The Bomagayo Expedition

A punitive expedition from German East Africa sets out to punish the Pirate Arab slaver Abu Al Oshiri.

Stay tuned for a full battle report of the trouncing of Abu Al Oshiri’s Arab slavers by the Imperial German field force under Kapitän von Kugelschreiber…

Download the Scenario in PDF format!

02-Bomagayo Scenario

Sir Percival Mainwaring-Smyth in the Land of the Ubuntu

Our very first game!

For the big play test, I opted for the classic encounter: intrepid explorers traveling through the bush encounter a less-than-hospitable swarm of native tribesmen. The armies were based on the standard “European-led Expedition” and “Tribal Farmers” lists from the book, although I bumped up the Explorer’s maximum from 16 to 20 figures in a house rule (which turned out to be a good idea).

The Game, in a Nutshell

Essentially, each side had a pair of objectives. The Explorers’ primary mission was to get their baggage safely off the far side of the table; the secondary mission was to enter the Ubuntu village. The Ubuntu, on the other had, had to destroy the baggage and not allow any foreigners to enter the village.

Our Ubuntu commander (young Master John) and his friend decided to abandon the village and put all their forces outside of it on a direct warpath towards the explorers. The Explorers (Mike & Matt), moved forward in a firing line directly toward the village gates with the baggage lurking in the jungle on their right rear.

Well, the first big surprise was when the Ubuntu elite warriors dashed out of a small patch of Elephant Grass straight into the Askari line—and had 7 of 8 killed outright! The Askari basically attempted the same for a couple of turns until they decided it was best just to power their way across the table and into the village.

As I’m writing this a week after the fact, the memory fogs a bit, but what essentially happened was that the Explorers fought a desperate battle all the way across the table entering the undefended village with their baggage safely in tow on the last turn—in which they’d also been reduced to 25% of their starting force. I essentially called it a draw. The Explorers had indeed entered the “forbidden” village and saved the baggage, yet they were almost wiped out and the Ubuntu still had 2/3 of their forces in the field.

Observations: Rules, Game, etc.

I think it went quite well for the first game. The rules are so simple that it was really easy to keep things moving. I think I may have had slightly too much terrain on the board, but in the setup I’d attempted to give the Explorers a fairly large alley of fire into the village (which they really never took advantage of). My thought was that the White Men and Elite Askaris—with their really long range—could take pot-shots all the way across the table at the approaching natives; they started with their White Men in the jungle, though, protecting the baggage and accompanied by their native spearmen.

The Ubuntu also did a couple of strange things: they left the village completely undefended and did not lead with their 11 bowmen. In fact, the bows only got off 1 successful shot towards the end of the game! I called the game a draw in part because though the nearly wiped-out explorers got to the village and couldn’t realistically do much once they got there, since there was not a single Ubuntu figure in the village to oppose them I deemed that a gross tactical mistake.

I’ll tell you one thing: these rules are BLOODY! You’re essentially alive or dead. Melee is also really deadly: if you get doubled-up on (which was happening often to the Askari) the second figure gets a free hit. That means that 50% of the time, the outnumbered figure will die, whether or not he defeats his first opponent. Pretty grim.

I also liked how the baggage worked. On the fly, I made up some rules about it so it wouldn’t be so brittle (they’re now incorporated in the House Rules & Clarifications sheet). I decreed that as long as there was a friendly figure within 3″ of the baggage on the side the attackers were coming from, they couldn’t attack the baggage until they’d dealt with the defender first. The Explorers basically surrounded the baggage and lasted long enough for it to get by. I also made it so the baggage cannot be killed by shooting (not that the Ubuntu bowmen did much of that anyway…).

Conclusion

I was quite happy. I think it makes for a really fun, exciting and fast-paced evening of gaming. The whole thing took probably 2-2 1/2 hours, kickoff to final whistle. The 3 x 4 playing board was the perfect size and the terrain looked pretty good. I’m very keen to continue playing this for a while and will try to put on several games concurrently on some club night. Dan mentioned—and I tend to agree—that this would also be a great convention game.

Download the Scenario in PDF format!

01-Ubuntu Scenario

Saturday Gaming Field Trip & good news on Victoria

Yesterday, I took a trip down to Brookhurst Hobbies in Garden Grove, CA because I’d heard through the grapevine that someone from Peter Pig Miniatures would be there demoing a new set of Samurai period wargame rules.

Sure enough, Battle in the Age of Wars turned out to be a lot of fun and quite satisfying historically. I bought the rules and will be using them if and when I get my 10 mm Samurai armies painted. The most interesting thing about the game was that there’s whole pre-game “campaign” that you play before your army actually gets put out on the table. This can drastically effect a lot of things for the upcoming game—from troops that appear late, to hampering your chain-of-command to all kinds of other intrigues and inconveniences. I think that’s what made it so appealing and interesting—you really don’t know exactly how things are going to work out for you.

The game itself is very fast-playing, involving rolling bucket-loads of D6s. The mechanisms make sense, though, and it’s easy to get the hang of things and memorize how to do stuff part way through. With two complete novices and fairly normal sized armies of three wings, our turns were taking about 1/2 an hour and we finished the game in about 3 1/2. Of course, we also had the author himself refereeing for us…

I got so involved in playing the game that time flew by and I missed lunch (not that I need it…), so I treated myself to an early dinner at the only Sonic Drive-In south of Bakersfield—it was yummy!

But now to today’s big news: I brought Victoria home from kitty hospital this morning. She gained nearly 2 pounds in the two days she was there (mostly fluids from the IV bag), but she still isn’t eating. The doctor said she maybe didn’t want to there but would at home. I have to give her liquid antibiotics twice a day and will have to continue with the subcutaneous IV fluids at least once a day in the morning—kind of creepy since it means ME having stick a needle in her. The doctor also said that there seems to be both kidney and liver problems, but she didn’t elaborate yet. I’m going to take care of her this week and go back for a visit on Thursday. Hopefully she’ll be eating by then and on her way to full recovery; if not, I’m going to have to either board her or have a professional pet-sitter come visit while I’m gone to Las Vegas this weekend for the convention.

Poor Victoria


Yesterday morning, after ignoring it for a bit too long, I finally took my female kitty Victoria to the vet. She had turned into nothing but skin and bones while I was gone, and I was trying on my own to bring her back thinking that she had just gone on a “hunger strike” because she missed me.

Well, turns out she was chronically dehydrated, has a serious bladder infection and potentially other ailments. The wonderful doctor (Dr. McFarland at The Cat Doctor and Friends, Santa Clarita) took some tests and was actually glad to see the infection because it was something treatable. She stayed overnight at the kitty hospital for treatment and recuperation and I’m on my way to see her this morning and listen to the prognosis. The initial outlook was that she does have a better-than-50% chance of recovering, but she is getting old (my cats are both 15-16). It’s kind of expensive getting her treated, but what else can I really do right at the outset? It would be sad, but if she has to be put to sleep, so be it. I guess I’ll know in a little while and be able to post news later…

Last night at The Bengal Club, we played a new WW2 air combat game, Check Your Six hosted by New Robert. It’s sort of like Blue Max with much faster, ore powerful planes (that also tend to get shot up and die a LOT quicker). I guess it was kind of fun, but it will take a lot more than that intro game before I decide. Then again, I really don’t need to get involved in yet another gaming period and rule set. In fact, as I was telling Matt as we carpooled home last night, since my focus is turning more and more to Japan, I seem to be really struggling to maintain any interest in gaming at all.

In a way that’s good: it should spur me on to even greater efforts to clean up my gamers clutter and eBay with a vengeance. I’m also going to be well and truly ready for the HMGS convention this coming November to sell big-time at the swap meet.

Notary (Nope) and The Rat’s Lair

Today was my all-day Notary Public training class out at the new College of the Canyons’ Canyon Country campus. It was something I signed up for back in May thinking it would be a good skill and certification to have in m “bag of tricks” of things I could do to generate income.

The class itself seemed pretty straightforward and though there’s a lot to know and a lot of legalese, it’s not exactly rocket science. However, after sitting through the class, learning what I needed to know and taking (and passing) the two practice exams, I decided NOT to take the exam for real. Why? Well, because when you pass (which I know I would) you have 30 days to get your equipment, post a $15,000 bond and take an oath with the county and essentially get “on the clock”.

There are two reasons that compelled me to rethink this: 1) there would be an initial outlay of nearly $1,000 for everything I need by way of equipment, supplies, bonds and insurance and that would be difficult right now, and 2) if I’m allegedly serious about leaving the country for Japan within a year, what’s the point of shelling that all out on a 4-year appointment that I’ll be leaving behind anyway?

I do still have up to two years to take the test without having to repeat the class, so it could still be a possibility. I’ll wait and see how things go with the agencies I’ve signed up with and my potential employment elsewhere.

I did get done with class early because of choosing not to take the certification exam, so Matt & I carpooled down to Crag Stevens’ house in Tarzana, a.k.a. “The Rat’s Lair” for his annual Bengal Club dinner and evening of entertaining fellowship. He fed us WAY TOO MUCH, and it turned out to be a real binge. I tried to moderate what I was eating, but it was just nuts. The final coup de grace was the oversize ice cream and chocolate dessert. I really have nobody to blame but myself, but I KNOW I’ll hate myself in the morning when I step on the scale and undoubtedly see some of my weight loss progress vanish.

Craig, though, does way too much nice stuff for us. Consequently we wanted to give him a special gift and we came up with an historic British Officer’s undress cap in a case similar to the kind the Comissariat officers wore and officially named him our Comissariat. It was pretty nice. Thanks a bunch, Craig! (Just don’t ever make me have to fall so far off the wagon again, please…)

Renaissance at Dave’s

Last night we took a field trip of sorts to play renaissance at Dave Lynch’s place. It’s the first time I’ve seen him in years—and the first time I’ve seen his completely gutted and rebuilt home in the Hollywood Hills. It was completely different than before, and quite nice, though not my particular aesthetic (now that I’ve gotten into the whole modern-meets-Japanese-zen-like-influence thing).

Matt, Mike and I carpooled down together and Dow met us there for a long-ish “Guest Appearance”. We re-fought the Battle of Pavia using an interesting map based pre-game…um…game before we finally got to the tabletop and used DBR. Matt and I were the Spanish Imperialists, and I ended up on our left flank with two Tercios facing off a great gob-wad of Swiss pike. Due to great dice luck for me (and Dow-like poor luck for Mike) I ended up wiping out half the Swiss pikes and breaking Mike’s command by shooting alone. I know he’s going to get his revenge on the tennis court next Tuesday…

The castle and Imperialist right flank was a bit more tenuous, but the game was called in our favor because going on any further would’ve taken forever. If renaissance games always went this well for me, perhaps I’d not detest the period so much. But alas, there’s too long a history there…

Here’s a couple of photos from the game:
The Initial Imperialist deployment in search of the French King—is he in the castle? Nope.

My gallant Spanish Tercios right after shooting the snot out of the Swiss and breaking their command.

Near the end of the game, Imperialist pike await their comeuppance from the advancing French—but the game was called (neener-neener!).