All posts by Corey Burger

Pictures from our last RCW game

Brian already gave a nice little AAR of our last game, but I thought I would make it a little interesting. Sadly my primary machine has been on the fritz for a bit now, so photo editing is a slow process (I own a Canon 40D and shot in RAW). But given I just bought a new 60mm macro lens, I figured I just needed to share:

Early in the game, the Red armoured car:

The Red armoured car
The Red armoured car

My Lledo truck with Brian’s armoured car and Model T in the background, about to unload Red Sailors:

Red trucks before unloading sailors
Red trucks before unloading sailors

…who promptly get chopped apart by my White cavalry.

The White cavalry runs down the Red Sailors
The White cavalry runs down the Red Sailors

The White baggage train (my Copplestone Yaks and Brian’s White infantry), right before…

The baggage train
The baggage train

…the Red armoured car chopped with up with its twin machine guns. It was ugly.

The Red armoured car and infantry
The Red armoured car and infantry

The end result fo the game is that we each massacred one part of the other force, but I got the General off, so a (very) minor White victory.

I have some Copplestone Chinese on the painting table, so soon we will have a fourth side

Props: Canadian National Telegram from 1931(ish)

Enjoying the now-disappeared sunshine that we had here a week or so ago, I went for a bike ride and came across a fairly common sight in any city: boxes of stuff left on the curb. These boxes were of a slightly different breed. Rather than the usual pile of broken student stuff, these looked awfully like my grandfather’s basement once did. My curiosity led to me root around a little, and lo did I find but this: A blank telegraph form from around 1931.

Front of the Telegraph
Front of the Telegraph
Back of the telegraph
Back of the telegraph

(I have the full form scanned at 300 DPI but it is more than 50mb large in that size. The above images are smaller but still at 300 DPI)

Dating is a little hazy, but I surveyed the few others I could find online. These facts quickly became clear:

1. Canadian National Railways (parent of Canadian National Telegraphs) came into existence in 1918 but didn’t truly exist as a railway until when they took over Canadian Northern Railway in 1922, who had previously taken control of Great North Western Telegram. Notice the similar logo?

Great North Western Telegram from 1917
Great North Western Telegram after the 1917 Halifax Explosion.

2. W. G. Barber was appointed General Manager at some point in 1923 or 1924. Canadian National Railways Systems 1923 Annual Report listed C. E. Davies as Acting General Manager, Telegraphs, and the 1924 report lists W. G. Barber. (All can be found on McGill University’s excellent Canadian corporate annual reports)

3. The 1930 Report is the last to list Barber as General Manager, but the 1931 is missing the executive list and by 1932, D. E. Galloway is now listed as Vice-President in charge of Telegraphs

4. Also in 1924, CN acquired some telegraph lines here in British Columbia. This is likely what led to the advertisement on the bottom of this form

5. In 1926, the form looked almost the same (source):

1926 Canadian National Telegraph Form
1926 Canadian National Telegraph Form

6. However, by the 1940’s the form cited D. E Galloway rather than our now forgotten Barber (source): 1943 Telegram7. All of this lead me to the holy grail: an identical copy of the telegram form I have (source):

Telegram-Bennett1Enjoy. Hope you get some good use of this.

Oh deer! Megamini’s ugulates completed

Always looking for interesting new miniatures, I stopped at one of the local gaming stores the other day, Curious Comics, and I saw these deer and I just had to have them. Not only am I looking for obstacles for a racing game that I am designing (road pieces are on the way, inspired by this Lead Adventure thread), but at my work I am currently working on deer management.

MegaMinis deer
MegaMinis deerMegaMinis deer

These particular deer are part of MegaMini’s rather large animal range, some of which you can in their Animals catalogue (PDF). You get five animals, one buck and four antler-less animals. The Megamini’s catalogue claims that the feeding animal is the doe while the smaller one are fawns, but the size difference really isn’t large enough for me.

Buck and does.
Buck and does.

Given the inconsistent quality of MegaMinis, these deer are pretty good. The castings were quite clean and the two-piece buck fit well together. Their size is pretty good for deer too, although their large bases make them quite tall once you place them on a 1 1/4″ washer like I did.

Lastly, this allowed me to try out my new Canon 60mm macro lens for the first time, the results of which you can see below:

Buck detail
Buck detail

And Then the Golem Threw Another Stone…

Always interested in a new gaming system and being pen and paper roleplayers, Brian and I have been playing a little bit of Songs of Blades and Heroes recently. Like many of our gaming experiences, this one has been long delayed in coming but it was well worth the wait.

Our first game was a wonderful and thoroughly-illegally built three-way match involving two groups of Orcs and my Reaper Mouselings, his Dwarves and my Mouselings have had it out. The game is interesting and fun and very fast (we played three games on an hour and a half ferry ride) but has a few weak points.

Our current warbands are both tricked out minimum figures, maximum damage warbands. Neither has more than 7 figures, each worth at least two dozen points apiece. Hordes of zombies these are not. My mouselings have half their 300 point standard warband allotment between my mounted-on-an-owl, magic-using leprechaun leader, Shamus O’Reilly, and his familiar, Mossy, a captive stone golem with shooter(medium) and combat 5. Brian’s dwarves are just as nasty, with the two flanking dogs and a leader with Quality 2 and Combat 5.

A note about the game: In order to get units moving and fighting, you need to score successes by rolling at or above the quality on a d6. Combat is a simple oppposed d6 + Combat Value + modifiers. Lower Quality scores are better, higher Combat scores are better.

The game itself plays well, with some bad break points. Specifically, magic-users are useless as ranged combat figures, but deadly when they transfix. Combined with Mossy’s powerful combat and throwing ability, this gave my team a one-two killing “punch” that was hard to beat. Add in the dwarves (and mouselings) short-move and you can see where it will go wrong quickly. Where the dwarves beat me was when they were able to get their dogs around into my magic user (only combat 2) and made him move did things go badly.

And then there was the rout. Or maybe I should say “The Rout.” Brian apparently cannot roll combat rolls. I cannot roll quality checks to get people moving. These two phenomenmom manifested in one game where I never made it more than one or two short moves away from the table edge (basically less than 4″). When Brian got my leader to book it off the table, this triggered a morale roll every other warband member. Which I failed. And so my entire warband ran off the table. In a single turn.

In sum, We do enjoy playing the game, but I am not certain if its simplicities truly make me happy. We need to try some different warbands, including zombies, skeletons and cheap soldiers and see how that works.

And where are the pictures? I haven’t taken any and Brian didn’t either, so no pictures for all of you. Besides, we were playing with basically no scenery on a cafeteria table for most of our games, so they wouldn’t have been great photos anyway…

Zulu War: A hospital unrelieved

And so the day began, much like the day before it, but with the promise of relief. Dust clouds had been seen along the road toward the main force, maybe the good Colonel could see fit to send us some more men. Yesterday’s fight was bloody but at sundown, we still held the hospital, if only just.

-Memoirs of the Zulu War, Col. Reginald Heathe (ret.), commander of the Royal Oak Bay Volunteers 1875-1891

Sunday marked our second Zulu War game, the first to include figures from all five players who have bought in (myself, Malcolm, Dale, Bruce, and Nathan). Also debuting this game was my hospital, built on an imperial-ized version of Matakishi’s detailed plans.

In the beginning, the calm
In the beginning, the calm

The back story I concocted for this game was that my Royal Oak Bay Volunteers had found themselves under siege yesterday and had narrowly carried the day, but were holed in the hospital and required relief. Continue reading Zulu War: A hospital unrelieved

Hordes of Zulus!

Zulus sir, thousands of them!

Well, dozens at least. We have recently decided to start down the Zulu War path, but haven’t made it very far down that path. In fact, I think we made it about 1/4 across the table today, our first Zulu Wars game.

As my Warlord Games figures have not yet shown up, we were quite light on the troops. I borrowed the 4th Coy of the 14th Fernwood, Malcolm ran his 3rd Coy, Bruce had a wagon train, and Dale another unit of infantry and a gatling gun. We pretty much all died.

I got to lead the whole day, an “honour” for which my slain commander, Captain Bromhead, scored our first Victoria’s Cross. At first, the Zulus were just a hazy sight in the distance (made hazier by Bromhead having lost an eye in the Indian Mutiny of 1857).

Zulus in the distance
Zulus in the distance

However, the Zulus very rapidly became not-so-hazy. Very distinct as a matter of fact. They were kind enough to remain at a distance, allowing me to very sportingly shoot them. (Later arrivals weren’t nearly so accommodating. Hence the VC.)

Zulus in the rough
Zulus in the rough

Bored at being out of action, our gatling gun decided to go and discover some Zulus via running to our extreme left flank. Shortly Zulus were discovered, and sent packing. The Horns of the Buffalo card meant that “sent packing” actually meant “gone to get their friends.” Amusing result on the right flank was a herd of cattle. Horn of the cattle more like.

Battle is joined
Battle is joined

The left flank went from “Gee, I don’t think they should be all the way over there” to “Oh crap, we are overrun” in very short order. Colonel Spiffer, shiny white uniform and all, quickly found himself surrounded. Being a hero, he was able to extricate himself. Our gatling gun, on the other hand… Let’s just say that rumours of the Zulus using a gatling gun a month later are totally untrue. Slanderous treason, in fact.

(Nearly) surrounded
(Nearly) surrounded

All this action to flank quickly evolved into action across the entire front as Zulus, hot off their success against our gatling gun, attempted a front assault. Flesh was pressed, personal details (and bodily fluids) were exchanged, and everybody got screwed in the deal.

Completely engaged
Completely engaged

In due course this wave of Zulus was sent packing, but the next wave sent both my brave 4th of the 14th, and Dale’s scurrying for the rear. Which leaves only the 3rd to hold the line. I think the next two pictures tell the story.

Near the end now
Near the end now
The end now
The end now

And so ends our first action of the Zulu War. We can only hope that better painted troops will fare better (although that is likely to hold true for the Zulus as well).

Our rules are based very loosely off of Triumph and Tragedy (from the superlative Lead Adventure forums) with a great deal of rules changed. First and foremost, we ran our Zulus as AI-controlled with dice to determine action. There are many on the fly changes to the modifiers, as we sought to get the right “feel”. We also changed from i-go-you-go to alternating half-way through, again to test rules.

We also experimented where the overall commander, in this case Malcolm, handed out two order cards (from the standard T&T deck) to each player at the start of each turn. This led to a lot of jockeying for a specific card, especially as our situation became more desperate.

Figures are mostly Warlord Games, with some Empress, Wargames Factory and Essex. Terrain is a mixture of mine and Malcolm’s.

Pony up!

Everybody has played Cowboys and Indians before, but not many have experienced the insanity that is Pony Wars, a game designed deliberately to emulate the Western TV shows of the 20th century (now give the rules were written in the 20th century, this isn’t surprising). The miniatures (and the rules) were courtesy of one of the long-standing members of our gaming club, Dale, who like most other long-term gamers has all kinds of interesting things collecting dust. Joining in the fun were a few other regulars as well as Josh, a random walk-in we immediately made Colonel (that we couldn’t agree on who should be in charge made this decision much easier).

The table was laid out in a fairly basic pattern, with the US Cavalry fort at one end, two passes in the middle, plus a town, three homesteads, a mining encampment, and an Indian village. Unlike most adversarial games, all the players are nominally on one side: US Cavalry commanders of some rank or another.  The Indians and all the civilians controlled through card-driven events and dicing on tables for reactions. In fact, the game was very table-heavy, as is common for games of the ear (1980’s)

I rarely take pictures of the whole table, so here is one taken by another player:

Late in the game, looking down the table (Photo credit: Malcolm McCallum)

Given our inability to agree on a commander, our inability to agree on an overall strategy meant that we ended up streaming out of the fort without specific orders. David, who had US Indian-ally Dando with him, decided to head off to the far corner of the board to bravely burn out the Indian village, held by old men, women, and children. Malcolm headed off to hold the passes with his artillery and scouts, and the rest of us buggered off to do our own thing. Given the rules told us to head out in single file (it looks better), the looked something like this:

Exiting the fort
Exiting the fort

The game, like all good stories, has a few chapters in which our heroes get their asses handed to them. Ours included Dando, after heroically deciding not to burn down the Indian village right now, getting slaughtered in one-to-one combat with the Indian chief, Big Eagle, despite Dando have ridiculously good odds. Karma, not yet imported to America, was still a bitch. I got half of my cavalry troopers, on detached duty, chopped up by Indians, moments after telling my fellow commanders I risked defeat in detail. Ah details, never liked them.

 

After Dando's blunder, civilians pay the price
After Dando's blunder, civilians pay the price

Other hilarious moments included me failing to bring the wagon train under control (this required a dice roll, which I naturally failed many times) right up until the wagon train ,having crossed the entire board, spotted the Indians. They took a few potshots then freaked out and circled the wagons. Dando’s blunder also lead to the only civilians we lost getting massacred by Big Eagle, which sets us up for our climatic battle for the town.

Oh, there you are! My cavalry "discovers" the Indians
Oh, there you are! My cavalry "discovers" the Indians

With fresh US Cavalry that entered the board near the town, headed most of the board to the fort then turned around and headed back to the town, I managed to stream my troopers right into Big Eagle, fresh off his scalping of our brave settlers (evil land-stealers to the Indians). You can shoot yourself dry in this game in an awful hurry, which I proceeded to do. I then discovered I had retreated to the saloon. Needless to say, that was it for my troopers. They were “conserving ammo” in case more Indians arrived. None did, and other brave soldiers drove off Big Eagle, so we called the game at that point with no Indians on the table and turns before any would arrive.

"Defending" the saloon
"Defending" the Saloon

All in all, it was a blast. The 15mm figures of Dale were beautifully painted, and his town was amazing. Playing with what amounted to AI-controlled enemies allowed us to see what our upcoming Zulu Wars game might be like, and added a nice level of aggravation for their players (Damn civilians, stop running around and get to the fort). The best part of the story-driven aspect was that it allowed all the players to feel involved, even when you could spend several turns do nothing but moving around. For those visual types, I have a few more pictures in my flickr set of the game.

io9 covers WW1, interwar, and WW2 European pulp

io9, source of much pulpy goodness such as the Tozo comic, has turned its attention to European pulp, covering the period from 1914 all the way through to the end of World War 2 in 1945. Oh the planetary romance, the zombies, and the rise of facism. All is covered within. Just check out the image to the right. It has zeppelins!

Photos from the Amulet of Fire game at Dak’Kon

I have finally got the pictures from the Amulet of Fire game at Dak’Kon. This is the second time the game has been run (the first was GottaCon in February, the third will be this weekend at Trumpeter Salute) and the last time we will likely run .45 Adventures 1st edition. The con itself was great and I have also posted some images from the Savage Worlds Tournament in another flickr set.

The three players, British, Red Russian, and White Russian
The three players, British, Red Russian, and White Russian

Continue reading Photos from the Amulet of Fire game at Dak’Kon