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Friday, 18 August 2017

I have not been idle!

I haven't updated this blog since BOYL, but don't let that fool you into thinking I haven't been busy! I've been painting away, working on some projects for my LARP group, and developing something else that I'm not going to talk about until it's finished. Over the next few posts, I'll be quickly recapping what I've been up to over the past few weeks.

So let's begin with my live-gaming project. Actually, although we intend this as a guide for new GMs within the Isles of Darkness LARP society, pal Bob and I are talking about stuff that's applicable to a wide range of different games in this video series. It's called pre-game hustle and it's aimed at people who have a reasonable level of gaming experience but have never run a parlour LARP.



There are a few videos up already, with more to come, so if you want to see my face make sounds, you can check that out.

Monday, 31 July 2017

BOYL 2017 trip report

This weekend I was off once again to Bring Out Your Lead, an annual event where members of the Oldhammer community meet up to play games, look at other people's games, talk about games ... you get the idea. It was hosted, as it was the last two times I went, by Wargames Foundry, who made some special models available for the event.

So, enough backstory! Let's look at what was there.

I turned up Friday afternoon to find that the main tables were set up and games were already under way.

This is only about half of the massive Helsreach board. 

The marketplace is full of weird characters.  
Meanwhile, the outlaws have their own market. 


Looking across the wasteland toward the gates of Helsreach, which are just out of shot to the left in the first photo. There's more wasteland behind this too; this table is pretty big. 
The game I was mostly there to play was Helsreach, a Necromunda-ish multi-player skirmish set around a single enormous city and wasteland board put together by Curtis of Ramshackle Games and Aidan of Warfactory. This was what I'm gonna call a "megaboard" -- that is, it wasn't a single terrain board for a single game, but a board on which essentially several different games were happening. There were many different skirmishes going on simultaneously, blending into one another, plus, at various times, a jetbike race, a grox-herding game, and so on. This allows the host to get maximum use out of the effort spent on terrain, and I think it's going to catch on.

Speaking of megaboards, there was also a fantasy equivalent: Heldenhofen! This was a huge Warhammer city and outskirts created by the chaps from G.R.O.G (if I've got that right), including Geoff of Oakbound Games, Harry and Chris. It had:

A Blood Bowl (well, Bier Bowl) stadium!

Docks (here still under construction)!

Taverns!

Fortifications!

Chivalry! And cows!

Political dissent!

A market!

The Jade Gate!
And more. I did play a game of Bier Bowl, the five-a-side pub version of Blood Bowl, and good fun it was, with tense and action-packed turns that added up to a complete game in less than an hour. But the main thing I was there for was Helsreach. Here are a few action shots from that table (these are really from all weekend, but they should give you an idea of the kind of thing):

Three Jokaero and their pet Ambull in a hand cart. 

This outlaw walker is full of 80s glam style; it's based on a Buzz Lightyear!

Strange figures roam the grounds of a Helsreach building. 

Outlaw jet bikes raid the Squat merchants' land train. 

Hooligans race jet bikes through the Helsreach marketplace. 

Brave men and women of the Imperial Army stand around like jerks watching honest merchants get robbed. 

Drunken oafs sprawl in the alleys. 

A merchant convoy sets out to prospect for salvage. 

Ork mercenaries patrol the wastes in their walker. 

Outlaw Orks swarm into the cabin to punch them a bit. 

Traders spread out across the wastes in search of profit. 

The Ork dropship lands in the desert. 

Armoured knights hunt for valuable plants near the walls. 

Missionaries spread the word of the Emperor -- and, er, rob the water merchant. 

Corpses dot the street after traders and mercs "salvage" some water barrels. 

Imperial authorities arrest a protestor while traders sneak off with water barrels. 

This is the Mayor of Helsreach. 

This is the Mayor of Helsreach emerging from his robot Wrong Trousers after being shot; turning out to be an alien snake monster is the kind of political scandal you don't really recover from. 

Other games were going on too -- I didn't get many photos on Friday, but there were people playing WHFB, Space Fleet, Dark Future, Rogue Trader and lots of other games.

These classic Orks were even being used in a game of (whisper it) modern 40K.
As is traditional, there were free figures to be had, donated by the generosity of community members. One was the mayor of Helsreach (the regular guy, not the alien beast) from Ramshackle, and the other was this familiar figure, sculpted by John Pickford: 


Not a bad haul for day one.

Friday night! Pub! Beers! Philosophisin'! Bed! Saturday morning!

Saturday saw even more Helsreach action for me, plus a short-lived career as a Dwarf giant slayer in Heldenhofen, and by "short-lived" I mean "died like a dog on turn one." There were also the Helsreach jetbike racing and grox herding games, which I took some pictures of but didn't play. 

Yee-ha! Git along, li'l groxies!

Nyooooom!

Nyeeeeeooooooow!

Zooooosh!

Dakkkadakkadakka!

Vrooomvrooomvrooomvroom

Whoooooosh

KABOOOOM!
Erm, excuse me, where was I? 

Other stuff on Saturday included a lovely chat with classic gaming artist Tony Yates about our favourite Marvel Comics artists and the wild fact that these great creators were making things that weren't really meant to be reread, collected, studied or displayed. And of course there was the painting contest. I didn't get shots of too many of the entries, but I did snap pics of a few, including some of the winners: 


I believe this was one of the winners. 



Aidan's plague doctor won a prize, as did the huge Ork walker you saw earlier (built by Mr Papafakis).

I mentioned Tony Yates, but in addition to him and (of course) Bryan Ansell, other luminaries of British gaming present included Tony Ackland, Kev Adams (sculpting for charity again), Rick Priestley and Nigel Stillman. Nigel brought his Bretonnian army: 

Sadly, my photo isn't very good, but you get the picture. Bright colours, named characters, multiple coats of gloss varnish.
The old ways are not forgotten. 
Saturday night! Bar, figure trading, laughing until hoarse. 

And then Sunday!

A six-way Realms of Chaos bash on a mighty ziggurat. 

Praetorians ride into action in a Rogue Trader battle. 



Nigel Stillman models his reconstructed bronze age Sherden helmet. 


Nigel's home-made post-apocalyptic models, made from toys, model kits and just ... bits and bobs. 


I think I have used both that car and those skeletons in other projects. 


A man who makes post-apocalyptic models from toys must be an exceptional fellow, in my view. 

Ruffians advance on the other side of that RT game. 

I GMed a three-player RT game on Sunday.
Here, Crimson Fist marines take up firing positions as a concerned bystander looks on. 

A reluctant tech-priest is placed under arrest and hustled away. 

The forces of Chaos infiltrate the marketplace. 

A huge game of Space Fleet was still going even as I headed out on Sunday. 
And there were so many other things I didn't get photos of! In particular, there were quite a lot of the smaller games going on -- a couple of WHFRP sessions, several games of Advanced Heroquest and similar. I also didn't get a photo of the Dreadnought bash game I played in; my poor Chaos dread got rolled. Perhaps I was a little too aggressive, but I was eager to get stuck in on its first outing. If you have any fondness for the Oldhammer aesthetic, or just like to see the crazy stuff people make. I can't recommend BOYL enough. The generosity and hospitality of the community astonish me every year, and I come away with new models, new friends and lots of new ideas for gaming projects. 

In another post, I'll look at my model haul from this year and maybe even post some painted pics, so stand by for updates.