Monday, 13 May 2013

Those three small words/were way too late.

With sincere apologies to the participants, especially Other Chris who came all the way from Leeds for the game.

I was doing some housekeeping of the files on my Android tablet when it occurred to me that I never did get around to doing the battle report for the Big Birthday Bash 2012.  I'm not sure what it was at that time... the stress off real world events, a touch of ennui perhaps?  For some reason I just never got around to pulling the pictures off the tablet and posting them here.  Whatever it was, it's long past time to put that right.

I can't really give a full and proper battle report, given the time since we played memories of the game have started to get a little fuzzy.  It was, however, GASLIGHT business as usual, with our usual houserules (as published previously on this blog).

The view of the battlefield from behind the German lines.  This was another battle in the "Invasion England" narrative thread used to tie all our GASLIGHT games together.  It was a fairly standard meeting engagement between British and German forces, with a little surprise up the GM's sleeve.  Buildings are a mixture of resin rural buildings, converted HO model railway buildings, and of course the splendid Amera church in the centre of the table as the parish church of St Lucy On the Knees (an in-joke name that I certainly WON'T be explaining on this family-friendly blog)

The view from the British side.  I don't think there were any major new vehicles or figures used in this game, at least by the main combatants.  As usual everyone got a freshly rolled Main Character each, and the two sides got to divvy up the forces I assigned them however they saw fit.

I seem to recall that traffic jams were the order of the day, with the British starting out in a lovely column that rather went to pot when vehicles at the front failed their Sustain rolls.

Both sides had plenty of cover in the early part of the game, with the Germans having to navigate the built up area of the village (which probably had a comical, punny name, now lost to eternity)  The converted HO buildings seemed to pass muster as well, not looking too out-of-place alongside 28mm figures.

If this picture is to be believed, it looks like the Germans made it to the strategically important railway crossing first....

...while the British forted up in the churchyard. 

First blood?  Certainly the first in the pictoral record.  We used the destroyed markers made with tea-lights, which still looked fairly effective in the well lit room.

It was at this point that our friend Crazy Eddy arrived, late for the game.  But the cunning game organizer doesn't merely cope with such inconveniences, he actively seeks to exploit them for the enhancement of the game.  SO cue the arrival of....

The Evil League of Evil, having hijacked the 10:20 to Bumford, with orders from Dr Vesuvius to secure some priceless antique from the church.  The Brass Coffin and ThunderHammer Tank were loaded onto flatbeds and would take a turn to dismount, but the squads of Minions in the carriages were able to immediately fire into the German rear, much to the Huns' consternation.

And lo! It shall come to pass, that whenever gentlemen gather to play GASLIGHT, and both sides haveth steam tanks, always shall there be one bugger who seeketh to ram into the other bugger.

I really like how the Amera Church came out.  It makes a pretty impressive centrepiece on the table (though not as much as the Ministry Building) for a fraction of the price of resin (or even laser-cut MDF)

Meanwhile, the train disgorged its greatest threat... IRON MEN!

This was the first time out using the new Engineer figures for the Iron Men, actually Ironclad Naval Bording Party figures with swords and pistols.  I had originally planned to replace their swords with huge, outsized wrenches, but in the end my modelling abilities let me down and I painted them up straight.  The Iron Men wreaked their usual havok, but not before the Germans had a chance to whittle down the Minions who were also dismounting.

One of our house rules is to give vehicles that have failed Sustain a +1 bonus to Start for every failed Start roll, and we used these markers made from tiddleywinks and watch parts to show the "bits that fell orf" during each failed attempt.  The British made most use of these, as I remember.

The leader of Eddy's Minions fell in single combat with one of the German Main Characters, who proceded to wade into the Iron Men's engineers.  Without direction, those mechanical man-monsters were rendered inert.

Our morale house-rules in action, with half the British unit falling back and the other half running.  This I remember working as desired in the game - it meant that a failed morale check was a nuisance without scattering the unit beyond the point where players felt it was recoverable.

And on the vehicle side, although the Prussian Armoured Pullman (Scheltrum) survived being rammed by the small tankette with only negligible damage, the resulting failed morale check saw it u-turn and retire at flank speed....

...although the tankette's victory celebration was somewhat short lived.

The overall result of the game?  If my memory serves me right it was pretty much a tie.  The British held the churchyard, but were facing the heavy firepower of German Landships & Walkers that meant they might not be able to hold it for long.  I think I need to work on better victory conditions for the scenarios I put on, since a lot of games seem to grind to a halt with neither side having the clear advantage.

I believe that everyone had a decent enough time, including the aforementioned Other Chris who'd finally managed to come all the way from Leeds to join us for a game, and a couple of chaps from MAWS who were playing with us for the first time (Adam and James, IIRC... You still read this blog Adam?)

I've had a specific request from someone to put on another game this August to co-incide with someone else's birthday, so that's probably going to happen.  I'm hoping we might get a smaller game or two in at home before then though.


  1. Excellent report and absolutely love the way you have painted our Church and hope to share on facebook. Like the ministry building not many other versions on the web! Andrew the designer very impressed Jane from Amera

    1. Thanks Jane, I really enjoyed working on the church and am really happy with the way it came out. I'm sure someone with a bit more modelling skill could work wonders with it, but even with just basic drybrushing & a little creative flocking, it really came alive. My compliments to Andrew.

  2. Great AAR and eye-candy as always. =)

  3. looks like a really cool game, has a lot of charm in the scenery and forces used. and it convinced me to buy GASLIGHT, as i've been playing with Valor Steel and Flesh, but i wanted fish around and see what other rules there were.

    1. I got Valor Steel & Flesh as a possible alternative to GASLIGHT, but right away ran into a big dealbreaker. The rules assume all land vehicles move at the same speed, all air vehicles move at the same speed etc.

      Personally I think GASLIGHT and VS&F are more alike than unlike, and both good rulesets but with slightly differing premises. VS&F. was written to reflect Bob Charette's Paroom Station setting. GASLIGHT was written to be as wide-open as possible, which can sometimes be a bit of a weakness, and capable of handling large multi-player convention style games. I really don't get the claim by some that VS&F. fixes everything that's "wrong" with GASLIGHT.

      If you're looking at other rules, give FUBAR VSF a try. I gave it a few tries last year and for a free one-page ruleset it gives a pretty good game. I'm also looking at other rules again. Triumph & Tragedy, Through The Mud And Blood and indeed VS&F are all on the reading list.

    2. Very informative, i will have to give FUBAR's VSF a try, as i use it for alot of my smaller scale and generic genre games already so the group might be more receptive to a steampunk version to get more of them into wonderful colonial adventures!

      While we are giving that a try, i'll save up the funds for the GASLIGHT compendium, as you've piqued my interest.

    3. Just had a look now after seeing your post on VBCF. The game was cracking fun, cheers for putting it on.

      How's it going?

    4. Hi Adam

      Things turned pretty awful in real life not too long after this game, which is one of the reasons I dropped off the radar a bit. But I'm gradually getting back on an even keel again thanks.

      You'll have to give me a shout next time you're doing VBCW at the club so I can come and heckle. I can bring me own silly hat.

  4. Aye, just looked through your earlier posts. I'm sorry to hear that, mate.

    I'm working on some VBCW stuff after a bit of a hiatus so should be some extra minis knocking about for you to do more than heckle.

  5. Interesting site, I shall enjoy coming back lots and reading everything :-))