27 April 2023

Some Pulp Figures

I have really enjoyed playing Pulp Era games, but have yet to paint any figures for the period as I already had quite a few figures that would work, especially for Pulp Alley leagues. I do however need some civilians and maybe some NPC's. I had ordered some stuff for Graham recently and rather than asking him for payment, I asked him for some figures from his lead mountain.

After having a little look, I decided on for 8 nautical figures. They will work for China Station which myself and P-Y are playing now.

They were sprayed with the Grey Seer primer with the hope that the AP speed paints would work ok on this primer. I have had some problems with re-activation especially when I try to layer with acrylics.
Three on the left from Bob Murch and others from Brigade Games.
I am generally happy how they came out but the AP Speed paints again gave me a bit of a challenge. Anyway they have been treated with polyurethane now so they should be good. I have to say that they were lovely figures to paint and I am happy to add them to my collection.

21 April 2023

Dracula's America-Panic in the Streets


Last Sunday my friend Luis put on a game of Dracula's America at the Abyss for myself, Christian and Graham. I had heard about this game and despite my reluctance to get into yet another genre it seems pretty cool so I thought why not. It seems a combined publication of Osprey and Studio Tomahawk. I am a little unsure what the Studio Tomahawk contribution is but it is on their website as one of their universes. 

The game is set in the United States just after the civil war, but in an alternate universe. In this universe, Dracula has assassinated Abraham Lincoln and is now President of the USA. Most of the scenarios are set in the south where alternating forces of good and evil are vying for power. Northstar Games has miniatures for the game but substitutions are pretty easy to make. Each faction requires 6-10 miniatures and there is a campaign system where the characters can grow in abilities. There is a strong supernatural aspect to the game and I believe we played a game from the Forbidden Powers source book.
This is one of the two supplements to the main rulebooks which adds 2 more factions which have a definite Lovecraftian twist. Luis set up the Panic in the Streets scenario from the supplement. Myself and Christian played what I believe were the evil factions while Graham and Luis played the good factions. There were a lot of spells, some of Lovecraftian origin and others from Voodoo tradition. This supplement sets games in the bayous of the Deep South which was cool.

I have to say that there were a lot of moving pieces in this game, and at times it was a little confusing but Luis moved the game along well. I had watched several videos before the game which did help me but I believe the supplement had a lot of changes and additions. Anyway I had a lot of fun and Luis put together a great terrain as you will see. I got a lot of the basic mechanics down and did cast some spells. The initiative is driven by a card draw so there was quite a lot of back and forth with multiple NPC's arriving on the table. The game has similarities to both Pulp Alley and Congo, but might be a little less streamlined. Not withstanding, I had a great time. Some photos will follow, but I would not be able to put together a linear report on the action.
What a terrific table!
Luis's faction I believe.
Here are my troops
I got to say this game is a lot of fun and I think myself and Christian eked out a victory as we were pretty good at killing the high value NPCs. Certainly, a game I would play again. In fact, I have already ordered some figures to put together a faction but more about that later. I probably would like to play a non-weird version (you can do this without all the supernatural bits) next to get a better sense of the mechanics.

Thanks to Luis for putting together a great looking game and teaching us the rules.

If you are looking for an excellent review of the mechanics as well a general review this post does an excellent job.

20 April 2023

Congo-The Rescue of Dick Longspike


Four of us got together at the Abyss this past Sunday for a couple of skirmish games. First up was a game of Congo put on by Graham. This was a 3 player game that Graham put together himself. I played the African Kingdoms column which was the first time they had seen the table. Luis played the Forest Tribes, while Christian played the Zanzibaris. 

It was quite a good scenario, an European Explorer has been lost and then found by the African Kingdoms. Dick Longspike apparently found some maps to a lost treasure, so the rescuers were being pursued by both the Zanzibaris and the forest tribes. 

Initial setup, half my column was placed about 18" from the far edge of the table with the lost explorer. The other half was in the village. The Forest tribes were started in the upper left of the table while the Zanzibaris started in the upper right. I attached the explorer to the Fanatical Warriors.
Fanatical Warriors

I was quite excited about my column which contained a Witch Doctor. I did not realise that the Forest Tribes had one as well, although interestingly enough they had access to different spells. The scenario design gave me the first move and the initiative. I started to move the Fanatics toward the village. I had my Askaris and Bowmen covering their retreat. I advanced my Young Warriors towards the Zanzibaris in order to slow their advance, knowing that they would probably end up as cannon fodder. The other two columns advanced and before we went to the next turn, I decided to cast a spell on the Forest Tribe's leader with the hope to taking him out early. I went with a two dice throw, drawing one token from the stress bag.......and can you believe it I drew a red hand and a blast of lightening came from the heavens and blasted him to smithereens.

Well so much for the Witch Doctor. Anyway the game went on as demonstrated by the following photos.

The Zanzibaris in the foreground going after my Fanatical Warriors
The red markers reveal the number of the dead
The Zanzibari advance
Luis sneaking his Forest Tribes across the stream to attack the village
I left the King and a couple of units in the village, the Married Warriors and the Warriors. They did eventually leave to take on the advancing Forest Tribes. 
The Zanzibaris wiped out my Bowmen, Scouts as well as the Fanatical Warriors.
Forest Tribes
Dick Longspike safely in the Village.

It was really a fun game, I think we got in 6 turns before it was called. I was given a marginal victory as I got the explorer to the village but it was quite expensive as I had 3 units wiped out, while my adversaries were pretty intact. So a Pyrrhic victory to be sure. This was a great scenario and I am hoping that Graham will publish it as it gave a very good three player game. You will also note that the terrain as usual was quite impressive.

05 April 2023

Pulp Alley China Station-Big Trouble

Last week myself and PY had our 4th game from the China Station campaign. This time we shifted to my place. I have been working on quite a bit of mdf terrain from TTCombat. Some of it I have had for quite a long time as it was acquired during the first kickstarter for the game Carneval. I recently added to the terrain by buying several pieces from their WWII collection. 

The Setting

So it was a bit of a challenge to blend pieces for a Venetian landscape with city pieces for WWII. I felt thought that I could make this combination work for China Station as described in the following.

China Station is a ‘Pulp Era’ international trade settlement somewhere along a sparsely settled coastline of South East Asia. Some have likened it to a more remote, smaller and more dangerously seedy version of Singapore, infested with rival gangs, pirates and foreign spies. The ‘Station’, as its foreign compound residents call it, is located at the mouth of the Boo Kong river delta, a tropical hothouse of sweltering mangrove swamps, crocodile sandbars and triple canopy jungle. The Station itself is partly built upon stilts and it juts out into the main branch of the river not more then one half mile from the open ocean. Its been said that there is nothing that can’t be bought in this seedy little port-for the right price.

At various times throughout recent history the area has been controlled by the British, French, Germans and the Imperial Chinese but, in the wake of the Great War, the area has been left in a sort of treaty limbo and as such, most of the great powers have commercial compounds in the settlement but no firm hold. An international coaling station makes China Station a frequent stop for naval and commercial shipping. Though French colonial authorities are present, both the American and German navies patrol the Boo Kong River, the only semblance of law in the region.

I had a lot of platforms, as Venice is of course canal bound. As different European countries had been involved in its occupation so a varied housing style is reasonable. I actually spend quite a few months putting together the pieces and painting them. I also did a water-based 3x3' mat to set everything on. I am quite happy how things came out, and I also can move things about to represent different areas of China Station as 4 of the scenarios in the campaign are based there. 

I still need to add some scatter terrain as well as some vehicles. I have found quite a number of French vehicles in the 3D Print world but unfortunately my resin printer just bit the dust. I also believe I have to work a bit more on making it look a bit more tropical. I started with some vines on the buildings etc but I need a bit more vegetation. I also need to make it a bit more sweltering....not sure how to do that but I am thinking about it. I used quite a bit of weathering dust, maybe a bit more may help.

The Game

We went with the same leagues as previous as required in a campaign. PY has stuck with his original version of his Followers of the Eye, probably because they work. I have been playing around with my Baker Street league but I changed little from the last game except for bringing back Watson in place of Mycroft as my sidekick and bringing in Inspector Hopkins as a new follower. Still not working really that well, my Order of the Jade Dragon is a much better league.

As usual, I took few pictures but I have a general memory of how the game went. In this scenario, there were only minor plot points which were represented by 5 characters who start on the table. We also have NPC's deploying at the start of the game and at the end of each turn. These NPC's can actually also capture the minor plot points which made it an interesting scenario.

I started in the bottom right while PY started his cultists in the top  right. I should also note that PY has an ability which lets him capture one of my characters quite easily and add him to his league. This has been a bit of a hassle in this and the last game.
Our characters started quite grouped together, as you can see. We were both able to capture a minor plot  point in the first turn. As it was 2 other plot points favoured PY's edge while only one favoured my edge and this was inside the centre building's courtyard.
I did not use Holmes that well, he captured the first plot point easily, I should have handed off the plot point to one of my other characters and advanced him to the centre, my mistake which cost me.
The Cultists have now captured 3 of the plot points, but one of the NPC's took one back and started to move to my edge. 
Watson got in the Courtyard quite easily but really had abysmal dice and ended up finding one of the NPC's to capture one of the minot plot points. He never did. 
So the game ended with the Cultists getting 3 of the plot points with the Baker Street lads getting just one. It was not even close. PY got the secret map so got an extra reward card.

So we have now split the first 4 games, but PY is ahead on the Rewards and I believe has a better league, not sure what I am going to do about it. As per the rules the Leader stays the same and we have been playing it once one of the other characters is put into play, they are not allowed to change out their abilities. 

I believe we have misunderstood how the campaign progresses in respect to rewards so I have had to work backwards to see where we are. I am hoping it is correct.

Campaign Tracker (cumulative)

Scenario 4

Baker Street
Reputation 8
League rewards 6
Experience 1
Investigation Points 0

Followers of the Eye
Reputation 11
League Rewards: 8
Experience 2
Investigation Points 0

Scenario 3

Baker Street
Reputation 7
League rewards 5
Experience 1
Investigation Points 0

Followers of the Eye
Reputation 8
League Rewards: 5
Experience 1
Investigation Points 0

Scenario 2

Baker Street
Reputation 4
League rewards: 4
Experience 0

Followers of the Eye
Reputation 5
League Rewards: 2
Experience 1

Scenario 1

Baker Street
Reputation 3
League rewards: 3
Experience 0

Followers of the Eye
Reputation 0
League rewards 0
Experience 0