this time I decided to go for a more cinematic approach ignoring aiming and blasted away fanfiring the gun like they do in all the best movies... again Andrew was very unlucky with the result card and Doc went down with a shot to the body

We both had great fun with the game... inevitably we ended up making suitable gun noises and spouting cowboy clichés which is all part of the fun.  Definitely one to try again with a more complex scenario soon.  I've always reckoned it would also be an easy game to play using miniatures instead of counters.  I've always found Gunslinger gives a really good narrative game that a movie.

We finished off the evening with a quick run through of Undaunted Normandy as Andrew hadn't played it before.  I've played this a few times but never got beyond the introductory scenario!  

It's easy to pick up and, despite me failing to add some important cards to the deck until part way though, we rattled though the game with Andrew's Americans winning comfortably (although we missed this for a turn or so because we hadn't counted the VPs properly!).  A nice combination of a simple game but one that you need to think carefully about tactics in.

Saturday, 26 November 2022

Strength and Honour: take 2

 Earlier in November we tried our first game of Strength and Honour (details here) and the verdict was very positive.  Because it was our 1st game it all took a while to get going and we didn't get too far into it, so we had another attempt this week with slightly reduced forces and less faffing about as we were a bit more familiar with the rules....

This time the Romans were facing off against some Germanic tribes (I've just finished watching 'Barbarians' on Netflix... recommended!).  We quickly worked through the set up and deployment and found that the vast German forests had disappeared, leaving a largely open battlefield with only a marsh and a couple of hills to break it up.

As we had fewer units this time deployment was a bit easier, especially for the Romans.  As units deploy off of the previously deployed one it can be easy to get in a bit of a muddle... the marsh hindered my German Warbands but as they can be supported from the rear I was able to add in the last of my Warbands at the back.  The Romans dont get this rear support bonus so needed to think more carefully about where to go (but there were fewer of them so not such a challenge).  

I'm still not sure I've fully grasped the rules on deploying skirmishers... these can be deployed as a unit or attached to other formed troops.  We think we needed to deploy the skirmishers on table 1st and then allocate them so this meant they could only be attached to the rear units but we may have got this wrong and I need to re-read the rules on this

The rules reward what feel like appropriate tactics... charging enthusiastically for the Warbands and a steady controlled advance for the Romans.  I decided there was nothing to be gained by hanging back so my Germanic hordes headed straight for the Roman lines.  

The Romans were a bit more cautious, trying keep their lines intact and both sides had units forced back and began to gather Setback cards.  The Romans had a single cavalry unit and I really ought to have paid more attention to it as it successfully wheeled and charged onto the flank of kne of the warbands, driving it back across the rear of the German lines.

Crunch...the cavalry charge into the flank of the rear Warband

The tussling continued on both sides and we did eventually run out of time again but much closer to a conclusion.  Based purely on Setback cards the Germans were slightly ahead but my warbands were now lacking their rear support and were pinned down by the Legions.  It seems you can only initiate an attack if you can equal your opponents combat factor (so no possibility of a brave but doomed charge) and the Romans were in a very strong position and unless I was very lucky would have been able to crush the warbands if we'd played on a for another turn or 2.

Very impressed with these rules... I'll need to add some more Romans as it would be good to see how a Civil War game plays out.

Sunday, 13 November 2022

Warfare 2022


I missed SELWG the other week as they've moved it to North London and the journey across town was a bit too convoluted for me, so my last wargames show of the year is Warfare which has moved from Reading to a much more convenient Farnborough (although some traffic jams on the A3 and a road closure on the way meant it wasn't quite the smooth journey I'd hoped for).

The new venue is the Farnbrough Exhibition Centre next to the airport which makes for some interesting views as you drive in

Warfare is a 2 day show with a lot of competition games as well as the usual demo and participation games.  It seemed pretty busy... I didn't get there till after 1pm so I suspect it had been even busier in the morning.  

A couple of traders said they'd been having a really good day so fingers crossed the new venue has worked out well.

I was very restrained and nearly didn't buy anything but inevitably I weakened at the last minute and picked up a box of Gripping Beast Picts for a very good price.  They can be added to my Arthurian/Dark Age project.

So here are a  selection of photos... as usual I generally forgot to not who was putting on the game so apologies in advance...


Carentan- Retired Wargamers Reloaded


Vietnam game using Bohica rules which I nearly bought

Excellent Cold War game by Sheppey Wargames Club

Battle of Nice-Malvern Old Gamers

Finally a special mention for the Guildford Wargames excellent demo of the fictional Battle of Dorking from the 1871 novel (link).  The game looked excellent  even including some Victorian versions of those annoying cyclists I always get stuck behind when I go to Box Hill!

Guildford was my regular club for many years... it's been nearly 4 years since I've made it there for a game so it was nice to see some of the guys again and I'll have to get down for another game soon.