A Shot Heard Around the Universe- the megagame.

A couple of weekends ago I was in Leeds for the most recent Pennine Megagame offering ‘A Shot Heard Around the Universe.’ This was an original offereing by Tim set in a universe of his own creation. Imagine a series of inhabited systems at the edge of a galaxy owned by a distant but powerful empire, the systems are feeling hard pressed due to increasing taxes and feel a little forgotten… the whiff of rebellion and secession is in the air.

Being a space game I decided to volunteer my services and provide some 3D props to the game. I thoughht if every team had a model planet it would not just add to the visual element of the day but a physical representation to identify with would help team immersion in the game.

The models were surprisingly simple to do. Once I found some polysterne balls (and one ping pong ball) of the right size I mounted them upon bamboo skewers and primed them with a tick coat of PVA. This was to give the balls a bit of rigidity and well as give the paint something to stick to. Expanded polystyrene can be difficult to get paint to adhere to at times.

I got a list of the descriptions of the planets from Tim and put the base colour and basic continents on with a brush. After that it wasa simple job to shade the planets by dabbing on various complimentary colours with a bit of sponge, blending it all together whilst wet. The final touch was bit of white sponged on those planets with seas to represents clouds. I didn’t go to excess here to keep the underlying detail.

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After another coat of PVA to seal them I made some stands for them with cut down pens and air drying clay.

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Once all set up on the large game map I thought they looked pretty good and added to the day.

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My role on the day of the game was being kept very busy running the espionage map on a side table. The board represented a mixture of physical and conceptual areas on each of the planets and the security agents moved around the nodal map conducting operations. It certainly through up some interesting situations in the game, the system worked fine but some of the values need reworking. One player did out manoeuvre the rest with skillful play- can’t remember the last time I had a player so successfully Machiavellian.

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Cheers,

 

Pete.

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Watch the Skies Megagame at Birmingham.

I know I said I’d do this post earlier this week but I’ve been full of cold and snot….

 

Friday night saw me headed down to Birmingham with Paul to act as control for his version of Jim Wallman’s CLICKY ‘Watch the Skies’ which he was running through his own Story Living Games CLICKY rather than Pennine Megagames CLICKY. For those of you not in the know ‘Watch the Skies’ was the megagame that really catapulted the format into the hobby consciousness when a video was made by the you tubers ‘Shut up and Sit down’, they went to the first run through of the game that was put on by Megagame Makers CLICKY. The game spawned several sequels by Jim, getting bigger each time. The game is available to buy through gym and consequently many games of it have now been run around the world.

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Paul had altered the backstory and a few of the mechanics for his run through but having not played any of the earlier iterations, or seen and of the original game materials I can’t comment much on what the differences are. Five countries were played in the Birmingham game: Germany, Russia, China, Brazil and the USA along with a UN team, a one- man band press team and a two player Alien team. The basic story was that the Aliens had been using Earth as a testing ground for researching diseases and were coming back to see how things were progressing now that Humanity was developing space flight. They were to assess mankind to see if it was suitable for inclusion in the Star Federation, an Ofstead- ing of humanity if you will, this was to be accomplished by setting tasks for the players to do (not that they knew they were being watched in such a way). Parallel to this a demented Scientist at the WHO was trying to off a third of humanity to save it, mild mannered World Health Organisation by day, leader of the 12 Monkeys by night sort of things. In between this there were all sort of wars and confrontations between countries, shoot downs of alien saucers, trade deals and other typical megagame activities going on.

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My job in all this was to run the science game. Each country had a science player who was to research different technologies to aid their team. This was done by spending research tokens to buy playing cards then placing runs down to advance down the tech tree. Once they had got to the bottom that technology was available to the team. Every other turn the science players voted between themselves to award a Nobel prize for the best research that year (turns were 6 months long).

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After a slow start due to a lack of funds, it cost money as well as cards to progress down the tech tree, the players quickly got into the swing of things and co-operation rather than competition seemed to be the order of the day with the players swapping cards to help each other quite freely. Actual completed technologies were swapped much less frequently and co-operative researches rarer still, the joint US/German/ Brazilian space station very nearly came to fruition by the end of the game.

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The scientist had a secondary task to try and cure the diseases spread by the demented WHO scientist (played in our game by Tom). To do this Paul used the mechanism from the old logic game mastermind CLICKY; it proved to be a popular addition distracting President’s from important UN business on one occasion.

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The game ran really well, smaller ones often do- we had 25 players and 4 control, everybody seemed to really enjoy it. In the customary post game summing up the alien pair went last and delivered their damming verdict on humanity: requires improvement. They would return in 18 months with new challenges to test us again.

 

After the game it was the usual decamp to a local pub to talk through the games events and relive the highlights with the players.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

More on near future combat….

This evening I’ve been catch up with my emails and blogs after a busy weekend doing megagame stuff (see tomorrow’s post for the details) and this popped up on my radar:

http://madsciblog.tradoc.army.mil/38-the-multi-domain-dragoon-squad-a-hyper-enabled-combat-system/

It is a fascinating post on how the American army is trying to cenceptualise future combat, a tricky thing to do at the best of time.

What makes the post useful is it provides a hypothetical platoon organisation which, convientently for me, features 12 soldiers, the same number I’ve just painted up.  See my previous post here. I just need to get 4 futuristic looking jeeps, 8 quadripedial robots (I’ll scour the 15mm science fiction ranges for something suitable) and make 12 drones. Given the small size of the drones I’m thinking of scratch building them from tile spacers. It would give me a strong consistent 4 armed base to build my quadcopters on. I think I trip to the hardware shop is in order.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Some Elhiem figures.

I’ve painted up some example of Elhiem’s [clicky] work that I’ll share with you. One of the good things about Matt the guy behind Elhiem is that he is very responsive to customer requestsd and suggestions, he has a Facebook page just for to post ideas to. The first group of figures is one that I said I’d be interested in when the idea was broached an a now defunct forum.

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This are men and women in suits, ideal as bodyguards for some VIP. I painted their clothing a fairly light grey to contrast with the dark weapons; unfortunately the silver paint for the mirrorshades didn’t worth that well, I may yet got back over it with black….

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This next group is 12 near future/  SF Amerrican types. Wearing full face helmets and advanced armour, they have exo- skeletons to give them a boost. It is a nice touch that only the LMG gunners have the exo- skeleton extending down their arms.

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To distinguish the different fireteams I painted each group of four’s guns different colours: here we have the ‘greens’…

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… the ‘tans’…

 

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… and the ‘greys’. 

 

There are some suggested rules for near future tech in the recent Osprey rules Black Ops so I will dig those out to. Also revisiting the novel Ghost Fleet should provide some inspiration for games.  I found this video too that gives me some ideas. I’ve got 12 near future Russians too to paint up so they’ll have some potential opposition. 20mm science fiction figures are rather thin on the ground so these area nice addition. I wouldn’t mind some more poses for both ranges, Officer and NCO types would be useful as well as some with rocket launchers of some kind….

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.