Saturday, 6 June 2020

Gaming in May 2020


Blood, Bilge and Iron Balls

17 May - Battle of San Domingo, written up here.
27 May - Single ship action, written up here.

It's been an age since I've done any wargaming, so I was pleased when I finally got my act in order to do some solo naval wargaming (a very long-term aim!).

As I've been reading about the C17th and C18th navy recently, I pulled out Blood, Bilge and Iron Balls, which is an age of sail (well, Napoleonic) set of rules.  It's a nice, simple set of rules, without the complexity which is the bane of naval wargaming.  Way back in 2014 I took part in a play-by-post game, which I enjoyed (there's some eye-candy in the blog archives if you want to look at it - Clint, the host had some rather nice models he set up for us).

Wanting to do a fleet action, but wanting to keep it manageble, I played using the order of battle for the Battle of San Domingo.  It was a learning experience, but BBIB plays well.  I'd like to master this before I try any of the more complex rulesets.  I'm going to have to do a bit of work making my own aide-memoire before I play again.

Sir Henry Fearless
 in command
On 27 May I cleared the decks (well, the kitchen table) for a quick ship-on-ship action, with two 38-gun frigates meeting.  It was a bit of an eye-opener, showing how the draw determining the turn action can seriously affect the outcome.  The British figate was completely out-classed.  She had lost two masts and three-quarters of her effective crew, with damaged steerage and four fires.  Her captain had no choice to strick her colours at the end of the six turn - without having fired a shot!  

A demonstration of superior French seamanship and gunnery.


  • 3 May - Call of Cthuhlu
  • 8 May - Dark Sun
  • 17 May - Melcher's Vale
  • 22 May - Dark Sun
  • 30 May - Gordon's Alive!
  • 31 May - ODD Sci-Fi

Call of Cthulhu: Forget-Me-Not

3 May

RIP Charlie
Well our Call of Cthulhu game came to an end.  And it was suitable climatic.  Our party of investigators from the tv programme 'The Supernatural Files' finally got to the bottom of what had happened in the Cooper House and met the Big Bad.

It didn't end well for the party or for the world as a whole (upon which we unleashed a great evil).  My character Charlie was likened to the cook from The Shining: he spent four weeks trying to get back into the action only to meet a particularly interesting death (but not before killing a cop and developing a new form of madness).

This was my first taste of Call of Cthulhu, which I'd been wanting to play for some time.  I enjoyed it a great deal, helped of course by being among a fine group of players and having Andy Goodman (a master of the art) as a Keeper.  I certainly would like to play again.  I know the contemporary setting isn't typical of CoC, and might want to try something a little more jazz-age and pulpy next time.  That might yet happen.

Episode 4: Lung-Flesh and Toad Gods which we played on 27 Mar is now on-line.

Dark Sun/Dying Star

8 May.  Written-up here.
22 May.  Written-up here.

Met a beastie...
This fun campaign continues.  We completed our first job, but have been comissioned to do a follow-up that involves high matters of state...

The Black Hack2/Melcher's Vale

17 May

This was our last venture into Melcher's Vale for a while.  Having run an average of two sessions a week for the last six months, Dave wants to rest and rethink.  He promises to take us back once the creative juices have refreshed.

Lady Elvira
This session focused on one of the patrons we have been dealing with - Lady Evira Bund.  Two of us - my character Bolton and a fighter called Bodar - had fallen under her shadow.  We'd been feeling rather drained of late, developed an aversion to sunlight and an appitite for spiders.  Perhaps to boost our spirits, Lady Elvira had annonced a masked ball at which we would be welcomed fully into the Bund clan and 'the most ancient form of nobility in Shroudwick'.

Well, we were shocked (shocked!) to discover that the Bunds were really vampires.  Bolton and Bodar received Lady Elvira's 'kiss' and were turned.  We were then invited to drain the blood of a victim to complete our initiation.  As these victims were our companions, much to-do followed.

In the end the Lady was killed, leading to the destruction of her followers (Bolton and Bodar escaped this fate as they hadn't completed the ritual).  Having been Turned, Bodar fled the mansion, and drained the lifeblood of the first passerby he met (fun was had with random NPC generation).  He has completed the transformation and is now completely a vampire (though without a without a sire - does that make him a Ronin?).

Bolton, who had been caught in a web, didn't complete the transformation.  Unfortunately, during a skirmish with the Bund retainers he was staked and turned into a pile of ash (a one-in-six chance once he was reduced to 0 HP).  However, one of our party has a pot which will re-incarnate the soul of a cremated being...

Dave has indicated that if the resurection pot is used, Bolton's soul might end up transmuted into Stuart the Monkey Porter.

Gordon's Alive!  (ICRPG)

30 May

I played Ditmo, robotman

Another one of Pete the Dragon's one-shots using the very playable Index Card RPG system and using a nifty virtual table top (I thought the images Pete selected were particularly good).

In this one Andy, Spencer and I were prisoners of Ming the Merciless on our way to a life of servitude in the Radium Mines. During our inevitable escape, the rocket-ship we were in crashed into one of the swamps of Arboria.  What will our heroes do next...

Cracking fun!

ODD Sci-Fi

31 May - Written-up here.

And on the last day of the month we started a new game, the first episode in a new campaign.  This was a sci-fi adaptation of the Electronic Bastionland ruleset.

Dave's pitch is
  • The core worlds are owned by the corporations.
  • The savage frontier is inhospitable. Adapting to life on the fringe means becoming something not quite human. You have to go into deep space to get anywhere. Some parts are better travelled than others, but all the same deep space warps people in terrifying ways.
  • There was an ancient race of alien precursors. Their technology was far superior to ours, but that did not stop them from being utterly destroyed.
  • You are damaged goods.
  • You have incurred a colossal debt and have a share in a spacecraft.
  • Now get trucking
The rag-bag crew of the Bastion took up a contract from a collector to extract an alien artifact from under the noses of one of the mining corporations.  There was a distinct frontier feel to the game, this session being book-ended by bar fights.

My character was a mutant with an uncommonly fierce firearm.  I picture him as Jayne Cobb with chicken feet.


  1. That all sounds spiffing. Skim read, it could all be one mad game...

    1. Wow, that would be a fun trip!

      But yes, I suppose they do all have the common theme - weird stuff WILL happen.


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