Sunday, February 28, 2010

Grizzlyville Goes with a Hitch --  

Well our local gaming convention, Dak-Kon XV, was this weekend and "Shootout in Grizzlyville" won the "Best Presentation Award for 2010".

Sadly I was not there to see it.  I came down with a ferocious bug and was too sick to attend (I could barely even talk).  Fortunately my gaming buddy, Murdock, was able to fill-in for me. 

Instead of using the MDF boards as previously reported, he used one of the Hotz Matz from Hotz Artworks.  Specifically it was the "One Horse Town Western Town Mat" and it is perfect for use with the "Whitewash City" buildings.

Murdock was able to run four games (the first simply a "training game") over an 8-hour time frame.  As previously indicated, he used the "Fistful of Lead" rules, which are very easy to learn and lots of fun to play.

In the photo to the right it looks like some British Colonial figures have somehow appeared on the table.  (By the way, click on any photo for a much larger image.)

Well, Grizzlyville is set in southeastern British Columbia, Canada . . . and the original uniform of the Northwest Mounted Police was in fact the British colonial uniform, including the very climate-inappropriate "pith helmet".

 I've only had a brief phone call from Murdock (and a few photos that he emailed me), but one of the highlights was when the NWMP appeared on the table.  One of the onlookers suddenly went, "ooh, I want to play them" . . . it turns out that he was a real-life Mountie!

Apparently the games were lots of fun . . . and lots of Dak-Kon attendees were excited about the buildings -- which are available as inexpensive .pdf files -- so it is a good thing that I had printed out about 50 fliers with the web addresses for the buildings and game rules.

-- Jeff

Friday, February 26, 2010

(OT)  "World's Greatest Athlete"  --      

The winner of the Decathlon is generally refered to as "the world's greatest athlete" . . . but is he really?

The Decathlon encompasses ten track and field events . . . but that is it . . . all are running, jumping, throwing events.  While decathletes may well claim the title of "greatest track and field athletes" they don't really have to take on so many other athletic disciplines.

Now let us consider the Pentathlete.  The modern Pentathlon is comprised of five athletic events from five totally different disciplines:
  1. Shooting 
  2. Swimming
  3. Fencing
  4. Equestrian
  5. Cross-country Running
The Modern Pentathlon is based on the skills that might be needed by an Aide-de-Camp (aha!  a connection to our historical gaming).

The Pentathlete has to master such a wide variety of skills (with essentially no overlap -- remember eight of the ten decathlon events involve running).

Perhaps the Modern Pentathlete is more deserving of the title of "World's Greatest Athlete".

-- Jeff

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Grizzlyville Playtest --

Well, Pete, Murdock and his son, Alex stopped by today (Sunday) to playtest the "Fistful of Lead" rules which I plan to use next weekend at our local gaming convention.  Unfortunately I was too busy to take many photos, but a fun time was had by all.

(Click on photo to see much larger image.)

This is a scene from late in the first game (won by Murdock).  You will note that the figure lying in front of the Grand Hotel's porch not only has a wound marker (the bloody washer) but is also "pinned" . . . and I thought that using a safety pin would be a fun way to indicate pinning.

While the mechanics of the rules worked quite well, the players had some good suggestions as to the layout of Grizzlyville . . . thus it may well change shape a bit prior to the Con.

-- Jeff

Friday, February 19, 2010

Grizzlyville Has Changed!  --    

I have built more of the Whitewash City buildings for my upcoming games at our local gaming convention . . . and totally changed the layout for Grizzlyville.

I wanted a more open layout of buildings . . . both to provide more options for maneuvering (and shooting); and to make it easier for players to move characters during convention play (hopefully with no damage to my buildings).

The first photo shows the view from the south -- looking north along Central Avenue.  (As usual, click on the photo for a larger image).  

The southwest block contains the Brooklyn Hotel & Saloon (big red brown building; the Pioneer Hotel (at the intersection); the City Cafe (moving south); then the Gallows and the Sheriff's Office and Jail; with the Undertaker in the southwest corner (partially cut off).

The southeast block features the Livery Stable (big brown building across from Gallows); then the Grand Hotel (at the intersection); with the Gunsmith to the east; with the Dry Goods store on the far end of the block; there is a corral in the interior of the block; and the Blacksmith in the corner.

This next photo shows Grizzlyville from the West, looking east along Main Street.

The Northwest block shows the Orient Saloon (partially cut-off) at the north end of Central Ave; next to it, the small building is a Bath House; the Bank sits on the intersection of Central and Main, with the Pool Hall just to the west; and the Longhorn Saloon sits at the west end of Main Street.

The southeast block was described earlier . . . and, as with all blocks, there are numerous small outbuildings (mainly privies).

The final photo shows Grizzlyville from the east looking west along Main Street . . . and, as before, the southeast block was described earlier.

The northeast block features the Pink House Bordello at the easternmost end of the block (closest to you); just past it is Grizzlyville's Medical Building (with both doctor and dentist); and the Gold Star Saloon sits on the intersection; the Hardware Store is between it and the Imperial Saloon to the north.  It should be noted that there is another Bath House in the interior of the block (the ladies like you to smell sweet) and a large corral in the corner (barely visible).

Anyway, this will be the layout for this Sunday's playtest . . . any changes will be the result of my experience then.

-- Jeff

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oh No, a Problem Arises --    

Today (Monday) I received a package from On Military Matters.  In it were four new hobby books (well, new to me).

There were two Osprey Men-at-Arms volumes for Colonial gaming:
  • # 411 -- Warrior Peoples of East Africa 1840-1900 by Chris Peers
  • # 453 -- Armies of the East India Company 1750-1850 by Stuart Reid
And two of the new Charles S. Grant / Phil Olley publications:
  • The Annexation of Chiraz
  • The Wargamers' Annual -- Volume 1
 Okay, that's great news, isn't it?

Well, yes . . . but I'm trying to finish preparations for my Gunfights in Grizzlyville game for our upcoming local convention . . . and the Olympics are taking place right across the Strait of Georgia (channel between Vancouver Island and mainland BC) from us.

So how do I allocate my time?  I want to do it all, of course . . . but that isn't possible . . . at least not all at once.

Also my wife was a professional figure skater (seven years touring with Ice Capades), and we both very much enjoy watching all of the Olympic skating . . . and here in Canada we get to see every single moment of every competitor's routines . . . not just the leaders or highlights, but the whole competition.

So tonight we watched all twenty pairs' long programs.  And we still have the Men, Ice Dancing and the Ladies coming up,

What am I to do?

I will enjoy all of it eventually, but I'm still a little kid at heart (I ignore the fact that I'm in my 60s) and I want to do it all right NOW . . . and I can't.

And, oh yeah, my copy of Black Powder is due to arrive here next week.

-- Jeff

Friday, February 12, 2010

Grizzlyville Progress --    

I now have 20 large buildings and 18 outbuildings (mostly privies) completed for my "Gunfights at Grizzlyville games at our upcoming local game convention.

Interestingly enough this is more than I will use for the convention games.  I want to have enough buildings for folks to manuever around and use as cover . . . but at the same time, I need to allow for enough "open space" for some distance shooting too.

So over the next week or so I will be trying out different layouts in order to get what I like . . . and, of course, there are still a few of the Whitewash City buildings that I want to build.

-- Jeff

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Nice Buy --     

All the buzz about the new "Black Powder" rules made me mildly interested in picking up a copy . . . that is until I learned that it retailed for around $50 US plus shipping!

I'm not THAT curious.

But then I happened to check (the Canadian version of . . . where it is selling for $20.07 CAD . . . that is equal to about $18.90 USD, 12.12 British Pounds, or 13.76 Euros . . . so I ordered one (along with some other stuff that I wanted in order to get free shipping).  Anyway, today I got an email notice that it has shipped.

I don't think that anyone outside of Canada can take advantage of this price, but for us it is great!

I'll let you know if it was worth it after the rules arrive (in a week to ten days or so).

-- Jeff

Monday, February 08, 2010

More Pre-Dreadnough Thoughts --    

I was thinking of building a pair of fleets of Houston's 1/1000 scale Pre-Dreadnoughts for the Russo-Japanese War . . . . But I had pretty much decided to do that with either 1/2400 Panzerschiffe or 1/3000 War Times Journal ships . . . not only because of the cost factor, but also because of the table room required.

Furthering that, the Houston ships I acquired via Bartertown do not fit into the RJW . . . in fact they are so varied that they don't fit into anything like a historical conflict . . . so what to do?

My intention with the Houston ships was to use the "Perfidious Albion" rules (they look like a lot of fun) . . . and the recommendation from those who've played them is for players to only run two or three vessels until they are very experienced.

Well, looking at the ships that I have, I can put together two or three ship "squadrons" of Battleships and/or Armoured Cruisers for each of a half dozen nations that come very close to each other in terms of "Perfidious Albion" points.

So I'll build those squadrons and then players can pick which one they want (or we can dice for them) and then we'll dice for allies and go to it.

Meanwhile I'm looking at a couple of different rule sets for the RJW . . . and both of these projects are non-immediate . . . but it is good to plan ahead.

-- Jeff

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Change of Pre-Dreadnought Plans --    

Some time back I had a post about my plans for some 1/1000 scale naval gaming.  Well, I ordered a few of the Houston ships from Great Endeavors . . . two Russian and two Japanese battleships as a start.

My plan was to build up to the Battle of the Yellow Sea (Russo-Japanese War).  That was my plan.

Plans change.

A few weeks ago I noticed an ad on Bartertown from a fellow looking to sell a collection of Houston ships . . . some painted, some primed and some still in their boxes.  Well, he was asking a very reasonable price (well under current retail) . . . so I bought them.

There were no Japanese ships and only one Russian ship (duplicating one that I already had) . . . but there were a bunch of American and Spanish ships, some British, Chinese, French and Italian ships . . . a real mix . . . not something for any historical battle.

So what do I do now?

Paint them up and play with them is all that I can think of at the moment . . . just have fun.

-- Jeff

PS,  I've had a very sore knee for close to a month.  Doc says that it cartilage and if I ice it and treat it nicely it will hopefully settle down.  Well this morning I woke up with gout attacking the ankle on the same leg . . . so I'm on pain meds and gout medication . . . and I'm zonked . . . perhaps when I'm no longer on the pain meds I'll figure out what to do with my Pre-Dreads.