Adventuring in a dungeon in Sellswords & Spellslingers

Sellswords & Spellslingers is a fantastic co-op fantasy skirmish game, but it does have one small challenge – it works well for games that take place outside or in large areas, but not so well for a classic dungeon crawl, where bits of the dungeon are revealed as the players explore. So I thought I would set out to design some basic rules for this.

What’s the challenge?

Sellswords biggest challenge comes with how it spawns the foe – continuously and in great volume. This means that if players are in a small space, that is going to get really deadly, really quickly.

Creating a dungeon that gets discovered as you go

Sellwords usually works where you lay the whole board out in the beginning, so I had to create a way to have the dungeon, some foes and a few lost adventurers show up. I used a standard deck of cards and split it up – you’ll see the cards in the shots below. We tried two different versions – the first with 10 terrain pieces + 10 foe cards and then a second version with 6 of each. The second worked much better

So how does it play?

Just as deadly as regular Sellswords. Our second game we took 7 PCs into in, found 2 lost adventurers and still finished the game with nobody alive.

It began quite well. Up until the photo below, we had killed most of the skeletons that had popped up, we’d recovered the lost friendly Goblin (metal figure furthest up the picture) and we’d discovered another lost adventurer (a friendly gnoll), but we has Out of Action behind a pillar in a far room.

Beginning of the game
Near the beginning, as we have got out of the initial corridor and are headed into the linked rooms on the upper left

And then it all started to go downhill. One little group of skeletons – one horde and one ambush, did for 3 characters – two dead outright.

Middle of the game
Right when it all started to go wrong. Sean’s witch leader is down, his archer already dead and my mousling archer about to go down.

After the massive death in the upper left room, death was soon to follow us into the next rooms. Quickly enough my first mousling archer and one of Brian’s were downed. All that remained were two. We did discover the NPC merchant, but he only watched as the skeletons slaughtered us.

And then there were two – Brian’s witch finder and my last mousling – Robin the Good.

And a few turns later, it was all over. Brian’s witch finder was able to revive the friendly Gnoll – Fur Face – but he quickly fell to an ambushing skeleton.

All down, just a short distance from the end.

What’s Next?

Not sure, I’ve got some rules, but I also know that the author Sellswords & Spellslingers has been working on some dungeon crawling, so likely going to wait for that.

As for my hell terrain, it will soon be much more colourful, but that’s a post for another time.

Another Coastal Module

I’ve finally finished another module for my 1/1200 scale coastal naval terrain. This is another 12″ long by 4″ deep piece with part of a reasonable size town on it, and has been sitting around for two years or possibly a bit longer, so it’s nice to get it finished and out of the way!

New coast module from one end, looking into the industrial part of town toward the church. Click for larger.

The buildings are all from Brigade Models’ Small Scale Scenics line, as always, and the boats and vehicles are 3d prints from Shapeways.

The other end, looking into the harbour & bridge and down the main street. The breakwater is a bit of sprue from plastic figures, which got me that nice round end and curve. Click for larger.

The construction is my standard setup, written about previously (see other related posts at the bottom or my naval scenery summary post) with a base of 1mm styrene sheet, a mix of materials for the basic ground forms, and a lot of different flocks for ground cover.

The one thing I might still add is some more of the marvelous Shapeways vehicles here and there…

I don’t have any immediate plans for more coastal modules… but I do have a lot more buildings and vehicles to put to use, and I was thinking that a coastal gun battery would be an interesting addition – the British coastal batteries seem to have had a pretty quiet war, mostly engaging aircraft, but the Allies reported regular engagements with German batteries especially along the occupied French coast… so maybe a half-length 6″ module with a bit of a headland, some gun pits, and a couple bunkers? We shall see…

Dead Animal Bits, A Kickstarter

Conversion bits for strange projects can be hard to come by, even these days when high quality plastic figures make kitbashing and bits-finding easier. One of the staples of a certain flavour of folk horror, though, is folks with antlers, either on their helms or straight up growing out of their heads, and nobody has done horns, antlers, and such… yet.

Enter Pete The Wargamer, who has partnered up with Wargames Atlantic to do Dead Animal Bits: Plastic Wargaming Bits as a Kickstarter. As of writing this it’s got about 16 days left to run and is over 2/3rds funded, which is promising for full funding!

Some of the planned bits. Image ganked from the Kickstarter page and cropped.

His campaign video is also over on YouTube and is nicely done, and one sprue will give you enough related bits to do whole units up similarly, which is always nice.

The Dead Animal Bits intro video

I’ve backed for a pouch of bits, 3 full sprues, and I’m really hoping to see this funded and produced so I can get inspired to get back to my weird folk horror 17th C stuff sometime in the new year!

So, if antlers and horns and bones and teeth and feathers and other gribbly conversion bits are an interest, have a look before December 18 2023 and consider backing Dead Animal Bits.

Not a paid endorsement or anything, just one of those chance finds via social media that slots very, very neatly into some of my specialized wargaming interests!

Links of Interest, November 23 2023

In the course of adding masts and other details to ships earlier this year, I collected some useful links on various WW2 ships, and leaned hard on the work of some of the amazingly talented ship modellers out there.

T2 Tanker display model; The Model Shipwright large-scale T2 tanker original plans; really nice display model of a small WW1-era freighter

The Historic Naval Ships Association’s collection of WW2 recognition and target ID manuals (not PDF, unfortunately, but nicely HTML’ized) is worth a look, as is the rest of their huge online library – check out the grey menu down the right hand side for all sorts of mostly-WW2 manuals, publications, and plans.

Meanwhile over on the gloriously named Last Stand on Zombie Island, a really cool article on how navies made smoke (deliberately). Lots of other cool WW1 to WW2 naval stuff over there too, well worth a look.

I know I’ve linked to Boom & Zoom Graphics before, but their basic guide to the paint schemes and markings of common WW2 aircraft is nice and clear and worth bookmarking.

Twenty Five Years of This Nonsense!

Sometime in November 1998 I sat down in one of Camosun College’s computer labs, signed up for a Geocities account, and created my first wargaming website.

Since then, in one form or another, I’ve had a continual wargaming web presence ever since!

I routinely game with folks younger than my website, which is… kind of weird to think about.

It’s been quiet around here lately, I’m gaming regularly but hardly doing any painting or building, busy with other stuff, but here’s to many more years of this nonsense!

Back To Gaslands

We played a lot of Gaslands in 2020/2021 when COVID restrictions meant we couldn’t game in person, because Gaslands is fairly simple to organize over webcam, and we kind of burned out on it.

Then we took Gaslands to Trumpeter Salute 2023 back in April, because it’s also really easy to set up pickup games for, and our pair of great chaotic games re-ignited our interest!

I’ve cranked through a trio of new cars since Salute, and then moved onto a new set of three cars. Two of the first set had been partially converted back in 2020/2021 and then neglected (and apparently I took no photos of them…) and the ’34 Ford hotrod was a new purchase while we were in Vancouver for Trumpeter.

The second trio of cars include another sports car all spiked up, a rally car up-armoured, and a Jaguar D-type converted into a monster truck. The Jag was the most complex conversion I’ve done for Gaslands yet, and started with a set of 3d printed monster truck wheels.

The basecoats are coming along nicely. The Jag is starting as British Racing Green, the spiked sports car is a gloriously weird yellow/green that Reaper calls Dungeon Slime, and the rocket rally car seems to have gotten trans pride colours, because why the hell not? Lots of weathering to do still, of course!

These three done will give me eight or so cars, a buggy, and three bikes for Gaslands just in my own collection. I have ideas for a heavy truck conversion starting with mashing together two big American 60s/70s Yank tanks, but I think I’ll switch gears slightly after this trio is done.

Photos from Trumpeter Salute 2023

Brian and I (plus friends) attended Trumpeter Salute 2023 last weekend. No, not the UK one, the smaller one in Vancouver, Canada. We all had a great deal of fun, our first major miniatures convention since 2019 – after Bottos Con, which is primarily a board game convention, in Nov of last year.

Brian already wrote up a post as well, but no photos yet there.

Under Alien Suns (working title) – Coop scifi rules under heavy development

Friday afternoon in the first slot I ran another public beta test of my under development coop scifi skirmish ruleset, Under Alien Suns (the working title). It was a great deal of fun, autonomous vehicles got used as weapons, and there were many laughs. Also lots of great feedback.

Players were fighting in New Antares – against a mixed enemy – zombies from the former townsfolk & Halite Confederation soldiers

Vikings vs Saxons – Aftermath of the Raid

There were a pair of linked games both using Ravensfeast (a free online ruleset)- one of a Viking raid and then a 2nd of the Vikings attempted to get their stolen booty home. I missed the first game, but caught the second one. Also a chance to try out my new camera – a Canon RP with my older 60mm macro lens!

It ended up being a minor Viking victory, as they got the major loot (the laden donkey) off the table, and took down both my lord and the local bishop with his

Gaslands pickup game – Death Race!

As we were late getting back to the main hall after dinner on Saturday, we ended up running the first of a pair of pickup Gaslands games. This death race ended up with the leaders taking each other out and the person in last place at the start claiming victory.

But the most glorious moment was the double jump – jump, slide, spin, jump again. Amazing to watch

Operation Sea Lion – Bolt Action

Sunday is one big slot, but we ended up having time to play a pair of games. First up, a four-table Operation Sea Lion, the start of a larger Bolt Action Campaign. On our table, it is a very minor German victory, as we cheeseweasled some troops off at the end.

It all started badly, however, as the Brits took out 1/3 of our force on turn 1 and we failed our prepatory bombardment roll. But our crowning glory was storming the ruined house held only by Dad’s Army types, who inflicted huge casualties, but we did more.

One last Gaslands game – Flag Tag

We had one last Gaslands game – Flag Tag. Team red vs the other colours, which also happened to be the younger players, including a friend’s son, against the older players (Brian, Martin and Tony).

All in all, twas fun but you never get enough photos. I did also have a participatory art project this year – I asked players to graffiti my buildings for my scifi terrain. Photos of those shortly and thanks to all that participated, I got some great stuff.

Til next year!

Update! Martin has uploaded his photos to flickr he played many of the same games as Brian and I and even has shots of Brian’s boat game – something apparently Brian himself failed to get

Martin’s Flickr Album

Trumpeter Salute 2023

Trumpeter Salute 2023 Done and Dusted

My first gaming weekend since 2019 has come and gone and it was good. And as is often the case, I took far too few photos, including exactly none during my own game!

Friday evening Corey ran the sci-fi co-op game based on Sellswords he’s mentioned here a few times, while I played a mid-war What a Tanker game and traded my Sherman for a MkIV panzer.

Saturday morning I got a sturdy crew of Norsemen wiped out to a man by Saxons who were somewhat offended that we’d looted and burned the local monastery.

Saturday afternoon I ran a Coastal Patrol game, four German schnellboote attacking a British coastal convoy defended by a Hunt-class Destroyer Escort and a couple of plucky trawlers. The Hunt crippled one of the S-boats but then got shattered by a pair of torpedoes, and the big ocean-going freighter the Brits where shepherding down the coast also ate a pair of German torps before the S-boats roared off into the night.

Saturday evening we wound up doing a scratch game of Gaslands for eight players, a gloriously chaotic Death Race with lots of wrecks and some amazing driving – both amazingly bad and amazingly good!

Sunday morning I defended the shores of England from the German’s Operation Sealion, which was interesting (I’m not the biggest fan of Bolt Action, it’s a very cartoony rule set…), and then because we had time to kill before we headed off to the ferry, we ran another Gaslands game, this time a Flag Tag game for six players. Explosions, mayhem, and lunatic driving ensued!

I think I have a few photos on my phone, will pull them out. It’s been a weird and complicated week since then, hence the delay in this after-action post!

UPDATE: Corey has added some pictures here

Where does it go? Painted board edges for Sellswords (and other games)

Sellswords & Spellslingers, like a lot of similar games, often has bad guys (foes in Sellsword parlance) appear at random locations or randomly along the board edge. This process can slow down the game, so I’ve been dreaming up ways to speed it up for a while now. Given I own a 3D printer, I decided to do some designing FreeCAD to create some board edges for Sellswords, Warcry and the upcoming scifi Sellswords variant I’m working on.

Screenshot of the edges in FreeCAD

As I knew I was designing these once, I took some short cuts with my FreeCAD and just bodged it together. The base is a pair of 3″ Openlock templates, with Oxanium font and some ticks extruded onto them. Once printed and with the border corners designed and printed, I got a finished product, numbers from 1 to 35, as a Sellswords board is usually 36″x36″.

Printed but unpainted board edges and corner piece, with an empty 6″x6″ tile

And that is how they sat for many months with little action. I had a convention (BottosCon 2022) in November, so I spent a bunch of time painting up buildings but didn’t get to the edges. So they were black for that first con. Only after the con did I get a base coat of rust on them.

The rust is mostly Liquitex Burnt Sienna Acrylic, with some Liquitex Raw Sienna and Red Oxide, all sponged on to provide texture.

Which brings us to this week, where I finally got the paint job finished. I gloss coated the edges, then put down Vallejo chipping medium with an airbrush. After that was dry, I added blues – mostly Reaper’s True Blue, but also some Sky Blue and Brilliant Blue for accents – all by airbrush

All the many colours of blue!

After the blues were down, I chipped them using a tooth brush, then hand painted on some a cheap craft titanium white and rechipped them. The white nicely toned down as the chipping medium + water means the paint runs a bit.

Just before I finished, I also added some 18 to 21 edges, as we also play Warcry, which has the very strange board size of 30″ by 22″.

Where can you find the files?

I haven’t uploaded them anywhere yet, but will get them on Thingiverse shortly!

Spotting Record Cards for Naval Gaming

In all of the coastal naval rules sets that we’ve played, spotting and situational awareness are among the most important factors. Doesn’t matter how many guns you have or how good you are at shooting them if you can’t accurately spot and ID the enemy!

With a bunch of fast-moving boats on the table and a lot going on, it can be hard to keep track of who’s got a proper target spot on who, though, especially with things like the rule in Coastal Patrol that means if you fire automatic weaponry, the tracer glare off your own guns causes you to lose all your spotted targets.

We bounced a few options around, and among the simplest is that each ship or boat has a “Spot Card” and a dry erase pen – just mark the ID of who you spot down on it, if you lose spot on them, wipe their ID off.

I already use 3×4 plastic card protectors for ship record cards, so it was easy to take the same template and whip up a Spot Card to fit a 3×4 card sleeve. With that done, saving in both Letter (for North America) and A4 (for the rest of the world) PDF was trivial.

These are free to download, print, and use for personal use, as always, and I’d love to hear if these were useful for your own naval gaming!

Wargaming & Such (formerly Brian's Wargaming Pages)