Monday 21 December 2020

Gaming in Lockdown: Pulp Alley - Arctic Adventure

 My next trial of gaming with Zoom was using Pulp Alley (and thus a smaller table) but with a slightly different webcam set up and a different opponent.  As he also owned a copy of the cards he drew from his deck for his hand and any perils etc. for me whilst I did the same at my end.

I deployed a team of Nazis (“I hate these guy’s…”) under the sinister Dr. Stalhelm accompanied by a team of Gebirgsjaeger.  My opponent fielded a team of “stiff upper lip” Brits from the Long Range Arctic Survey Group (LRASG). This had a couple of unusually tough academics, the Leader, Professor MacInnes accompanied by Dr. Kennedy with two military types and a couple of Inuit guides.  Our tale continues from their perspective...

Scenario 1: The Crash Site

Some unusual rumours of strange lights in the sky have been emanating from sources in the arctic circle. The LRASG have been dispatched to investigate. Aided by two local guides, Kallik and Allatok, the team approach a site of possible significance...

MacInnes reaches one wreckage site but slips and tumbles into a crevasse. However, he managed a soft landing so no damage done. Meanwhile the first Nazi minions reach some wreckage, but can’t seem to explore without experiencing serious hazards which prevent the search.

Dragging himself from the crevasse, MacInnes successfully negotiates the wreckage and locates something of interest a short distance away. The Inuits move toward the Nazis while the rest of the LRASG spread out between the two closest wreckage sites. The Nazis continue a very unsuccessful search and Stalhelm has to jump away from some falling wreckage.  The Inuits move in on them. One of the Nazis, Weber, exchanges fire with Allatok.

MacInnes moves towards the item he identified in the snow and ice. He successfully negotiates the treacherous ground and shifting visibility. He is loosening it from the ice… 

At another site, Dr. Kennedy gets a bit disorientated in the swirling snow. Nearby while the Nazis continue with a frustrating search, Allatok and Weber exchange fire again and both are hit and injured. Another Nazi, Schneider, opens fire on one of the LRASG’s military types, Lt. Baylis.

MacInnes keeps working to free the item from the ice. Suddenly, he takes a hit from Nazi gunfire and is stunned. Baylis fires back to no effect. Meanwhile Dr. Kennedy finds his way back to the wreckage, makes a search and the ice shifts under the wreckage which is in danger of falling through into the lake below. However, Lt. Booth, (the Brits’ other military type) successfully locates another item of interest himself. Another of the Nazis, Muller, shoots Kallik who fires back, but he goes down too. Baylis shoots Schneider, but he dodges.

MacInnes finally frees the item from the ice. It’s a cache of “Top Secret” documents! But the Nazis also have some luck with Schmidt successfully discovering an injured crewman. Booth and one of the Gebirgsjaeger, Fischer, exchange fire. Baylis brings down Schneider while MacInnes and Stahlhelm exchange fire. Elsewhere, Kennedy successfully discovers an experimental bomb sight. Booth closes with Muller and gets into a punch up, but Booth gets knocked out cold (quite literally).

At this point the two sides disengage as the wreckage shifts and slips below the icy surface the frozen lake. A success for the Brits who recover two key sources of information but the Nazis leave with the injured crewman.

Having retired to safety the LRASG review the material they recovered and discover something interesting...

Scenario 2: A Secret Nazi Base…Where Else?

The recovered documents lead to the LRASG being tasked with recovering the aircraft’s inventor and destroying the Nazi base testing the new aircraft.

Approaching from some woods the Brits use the trees to mask their approach and their smoke grenades in order to reach the gate, allowing them to despatch the sentry. Miraculously, the remainder of the base remains oblivious. However, it all kicks off when MacInnes is forced to shoot a guard dog which attacks them and Baylis shoots his sentry/handler. They move toward a group of huts while Booth and Dr. Kennedy move along the fence to discover something interesting. The alerted Nazis get out of a truck and move toward the nearby huts.

Kennedy and Booth successfully locate a wire cut hole in the perimeter fence. Someone else has already broken in! Then both the LRASG teams converge on a stack of supply crates. 

Two Gebirgsjaeger, Fischer and Muller, push toward a plane on the airfield while Schmidt and Booth exchange fire in the location of the huts and crates. Both shrug off the near misses.

MacInnes discovers explosives already on the crates and lighting the fuse, sprints away.

Then the LRASG spot something interesting in a hut near the gate whilst the Nazi, Fischer, attempts to deal with a bomb on the fuel drums near the plane, but fails.

Fischer is electrocuted as he tries, inexpertly, to deal with the booby-trapped explosives on the plane. Fischer goes down! Meanwhile MacInnes and the remaining Nazis exchange furious fire. Muller is trying to disarm another bomb in the far corner of the airfield, at a fuel dump. About to attempt it he suffers misfortune and Muller falls injured.

Fischer recovers to disarm the bomb on the plane, but unfortunately for the Nazis Muller again fails. Fischer however gets up and removes the explosives from the plane. MacInnes blazes away at Schmidt, who goes down and joins Bush and Kennedy in cover close to the gate. Kennedy moves to a position near the gate to get a better view and sees the inventor! Dr. Stalhelm lurks in the proximity…but Booth engages him in fisticuffs.

Finally Booth manages to land a blow on Dr. Stalhelm and rushes to the gate. Both MacInnes and Dr. Kennedy both open-up on Dr. Stalhelm and also escape. While the Nazis try in vain to deal with the explosives, they detonate, destroying most of the secret Nazi lair!

Tuesday 8 December 2020

Gaming in Lockdown: Zoom and the Battle of Fatehpur Redux

 With us being unable to gather to game face to face I decided to try to run a tabletop game over Zoom.  To make life easy I run a scenario we had run before, the Battle of Fatehpur, using Sharp Practice and only 2 player.  I set up two laptops (an actual upside of having to have two for work), one at each end of the table and used my phone both to talk and use for close ups including some photos:

Generally the game worked pretty well, all things considered, but the image quality wasn’t quite good enough for the remote player to see everything on the table.  Having the remote player knowing the rules, the scenario and making their own dice rolls certainly worked so I decided I would have another try but on a smaller tabletop - but more of that in another post!

Monday 7 December 2020

Skirmish 2020 - France 1940

With Covid-19 making itself felt in the UK and just before we went into full lockdown we put on our last game of the year at Skirmish in Sidcup.  The theme was France in 1940 so we chose to put on a Chain of Command game using the Blitzkrieg 1940 supplement.  Here are a few photos:

A Panzer II doesn't fare well against a Char B1!

Sunday 6 December 2020

Twilight of the Sun King - Round 2

We decided to give Twilight of the Sun King yet another outing back in the days before COVID - this time something of a pick up game: 

Saturday 5 December 2020

Perilous Island - Chapter 6: The Forbidden City

The insurmountable walls of the ancient Enochean city loom high over the mutated jungle plants. Amazingly advanced for an ancient civilization, the obvious influence of technology beyond their time, adding more to the mystery.  

Our adventurers have the inescapable and unsettling feeling of being watched.  An inhuman cry ripped through the  silence, shattering hardened nerves like glass. What manner of creature could make such a savage sound?  

Having put together the clues and pages of Darrow's journal they had discovered our heroes see that he described a weird ritual for unlocking the cyclopean gates. If in fact he made it this far, Lord Darrow must now be inside the city... 

Having completed the ritual a pale greenish-blue light is emitted from what our explorers had thought was simply a statue.  With a terrible creaking and grinding this apparent Guardian begins to move and our heroes must defeat it or evade it in order to get beyond the gate.

Slipping past the Guardian Dick O’Donnell is first through the gate with his companions swiftly followed by Biggles and his friends leaving General Zorn at the hands of the Guardian and their shouts and screams fade behind our heroes as the great gate slams shut. The once majestic city lies in ruins. At the end of the grand thoroughfare an unholy temple pulses with an evil glow.  Reading the journal reveals that this must be the Temple of Ba’al Enoch! 

Suddenly Lord Darrow stumbles from the entrance of the Temple. In his arms, he clutches a glowing orb.  It must be the substance used and worshipped by the ancient Enocheans, the stone glows and pulses with unimaginable power. 

Strange ghostly vapors lash out from the stone and are absorbed into Lord Darrow's being, each wracking his body with crackling energy.  Once a man of proud stature and reputation, the twisted form that staggers towards you is a mocking parody of Darrow's human existence. The air swirls about him crackling and gaining substance, whilst it remains visible, his face contorts with rage, fear, and pain as he screams. 

“You should not have come. It is too late for me.   Go now! You all shall be destroyed...” With each word Darrow's body gradually dissolves into the swirling form. In mere seconds, the horrific transformation is complete. “I am the Thrice-Damned Wanderer!”, he bellows in a strangely ethereal but deafening voice. 

Everywhere around our heroes the very elements of nature are being torn asunder, as they bend to the Wanderer's will. Now is the time to act and there is not a second to spare... 

With most of our heroes being showered in a veritable deluge of flying masonry or being struck by bolt of strange lightning from the heart of the Wanderer only a couple managed to struggle to the top of the Temple to confront the horror.

In the end Biggles manages to wrench the orb from the heart of the maelstrom, the reverse-transformation is almost instantaneous. Lord Darrow collapses into a heap, crippled by the ordeal. The sight of his daughter, Elaine, brings a human quality back to his eyes as he breathes his final breath. 

With Lord Darrow's passing, the orb ceases to glow and within seconds crumbles to dust. As if the crumbling orb were a death rattle, the island shakes violently, and ashen smoke billowed from the volcano! Our heroes flee for the shore and finally sail for safety as the island disappears beneath a rain of flaming rock into a boiling sea.

And so ends the Perilous Island - will our heroes have a taste for more adventure? Only time will tell...