Megagmunda: The megagame.

Back in the mid nineties when I was doing my A levels I used to play a lot of Games Workshop’s Necromunda game and over the years I’ve read a bit of Judge Dredd, although I’ve never been a massive 2000AD fan, so when the mash up of both of these SF universes was added to the Pennine Megagames Calendar I definately wanted to play.

Megamunda, a mining planet,  was divded up into four citi tables over which the gangs fought for control of the seedier parts of the economy whilst the miners were in town to spend their hard earned cash. The five gangs (Troggies, Neon Knights, Cosmic Punks, Van Der Saars and Bandidos) had a representative in each citi who had to fight for control on a hex map my placing countrol counters down and fighting for turf. There were a large group of judges who tried to keep law and order on each of the citi tables, above them were the Governor and planatary wide level. To complicate matters further the mysterious Inquisitions were present doing secret things.

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I was asked by Philip, the game designer, if I minded being put with a group of first time gamers to give them a bit of help if they needed it. I didn’t mind at all so was given the role of the deputy gang boss for the Bandidos. At this point you may have noticed that some megagames have adressing up element to them, something that I’ve never really gon for myself but given my miss-spent you as a goth/ rivet head/ industral fan dressing as a SF gangmember was something I could easily do. Sadly most of my clothes from 20 years ago no longer fitted but I still had all my spiked arm bits and what not so I dug them out. I also got a friend of mine to shave my head into a mowhawk  and dye it yellow (The bandidos gang colour), I figured it would be getting into the spirit of things.

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The game went really well. As deputy gang boss I wasn’t fixed to a single table but could chat/ scheme/ form alliances with the other gangs as well as sort out the money for the Bandidos. This meant I collect was the citi level bosses took each turn and then bought resources, different cards, for them to use in the game. These cards were sent through the central hub and there was a chance of them being intercepted by the judges and anything illegal confiscated. Gang members in each different citi could also trade cards this way too. The gang bosses could also hangout in the wastelands and play gamble for game cash. I’m not the betting sort, at least not with games of chance, but when introduced to Liar’s Dice a game of bluff and deception I took to it straight away and found I was quite good at it. I won 2/3rds of my games and got some good stuff for my gang.

The game cards were fun and you could set up some good combinations with them. We were planning an offensive against the Troggies in one of the citis so used card to spy on the assets and steal the best ones before we launched our, successful, attack against them.

We entered an alliance fairly early with the Van Der Saars; we agreed to not fight each other and help out in fights if needed as well as passing along any items that the other side wanted. I’ve read enough H P Lovecraft to be suspicious when they asked for any old books that we came across…. I did get pulled in by the Inquisition for an interrogation to see if I knew anything about the missing governor, any heretic or any xenos on the planets. I didn’t voice my suspicions about the Van Der Saars but after I was let go I wrote down my accusation on a piece of paper. I kept it handy, if I ever felt that we were being betrayed by the Van der Saars I would have slipped it to the Inquisitors.

The team I was with for the most part really enjoyed their day and they wee agreat bunch too. Only one of them seemed not so keen. At the end of the day we had achieve 2 out of the 3 (and probably the 3rd to be fair) objectives we had been given as a gang which was as much as others so that was pretty succesful.

It was a great day, and a nice change to get to play a game too. For a first game it worked very well. A few tweaks could be made to the design but they’d mostly be nitpicking.

 

Apologies for the paucity of pics- my phone camera isn’t the best and most came out blurry.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

 

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And now for something completely different: 40K Chaos Cultists.

I mentioned in a previous post that I had been gifted a box of the rather nice new Van Saar gang figures for Games Workshop’s Necromunda. I want to do a good job painting them so I thought I’d get my eye in on some other GW figures first. To this end I bought one of the cheap packs of Chaos Cultists and gave them a go.

 

You’ll notice I based them on washers- I’m not a fan of the big lipped bases.

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I’m pleased with how they turned out; I went for drab muddy colours trying to get some feel of the whole ‘blanchitsu’ things. Was good fun paining Sci Fi figures- like being 12 again. In fact I’m looking forward to doing some more.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Future plans… ideas brewing.

Now that a couple of weeks has past since my Case Blue ’42 megagame I have recovered and can start looking to future projects.

I’ve hada chance to look at the feedback from the game and, with one exception, it is all positive. That is really gratifying that so many people enjoyed the game. As for the less than glowing feedback I know what went wrong and how to fix it in the future. Either way it hasn’t put me off running more games. I’m not sure if I’ll do another big game next year by myself or as co-designer but I’d like to help in a supporting role to someone else; a few ideas have been mentioned that I’m looking forward to helping out with… watch this space. The year after I’m looking at developing a 1919 post WW1 German Freikorp  game with the nascent Wiemar republic struggling with both internal and external threats. I was rooting through a pile of books today looking for something else and found a few that will be useful for research purposes so have left them somewhere accesible (OK there are currently a trip hazard).

I was thinking that given all the resources that I have made up for Case Blue it would be a shame just to have them sat in a box for ages so I put my mind to thining what I could use them for. The feedback on the game said that the core mechanics are solid but just need a few rough edges rounding off, a second or third large scale run should do that. The obvious thing would be to use the maps to game Operation Uranus (the Soviet winter attack that encircled Stalingrad) and possibly let the Germans attempt to relieve Paulus and his troops stuck in Stalingrad.

The decision to be made would be should the game start with a roughly historical set- up or one extrapolated from the end of the megagame? Given that players on both sides were arguing over who exactly won it could be a controversial choice… Doing it has a half sized game with 20 or so players would be an easy enough proposition.

Another option for using the components could be do stage something of a prequel: Karkhov in May 1942. Most of the units could do duty there but I would need a new map. It has a lot to offer in that it saw a large and argueably overambitious Soviet attack that caught the Germans unaware that resulted in some very large tank battles. The Germans did rally and inflict a heavy defeat on the Soviets but would it go that way in a re- run. I should dig out the excellent David Glantz book I’ve got on the battle and have a think.

Given that none of the players or units got onto the Stalingrad map in Case Blue ’42 I thought of a nice way to use the map. I’ll develop a Stalingrad urban combat game to take round the local wargames shows to drum up some interest in Pennine Megagames and what we do.

Moving away from megagaming I’ve some other plans too: a VBCW game set within Huddersfield with all the players nominally on the same side but with hidden agenda; this will probably end up being  a RPG/ commitee/ map game mash up. I’ve written up a scenario for a multiplayer game of 5core: Brigade Commander that I’d like to try, nothing too big- probably 7 players or so. We’ve all collected so much stuff in a short period of time it would be nice to see it all being used at once. I’d like to run a Vietnam campaign at a skirmish level based on actions against the Ho Chi Minh trail, be nice if I could integrate low level air and ground gaming in that one.

I cat sat for friends of mine last weekend (seven rescue cats, some with health issues, and a snake) and they very generously got me some Necromunda figures as a thank you so that will be a project for the next few weeks. I hope that I enjoy the new version as much as I did the original. I bought some GW Chaos Cultists to have a practice with so I can get back into the swing of painting that stule of figures again. I’ve had a hankering for doing some sci fi gaming recently so the Van Saar figures scratch that itch nicely. I’ll mix them in with some of the nice Copplestone sculpts that are still available from Moonbase and North Star that I’ve long coveted.

Well, that turned out to be a longer post than expected guess I had more ideas than I thought. Best get cracking.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

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.

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.