In what has become a time-honored tradition, the HAWKs got together at my place to ring in the New Year by gaming until the ball drops. This began several years ago before I deployed to Iraq. I wanted to have one last gaming event with the guys before heading to the desert. The first couple of years everyone stayed until midnight. As evidence of greying of the hobby, we had 20+ gamers with a few vivandières (spouses). About half the folks left after the first couple of games. It may be that death and mayhem in the Indian jungle wasn’t enough excitement for everyone on New Year’s Eve, but several folks wanted to be with family for the ball drop or just pooped out.
It is hard to develop a game for 20+ players, so instead, I ran two GASLIGHT games simultaneously. I was able to get away with this because GASLIGHT is very simple and also because almost all the players were very familiar with the rules. I ran play tests of both of my Cold Wars GASLIGHT games.
I didn’t realize until half way through the evening that I had turned off the flash on my camera, so in the low light, many of my pictures turned out blurry. This shot depicts the layout of Duke Morrison vs. the Thugees. The good guys are trying to get to the temple in the center to rescue Ginanna Naninnia from the clutches of “Toad Face” and his minions. I used a modification of the Zombies by GASLIGHT zombie generation system to generate thugees and minions. Thugees were better in melee, but the minions had muskets (requiring reloads). We actually had to reset this game after 45 minutes, because we were generating too many minions. (That’s the value of play testing before a convention!)
Any figures who entered the temple moved to another table where I had placed one section of Noah’s dungeon craw terrain. Gianna was in the temple awaiting her fate. Though Duke Morrison was gunned down in the jungle and had to be carried along, eventually the good guys reached the girl, but were unable to fight their way back out of the temple — even with Sergeants Cutter, MacChesney, and Balantine arrived as reinforcements.
Due to the unpredictable nature of GASLIGHT and the ability of players to spoil a well-planned and play-tested scenario, I usually keep one or two “balance” forces in my hip pocket. For the Thugee game, I had the Pulp Sergeants Three (the characters from Gunga Din) for the good guys and a giant beetle for the bad guys.
This is the setup for Duke Morrison and the Mounties. In this scenario, assisted by Sergeant Preston of the RCMP and Yukon King, Duke Morrison’s posse must rescue Gianna Naninni from being sawn in two by the gangsters and also must blow up the lab equipment that Professor Serafini Naninni had been forced to build for the Venusians. Gianna was in the second floor of the mill in the foreground of this picture. In 12 turns, she would be killed.
This picture shows some of the carnage in the upper floor of the mill where Naninni was taking her ride. Duke Morrison and “Boats” Morgan defeated a number of Venusians and gangsters and rescued the girl. The good guys then turned their attention on the other objective.
(A note on the naming: Since being stationed in Italy int he late 80’s, I’ve thought the name Gianna Naninni just rolls off your tongue. One of her songs, Bello e Impossibile, Beautiful and Impossible, is a favorite of mine. While the singer is not particularly attractive, I’ve attached her name to this character in my series of Duke Morrison games, because I like the way it sounds.)
Duke Morrison lead the charge into the cave / laboratory (build from a Dwarven Forge cavern set). He ran headlong into a gangster who he dispatched quickly in hand-to-gland combat. Every time he tried to move toward the lab equipment, however, another gangster, trapper, or Venusian set on him from behind. He eventually overcame all opposition and successfully destroyed the lab equipment. For Cold Wars, I will “put a clock” on the time to destroy the equipment and add a couple of guards to the interior. Without a time limit to destroy the equipment the good guys were able to mass on the mill and then turn to the second objective. I wanted the good guys to have to split their forces.
(By the way, both Yukon King and Sergeant Preston met their demise in this scenario.)
After we cleaned up this game and had a meal of lasagna, Noah set up his popular dungeon crawl game.
This game could only handle 10 players, but about half our guests left after dinner, so this worked out okay. The game took us until a few minutes before midnight. We toasted the New Year with sparkling grape juice and finished cleaning up. As is typical of the HAWKS New Years Eve gaming spectacular, everyone had left by about 1230.
We had planned three big games, beginning at 1500. At the last minute we dropped one game from the event list. If everyone had stayed, we would have needed to run both the Dungeon Crawl and Santa Claus vs. the Nazis in parallel. As it worked out, we had just enough game for the number of players. I think everyone enjoyed themselves. I have really never understood all the hoopla associated with New Years Eve, so these gaming nights are a nice way to mark the occasion without putting up with drunks.