Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Hamburg Tactica 2019 / Sunday

The last couple of years I stayed at the hotel Superbude during the weekend of the Tactica, Germany’s largest wargaming convention.

Superbude

I like to have enough time to try several participation games without worrying about catching the train at night and the Superbude has very good waffles at the breakfast buffet.

The problem is that there is always a long line in front of the waffle machine and when I’m finally there I usually get scolded for pouring too much dough into the machine. "That’s too much. There are three signs explaining how this works. Here. Here and here." "I’m sorry." This makes me feel like a little schoolboy again. But in a bad way. Not like when you are playing with toy soldiers …



The Naval Battle of St. Lucia, 1778

On Sunday we played two games. The first game was a naval game, taking place in 1778 in front of St. Lucia, a Caribbean island. It was presented by two members of the tabletop clubs Dresden and Sachsen. Jörg played the British and had to take three cargo ships to the harbour. They were accompanied by several war ships. The other half of his fleet was coming out of the harbour to meet the French.

I was Admiral d’Estaing, the commander of the French fleet. I had to sink the cargo ships and had to board the British admiral’s ship. One part of my fleet was moving towards the British ships coming out of the harbour, the other part of my fleet was going towards the cargo ships.


The Naval Battle of St. Lucia, 1778


The table looked fantastic and the scenario was lots of fun. The only little problem the scenario had in our case was that the starting point of the French ships, moving towards the cargo ships, was a bit too far away, so that they couldn’t possibly reach them.

The game masters had decided to give the French this disadvantage because the French had won all the games before we played. This reminded me how complex scenarios for war games are. Changing a little thing might change the outcome of the game completely. Anyways. I had a lot of fun.



same game, different Instagram filter

Jörg won. He managed to manoeuvre the cargo ships into the harbour and even defeated the French crew that tried to board the British admiral’s ship.



The last game we played at the Tactica this year had attracted me because of its unusually beautiful terrain. Evi from Team Würfelkrieg had made the colourful landscape of a planet in the Star Trek universe with airbrushed teddy bear fur as base. 


Star Trek – Distress call from Camus II

We were four players together in a team. One player controlled a group of scientists in a base that was attacked by Klingons. The other players, including Jörg and myself, played various Star Trek characters, who had landed in the jungle outside the base and were supposed to secure an object in the laboratory.

The rules had many role playing elements. What I enjoyed most about the game were the various ingenious attempts of the player controlling the science lab to get rid of the Klingons. He was playing around with the gravity and air pressure in the section where the Klingons attacked, making them crawl on the floor one turn and fly to the ceiling the other turn, grasping for air.

In the end we beamed the device we were supposed to secure to the Enterprise.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Hamburg Tactica 2019 / Saturday

When Jörg and I arrived at the Bürgerhaus Wilhelmsburg on Saturday morning, there was a long line of people waiting in front of the doors to get a ticket for the Tactica, Germany’s biggest wargaming convention with about 2500 visitors this year.

To my surprise, Jörg ignored all those waiting and somehow entered without lining up.

I walked towards the parking lot, trying to find the end of the line, and met Alex and Michael, two wargamers from around Wesel, with whom I had played a couple of games last year. They told me about their latest project of building a western town and two gangs for "Dead Man’s Hand".

Inside the Bürgerhaus Wilhelmsburg I met Jörg again and we went around looking for participation games to play. The friends from Wesel had sparked my interest in the Wild West, so the first game Jörg and I played on Saturday was "Shootout in Dingstown".



Shootout in Dingstown

It’s a skirmish game written by Axel Jansen, available in German through the website: www.dingstown.de

The author presented the game himself. 
We were four players. Axel Jansen had prepared several scenarios and about ten gangs with six figures each, including Daleks and gunslinger women. 

We chose a scenario where two rivaling groups of bandits had to rob a bank and the representatives of the law - Jörg and another gentleman - had to stop them.

I played a gang of Mexicans which gave me the chance to practice swearing in Spanish. Chinga tu madre. Puto. Pendejo.

Initiative was going from figure to figure until every figure had moved and was managed using a set of playing cards.

The Mexicans were entering the town through a cemetery close to the bank. My first move was stupid. I only had one bandit with a gun, able to shoot well enough at long distance. After he missed his first shot, I became nervous and moved him out on the street, where he was shot down immediately.


I needed some kind of plan and asked Axel Jansen if I had access to dynamite. He allowed me to equip the youngest member of my gang with dynamite.

I moved the bandits to the back of the bank, using a water mill as cover. Señor Rodríguez, the boss, even managed to shoot a guard inside the bank through a window. Then I blew away the back wall, which also opened the safe and killed the bank director, and I could get away with the gold through the graveyard.

"Shootout in Dingstown" has a focus on simple rules and doesn’t need many figures to play. Axel Jansen had prepared a beautiful Wild West town and gave us many choices. I was lucky to play the game with a fun group of people, so it was a good start to my weekend at the Tactica.

I looked around and about half the visitors of the Tactica had already left. Maybe a lot of people only come to the Tactica to buy things at the flea market?



The mountain fortress of Karak Varn

The second game we played was a dungeon crawler run by a member of the club Kurpfalz Feldherren, using the ruleset Frostgrave. Each year this club presents one or two fantastic tables at the Tactica. I’m always amazed how they do it …

We were four players, playing in teams of two. Each team had a wizard, his apprentice and a couple of henchmen. The two wizards and their followers entered the dungeon from different sides and had the same objectives: take out some treasure chests, kill big monsters and the overlord of the dungeon. There were traps, random monsters and secret passages …

Although the other team was very competitive and had a strong barbarian, Jörg and I won in the end. I guess we were just lucky.

After eating some potato salad with sausages in the main hall, we played a third game in the afternoon, "Ghostbusters", presented by the club Asgard Aschaffenburg.



Ghostbusters

Their table was impressive. It had large buildings and a part of the New York canalization hidden in a drawer, with ghost crocodiles and a giant worm.

I was very curious about 7TV, the ruleset they used, which I had wanted to try for a long time. Our game masters didn’t have so much experience with the rules though. Nevertheless, the game was fascinating.


The gameplay of 7TV is structured by the metaphor of a film set. You imagine two things at the same time: the action itself and a film crew making a movie. This creates a certain distance and adds a layer of irony to the game.


7TV

I wonder how entertaining this game can be, if you are more familiar with the rules. And I would like to know if playing something like "Clash of the Titans" or "Pirates of the Carribean" could be fun.

While I enjoyed the two layers of imagination the game creates, Jörg found it overly complicated. I want to try the game again. Is anybody in Berlin playing this?

At night we went to our favourite Turkish restaurant in St. Pauli and had a glass of wine in the hotel bar. Around 11 PM I was so tired, I fell asleep playing Hearthstone on the iPad, a card game I have been playing too much last year. (If you want to add me as a friend, my BattleTag is: zinnling #2975.)

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Goodbye Google+

I spent a few sleepless nights last week, staring at the computer screen until my back hurt, looking through my Google+ contacts before they vanish.  

It reminded me why I liked the gaming communities on Google+ so much. Fortunately most people have blogs or Instagram accounts where they publish their thoughts and pictures now.

I started to use Google+ in 2015, a bit reluctant at first, basically because it was pushed on you by Google if you had a blogger account.

The first thing I did in Google+ was post links to all my blog posts, a rather technical process.

I slowly started to find people on Google+ who posted interesting things about games.

Then I read in a forum how you should give your images meaningful names, instead of naming them bild1, bild2, bild3, etc.

The forum doesn't exist any more and I forgot its name.

I renamed all the images on my blog and - this was probably my biggest social media fail so far - deleted all my Google+ posts, because the images on my timeline had disappeared after I had renamed them, and then I posted the links to my blog posts on Google+ again.

At the same time I was discovering the rich OSR scene and various fantasy illustrators, miniature painters, sculptors and old school gamers. And I learned how most people involved in these communities don’t like spam on social media platforms and ads on blogs. (Playing around with AdSense was my second mistake, I guess. I’m sorry.)

Although I participated in the One Page Dungeon Contest, the Thought Eater Essay Contest and the Monster Man Contest, and even opened a Dragon Rampant community, which had seven members when I last counted, I stayed at the fringe of most gaming communities on Google+.

I like to be at the fringe of society, I guess, even at the fringe of fringe communities.

ginger bread space marine 1

ginger bread space marine 2

My most popular post on Google+ were two ginger bread space marines which I posted in the Warhammer 40k community in December 2015. It received 35 likes and a few kind comments:

"Merry emperor's day!"
"Nice chapter colors! 😀"
"Really nice!!"
"10/10 would devour."
"biscuits good enough for the emperor himself"

Thanks again.

Apart from sharing links to my blog posts, which I regularly did, and some recommendations of other people’s posts, I wrote a few genuine posts for Google+.

Here they are. All ten of them.


13.04.2018

I just broke one of my favourite coffee mugs, washing the dishes.


02.10.2017

I found a replica of a Greek or Roman bust in my aunt's house. Anybody know what it is?


25.05.2017

Krüger, a friend of mine, made a power klaw out of green stuff. It's his first go at green stuff. I quite like it.


29.04.2017

my daughter Lina writes a text for the One Page Dungeon Contest



14.12.2016

Drinking a Capp Dop America Latina and reading a Greek grammar book on the ferry from Naxos to Athens.


26.04.2016

drawing a map for the one page dungeon contest


29.01.2016

Some nights ago, a black cat crossed my way, right in front of my legs. It ran from left to right or right to left. I don’t remember. This morning, I had to stop my bike because of two men carrying a coffin. They had transported the coffin in a shabby car which was parked on my right side and walked to the cemetery on my left side. According to traditional superstitious beliefs, is this good luck or bad luck?

Evan Hughes: I'm very sceptical of superstitions, like most Sagittarians.


03.09.2015

"Alle, die böse sind, haben eine leuchtende Hose und können fliegen."

Evil people, according to my son.


30.06.2015

piñata


























27.04.2015

Μύθος


Wednesday, 27 March 2019

One Page Dungeon Contest

three endless quest books

A few weeks ago a parcel arrived from Waynes's Books with three D&D Endless Quest books:

#1 Dungeon of Dread
#5 Revolt of the Dwarves
#6 Revenge of the Rainbow Dragons

My kids got these books because they wrote a dungeon for the One Page Dungeon Contest last year and received an honorable mention.


dungeon of dread

I found a translation of Dungeon of Dread on Ebay which my daughter is currently reading. Die Höhle des Ungeheuers.

This year, the deadline for the One Page Dungeon Contest is on May 1st.

Lina, Hendrik and Joaquín are already excited, thinking about another dungeon ...

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Three Mud Huts

3 mud huts

Over the holidays I made three more mud huts.

And my daughter made a house for a goblin sorcerer.

Happy New Year!

paper mache house

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

A Mud Hut

mud hut

After a long summer break, I just finished the first of eight mud huts I'm currently working on. It's painted and varnished now. Ready to play. 

Walls and roof are made of papier mâché, with stripes of coloured paper added for the straw on the roof. The door frame is made of green stuff.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

A Three-Player Dragon Rampant Game

the Greeks from Kalimera

At the end of May, my cousin came to Berlin for a weekend (because it was my birthday) and we played a 3-player Dragon Rampant game.

We tried a variation of SCENARIO G: INTO THE VALLEY OF CERTAIN DEATH. The players would gain glory points by moving their units from one point of the table to the opposite side. Starting and ending positions were defined by drawing 3 lines of the same length that crossed in the centre of the table.


I placed a lot of area terrain on the board, representing forests and a swamp. When a unit entered a piece of area terrain, we tested if the terrain was dangerous. Although there was a 50% chance for terrain to be dangerous, this time no dangerous terrain was encountered.

The game was turn 15 of our Waltrop campaign. The idea was that the Orcs, the Greeks from Kalimera and the mysterious Aquarians led expeditions into the jungle where they accidentally met and fought. The winner was supposed to get a hexagon in the middle of the jungle.

Krüger played the orcs from Waltrop:

Elite Foot (Leader) / 2 Bellicose Foot / Light Foot / Heavy Riders / Light Riders (Short Range Missiles)

I played the Greeks from Kalimera:

Elite Foot (Leader + Enchanted Weapon) / 2 Heavy Foot / Light Missiles / Light Riders (Short Range Missiles) / Scouts

And my cousin played the Aquarians: 


Elite Foot (Leader) / Greater Warbeast / Bellicose Foot / 2 Light Foot / Scouts

(The Aquarians are ancient Greeks with access to magical creatures, like harpies and minotaurs. They live on the Saganakia islands. One day the Greeks from Kalimera will figure out how magic works, I hope.)

All three of us moved their faster units forward early on in the game to reach the other side of the table. All these units were destroyed.

After that, everybody was more careful. Actually not much happened anymore and nobody won. We stopped after three and a half hours to go to a restaurant.

I like this scenario for 3 players, but we have to change the victory conditions and how terrain works a bit, so we can have a more interesting game next time ...