Monday, April 28, 2008

Something Different --

Well, I played something different this evening. I played in a Savage Worlds game that someone started up here on Vancouver Island.

Sure, it is a "role-playing game", but it has a heavy miniatures aspect to it. Indeed, there is a miniatures version called Savage Worlds Showdown . . . and although we officially played the RPG, the Game Master likes to use tabletop setups.

Our group of six
currently finds ourselves aboard an apparently abandoned (and sabotaged) Zeppelin somewhere over the western Atlantic.

Since we are playing in the "Pulp" genre, is it any surprise that we are currently under attack by Nazi Zombies? (Okay, the GM says that they're really ghouls . . . but that lacks the vocal flair of Nazi Zombies).

All of us (except the GM) were new to these rules, so a fair portion of the evening was allocated to explaining and outfitting our characters.

Still, we started in Rio; had some encounters with local toughs and some unpleasant Germans at the mouth of the Amazon; learned some information in Panama; were intrigued by a strange pyramid in Belize; and dropped onto the Zeppelin at nightfall from a flying boat . . . all of this before we encountered the NZs.

No, not New Zealanders . . . Nazi Zombies.

I enjoyed it and see some interesting possibilities with these rules . . . one of my thoughts has been a VSF campaign . . . or possibly just a Colonial campaign. Anyway, we will meet again in a fortnight and pick up where we left off (with swarming NZs and weakening flashlights).

-- Jeff

Thursday, April 10, 2008

2nd "Victory Without Quarter" Game --

Well Pete came over and we played our second game of Clarence Harrison's ECW rules, "Victory Without Quarter" . . . although, once again, we were playing on the continent in the mid-17th century instead of on England's green fields.

This time we played with those "corrections" which Clarence mentioned in his comment to me after the previous post. Thus only the side moving got to shoot. It worked fine that way . . . uh, I mean that it was horrible (translation -- I lost the game).

We set this up as a Duchy of the North vs Kingdom of Stagonia battle. The forces were equal, but we randomly pulled one mounted unit and one foote battalion from each side for later random reinforcements.

With shooting only from the "acting" side, there was a lot more "see-saw" action, with the advantage teetering back and forth. We also had a number of events. Pete's C-in-C felt that his safety must be insured and abandoned the battle on turn 4 (we played 14 full turns -- three of which went to either the last or next-to-last card in the deck -- before Stagonia conceded).

Speaking of Events, the Brigadier who assumed command of the Duchy's forces later fell off of his horse and was stunned for a turn. He also had a cavalry unit lose movement because they were too tired . . . and even on the last turn, one of his foote battalions decided to go home.

So, with all of these bad things happening to Pete, how did I lose?

Anyway, our biggest rules question had to do with "continuing combats". What happens when a fight doesn't end after the first round? Do we fight the second round immediately? What if troops are still in combat?

Another question occurred when one of my cavalry units destroyed its opponent (another cav unit). They were supposed to "pursue" . . . well, figuring that not every rider was killed in melee (although the unit was picked up), that there must have been some riders fleeing, we decided that the pursuit was proper . . . which slammed us into the new unit waiting just 3" back (directly behind the new unit).

So, just when would this combat be fought?

Still, all-in-all we had a fun contest (even though Pete beat me -- despite having lousy luck with the Events). We will undoubtedly play this again.

-- Jeff

Sunday, April 06, 2008

"Victory Without Quarter" --

Well, we tried the above rules out today . . . and they were a lot of fun. We did have some questions about the rules however since they are relatively sketchy is certain areas.

As to the report of the actual battle, I will leave that to Murdock. He will surely post a wonderfully illustrated battle report on his Duchy of Mieczyslaw website sometime over the next few days.

However, a bit of background would be appropriate. This was a civil war battle in the 1650s between the Duke's forces (high morale) and the Baron's forces (more numerous).

Because of this scenario, I chose to make some changes to the usual card deck. Clarence Harrison's "Victory Without Quarter" rules use a card deck that features activation cards for each unit, each brigadier, each general, etc.. There is also an "End of Turn" card -- which makes for a deal of uncertainty (and tension) which we liked.

Anyway I made a few changes. Instead of one "Reload" card for everyone, I had two cards (one for each side) -- so one side could get resupplied with powder while the other did not . . . and this provided an interesting dynamic.

Since we each had two potential brigades as re-inforcements, I made up a "Re-inforcements" card for each of the four brigades. On turn three, one random one for each side was plugged into the deck. Likewise on turn six, the other two were added.

Of course, when one of these Reinforcement cards was turned, the arrival was not automatic. Because of the nature of the scenario, the Duke's reinforcements would arrive on a 1d6 roll of 5+; while those of the Baron would arrive on a 4+.

We did have some questions about the rules. I tried emailing the author a few days before the battle . . . but he was probably off at a Convention because I've not heard back yet (and he's reportedly very good at responding to questions).

Our first question had to do with Shooting. It wasn't clear to us as to which "orders" permitted shooting. What we decided (until we hear differently) was that we could shoot on "Hold" or "Move" orders, but not on "Maneuver" or "Charge" orders.

Another "Shooting" question was whether the target got to shoot back or not. We decided that for this game at least, it did.

A further question arose in play when a "Melee" ended with the units still in contact. Does it continue right then? On the next card drawn that could "activate" one of the units involved? Or only when one of the units involved chose to continue it. We chose the latter -- which I'm pretty sure was wrong.

There were a couple of other minor questions which arose during play . . . but I can't recall them now.

These rules were very different from our normal sets . . . but we had a lot of fun playing them. There was a definite "ebb and flow" to the fight, with a number of reverses of fortune . . . and the "Event" cards (which provided a few odd incidents) gave us some good laughs.

All-in-all we will definitely give them some more play.

-- Jeff

Battle of Wojslawice Tomorrow

In a little over ten hours from this post, the 1650-era Mieczyslaw Civil War battle of Wojslawice will take place on my game table.

Yes, once again Murdock will be coming over to push some lead (and Pete should be joining us later). We will be trying out Clarence Harrison's "Victory Without Quarter" rules.

These are actually ECW rules . . . and Mieczyslaw is certainly not in England . . . but it is a "pike and shot" era . . . besides, I've based up about 300 Renaissance troops to fight the battle. Each side will have six battalions of "Foote" (i.e., pike and shot) as well as some cavalry and a few guns.

Clarence's rules are very different from those that we have played over the past few years . . . but they read like they'd be fun . . . so we will give them a try.

-- Jeff