Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Prelude to a Foray into Solo Fantasy RPG?

Inspired by such blogs as Tabletop Diversions and especially his solo excursions, and some of the retro and/or simple rpg rules around the net, like Chronicles of Arax, etc., I have been thinking about trying a bit myself. I haven't settled on rules yet, but I have downloaded a few free (and simple) sets from the interwebs and have started thinking about what kind of game/adventure I might want to run.

A few sites/rules that have caught my eye are:
Old School Hack
Adventure Games Guild
Gnome Stew
Chronicles of Arax at rpg drive-through

I really like the look of the Old School Hack rules. Even the graphics and layout are appealing and yet simple.

I figure, for a solo game, I could go with a single main character, or multiple characters. With a single main character I could concentrate on his or her story, pick up sidekicks, companions, hirelings, etc. along the way, and see how that develops. With multiple characters I could go with a team of equals, a "stable" of characters that I can cycle through, or a group that may have varying abilities where members may come and go. Another idea is something along the lines of the old Mission Impossible tv show, where Jim Phelps was always in charge, but the team varied over the course of the show. I always remember how, at the start of the show, he would go through a folder of photos of possible team members to include (of course the team was usually the same few people most weeks, with the occasional cast member change making a change in the usual team.)

I'm leaning towards the single main character idea. I could start that character off as a "newbie" and let the "team" or companions, sidekicks, etc., come together as the game evolves. Of course there is the danger of that single main character getting killed, but there are ways of dealing with that. From things that "stave off" death (but maybe exact some other penalties, such as permanent injury, interruption or obstruction of/towards their goal, etc.), to promoting a surviving character to the main spot to bringing in a new character, such as a relative, to carry on.

Other things I want are to have the game take place in my own imaginary world, rather than a pre-designed world or set of adventures/modules. And with characters, especially the main one/s, ones I have designed.

I've always enjoyed the dwarven race in fantasy settings; the Tolkeinesque, gruff, even stubborn, sturdy types with a strong sense of honor. So I'm thinking my game would start with a young dwarf coming of age and making his way out into the world on a quest to retrieve some long-lost family heirloom, like a fabled war axe. He would have some skills to start with, probably trained in axe-fighting, a bit of knowledge of languages in preparation for having to deal with other peoples, a little knowledge or some clues about the axe, such as something to help point towards where or how to find further info. (yes, I realize this has some aspects in common with The Hobbit and plenty of other fantasy stories. I'm not looking to create some new genre-shattering fantasy story. Just looking for a bit of fun playing the kind of story I enjoy reading or game I enjoy playing.)

So the first step, I think, is our hero would have to set off on his own and maybe follow some clues to the "big city" (which may not actually be "the" big city or even big) to do some research and/or consultation, or maybe the clues he already has (handed down from ancestors?) lead him to some location like a ruin or minor dungeon.

Actually, the first step may be to look through my miniatures collection and find "our hero"; create a character; and then start figuring out what happens next.

Assuming this goes anywhere I will probably start posting any adventures on my Tales of Mirth blog, but I will be sure to make a note on this blog, too.

Other than this foray I have plenty of miniatures on the painting desk and/or lead mountain. Terrain projects in the works, with more profile hills and mountains, trees made from plastic plants, buildings to make, etc. I have board games and card games to play, and should have some free time during the holidays to maybe even get a miniatures battle on the table.

Monday, November 26, 2012


You say Liebster, I say Lobster - Let's call the whole thing off. ha!

I guess most regular bloggers (readers/writers) have seen the latest blog award going around. Alan "Tradgardmastare" over at nominated my blog as one of his 5 picks. I appreciate the nod, and would've picked his as one of the blogs I enjoy reading, for his imagination and ImagiNations, his bits about gardening and such, and his general enthusiasm.

You may also be aware of the fact that I don't always go by the "rules" so I'm not going to bother with making sure the blogs I list follow the Lobster rules.

So, without further ado, here are my 5 picks (trying to avoid ones already picked by others): for his "scrounging" - he finds the best stuff at car boot sales and the like and adapts them to his colorful and characterful settings, great scenics and vignnettes, and good-looking games in a restricted space. for lots of solo ideas, as well as irreverent and quirky humor. for ideas on campaigns, excellent pictures of games, organizing the group blog EvE, and general inspiration and knowledge. more inspiration and ideas for solo gaming for quantity and quality and variety of output, everything from magical fairy princess unicorns and fluffy bunnies to hardcore modern-day or near future armed and armored soldiers and vehicles, and great game reports involving friends and/or family.

Lots of fun and inspiring reading! Thank you! And thanks to all of the other blogs I read. I look forward to checking Google Reader everyday to see what's new!

As for my own gaming and hobby doings of late, I have purchased miniatures, and even prepped some, and repainted a few. Most of my precious little gaming time and energy has gone into board games and cardgames. I have played a few "deck-building" games, like Thunderstone and Rune Age, and am revisiting the Lord of the Rings "living" card game. I have played Castle Panic, a fairly light game rules-wise, but still tense enough to be interesting and fun. I also have a few other games I have yet to try. All games that can be readily played solo, with fairly quick setup and playing time. Key factors for me at this time. I hope to get back to painting up some of my "pile of lead" soon! And I still have plenty of ideas of where the Soweiter League, the Batrachian Empire, and various Colonial gaming efforts might head in the future.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Still Alive (and even gaming)

I haven't done much in the way of miniatures gaming or painting since my last post, but I have been trying out various board games and card games. Especially ones that can be played solo, without too much setup, and go pretty quickly. I have enjoyed a fantasy card game called Thunderstone - there are several expansion sets, and a second game called Thunderstone Advance, which apparently is sort of an updated version but with different cards and its own expansion sets. I think most cards from both base games and their expansions can be used in any combination. Another game I have enjoyed is Castle Panic - a lighter game, but with a fair amount of strategy, as well as plenty of luck; it works well solo, an hour or less to play including setting up and putting away, and looks like a fun game to play with other people, too; even people who are not "hardcore" gamers.

I bought a few other games, but the only other one of those I have tried to play so far is Mage Knight. This takes more time to setup, more space, more complicated rules. I think it will have to be saved for when I have more time and energy to spend a few hours on it.

In addition to being fun in their own right I find these games to be a good source of ideas for solo play in miniatures games and other games as well. For example, one of the ways some of these games put pressure on the player is to have some sort of "countdown" and/or "ramping up" of the enemy. So, as you play through the game time runs out to accomplish your mission, or the enemy gets stronger.

Friday, September 7, 2012

NNW Patrol, part 4

When last we left things the outpost was being overrun by bands of mounted and foot hillmen, and the patrol from the main fort was starting to arrive.

Turn 7
Captain Whillikers, Lt. Flanagan, and the remaining mounted hillmen continue their struggle. Lt. Flanagan is cut down, leaving Captain Whillikers the only member of the outpost left alive on that front.
On the other side of the outpost 2 Psmithshires and Captain Spaulding fight band 3, killing 2 of them. The other 2 Psmithshires and Lt. Hyde-Psmith fight band 2 and kill 1 of them.
Meanwhile, the Hussars spur forward towards the mounted band still struggling with Captain Whillikers. The Highlanders and Woostershires advance towards the outpost as well.
The lone survivor of band 3 runs away from the outpost towards the woods to the northwest.
Band 2 attacks the Psmithshires, scoring 5 hits! Lt. Hyde-Psmith makes his save, but Sgt. Psmythe succumbs to the attack. At the end of this turn the only members of the outpost left alive are Captain Whillikers, Captain Spaulding, and Lt. Hyde-Psmith.

Turn 8

The Highlanders move forward and reach the outpost wall. 
The mounted band turns to face the Hussars, killing Sgt. McLachlan, 2 troopers and the Dragoon who had accompanied them. The remaining Hussar and Captain Cholmonderleigh fight back but score no hits.
Captain Whillikers also fights the mounted hllimen, killing 1.
Lt. Hyde-Psmith and Captain Spaulding fight band 2. The lieutenant hits the leader, but the leader makes his save. Captain Spaulding kills 1 extra.
Band 2 fights back, scoring 1 hit on Lt. Hyde-Psmith but he makes his save.
The lone hillman who had fled to the woods takes potshots, but hits no one.

Turn 9

The Highlanders attack the mounted band and kill 1 extra. The mounted band fights back and kills 2 Highlanders. Captain Whillikers, the Hussar and Captain Cholmonderleigh also fight the mounted band, but only hit Yusuf, who saves.
The Woostershires make it inside the walls of the outpost, just as band 2 downs Lt. Hyde-Psmith and Captain Spaulding. While the lone sniper in the woods manages to hit 1 of the Woostershires.

Turn 10

The Hussar, Captain Cholmonderleigh and the Highlanders continue their melee with the mounted hillmen. The result is the Captain kills the last extra, Abu kills 1 Highlander, Yusuf kills the Hussar, and the Highlanders kill Abu and Yusuf, thus wiping out all of the mounted hillmen. 
Over on the other side of the outpost the Woostershires and Captain Flynn fire at band 2, killing 1 extra and the leader, Omar. The remaining hillmen in band 2 charge the Woostershires, killing 1 extra and Lt. Bertie.

Turn 11

The Highlanders get inside the outpost wall.
The Woostershires and Captain Flynn attack band 2, scoring 2 hits.
Captain Whillikers and Captain Colmonderleigh move around the outpost towards band 2.
Band 2 fights the Woostershires, killing 1 extra and Captain Flynn.

Turn 12

Captain Whillikers attacks band 2, killing 1. The Highlanders move in on band 2. Band 2 fails morale and runs away.

Well, that was a bloody affair!

Final tally of survivors in the outpost:
Captain Whillikers, sole survivor of the original garrison
Captain Cholmonderleigh
Lt. MacCaber
Sgt. Basset
Sgt. MacGowan
1 Woostershire
4 Highlanders

Looks like the outpost will need reinforcing, and a punitive expedition may be in order to quell the uprising of hillmen. Time to send the Malamar Field Force?

Monday, September 3, 2012

NNW Patrol, part 3

Meanwhile, back at the outpost...

We cut back to the outpost as the local hillmen start their attack prior to the relief patrol arriving.

The forces at the outpost:
In overall command - Captain Whillikers, hero: scuffle 15, shoot 16, save 13
The balance of the Ballyfoole Dragoons, 3 extras: scuffle 9, shoot 9
Lt. Flanagan, leader: scuffle 10, shoot 7, save 9
Sgt. McCormac, veteran: scuffle 6, shoot 9, save 7 (Is the sergeant getting a little up there in years? Or maybe he's a little too fond of his Irish whiskey? His scuffle isn't very good.)
The Psmithshire Muskets, 6 extras: scuffle 9, shoot 9
Lt. Hyde-Psmith, leader: scuffle 13, shoot 9, save 8
Sgt. Psmythe, veteran: scuffle 5, shoot 9, save 7 (An even worse scuffle. hmm, sergeants "ain't" what they used to be, eh?)
Famous American adventurer/explorer, Captain Spaulding, adventurer: scuffle 11, shoot 12, save 13

In all cases, characters were rolled up on the tables in GASLIGHT.

Native forces:
1 unit of mounted hillmen, 4 extras: scuffle 10, shoot 7
Commanded by Abu, adventurer: scuffle 12, shoot 11, save 11
His lieutenant, Yusuf, leader: scuffle 12, shoot 12, save 15 (Now we're talking! Too bad he's with the enemy.)
3 bands of hillmen on foot, 6 extras each: scuffle 10, shoot 7
Leader of band 1, Kasim, leader: scuffle 8, shoot 12, save 6
His lieutenant, Nadir, veteran: scuffle 8, shoot 9, save 10
Leader of band 2, Omar, leader: scuffle 8, shoot 8, save 10
His lieutenant, Jamal, veteran: scuffle 9, shoot 6, save 6
Leader of band 3, Haroun, leader: scuffle 7, shoot 9, save 11
His lieutenant, Jabbar, veteran: scuffle 7, shoot 9, save 9
And finally, the three mounted hillmen from the previous encounter, all extras: scuffle 10, shoot 7
I realize these are Arabic names, but I didn't have quick access to more suitable names if any.

To keep the post from being too long this part will cover the battle up until the arrival of the relief patrol on turn 6. I'm having them arrive on turn 6 because it took them 6 days to arrive. I know it's not a one to one time relationship. It's just a device to tie together the journey of the relief patrol to their arrival at the outpost.

Turn 1

Hillmen are spotted approaching the outpost from the woods to the northwest, the rocky ground to the southeast, and among the crags to the northeast. The woods and rocky ground are at a normal distance from the outpost and halve the movement of figures only within them. The mountains are more distant. It takes 1 turn to reach the foot of the mountains, and halves the move rate of figures moving away from the foot. A house rule I just made up to "telescope" the distances on the tabletop.

Turn 2
As the hillmen move in towards the fort the Psmithshires fire at the first band in the woods, killing 2 extras.

Turn 3
As the hillmen approach a flurry of shots ring out all around, but it's all at long range and no hits are scored.

Turn 4
Things start to heat up as the first band of hillmen reach the walls, as does the small band of 3 mounted hillmen. The latter encounter a strong volley from the dismounted dragoons and Lt. Flanagan, destroying the small band. The Psmithshires fire at band 1 at the walls, killing 1 and striking the leader, but he makes his save. Captain Spaulding also fires at band 1, bringing down another extra.
The main band of mounted hillmen charge the Dragoons, killing 1.

Turn 5
The dragoons fight back against the mounted hillmen. Lt. Flanagan hits the leader, Abu, but Abu saves. In return the mounted band strikes back, Abu kills 1 extra, Yusuf hits Lt. Flanagan, but the lieutenant makes his save. Captain Whillikers hits Abu, but again the tough hillman leader emerges unscathed.
Band 1 of the foot hillmen attack the Psmithshires, but score no hits. Band 2 reaches the walls. The Psmithshires fight back against band 1, killing all of the remaining hillmen in that band.

Turn 6
The patrol can be seen arriving to the west. It will take them a little time to reach the outpost. They're placed on the tabletop, but can't move or fire this turn.
The mounted hillmen continue their fight against the dismounted dragoons, killing all except for Lt. Flanagan who makes his save. Both Abu and Yusuf also hit Lt. Flanagan, but again he makes his saves. Captain Whillikers kills one mounted hillman.
Band 3 of foot hillmen reaches the walls unopposed, and attack the Psmithshires, killing 1 extra. The Psmithshires fight back, killing 3. Lt. Hyde-Psmith kills another. And Captain Spaulding kills the leader of band 3. Band 2 of foot hillmen get inside the walls and attack the Psmithshires, killing 2 more.

to be continued...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

NNW Patrol, part 2

Following the attack by mounted hillmen on the first day out the patrol continues onwards.

Day 2
Falling rocks! With a lot of luck on the die rolls only 1 Highlander was injured. During the next encounter he will be at minus 1 on shoot and scuffle.

Day 3 A messenger from the outpost meets up with the patrol. The messenger had been sent off to the fort to inform the Colonel that the outpost was under attack and bring back reinforcements if possible. The messenger is a trooper from the Ballyfoole Dragoons (same shoot and scuffle as the Hussars, who he joins up with). After previously coming that way he leads the patrol around 2 bands of hillmen on foot, saving the patrol some time.

Day 4
Nice and quiet. Nothing eventful happens as the patrol progresses towards the outpost.

Day 5
More of the same. It's quiet (too quiet? shh! Don't say that!)

Day 6
Scouts find a shortcut, saving the patrol more time. They reach the outpost ahead of schedule or expectations.

Aside from the first encounter I was very lucky with the card draw and die-rolling. It could just as easily have gone a different way with more attacks, accidents and delays.

Next up, the showdown at the outpost. At this point I realize I don't have suitable structures to represent the outpost so I will have to make do with buildings more suitable for Europe. C'est la guerre.

NNW Patrol, part 1

The patrol, as described in the previous 2 posts, sets out from the fort. Just 1 day out they are attacked by 2 bands of Hillmen on horseback. Each band consists of 5 extras and 1 leader.
The leader of band 1 is Ali Baba, leader: scuffle 14, shoot 13, save 11
Obviously a well-seasoned fighter, excellent at close combat and shooting.
The leader of band 2 is Aka Akbar, leader: scuffle 12, shoot 13, save 10
Only a little less intimidating than Ali Baba.

Using a mix of regular GASLIGHT and Battles by GASLIGHT rules from the Compendium the battle played out as follows.
Apologies for the fuzzy pictures! I didn't realize I had the flash of until later. Call it "fog of war".

Turn 1
Scouts spotted the approaching tribesmen and the column was able to deploy quickly. I rolled 1 die, 50/50 chance to spot the approach. If they had failed the patrol would've had to remain in column until their first turn.

The Woostershires got off the first volley as band 1, led by Ali Baba, arrived within long range of their muskets. The first and only hit was against Ali Baba, but he made his save. Then Lt. Berite and Sgt. Basset fire. Sgt, Basset hits Ali Baba again, but this time the hillman leader fails his save and is struck dead.
In return the band of hillmen pass their morale roll and return fire, but score no hits.
The Highlanders also fire at band 1, but score no hits. These rounds of firing are all at long range, which halves the chance of hits.

Meanwhile, band 2 fires at the Ballyfoole Hussars, killing 2, including Lt. O'Toole, who fails his save.

Turn 2

The Hussars pull back behind the infantry to regroup.
Band 2 moves in towards the Woostershire Musketeers. The Woostershire Musketeers fire at band 2, scoring 2 hits at close range now.Lt. Bertie and Sgt. Basset also fire at band 2, with the Sgt. scoring a hit.
The Highlanders fire at band 1, scoring no hits. Lt. MacCaber and Sgt. MacGowan each score 1 hit on band 1. Band 1 fails its morale roll and runs away, its movement taking the remaining hillmen of that band off the table.

Turn 3
The Highlanders swing around to flank band 2 of the hillmen. As does Captain Flynn.
The Woostershires fire at band 2, killing 1 hillman. Captain Cholmonderleigh fires and hits Aka Akbar, but the hillman leader makes his save.
Band 2 fails their morale throw and fire and random. Aka Akbar fires at the Woostershires and kills i extra.

Turn 4
The Highlanders fire at band 2, scoring 3 hits. Aka Akbar fails his save and the last hllman is killed, ending the fight.

Final tally: 3 mounted hillmen survive to join the next encounter. 2 Ballyfoole Hussars and 1 Woostershire Musketeer are dead.

By luck of the die the sergeants made more hits than most of the officers.

A quick little action which altogether took well under 2 hours, even with time for taking notes and pictures and leafing through the rulebook and all. With greater familiarity of the rules (and maybe a quick reference sheet for the firing/combat tables and morale) something like could be played out in less than an hour I reckon.

One last picture that came out a bit sharper. A parting shot if you will.

Stats for the NNW Patrol forces

I followed the suggestions in the GASLIGHT Compendium for the "extras", and rolled on the tables for the characters. In addition there are several scenarios laid out in the book with various forces outlined for further ideas of suggested values and makeup of forces.

The Patrol:
Captain Flynn, hero: scuffle 13 | shoot 15 | save 15 | move 12 inches (on horseback)
Captain Cholmonderleigh, adventurer: scuffle 10 | shoot 10 | save 15 | move 12 inches (on horseback)
Ballyfoole Hussars, extras: scuffle 9 | shoot 9 | save na | move 12 inches (on horseback)
Lt. O'Toole, leader: scuffle 10 | shoot 10 | save 10 | move 12 inches (on horseback)
Sgt. McLachlan, veteran: scuffle 10 | shoot 10 | save 7 | move 12 inches  (on horseback)
Gunderland Highlanders, extras: scuffle 9 | shoot 9 | save na | move 6 inches (on foot)
Lt. MacCaber, leader: scuffle 10 | shoot 9 | save 12 | move 6 inches (on foot)
Sgt. MacGowan, veteran: scuffle 10 | shoot 10 | save 7 | move 6 inches (on foot)
Woostershire Musketeers, extras: scuffle 9 | shoot 9 | save na | move 6 inches (on foot)
Lt. Bertie, leader: scuffle 8 | shoot 11 | save 10 | move 6 inches (on foot)
Sgt. Basset, veteran: scuffle 12 | shoot 10 | save 9 | move 6 inches (on foot)

generic extras: scuffle 10 | shoot 7 | save na | move 6 on foot or 12 on horseback
characters rolled as needed

(not sure if this format is the best or easiest to follow. I wish blogger would add support for doing tables.)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Setting up for a Patrol on the NNW Frontier

I played the first part of a scenario/game today, inspired by Danjou's Hand at
his tabletopdiversions blog. I have garnered quite a bit of inspiration from that blog, from ideas for random dungeons, solo play, and the ideas that I adapted for this scenario.

The scenario is this, a small outpost several days from a main fort on the North-by-Northwest Frontier of Afrodesia has not been heard from for a bit too long. The area has seen some recent agitation on the part of the local hill tribes. So the colonel in command of the fort sends out a patrol consisting of 1 unit of Gunderland Highlanders, 1 unit of Woostershire Musketeers, a unit of Ballyfoole Hussars, with Captain Flynn in command and Captain Cholmonderleigh (pronounced "Chumley") as second in command. They're mission is to head to the outpost, find out what's happening and help out if needed.

I wrote up a few possible encounters and events on small index cards:
1. 2 units of Hillmen (Pathans or similar) on foot, 8 figures and 1 leader each. Roll 1D6, 1-4, shoot from cover if possible; 5-6, shoot once and then move in to close combat
2. 1 unit of mounted Hillmen and 2 units of foot, 8 figures and 1 leader each. Full attack/battle as best as they are able.
3. Cobra! Random figure startles a cobra and is killed. If it's a main character roll for save.
4. 1 unit of 5 mounted Hillmen and 1 unit of 8 foot Hillmen, each with a leader. Roll 1D6, on a 6 the Hillmen withdraw; add 1 to the die roll each turn.
5. Snipers! Shots ring out from the hills. Roll 1D6 for number of hits. Randomly determine who is hit. Characters roll to save.
6. 5 mounted Hillmen with 1 leader. Roll 1D6, 1-4, hit and run - they try to get close enough to shoot, from cover if available, and ride away if they take any hits; 5-6, they shoot once and then try to charge in and engage in close combat.
7. Messenger from the outpost meets up with the patrol. The messenger had been sent to notify the fort that the outpost was under attack by local hill tribes. He leads the patrol onwards, and since he has already had to evade armed bands he guides the patrol around the next potential encounter and saves them some time. Remove the next card from the deck. Any forces listed get added to the next encounter on a die roll of 1-3 on 1D6.
8. Falling Rocks! (whether a natural event or Hillmen trying to cause some damage, who knows?) Roll 1D6 for each figure, on a roll of 6 the figure is injured and is at -1 for all abilities (scuffle and shoot) during the next day's encounters/events. Characters roll to save as usual.
9. 2 units of 5 mounted Hillmen, each with one leader. Roll 1D6, 1-2, hit and run attack as in number 6 above; 5-6, they shoot once as soon as they are in range and then try to close into close combat.
10. Rope Bridge. Only figures on foot may cross. Others have to find another route. If the patrol decides to split up only use the foot figures in encounters or events until the others can rejoin. Roll 1D6 each day, 1-3 they rejoin the patrol; 4-6, try again the next day. If the patrol doesn't use the rope bridge they have to go around and lose time; add another card to the deck.
11. Scouts have discovered a shortcut. If there are any cavalry figures present remove the next card from the deck. Any enemy forces are bypassed this time and get added to the next encounter on a roll of 1-4 on 1D6.

I also added added 2 blank cards, representing uneventful days. I shuffled the cards and dealt out 4, face down. Then I dealt out 4 more cards and added in another card labeled "The outpost is reached" and put these 4 under the first 4 cards. So I now had a deck with 9 cards, with the "outpost" card somewhere in the bottom half. When that was reached it would be time for the battle at the outpost. The longer it takes to get there the more outpost soldiers will be found dead or wounded. Also, enemies surviving from encounters along the way would be added to the final battle at the outpost.

The events and encounters are meant to provide some possible quick small skirmishes, to make the arrival time uncertain, to possibly affect the condition of the patrol when it reaches the outpost without seriously debilitating it, to allow for some uncertainty in what enemy forces will be encountered once the outpost is reached, and to add some "color" and interest to the "story" of the game.

I am using the GASLIGHT rules for these encounters and battles, as I did for the battle described in the previous post.

Next up will be a report on the patrol "so far".

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Gaslight on the NNW Frontier

I had purchased a copy of the GASLIGHT Compendium when it came out and there it sat. Recently, while looking for some light wargaming reading in odd spare moments I pulled the book out and skimmed through it. And this weekend I decided to try a solo game with them. I used the "Battles" version for activation, unit firing and unit combat and morale, and the standard rules for main characters. I kept the forces small, both in numbers of units/characters and number of figures per unit, but I think I can increase that and still have a good game on a small table. I played this little encounter on my 40 inch square table.

Just a simple encounter between two units of European regulars, the Ballyfoole Musketeers and the Gunderland Highlanders. Both rated 8 for Shoot (used when firing) and Scuffle (used for combat). I decided their muskets had a range 18 inches (for long range and 12 for short) and required reloading. The arms used by the natives were rated the same. The overall commander of the force was Captain Wilfrid Hyde-Psmith on Grand Thidwick (Leader; scuffle 13, shoot 9, save 11). The Gunderland Highlanders had Sgt. MacDour (Veteran, scuffle 8, shoot 5, save 9) and 6 regular troops (Extras in Gaslight terminology, scuffle and shoot 8, no save). The Ballyfoole Musketeers had Sgt O'Flynn (Veteran, scuffle 7, shoot 11, save 8) and Cpl. McGillicuddy (Veteran, scuffle 8, shoot 10, save 11) and 5 regular troops (Extras, scuffle and shoot 8). All of the values for the main characters were rolled on tables in the rules.

The natives were lead by Mohammed Khan (Leader, scuffle 10, shoot 10, save 9), who took personal command of one group of 5 natives (Extras, scuffle 10, shoot 7). Jhames Khan (Veteran, scuffle 7, shoot 12, save 7) and Kubla Kai (Veteran, scuffle 10, shoot 6, save 9) each commanded another 5 natives.

On the first turn everyone moved closer to the enemy. The Pathans coming down out of the hills and the Europeans moving forward in open ground. (The dice are used for determining who gets to act when using the Battles version of the rules. It's a combination of dice and cards.)

Turn 2, the Europeans continue to move forward. Suddenly shots ring out from the band of Pathans on the right. These are the ones commanded by Mohammed Khan, the overall leader. They are at long range and the Ballyfoole Musketeers hold their ground. No one is hit. The other 2 bands of natives move forward. (Not having anything else handy I used some little round wood disks from some game to mark which units would need to reload before they could fire again.)

Turn 3, return fire on the same band of Pathans who had fired at them, striking 2 dead with their volley, while Cpl. McGillicuddy hits another one. The Gunderland Highlanders fire a volley at the middle band of Pathans and kill the leader of that group, Kubla Kai. Sgt. MacDour shoots one of the troop.
The band of Pathans on the right, bolstered by the presence of Mohammed Khan pass their morale test from casualties received and reload. The band of Pathans coming up from the left fire at the Gunderland Highlanders, killing one man. The leader of that band, Jhames Khan fires at and kills Sgt. MacDour (fired at the unit, random roll determined it was the Sgt. who was hit. The Sgt. didn't make his save roll.) And the middle band of Pathans recovered from the death of their leader, fired at the Highlanders, but no one was hit. (apologies for the poor picture quality in these next couple of shots especially.)

Turn 4, the band of Pathans on the right, lead by Mohammed Khan move forward so as to be within charge range. Everyone else reloads.

Turn 5, the Highlanders fire at the center band of Pathans, killing 2. A flurry of shots from the Ballyfoole Musketeers, Cpl. and Sgt., kills another Pathan. The center band of Pathans return fire on the Highlanders, killing one man. The left hand band of Pathans move forward. And the right hand band passes their morale check for casualties, but then fails to charge.

Turn 6, the right hand band of Pathans fails to charge again. The Highlanders, Ballyfoole Musketeers, and center band of Pathans all reload. The left hand band of Pathans fires at the Highlanders, killing 2 more.

Turn 7, the Highlanders fire at the laft hand band of Pathans, killing another man. The Ballyfoole Musketeers fire at the right hand band of Pathans, killing the last "extra" and hitting Mohammed Khan, who passes his save. Cpl. McGillicuddy also fire at Mohammed Khan, scoring a hit, but Mohammed  Khan again makes his save. But all of these close hits/misses give Mohammed Khan pause. (he fails his morale roll and freezes, no actions this turn - this was an error, an unattached main character doesn't have to roll for morale)
The center band of Pathans fires at the Highlanders, but score no hits. The left hand band of Pathans charges the  Highlanders, killing two, while the Highlanders kill one of the Pathans. Captain Hyde-Psmith fires his pistol at the Pathans as they charge in, killing one more.

Turn 8, with the Highlanders destroyed Captain Hyde-Psmith joins the Ballyfoole Musketeers. The Ballyfoole Musketeers reload. The left hand and right hand bands of Pathans fire at the Ballyfoole Musketeers, but score no hits. The two extras in the left hand band of Pathans fail their morale and the result is to run off the table.

At this point I figured there were too few Pathans left to do much, but I played one additional turn to see what might've happened. In the event the Ballyfoole Musketeers and Cpl. McGillicuddy fire off a volley and kill Mohammed Khan. The Captain and Sgt. O'Flynn fire at the center band of Pathans, but don't score any hits.

A fun little game. I think it took around 3 hours over 2 days, but that includes setup, taking notes and pictures, thumbing through the rule book, etc. The game took up little space, especially once everyone closed in. I could easily add more figures without overcrowding the tabletop or overtaxing my mind with numerous units and characters to keep track of. With more figures and/or units playing time would likely increase, but with practice that should drop down again, too. I like the simpler methods for units/groups of figures/extras from the Battle rules and the fact that I can use the standard rules (or even the role-play rules) for main characters. There were some things I couldn't find in the rules, such as stats for standard weapons, rules for determining if a main character receives casualties, especially when part of a unit that has been hit, rules or guidelines for anyone pulling back from combat, and probably other stuff. In those cases I made a judgement call or rolled the dice. With the combination of dice and cards used for activation I could through in a wildcard or two to add random events. (the way it works is you roll a die for each unit and each independent character, place the die next to them to mark them, then pull from a small deck of cards numbered one to six. I used regular playing cards for this, so it would be easy enough to add in a joker for random events. When the card matches the die that unit can act. In the case where more than one unit/character has the same number on the die you roll to see who goes first when the card comes up.)

This has potential for further games.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Idle Thoughts 4

By stands and individual figures. Each stand and some individuals have a combat value, this is the number of dice they roll in combat. Some modifiers will add or take away dice . Other modifiers might add or subtract from the total. And some things may allow re-rolls or drop the highest or lowest dice rolled. (maybe not all of those will be part of the proceedings)

Multiple units can combine their roll if they are all in full contact with the enemy. This way 2 or more weaker units could “gang up” on a single stronger unit. Or several individuals could group together.

In hand-to-hand combat each side rolls the number of dice allotted and then the totals are compared. The loser is removed from play. If there is a tie the combat continues in the combat phase of the next player’s turn. If a “unit” which includes a stand and one or more attached individual figures or multiple individual figures acting together loses the combat roll even odds to see who gets removed from play. For example, if there is a stand with 1 leader figure roll 50/50; if there are 3 figures roll 1-2/3-4/5-6. Alternatively, remove standard-bearers and musicians first, then randomly determine which, officers/leaders/heroes/stands get removed?

A musician or standard-bearer might add 1 dice to the total combat dice (but may not be able to fight on their own?). A unit that is uphill or mounted might add another dice. A leader attached to a unit might allow a re-roll of 1 die (player’s choice, presumably the lowest die).

Some examples:
A stand of goblins might get 2 dice, while a stand of dwarves might get 4 dice. A large beast like a great dragon or dinosaur might get 5 or 6 dice (or more).

Procedures apply to both small arms and artillery, unless noted otherwise.
As with combat each stand and some individual figures have a ranged combat value (maybe different from their hand-to-hand combat value?). And, as with hand-to-hand combat, this is the number of dice they start with. Both the firer and the target roll (do I need a third attribute for a unit's defense/"resistance" versus firepower? hmmm, getting away from simple?), but only the firer can inflict casualties (alternatively, they can return fire if able?). Modifiers would include removing dice and/or adding/subtracting from the total for longer range, target in cover or armored, etc. Multiple units do not combine their rolls; each fires separately. Totals are compared and if the firer’s total is higher the target is removed from play.

Some of my thinking behind this: Again I think the procedures/mechanisms are fairly simple, and basically the same for hand-to-hand combat, small arms fire and artillery fire, so no need to learn different basics for each. (as usual, keeping in mind these are untried half-formed (and half-baked?) thoughts). I also think it would make for quick resolutions and fast games. I don’t think morale rules would be needed, as units and figures would be removed from play and eventually one side or the other (or both?) would either fulfill victory conditions or become unable to through lack of troops. This doesn't mean units are fighting to the death, but just to the point that they are no longer effective.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Idle Thoughts 3

Use sticks or some other measuring device like a ruler or tape measure, with short, medium and long moves. Lengths are 3, 5 and 8 inches. Movement is in a straight line. The one exception is movement on roads follows the road. Facing can be changed before and after each move segment. Firing can be done before or after any move segment.

Movement rates clear terrain                        rough terrain
Line infantry      1 medium (5 inches)           1 short (3 inches)
Light infantry     2 short (3 and 3 inches)      2 short (3 and 3 inches)
Regular cavalry 1 long (8 inches)                 1 short (3 inches)
Light cavalry     2 medium (5 and 5 inches)  2 short (3 and 3 inches)
Foot artillery     1 medium (5 inches)            Only on roads

Units must stop when they reach a terrain feature. That ends that move segment even if the unit didn’t move the full segment. If the unit has another move segment it can then move through the terrain feature. All movement that starts in terrain features uses short segments, even if part of the move ends up being outside the feature. Foot artillery can only move through terrain features on roads.

There could be variations due to terrain type, unit type, presence of some sort of guide with a unit, etc..

Some of my thinking behind this: It's fairly simple, but still flexible. I think it simplifies terrain effects and avoids requiring calculating remaining movement rates or fractional moves as you move through different terrain, allows light troops to be more flexible and quick in rough terrain or getting around obstacles. Units like regular cavalry can be fast at the expense of maneuverability.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Idle Thoughts 2

These are untried, untested ideas, mostly"borrowed" from or "inspired" by various rules sets.

Possible turn sequence:

1. Roll for Action Points (AP)
2. Act (Fire, Move)
3. Conduct Hand to Hand Combat

Action Points: The active side rolls 2D6. The result is the number of AP that side has to work with. If the result is doubles also draw a random event (card, chart, or other mechanism). AP are spent to move or fire (or other possible actions). Hand to hand combat is separate and costs no AP. Disciplined troops, like British Colonial armies, can use up to 2 AP per unit. So a unit could move and fire, fire twice, move twice, and in any order, so they could fire and then move or move and then fire. Undisciplined troops, like natives, can only use 1 AP per unit. The player decides which units act when and how.

Each unit spends 1 AP to move or fire, where a unit is defined as 1 individual, 1 stand or group of figures or 1 stand and attached individuals, acting together, doing the same actions.

Some of my thinking behind this: It's simple, with 1 die roll per turn. It gives the player control over which units act if not all are able to. It gives disciplined troops an advantage over undisciplined ones, which, to my thinking, is important in Colonial games and some fantasy games. It gives me freedom and flexibility to add to it later without changing the basics. For example, I could add other types of actions such as demolition of a bridge, breaching a wall or barricade, and other engineer/sapper tasks. I could add some actions that take more than 1 AP to complete (in a single turn or over multiple turns). Or I could have modifiers to the die roll, for example, a very good commander might add 1 to the roll. I'm sure there are downsides to this idea as well. Of course, this is not a new or original idea either.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Idle Thoughts

Lately I seem to have little time or little energy for much gaming or painting, so my mind turns to thoughts of gaming in brief idle moments. Thinking about what kind of gaming I want to do, where my inspiration comes from, and where my interests and hobby "habits" take me.

As far as inspiration goes, mine is more of the cinematic and literary sort. I do enjoy reading about history from time to time. But what really gets me interested in games is the story. Larger than life characters, exotic locations, compelling stories, pure entertainment. Especially in the manner of old Hollywood movies from the 30's and 40's, Beau Geste, Gunga Din, Lives of a Bengal Lancer, various westerns and adventure movies. Usually there are a few named major players and the often numerous unnamed extras and minions and masses. With room for sequels and/or serials.

As far as the kind of gaming and my hobby "habits" go (my disinterest in painting large numbers of similar or identical figures, my often slow painting output, my inclination to collect and paint all sorts of miniatures for diverse eras and genres that catch my eye, to name a few), simple rules with simple mechanisms, simple turn sequences, no bookkeeping, no tabletop clutter, small footprint, and a small numbers of figures are all key.

I want to play games where I can use a small number of figures (and possibly stands) to fight something that feels more like a battle than a skirmish. I want to have larger than life main characters and also groups or units of "extras", where the units of "extras" could be as few as one figure or maybe as many as 6 or 8 (or maybe even 10 or so for a horde of natives or goblins, for example). I want to be able to include monsters, dinosaurs and other beasts, vehicles, as well as musicians (especially pipers for my Highlanders), sergeants, standard-bearers, scouts, medical persons, and even recurring villains. And I want to keep it simple! (ha ha) I want to be able to play solo without tacked on or clunky mechanisms to get around rules designed for non-solo play. That means things like hidden movement, card hand management and other "secret" information and planning should be avoided. I also want there to be enough randomness and spontaneity and tension to make an interesting engaging story for me while I play, but I also want to have some control and input. I want to play the game, not have the game play itself.

I have played various games and rules over the decades, and have had a look at numerous others, but have yet to find any rules that match all of my criteria. (rules I have tried that have come closest to fitting the bill include, but are not limited to, TSATF (I am aware of the small unit variations of these and other rules), some of the THW rules, GASLIGHT, Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame, the "Song of" rules, HOTT, Pith Helmet). There are quite a few things I like about all of those, but none of them "tick all the boxes". So that takes my mental wanderings into the realm of writing my own rules. I am by no means a Bob Cordery or Ross Mac and have no pretensions to think I can write something original or that anyone else would find useful, but maybe I can play with ideas that appeal to me. As I have written before I often play "fast and loose" with rules (or with "not so much rules as more guidelines") so who knows where this will take me.

Now, some of the thoughts I have had include the following:
1. Roll for initiative once, before the first turn. Alternatively, a scenario might give one side the initiative, for example, if one side ambushes the other. Then it's "you-go-I-go" after that. First step in a side's turn is to roll for "action points". Action points are used to perform actions, which include moving and firing, in any order. This way who is doing what when will go back and forth. (this is just an intro to the whole concept)
2. Movement and ranges for any ranged combat use sticks divided into 3 distances, short, medium and long (borrowed from the "Song of" rules). Units can only move in a straight line on any one "stick", but maneuverable units might get multiple "sticks". For example, a light infantry unit might get  2 short "sticks" vs. a line unit getting 1 long "stick".
3. Still trying to work out how combat and firing should work. I'm torn between using stands for units (fewer "pieces" to move around) vs. individual figures (more flexibility), or possibly a combination (maybe stands for units and single figures for individuals, getting back to the cinematic idea of named players and extras). Of course I could play with my magnetic bases until I get the basing sorted out. I want to be able to have small units of Brits and their allies stand up to "hordes" of natives, for example. I also want to do something similar with my fantasy armies of dwarves and orcs and goblins and elves, and others.

I will likely be posting more "idle thoughts" as I ponder some more, and will try to entitle all such posts as such for ease of skipping over for anyone who is not interested. If anyone is still here, my thanks to you! I would be interested in any thoughts you might have to share.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Warrior Women and Woolly Wildlife

Expeditions into the wilds of Afrodesia might encounter the fierce and striking warrior women, possible source of tales of Amazons.

Rumors of strange beasts abound in Afrodesia. One rumor speaks of large rhinos with long horns and reddish woolly fur. Surely not in the jungles. These beasts, if they do exist, are most likely found at higher elevations with cooler climates.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

More from the Rajah of Djalhi

These are Foundry figures. The two servants of the Rajah in the blue turbans came with the elephant previously posted. The sepoy is Mungo Gin, formerly regimental bhisti and a first-class fighting man (now I just need to find the rest of the sepoys, and maybe some sergeants three! ha ha.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Of Mountains and Pachyderms

I managed to finish up some things that have been sitting on my painting desk for weeks. First is another profile mountain. This was intended as a mountain gateway for my dwarves, but after completing it I decided I should've left the middle mountain without a hole so I could use the piece as is as plain mountains, and could also add a freestanding piece as a closed door or an open one. I don't really need the actual hole.

Standing in front of the mountain is Ellie the elephant.

And finally, from Bossanova, the Poltroons. These are light cavalry, commanded by Captain Scramski.

You know the drill, click to make pictures bigger.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

All Quiet. Yeah, Too Quiet.

My apologies for the lack of posts (over 2 months!). I've been busy with so-called "real life", work, travel, etc. Nothing bad and much of it good, but it often leaves me too exhausted to do much with gaming-related hobby stuff the times I'm at home. Hopefully things will slack off a bit soon! Still, I have been making some slow progress on painting miniatures (but probably have too many different ones on the go) and some new terrain pieces. Hopefully I can get some things finished up before May has come and gone!
In the meantime, I'm still alive and kicking.
I recently watched a movie titled either Northwest Frontier or Flames Over India (seems like both titles were showing at different times in my netflix instant queue). It's a good movie and seems like a good source of inspiration for a NW Frontier/India game. The main stars include Kenneth More, Lauren Bacall, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Herbert Lom, among others. The basic premise is an old run-down train is recruited to try to whisk away a small group of people from a besieged Indian town garrisoned by British forces.
I also watched a lesser B movie called Khyber Patrol (with Raymond Burr as an Afghan soldier, which was something to see. He was actually quite good. The movie itself was fine if you take it as it is.). This movie could also provide some inspiration for Colonial games.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


A megatherium or giant sloth, for "lost lands" types of games.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Something Cunning This Way Comes

Ah, just a little fox (from Foundry, I believe).

And some more Pathans, from Old Glory.