Other Games at Fall In 2011

David Schlegel's "great fun" train robbery
David Schlegel's "great fun" train robbery

Attendance at Fall In 2011 was hampered by sleet and snow that began early Saturday morning, which kept away many of the “day trip” attendees.  There were many good games to play that got no players and had to be taken down, because there weren’t enough players.  In the HAWKs room, we rarely have a game that doesn’t get enough players to “go.”  In most cases, we are turning people away.  At Fall In 2011, about a third of the HAWKs games had to be torn down without having been played.

The game above was a post-Civil War train robbery using Blood and Swash.  By the hollering, laughing, and number of dead men and horses around the train, it appears to have been a success.

Look, Sarge, the French are counter attacking
Look, Sarge, the French are counter attacking

Saturday morning I ran a Look, Sarge, No Charts: World War II game.  Each side had three battalions, two infantry and one armor.  The Germans had one infantry battalion on the French side of the river.  Their objective was to capture the town and surrounding hills.  The French objective was to push the Germans back across the river.  The scenario requires both sides to attack, instead of sitting in a static defense.  I’ve run variations of this scenario several times, but this run was the most fun.  Both sides were aggressive.

Look, Sarge, No Charts: Napoleonic Wars
Look, Sarge, No Charts: Napoleonic Wars

I had planned to run a sneak-preview game of Look, Sarge, No Charts: Napoleonic Wars on Sunday morning.  Chris, JJ, and I drove up Thursday night after work.  Friday morning there were few games available to play, so we decided to put some of my 10mm Napoleonics on the table for a four-player, friendly game.  There were so many people who wandered by who wanted to play that I put enough figures on the table for eight players.  We had a good time, and I think the players enjoyed the rules.

My Sunday morning game was meant to be pseudo-Auerstaedt.  I set up the battlefield approximately correctly, but to disguise the battle, I used Austrians as substitutes for the Prussians.  The game went well.  As we are stressing the rules, we are uncovering small issues that have to be modified, but in general, the rules are working well.  Napoleonics are more complicated than the Civil War, so this version of the Look, Sarge family of rules is more complex.   I think they are coming along nicely and should be ready in about a year.

I had a good time at Fall In, despite the low attendance.  I also bought much more stuff than I should have.  My schedule was a little light.  Because of the bad weather, my wife couldn’t bring the kids up on Saturday.  Time I had set aside to game with them on Saturday I used to hit the flea market (where I found a few small odds and ends), rest for an hour in my room, and play a game of Duncan’s “Charted Seas” game.  Dave, JJ, and I even had time to run to Six Feet Under Games (in New Holland, PA) to look for the latest supplement for Red Dragon Inn by Slugfest Games.

Charted Seas is an adaptation of the mechanics from the Uncharted Seas fantasy naval game.  Duncan has adapted it for WWII naval actions.  It works well, but like Uncharted Seas, the outcome seems very sensitive to the result of the initiative rolls.  What I like from Uncharted Seas is the firing and damage mechanic.  Charted Seas might be better on a hex map with an order based movement system and simultaneous firing.

Some of the HAWKs went to Fuddruckers for lunch.  JJ and I couldn’t stay long, because I needed to get him to the airport.  After unpacking the car and putting all my stuff away, I settled down to watch some old episodes of Man From UNCLE and relax before another thrilling week.  A bad wargaming convention is better than a good day at work.

The HAWKs 1000 at Fall In 2011

The winner of the HAKWs 1000 race being awarded a GASLIGHT Compendium T-shirt
The winner of the HAKWs 1000 race being awarded a GASLIGHT Compendium T-shirt

This year is the 100th anniversary of a number of key events, including the first outboard motor, the discovery of the South Pole, the first car race across the Texas desert, and an early balloon race.  This convention also saw the 1000th convention game run by the HAWKs in the past 10 years.  We decided, as a club project, to run a GASLIGHT-based race game.

The starting line for the leg of the race involving two-man zeppelins
The starting line for the leg of the race involving two-man zeppelins

The game involved four legs: a boat race in the Amazon involving pygmies, pirates, dinosaurs, and pirates; a dog sled race involving yetis, the Terror of the Yukon, polar bears, troublesome penguins, a VERY hungry walrus, and lots of action; an aerial race involving two-man zeppelins racing between mountain peaks; and a car race through the desert, involving a crazed hermit, the fountain of youth, and an archeological dig.

In the picture on the right, my daughter and I made the mountains from poster board and paper mache.  The blue dots you see show the heights of the mountains, between 1 and 6.  I think the look of the mountains and the cotton batting was an effective representation of a race through high mountains.

Lost mountain climbers hoping to be rescued by one of the zeppelin crews
Lost mountain climbers hoping to be rescued by one of the zeppelin crews

In each leg of the race, first place earned five points, second place earned three points, and third place earned one point.  In addition, there were a number of additional objectives that were worth points.  In the zeppelin game, for instance, rescuing one of the lost mountain climbers was worth a point.  In my dog sled game, capturing the Terror of the Yukon was also worth a point.  In this way, vehicles that got a late start could still earn points and stay competitive in the overall race.

Each round lasted 75 minutes.  After each round, points were awarded — in the form of poker chips.  The players carried their points with them as they rotated between tables with the different legs of the race.   After the fourth round, after each leg was completed, the player with the highest total number of points was awarded a GASLIGHT Compendium T-shirt.

A scene from the boat race
A scene from the boat race

What’s not to like about pirates, motor boats, pygmies, dinosaurs, and alligators battling along a jungle river?  This was Todd Harland-White’s scenario.  This scenario involved a LOT of shooting.  In iteration I had a chance to watch, the lone crew member of the lead boat was shot in the back by a long range rifle shot, just inches from the finish line.  The players were racing to be the first to reach one of the waiting gunboats.

In my arctic dog sled race, the participants weren’t allow to shoot at each other until they got out of line of sight of the event judge.  Once out of sight, the shooting began in earnest.  In one of the iterations of the race, two sleds were damaged and rolled 20’s for results — the sleds fell apart and the dogs ran off.  The racers continued on foot.  In one case, two sleds bumped and were locked together three inches from the finish line.  On the next card, the driver of one of the locked sleds sprinted across the finish line to win the race.

Dog sleds bumping, crashing, and going in the wrong direction
Dog sleds bumping, crashing, and going in the wrong direction

In the last iteration of this leg of the race, the winner was on foot.  The second-to-last player knocked out was eaten by a polar bear.  The third-to-last player knocked out was shot by the player on foot.  It was quite bloody.

In all of the legs of the race, players were issued small cards with dirty tricks and other misfortunes they could play on the other players at any time.  These included things like “your engine conks out,” “you are attacked by yetis,” or “desert tribesmen attack you.”  There were also some “good” cards, like an extra burst of speed (an extra 1d6 of movement).

In GASLIGHT, maximum movement in a turn is a fixed amount, depending on the Speed attribute of the vehicle. For this race game, we borrowed a couple of ideas from Jamie Davis’ excellent Future Race game.  We first made movement partially random.  In the dog sled race, for instance, the base speed was 2 inches per remaining dog in the team.

To this, the players added the roll on zero, one, or two six-sided dice, at the player’s discretion.  The player could choose how many dice to roll; however, once they decided, they had to move the full amount rolled.  This often resulted in sleds crashing into cliff walls, trees, rocks, flocks of penguins, or each other.

A scene from the desert leg of the race
A scene from the desert leg of the race

In GASLIGHT, vehicles turn up to their Spin attribute and then travel in a straight line up to their Speed number of inches.  For the race game, once the movement distance was determined, the players had move at least half their total movement allowance before turning up to 45 degrees.  This too resulted in crashes and other mishaps.

Finally, when vehicles bumped into each other, they had to roll on a bump table to determine if either (or both) vehicles were damaged.  Between the dirty tricks cards, many obstacles, and requirement to move up to half before turning, there were many bumps, crashes, flips, and other mishaps.  This is what made the games so much fun.

One final view of the zeppelin race as the balloons near the finish line
One final view of the zeppelin race as the balloons near the finish line

Captain America by GASLIGHT

One of Captain America's targets: a tank park
One of Captain America's targets: a tank park

One of the games I ran at Fall In this weekend was Captain America by GASLIGHT, in which Captain America and his strike team conduct a raid to blow up many of Hydra’s advanced weapons.  These tanks came from Indiana Jones play sets that were available at Disney World a few years ago.

In this picture you can see some of the German defenders.  In the distance you can see a flying wing that also came from the Indiana Jones play sets from Disney World.

A view of the Hydra compound
A view of the Hydra compound

This is a long shot of the compound, showing the Hydra flying saucer and another small compound with a robot inside.  In the foreground is a hangar that hold an experimental rocket plane.

Captain America’s strike force entered from the top and right of this picture.  Their mission was to blow up as much of the Hydra equipment as possible.  Unfortunately, Captain America was shot on turn 1 and rolled a 20 for his Save — and should have died.  I had his girlfriend Peggy jump in front of the bullet instead.  It was an inauspicious beginning.

Battle ranges around a flying wing
Battle ranges around a flying wing

Another squad in the strike force couldn’t manage to cut a hole int he fence to get to the giant robot for three turns, but eventually blew it up.  Another squad found the map with the locations of all the Hydra bases.  I wouldn’t let them drive off the table immediately.  Eventually some German cavalry on horseback and motorcycles caught up with the men with the map trying to escape in a truck.  After two rounds of melee, the Germans recaptured it.  The Americans blew up a plane, the robot, and two tanks — earning four points.  Because the Germans got the map away from the allies, they earned five points.  The game was a very narrow German victory.

I think all the players had a good time.  I may run it again at Cold Wars.