Thursday, September 27, 2018

Upcoming Game Convention: Tactical Solutions 2018

Enfilade is just one of several gaming conventions sponsored by the Northwest Historical Miniature Gaming Society.

Next weekend, Tactical Solutions will be held at the Red Lion/Centennial Inn, in Spokane, WA.

I've been wanting to attend this convention for years, but haven't been able to coordinate the time off from work or other commitments.

And unfortunately, this year's no different.

To "atone" for my non-attendance, I concocted a few e-card/webcomic advertisements for this upcoming convention.

The pictures are from the Fix Bayonets Game Day I managed to attend a couple weeks ago.

One of these years, I'll make some webcomics for Tactical Solutions from pictures I take while attending Tactical Solutions.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Game Day Report: Fix Bayonets 2018

("Quarters 2" where Fix Bayonets has been held since 2010)


Last Saturday, I managed to have the day off--and--attend this year's Fix Bayonets game day. 

This event, hosted by Lawrence, a member of the Fort Steilacoom Historic Society has been going on for eight years now.

I attended the very first game day in 2010, but wasn't able to attend another Fix Bayonets until 2015.

At least this time around, it hasn't been a five year gap between these annual events.

Anyway, not only did I show up, but participated in two games, noted below, and will be the subjects of later posts.

For now, here's some pictures and overall impressions of the set-up and games I didn't play.

(The entrance, registration desk and the Bring & Buy)
The Set-Up & Gaming Schedule:

The entry fee was a $10 donation to the fort.  Just off to the right of the entrance, the folks from Stonehouse Miniatures set up shop.  Not only did they bring their own excellent model terrain, but they obtained about a dozen boxes of boardgames from an estate sale.

There were two gaming periods, morning and afternoon.

The morning events included:

1. Napoleonics, using the Black Powder rules, hosted by Dean.*

2. Colonial American skirmish, using Songs of Drums & Tomahawks, hosted by Kevin and David.

3. American War of Independence battle, using the Sharpe's Practice rules, hosted by Mitch.

The afternoon events were a more modern/alternate history and sci-fi fare:

1. A space battle using Star Wars Armada rules, hosted by Scott.

2. An steam-punk battle using the All Quiet on the Martian Front rules, hosted by Dale.

3. A WWII tank battle using the rules Whatatanker, hosted by Lawrence and Damon.*

(*Note:  Games I participated in.)

(The set up for the morning games)

All Quiet on the Martian Front:

(Dale setting up the Earthlings' defenses against the invading Martians)

Songs of Drums & Tomahawks:

Iroquois and Huron warbands come to blows in this game.

(Kevin & David setting up the game)

(On the warpath!)

(Kevin & Mark discussing their cunning plans)

(An Indian village--and plethora of game sheets)
Most, if not all, the figures and terrain for Songs of Drums & Tomahawks were made by Kevin, author of A Gamer's Tale blog.

American War of Independence:

(The battlefield)
Mitch used a stunning ground cloth made by the Cigarbox Battle Store, which helped win him Best Looking Game for the morning period.

(The British and Loyalists advance)

(The "rebel scum")

(Players listening to the GM)

(The British and Loyalists forming a firing line along the fence)

(An overall view of the battlefield)
Mitch, author of the West Sound Warriors blog, wrote a game report, of a similar, if not the same battle replayed during Fix Bayonets.

Star Wars Armada:

(Image by Dean.  The Rebel and Imperial fleets prepare for action)

I took over 200 photos, of which 160 were usable.  Most of these were divided between Dean's Black Powder game, and Lawrence & Damon's Whatanker.

These games will be the subjects of two upcoming posts.

That is--as soon as I sift through the photos, choose the best ones and concoct a coherent story.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Product Reviews: Mongoose Publications' Traveller, 2nd Edition

Several months ago, I stumbled across the Traveller Starter Set at The Game Matrix.

I can't claim I've been a Traveller fan since it's initial release, but I can say I purchased the little black box...

...containing the three little booklets...

...within three years after it's debut publication.

Since then, I've collected most of the subsequent editions, ending with the GURPS and "T-20" versions.

I've seen Mongoose Publishing's version of Traveller for the past decade, flipped through some books at game stores, but nothing really motivated me to buy anything new.

So when I bought the Starter Kit on a whim, I didn't think it would lead to anything significant.


This turned out to be the gateway drug to reigniting my dormant interest in Traveller. 

I was impressed by the production quality, because in the past, I've found Mongoose Publication's quality control to be hit-or-miss.  This is Mongoose's second edition of Traveller, and they've done a lot to bring the game up to date from "The 80s With Starships!"

Misgivings aside, and not satisfied with the Starter Set, I purchased the 2nd Edition Core Rulebook.

This in turn, triggered a buying spree of both old and new Traveller material, starting with the Game Master's Screen.

Classic Traveller (starts in the year 1105 of the Imperial Calendar) primarily focused on the Spinward Marches of the Third Imperium.  So I decided to revisit this sector by buying the The Spinward Marches Book...

...along with the map...

...the Spinward Encounters Adventures Book...

...and the Tripwire campaign.

Now here's where my misgivings about quality control became justified.  While 2008 Edition of the Spinward Marches got decent reviews, I thought a lot of readers were pulling their punches.

While the content in every Third Imperium publication I bought was good, I found there was a complete lack of editorial oversight.

Just about every page, in every book contained a grammatical or syntax error.

It's as if the material was written then sent off to Mongoose Publications without anyone bothering to edit or review it.  

The number and consistency of errors made the material hard for me to enjoy reading.  But if you're more concerned about getting material for game mastering a session than you are about the proper use of written English, then Third Imperium books won't be a waste of your money.

These mixed feelings didn't stop me from buying material on the Spinward Marches' "next door neighbor," the Deneb Sector

After reading through all the new material--and hoarding my money for new purchases--I decided to "take a look back" and buy material (now out of print) I couldn't afford to when they were initially published.

For that "big picture" look, my first purchase was the Fifth Frontier War (which erupts in the year 1107).

Since player characters, or "travellers" as they're called in the game, journey around in starships, I thought getting the games Brilliant Lances...

...and Battle Rider would add to any game session.

The rules to both games are complex and actually set in post-Imperial collapse of The New Era (which starts in the year 1116)--but the counters look cool!

It's 1105 again, and Mongoose Publications continues to make products set in the Spinward Marches, like the introductory adventure High and Dry.

In this book, the travellers are given the chance to find and return an abandoned starship.

However, this is a classic case of "easier said, than done."

Most of Mongoose Publication's attention seems to be focused on The Great Rift, a vast volume of space with very few star systems--and refueling points.

There's even "rift-version" of the High and Dry adventure--Islands in the Rift.

In this case, not only will the travellers have to find and return a starship, but they'll have to contend with intrigue and skulduggery in the Old Islands and New Islands subsectors.

 Overall, I'm happy with all my out-of-print and up-to-date Traveller purchases.

Now all I need is some free time to "travel" among the tabletop stars...