Friday night I ran a play test of one of my GASLIGHT games for Historicon in July. In the continuing saga of Duke Morrison and his buddies trying to thwart the nefarious machinations of the Venusian invasion force advanced guard, the scenario featured another ruckus in Granville, IL. In previous scenarios, we’ve learned that Professor Serafini Nannini, famed physicist from the University of Chicago, has invented an anti-gravity ray. The government set up a clandestine lab in the small town of Granville, IL, for Prof. Nannini to continue his research. The Venusians have prepared to invade the Earth. Their advanced party had hired local gangsters to help in their various plans to capture Prof. Nannini and his inventions. Many of those plots involved capturing Prof. Nannini’s beautiful daughter, crack pistol shot, and lab assistant, Gianna Nannini. (At Cold Wars, Duke Morrison, the hero of these adventures, along with his buddies LTJG “Boats” Morgan and Sgt. “Wrench” Webb, rescued Gianna Nannini from being sawn in half by trappers in the Yukon and being sacrificed to Kali by Thugees in India.)
This scenario was a four-sided affair. The Venusians had captured and brainwashed Prof. Nannini. The Venusians landed in the park and planned to place the anti-gravity ray on the back of a pickup truck. Their mission was to use the anti-gravity ray to remove the remaining equipment from Nannini’s lab. While Duke and his friends were away in the Yukon and India, the government moved the lab. Since Duke and his men arrived at the motel late the previous night, they hadn’t been shown the new location yet. So neither Duke nor the Venusians (and Prof. Nannini) knew where the lab is!
In the meantime, the Venusians have been slow in paying the gangsters for their efforts, but the Venusians had said it’s okay for the gangsters to loot the town while they (the Venusians) were absconding with the valuable lab equipment.
As the scenario began, the gangsters moved into town from the North and South. The Venusians had just landed in the park. The commotion of the rockets landing and the Venusians mixing it up with the local police roused Duke, Boats, Wrench, and their men from their short slumber.
The Venusians quickly mounted the anti-gravity ray, controlled by Prof. Nannini, into the back of a pickup truck and headed toward town while several other dismounted Venusians raced into the town in search of the laboratory.
The Venusians accosted some townspeople in front of the theater and used their “truth ray” to get a movie patron to point out the building where the lab equipment was located.
The gangsters ran through the town, ransacking the motel office, hardware store, clothing store, gas station, and other buildings, collecting loot. The game is meant to have more players than we had for the play test, so the gangsters were controlled by too few players. This meant that the gangsters were more organized than will be the case in the convention game, resulting in the gangsters serendipitously divided up the town up. There wasn’t much gangster-on-gangster fighting.
After a short fracas between one group of gangsters and the Venusians, the Venusians amazingly didn’t seem to hold a grudge and instead kept running through town, searching for the lab. Eventually “Boats” and his sailors found the laboratory on the second floor, above the hardware store.
At about the same time that “Boats” found the lab, Nannini’s lab assistants arrived in another truck and joined the sailors on the second floor. Soon afterward a group of gangsters that had found its way on the roof of the building with the lab ran down the stairs and assaulted the sailors and the lab assistants. After a couple turns of hand-to-hand combat, the gangsters in the lab were defeated. The sailors then decided to clean up the lab — by tossing the dead bodies out the second-floor windows.
Despite using the anti-gravity ray to lift Venusians into upper-story windows looking for the lab, the Venusians didn’t arrive until after the battle with the sailors had ended. Being bored, the brainwashed Prof. Nannini decided to help his Venusian masters by using the anti-gravity ray to lift good guys into the air and drop them 30 feet to their death.
The final, climactic action took place in the center of the town, where Duke Morrison’s men and “Wrench” Webb’s men were all but wiped out by the Venusians, who were in turn gunned down in the streets by “Boats”‘ sailors. Due to the lack of gangster-on-gangster fighting, most gangster losses came from the sailors and the police. The groups of gangsters that avoided the police collected a significant amount of loot from around the town — and now operate a miniature golf course in Miami Beach, FL.