Friday, 24 October 2014

Maori Wars Donnybrook is a GO!!

Some doubted...others guffawed...but they were wrong! (for once)

I have done it! I have manged to get the figures and terrain ready....and in time....for the promised Maori Wars Game for Tuesday 28th October. OK, it isn't the Muskets & Tomahawks game that I had wanted but, I have a game.

Each side has four points of troops along with the four character figures each point of troops allows. This makes the game quite small as Donnybrook games go, a sort of starter version perhaps, but the games seem to be fast and bloody so several games might be possible that night. Wanna closer look?

First the British/New Zealand force....

The four points are made up of a unit of twelve settlers, including a family of four; husband, wife and two daughters. In future games these four will be the family related to an army officer determined to rescue them during a flare up of the Fire in the Fern, as the New Zealand wars were colloquially known. Then there is a unit of eight uniformed Militia and two units of eights Imperial troops. The characters chosen from the available list are, two Sergeants, a bugler and a member of the Local Constabulary, ' to arrest the Zulus, 716...'. Just replace Zulu for Maori...obviously. And not forgetting, a force commander.

A close up of the characters, I hear you ask....

Yeah, the copper has a bent carbine...I see it now....sigh.

Now for the Maori...

This force is made up of four units of eight warriors. The thing about Maori warriors is their rather personal choice of weapons compared to other native enemies the Brits came across. The basic hand weapons are all lethal, New Zealand has a wide range of serious flora to make amazing clubs. They took to muskets well enough but also fell in love with shotguns. The mix make Maori trick to deal with at every range band....and they stick their tongues our whilst rolling their eyes about...are incredibly brave and not a little intimidating. They also knew the terrain and were masters of it, capable of simply melting away or arriving, seemingly out of nowhere.

The Characters are a Weapons Master, Great warrior, Musician and a Fearless One....I know...oooo. Again, there is a force commander. Closer look time again...

So, in all, I am very happy. Just have to make the turn sequence cards and make sure I actually understand the rules....there is always a sticking point, ain't there!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

SELWG and the Maori Wars

I had a nice trip to the SELWG show on Sunday. I also did my bit for charity and took along my temporarily disabled mate, Mark, who, it should be noted, sustained his fractured shoulder injury in a 'terrible staircase-and-clear-plastic-document-wallet incident'.....and most definitely not, as some seemed to believe, in a rather shameful and wild act of self abuse. There, I am glad I have sorted that out. Anyway.....

Mark and I spent a lot of time talking to the traders and promoting Broadside 2015, we handed out 1500 flyers and even got our fist confirmed booking; welcome back Col. Bill!! A good day and a good start to the Broadside campaign :) Mark also took the opportunity to scotch those terrible rumours that simply flew around the venue....who knows who spreads these things.

Of course we also took the opportunity to do a little light shopping whilst there and I had a generally successful day. I was surprised that some basic items I was interested in were simply not there, Army Painter basing materials, some notable rule books etc.. but I also noticed several of the usual traders were absent. Running a show is a complicated business at the best of times and I know the difficulty of getting traders to sign up and confirm their attendance of a show; so many factors can affect that decision. But Mark and I enjoyed our day and we took time to have a good look at the wares on sale and splash the cash.....rather more than I was intending to as it turns out! But, I can at least hold my head high and say in all honesty that I only bought things that I needed and could use within the projects I am running. I really did!

My principle concern was to complete my ongoing Maori Wars project, especially as Empress Miniatures were there. But I picked up the buildings and extra terrain I needed too although, I did go a bit overboard.

So I needed another waggon and a team of horses... 4ground and Col. Bills horses...the waggons are so easy to put together and don't need painting.

 I needed fences for the New Zealand homestead but, a bit worried about how far one pack will stretch, I bought two. That said, fences around a very rural homestead are a priority for the settlers; even if they just form a symbolic garden fence to ease English sensibilities!

 I needed an extra few buildings for the homestead rather than just a house for the family so got a small cabin for the homestead's hired help. I also needed a stable thingy but completely forgot about that important point...but I did get a bloody great fortified blockhouse! This is to be used in games where Maoris attack a Naval signal station...sort of. And when I got home I felt the urge... and built them too.

And then I saw these Bell Tents and thought I needed a camp for the troops running the signal station, obviously. And a pack of women Maori warriors...and two pack of the newer militia packs for added variety. I also bought three packs of Royal Navy figures but cannot find the bloody photo for the life of me! Stupid computer....and operator...

Then I had another wobble. I do not need a 36lb Royal Navy gun with six crew but, it does look so cool. And the man at the stand made me buy it. He did...honestly...forced me to buy it....Mark so did not help here!

So. My Maori war game, set for 28th October, is almost ready. The new purchases are mainly set for the terrain for this game and the figures for a bigger game set later. The game being prepared is using Donnybrook rules and I am almost finished. The Brits have two units of eight Imperial troop, a unit of eight Militia and a unit of twelve settlers. There are four character figures and a commander. The Maori force has just one eight figure unit ready and one character. The rest are under way and WILL BE READY FOR THE BIG NIGHT!!! Honestly.

These are the Maoris, two shades of Wargame Foundy South American Flesh and then my usual strong tone dip. Seems about right to me...but what do I know.

And here are a few shots of the British force. I am pleased with how they have come out....

...especially the settlers.

So there you have it. SELWG was a good show, I was fairly good and didn't go silly with spending and my forthcoming game is going well do far

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Worminators....the final act!

Round eight of Worminators! 

Both teams have a single worm remaining and the Interactive Combat Wormery has taken a pounding. The game starts with Death worm and the round system has now ended, replaced with a simple IGO-UGO system.

Twenty third move. Death fires his team's second Homing Missile at Screw You but, the weapon failed to make the final turn and crashed short of the target. More mess but no damage; Screw You's turn.

Twenty fourth move. Another Bazooka round from Screw You carves it's way under Death worm. Death worm's turn.

Twenty fifth move. Clearly concerned by the increasingly powerful tremors coming from the ground beneath him, Death worm decides to find somewhere else to stand. He makes his way westwards to the full extent of his available move. Screw You worm's go!

Bugger....another missing pic! Look, the worm wiggled his way to the left by about six inches...

Twenty sixth move. Right, another Screw You Bazooka round takes out another chunk out of the terrain. Soon there will be little for Death worm to stand on!

Twenty seventh move. Death worm fires a Homing Missile at Screw You but it fails to make the final turn! Screw You, go again little dude!

Twenty eighth move. Screw You continues his dastardly mission to get at Death worm from below, carving his way ever closer to the surface! Death worm's turn.


Twenty ninth move. Death worm nonchalantly saunters away from the noise....Screw You's turn.

Thirtieth move. Screw You launches his last Homing Missile, it passes the narrow gap (just) before making the first turn towards the target (again, just). A second turn is required and the missile only just makes it by one die pip! However, it does make all the required turn tests and hits Death worm head on, the explosion throws Death worm into the air and down onto lower terrain causing more damage. In total, Death worm receives 61 points of damage giving him a grand total of 101 damage points and killing him. The resulting death throw explosion drops the tombstone further down, leaving it on the edge of the wormery. 

GAME OVER - TEAM Drew Bader WINS!!! 

Congratulations Drew, well played. And well played too team Andrew Massoura, it was a close run thing. 

So there you go, experiment over. It worked, I found a few things to tweek and the players had a good time. The picture sizes and detail have been a bit of a problem when it comes to showing an on-line game to the public and players alike, they could also do with some annotation to. How much more fun would it be to see the path of the sheep?? 

I wonder what else this system would work for?

Saturday, 23 August 2014

4Ground Terraced houses

A while ago, the club bought four of the 28mm pre-painted MDF buildings from 4Ground. We all liked the look of them, the fact that you cam take them apart floor by floor for easy use, that they are so light but strong, that they don't need painting.......They do need putting together though and a silly bugger to volunteer to do that turned out to be me.

Any road up, I spent some time working on them and thought I would share some thoughts. Firstly, they do look good once complete. The pic below shows them in mid game (WW1 action using Bolt Action rules) and whilst they could do with a fence or two to mark out gardens and stuff they work well. However, note the oddly placed chimneys, the fact that the first chimney is the wrong shape compared to the others. These are slight clues to the mental trauma that constructing these buildings can inflict.

The main issue is the rather unhelpful instruction sheet. Often, very often, the step-by-step picture guide supplied with the buildings is not your friend. It is not that unusual to find the picture you need next is instead a copy of a picture from further down the line; in one Case that pic was used three times! I spent quite a while looking at what I had made and trying to see where I had gone so badly wrong, until I discovered the whole 'wrong picture' thing. You see, the buildings are equally quite clever and complicated. There are separate pieces for inner and outer faces of most walls and, depending upon which building you are working on, single thickness walls for some areas too. You need to continuously orient yourself and the building when working on internal walls before you end up with an impossible mess. It can be all too easy to get the left hand wall confused with the right and then only discover that error when the important internal walls refuse to fit properly. By that time, of course, the glue is very unforgiving and the correction process is akin to open heart surgery...albeit without the saucy looking nurse and overly dramatic music. I would also suggest that the builder of such buildings would do well to have apile of clothes pegs at hand. These are very important for holding together the two piece wall sections whilst they dry. The use of ruber bands is shown in the guide pictures for some jobs but the pegs turned out to be a real asset, the more the better, in fact.

Other things, such as the stair-cases, have the most vague pictures and even vaguer instructions based on a single line of text between rows of pictures for other stages. The chimneys are a mini Chinese puzzle in themselves with no apparent logic until you sort of fall over the answer in a Krypton Factor-esque personal challenge. Oh, and it is rather easy to get the doors upside down, break off some of the more fiddly bits like door handles and inner wall lugs etc. But then, look at what you can end up with after all that effort.... eh?! Even with the annoying errors that you can end up with, the buildings look great and are very detailed. The first building took me ages to complete, mainly as I had to spend so much time taking things apart again or decipher the cryptic clues. But, after that experience, you will have become quite adept by the next one and that is much easier. Remember, though, that each of the buildings is slightly different and you still need to keep an eye on your progress. Take a look at a few of the inside shots of the finished pieces.

In all I have to say that I do highly recommend these 4Ground buildings, they are worth the effort and represent good value for money. The row of houses we have here can be added to by buying more of the centre buildings, of which their are two types mainly based around colour (I think). I am certainly very happy to take a look at the other modern (20th Century) buildings they do now I have seen these and expand our useful collection....especially now that I have completed my apprenticeship!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Worminators...the next few moves.

Following the last post, where the idea for the Play-by-Facebook and Worminators were introduced, I have been encouraged to continue the game report. I must add that one of the problems I have had in running the game is me correctly interpreting the orders given by the players. There are no fixed distances or obvious landmarks that one might find in more traditional game and so the communication aspect is very important. This is a trial game, of course, and so such points are very helpful. Importantly, the two players and several observers seem to be enjoying the game so I think I am on the right track. I have also noted one or two issues with the rules that I now need to tweek, nothing major but, certainly things that will help game flow.

Anyhoo, lets get back to the action. We return to the start of round four. Taxes worm has been killed giving Team Drew Bader an advantage over Team Andrew Massoura......


Twelfth move. A Supply Crate arrives! Oh my, oh my, oh my! What can I say? Clearly upset by the death of his compatriot, Taxes, Death worm took some revenge by attacking Inigo Montoya worm and causing a massive 61 points of damage! Death abseiled down next to Inigo, jumped over him and...simply shoved him westward. Inigo fell from the edge, taking 14 damage points from the fall, and landed on the mine. This exploded causing 35 points more and pushed Inigo far enough for him to fall into the small cavern next to Screw You...causing 12 more points of damage! Very impressive and not a little embarrassing for Inigo!  It is now Screw You's turn.

Thirteenth move. Screw You fires his Homing Missile at Death before moving as far west as he was able. The missile flew through the small opening at the top of the small cavern. It then attempted to make a right turn to hit Death but, it proved too tight a manoeuvre and it crashed into the roof of the large cavern. Oops. It is now Inigo's turn

Fourteenth move. Inigo Montoya worm moves east, jumping over the odd crater on the way. From his new position he fires a Bazooka into the area below Death worm slightly undershooting the target. The medium damage template didn't touch Death worm but he certainly felt the earth move! Ok, new round! Inigo starts this fifth round, this could be pivotal...


Fifteenth move. Inigo places himself under Death worms position and again fires a Bazooka into the terrain beneath Deaths feet....long slithering body...whatever...the blast catches Death and throws him into the air where he flies back to earth with a bump! The blast and terrible fall inflict 41 points of damage on Death and leaves him on the floor of the large cavern. Inigo also used the remainder of his move allowance to get back to the wall of the cavern. Meanwhile, a second supply crate has arrived, this time at the top of the Wormery, section 2. It is now Screw You's turn.

Sixteenth move. Ooooooo! Unlucky Screw You. Screw You moves eastward to a better position and tries to throw a Banana Bomb at Death worm but, it fails to clear the narrow gap and instead lands in the corner of the small cavern. The four bomblets leap about but all stay away from Screw You, who looked more than a little worried as the explosions were a little close for comfort! No self inflicted injuries though, phew. It is now Death worm's turn.

Seventeenth move. Death worm, no doubt shaken by the violent actions of team Drew Bader, teleports out of the danger zone and onto the second supply crate at the very top of the Wormery terrain. Death worm is now the proud owner of an Exploding Sheep! Round six - Screw You worm goes first this round.


Eighteenth move. Screw You worm teleports to the remaining supply crate and gets.......20 points of health!! Screw You now has just 16 damage points...could be a life saver. Death worm is up next.

Nineteenth move. Death worm fires a homing missile at Screw You worm which has to negotiate a tight turn to reach it's target. The missile hits Screw You square-on and takes out a chunk of the Interactive Combat Wormery too! Screw You worm is injured by the missile and the resulting fall taking 46 points of damage. The recorded damage for each worm is: Death = 41 points, Screw You= 62 points, Inigo Montoya = 75 points. Inigo Montoya worm to go next and close this round!

Twentieth move. Inigo end s the round by firing a Bazooka round I to the terrain below Death worm. It takes out a chunk of Wormery but that's it. Death worm's turn.


Twenty first move. RELEASE THE SHEEP! Death worm let loose the first sheep of the game from the right hand edge of the large floaty bit. The sheep dropped onto the tiny block but couldn't reach the adjacent terrain piece, instead it fell to the bottom of the cavern before completingg it's forward move which took it into the wall behind Inigo worm and bounced back. The rules allow the player to detonate his sheep at any time 'after the initial launch distance' and so the independent adjudicator (not me btw) did the following. 

The entire sheep move was played out and the most advantageous point noted. The adjudicator detonated the sheep at that point. The huge explosion caused 43 points of damage to Inigo Montoya worm, killing him instantly. 

It is now Screw You worms turn, can he exact revenge?

Note the toombstone just visible beneath the explosion

Twenty second move. Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey...Screw You continues the work of under-mining Death worm!

And so we prepare to start round eight! Another worm has been killed leaving just one worm in each team. The Interactive Combat Wormery is getting a pounding, chunks being ripped out every move, but the game progresses well. Photographing  the action is a little tricky given the scale of the individual worms; I feel something is lost here. The name labels are all well and good but...well, maybe I need to work on this bit. That said, any more work to pictures would make the execution of this game a lot harder and slower. I think the beauty of the game by facebook is the relative speed, which suits a game like Worminators. More action to come of course!!!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Worminators!....a Play-by-Facebook trial.

I have been suffering from a major case of Wargame Doldrums. The run up to and execution of Broadside left me in a real depresion where little if any wargame stuff happened at all for at least two months. I have had the odd quiet patch before, we all have I am sure, but this has been something very different; no interest, no spark, no direction....all very worrying and quite depressing. With the club Open Day (September 27th btw) edging ever closer I knew I had to do something to get myself moving again but nothing worked. I even promised myself something new and shiny for a Donnybrook project but, if I am honest, I really couldn't be bothered. I know, weird eh?

Anyway, this depression draged on until I had a chat with my mate Clint. He was chatting about playing a wargame by Blog, a modern version of play-by-mail, using my Blood, Bilge & Iron Balls rules. This, at last, seemed to get through to my shut down mind and got a few wargamey brain cells last. Take a look at Clint's blog game, its early days but oozes promise

I wondered if there was something that I could do in a similar vein, without appearing to steal his idea, and had one of the first wargame based light bulb moments I have had since before Broadside. A good while ago I wrote a set of rules for MJ Figures and their range of Worms, designed to play table top versions of the old PC and Playstation (etc) game. I could run a game at home for up to eight players although, I soon realised, given the turn based nature of the game (one worm moves and shoots at a time) it would be be a pain for the players to have to wait so long between turns. So, to speed it all up and keep it bubbling I would run the game as a play-by-facebook version! I started small using two teams of two worms with one player per team, Drew and Andrew form the club. This, as with Clint's game, would actually be a test of theory; it could all go horribly wrong. What appears below is the first three rounds of the game, further rounds will appear as further blog entries so as to not clog up your day with a long winded blog post! The text and pictures are taken directly from the Facebook posts so you get to see the game unfold. blow by blow.
(The game board, or 'Interactive Combat Wormery', is a 600mm wide polystyrene board. As worms dig or shoot the polystyrene is removed and so the game board changes turn by turn.)

The game begins!

Okie Dokie! Things are all set here at Worminator HQ and we now await word from the two players that they have read the rules and are ready to go.
The Interactive Combat Wormery has been prepared and the two teams of two highly trained Warrior Worms have been randomly placed. The first picture should show you, the viewer and players, the initial set up.
Team Andrew comprises worms 'Death' and 'Taxes'. Team Drew comprises worms 'Screw You' and 'Inigo Montoya Worm'. Each worm will be activated randomly once per round.

note the shape...see how it changes turn by turn
NEW RULE UPDATE - I have allowed each worm an abseil wire that will allow them to lower themselves, reasonably safely, down to lower levels. This option can be taken as part of the normal move distance and it is not a separate action like combat. Please note that you cannot use this to climb up things, only down.
The problem you will have of course is being unable to measure distances accurately so there may be a bit of a drop at the end of a downward climb! This could be enough to end your move so be careful!!


First move. Screw You Worm moved east to the edge of the small cavern and used his trusty pickaxe to cut out a 45' tunnel. He used the full cut allowance too and has ended his turn at the end of the tunnel by the new opening into the larger cavern above. NEXT WORM - TAXES.


Second move. Taxes inches forward and fires a bazooka at Screw You. The fired round was a slight over-shoot but caught the enemy in the blast causing 24 points of damage and pushing Screw You 4cm back down the tunnel. Once the smoke dies away you will notice a new hole in the interactive Combat Wormery.

Third Move. Ka-blam! More blood spilt as Death throws a hand grenade at extreme range...the 20cm range of grenades allows for the perpendicular drop found here. The grenade only just passed the narrow gap between the small floaty bit and the sticky up bit and dropped, neatly, onto poor Inigo Montoya Worm. The damage was fairly light though, 14 points, so Inigo will have plenty of time to plot his revenge! In fact, it is Inigo Montoya Worm's go now! That's lucky, Inigo, its your turn now.

Fourth move, the last of this initial turn! Inigo Montoya Worm moved to the west as far as he was able given the steep angle of the terrain. He then took a leaf from Screw You and used his pickxe to tunnel west at 45' for 10cm. He now sits at the top of the newly excavated tunnel....waiting.... Note the small crater where Inigo was at the start of the move; and so the landscape of the Interactive Combat Wormery changes.



Fifth move. Death dropped a Banana Bomb into the crater above Inigo Montoya Worms head! This weapon deployed four bomblets that bounced around randomly from the initial impact spot, these tore a large chunk out of the crater as three bomblets fell close together but, none of them actually touched Inigo! Miraculously, he survived unscathed with no damage....and now it is Inigo's move!

Sixth move. Inigo Montoya Worm jumped over a minor terrain obstacle and moved west to get a clear shot at Taxes Worm. Choosing the chaingun option, Inigo let rip at long range but managed, just, to hit the target! Taxes took 39 points of damage before Inigo used his remaining move allowance to retreat a little to a possibly safer distance. It is now Screw You worms turn. 

Seventh move. Screw You worm moved west, using his jump option to maximise distance, to reach the supply crate and gain some dynamite! This cam be used by either of Team Drew Bader worms. Overjoyed by his find Screw You fired wildly into the air to celebrate it is now Taxes turn!

 Alan Abbey's photo.

Eighth move. Taxes drops the Banana Bomb straight onto Screw You! The initial blast inflicts 12 points of damage but the other three bomblets spread far and wide missing Screw You completely although, he is probably now deaf and the Interactive Combat Wormery is taking a pounding in places! But, I am cleaning as I go so still no stingy smack on the back of my legs yet notice too that a mine has been introduced to a random location so no touchy touchy...of course it might be a proximity mine.....

So, we start round three and it is Inigo Montoya Worm to go first.


Ninth move. Turn three gets off to a blistering start as Inigo moves, blasts Taxes with a Chaingun and inflicts a massive 46 points of damage! He then slides off to the right of the iffie stick (inter-fibre friction fastening integral extender stick). Taxes Worm has now taken a total of 85 points of damage but team Drew Bader has used up two of their three Chainguns. Death worm is next to play.

Tenth move. Death worm throws a grenade at Inigo but narrowly misses so inflicts no damage! Screw You worm to play next. (sorry, no picture...I have no idea why....I hate my life.... ) 

Eleventh move. Screw You has the first kill!! His Homing Missile successfully negotiated a narrow gap and a tight turn to fall just short of the target, Taxes worm. The blast was more than enough though, it caused a fatal 32 points of damage and hurled the still twitching corpse up the hill where a tombstone marks the spot. 


With the death of Taxes worm the round ends as it would have been his move next. The fourth round begins with the twelfth move but that will be another blog post....assuming you want to hear about it, of course :)

I hope that this ramble has been of interest, even if it is only the idea of running a play-by-Facebook game. It has proved to be a lot of fun so far, even for me, and the wife is still happy as I have kept the bits of polystyrene off the stingy smack on the back of the legs for me......yet....