Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Traveller Between Christmas and New Year's

    Since I've a few days off over the time between Christmas and New Year's Day, our gang was able to get a Traveller game in. It had been an unconsciously long since our last session, but that didn't seem to faze the crowd. Some new player joined the gang and some of the old crew made new characters to challenge themselves more.
    The one character everyone enjoyed being around was "Crazy", played by my daughter, Katie. This character was a noble (sort of) but had at least four or five personalities, one of which was a child, another was catatonic, while a third was a berserk fighter. Katie didn't kill her off but put her "on furlough", to return at another date after she travels with some relatives who want to help her.
     Katie introduced a new Darrian character.
     Nia came with a deserter from the Imperial Intelligence service.
    Jesse came up with a noble who squandered his inheritance and had to "disappear" since the family was not at all pleased. I rolled for an out-of-wedlock child somewhere, but the dice said "No."
     Beth continued to play her medical doctor/chemist who might be a Zhodani... but no one is sure.
     Tyler resumed his play as a pirate with a hyper-intelligent monkey (who can't speak) and a constant barrel of rum.
     Tyler's son, Thomas, played a Vargr infantry Trooper. Thomas started very young and this character will be fleshed out by Thomas and his dad now that he's of an age where he can understand RPG's. (He already understands rocket-propelled grenades.)
    Ken plays a home-brewed character called a "Quendi", a sort of "space elf" in the Tolkien-esque tradition rather than the shoe-maker's helper tradition.
     DJ leads the intrepid crew as a retired Imperial Marine Force Commander, all aboard the corsair Dark Iguana.
     The NPC's include Vasil, the engineer, Yogi and Boo-Boo, both Ursa combat veterans, hired to handle heavy weapons, and Karl, the human who transferred his consciousness into the ship's computer system. He can enter an android body if he wishes, but then he's out of contact with the ship's systems. I have to be careful that this doesn't break the game. DJ doesn't really trust Karl.

Beth took all these pictures...

A panoramic view of the kitchen/dining room area where we play our games.
Dinner is usually included since we often play on Sunday afternoon.
This game: sweet-and-sour meatballs over rice. 
Nia holds the good luck charm, Maeve.
Your humble blogger is at the end of the table.

Ken, Thomas, Tyler, and DJ

Maeve is a "dice-goblin" and tries to steal dice of all types.

{"Hey, nobody's lookin'! I can be stealing 20-siders!"}

No! The cat cannot have a character! Not even an Aslan!
The game included hiding from search drones, spitting back at cyberattacks on the ship's computer, disguising part of the crew as EMS and sneaking aboard an opposing ship to lift some computer hardware, and finally recovering a piece of interesting equipment from a derelict battle cruiser and "returning" it to the Imperial Navy - with some decision making help from two platoons of Marines and a atmospheric frigate.

Another panoramic view of the crowd... all but Beth.

Christmas Day Tussle - Kings of War

    It's almost a tradition for my daughter, Katie and I to have a game on Christmas Day or Boxing Day. This year it was Christmas Day with my son, Robb acting as rules source/referee and while he and Beth cooked our non-traditional Christmas dinner - Teriyaki Salmon and a vegetable stir-fry with rice. (Say what you will, Traditionalists, it was delicious!)
    Katie and I fielded Elves and Kings of Men in 10mm for Kings of War, a game set we all enjoy. Katie's 25mm army is still in the process of being painted and the Warmaster armies are available and adaptable. We use metric measure rather than Imperial, measuring in centimeters rather than inches. It works just fine for 10mm figs! There are a few other small adaptations we make as well. We even used the KoW 3rd edition, since the Uncharted Empires book arrived on Christmas Eve.
     After set up, I took the first move and it didn't take long to get into pike range. Robb advised me to make some interesting unit choices; I'd never taken Kings of Men berzerkers before. Katie conscripted assistance from her cat, Maeve, who insisted on smacking around a bolt thrower or dice when ever she could! We played a scenario called "Loot."

KoM knights and mounted scouts with a wizard on the far left.

A horde of pikes with muskets to left and right.
"The Captain" is in command.
A lot of the figures are from my collection of English Civil War/Thirty Years War
troops in 10mm (Either Pendrakon or Old Glory)

On the far right flank, behind a hill, a cannon, a troop of  musketmen,
a regiment of berzerkers (actually Galloglaich), and Tiny, the giant in his 10mm form.
(Old Glory, Pendrakon, and a GW giant)

Elves in opposition.
I don't know the Elf list very well, but I know it includes heavy cavalry, bows,
spears (there was a horde), and bolt throwers.

More Elven cavalry.
The stand turned sideways is light horse archers. GW's Warmaster originally mounted
all cavalry 2 wide by 2 deep. For KoW, 4 wide by 1 deep would be better, but I'm too lazy
to rip figures off the stands just now.

Elven bows and cavalry moving so fast the camera couldn't catch the action.

A 15mm "grasshopper gun" in service as a howitzer or siege artillery.
Elf spear horde vs. Mannish pike horde and shot

Elf cavalry caught the mounted scouts and destroyed them.
I almost always arm the scouts with "black powder" weapons.
3rd edition makes no distinction between pistols or carbines like 2nd edition.

From the Elvish side.
The Elf magic user rides a windstorm.
The small dice indicate casualties,

As Tiny and the berserkers advance against the Elvish cavalry, the muskets and cannon
hang back... because you can't move and shoot with black powder weapons!

{"I'm gonna get that bolt thrower yet! You'll see!}

Elves charge out of the forest. Believe it or not, the muskets held on.

The knights advance tentatively with the wizard on the flank.
Charging a spear phalanx is suicide since their formation nullifies
the cavalry's Thunderous Charge bonuses.

In a maneuver Robb said he'd never seen, the berserkers and Tiny charge downhill
 against an Elven hero, with Tiny taking the flank.
It was not pretty.
The dime coin is an improvised loot counter.

Spears and pikes mix it up. The spears got hurt.

As the musketeers hold on against the cavalry, the pikes wheel to flank the cavalry
and tear them up.
   After that flanking movement came, Katie conceded the game and I was declared the winner. I don't win often so this was a Christmas surprise.

"The Captain" (GW)
I use a different, less armoured figure in 25mm 

The human wizard whom I call Dermot the Inevitable (GW)

Note the cringing figure on the ground behind his left foot.
A nice and very whimsical GW figure
The Elven Magic User (GW)
The whirlwind is a nice touch.

{"Where'd them fig'gers go?"}

In The Bleak Midwinter...

    On the Saturday before Christmas, Andy and I set up a Seven Years War game using our mash-up of Black Powder and Warfare in the Age of Reason. We use the rules from Age of Reason except for the ranges and system for shooting and melee with we rob from Black Powder. Why? Age of Reason has very good points for movement and command-and-control; there is no rolling for double or triple moves or no moves at all. Black Powder has superior "fightin'" rules - simpler, more to the point, and easier to handle. Andy generaled the French while I, in a blaze of arrogance, ran the Prussians. (I hope die Alte Fritz will forgive me my failings as a general.)
     The Prussian side moved onto the table along roads for the most part since the table was considered to be snow-covered. It was a rare winter battle. The French held the town and the Prussians were charged with getting around it. The terrain and the cold did not make that easy. Roads make for fast movement in a non-combat formation while the line formation is better for fighting and shooting, but its slower. Be that as it may, the game was fun and it ended in a draw (although I'd be inclined to give the trophy to the French since they held the town at the end of the game.)
     Now for pictures:
A French infantry brigade with accompanying artillery in the town

French Cavalry - "Horse" and Dragoons.
There is a forest in from of them, the white felt shape. I forgot to bring the trees.

The Prussians advance - an infantry brigade and cavalry on the left flank - hussars and dragoons.

Half of an infantry brigade under my command, marching for the town.

Andy's Prussian Dragoons - Regiment #1
Note the drummer on the far right. As "mounted infantry", dragoons used drums
rather than the bugles of the cavalry. Tradition, I suppose.
Prussian reinforcements - grenadiers this time - in road column while the infantry engages
the French troops in the town. It's very hard to dig troops out of a town.

A French brigade faces the Prussian left flank while more reinforcements march up the road.
The French horse on that flank made short work of the Prussian hussars - not the best troops in the army.

Still the Prussian grenadiers march.
Not exactly the "Potsdam Guard Parade", but it'll do.
Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick-Wolfenb├╝ttel leads his brigade toward the town.

Andy is far more organized than I and he has each stand marked with it's unit name or number.

It was not a pleasant time for the Blue Coats in front of the town.

As the cavalry on the Prussian right flank - dragoons and cuirassiers - mix it up with French horse,
the Wild Geese of the Irish brigade advance along the road to the rear of the French lines.

Prussian grenadiers and fusiliers mouse-trap a French regiment of horse.

Cuirassiers vs. "Horse"
The small chits show where the unit started and help when determining breakthroughs.
A stand turned side-ways indicates the regiment is "disordered" which could be a result of
casualties or of terrain.

Another charge - Prussian dragoons vs. French "horse" and dragoons.
A "forlorn hope" at best.

I was not able to get much closer than this to the town walls.
The battle was inconclusive and was declared a draw at curfew, but it was fun. The massed figures always look good and the period is interesting.