Welcome to my blog, the story of my continuing journey into the World of Zombie Wargames.

Monday 30 July 2018

Adventuring with Ben

I was lucky enough to entice my mate Benoic (Ben for short) into visiting me for a game of something or other and as I had "Jimland" all ready to go he chose to chance his luck in the depths of adventure.
Ben had read a couple of my own adventures, so had a general understanding of the rules and plumped initially for a three man party, led by a prospector, "Edward Winsor" (he chose to name his characters, as mine, from the streets where he had lived in the south).
So with $317 in hand he led an expedition of three explorers, the leader (Prospector), a Scout (John Coalway) and a Hunter (Mark Phillips), a soldier, five Askari and nine bearers (all laden down with food), he set of along the south-east coast from Jim's Landing into "Terra Incognito"
So rather than give a blow-by-blow account of his adventure , as I have done, here is a picture account of his first expedition.

 Through, heat, an animal attack, a mysterious disappearance and a poisoned plant, the column is swiftly depleted after a mere three days."
The depleted column, after a mere four days!
The first encounter in the swamps! (three pygmies bottom centre left)
and more unfriendly pygmies to their rear (bottom right)
The column prepares to fend off the upcoming attack.
The natives close in on the column
...from both directions
The swamp may be their saviour
The familiar sight of bearers seeking safety.
The rear firing line, as the pygmies keep coming.
One pygmy bites the dust (erm, swamp?) and a wandering croc is wounded, whilst hand to hand fighting breaks out (top centre)
Slaughter everywhere, but the pygmies are reduced to 50%
Only the Hunter a an Askari survived the debacle in the swamp, but could things get worse ?
Well, yes they did, the Askari was found to have fled the next day having heard drums in the night!
After being lost in the swamp,  on his way home the now leader of the expedition and sole survivor, John Coalway successfully made his way home.
John Coalway's route
So with his return to Jim's landing, his less-than-successful adventure was over, but Ben had seemingly thoroughly enjoyed it., so much so that he wanted to undertake another adventure immediately. (which, of course, I was happy enough to do

So that's it then for this week, needless to say I had fun playing against a real-life opponent as the natives and I'll report of Ben's second adventure in Jimland next week.

Thanks for taking the time to visit and as always your thoughts,  questions and comments and greatly appreciated and welcomed.

Monday 23 July 2018

Pirate Treasure Hunt (Part 2)

Where the yellow and cyan lines cross, marks the spot to dig for treasure..
In my last post my Pirate crew were headed towards their objective of a treasure site and as it wasn't completely obvious how and why they had the objective, here's a more detailed explanation.
Mt crew were following two clues, "the Treasure lies in a line East-West of the Monkey God" and "the Treasure lies in a line North-South of the Cairn" (from the two clue cards I drew).
The photograph on the right shows where the treasure could lie, from the first clue card about the Monkey God in yellow).
In light blue is where the treasure could lie in respect of the second clue, about the cairn.
Where these two lines intersect will be where the treasure must be,
The crew triggering another Event.

My crew were headed eastwards towards the rough ground, just north of the Cairn where the treasure lay.
Another  Event card had to be drawn

These were predetermined as being only spear armed.

So my crew had a fight on their hands, it just remained to determine where the Natives were (16 inches a random direction from the centre of the square).
"Great, they're behind us!"
"Great, we're behind them"
So the next bit should have been easy, a quick in-sight test (I was using my version of THW rules), charging, shooting and hand-to hand, reaction test etc.
Unfortunately I'd all bu  forgotten how THW rules work (and the odd times when they don't !).
In this situation I had two crew facing rearwards with pistols, so were out of range.
I threw for initiative. which according to the rules, if the Pirates win then they duck back, they are out of charge range and pistol range of the natives.

The Natives on the other hand, if they lose the initiative, must also duck back!This certainly needed looking at.
The fight starts
Moving on, the Natives won the initiative and charged the pirates, the pirates go their two pistols shots off, before being enveloped in Natives spear.
 After the crew reacted and joined in. one pirate had been forced back and one killed as well as one native.
Two more natives and another pirate fall
 After two rounds of melee the Natives morale failed them and they fled the scene, allowing the pirates to carry on eastwards toward the rocky outcrop (and yet another Event)
The first mate (bottom left) fells the Natives' Leader.
Onwards towards the treasure site and another Event...

...which was the Shamanic Beads, to be given to Umbopa, if encountered
The event turned out to be an item, which helps in the interaction with a character.
The a counter is put on both the card and the character that has it.
Captain has the beads and two crew dig up the Treasure.
So there can't be any events as I don't move from this place until the treasure was dug up.
Once dug up, I needed to dig out some treasure chests (one of the many things I forgot)
Luckily I had some half-finished chests  handy
And of course, with the treasure came two new clues.
The treasure has to be in the Lonely Grave!
Cross-referencing the Lonely Grave East-West line (it's on the top row), with its North-South line, means the treasure is in the Lonely grave.
We set off westwards, to the column the Grave is in , then Northwards, meaning we would have three more Events before we could dig up the treasure!

West, to where the crew had just come from...
...then North towards the Lonely grave, triggering a new Event.
Another item
Another item, another pair of counters (blue this time)
Moving North to the sallbit of jungle and yet another event...
Yet another Item (yawn)
Through the jungle...
and out the other side to...
...the Lonely Grave  and another Event.

The Event turns out good for us.
 A quick "meet and greet" later and my smooth-talking captain convinced the woman to help us read the runes on "Lookout Rock" (with the aid of the flowers she'd obviously just dropped in the forest).
 We dug the treasure up, and backtracked with the woman south, then west towards "Lookout Rock"
"Yo ho HO etc."
With just the Captain and 1st mate not carrying any treasure, our journey to "Lookout Rock" was merely for curiosity.
The runes were read and the treasure too far for us to contemplate going for - there were after all, three groups of natives out there still to be encountered!
Walking over ground we'd previously trodden meant we'd get no more Events and so I called the game there and then.
The idea had worked, but would have been far better of course with two or more crews. Eight crew was probably not enough to get two treasures and fight the natives and another crew (or two!)

So, what can I conclude from this venture ?
Firstly the game worked as proof of concept, the cards etc. worked fine and as expected.
The Event cards, which were really an afterthought, worked but need a little more thought as they were put in place to substitute for another pirate crew. They could of course be put into a stack and drawn each turn, perhaps on the result of a die roll, thus not having the ;safe; avenue of retreat ?
My smoke markers for those that need to load their weapon.
The size  of force and forces to be met, need tweaking and I should really sort out rule interpretations as the THW rules didn't really cut it, despite my best efforts.
Having all the relevant bit to hand would have helped - how do you signify when a figure has fired and needs to reload before he shoots again ? I used some cotton wool 'smoke' on 1cm square bases (re-purposed) and two can be seen in use in one or two of the photos above.
 Finally would I play this again?
I would, but I would like an opponent and would have to have  simplified rules.

My latest acquisition - for about £6 from Hobby Craft
I've also acquired this :

It's a card cutter, that puts those neat rounded corners on cards.
The more observant amongst you will see that the 'used' cards have rounded corners whilst those still to be drawn have not.
As the cards were laid out before I purchased this I cut them as they were drawn.
 As an aside, I've also re-cut all my "Jimland" cards and rounded their corners too - with some not-too surprising results, which will be explained in more detail in the future.

So that's it for this this week's post, one which should have been posted on Friday last, but like many others real-life reared its ugly head and thwarted my best efforts to post, despite being 90% finished! (the dog ate my homework too).

Thanks for taking the time to read and as always, your comments are both welcomed and appreciated.

Monday 16 July 2018

Pirate Treasure Hunt (Part 1)

      Map borrowed from the Interweb
This last week saw me make an attempt to show proof of concept for my Treasure Hunt ideas.
The rules were fluid, some being made up on the fly for things I hadn't thought of, but these were few and far between.
This will be a fairly long, picture-heavy post (sorry), as I try to show each step of set-up, some thoughts and the game itself.
The setup requires the playing area to be figuratively divided into a number of areas, with an equal amount horizontally and vertically.
Although I think squares are preferable, rectangular areas are also usable.
The imagined grid
So for my game I imagined my area (approximately 40 x 40 inches square) to be divided into 5 x 5 squares, each with a side of of about 8 inches.
The very poorly done photoshopped effort shows (just about) how I imagined it.
I next put a plastic "bush" in the centre of each imagined square. for reference and although not 100% necessary, I found it useful.

Plants to show centres of squares
 Next up was the placement of the treasure hunt tokens(see here) that are the features that the clues are based on.
Placement can be done in any order, but for this trial run I wanted "Lookout Rock" in the central square. The others were placed by dice roll, with the proviso that only one token can be placed in each row or column.
All the tokens and terrain placed.

I selected the first 'column' of squares and diced (1 to 4, avoiding the central row where "Lookout Rock" was)) to see where the "Rusty Anchor" would be placed .
I threw a '2' and thus placed it in the second row, removing the bush in the centre of the square
This was repeated for the remaining three tokens.
From the top row to the bottom row, then we have "the Lonely Grave"; the Rusty Anchor, "Lookout Rock"; "the Monkey God" and finally the "Rock Cairn" I also placed four small jungle pieces and three rough ground pieces randomly, then scattered all my 'grass' bits.

Four pairs of counters for objects that can be found
Next up was sorting out all the bits and pieces needed for the game;
Twenty Event cards (left) and ten "Treasure" Cards (right)
The four needed Characters that can be encountered,
My "crew"; Captain, 1st Mate, 3 crewmen with muskets, and 3 with cutlasses
Four groups of Natives, pygmies etc from my Jimland  stuff
The four animals that can be encountered
Game starting set-up with my crew in the SW corner of the table..
Next up I laid out the twenty  Event cards in a grid representing the table, 1 per square, except for the four corners and the centre square.
These would be removed and acted upon as the crew entered each square.
The five pairs of 'clues" were shuffled and laid out in two piles, one containing North-South clues, the other East-west clues. One pair for each Treasure token.
 All the  needed items were placed within reach and my crew put in their corner starting position. (I  would find out later I would need more)

The concept for this game was pretty basic, you initially get a pair of clues for the location of the first treasure; successfully digging it up gave you the clue to the second treasure, encountering a character may give you access to a third treasure or it could be reached by reading the runes on "Lookout Rock" (which took time).  (This was one of those instances where I was almost making stuff up as I went along.)
My two initial Treasure card clues (bit obvious really)
So before I could set off I needed a part of clues to where the treasure was. Taking a card from each of the treasure clue piles I got these two cards, shown on the right.
It was  one row up and on the fifth column from where we started, so quite a trek!

Monkey God at the top, Cairn bottom left and the treasure site in the bottom centre (ish)
 My crew's first move would be towards the Monkey God and although I would pass through three squares, it was fairly obvious to me that I would only trigger the Event in the Monkey God's square.

Onwards, ever onwards....
Die showing Monkey God square's Event Card
 Taking the event card from that corresponding to the Monkey God square gave me this:
Great start (not)
Quick die roll determined who it was
but he saved " (Needing a 5 or a 6)
Having survived the spear trap, my crew headed east to the dig site, during which we would activate three Events.
Crew moving East
Next encounter:
Quicksand and I had nothing to represent it !
Die roll to determine who it was that was caught in it!
Added a quick bit of black-stuff for the quicksand !
He was quickly rescued (Rescuers needing to pass 2d6 against Fitness)
So, with the crew once more intact we would head east towards the rough ground with the treasure site.

And that dear reader is where I'm going to leave it for this post as it's getting to be quite a long post as it is and I've got about as much again to post up.
As I was playing through I did think that it bore a distinct similarity with "Pulp Alley" games, though in those games the players know where all the plot points (read treasure sites)  are beforehand.

That's I then for this post, but maybe not for this week, as currently I'm intending to write up the rest of this scenario to post in Friday! This is quite a diversion for me, having two posts in a single week, but I also have a back-log of four "Jimland" adventures to post about.

Once more, thanks for taking the time to visit and as always your comments are both welcomed and appreciated.