Thursday, 26 January 2023

Fistful of Lead and a Handful of Painted Minis


I've taken an interest in Wiley Games' Fistful of Lead rules of late. I've found them flexible, playable, and entertaining. I used a mixed bag of the rules for the Christmas Adventure at the Hamilton Road Gaming Group's Holiday gathering. They cover skirmishes in all periods of history, the Wild West, Heroic fantasy, Sci-fi, both hard science and Flash Gordon-stuff, as well as Horror of many kinds. Space battles and giant Battle Suits games are covered as well, but I have no knowledge of those last two since they don't interest me. What can I say?

So we played two games of Wild West skirmish at the Games Group last week. I served as games master and Glenn, Bear, Rich, and Derrick all pushed lead. I was so wrapped up in the first game, I didn't take any photos! I caught a few of the second.

In the first game, each four-figure team had an identity, although it didn't really matter that they were "Settlers with a grudge", "the Posse", "the Outlaws", or "the Pinkertons." It was a basic shoot-'em-up to get used to the rules. Rich seems to be the guy who wins a lot, with Derrick getting wiped out early.

In the second game, Glenn took the role of a US Cavalry section guarding a pay chest. He had six figures while the other three had four figures each. It got wild and wooly and actually gruesome at times.

Glenn's troopers deploy to defend their pay.
The black bead on the sergeant's stand means he's "Out of ammo."

Further deployment

"It ain't jes' outlaws that'll kill ya, Slim. Mother Nature's nasty too!"
Sad to say, Jake the Snake did not score a hit.
Nobody needed the outhouse!

Fast and furious action? Low blood sugar? A response to Derrick's t-shirt?
Your guess is as good as mine.

Rich's desperados advance. The fellow with the raised pistol actually has one arm
and a pinned-up sleeve. One of his gang (not seen here) is the Man with No Name
and has a blank on the name block on his card!

Derrick's crew advances, but the troopers are ready!

"Ah'm waitin' fer them varmints! They's afta mah pay!"
The troopers all had carbines except the young lieutenant.
The rules cover pistols and rifles, but not carbines.
So we agreed to use bow-and-arrow ranges for cavalry carbines,
but they were out of ammo on a roll of 1 OR 2 rather than only a 1.
It actually worked well.

Bear's Southern Style mob takes cover in the arroyo.
It cost extra to enter or leave such a dry creek bed, but
a figure could move up or down the arroyo at full speed and still be in cover.
It was full cover to other figures watching on the normal level,
but partial cover the the sighting figure were on higher ground or 
on the second story of a building.

The Figure With No Name stuns and wounds a trooper,
but wisely doesn't mess with Jake the Snake.
Small ring means a wound.

Bear's mob moves to get a better angle for shooting.

Well, what do you know?
We wondered how Aces showed up so much in the draw.
Rich had added stickers to the deck as the rules recommend.
However, he mistakenly had a full set of extra Aces in the deck.
It was an honest mistake; no cheating suspected and
we pulled out the extras when we went to get the rope.

Rich's gang of desperados won the day. Glenn had one wounded trooper left and he deserted the cavalry and joined the desperados, telling them where the pay chest was hidden. (Glenn told me before the game began and I kept the pay chest under an outhouse for safe keeping. This outing was fast, nasty, and gruesome, as well as a tremendous amount of fun. I'd recommend these Fistful of Lead rules for just about any skirmish setting. I don't know how well they'd work for WWI, WWII, or Modern war, but Rich and I agreed that it might even work for a Silver Bayonet setting! I'm adapting the Galactic Heroes rules for Dune and I intend to play test that game at the Games Group soon.

I've been in a painting mood of late and here are a few things I finished.

20mm Late Roman Auxilia command from Newline Design
A personal project for me.
I have three units done and one to finish. This grouping will be the "brigade" command.

Ultra-modern/Sci-fi infantry in 15mm from RAFM
Camo is not easy in 15mm. I might be trying too hard.

From Old Glory I think.
A Czar painted as the Emperor for Traveller
Long live the Iridium throne!

A 3D printed figure from my friend Ralph.
A pastor or priest (He has a rosary on his belt)
I intend to use him in The Silver Bayonet and/or my Traveller RPG campaign

Kings of War on a Day Off

 I hadn't played Kings of War in quite a while. Then my friend, Mark, invited Beth and I up to his place for a game, some lunch, and time for Beth to talk with Carrie. So we went and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

I have a Kings of Men army based on a real mixed bag of troops I've collected over the years. Mark has a very nice Dwarven army. Since we didn't have much room (Kitchen table), we set our armies to 1500 points. (2500 to 3000+ points is more the usual size.)

So off we went. We finished before lunch (baked Quesadillas... Yum!) and before Carrie had to go to her place of employment for the afternoon/evening shift.

The table as the battle progressed. Mark's Dwarf rangers hit my Black Company which was
guarding my right flank. We both got hurt. You can see the cannon on both sides.
Cannon in KoW are often quite useless. This day, they were deadly.
The huge tree trunks were for Mark's forest world of Endor in a Star Wars game.

Mark's rangers led a flank attack.
My musketmen and the artillery sent one unit packing.

My cavalry flank
Mounted scouts with pistols led and were smashed quickly.
Knights followed and fought a melee war badgers and the Dwarf General.
Didn't do so well. The Mounted Sergeants didn't last long either.

Mark's main force on a nicely detailed multi-figure base.

The pride and spine of my army - a horde of pikes.
Mostly Old Glory Italian Wars pikes with a few Warlord Landsknechts added.

Pikes close up.
The dice peaking into the bottom the photo indicate casualties.

The Pikes from the front

Mark's main force from the front.

My muskets hold off the Dwarf archers while
the Black Company have a dust-up with the rangers.

My knights fight against the Dwarf general and the war badgers.
The badgers would get thrown back while the general held her ground.
(Yes, the general was female.)
Because of that maneuver, my knights were pinned and got slapped around.

Well, I lost the game. Dwarves are hard to crack. I should have taken more shoot-y units to do damage at a distance. Live and learn.

I enjoyed the day and my time with Mark and Carrie... and with Beth. 

Sunday, 18 December 2022

Christmas Party at the Games Group

 The Hamilton Road Games Group (meeting at the Crouch Branch of the London Public Library most Saturdays) tries to hold a holiday gaming party on the Saturday closest to the Christmas holiday. This year's event was well attended with over 22 people playing games. That might not sound like much to many of you, but for the Games Group, it's quite good considering the recent pandemic.

When my family and I arrived, two games were already in full swing. On table was holding the continuation of the BattleTech league that has been going on for a while. The second table was hold a game of Star Trek: Ascendency. Once that game ended, a similar game involving the well-known Dr. Who franchise. I've never played that game and I can't even say what the game is titled.

The games in full session

The line forms at the snack table.

A number of us set up a Hamilton Road holiday tradition game of Wings of War which includes Snoopy flying his dog house (Sopwith Camel) and Santa's Sleigh which comes in as  a replacement for the first aircraft shot down. Now if you shoot at Santa, YOU take the damage 'cause you're on the "Naughty List." It's fun and the game is quite colourful. Andy brought the planes and the playing aids for the game. Santa's sleigh came from my family's collection. I say "my family's collection" because my wife and children all play. Beth and Wren were present at this event, although Wren didn't fly a plane, but handed out the cards and damage markers.

An example of one of the Allied planes

German planes face down the Canine Ace of Aces.

I "flew" this Fokker D. VII - I called it the "Candy Striper."

A close up of Snoopy. Originally he was a paper model in 2D, and I built a "dog house'
based on a small wooden block. He's lasted a few years now.

Snoopy, an Allied plane, and Santa's sleigh.
Santa's sleigh was originally a chunk of balsa with a paper model built around it.

After a swift lunch break, the same group (with a rotating gallery of kibitzers) moved on to another almost traditional game - Save Santa from the Krampus! In the past, we've used Iron Ivan's Pulp adventure rules. This year, we changed the format to a mixed version of games from Wiley Games, drawing from their Fistful of Lead series of games - drawing from the modern, Sci-fi, fantasy magic, Horse & Musket, and horror games. We also used individual characters rather than teams.

Here's who was played and playing:

  • Constable Steele, RCMP... played by Dan the Dice Man (a fixture at local conventions)
  • Warrant Officer Vanier... played by Ralph (Modern Canadian soldier)
  • The Phantom (Yes, that guy)... played by Rich (straight from Bengalla)
  • Flash Borden (a sly rip-off)... played by Glenn  (taking time off from fighting Ming)
  • Professor Destiny (think Dr. Strange)... played by Beth
  • Anne Bonnie, Queen of the Pirates... played by Wren
  • the tiles and moral support... supplied by Andy.
  • All the bad guys... played by Your Humble Blogger, me.
Okay, Santa has been captured by the Krampus and his #2, the Grinch, and has been taken into the caverns beneath Santa's mansion at the North Pole. Santa is being held by the nasties, their Goblins, some monsters, and some mercenaries. The inspiration for the setting was "The Father Christmas Letters" by J.R.R.Tolkien, a delightful little book compiled from the letters Professor Tolkien wrote each Christmas to his children. I'd recommend it.

Tolkien's own art work
"Polar Bear defends Father Christmas"

We used Andy's MageKnight dungeon tiles for the hallways and rooms in the game.

The game... already in progress!

Anne Bonnie, Prof. Destiny, the Ghost-who-walks, and Constable Steele
move through the halls of the caverns.
(The Phantom was originally one of Bob Murch's Pulp Miniatures' Zombie figures.)

A larger view

Andy places doors and the like.
He knew how best to clip the pieces together.

"So THAT's what was behind the door." the Sergeant Major whispered.

Nasty Martian Ape vs. Sergeant Major!
What will happen?

This! Ape down!

Anne Bonnie made it past the Psycho-active mushrooms,
although, veteran D&D player that they are, they carved off a piece...
in case it might be needed later.

"So THAT's what was behind those doors!" whispered Flash Borden...
before he opened up with his blaster... and missed.

Flash jumped over the gobbos with his rocket pack while the Phantom's two 45's and Constable
Steele's Lee-Enfield laid quite a few goblins low. Professor Destiny threw spells to confuse the
goblins, who were none too bright to begin with. (Note that the Constable brought his own snow.)

To the Crux of the matter!
Flash Borden and SM Vanier enter the assembly room to find Santa tied up,
with the Krampus, the Grinch, a bunch of assault rifle toting mercenaries, and
one lone crazed goblin (probably ate too much mushroom) in that room.
Actually they made short work of the bunch. The rest of the rescue team caught up and
they took out all but two mercenaries (who surrendered and were arrested by Constable
Steele), took down both the Krampus and the Grinch in record time, freed Santa,
and SAVED CHRISTMAS!!!!  Yaaaaaaaaah!!

I think both Santa and the Crampus are from Reaper Miniatures.
The Grinch is a troll from an unknown, unremembered line.

Because of some things that were scheduled later, our family had to leave after the adventure finished.
It took about three hours which was about right for the day. We wished Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas all around and took our leave.

I wish the same to all of you who read this little thing. If you can get The Father Christmas Letters, do so. Every Tolkien fan might enjoy it.

Until next time, here is my family's Weihnachtspyramide in full spin. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
My family is in no way German in background, but we like this,

"Stay down, ya big ape!"