Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Goings on

Apart from playing Tribal, I've been busy with some other gaming activities that I didn't have to contribute anything to other than my dice rolling. We've managed to play a couple games in the last two weeks that I'd like to highlight:

Game 1: We men, we Manley men

Eric Donaldson was eager to get some pre-dreadnought gaming in using David Manley's Broadside and Salvo quick-play naval rules. He built two fleets in 1:2400 scale and we arranged a four-player game with them at Wizard's Keep in Kent, WA. (Actually, he has more than two fleets, we just used two in the game.)

John Gee came down all the way from Bellingham and Mark Waddington came up all the way from wherever he comes up from (somewhere east of Olympia, I think). Not too much a trek for me, but closer for Kevin Smyth and Eric.

John and I played the French, Kevin and Mark were the Germans. Eric ran the game. The scenario was a attempted German breakthrough to get to a French landing zone in Morocco. They got points for getting ships off the opposite side of the table from them. We got points for preventing them. The ships started on opposite ends and swirled around each other in the middle a bit before the Germans made a run to the table edge—and victory.

We're Manley men here in Western WA, and have been since Dave Schueler first introduced us to, I think, Narrow Seas back in the 90s. David Manley's rules have much to recommend them and always provide a fun time. The Broadside and Salvo rules are no exception. They dispense with a lot of detail in order to get a fast-moving game with larger fleets. We played a slightly more simplified version than the rules. We didn't need to use ship cards, etc. Damage is at four levels: Hit, damaged, wrecked, sunk. We marked all of those states with little markers that Eric made—well, the first three; the last state was simply marked by removing the ship model. Shooting is a simple opposed die roll (D10) using the shooter's fire factor and the target's armor. One ship can assist in a shooting action, but after that no other ship can target a ship that's already been targeted.

The Germans won big according to the scenario victory conditions, but I must note that we sank two of their battleships and damaged another two, with only two of our battleships being damaged.

If I didn't have so many project irons in the fire, I'd be inclined to paint some 1:2400 ships for this era. As it is, I look forward to others like Eric and Kevin putting on games.

This is the second game day I've been to at Wizard's Keep. It's a really nice venue and Ralph Holloway does a great job running things. The next game day is December 9. I might have to plan something...

Game 2: In the Zona

Since shortly after the start of The Great Plague™, our group has been meeting on Saturday nights over Zoom. We sit and paint and chat for an hour or more so we can catch up on what everyone is doing, propose future projects and games. Those "Paint 'n' Zoom" sessions were the genesis of much mischief and have contributed to my growing pile of unpainted yet to be painted minis.

Michael Koznarsky was always working on figures and terrain for Zona Alfa, a set of rules from Osprey that are based on the old Soviet-era novel Roadside Picnic by Russian authors Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. The premise of the book and rules is that there is a zone where aliens, called "Visitors," have stopped and discarded their trash, which amounts to rare artifacts that can be sold for high prices outside the Zone. "Stalkers" are the people adventurous (or foolish) enough to attempt collecting all that good alien swag.

After he talked up the rules (I bought a copy) long enough, I suggested that he host a game for us, which he did at Dworek Koznarsky in charming Steilacoom, WA on Saturday.

The game plays like a cross between a standard skirmish game and D&D. It's cooperative in that all the players are on the same side and tasked with the same mission. Michael was the GM, Kevin, Eric, and I were the stalkers, with each of us running two characters.

Michael's game room has a beautiful view of the South Sound, featuring Ketron Island, where a hijacked Horizon Air propjet crashed in 2018. Although beautiful, the semi-cloudy day made for a bit of glare that affects the pics below.

The actual rules are simple. The challenge of the game comes from emerging threats that are introduced by the GM as well as those triggered by getting too near to hot spots where danger lurks, but necessary because that's where the swag resides.

We managed to get the main objective, rescuing "The Professor" (alas no Mary Ann), as well as getting a lot of alien goodies and running up our kill rate against zombies, bandits, mutants, swarms, and other loathsome creatures that came at us. It was a fun time. I look forward to future adventures in the zone.


I have a few things coming up worth noting. 


This coming Saturday is our annual game day at the Boeing Museum of Flight in Seattle. I'll be running a four-player game of Tribal using my (at this point) almost completed horde of Bobby Jackson and Lucid Eye cavemen. I'll also bring out my newly painted paleolithic predators and prey: three mammoths, two cave lions, and a cave bear.

At the Height of Battle

With the caveman project soon to be done, I'll pivot over to painting 1:1200 scale ships for the Imjin War. I'm using the models from MT Miniatures. Dean Motoyama ran a game of this a few years back at one of the game days at the Veterans Museum in Chehalis. It's been a project on my radar ever since. I ordered the started kit with rules and ships along with several packs of ships to expand the fleets. My goal is to have two forces with three squadrons each. 

The rules for the project are At the Height of Battle by the aforementioned Mr. Manley. Simple and elegant, they were fun to play an promise more fun to come. I expect the models to paint up quickly using speed paints as much as possible. I've already cleaned a few ships and cut out bases for them. I'm using uncharacteristic constraint to keep from doing more with them while I'm trying to finish the last of the cave men by Saturday.


I'm planning on playing hooky on the 29th of this month in order to play in Kevin Smyth's game of Camerone down in Tacoma. Kevin has been a fan of playing the battle for as long as I've known him (30+ years).  He's played games of it before and is doing it again after painting more figures. 


My current work contract goes only to the end of this month. My manager wants to extend me, but she doesn't hold the purse strings. Still waiting to hear how that goes. If there's no extension, I'll be a free agent again, i.e., unemployed and looking for a job. That will also give me the opportunity to game on weekdays—but during December, that's iffy with everybody's holiday activities.

1 comment:

  1. You never quite know what you'll get when you open an I Live with Cats post, but they never disappoint. Love the variety, the write ups, and of course the beautiful tables, terrain and models. Brilliant. Good luck with the work side of things. One must have something to interrupt the gaming and painting time!
    Cheers, Aaron