Sunday 7 April 2024

'Ruthless' - Wild West Game

 Hot on the heels of the previous post - we played a game of the free 'Ruthless' rules this morning.

This was truly 'cheap-ass' since:

  • Most of the buildings were paper prints - from an old 'Miniature Wargames' magazine package. My daughter kindly cut and made these from paper prints for me...for a monetary sum, which, under UK legal laws, shall remain largely undisclosed.
  • The 12 miniatures we used are old (reallllly old) TableTop Games vintage from 1980 (they may have been painted in 1982 - that's my excuse for the crap paintjob).
  • The ' Ruthless' rules and the character templates are free here at Mark's Game Room:
  • A superb set of free rules pretty much 99% there on 2 pages - and can be hacked for Star Wars et al, and I would suggest modern or even Napoleonic skirmish.

The rules use a poker hand to delineate initiative and special effects, and there are character traits. These can be explained in some of the pics re. the four groups of characters at play. D10s are in use to gauge shooting/ reaction etc, with special effects from the hand of cards, and rules for snapshots and overwatch.

With four players, we had four groups - Ranchers, Bounty Hunters, LawDogs and The Gamblers. The game took 4 hours - and the Gamblers were the only side with all three guys still alive at the end.

Wyatt Burp keeps an eye out

The main street of town - the fight would devolve into shootouts at either end, with special emphasis on the church belltower - just out of shot

Col. Mortimer starts to move

As Whiskey Walt staggers past the stables

Now sneaky ol' Stinky Pete is the first to move to the ole' church...cuz he can get to the belltower and use his shootin' bonus to act like a sniper

Clint Westwood moves in to stop him

Doc Springbreak (geddit?) advances onto the street with his shotgun

Only to be shot by Roscoe P. Coltrane

Stinky Pete reaches the belltower and starts shootin' at Sherrif Dan down the street

Col Mortimer and Wyatt Burp start shooting wildly - at one stage Burp fanfires all the chambers, and still misses

Sneakin' Flush Fred

'can't hit a goldurn elephant with this here shootin' iron'

The belltower will change hands 4 times!!! Blackhat kills Stinky Pete in a fistfight and throws him off the tower.

...then BlackHat loses a brawl to ...

...none other than Fat Pedro himself 'ehhhh Gringohhh'

...though the gambelrs are on the move, sniping at the outskirts

Col Mortimer shoots Wyatt Burp dead... the belltower changes hands yet again - the Gamblers and the Bounty Hunters deciding that this was the single most important objective in play - nothing personal

Mortimer is on a roll, killing Sherriff Dan, and wounding Roscoe, before being shot at and missed by Whiskey Walt

But in the end, it was the gamblers who managed to survive with all three of their characters (relatively) intact - Col Mortimer's group rolling poorly and 'gittin' outta Dodge'

The LawDogs

The Ranchers - led by the infamous Col Mortimer

The Gamblers - the ultimate real winners

The Bounty Hunters 

A great game - yeeeehaawww.

Never in my wildest dreams, did I ever think I would find a post that this song would fit!

Saturday 6 April 2024

Descent - the board game

 Yet another shameless excuse for a post ... we recently played the old 'Descent' boardgame, the DNA of which helped build Imperial Assault in latter years (but without the massive Disney licence issues - and thereby added expense).

An excellent game using superb little floorplans - and Stephen's excellently painted miniatures (we chose these over the plastic figs that come with the game). Dice pools with pre-marked D6, nice initiative sequences and missions whose success (or lack thereof) affects what happens next and on subsequent missions - with recurring campaign enemies - a bit like D&D but without the Ham acting and need for DM caffeine tablets.

I bet he drinks Carling Black Label

...speaking of which...I've also been running a lot of D&D 5e with the younger group - 1st segment of that campaign is finished - it only took 12 months :O - pics at the end.

Lovely floorplans

Character sheets are streamlined to make it play faster - but great components

1960s Woodstock style headband...cue Hendrix

The thief and her dwarf companion - who umm is clearly not to scale

Goblins who are angry about Brexit

A large black monstrosity which only looked scary because it had been undercoated

goblins who are angry about Biden

'the Final Conflict' in the D&D game now - the evil snake god Zargon tries to snack on the magic princess - can the characters save her from stomach acid?

...ok she can't..oops

the Dragonborn barbarian dives inside the snake - knowing that he has to do at least 40 points of damage in turn 1 to get out...ummm which he does

'It's behiiiind youuuu!'

A return to normal transmission should resume soon ... :)

Sunday 17 March 2024

The Joy of Hex

Steve over at Sound Officers' Call has been using and hacking Peter's ww2 hex rules for a while now, and we have really got excited over the potential of these to use old Command Decision/GDW First Battle scenarios at multiple tactical levels - a solution to problems at Battalion right through to Brigade/Division level, that we have been looking for, for a long time.

Existing rules of course solve this issue to a large extent, although with caveats - not least of which is (1) ease of disagreement - not only between players, but on the basis of design decisions made - such that experts hack the systems because there are so many variables - and (2) players rarely focus on one system, UNLESS said system offers a multiplicity of outcomes at different levels and within different C20th periods/locales, and thereby encourages familiarity, without simplicity.

These hex based rules (assuming we have access to hexes of course - which I have luckily had at 60mm wide for decades, machined onto MDF and also at 100mm loose) offer a beautifully simple means of doing the following:

  • I can do a very large scale ww3 group game in the Fulda gap - movement is controlled and 'un-cheatable' as we use hexes to delineate. 
  • I zoom in or out in terms of scale, and add rules/ranges/capabilities to reflect same. This means i can do 73 Easting at one tank/unit, OR I can do Market Garden on multiple 4x3 boards at company or battalion/unit level.
  • Does it seem like a hex board wargame? Yep...i don't care.
  • The rules are kept deliberately simple. but not simplistic - what they do however , is zoom in on the differences between the opponent's weapon systems on the day - so no, I don't have lists of factors which outline the difference between a T34 and an M1 Abrams - I don't need that. What I do need to know is do systems / command make a difference for one side over the other, then design accordingly. 
  • Thereby, what I can do in a single scenario environment is (1) work out how differences in command - or equipment - may allow one side to fire/move while another can fire or move; (2) outline the differences between relative weapon systems on the same battlefield.
  • Recon units are harder to hit.
  • 1 hit requires a quality check (I took this out to make it simple in the trial game below - but it would work in a longer game); a 2nd means disruption which limits disruption and can be removed with reorganise roll; a 3rd denotes destroyed.

  1. Play Sequence is Game clock; Indirect Fire; Combat; Move; Reorganisation/Rally
  2. Steve has adapted the original to hit with a very flexible system involving (1) no. of dice and (2) then to hit numbers for said dice.
  3. Modern weapon systems can move and fire - ww2 can move or fire.
  4. I adjusted command in the game below based on flexibility, so though Syrian systems were using T72s in the Bekkaa, they would fire or move, whilst Israeli M60s could fire and move. we could translate same to Fulda Gap, whilst changing the number of units that can activate in an earlier ww2 situation. All of this is easily hacked.
As movement and range is hex based - this all remains very flexible.

A setup whereby units are platoons, Syrian armoured and BMP companies moving against Israeli M60s and ATGWs

1/300 Heroics and Ros M60s

Israeli units move to take high ground, and pour fire on advancing Arab units

On the Israeli right, armour moves to take high ground - utilising command flexibility, plus advantages of high ground and falling shot, to increase probabilities of first shot hate and kill. This would blunt the Arab advance on that flank quite quickly.

M60 company takes hits from ATGW fire (min range applies)

This system remains very flexible, time-friendly and critically easy to teach to younger gamers and conversely to groups drinking beer!