Sunday, June 23, 2019

Saga: AoM AAR - The Dead Don't Die

I played my first game of Saga: Age of Magic on Saturday. Overall it was enjoyable, but I played against the evil dead—or whatever they're called—and that's one nasty lot of ghouls to have to deal with. I think I officially hate them and I think the rules authors must have been on crack when they designed the faction. Nevertheless, I managed to pull out a tie, so not a complete fiasco.

We made 8-point warbands. I used my lady centaurs that I painted for Dragon Rampant. It turns out that they make a decent warband for Saga: AoM. My Lords of the Wild force was the following:

1 x Warlord, mounted on animal (i.e., centaur)
2 x 3 Creatures, on foot (lady minotaurs)
3 x 4 hearthguard, mounted on animal (centaurs) with composite bow
1 x 4 hearthguard, mounted on animal (centaurs)
1 x Sorcerer (Ursula)

I played Ken Kissling, who ran The Undead Legion, composed as follows:

1 x Warlord, mounted on animal
1 x Lieutenant, mounted on animal
1 x 4 Hearthguard, mounted on animal
1 x 2 Creatures
3 x 8 Warriors
1 x 20 Mindless (20!)
1 x Sorcerer

We played the Clash of Warlords scenario from the main rules. Ken was first player using setup C (L distance from baselines with no units closer than M to another). For terrain, there was a marsh on Ken's right baseline, a steep hill on my left just on my side of the centerline, a wood just over S distance to the right of that, another wood just over M distance towards Ken, and finally my sacred totem (proved to be worthless) just about M distance to the right of the first wood.

Four-hooved ladies of the wild
I wasn't really sure how to proceed against the evil dead. I think I was a bit intimidated by the Mindless. In sheer numbers, they're frightening. The most intimidating—and frustrating—aspect of the Dead Can Dance crowd is the awful way that they can be re-spawned using their Tide of Re-animation and Necromancy Saga abilities. I wish I could un-die my dead like that. Ken used those abilities every turn like the freakin' Night King.

The only way to make headway against the army was to manage to entirely kill a unit in a single turn, which I didn't figure out until too late. Also, the Mindless don't suffer fatigue. You pretty much have to kill them in numbers too big to reanimate.

Bows don't kill enough Mindless to matter
I started out by doing a lot of shooting using my hearthguard with composite bows to sort of spar with his warriors. In a normal Saga game, the results would have been very satisfactory—even against other Age of Magic warbands, they would be good. But the dead don't die. If any part of the warrior or mindless unit remains, some of the dead can be re-animated. I wound up killing some figures many times over.

I had some stand up fighting early on with on of my creature units. I charged them into a unit of Ken's warriors and managed to win, but didn't inflict much hurt. I was unharmed, due to my resilience, but had 3 fatigues. Ken responded in his turn, by attacking with his nasty flying creatures. I managed to win that fight, too, but without inflicting loss other than 3 fatigue, due to his resilience.

Nasty, wighty, flyty ghouly things begone!
I, however, lost a figure because I started the fight with 3 fatigue and took another 2. Ken's creatures went back exhausted, but whole, while I stayed out there exposed exhausted and diminished. At this point, Ken started vexing my creatures with his sorcerer, which made it difficult for me to recover much from my fatigue.

Frustrated by my inability to inflict enough lasting harm by shooting, I decided to start charging in with my hearthguard. As hearthguard go, bow armed horsemen aren't the bee's knees in a mélêe.

This tactic does not appear to be working...
In one regrettable fight, my 4 hearthguard charged 6 of Ken's warriors. I had a small advantage in attack dice (8:6), but wound up rolling very, very poorly. I think I killed 1 of his, but lost 2 of mine—mine being more valuable and less reanimatable. I charged another hearthguard into the Mindless. I won, but it was Pyrrhic. He could easily reanimate the losses he took, while my lost figure was gone for good.

Holding off the ungrateful dead
In the center, my bow-armed hearthguard were doing some damage to the warriors—though always mitigated by a bit of reanimation. By rights, I ought to have shot at least two units to oblivion, and did shoot them to ≤4, but of course they reanimated back to a number that would let them generate a Saga die again.

The evil dead
Ken finally had enough of me and charged me first with his warriors, then with his hearthguard. That unit went poof. However, I managed to kill off his surviving 3 hearthguard with my non-bow hearthguard. We broke even in the fighting, which wiped him out and left me with 1 remaining figure. Ken also charged some warriors against my other bow-armed hearthguard, which had already been reduced to half strength in my own foolish charge, and wiped it out. My left was looking seriously diminished.

Ken's hearthguard: Bones to be chewed
Ken and I both had a sorcerer in our ranks. I'm kind of so-so on the value of magic. I had one nice spell in Spear of Light, which can cause a lot of damage if done right—although that's the maximum effect and comes with a warning label. I used max effect with it twice, the first time to no harmful effect, the second caused me to forget the spell, but that was turn 6, so it didn't matter. My other spells were kind of meh. One protected my sorcerer (which I never remembered to use) and one might cause a charge to fail. I typically used a Saga die to generate extra magic dice, but never used magic to its full potential.

About mid-game, I started moving units from my right towards my left. Ken had stacked most of his strength against my left, which eventually became critical. On my right was the Mindless, his warlord, and his sorcerer. The Mindless move slowly, so I figured I could just move away without being seriously challenged by them. At one point, Ken brought forward his warlord, but retreated him back after my remaining minotaur ladies came out to play.

Ken about to choose the better part of valor
I think I like the creatures. My minotaurs were bipeds with a 5 aggression for mélêe. A unit of three rolls 15 attack dice. They're pretty much warlord killers, if they get the chance.

With Ken's warlord skedaddling, I moved the cow-ladies against the Mindless. I figured that rolling 15 dice against 4 (or fewer) would reap a reward. It did. It took some follow up, which generated fatigue, and an attack by my warlord, but I managed to kill the whole unit of mindless. I ought to have done this earlier.

Cow-ladies with Mindless on their minds
In his part of turn 6, Ken managed to get a charge against my sorcerer. Having the unused magic die that I might have used to try and protect her, I was a bit chagrined when his warriors charged home. However, resilience saved me. I lost the fight and became exhausted, but I was still alive on my part of turn six. I rested away 1 fatigue and then fired off my Spear of Light to max effect, taking out 4 of Ken's warriors—but sadly not killing the unit.

At the end of turn 5 and more so after Ken's half of turn 6, I thought I might be badly beaten. However, I managed enough killing in turn 6 to make a slight comeback. When we counted points, Ken had 22 and I had 20. Killing all those Mindless accounted for 7 points and made a big difference. Of course, I killed many more warriors than I was credited with. They just kept growing back like lizards' tails and you only count the dead at the end of the game.


I like Saga: Age of Magic. It's a nice variant on Saga, but not a radical departure. Taking away the magic spells—and that fearful reanimation groove thing that the undead do—and it plays like any other Saga encounter.

I recently bought a lot more centaurs and friends from Shadowforge/Eureka in Oz. However, I'm not sure how much I need to change my list for now. I'll have to get another few games under my belt, hopefully not against the evil dead again. I could add another sorcerer, but I found the one I had to be sufficient. I need to study the spells a bit more to see what will work. One the whole, however, I think the spells in Dragon Rampant are more effective, and being universal, you don't your options to blame when you use lame magic against powerful.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

The great skedaddle: Rebels and Patriots AAR

We played a variation of Scenario F from the Rebels and Patriots rules on Saturday set in the ACW. The scenario called for a force defending a line at one side of the table to skedaddle away to defend another line consisting of a stone wall and sunken road at the other side, all while being chased by a slightly superior attacker (a 5:4 advantage in points).

For a multiplayer game, I expanded the forces to 48 points defending and 60 points attacking. We had six players that made for three on each side. The Hated Yankees™ were the defenders played by Eric Donaldson, Bill Stewart, and John Stafford. The 'Secesh' were the attackers played by Mike Lombardi, Chris Craft, and me.

All the Yankees lined up along a rail fence on the north side of a road that ran the 8' width of the table. Just south of the road, the Rebs were massed in woods that also ran the full width of the table.

Johnnies in the woods!
The object of the game was control of the sunken road on the north side of the table. The choice for the blue-bellies was whether to try to hold the rail fence for a bit or get back ASAP to the hard cover of the stone wall and sunken road.

Jubal Tardee readies the boys for the attack
On the advice of Wm. Tecumseh Stewart, they chose to emulate the militia at Cowpens and Guilford Courthouse and sting the advancing boys in gray and butternut and then retire manfully to the sunken road.

One our right, John was stinging Chris pretty well in the initial turns—ably aided by Chris' wretched dice rolling. John decided to stay and fight it out on the rail fence, which seemed—at the time—to be a winning option.

Holding the line
Chris failed several morale tests and lost his commander, Lt. Beauregard Lemieux. Had he fallen in battle, Lemieux would be feasting in Confederate Valhalla with Stonewall, A.S. Johnston, et al. However, fate had a crueler destiny. In the confusion of battle, the good lieutenant was captured—along with his cat—while hiding in a dung heap wearing women's clothes.

Lt. Lemieux in more heroic times
He could not adequately explain to his captors how he came to be wearing women's clothes in a dung heap. Nevertheless, he was hauled off in ignominy. A prisoner exchange is likely, but his reputation is tarnished forever. Even now around the campfire the men are referring to him as 'Loretta.' Chris also lost a unit of line infantry at this point. The situation was starting to look dire at the start.

The initial sting left me with only one man hors de combat. With the rest, I moved semiboldly towards the rail fence—as much as my poor activation die rolls allowed. I also used my cannon to make noise at the backs of  Bill's fleeing Lincolnites. Apart from the noise, they were not aware of being fired upon.

The center advances
On our left, Mike advanced aggressively against Eric's dismounted cavalry. He kept pushing and trying to get into mêlée, but the mounted skirmishers could skirmish back as fast as Mike could move. Skirmishers, too, are hard to kill. For a while, the best Mike could do was to push Eric back while getting peppered by skirmishing fire. Nevertheless, he was making way.

Mike advances / Eric retreats
With my early flubbed activation rolls, it took me a couple turns to get up to the now-abandoned rail fence. Only my skirmishers got over and beyond. I needed to keep Bill from getting behind the stone wall. I didn't want to be advancing in the open against a lot of blue-bellies in a sunken road.

Barely getting started
On our right, Chris' die rolls improved and John was withdrawing to a second rail fence line rather than be outflanked by my advancing center.                                     

The rail fence is ours!
Chris followed up and over the rail fence with his skirmishers who kept engaged with John's troops as they withdrew. The skirmishers also screened Chris' surviving line infantry unit and the light cavalry.

Skirmishers forward
While Mike kept pressing Eric on our left, I was making headway in the center. Bill was making a beeline for the stone wall and sunken road, but stopped occasionally to throw out a few shots to keep me at bay. I was, however, in good shape. Up to this point I had lost only two figures.

Jubal Tardee going right up the center
As I advanced in the center, my right was getting past John's line of bluecoats manning the second line of rail fence in front of Chris.

The Yankee's eye view of the Confederate advance
At this point, I made a fateful decision. John's rightmost unit was just begging to be attacked. I got my activation and sufficient move to contact him. I won the fight and pushed him back. On his turn, John sent in another unit, lead by his officer—a Dan Sickles looking character, but still with two legs—and bounced back. I took some losses and became disordered.

After the fisticuffs
John fared worse. Both his units were now under half strength and therefore permanently disordered. Still, they had to be dealt with and I spent a few more turns exchanging fire before they were eliminated.

Chris was mounting greater pressure against John's other line unit and his light gun. He'd lost one of his skirmisher units and his slow-moving medium gun (also a bit shot-up from earlier) took a while moving up. His remaining skirmisher was still absorbing fire from John's units. Thus screened, Chris moved up his aggressive light cavalry and prepared to charge the gun.

The final skirmisher unit went poof, but Chris managed to charge home with his cavalry. He won the fight and pushed the gun back, but we flubbed the follow up, forgetting that aggressive units could do a follow up move. Following up would have allowed another charge home on the gun. In any case, Chris charged the next turn winning again, but the gun was still hanging on and Chris' cavalry was now disordered.

The Confederate right surges
Meanwhile, in the center, my attack to the right against John's flank, while achieving good results, left Jubal Tardee's heroic advance unsupported. Bill had by now managed to get his gun and two line units over the wall and was well ensconced in hard cover. He'd lost his other line unit—with his officer—to the withering fire of my troops.

Before the glory
My lone skirmisher unit was at the end of its tether. Absorbing Bill's fire for several turns eventually wiped it out. This left me with little choice but to do or die. Exposed to Bill's fire from his gun and a supporting line unit, Jubal Tardee's unit was soon to die if I didn't act quickly. I managed a '12' on my activation roll to charge and went straight in against Bill's gun.

High water for Jubal Tardee
I won the fight, but failed to destroy the gun. However, it was reduced to half strength and broken. I didn't cross the wall. Now I was in a pickle. Bill failed his rally test for the gun, which went away. However, his supporting line unit was now making trouble for me.

Stormed at by a fusillade of minié balls, I took casualties and fell back. Further losses reduced me to below half strength but I hung on. I was helped by having my officer and I got favorable activation bonuses on double 6s that gave me +2 discipline for the game. I failed, but not catastrophically.

Battered but unbowed, Tardee and cat remain in the fight
By this time, John's gun had gone away leaving our right completely unopposed. On our left, too, Mike had finally sent off the last of Eric's dismounted cavalry and we up against the wall ready to cross. The only remaining Lincolnites on the table were Bill's two line units facing me.

At this point, we called it a Confederate win.

Only Bill made a strong effort to get behind the wall. John did a Dan Sickles and kept his force out front for too long, even though Chris had to recover from near disaster in the opening turns. Chris also managed to recover his lost unit on the blessed 6-6-6 activation roll that brought in reinforcements. His only net loss for the game was his two skirmishers, who perished doing yeoman's duty screening his other troops.

Eric skirmished with Mike, which slowed Mike's advance, but didn't really hurt him. Mike had the probably least losses of any of our commands. Eric eventually got shot up and his units dispersed. If he'd manned the stone wall, it might have been bloodier for Mike.

I kept pressing Bill in the center, but that didn't stop him getting to the stone wall with 3/4 of his force intact. That was a formidable obstacle for me, despite successfully charging the gun. If we hadn't called the game, Bill would have shot Jubal's unit to pieces.

It turned out to be a great game. So far, Rebels and Patriots is proving to be a very enjoyable game to play. More thoughts on that in a following post.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Enfilade 2019: Rampant days and Rampant nights

I'm just back from Enfilade! 2019. This is the annual convention of the Northwest Historical Miniature Gaming Society. It's been at the Red Lion Hotel Olympia for 17 years now. Before that, we were in various places starting in 1992 with the Red Lion hotel in beautiful formerly bucolic Lynnwood, WA, just minutes from my house. Now I drive 85 miles to attend it.

We've gone from a two-day event with fewer than 100 attendees, to a three-day event hosting nearly 400. That's nothing by big Eastern conventions like Historical, Fall In, etc. But we're the biggest convention west of the Mississippi that caters exclusively to historical miniature gaming.

This year turned out to be a particularly fine event. It's probably the first time in many, many years that I've been actively involved in every gaming period over the weekend. I ran—alone or with confederates—three games, played in two, and helped staff the bring 'n' buy table. Of course, hanging out with friends over a weekend of gaming was the best of all.

Period 1, Friday afternoon: Weitzel's Mill, Rebels and Patriots

I pre-registered online for two games. The first was a Rebels and Patriots game of the 1781 Battle of Weitzel's Mill hosted by Peter Fry. I ran Banastre Tarleton's command of three light cavalry units and two jaeger companies.

Bloody Ban's bad boys
I was on the right flank with the mission to get at least one unit of my cavalry across the ford next to the mill, then along the road over to the opposite corner and off the table. For us to win, we needed to get at least one unit of infantry across as well.

Lee's Legion and Continental Light Dragoons come out to play
After a bit of sparring with some skirmishers immediately to our front, I headed towards the ford only to get shot at by Lee's Legion light infantry fortified in the mill. It took a while, but using my jaegers as both a screen to protect my cavalry and as long-range snipers, I cleared a path and managed to take out Lee's Legion cavalry and one dragoon unit, plus the light infantry in the mill.

A hard-pressed American line faces the British onslaught
On our left and center, the other British players were steadily pushing back the American units. The American right utterly collapsed with every unit being lost. There was nothing the Americans could do to stop the British achieving victory.

Peter said we'd performed better than the British players had in any of the pre-convention playtests. When the game was played on Saturday, the British lost.

Period 2, Friday evening: The skulking way of war, Song of Drums and Tomahawks

Kevin Smyth and I ran a game of Hurons vs. Iroquois and Dutch ca. 1630s on the Nieuw Nederland frontier. The forces were three bands of 8 Hurons defending their village against a force of two bands of 8 Iroquois and a detachment of 8 Dutch militia with muskets.

Bold Iroquois warriors
The Hurons decided to go out to meet the enemy across the river rather than fight on their own doorstep. Initially, this looked like a good idea. The Dutch musketeers took an awful beating and lost half their number early on, but then stablized and started giving back as good as they got, killing the leader of the warband facing them.

Hurons defending hearth and home
On the other side of the table, the Hurons were in trouble after just a few turns. They lost their hero and then their leader. Things went really downhill from there.

Iroquois crossing the river into Huron country
As the battle see-sawed elsewhere, the Iroquois broke through the flank and streamed into the village, winning the game.

From the wigwam Hiawatha
Bore the wealth of Megissogwon,
All his wealth of skins and wampum...
Song of Drums and Tomahawks is a game that grows on me every time I play it. I have a lot more Native Americans to paint, Hurons and Iroquois. The era of early European contact and settlement is fascinating and there is a lot to work with for creating scenarios for this game. I'd like to do some King Philip's War gaming with it. I have several Brigade Games settlers already, just waiting for me to get painting—when I can fit them into the rest of the painting backlog.

Period 3, Saturday morning: Beware a risen people, The Pikeman's Lament

After all the work I did for my Ford of the Biscuits game at last year's Enfilade, I determined to run another game with my Elizabethan English and Irish. I had several unpainted cavalry from last year, which I meant to add to this year's game, but...

I came up with the idea of a more stand up fight, but one that still had an element of mission. The scenario was an English force returning from a raid into the wild Irish countryside being attacked by an Irish force intent on recovering the loot stolen from Irish farms (or stealing it for themselves). The main goal was for the English to get a wagon train over the ford behind them before the Irish could get to it.

The English force was all veteran versus an Irish force that was all raw. I didn't figure out points, but there was a bit of imbalance in that the Irish were still more numerous and had more firepower than the English, which made it a tough go for them.

English quality proved redoubtable at first, but eventually Irish numbers started telling. On the English left,

Period 4, Saturday afternoon: Kicking a hornets' nest, Rebels and Patriots

The event that got the most planning and preparation beforehand was our Rebels and Patriots game of the retreat from Concord in April, 1775. This game was Kevin Smyth's idea. We'd initially discussed doing the Battle of Blackstock's because we both have an interest in modeling the Southern campaigns of the AWI. The war in the South was more interesting and—speaking only for myself—doesn't require painting the elaborate 1763 regulation uniforms for the British. From 1777 onward, British dress became more suited to the environment. In the South, that pretty much meant 'roundabouts' and floppy hats. No lace, no facings for the most part. That kind of figure will paint quickly.

But no. We did the retreat from Concord instead, which not only features British in spiffy regulation uniforms, but all grenadiers and light infantry who have more lacey bits on their uniforms than the center companies.

Acquiring my British to paint is a tale best told in a later post, but the upshot is that I ordered figures in January and wound up rapidly painting all my grenadiers and light infantry—and getting a lot more than I'd intended—in the few weeks before the convention. In fact, all of Kevin's and my painting was complete by the weekend before when we did our dress rehearsal playtest.

We spent a lot of intellectual effort, aided by Dave Schueler, into how to play this as a satisfying game. We even debated victory points up to a few days before the date. We seem to have succeeded. One player expressed his dire disapprobation of the British victory conditions initially, but enthused after the game at how well it went.

We planned for 6 players: 2 British and 4 American, but a late minute addition of Dave Creager to command the grenadiers separately brought it up to 3 Brits and 4 Americans. Dave is one of our inner circle of gamers and was an inspired addition. He played the grenadiers aggressively, which certainly helped the British win.

Period 5, Saturday evening: Staffing the bring 'n' buy

In a rash moment of feeling dutiful, I volunteered at some point before the convention to help staff the bring 'n' buy tables for the Saturday evening shift from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. I was there with Mark Waddington (who was in charge overall for the whole convention), Norris Hazelton, and Randy Miles.

It was a long, tiresome time with few sales being made. With four of us staffing it, there wasn't much to do. I wandered the vendors' tables in the main room. Bought some stockade sections from Monday Knight Productions. I took my newly acquired swag up to my room and took the opportunity of a bit of a rest until about 10:00, so I could come down and help shut down the section at 11:00.

I had to wrestle with my conscience a bit. Being pretty tired, I really just wanted to go to bed and stay. However, I went back down at 10:00 to sit for a while and close up the bring 'n buy area.

This was my first experience staffing the bring 'n' buy. I've always run a lot of games at the convention, helped plan the convention, and was convention director for a few years running. I have a great appreciation for the people who staff things like the registration desk and bring 'n' buy. While others are enjoying their time, they're spending a period doing less exciting things—but crucial to a successful convention.

Period 6: Sunday morning: Floating filth from the sea, The Pikeman's Lament

My last game was to participate in a game run by Randy Miles, which was a pirate attack on a Spanish port in some undetermined colony in the Caribbean. I was one of the Spanish players defending the town.

The pirates came with two forces from the sea and another emerging from the jungle on our right flank. I was on the far left of our line and managed after much effort—and much help from our center—to wipe out the rightmost of the pirate force. Our center was faring about the same as me. However, on the right, the force defending against the flank attack was soundly thumped.

The pirates land!
With that command gone, our center was getting hit on two sides. The destruction of the pirates' right came too late to save the day. Our force of 15 units was reduced to half strength. In the ensuing morale checks, I lost one unit routed away and our center lost one.

Pirates from the swamp
The unit that broke was my veteran shot, my best rated unit. They had such promise, but consistently underperformed. They failed to activate on several turns and even when activated were unimpressive. A close range shot hitting on 4+ failed to score a single hit. I'm sure the colonial governor will deal with them after the pirate mess is cleared up.

My best unit and least well performing in the game
After playing another turn, our situation was deemed hopeless and a pirate victory was declared.

Randy has a very nice collection of figures for this period. The Pikeman's Lament was a good choice for the rules to use. The units were all 6 figures strong, with five units in each command. The stats for the pirates was a bit better, but all units had a stamina of 3.

It was a fun game and a nice end to the convention.

Buying and selling

I'm trying more and more to keep my gaming possessions to a manageable amount. To that end, I've been selling off some of my past projects in order to fund new ones. This year I sold my Beyond the Gates of Antares Algoryns. This may cause some dismay the next time someone suggests a BTGOA game, but I haven't played a game with them in nearly two years and don't expect the suggestion to arise in the near future.

I also sold my Medieval (El Cid) Spanish, which I painted as a Lion Rampant army and repurposed as a Saga army. I haven't played Lion Rampant for a while (many other Rampant games to play), and have moved to a Welsh warband for Saga. The Spanish in Saga are a bit unsatisfying to play. So, adios viejos amigos. You served me well.

I also sold a couple other bits and pieces, in fact everything I brought to sell, I sold.

My buying was pretty minimal this year. K.R. Rohan was there selling Geo-Hex. I had the bright idea to buy a boxed hill. I normally use a mottled relish green felt mat as a playing surface. For hills, I've used 2" thick pink insulation board cut and beveled that I place under the mat. Around here, it's impossible to buy thinner insulation board and the 2" thickness makes for tall hills. Also, cutting and beveling pink board is a pain. The Geo-Hex is 3/4" thick. A few pieces scattered around underneath make for some nice, not too tall contours for the playing area. I used what I bought for the Song of Drums and Tomahawks and the Pikeman's Lament game.

I picked up a few things from Monday Knight Productions, including the previously mentioned stockade pieces. I can use them for stockaded settlements in Ireland with my Elizabethans and also for stockades in North America with Rebels and Patriots, Song of Drums and Tomahawks, and Muskets & Tomahawks. I also availed myself of their stock of Howard's Hues paints, several of which are staple colors for my painting.

Bob Murch of Pulp Figures was there. I picked up a few more packs of Iroquois from his Flint & Feather range. He didn't have any of the Europeans he's working on; they're not released yet. I think that Flint & Feather is Bob's finest range. I hope to see it expanded, but Bob has a lot of irons in the fire. His current passion is his Black Sun range, but there are other nascent ranges and British Colonial and Zulus to be released in the near future. Bob's a busy man.

My only disappointment was the absence of Wizard Kraft. I love Wizard Kraft's product, but it's a hard company to do business with. I've only ever bought items when he's come to Enfilade. There are too many horror stories of long delayed web orders. The website is closed for maintenance indefinitely. But I must say, that I love the product. It's the best terrain I've ever seen and I feel fortunate that I've been able to collect a large number of pieces. I had intended to spend a good amount of money there acquiring roads and any other clever new things he might have available. I hate to think it's a year at least before I have a chance to get more.

Uninhibited Rampancy

I said in a previous post that 2017 was my Year of Living Rampantly, but that hasn't really stopped. Most of my gaming in 2018 and nearly all of it so far in 2019 has involved the Rampant family of rules by Dan Mersey and Michael Leck.

Four of the five games I played in or hosted over the weekend were Rampant: I played in a Rebels and Patriots game on Friday afternoon and hosted one on Saturday afternoon. I hosted a The Pikeman's Lament game on Saturday morning and played in one on Sunday morning.

My rapid-fire dip method of painting and the Rampant rules have really got me gaming. All of the figures for the retreat from Concord game were completed this year (and only a few were started last year). My first ever fantasy army was painted for Dragon Rampant.

The distant second for my affection is Saga 2.0 and what I've painted for Lion Rampant and Dragon Rampant can easily be leveraged to play Saga. While there are other projects in the works, I see myself devoting a lot of my gaming energies towards further Rampancy—along with games I'll run at next year's Enfilade.

Me and my shadow

I haven't played a game with Randy Miles since I can recall. He's from Portlandia, so we have only ever played at Enfilade, and he's been away from the convention for a while. I think last year was his first attendance after several years' hiatus. So it was funny that we wound up being together in every single event and activity this weekend:
  • He commanded the British center in the Weitzel's Mill game.
  • He commanded the Dutch musketeers in our Song of Drums and Tomahawks game.
  • He commanded the English left in my Pikeman's Lament game.
  • He commanded the right flank British light infantry in our Retreat from Concord game.
  • He was one of the bring 'n' buy staff with me on Saturday night.
  • I played in his pirate game on Sunday morning.

The feline home front

With Rhiannon's death last month, I'm down to two cats who don't get along. I used the same cat sitting company as I have for the last several times I've been away. It was all much easier when my three cats were Grendel, Rhiannon, and Maebh. They got along well most of the time. Now, with Maebh and Bogart, a line of demarcation is set in stone.

Maebh is a slippery customer. She's bold and shameless with me, but fearful of strangers. She's always hidden from cat sitters in the past, which makes it hard to find her. When I returned home last year, even I couldn't find her until I contacted the sitter, who told me that she was last known to have hidden herself under the bed covers.

This year, she popped into my open closet—where I'd shoved a pile of clothing that I was planning to sort through and hand off to the Goodwill—just before I left. Ensconced there, she could smile at all her terrors with impunity. Rather than root her out, I left the closet door cracked open. This proved to be a bit of a blunder.

The sitter knew that she needed to keep Maebh and Bogey separate: Bogey out during the day and Maebh shut in the bedroom, Maebh out during the night and Bogey shut in the den. But with Maebh hiding in the closet, she couldn't tell whether she was in or out. We communicated throughout the weekend. When she said that she couldn't find Maebh, I assured her that she was likely in the closet not to be found easily.

It turns out she must have been burrowed under/within my leather recliner Saturday morning, which meant that she and Bogart were un-separated from each other.

I came home and couldn't find Maebh in the bedroom, even after rooting through the mess of the closet. I figured she must have burrowed deep and I figured a few shakes of the Greenies bag would lure her out. It did, but it was from under the recliner that she emerged, with Bogart watching incredulously. I quickly grabbed him before he could pounce and put him up in the den, thus restoring balance to The Force.

On returning to Maebh, I could see a wee scratch on her nose. Otherwise, she was fine. No apparent bites on Bogey—I'll have to keep an eye on abscesses forming—but it was clear that he'd chased her about. Under the desk in my den, there was a lot of Maebh's long wispy fur and things were knocked about. That's not much different than the evidence I'd find of Grendel and Rhiannon clashing while I was away.

Being rescued from Bogart and the fearsome stranger, Maebh was delighted by my return. She's been a constant and affectionate gadfly as I write this blog.