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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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.

2015- a few project ideas

Looking back on my plans from this time last year I can see that I only achieved one of those goals and that was only in the final week of 2014… still I consider those projects still on the go. However some new things have caught my interest….

Firstly I’ve really enjoyed both painting and gaming with the Gladiator figures so I think I will get a few more ancients figures for some skirmish games, no more than 20 a side to keep it simple. I’m drawn to Thracians as they are my favourite tribe and they have plenty of potential for gaming scenarios. Will pick up them and some Celts first probably.

Secondly I’d like to play in more campaigns. The Gladiator one was great fun and I’m keen to start the Ludos one (previously we only played a single gladiator). I’m running a PBEM WW2 game for Brian and Evan and hope to do some more in the future- possibly with other people too.

Thirdly I’d like to do more SF gaming- quite what and how remains to be seen, probably skirmish games possibly RPG, I’ve always had a fondness for the Post Apocalyptic genre but I seem to be revisiting the Cyberpunk literature of my teenage years so maybe something along those lines.

That should keep me going for a while. See what I pick up when I sell some old stuff and visit the forthcoming shows.

Cheers,

Pete.

Invasion from Mars Megagame, Leeds 13th April.

Last weekend, Brian, Chris, Evan and I headed off early to Leeds’ Royal Armouries Museum for another of Jim Wallman’s excellent megagames.

This time the scenario came from ‘The Universe’ a setting that Jim and others have developed out of a continuous 18 years of game play. The colony of New Cydonia, home to 5 island group and corresponding factions, has been at war for some time with the militaristic ‘Democratic Republic of Cydonia (a militaristic dictatorship) had started a two front war against the ‘Diggers and Miners Collective’ and the ‘New Cydonia Colony’, to the north the ‘Independent Development Association’ and ‘North Continental Company’ watched with concern as the conflict threatened to escalate. The escalation was in the form of the Martians who were heading to the colony to sort the situation out for their colonist in the form of the ‘New Cydonia Colony’.

For more detail see the ‘history’ page here: http://www.theuniverse.org.uk/

Brian, Evan (in his first megagame) and I all played military commanders from the DRC, rounding out are team was the President for life- played fantastically by Tim Campbell. Chris was orbiting the planet in the space station that functioned as the colonies trade link to the rest of the galaxy.

The central game map.

The central game map.

Evan and I started the game engaged on two different continents with somewhat depleted armies, whilst Brian stayed on the home island as our reserve. The game played very simply, plan write orders, then carry out all moves on the main map simultaneously supervised by the control team. Evan and I started fairly aggressively trying to expand our initial gains with a view to a better position for our President in the anticipated peace talks. Evan pulled of a clever outflanking move by using his Sea lift assets and did quite well though without making contact. I however ran straight into the NCC counter attack and in the ensuing encounter battle came out very badly (Whilst stronger on paper I was weaker in air assets especially Air Superiority fighters with shot down all my CAS assets.

Whilst I was licking my wounds the Martian fleet had been sighted in Orbit, knowing I was number one target I withdrew my forces, giving up some ground admittedly, to the cities to protect my logistical tail.

Organized chaos on the DRC table.

Organized chaos on the DRC table.

Whilst this was going on the President was running around doing some pretty crucial deals and agreements with the other player factions, none of us were privy to what was going on, we simply briefed him on the situation, planned, then tore up the plans when he came back after negotiating an advantage for us which meant our planned offensive had to be scrapped as it would upset his deal… all good fun.

However he couldn’t do enough to stop the Martians invading in force. Using Orbital bombardment they attacked all three of our forces and landing en masse to face mine, cutting me off from my escape route.

The massive Martian invasion force, you may be able to make out the discrepancy between our relative strengths on the counters.

The massive Martian invasion force, you may be able to make out the discrepancy between our relative strengths on the counters.

At this point with my forces cut off, out of supply and having suffered heavy losses I was offered terms of surrender by my opponent on the NCC. The defence Minister offered free passage for all of my men if I left all my heavy equipment behind. whilst I tried to nail down the specifics of the deal the offer was withdrawn (I was stalling as I didn’t want him to take all my AFVs which I knew he didn’t have). Still like I said at the time we are playing a war game not a surrender game. Therefore my alternative was to conduct my own little ‘Operation Dynamo’, as my three naval flotillas had escaped the initial Martian attacks.

I managed to get two tank divisions and one mechanized division off in my boats, the rest off the men who couldn’t make it off in the boats, stripped all the light weapons from their vehicles, blew up what they couldn’t carry and headed to the hills as Partisans to harry the NCC’s supply lines and allow the rest of the army time to escape.

My own Dunkirk

My own Dunkirk

In all I hadn’t done very well- the Martians were several orders of magnitude more powerful than I, I had gone in with a Corps and came out with little more than a brigade… As I sailed back to my home island, being attacked from orbit, I pondered my fate, with my army in tatters I was effectively out of the game. The invasion of my home Island was a distinct possibility but one that was out of my control, would the remnants of my force be used as a last ditch defence? It was some comfort that I had managed to dint the Martians, against all odds my Guerrillas had shot down some of their ultra high tech fighters.

Meanwhile, as I floated back feeling despondant, President for life had pulled of anamzing piece of bluff and diplomacy and managed to get us off the hook by compling a dodgy dossier that blamed the Diggers… sound familiar, which neatly deflected from the fact that we had launched an unprovoked war of aggression….

Hostilities were wound down and the Martian stopped trying to wipe us off the map from Orbit, we almost got away with it but we were rumbled on our faked evidence. Sent home with our tails between our legs we had to re build our country and economy. Both us and the NCC paid a heavy price in treasure in our exertions.

As far as the game Universe is concerned we played an infinitesimally small part, and a part of the game’s history that had been and done. Some 50 years after this scenario was set the planet becomes a full colony of the Martians.

Oh any my Guerrillas that I left behind? They were such a stubborn thorn in the side of the NCC that they were eventually paid off and bribed to leave their continent.

All in all another classic day’s gaming. All the players and control team made the day great fun, with an interesting scenario mixing high level military planning with political dealing. I’m looking forward to the next one later in the year… WW2 in the desert.

Cheers,

Pete.

A quick overview of my projects so far.

As stated I’ve set up my blog to try and get my projects in order. They’ve grown quiet organically over the years and have got slightly out of hand…. Over the years I’ve kept a list of all the figures I’ve got (fortunately I started when my collection was pretty small) as an aide to writing scenarios; this was when I moved from playing Rapid Fire to skirmish level games. Additionally I’ve managed to keep almost everything in 20mm/ 1:76/72 scale. That way I can get the most use out of the scenery I’ve amassed.

Rapid Fire was the rule set that got me back into play historicals after years of GW games and dabbling in Napoleonics. It’s a decent system but it plays better the bigger the game you have. As I’ve never got the chance to have a table bigger the 6 foot by 4 it turned out not to be the best system for my needs, hence me moving to more skirmish based games: first Crossfire, then Red Poppy White Feather, then Arc of Fire now we seem to be giving Nuts a try.

One of the early decisions I made was to concentrate on the Eastern front- I figured it would give me more gaming options than any other theater: you can get infantry, armour, amphibious, winter, urban and partisan etc actions all with one set of figures. over time this has been expanded to include some of the minor nations too. However I couldn’t leave it there- so I started to look at the Italian theater too, some late war Brits and Americans to go with that. The late war stuff I’ve got plus the Russian vehicles and guns will also work for Korea so recently that’s been an area I’ve been looking into. Talking of Korea I’ve got a modest collection of 1/600th aircraft.

Vietnam films have always been a big favourite of mine So I’ve got a modest collection. I’ll be using the new Force on Force rules to game that.

My modern collection is quite disparate- plenty of stuff for Chechnya, bits for the cold war, lots of stuff for Afghanistan (1979- present really). Modern gaming really seems to be growing at the moment lots of new companies are releasing ranges for it – most seems to be based around the aforementioned FOF rules, though bigger games with a modern modification of Rapid Fire seemed to be being played too.

Other than that I seem to be getting a WW1 collection going too- the Emhar tanks are lovely, and the early battle before the trenches were dug appeal too.

Following work I did on my BA I’ve developed an interest in the Franco Prussian War- I’ve picked up some figures cheap but I’ve yet to really decided what I’m going to do with them.

Also in 28mm I’ve got a cheap German Army for Secrets of the Third Reich, and my old Necromunda gang Is lurking somewhere in the Shed….

so this is where I’m up to so far. Like I say it really needs some organizing and direction.Especially as I’ve got more ideas fermenting away too.