Monday, December 28, 2015

The 12 Games of Christmas Continue (2015 Edition)

Although I have been off work since last Wednesday, I have been lethargic with respect to wargames. I have no updates on that front. However, the 12 Games of Christmas has continued. Here are the games we played since my last update:

We were in the mood for something quick on Wednesday so we pulled out Carcassonne.
The final board
We have already counted pieces
Here is the final tally. I'm blue and my wife is yellow. It looks like I'm ahead, except that Elizabeth lapped around twice while I only did it once. That makes her tally = 50 + 50 + 12 vs. my tally = 50 + 46. Too bad for me.

Dead of Winter
Because of family stuff, we did not play on Christmas Eve. However, we decided to try out a new game on Christmas night. It was my gift for Elizabeth - something befitting the season. Yep, a zombie game.
Box cover
Because there were only 2 of us, we played full co-op (with more players there is a possibility that one is a traitor). We succeeded in our mission, although we lost 4 characters along the way. I guess Edward and Jenny will need to work together to re-populate the earth.

Our characters are at the bottom.
Only Edward and Jenny remained alive
We also played Saturday with my brothers. Things did not go so well. One of my brothers was the traitor but we kicked the wrong one out of the colony. From then on, luck turned against us and we ultimately succumbed to the zombie apocalypse.

Speaking of Dead of Winter, here are a couple of related YouTube videos:

Castle Panic
My wife was tired but Tommy wanted a game so I pulled out Castle Panic and played solo (I controlled 2 hands). It turned out to be a tense affair. Early in the game, I felt confident, even though a large enemy horde was approaching, I had a bunch of knight and swordsmen cards so I expected to winnow out the attackers. Then successive plagues struck and my forces were depleted. The enemy broke through, destroying a couple of towers.

I rebounded, and managed to whittle the monsters down. At the end I was down to a single tower while the Troll Mage made the final, desperate assault on my castle, It was approaching the castle grounds and there were no walls to stop him. Bur then a swordsman and a hero joined forces to cut down the Troll Mage. The castle was saved!

The tense ending

Ticket to Ride
Tonight, we pulled out the Nordic Countries version, which my wife calls the Christmas version because of the reindeer on the box cover.

My wife was purple; you can see her expansive routes below. I had already completed 5 routes and was close to completing another 2 (worth 10 points each). I only needed to claim a short segment for each of the remaining routes but Elizabeth ended the game. As a result of having incomplete routes, I lost 20 points! She handily defeated me 110 - 76.

And Another Blog
Instead of playing wargames, I've been spending my mornings writing another blog - this one devoted to LARPing. It tells the story of my LARP character from a first person perspective. Although I only have a few posts published so far I have written another half dozen. I am just trying to spread out my posts.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Year in Review - 2015

How did 2015 go for my gaming? Let's review.

The year started off with the Grayrock Revolution in full swing.
Nieuville - rebel victory
Hargrove Hill - Bluderian victory
Kramer's Crossing - rebel victory
Hemlock - rebel victory
Hemlock witnessed the decisive defeat of the Bluderian forces. Grayrock had won its independence! (and I finally finished a campaign!)

I started a new horse & musket campaign (the Tweenwater War) but I only played one battle. I did managed a simplified version of Waterloo in memory of the 200th anniversary.

Waterloo - One Hour Wargames style
I began an experiment with block armies but that fell by the wayside when I discovered Magister Militum's 3mm miniatures.
A Redgravian block army
A Zamundan block army

My 3mm Bluderians
I was so impressed with the 3mm figures that I sold off my 2mm and 6mm horse & musket figures.

I then went into a little lull, until air combat sparked my interest. I developed a 1930s-style fantasy world called Aetheria. The evil Empire of the Iron Fist invaded the nation of Lucrania, resulting a large-scale aerial battle.
Aerial battle over Osmar Mountain
I played one more game in the campaign but have stalled. I managed to rouse myself to complete another campaign, Lothar's invasion of medieval Meditera.
Lothar's invasion is defeated
Since then, I've played a lot of Star League and blogged about my new LARP kit.

In my eyes, one of the highlights of my blog this year is this picture of my father from his Air Force days.

With that, I'm winding down this year. I may get some games completed over my holiday but I'll post them as I go.

Prognostication Check
In January, I made a few prognostications about what was in store for 2015? How good a soothsayer was I?
  • More Board Games - Yes. Family Game Night has become a regular feature in my house. In fact, I bought my wife a board game for Christmas.
  • Sci-Fi - No. I was totally into sci-fi at the beginning of the year, but as usual GADD struck and I moved on to other things.
  • Francesia - No and Yes. I predicted that my horse & musket campaign would languish but I completed the Grayrock Revolution. I did actually predict that I would complete my medieval campaign.
  • LARP - Yes. I may not have done as much as I expected in January but I did post more about it.
  • Fewer Posts - Yes. By a little bit. I'm still posting regularly but I haven't been playing games just for the sake of blogging, which was my rationale why I expected to post less.

Friday, December 25, 2015

For Unto You

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11 KJV)

May Christ's peace be on you on this blessed day and every day.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

12 Games of Christmas - 2015 Edition

My holiday vacation has not yet begun but we have already started this year's version of the 12 Games of Christmas. So far this year we've played the following:

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my wife's surprise victory in a game of Courtier. She was able to pull out 20 bonus points that gave her the victory. On Sunday I was able to turn the tables on her. After we tallied up the completed petitions she had a 31-26 lead. However, I had control of the Senate, which gave me 10 bonus points and the victory.

The Senate card gives me the victory.
On Monday, I once again rallied for the win. This time, my wife completed her 9 objectives, triggering the end game. In my last turn, I completed 2 objectives (circled below) for 10 points.

My winning objectives
Last night we pulled out Dungeon. I played the warrior and was doing pretty well, amassing about half the treasure I needed. The cleric had hit a rough patch, losing a couple of melees so I was feeling pretty confident. I went into battle against a gargoyle, needing a 5 or better on 2D6 to beat it. I rolled a 3. Then I rolled a 12 to see what happened - DEATH! My character was gone and my treasures lay in a pile in the chamber.

I started a new character - a wizard. This was a mistake because I needed 30,000 gold to win. My wife had got back on a winning streak and was nearing her goal. I rushed to the chamber where the warrior died, defeated the gargoyle, and recovered the treasure. It was not enough to win so I had to search for more. By this time, my wife amassed her fortune and was headed to the door.

The board at the end
 I was too late. She made it out and won the game.
My wife's haul

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Another Distraction

I am definitely in a wargaming lull and instead find myself distracted by LARPing and video games. Well, a new distraction has arrived:

My wife has been wanting a Playstation 4 so I got one for he birthday, along with Fallout 4. So now I am wandering the wastelands of the Commonwealth.

Monday, December 7, 2015

More LARP Kit

Following up from yesterday, here are some more items I'd like:

Gambeson / Jerkin
The game I play (Amtgard) allows cloth "armor" so I have been considering a padded gambeson or leather jerkin for additional in-game protection. Here are a couple I have my eye on:

  • I think this jerkin is more English Civil War era but it will look fine for a fantasy ranger. From Outfit4Events.

While a hood is sufficient from a character perspective, I would like to protect myself from accidental head shots. One idea is a padded coif, like this one from By the Sword:

I would like some face protection, too. I just haven't figured out a good helmet for a ranger. Perhaps a fencing mask or MMA mask under a hood. Those can be a bit bulky, however. I still need to ponder this.

Bow and Arrows
A ranger needs a bow. I don't need anything fancy for Amtgard; an inexpensive starter bow should be sufficient. PURCHASED

In Amtgard, we don't go around shooting standard arrows at people. Instead, we remove the arrowheads and pad the tips. I could make my own padding, but it's easier to buy pre-made ones like these from Gorg the Blacksmith: PURCHASED

Last but not least I want some hand protection. I have my eye on some MMA gloves available from Warlord Sports. They are not strictly medieval but I like that they have open fingers (easier to use the bow that way) but will still protect the back of my hand, which is the most likely spot to get hit. PURCHASED

Sunday, December 6, 2015

My LARP Wish List (Basic Kit)

A while back, I mentioned how I am changing my LARP look to correspond to the changes with my character. My goal is to look ranger-ish, somewhat like this:

Here are some ideas for my basic kit:

I was toying with the idea of getting a sleeveless surcoat, but I am now leaning to getting a standard tunic. And there is none better than Linengarb's tunic (short style for me). I currently have one in white:
Me in my Linengarb tunic
It is hands-down the best piece of garb I ever owned. I'd like to get one in green.

Or tights. I have a pair of modern tights in black but I want to get these (in brown)

From Kult of Athena

I have shoes but they have hard leather soles, which are very slippery in battle. I'd like to get a simple pair of fantasy boots, like these (again in brown):

From many places. The pic came from HistoricalClothingRealm
I could also use a new belt. Kult of Athena has a nice one for a very reasonable price but they always seem to be backordered.

No medieval outfit is complete without headwear. My preference is for a nice hood. Linengarb used to offer a nice one (I have it in red). I'd like one in dark green or dark brown. If I can't get one from them, Revival Clothing has a nice one.

From Revival Clothing
Aside - Revival Clothing has a lot of nice stuff, albeit a bit pricey for my budget. Some day.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Victory Snatched from the Jaws of Defeat

Today, Family Game Night featured a round of Courtier between my wife and me.

Courtier board
Picture from
Courtier is a card/board game of influence peddling in the Renaissance-like city of Tempest. Players play cards to put down tokens on the various members of court (on the board). By gaining influence in the court, you can fulfill petitions, which earn victory points.

I thought I was doing well because I had completed a few high-point petitions. When the game was over, we counted up our victory points. Sure enough, I had a sizable lead - 42 vs. 23 points.

But wait, there was more. Due to controlling the artists (the Culture area of the court), Elizabeth had racked up 7 VPs that I had not noticed. She also had another 3 from a card she had played during the game. Finally, she controlled the Senate at the end of the game, which gave her another 10 points.

If you're doing the math, you'll know that the final tally was 42 vs. 23+20 = 43. She edged me out by a point! ARGGGH!

Anyway, congratulations to my wife for a surprising but well-deserved victory.