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Friday, September 7, 2012

Pacificon 2012 and Pirate Round Two!

So, our little pirate event passed off just fine at Pacificon 2012 in Santa Clara, California over Labor Day weekend (the game itself was on Sunday).  Before we get to the game, I posted a few photos I took of other games.

Here is 3:10 To Folsom where we fought our 'battle' in the town of Convention.  It was large unpainted plastic toys in a partly scratchbuilt town where the good guys tried to get that well known bad guy to the train.
 Above is an overview shot.
 The saloon - cleverly made from locking together cardboard that can be stored flat.
Our game master, Steve Bean, decked out in period costume.
 My very much wounded figure (temporary replacement to psych out our opponents!) atop the water tank - if I only I'd had a rifle instead of a pistol up there.
 The game in a bit of a lull in the action.
 And my actual figure being the last good guy standing climbs up on the coach and heads out to try and get some doctoring.  Alas, the bad guys were the last ones standing and won the day.

Next is Darkest Africa game - the rules an amalgamation.
 A fun romp through the jungles in search of...that is my Germans approaching the stream we all had to bridge to cross.
 A wider view of the table.
 And there on the right is the temple complex we are all heading for.
 A shot of French Foreign Legion game I thought about playing in...but opted for the jungle.
And an American Revolution game I also had interest in - the white coats on the left are The First UnPainted Cavarly, the right are The Second UnPainted.  Don't know which side they were for!
 Back to the jungle and it seems the natives were not always friendly.
 My column makes it across the river and is followed closely by the Dutch in support.
 The Dutch break right to pursue an objective...
 We form a square as the natives are less reckless than active...notice the wild life (coolness for me!)
 Le Froggies. (I think.)
 And near the end, while all the other nations have a scrum in the very crowded temple the Germans move back across the river to set up "toll booths" at all the bridges.
 That is one large baboon!


First are a lot of photos of the tables set up on Saturday night to be ready for the game at 9:00 AM Sunday morning.
 This is the western table as seen from the northern end.  Lots of life in the oceans.
 And here is the eastern table with some of the many, many spectators who came by just to look at the set up.  I didn't count, but I'd guess between set up and playing time there were fifty people who came by to take photographs.
 Here is Gilderakatoa with a little steam rising.
 That island is nineteen feet from one end to the other.
 The dutch town at the far southern end.
 The Spanish town.
 The French town with some crop fields beyond - an objective option for some.
 And the British town.
 The pirate town was over on its own island and an objective for an allied fleet of warships.
 A couple of pirate ships sailing in company.
 And the other two near the native island.
 The British ships waiting to recover their landing parties.
 The French in the same situation.
 Also the Spanish, notice the dozen boats lining the shore.
 Lastly, the Dutch ships.
 Isle de Carob from the southern end - those white 3x5 cards are marking player starting positions.
 The western board from the south - and another spectator's back side.
 A close in of some of the wild life that abounded on the table.  Really need to create more beaches for the future.
 A ruins with a denizen sunbathing.
 Love this shot - those whales sort of look like they are in the water.
 Flamingos, a bit on the large size but at least I found some.  Didn't get a shot of the Komodo dragons (imported by a crazed sea captain).
 Those are large fog banks to use in the game - though they ended up not getting used in the great scrum.  Only Poseidon made a brief appearance and did good for a few players (who rolled well).
 Giant squid!
 No, no, this is not the south Australian current, dude.
No promises, but are those eastern hammerheads?
 Those Easter Islanders got around a bit more than most realize.
 Well, one player got close before the game ended - that idol was by far and away the biggest prize on the table.  And maybe the most dangerous?
 Just another view of the pirate town.

And now, the action shots - of which there weren't very many.  Wife didn't come along for the four days of the convention so I only got a few shots snapped well into the action.  And with only two instead of four assistant game masters and rules changes it did become a bit chaotic for the first few turns.  But settled in as the day moved forward.
 These two ships got demasted early.  (something to adjust in the rules - too easy)
 A boarding action - we use templates for the figures to battle each other on.
More and more ships moved toward the west board and the pirate island.  Imagine that! That's George at the far end sitting down - an assistant game master.
 A happy spectator.  The game went alright and the players who hung in there to the end seemed to have a good time - though the scenario presented some challenges.  But, boy, did we put on a visual feast.
Here is a shot taken during the action, I think we were regathering after lunch at this point.  We had the full 32 (+2 more) positions signed up for, got up to a total of 28 players in the game but then dwindled to around twenty at the end.  Such is the way of mega-games.
The British on the right were good sports through the game - got smacked by the French on land while trying to get to their ships but hung in there anyway and finally did get aboard and get in some ship action - except for one.
The flying ship is being looked at by Dave, the other assistant game master.  Being the photographer, I never did get a shot of me but I was in full costume with scar and all as before - added a parrot on top of the hat.
 Do you recognize that man in the cocked hat?  That is the same Steve Bean of the cowboy game above.
 And here is a shot of our big prize winners: From left to right (I hope I get this right) Steve Bean, Michael Warde, George Feldman, Everett Spackman, and Conor Warde.  And down front and being very characterful (no surprise he won for being most in character) is Mason Partak.  Congratulations to all.  The prizes were awarded after our session of Tales of Valor, Tales of Woe where all the players made a case for what good happened to them or what foul events they suffered through.
And one last Aaargh for the camera before Gilderakatoa erupted and wiped The Carob Bean Sea into oblivion...

...until next time.

So, overall, I think it worked out just fine.  The scenario - entirely my fault - did create some challenges.  I wanted to get all those painted figures involved in the game so I made all but the pirate ships have their figures start on land and march to their ships.  Also, need to adjust the rule to ensure land action and ship action are in sync through the game.  And will make a major change in the strategic versus tactical action for ships - basically will only have strategic orders when a ship moves from one table to the next.

The next few outings of the game will be at the local club - and probably only half size, one board and eight ships with maybe a few islands for looks and all ship to ship action.  And maybe another game that is all land based and a raid on a settlement.  Can't say when since I do have to turn my attention to important real world activities.

But, be assured, the pirates will go on...still have to finish painting two forces and plan to add some of the new Rebel Mini female pirates at some point.  And I want to rebuild the towns to be better gaming environments.  Will get a lot of inspiration for that from Wingnuts spectacular 28 mm events (see the link to the left near the top of the page).

And I can't leave without relating this: after getting everything setup Saturday night and taking some of the photos above, I headed for a needed night's sleep.  Then Sunday morning I come back down to do final preparation for the game and, what's this, there are little animals roaming around on the land.  Someone put a bunch of cows, sheep, chickens, horses, and dogs in various places all around the boards.   They were just unpainted little plastic items but it was a kick.  And I went ahead and added them into the game as part of the land force objectives.  The players got a kick out of it and the people who 'donated' the animals got a kick out of their being included in the game.  Oh, and by the way, I tried out something a little different that I want to do more of going forward - I gave the players lists of objectives and let them choose their own from those lists.  Needs some tinkering but I like it.

Thanks to all who've taken time to follow along on this year long journey chronicled here on this blog, hope you've enjoyed it.  I'm sure there will be more to add as time goes on but I will be taking a break - I have important items away from gaming that require my attention - and I'm also beginning work on a new mega game as big as this one: The Whole Wilder West - All At Once (and, as with all my collection, it will be in 15 mm)

...sailing off into the bright colored sunset...until it rises in the morn...