Sunday, 21 December 2014

Christmas is saved! Ring the bells!

It's getting close to Christmas. We lit the fourth candle on the Advent wreath today. Well, it went out, so we blamed the Christmas Mouse. (It seems that there's a German custom that blames anything and everything that might go wrong at Christmas time on die Weihnachtsmaus. So why not?)

At the Hamilton Road Gaming Group, we usually lead up to Christmas with the famous duel of Snoopy vs. the Red Baron. That was done last week to accommodate Martin who was leaving to go to the family estates (as it were, a-hem) in Timmins, ON... where there be gold mines! Anyway, this week, we played a scenario-based game of Iron Ivan's Pulp Era game, Where Heroes Dare! Beth developed the scenario where Santa is being held captive at the North Pole. It seems that the Krampus has decided that everyone has been naughty, so no gifts of anybody! He and his main confederate, the Grinch, gathered their band of gangsters and storm troopers and are holding Santa in the Christmas village! Teams of adventurers have mobilised to free Santa and same Christmas. Could there be a more noble mission?

Here are the teams:

From Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes, Dr, Watson (bare-headed), Inspector Lestrade, and a constable. Gladstone the bull dog rounds out the party. (Sad to say, no one chose this party.)

The always get their man. The RCMP sends their best. Sgt. Preston, PC Trueaxe, PC Frasier, and PC Witherspoon.
King and the rest of the dog team are standing in front of "The Commissioner." Beth ran this team.

Andy dubbed this guy "The Commissioner." It seemed right.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, at your service! From left, the Invisible Man, Mina Harker, Mr. Hyde, Captain Nemo, Dr. Jeckyll, Special Agent Tom Sawyer, and Alan Quartermain. Hyde replaced Jekyll when the potion was drunk. Quartermain is a Copplestone figure available only to those who made a purchase at Historicon a few years ago. Quite rare and we take good care of him. (Bear and "Team Bear" ran this outfit.)

Hyde (Reaper Miniatures) and Jekyll

The US Rocket Corps under the command of Lt. Rex Steele. Andy's crew
All Pulp Miniatures and I really like them.

<Que maniacal laughter> "The weed of crime bears bitter fruit!"
The Shadow and his crew - The waiter, Moe Schrebnitz, Margo Lane, the Shadow, the Physicist (soon dubbed "Sheldon") and a street thug. Kevin was skipper of this crew. (Reaper, Pulp, and Copplestone figures)
The hostages - an elf, Santa, the Christmas Mouse, another elf, Bernard the head elf, and Dominic the Italian Christmas donkey. (Reaper, Copplestone, Games Workshop, and Mithral miniatures)
They were being held in one of the village buildings.

Santa and die Weihnachtsmaus

The Krampus' gang - The big guy is the Krampus, two gangsters, the Grinch, a Russian gangster, and two Stormtroopers (were you thinking Brown Shirts?) This is a real mixed bag of figures and Derek ran this group.

A disgusting close-up of the Krampus, the Grinch, and two gangsters - one by Copplestone, the other by Ral Partha

Santa's village at the North Pole - view from the west
The yarn defines the edge of the pine forest. The reindeer landing strip is in the foreground with the stables.

from the east
The little blocks are "Dare Points" where something happens - maybe a clue, maybe a trap, who knows?

From the south east

"Jingle Bell Square" with the Christmas tree to "rock around."

Santa's house
Santa's workshop  --  There was also a headquarters building and a records shack for the "naughty-n-nice" list.

Before the guys arrived for the game, some of the local kids wanted to play. Each one took a member of the League and went to save Santa. Your humble blogger wa the gamesmaster.

"Can I move this far? Can I still shoot?"

Mr. Hyde trades punches with the Krampus while Mina Harker sneaks up in her vampire form to bite the Krampus.
In the end, the girls freed Santa and, having found his sled earlier, took off to safer places
... like Macy's or a Hudson's Bay store.

When the guys all gathered, each brought their team in from a different point. Bear took all the little girls and formed "Team Bear" with each taking a member of the League. As Andy entered, one of his Rocket Corps took off with his rocket pack and promptly exploded! (It's a "Mad Science" gizmo and you roll a d10 each time it's used. If you roll a "10", the ref consults the "Mad Science" table and some sort of malfunction happens. As luck would have it, I - the gamesmaster and Santa - rolled a "10" for the table and the poor trooper exploded in mid-air. We all responded with sympathy: "Oh, look! Fireworks!"

Poof goes the Rocketman!

Team Bear doing their best!

Constable Whitherspoon buys the farm and the RCMP is pinned!

The Krampus and some gangsters face down the Rocket Corps. Tommy Guns all around!
"Awright, youz guyz! Take care-a them gold helmets!"
"You mobsters can't win while Rex Steele is on the case!"

Having searched Santa's residence, two of the Rocket Corps finest search for more goals.

"Da Krampus iz down! Let's revenge 'em!"
"Stand where you are, your blackguards, or feel my Thompson's wrath!"
(Yeah, it's hokey, but it is Pulp!)

The Thug takes a hit.
"Bwa-ha-ha-ha! Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?"
The Shadow can cloud people's minds and possesses an Eerie Laugh.

Stormtroopers commanded by the Grinch fight it out with the League.
Here Mina attacks a Stormtrooper with a vampiric bite. Quartermain and Sawyer had been busy, sniping and hitting the Grinch and one Stormtrooper. The "blank" stand is the Invisible Man. He took a wound (hence the white ring) before he threw his coat off and was invisible. While invisible, he could only carry a knife.
Where he'd hide it, I'd rather not imagine.
Another view of the same action with Mr. Hyde joining the fray. Dr. Jekyll could take his potion as his only action for his move and the next turn Mr. Hyde would take his place, a stronger but less controllable member of the team.

Hyde and the Grinch square off. The Grinch carried a scoped sniper rifle and had wounded Quartermain and knocked Captain Nemo out of the game earlier.

... and the Grinch is down!

Meanwhile at Santa's workshop, the Rocket Corps made short work of the mob, giving them the "Big Sleep" as it were.

A view of the table from the League's point of view. Nemo is down. Quartermain and Sawyer shoot from the woods. Mina and the Invisible Man move toward the hourse and Mr. Hyde prepares to rush the house and the Grinch from the edge of the pine forest.
Having disposed of the Grinch and his guard of Stormtroopers, the League moved into the village. The final two Stormtroopers passed their morale and broke for a tunnel entrance in Jingle Bell Square. The tunnel let to the place where Santa and his companions were being held and the Stormtroopers intended to ruin Christmas for everybody (except the Emperor, I suppose) by putting Santa on ice, permanent like. They got into the house and opened fire with a light machine gun (a BAR, I'd guess). Die Weihnachtsmaus, game trouper that he was, threw himself into the line of fire and took the two bullets meant for Santa. Dominic the Italian Christmas Donkey then kicked the living life out of one of the Stormtroopers while Santa let go with his Eerie laugh and the remaining Stormtrooper lost his nerve. He ran out of the house and Quartermain took him down with his custom hunting rifle, Matilda. The League had discovered Santa's sleigh at the landing field at the beginning of the game, so they rescued Santa and flew off with him, having received the agreement of the other teams. The Shadow's crew, the RCMP, and the Rocket Corps all agreed that since the goal was to save Santa and Christmas for all the children (and the grown-ups who believe!), they wouldn't dispute this. Team Bear took the honours with high-fives all around!

I enjoyed gamesmastering this game. Beth created a good scenario, but the curve ball was the fact that Derek chose the Krampus and his evil underlings as his team. I expected to captain all the evil folks while the other players ran the rescuers. It still worked and we enjoyed the silliness of the game for a Saturday afternoon before Christmas.  Just for the record, almost all the figures were painted by your's truely, Beth having painted the others. Andy brought two of the houses and at least half the trees. The rest were from my collection.

A few days before, the Crouch Branch Library, the place that gives us a place to game on Saturdays, held an open-house and asked if we'd run a display game during the two hours of the open house Wednesday evening. Andy, Beth, and I agreed to come up and run a game. Kevin was held back by family things, Martin was packing to trek home, and Bear, with his mobility problems, couldn't arrange the needed transport. Still, we set up a Wings of War display and ran a short game with Snoopy, the Red Baron, and another German flyer. Snoopy came up with the short end of the stick.

We set up out in the main part of the library to attract more traffic. As it was, there were only a few people who came by.
The small building are not a necessity; they just add to eye-appeal.

Snoopy finds himself in trouble. Andy flew the Sopwith Camel Snoopy prefers. I was the Red Baron in his Fokker. Beth flew the Pfalz fighter.

Our hero is in real trouble! The Baron was on his tail for two straight turns, and down he went, shaking his fist and cursing in some ridiculous beagle-ese. Not to worry though! He'll be back! He always returns!
The German planes are the Wings of War miniatures. Snoopy is a paper model taken from the Internet and made 3D.

I hope all you reader of this blog have a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! If you don't celebrate Christmas, I still wish you the best for the close of the year and the beginning of the new. Good gaming, All!


  1. A very weird, but pretty apt game for the time of the year!! Have a great Christmas and New Year!!!

    1. Weird, yes, but fun! A Happy Christmas and a great New Year to you as well! I look forward to seeing what you paint for the Challenge.

  2. Sorry I missed this, looks like terrific fun. Looking forward to silly games with y'all on Boxing Day - Madame Padre is joining me.
    Cheers, and Christmas blessings,

    1. It was fun. We look forward to seeing you both on Boxing Day. A blessed Christmas to you!