Sunday, 20 December 2015

Christmas party at the library

Yesterday the Hamilton Road Games Group held it's annual pre-Christmas party at the Crouch Branch library in London, ON. Traditionally (meaning we've done it for more than 2-3 years), we play a game of Wings of War, a WWI aircraft game with miniatures. We add Snoopy on his doghouse as well as Santa's sleigh to the game for a seasonal feel. We added a game of Where Heroes Dare, a Pulp Era small group game from Iron Ivan. It was a variation of what was done last year.

Martin, Katie, myself, Kevin, and few of the local kids who come to the library prepare for the game.
Since we also bring cookies, hot chocolate, cupcakes, and other goodies, it gets to be a popular place.

Snoopy, the Red Baron, and Eddie Richenbacher take a go-round in the air.
I "flew" the Baron's plane and was the first to be destroyed by an in-air explosion.
The first player downed comes back in as Santa in the sleigh.

The Snoopy miniature counts as a Sopwith Camel and is a home-make paper model based on a down-loaded one.

More planes in a swirling dog fight. Katie liked the pusher.

Can't you just hear it? "I'll get you, Red Baron!"

The sleigh enters the fray although we broke for lunch soon after.
Kevin and Martin and one or two others when to the laundromat across the street for pulled pork sandwiches.
Yes, you read that correctly.
The Where Heroes Dare game was almost the same as last year's: Santa and the elves have been captured by the Krampus and the Grinch and their muscle - some gangsters and some Stormtroopers, both the Imperial/Star Wars and the Freikorps/trench raider varieties. A number of teams of heroes are tasked with freeing Santa and saving Christmas. As games master, I took the Krampus and hid the hostages in various places on the board.

Here were the other teams:
  • Bear captained the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
  • My son, Rob was Sherlock Holmes and Scotland Yards finest
  • My daughter, Katie led the adventurers from the music of Steam Powered Giraffe, her favourite band.
  • One of the local girls handled the Shadow ("The weed of crime bears bitter fruit!") and his team with Kevin's help
  • Martin upheld the tradition of the Force and had Sergeant Preston and a team of the RCMP with warrants to arrest EVERYBODY!
  • My wife, Beth fielded a fearsome patrol of the Toyland Fencible Infantry, teddybears all.
The Shadow and his team including Moe Schrebnitz, Margo Lane, the Physicist, the Waiter, and a street tough.

The Steam Powered Giraffe team - Professor Walter, Bunny, Captain Albert Alexander, Rex Marksley, and Lily who flew a mean aeroplane... until Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard damaged her engine with his two pistols.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - Alan Quartermain, Captain Nemo, Dr. Jeckyl/Mr. Hyde (that the Hulk-ish guy in the centre. It takes a turn to change.), Mina Harker, and the Invisible Man (the empty base in him being invisible.)

The Toyland Fencibles at the advance! Bravely led by Captain Edward "Pooh" Gund-Steiff (seen here on his trusty steed)
and First Lieutenant Teddy von Tedenberger, the entire rescue force was named "Ted." My wife painted the majority of these figs; I will admit to doing the flags.
Sergeant Preston and King with their stalwart Mounted Police. "The Commissioner" (lower right) joined them but had no real part in the adventure.

Santa, chief Elf Bernard, Dominic the Christmas Donkey, Chris or die Weihnachtsmaus, the hippopotamus everybody wants for Christmas, Christmoose, and a few elves who look like aliens. (Why not?)
Die Weihnachtsmaus is the fellow who is blamed for anything that goes wrong at Christmas time - a handy German custom!
("Who ate the cookies and got into the gingerbread?" "Don't look at me! It was Die Weihnachtsmaus, of course!")

The Toyland Fencibles with their field music.

Sherlock Holmes, Gladstone the bulldog, Dr. Watson, Inspector Lestrade, and a few PCs from the Yard.
The Krampus, the Grinch and his dog, Max, four mobsters, and seven stormtroopers made up the evil destroyers of Christmas cheer.
Rob and Kevin discuss what-ever as the teams take the table.

The North Pole village

Actually a rather inviting place, with surprises in many of the houses.
The League advances to confront the evil doers. Dr. Jekyll has not changed yet and the Invisible man still wears his over coat and hat - It IS the North Pole, you know!

Holmes and Watson deduced that Santa was in the big house. They made short work of the Grinch and his stormtroopers, who actually DID hit what they shot at, taking out 3 police constable and the Hippo everybody wants for Christmas. Our sturdy adventurers now had to hustle Santa off the table.

The Shadow and his team confront the great four-armed snow ape, which appeared as they entered the circle of standing stones. Was this the source of Santa's magic power? We may never know!

The Toyland Fencibles and the RCMP assault the house holding the Krampus and the elves. Beth's Fencibles dragged off the severely wounded Krampus to face justice in the Toyland courts, while Martin's RCMP detatchment arrested everyone else, even the dead mobsters. Martin got a little RCMP-OCD  and repeated he had warrants to arrest the entire table.
The teddybears ignored him.

Lily flew a strafing mission over the great four-armed snow ape and really hurt him. Between this, the Shadow's automatics and Sergeant Preston's amazing sniping, the ape was taken down.

How did the RCMP get into the Krampus' house? Well, they met a friendly Time Lord who agreed to use his TARDIS to bring them all into that building. I think Martin tried to arrest the Doctor, but you can guess how that worked out.
The League overwhelms a Russian mobster who was on sentry duty with his PpSH SMG.

A big-time overview of the action.

Lily attempted to stop Scotland Yard and the Baker Street team from spiriting Santa away. All she got as a damaged engine for her trouble.

The Toyland Fencibles advancing into the village. A lone Freikorp stormtrooper is surprised by the bears' quick action.

The Grinch and his stormtroopers (Imperial and Freikorps) open fire on the Baker Street team. The constables and the hippo everybody wants for Christmas took the brunt of it. Holmes, Gladstone, and Watson took the stormtroopers down in hand-to-hand combat while Lestrade took out the Grinch with his two Webleys.

The Shadow and his team free Dominic the Christmas Donkey.

The League heads off with Santa's bag of toys as their victory swag.
Each team captured something of great value to the Christmas legends, like Santa's toys, the Christmas Donkey, the Krampus' remains, or Santa himself. If there WERE a winner, Rob would be close since he actually got Santa and die Weihnachtsmaus off the table where they could be picked up by airship or some-such vehicle. It was all for fun anyway.

My thanks to all the Hamilton Road Games Group members for playing along in both games, to Iron Ivan Games for letting me mess with their fine set of rules for pulp adventure games, to Steam Powered Giraffe for allowing my daughter to set up a team in their honour. (I hear they're great gamers themselves.)

Merry Christmas - however you celebrate it - and Happy New Year to all the readers!

"And I heard him exclaim ere he flew out of sight 'Merry Christmas to all and to all, a good night!' "