I have never understood the fascination with partying on New Years Eve. Like Halloween, it’s a holiday I don’t understand. Most New Years Eves, we sit at home as a family, watch some old black and white movies, and go to bed before midnight. Every once in a while, Candy would want to do something on New Years Eve. I’d rather not be on the roads, so we began having people to our place. I’d much rather pay for the food and clean up after the party rather than go out.
Having done it two years in a row, we now have a time-honored tradition of inviting members of the Harford Area Weekly Kreigspeilers, the gaming group in which I am a member, to our place to game all afternoon and evening. I find it a really nice way to spend New Years Eve. There’s only a little booze, but we have a good time anyway. Imagine that.
This year we played four games. The first was my Pulp game. I had intended to run it with To Be Continued… by GASLIGHT; however, I ran out of prep time and just used Blood and Swash. For about two years, I’ve been assembling the town of Granville, IL. This is very loosely based on the town of 1200 people, and their one main street, near where I spent my summers as a kid. Some of the buildings were built from War Foam kits, others from Litko. A couple were scratch built from foam core.
The basic scenario involved two rival gangs. The first gang occupied a number of buildings in the town. This gang, known affectionately as the Jennifer gang after “Ma Jennifer,” the leader, had just hijacked some booze from their rival gang, and the profits from this transaction were hidden in a safe somewhere in town. They had also recently kidnapped the daughter of one of a state official in order to gain some support/concessions. The second gang came to town to take the money from the safe — which they considered rightfully theirs — and to free the hostage to ingratiate themselves with local corrupt officials — this is Illinois, after-all. The attacking gang, which we’ll call the Palmer gang, didn’t know where the safe or the girl were hidden.
The police were neutral. They could engage any of the gangs. Each player had three figures with pistols and one figure with a submachine gun or shotgun. Once the gangs began using weapons other than pistols, the police could break into the arms room and bring out the BARs and .30 cal. machine gun.
My intent was for the Palmer gang to spend a lot of time searching the buildings for the safe and the captured girl. Eric Heliman did in fact spend a lot of time looking for the safe. The girl was in a small boarding hose on the other side of town. Her location was accidentally revealed to the Palmer gang when on of the police moved into the building and the roof needed to be removed. A sharp fight soon ensued in the boarding house, during which the captives got loose and jumped out a window. She didn’t see one gang as being any better than the other. With members of both gangs chasing her (Jennifer and Sam for the Jennifer gang and Eric S. and Tank for the Palmer gang), she managed to run across the alley in her underwear, through the theater, and out the front, where she ran into some police (Geoff) who, despite the best efforts of both gangs, managed to take her to the safety of the city hall.
On the other side of town Eric H. found the safe. Despite the noise created by Tommy, Sammy, Chris, and Steve exchanging fire down below, Eric managed to crack the safe. Eric shoved Tommy’s figure out the second floor window, and Tommy failed his Save (with a 20!) falling on a bystander in the street. Eric decided that it was lower risk to jump out the second-floor window with the satchel of cash than to try to get through Bertha’s Italian restaurant on the first floor where Steve’s police were filling the place with shotgun shells. In the meantime, Chris had finally gotten the engine started on a getaway vehicle (a truck full of flour barrels for the Eagle Foods store. Unfortunately, the Jennifer gang and the police were closing in on Eric.
Despite machine gun fire which caused the truck to conk out, Chris used the vehicle to run over people. It became like the pirate tavern, in which everyone who touched the satchel was gunned down. At one point, police machine gun fire enraged the little dog sleeping in the alley with a hobo. The little dog charged the police, passing unscathed through a hail of bullets and leapt at a policeman. In true Blood and Swash fashion, he failed his slug roll and went sailing past the policeman! In the end, one of Eric’s figures picked up the satchel and ran off into the woods, avoiding pursuit.
The second game we played was a G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. game run by Chris. He has been assembling figures for a North Pole game LOOSELY based on the Tolkien Father Christmas Letters. Santa’s forces consisted of toy soldiers (Eureka), teddy bears (Eureka), Elf North Pole Militia (Brigade Games), snow men with candy cane guns firing stale gumdrops, and many characters from the Rankin-Bass Rudolf holiday stop-action animation. The “bad guys” were an assortment of goblins and evil snow creatures bent on stealing packages of toys.
The carnage was terrific. On my side of the table, in a series of sharp engagements, the “bad guys” knocked out the teddy bears, killed Rudolf, killed Yukon Cornelius, damaged the pop-gun artillery, etc. On the other side of the table, the goblins killed Santa, wiped out two units of toy soldiers, and melted all the snow men. The only main character who survived on the Santa side was Bumble. We figure Christmas will be interesting next year with the Abominable Snow Man delivering presents.
The HAWKs consensus was that the North Pole game could benefit from changing the initial deployment of the Santa forces and perhaps making their units — and Santa — a little tougher. It was a real hoot.
We finished the evening with a game of Munchkin Booty (the pirate version of the game) and Kung Fu Fighting. By then we had watched the ball in Times Square go up and had a little champagne. I think it was a very successful party, and we look forward to doing it again next year.