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!"

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