Buck's Blog

The Stream-of-Conciousness Journal of a Wargamer

Happy New Year

In what has become a time-honored tradition, I hosted a New Years Eve game at Casa Surdu.  I’ve never really understood the fascination with New Years Eve, so rather than go out where a bunch of folks are getting sloppy drunk for little reason, I’ve been hosting a gaming night on New Years where will attempt to kill each other for little reason.

Chris ran a reprise of his GASLIGHT goblin attack on the North pole inspired by Tolkien’s Father Christmas letters.  Although Santa died again this year, I think the balance  was better than last year, and the game was more fun.  The goblins were trying to capture presents and take them off the table.  Our initial plan was to unhook the cargo cars from the train and have the troll pull the train away.  Santa was carrying the Elf Bomb when he was killed.  Yukon Cornelius climbed on the train to stop the goblins.  When he tried to throw the Elf bomb, he rolled a 20, exploding inside the train full of presents.  This scattered the presents all over the table.

Toy production facility on the North Pole just before the goblin attack

The ineffectual charge of my goblin infantry against Sam Fuson’s toy soldier guard was our last chance of victory.  We quit the field, leaving the troll in hand-to-hand combat with two clockwork Santas.  See a more detailed writeup of the scenario on Chris’ blog (

Venusians in front of their space ship

Venusians in front of their space ship

The second New Years Eve game was the third scenario in the series I am writing for the GASLIGHT Web page.  In this scenario, Venusians and their hired thugs arrived in Granville to steal Professor Serafini Nannini’s anti-gravity ray.  While I think the basic scenario was balanced enough, as the game played out, it became pretty one-sided.  I’m anxious to give it another go at a club meeting.

A blurry picture of the laboratory

A blurry picture of the laboratory

The “bad guys” had more figures than the good guys, but the good guys had Duke Morrison, the star of the serial.  As a hero, he got two cards in the deck.  Dr. Zillion was important to the bad guys, because he is the one person who can identify what is the most important thing to take from the lab.  The lab was positioned to make it easy for the bad guys to find — which they did after just three or four turns.  For some reasons (cards, strategy, placement, luck?) the good guys seems able to concentrate around the laboratory faster than the bad guys.  Dr. Zillion spent a fair amount of time fleeing from Duke Morrison, which was made difficult  because of Morrison’s extra activation.

Zillion in combat with Morrison, while Venusians rush to his aid

Dr. Zillion in combat with Morrison, while Venusians rush to his aid

At the point pictured above, Dr. Zillion disengaged and ran behind the yellow building rather than running past the Venusians to use them as a screen against Morrison, the Granville police, and others.  Eventually Dr. Zillion was knocked out by one of “Boats” Morgan’s sailors.  Even if Zillion had zigged instead of zagged, the Venusians, Torpedo Brooks’ minions, and the other band of thugs had been chopped up by Boats Morgan and the Dead End Kids.  The Dead End Kids had even hot wired a car and crashed it into the side of a car occupied by some Venusians.  The Dead End Kid died in the process, but he took three Venusians with him.  There really was nowhere safe for Zillion, and the important part of the anti-gravity ray was never really at risk.

I plan to run this at an upcoming HAWKs night.  I want to try it again with only two small changes and see if it plays any better.  The only change I will make is to put the second group of soldiers (under “Wrench” Webb) on the opposite side of the main street from the lab (where Boats was deployed) and to give Dr. Zillion a minion or two.  Initially, I thought we were going to have more players for this scenario, so that Dr. Zillion would be a separate player.  In the story arc for the series of episodes, Dr. Zillion is a “mole” providing information to the Venusians but not known to be a bad guy.  When I consolidated units for a smaller number of players, I was forced to give the Dr. Zillion player another “bad guy” unit, so it was clear that Zillion was a bad guy from the start.

Red Dragon Inn

Playing Red Dragon Inn with the few remaining revelers

After the gangster/Venusian game, many of the players headed for home.  I didn’t think the game was THAT bad.  (Just kidding.)  At 2130 we were left with just a few players, so we abandoned the idea of playing Aerodrome and instead pulled out Red Dragon Inn by Slugfest Games.  My 13-year-old daughter (in the Santa hat) beat us all at drinking and gambling.  I guess that’s what I get for the money I’m spending on an expensive Catholic education.

About 20 minutes to midnight we turned on the TV to watch the ball drop in Times Square and drink some sparkling grape juice.  We stayed up an talked a little after midnight — mostly about how Dick Clark looked like he was made of plastic and how we didn’t recognize any of the “stars” of the New Years Eve show.  By 0100, we old foggies were ready to bed.


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