Saturday, 23 March 2019

First Time Cruel Seas

I had first first outing with Cruel Seas at the club on Friday with Colin and we had a lot of fun. A friend of his has also got the rules and seems to be playing it a lot in his gaming circle, so Colin had previously gone over to see him and get some learning games in. That meant that one of us had an idea of what the rules should play like!

We started off with the second scenario in the rules, so I had two Vospers, trying to torpedo a merchantman which Colin was escorting with an S-boot.

 My Vospers move forward at full speed.

 The S-boot moves up to screen the merchantman. Colin had picked up a couple of mdf merchant ships on ebay. They are not the prettiest models in the world, but a lot better than using a card template. And at about a fiver each instead of  twenty-odd quid for the official Warlord models, they are a bargain, leaving you with more money to spend on warships! I've ordered some of the merchant ships and armed trawlers already.

 The torpedo boats exchange gunfire at long range, neither of us hit anything!

 The Vospers throttle back in readiness for making a torpedo run.

 Torpedoes Away! I launch my first tube.

 At the same time the S-boat moves in to close the range.

 We now had a devastating round of firing, I hit the S-boat with the forward 20mm and scored a critical hit, setting off one of his torpedoes! Explosions rocked the German boat, which looked very low in the water afterwards (only 4 strength points left!).

That looked like the end of the game, we both thought the British would have a walkover now. But then the S-boat fired back...Colin rolled horribly successful dice, taking the Vosper down to 2 point and rolling 4, yes 4!, critical hits in one round of shooting. He hit the fuel, ammunition, a torpedo and the bridge. The little British boat disappeared in a ball of flame and rapidly slid beneath the surface.

At the same time the merchant skipper managed to avoid my two torpedoes. I now had a choice, finish off the S-boat to remove the threat, but then I'd need to chase after the merchantman before he escaped off table. Or ignore the S-boat and race ahead of the merchantman to come around for another torpedo run and hope I could do so before the S-boat got back into range.

I went for the second option, but by devious maneuvring the merchant skipper manged to dodge my last two torpedoes as well.

We then played a second game, using the Rescue scenario. This was a bloodbath for the Brits. 4 Vospers were dreadfully outgunned by 3 S-boats (not helped by my uncanny ability to roll 10s that evening). We called a halt when I had just 1 boat left. Colin had lost 1 S-boat, but that was only because I'd shot his rudder off and he crashed into an island!

A lot of fun, but I think we will be experimenting with balancing the forces out, or giving the Brits some more firepower, the poor little Vospers didn't seem to have much chance unless they outnumbered the S-boats 2:1.

I have also just ordered myself a nice new sea gaming cloth. The club board we were using had been painted blue on the underside for naval gaming, but that had been painted over 20 years ago and the wear is showing.

Other games on offer at the club.

 A 15mm Fire and Fury ACW game.

 A 6mm Napoleonics game using Black Powder.

 A 40K game.

And another 40K game.

There was also a 28mm Chain of Command game, but whenever i looked over to take a picture they didn't seem to have any figures on the table!

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Wild West Bloodbath

I ran another of my Wild West gunfights using my home-grown rules on Friday.

Mark ran the posse of lawmen who had captured the notorious outlaw Stinking Pete and was es courting him to the local town marshal's office to be locked up until he could be transferred to the State prison. Just before being captured Pete had robbed a gold shipment and only Pete knew where it was stashed.

Colin, Bill, Martin and Henry all had rival gangs of outlaws who wanted to grab Pete and "persuade" him to reveal where the gold was hidden. I umpired and controlled the townsfolk, which included the marshal and his two deputies, in the Marshal's office. They would be activated once some entered the Marshal's office, if the shooting had already started they would be on Wait (overwatch) and able to react, otherwise they would be taken by surprise.

All Mark had to do was get Stinking Pete into the jail, all the others had to do was either take pete off the table, or else be the last man standing!

 The lull before the storm! Peaceful citizens go about their business, unaware of the chaos that is about to start.

 Hell breaks loose! As one of Mark's henchmen leads Stinking Pete down the street, two of Colin's army deserters broke in through the back door of the general store. Startled, the storekeeper blasted them with his 12 gauge, but missed. The returning fire knocked the storekeeper through his own window to land in the street in a pool of blood, to the shock of the passers by. Townsfolk statter and one man starts running towards the Marshal's office to get help.

 Things start to heat up as one of Martin's minions also breaks in through the back of a shop. This time the shopkeeper is a better shot and the outlaw is cut down. outside Martin's henchman has been knocked down and wounded by fire from the army deserters.

 Bill's Mexicans move up across the back of the shops, rather than show their face in the main street.

 Mark's minion guarding Stinking Pete is shot down and Pete makes a run for it down an alleyway. Mark's lawmen rush in pursuit but Marin's gang try to intervene, starting a close range gunfight.

 One of Bill's Mexicans decides breaking into the Marshal's office would be a good move. Alerted by the sounds of gunfire, the three lawmen are ready when a strange Mexican waving a gun around bursts in through the door....

 ...and is riddled with bullets!

 Martin's gang is losing the gunfight with Mark's posse, but Mark loses another man to fire from across the street.

 A view of the carnage so far.

 Now the Mexicans and the deserters get stuck into each other in another gunfight that is close up and personal.

 A view down the deserted main street.

 AS the Marshal and his deputies rush out of the jail, one of them is shot down. This just makes the marshal and his last deputy angry and they proceed to make their feelings known, Wild Bunch style!

 The aftermath of the Mexican/deserter gunfight! Both gangs have decimated each other and got no nearer to freeing Pete! Mark had holed up in the saloon and the last two deserters were cut down when they tried to rush the place.

End game! Although the Sheriff had been shot, Mark's senior deputy had managed to get Pete into the jail. There were only three bandits left on their feet from the four gangs and two of those were wounded.

It was a lot of fun for all the players. 

Other games on that night:

A 40K game.

And a Chain of Command game that seemed to only be using the opposite edges of the table?

Monday, 18 February 2019

Darstardly Balkan Brigands with Sellswords

Another outing for my VSF variant of Sellswords and Spellslingers at the club. This time, for a change from the Dark Continent, the gallant chaps (and chapess) in service of her Imperial Majesty were off to the chaos of the Balkans, on the fringes of the Ottoman Empire.

Henry and Colin played the Player Characters and I acted as umpire and ran the villains. This is not strictly necessary in Sellswords as the foes are controlled by the events cards, but as I had written the adventure scenarios (one was based on The Healer scenario in the book and the other was my own creation) I thought it fairer if I didn't play. And as I know the rules best, it helps move the action along as well.


Your first task is to meet with the government agent, who will give you final details of the professors current location. To prevent foreign powers from getting their hands on the professor, the mission is of utmost secrecy and the meeting will take place in a remote mountain village.

But word has obviously got out as a number of local bandits have been seem searching the mountain villages for the “foreign spy”. It is not known if they are working for themselves or in the employ of some other power.

Set up, a village small houses with various out buildings, paddocks and gardens etc. There are a number of villagers present (2 per PC) and one of them is the disguised agent. To locate the agent a PC must more within 2” of a villager and spend one action to give the password. Roll 1d6:
1-4 – Bemused local who wanders off muttering.
5- Disguised Bandit who will charge the PC (treat as ambush)
6 – The Government Agent
If he hasn’t been found the last villager will automatically be the agent.

Place the PCs within 2” of the Southern table edge

3 x Bandit Thugs, 1 on each table edge except the S.
3 x hordes of 3 Bandits 1 on each table edge except the S.

Wandering Monster: A Bandit Thug appears on a random table edge.

The Bandit Chieftain arrives on a random table edge.

There are no traps.

Animals are randomly deployed on the map. They activate, 3” respectively, every time a PC or foe moves within 1” of them, or every time the Monster Frenzy card is drawn. They move in a random direction.

The farm animals do not cause any damage, but any PCs or monsters contacted by them will be confused and lose their next action. In other words, move the group in contact with the figure. When that figure is activated, the first action received by that figure is used to push away the animals (move the group 2” away from the figure). In addition, any figure in contact with the animals loses the advantage of the Stealth trait, if any.

The table layout, the PCs will enter from the two top corners. 

The village blacksmith working away!

 A bad start for Colin's party, rolling 1's when shooting with two of his PC's, managing to jam their guns (obviously due to poor firearm maintenance). 

 Not a good time for another bunch of brigands to show!

 Fortunately his scientist managed to prime and lob a gas pot at their feet, knocking them out.

Henry's party got closer to the village but his scientist managed to attract the attention of some sheep (lose an activation shooing them away).

Colin's gentleman adventurer attempts contact with one of the villagers to see if it is the agent in disguise, unfortunately his pronunciation was so abysmal that the the resulting misunderstanding earned him a slap around the face!

As the brigand leader closes in on Henry's party, his hunter (huntress?) puts a bullet in his shoulder (the black marker represents a wound).

Colin's party get closer to the village.

Henry's scientist falls to a two-pronged assault.

That's a lot of brigands gathering at the edge of the village.

One of the stronger thugs takes a pot shot at Colin, dropping the soldier of fortune.

Success, Henry's soldier of fortune identifies the agent.

Scarcely an overwhelming success however, as they had lost 3 PCs in this adventure. By using his steam automaton Colin managed to drag both his fallen PCs off (they both survived), but Henry was forced to leave his casualty behind.


Set Up: Place the professor’s house at the centre of the table. Scatter obstacles (large rocks, bushes) around the house.

Foes: There are 3 Bandits per player, plus a Bandit Thug per player+1. 3 Bandits must be deployed as a horde. If there is a single player, there will be only 1 Thug and a horde of 3 Bandits.

Deployment: The Bandits are deployed in random locations, but not closer than 8” to the hut. The professor is hiding in his house. PCs are deployed on any table edge, AFTER all Bandits have been deployed, but at least 4” from any Bandit.

Wandering Monster: A Bandit Thug appears on a random table edge.

Bandits: The Bandits will use their actions to move in contact with the house, and try to bash down one of its doors (roll a d20, on a 15+ the door is smashed) unless there is a PC within 4” of the Bandit (in that case, the Bandit charges the PC).
Once inside the hut, a random PC will control the professor. Bandits will try to capture the professor and drag him off the table to an unknown fate. The professor is armed only with a club, has 2 hp and 3 levels in the Scientist and Healer traits.

The Bandit Chieftain arrives on a random table edge.

There are no traps.

Scenario event: A fire starts in the professor’s house. Treat it as a stationary foe with DL 10, 3 hp, DMG 1 that will attack every person in the house until it is “killed”.

Figures inside the house at the end of their activation take 1 Damage unless they pass a DL 8 Constitution roll. 

The setting for the second adventure.

With a head start on the party, brigands rush towards the professor's house.

Colin's party moves slowly forward.

Only to be ambushed by a brigand lurking in the nearby field of crops.

As the brigands break down the professor's door a fire breaks out upstairs (one of his experiments going wrong?). The brigands rush in and overpower the professor, but two of them die in the flames before they can drag him out of the building.

More brigands rush forward as the professor is dragged away to an uncertain fate. In the next activation Henry's hunter (her legs are just visible at the top of the picture) takes a long range shot and blows the head off the brigand holding on to the professor. 

The soldier of fortune fights a very drawn out melee with a brigand thug (the PC was hit at least 6 times in this fight, but manged to make his parry roll everytime!).

Colin's soldier of fortune is felled by brigands' shooting. The party paused for the scientist to try and revive him, discovering it was only a flesh wound once he recovered consciousness.

Whilst the other PCs engage the brigands, Henry's gentleman adventurer fights his way past them and reaches to dazed professor, escorting him to safety.

Keeping the foe at bay!

A large group of brigands sneak up behind Henry's PCs.

But Colin's scientist lobs a gas bomb in the middle of them before beating a hasty retreat. With the professor now safely off the table, the heroes withdrew at this point without further loss.

A much happier ending for the loyal servants of Her Majesty. The difference between the two games was stark. In the first adventure they operated as two separate parties, in the second adventure they co-operated. The results speak for themselves!