Thursday, October 23, 2008

Arrowstorm Part Deux

Last weekend my band of supportive friends met at Game Matrix to give a second run through of my Hundred Years War rules. I changed the name from Kevin Does the Hundred Years War to the somewhat less ego-driven Arrowstorm.

I decided that a good way to test out the rules was to try a scenario from a historical situation. I arrayed the English in a historical line of battle-knights and men at arms in the center with archers on the flanks. The French had one sixty and two forty figure blocks of dismounted knights and various lesser infantry. They also had a thirty figure unit of crossbowmen, and two ten figure units of mounted knights. I confess to messing with the French and their set up, having two of the infantry units become impetuous and run ahead of the army. However it seemed to have little effect on the game. Though the archers made life difficult for the dismounted knights, the cavalry, relatively untouched by arrow fire, drove straight through the middle of the board and through Prince Hal's dismounted knights. 15-love French.

That was quick, so we set 'em up and tried again. We really didn't get to a decisive conclusion. the action really mired in some lack of clarity in the rules. It's clarity I really hoped wouldn't be needed. Should French knights be allowed to rally when disrupted by arrowstorms? Could they rally back through other units? How long should the effects of arrowstorms last?

In any case, I've had lots to think about as I plug holes in the rules and re-imagine what they accomplish.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shastapsh and the blogosphere

Two of my passions (I have so many) are Space 1889 and the Hundred Years War. Last weekend, while playing a Hundred Years War game, Mark, Dale, Scott and I met to discuss the future of our Space 1889 games. We've hosted many of them at conventions, the Game Matrix, wherever we can gather together and get out the figures. Mark's very cool toys makes the games very popular and we always attract a crowd. Last year at Conquest, our game planned for a dozen turned into a group of twenty. Even with Mark and I running the rules together, we were completely overwhelmed.

We've formed our own little group called The Red Captains, drawn from Chadwick's universe. About eight of us have painted the figures and played through the rules playtests, yet we rarely have an opportunity to just enjoy the games and one another because we're too busy showing newbies in massive games how it's done. We've agreed that one answer to this problem is to run a campaign. Because I've run some Sky Galleons of Mars games around the canal town of Shastapsh, we are in the process of conceptualizing a campaign around that city. I've even written an "official history" of the Shastapsh War. One other thing I've done to focus our efforts is I've created a new blog called The Shastapsh Chronicles . I'm hoping that may draw a little more interest from those who are inclined in the direction of VSF or Space 1889.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hydroplanes: The Global Reach

The past couple of weeks I've had lots of contact about hydroplane racing outside the Pacific Northwest area. Yes, I know it's hard to believe that there are that many sickos out there, but it's true. First, I was contacted by a Washington DC area gamer inquiring about boats. I think Daveshoe sent him the rules, which is certainly helpful.

A short time later, Paul Hannah, back from Fallcon in Calgary sent me pictures of Ray Sam's boats. I know Ray from air games, and he raced in our Enfilade Cup in May. These are beautiful boats with great Canadian themes. Ray reveals:

The Molson and Tim Horton's art are hand formed decals from various logos and then printed by a friend of mine. Trust me, I would probably been better off hand painting them in the long run. Just the decals alone took somewhere in the region of 36 hours of work just to get them to look right.

Ray indicates that a Can/Am cup may not be far in the future.

Finally, on Sunday, I received an e-mail from Daveshoe, indicating that a British gamer has followed the topic on this very blog. He was interested in the rules, and had hand made some boats. Not a bad job. Love the roostertails.

Incidentally, our counter passed the 3000 hit mark last weekend. For some of you, that may not seem like a lot. However, given the regional appeal and the goofy scheduling and content of these self-indulgent ramblings, I thank you for your support. I don't know who you are, but I'm glad you're here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Gunboats and Gambesons

I've finally finished mounting all of my completed HYW miniatures. I know what you're thinking-"Yes, I've already seen these in your previous posts." Well, no you haven't. You see, I have two different HYW projects-one mounted on individual bases for my own semi-skirmish adventures, one mounted on multiple figure bases for Medieval Warfare. I know Bill Stewart would simply slap me around if he heard of such a thing.

Three years ago at Enfilade I bought one of Reviresco's multi-media (re: paper model) kits of a gunboat. It was $15 and a great deal considering the boat was (supposedly) easy to assemble and came with a wealth of white metal parts. The past week I've been putting the little beggar together and I've included pictures. It still is a great deal, a bargain compared to a comparable resin kit. I don't think it was quite so easy, and I could have easily botched the whole job and be stuck with a bunch of landlubbers and their two six pound guns.

Nevertheless, I did finish with only a few scars to show for it. The biggest problem I had was properly assembling the hull, which accounts for the very bulgy looking stern. I also had difficulty with the paper funnel. I just wasn't going to be able to make it round. Maybe if I had a proper sized dowel to wrap it around that would have been fine, but I just have a feeling it would have looked lumpy. My solution was simply to replace the paper funnel with a 5/8ths inch dowel. Problem solved.

The bits that came with the kit are great. I finished painting and rigging last night. Though mine doesn't look nearly as nice as John McEwan's fabulous work, I was pleased.

I've decided to name the gunboat Papyrus in honor of the building materials.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Museum of Flight '08

Yesterday NHMGS returned to the Museum of Flight in Seattle. We've been there each year since about 2000. Some of the days have been great, some not so good, but yesterday's MoF day was the best yet.

We've had difficulty attracting game presenters and gamers to play the games, but yesterday that wasn't a problem. Bruce Meyer had a full house for his Napoleonic skirmish game. John McEwan hosted his balloon race to a crowd. Dave Schueler and I had nine hydroplanes going in the afternoon (in a game designed for six.) We also had a lot of curious onlookers and some players from those attending Educator's Day at the museum. I think it was a great symbiosis, one I'd like to repeat next year.

I've included a few pictures, but have many more available on Photobucket

The first photo is of our air racing game, using the Daveshoe's newly modified rules. It was fun, though my plane, Mr. Mulligan, the big white plane at the rear finished dead last.

The last is a view of the DBA games, balloon racing and Napoleonic game from the second level.

The last picture is of the hydroplane racers at the finish. Exide, in the middle, is being lapped at the end by Miss Spokane and Miss Madison at the finish line. Mark Waddington's Miss Spokane won with a final burst at the finish line.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Desk Clutter

I'm kind of betwixt and between projects right now. I guess that's not really true-I'm working on cleaning up my Space 1889 figures and getting everything done. However, I'm still trying to finish basing my Medieval Warfare HYW figures.

Basing is a chore for me. It takes me a long time because of the basing material I use-Celluclay really takes about 30 hours to dry, especially during our current clammy weather spate. And then there are base painting and flocking stages, which take additional time.

In any case I've finished my first couple of Space 1889 units. Only the first unit can be seen here. This is the 1st Virginia Steam Cavalry unit in the service of the Shastapsh City State. I use the mechanical horsey figures from Mage Knight and stick a Dixon Confederate cavalry figure on top. It was something fun and different to do. I've also finished one of my Shastapsh militia units, but they're still in the garage awaiting some desk space and the basing process.

The second picture is just some desk related flotsam. The figures on the left are longbowmen who have just received their helpings of Celluclay. They'll be ready to paint some time around the election. Just kidding. Hopefully by Tuesday night I can come home from my writing workshop and finish these babies while watching reruns of the debate. You can see them there with my ever present can of Diet Coke.

I've also adopted a new "go with what grabs you attitude." I'm going to stick with painting units of whatever interests me for the present time. After I finish with my militia unit I'll be doing a couple of things. First I'm trying to finish my Reviresco multi-media patrol boat. It'll be used for patrolling the Canals of Mars. Unfortunately I'm about as adept at assembling the paper model as Edward Scissorhands. I'm going to do the best I can, but it doesn't look quite like John McEwan's examples. After (or maybe even during that) it'ss on to the second of my three Houston's cavalry units for Maxmillian in Mexico. This will be a Mexican Federal Lancer unit. They look pretty decent for their very reasonable price, so I'm looking forward to getting them done.