Posts Tagged ‘Noble Knight Games’

Playing Gutshot at MDG’s Wintercon – Part II (aka “Carnage Asada”)

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

After I got done playing in the Siege of Budapest game near 7:00 pm on February 11, it was time to set up the wild west minis game I was running, “Gutshot.” I laid out a sand-colored piece of felt, then placed some cardstock buildings on the felt. BTW, the Gutshot rules are from Hawgleg Publishing, some folks from down Texas way. There are many wild west style “skirmish” rules out there for using with miniature figures, but Gutshot makes for a fast playing game at gamecons. There aren’t a lot of modifiers to figure out, so with a minimum of time spent teaching the basic game, players can be blazing away at each other right away!

Game Marshall Garry at Whitewash City

Game Marshall Garry at Whitewash City

I built the buildings out of cardstock, using the Whitewash City buildings that were designed by Eric Hotz. After downloading and assembling the free Imperial Saloon, I purchased the entire “Mother Lode” of buildingsĀ  which was a PDF file with more than 40 large buildings plus a number of smaller buildings and other accessories you could print. Although the buildings are supposed to be for 30mm scale minis, the stock buildings seemed small, so I enlarged them to 125% of their original size, then they seemed better proportioned to the western minis I used. So far I have built: Bank, Cafe, Imperial Saloon, J.H. McFarland Blacksmith, Livery & Feed Stable, McSweeny Dry Goods, Medical Building (doctor & dentist), Pioneer Hotel, Sheriff’s Office & Jail, Small Building Set 1 (bath house, small log cabin, two small sheds, and two privys). I also built a few watering troughs, some corral fencing, and couple of piles of lumber and a couple of wooden crates.

Whitewash City Sheriff's Office

Close up of the Whitewash City Sheriff’s Office

While the Whitewash City buildings are meant to be printed on cardstock, then cut out, folded, and glued together, I also added balsa/bassword/poplar wood as reinforcements for the corners and bottom edges. I also added some roof supports for large roofs, like with the Livery Stable building. While the Whitewash City buildings are not meant to have removable roofs, there are floor plans you can print of the interiors, and you can lift the entire building off its floor plan. I also glued the floor plans to foam-core board to keep them from warping, plus they won’t get bumped out of position as easily as if they were plain cardstock.

I also purchased a number of western miniature (mostly 25mm & 28mm) figures online from Noble Knight Games. Before Christmas 2016, Noble Knight had a sale on a whole passel of used, already painted, western minis, so I bought more than 50 minis. Being already painted saved me some time putting everything together. I also found some horses in about the right sizes from places such as Michaels crafts and Toys-R-Us, and they filled up the corral. I also made some hay bales from the “pluck foam” I plucked out of the foam carrying trays for the miniature figures.

OK, so I only had three players show up to play, P.J., Cory, and a youngster named Bryce. The premise of the game was that four Mexican banditos came to town to rob the bank. The Banditos were controlled by Cory, and the Banditos were named Juan, Squelch, Jueves, and Eral. P.J. represented the law in town, controlling sherriff Kathleen and her deputies Hoss and P.J. Bryce only wanted to play a single character, so he controlled the bounty hunter Bat, who sported twin six-shooters.

Shootout at Whitewash City

Shootout at Whitewash City

So, the Banditos strolled right down main street of Whitewash City, heading towards the bank. As they passed the Sheriff’s Office (the building at the far left of the above picture), deputy Hoss fell in behind the banditos. Bounty Hunter Bat, who had been talking with the proprietor of the Livery Stable at the other end of town (off the right side of the above picture), recognized one of the banditos as being wanted. Bat then ran to intercept the banditos before they reached the bank. At the same time, sheriff Kathleen and deputy P.J. came out of the sheriff’s office and also followed the bad-looking hombres in the street.

Bat came right up to the man he wanted to claim the bounty on, then Bat pulled out both his pistols and demanded the man (Juan) surrender). Juan put his hands in the air, but kept saying, “Why you want me? I am just going about my business, and not bothering anybody!” But then the other banditos pulled their pistols, as did the lawmen and lawwoman, and the shootout was on! When the hot lead stopped flying, all of the “White Hats” (Bat, Hoss, Kathleen, and P.J.) lay dead in the middle of the dusty street, as did three of the banditos (Juan, Jueves, and Eral). Only Squelch survived the shootout, but he was badly wounded. (The townsfolk had no trouble capturing Squelch, then hanged him with some vigilante justice.)

Dead minis in the streets of Whitewash City

Dead minis in the streets of Whitewash City

Just when the first character was wounded, I asked the players if they wanted to play the game “gory, or non-gory.” As I had expected, they all answered “gory!” so I started placing the “blood splatter” markers (the yellow markers in the street) at locations where characters were wounded.

I hope to run Gutshot again at the next MDG con in the summer of 2017. I hope to build more buildings, and hope to get more players for the game.

Main Street at Whitewash City

Main Street at Whitewash City – Yuh have to admit, cardstock buildings look pretty durn good, don’t they?

So, why did I decide to run a wild west shoot-’em-up game? About 10 years ago, probably the last time I attended a local gamecon, some other feller was running a similar game. He had a western looking town with 20 or 30 buildings in it (I believe they were actual wooden buildings, not cardstock), and the premise of his game was that 8 different gangs (each with four outlaws) all arrived in town at the same time with the idea of robbing the bank! Needless to say, there were multiple crossfires and dead bodies everywhere. I had a hoot of a time playing in that game, and always wanted to duplicate the experience. Well, now I can run my own games.

Using Miniature Figures

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

While fantasy role-playing games (FRGs) can be played merely by saying what everyone in the party is doing, most groups end up using some kind of miniature figures to mark the location of the character in certain situations. When I first started playing Dungeons & Dragons way back in 1979, players just gave verbal descriptions of where their character was located, especially in battles. Then we started using Legos and Lincoln Logs to mark the location of rooms and hallways, and used any kind of markers that were handy, such as coins, bottle caps, dice, etc, to mark where different characters and monsters were located.

Then I discovered “Zargonian Creatures,” which were 2-dimensional cardboard standup figures that slipped into plastic bases. When punched out of their cardboard frame, each (standard-sized) figure is 1.5 inches tall and 0.75 inch wide. You can find some of the Zargonian sets on eBay, but about the only place I found that still has stock on the original sets is Noble Knight Games.

Zargonian Creature Set 1-Dwarves-reduced quality

Zargonian Creatures (Dwarves).

However, when I stopped playing D&D in 1982, I loaned all of my Zargonian figures to a friend, and never asked for them back. Then, when I got back into playing D&D recently, I tried to track down that old friend, only to sadly find out he had died about 4 years before I tried to contact him. I was trying to contact him for 2 reasons, one, to try to get those Zargonian figures back, and two, to try to enlist him in the new D&D campaign, as he was a good D&D player. But neither of those was now an option.

Well, I still had several sets of plastic bases from the Zargonians, so I started using various cardstock figures that I could print on my color laser printer. These figures could be folded over and glued, and then inserted into the Zargonian bases. I found that most two-thickness cardstock was not thick enough to stay firmly stuck in the plastic bases, though, so added a few more layers of cardstock at the bottom of the figures so they would stay attached to the bases when you picked them up by the figure. There are plenty of places online to find various printable cardboard figures. Two of my favorite places to get cardboard figures are the Darios figures at Dark City Games, which are free, and the paid Cardboard Heroes from Steve Jackson Games.

Darios Adventurers

Darios Adventurers.

 

Cardboard Heroes

Steve Jackson Games Cardboard Heroes (sample).

The Darios and Steve Jackson figures also have some advantages over the old Zargonians in that they are two-sided, and you can tell a character’s front from its back. The Zargonians were just blank cardboard on their backs and so it was hard to tell which figure was which. The newer figures also have much more detail in their drawing, which is probably partly because the printing technology is better today.

There are various places you can buy plastic or wood bases for the cardboard figures online, also. The cardstock figures are good, too, for when you need a lot of some particular type of character or creature as you can print off extra sheets.

But recently I got into using some metal miniatures. I somehow or other accumulated about 5 or 6 metal (25mm or 28mm) miniatures over the years. I believe I accumulated them when helping the Metro Detroit Gamers clean up the venues at the end of their game conventions, finding them left behind on the floor. (I also own exactly one card (the Forest) for Magic: The Gathering, having also found that card on the floor while cleaning after a game con.) But I got the chance to buy about 40 or 50 old metal miniatures recently for only $10. They are mostly old Grenadier minis, but one set was from Ral Partha (although the figures were all intermixed). So then I borrowed my sister’s acrylic craft paints and started painting away. Fortunately, I am an old model builder from way back, although I haven’t painted anything for years, especially not anything as small as these figures.

I did read up on some mini painting techniques at the excellent web site at http://www.how-to-paint-miniatures.com/. I did wash the figures thoroughly, even had to remove some old paint using 91% isopropyl alcohol and a toothbrush (using an old aluminum pie pan). Of course I wore a latex examination glove to keep my skin oils off the minis. I then glued the minis to wooden bases, then painted each figure and its base with white acrylic primer, then after the primer was dry started painting. I kept using an exam glove on the hand that was holding the figure I was painting.

Painting table

Dining room table, used as a painting table.

 

Partially painted miniature figures

Partially painted miniature figures.

We then finally started using the metal minis in our D&D campaign on July 24, but only for the main characters. For NPCs and monsters we’re still using the cardstock figures. Here’s a picture taken by one of our players on their cellphone of the metal minis all bunched up. There are a couple of the cardstock figures in the background.

Metal minis (photo by PF Anderson).

Metal minis (photo by PF Anderson).

The three figures in the front are (from L-to-R), Opalent, Lightstep, and Vandin. Lightstep is not yet finished. I haven’t yet painted his eyes, nor some of the trim on his clothing and accessories.

Anyway, painting the minis is fun, although it can take a lot of time. I can only paint for about 30 minutes at a time, then my neck gets sore from being bent over. I have to use an Optivisor in order to see close enough to paint, and have to sometimes hold the figure and the brush close to my body to prevent wobbly painting. That’s what bothers my neck, as I have to lower my chin to my chest in order to focus with the Optivisor. When I was building models in my 20s, I had 20/13 vision (better than 20/20). I used to scoff, hah! who would need magnifying lenses! But when I hit my mid-40s, I suddenly noticed I had presbyopia and I needed reading glasses. I also found I needed stronger magnification in order to see fine details. I probably should buy a desktop lamp with a large magnifying lens, then I might not have to bend my neck so much.

— The Dungeon Master