Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Flashing Steel in the Mean Streets of Lion's Port


The Mean Streets of Lion's Port

The scene opens with the clanging of the ships bell emergency signal.  All hands on deck!  The alarm punctuates the attention drawn by a series of musket and pistol shots that rang out from the port and on deck of His Majesty's ship the Hotspur. 
Call out the militia there's mayhem in the streets of Lion's Port.  The murder of innocent civilians is attended to by the militia as a foot chase occurs in the area around Admiralty Square.
It's 8:00 AM.
Someone is attacking the Hotspur.
The rising sun begins to enlighten the harbor port and the scene of the previous night's adventure.  The Annic Nova is gone (did it sail away or what...) The landing party that arrived on the docks in the predawn were maddened by some mysterious force and began assaulting all that came within arms reach.  The madness has poured onto the decks of the admiralty ship anchored in the bay.  A ninja madman acrobat and a ferocious little imp are slaying all on board the ship.  They must be stopped.  The dwarf killed two more midshipmen as they attempted to evict the madman from the ship.  Then the monster went below decks to wreck havoc on all the furniture and cabinetry on board the vessel.

A murderer is loose on the streets of Lion's Port.  He will be hunted down and brought to the Governor's justice.  He made an escape into the neighborhoods behind the Bollocks Mollusk tavern.  There is a rampant fear in the village and nearer the cane fields that the slaves are going to revolt and take over the island backwoods. 
Currently a farmer is missing and his slaves have taken over his residence. It is becoming a small gathering spot for the town's pirate brethren...
On board the Hotspur the dwarf is trapped in the main cabin. (Notice the stunt double for the absent player character mini.)
and the ninja has been captured as well. (again, anther stunt double.) He made a valiant attempt to leap from the bow sprit of the ship and rolled three 1's to catch his foot in some rigging rope and dangle from the end of the boom like a bobber on a fishing line.
A great Thursday night of gaming and a fine story line has emerged.  Will the slave revolt turn into a full fledged battle?  Can the imp be contained in the ship or port for that matter?  Will the murderer be found?  And why did all the characters that went out to the Annic Nova come back so blatantly mad and violent?

Tun in next time for more Flashing Steel!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Another Round with the Kraken!

The tide is in on this Secondhand Lion's beach party.  The intrepid adventurers that explored the Annic Nova ghost ship on Halloween are now rowing to shore as the evil ship sinks behind them in their wake.  They made it out with their lives and some rescued sailors and killed the undead witch king pirate in his lair and destroyed his ship.

Now they head back to port in their dingy with the survivors in tow only to land on a shoreline that is in an uproar.

Lean in close and double click the images for up close piratey-ness right in your eye.....
Port L’antre de Lion, the scene of our evenings revelry and the Flashing Steel narrative you are about to see recounted. 

The band of adventurers has rowed through the wee hours of the morning to regain land and arrive tired and a little disconcerted over who actually is in control of the group and whom shall represent the team in front of the governor for the reward promised.  Thus begins
Act I
"Who Elected You The Brains of This Here Outfit"
A Flashing Steel Swashbuckling Rumble through the port docks of L'antre de Lion.
All confrontations were suggested to be non-lethal as a push and shove match of who could find the governor the quickest. This was to teach the mechanics of Flashing Steel by Ganesha Games and the nature of the combat that has more of the cinematic flair.

The pirates and their second must find and secure the reward from the governor.  The town however is all abuzz over the recent seizure of the "Huntress" and the imprisonment of her Captain William Azure.

The Admiralty offices and shipyard square.  Scene of some bloody conflict as you can't keep pirates civil the whole evening.  We saw the assault of crew members from the Hotspur, an attack on the person of the chargé d'affaires , a ferocious midget go psycho on a port guard, criminal murder of longshoremen in the streets , trespass on His Majesty's ships and properties and other occurrences trivial to mention.

Death from above.  Crouching Tiger Chung-King and his midget companion kill the first watch guard on board the Hotspur.

They make it aboard the ship and will have to fight their way off as the bell sounds the second watch up on deck...

Captain Conn meets his demise in the Admiralty building.  Why so violent?

What is the governor hiding in the stockade and what does a roll of six mean?

The locals are ready for revolt and want any way off this island that they can come by...

The local gentry and some more plot points to grab.

The map of the port...
The Halloween Game Played as Heroquest Pirate conversion.  Which in turn lead to the Flashing Steel Version of the same story you just read.
Included here for completeness and archival records of the game.

Quest at Port L'antre de Lion
Your quest opens on the island of Port L’antre de Lion in the Caribbean Sea. Originally under French control, but now run by the British after a reasonably mild skirmish, it is home to a vast array of natives, settlers, militia and naval personnel as well as swashbucklers, pirates and scallywags.  The events on the island are usually run of the mill – an occasional shanghai, hanging of a pirate or two or your average hurricane.  Things were pretty uneventful until a couple of nights ago when a ship sailed into port and anchored just outside the harbor.  At first it was thought that the vessel was hostile, but no attack was issued.  In fact, in the daytime it appears that the ship has no crew onboard at all.  At night however, you can hear noises and voices on the deck and see lanterns burning across the bay.  It’s also strange to point out that during this time the population of undesirables on the island has diminished, even though most people haven’t noticed.
As adventurers, you start off in the Cochons Pour la Vente tavern on the wharf sitting around a table enjoying the evening’s festivities.  A messenger from Governor Adolph Oliver Knepples enters the room and proclaims:
“The Governor has inquired if anyone here is up to the task of rowing out to the vessel anchored outside the harbor and investigate the goings on there.  He would like to know what their purpose is here and if their intentions are truly hostile and if they plan on leaving any time soon.”
A gruffy old sailor in the back of the room barks out, “Aye, maybe.  What be in it for me?”
“The Governor has offered 5,000 gold to the party that brings him the information he requires” replied the messenger.
“Why doesn’t he just send soldiers out there to do it?” comes another voice in the room.
“The Governor doesn’t want the military to leave the island because the natives appear to be restless and ready to fight.  He believes a small group has a greater chance of success, especially if they don’t appear to be military or hostile and if they go in just before sunset to board the ship and use the cover of darkness to investigate while the ship seems to have activity.”
“5,000 gold, eh?” the old sailor pipes up again.  “I definitely could use some of that.  By the way, what be the name of this ship so I can tell everyone where me money came from?”
The messenger looks down at the log book held in his hand.  “We don’t have a record of this ship ever being at port or in these waters as well.  Our lookouts have reported the name is the Annic Nova.”  With that, the messenger turns and walks out of the tavern leaving the place buzzing with talk of the ship and the prize!
Are you up for the quest?  Would a share of 5,000 gold feel good in your pockets?  Can you beat the other misfits in the tavern to the prize?  Are you wearing your brown pants?  It’s time to decide!
SET UP – The Tavern
The players set up around a table towards the back of the largest room on the game board.  There will be other figures placed around the tavern numbering 1 ½ times the number of players participating.  There is one door that leads outside; with at least enough NPC’s to block most of the exit and one or two really nasty looking fellows blocking the door.
FOR THE PLAYERS (read this section to the players)
There is one door that leads outside.  If you can’t make it out of the door on your movement roll, you will have to brawl your way out of the tavern in order to start the quest. 
Combat is resolved as normal, except no weapons are used.  If you lose all your hit points you’re knocked out instead of killed.  If a player is knocked out, his comrades can drag him out of the tavern.  Roll 1D6 for movement instead of the normal 2D6 for each player (no more than two) attempting to drag their unconscious friend.  Combine the movement rolls for distance if two players perform this action.  Dragging a player is considered their action for the turn.  If the players can exit the tavern before the same amount of patrons, they have won the first stage and do not have to compete with other scallywags for the prize.
Now for the “kicker”, every player rolls 1D6 before the game turn begins.  Players that roll a 1 have enjoyed the evening festivities a little too much and have become intoxicated!  Subtract 1 combat dice from their total dice number for all attack and defense rolls and halve the total of the dice roll for movement (rounding up).
Players making it out of the tavern without being knocked out will receive 2D6 x 10 gold (rolled by the player) reflecting the opportunity to pilfer booty during the scuffle.

Patron Details – the rabble
Attack Dice
Defense Dice
Patron Details – the rough (blocking door)
Attack Dice
Defense Dice


Any player searching for treasure that finds a Wandering Monster will be immediately attacked by the closet patron. 

One randomly selected player (players roll 2D6, high score wins) will find a piece of what appears to be some sort of map dropped by one of the patrons.  There is wording that reads:  “Este es la propiedad de Capitán Vitalinous de la Annic Nova.  Precávase a usted que ve este mapa para la muerte y despare le acontecerá”.


After the players row out to the ship, they have 4 turns to board the ship and search before the sun completely sets and darkness befalls the harbor.  On the first turn the players arrive, roll the number of combat dice related to their BODY points.  If a player gets more successes (skulls) or white shields than the amount of black shields, they have boarded the ship with ease and may search the ship.  Any player that fails will miss the first turn, but may board the ship on the second turn and continue normally.  The players may pick any point along the ship’s hull for an access point.

Any player searching for treasure that finds a Wandering Monster will be immediately attacked by a Pirate with a skill level equal to the lowest monster skill (i.e. Goblin).  There will also be a rush of additional pirates with this attack!  Roll 1D6 to determine the number of additional attackers.  The additional pirates will move to randomly attack the other members of the group.  Randomize placement using a D6.  Also, roll 1D6 to determine the number of squares the pirate is placed from the non-searching player(s).  The additional pirates DO NOT attack after they have been placed, but may proceed as normal after the player’s next turn.  All Pirates are equipped with cutlasses (short swords).

Once the sun goes down, things become a little ghastly!  Wandering Monsters are now Ghost Pirates!  Any player fighting a Pirate after the 4th turn is now fighting the Undead!  Replace the Pirate figure with an appropriate undead figure.  Use Skeleton or Zombie stats for game mechanics depending on the figure put in play and equip as the figure is equipped.


Captain Vitalinous

The scourge of the Seven Seas!  Use the stats for the Gargoyle for his skill set.  He’s armed with a Cutlass (+1 Attack dice) and 2 pistols (+1 Attack dice per weapon).  Give him 3 Chaos spells (GM’s choice).  If will be placed in the Captain’s Quarters on the middle deck.

If a player kills Vitalinous in combat, he does not die!  Instead, there is a blinding flash of green light that fills the room, blinding anyone inside or entering the Captain’s Quarters for 1 complete player’s turn (they cannot move or perform any actions).  Once the turn has come back around, the players will notice that there is no trace of Vitalinous or his treasures within.  The player that performed the decisive blow will notice a piece of paper on the floor, it is part of the treasure map! 

After Vitalinous is gone, the remaining Pirates disappear randomly (1D6 – 1st turn; 2D6 – 2nd turn and so on) on the GM’s turn.  Pirates will continue to fight until they vanish.  After the last Pirate vanishes, the Annic Nova starts to shake and rock!  The players now realize that the ship is starting to sink!  They now have 4 turns to get overboard before the ship disappears below the surf. 

If a player is on the upper deck and cannot make it off before the ship sinks, they lose all booty acquired from the ship, but can swim to safety.  If a player is caught below deck, they are lost!  Actually, the magical properties surrounding the ship, transports them to the island on the map where they must fend for themselves until they can be rescued or figure out a way to leave.  But that is for another time and adventure to be had!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Lionheart and Direwolf Game of Thrones War Game

I have been really into the book on CD by George R.R. Martin "A Game of Thrones."  I have listened to the first three books and that is no small accomplishment as each is 35-39 cd's of recorded listening.  I had in my mind a thought that the wars and battles from this genre would be great for wargaming.  I have 4 copies of the old Parker Brother's Lionheart miniatures game and decided to skin it with banners from the great houses of Westeros.  So while watching the late Sunday night football game I cut out and attached all the printed banners I had made in paint using art work found online.  The above image shows King Robert Baratheon during the war called "Robert's Rebellion."

Here is the Targaryen host.  With Prince Rhaegar and his assembled host.

The terrain tiles for this game are available on Board Game Geek in the files section for the game Lionheart.  I have used them to create a Battle on the Trident game map.  I played this solo and just picked a move for each side.  You only get 2 actions per bound so it is not too difficult to discern a best move for each side.  I was playing Robert and rooting for his side so it was great when we were killing Targaryens with archery fire and really thinning their forces down.

Click on the images to make them larger and you can see a sleu of Targaryens sitting on the sidelines.  Most of these were falling to heavy Baratheon archery fire.  The Baratheon left flank has decided to begin the final push and we are crossing the Trident on the left flank of this image.  This is also when Robert decides the right flank crossing is open and he may as well push across the Trident as well - mistake.  I looked at the risk and decided that the Targaryen archers couldn't possibly roll two arrows on the die especially in their weakened state!  Well I was wrong and got Robert killed in his first action of the rebellion.
These archers you see with two hits already on their stand make a combat action and roll two arrows killing the last mounted figure on the command stand of Robert B.

Prince  Rhaegar is safe back in his command post and King Aerys will reign into the future, sidestepping the rebellion and upstart Robert.
Death of my commander.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Card Art and the Dead CCG Society

Welcome dear reader to the Dead Collectible Card Game Society.  I have recently accepted an invitation to play my copy of Quest For the Grail online in a play by forum format.  So I dusted off the old box of cards and put together a deck for competition.  Now this card game is no longer in print but I am fortunate that my interest in King Arthur lead me to collect this set about 5 years ago.  I have in my possession set #30 of 100 of the complete card collection issued by Stone Ring Games.  I acquired my game long after the game was discontinued.  I bought all of it from Ebay -with the express purpose of collecting all the available cards for this game.
I absolutely love this game and I like the play mechanics in this CCG.  Well there is no way to play this as designed against a live opponent.  No one else collects this game.  So I have devised ways to play it using my collection as all the cards on the table.
And now the gist of this article shows how I handle a dead game when I need card art of a specific card to use in play.  I have a binder with set #30 in sleeves.  A deck strategy may call for a certain card that is only available in the base set and I don't have extras and I don't want play wear to occur on my collector set.  Take the card and scan it onto light card stock.
Take an additional card that I have like 40 copies of and sand off the image with sand paper.

Cut out the scanned art from the card stock and prepare to paste it onto the old card back from the extra card.

Using YES past will give an archival permanent bond between sanded card back and scanned card art.

Ready to accept a new image and card face.

The binder provides.....

A Qucik and Dirty Little WW2

Got in a little WWII action with a coworker recently.  We had been discussing over email the various interests and hobby related games that we both enjoy and I was retelling some of my actions with the high school students in the strategy gaming club over at Southwest.  Well I dug out my corrugated cardboard WWII ruins and some of the student painted figures from last year and we kitbashed a small platoon on platoon action using GASLIGHT.  Well I had forgotten my D20's so we used our cell phone die rollers instead.  Let's look in on the action....
BANG.  My Bad-zook.  Takes out his tank.  This was pivotal in my squads ability to take that building.

We used card driven turn order and only started rolling for morale after turn three.  Basic GASLIGHT mechanics of move or shoot.  Troops had a shoot of 8.  Halved for cover and range.  Some weapons had multiple hits like HMG 1 D20/2 or SMG 1D20/5.

Red squad holds the center building.

Poised for the Coup-D-Gratchie!  "say hello to some flamethrower BBQ."

Under the template was the final threat to my side's tank.  We cooked up the enemy antitank weapon and that was all she wrote.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Tried FUBAR Vietnam

The Secondhand Lions airlifted into a hot LZ using the FUBAR Vietnam rules available from
Now our group likes Vietnam gaming and we want these rules to be used for games in the club so we were predisposed to find them adequate and acceptable.  I think the admittedly incomplete Vietnam version of this game has some good ideas but the dice convention of multiple dice types really didn't improve our game and in a lot of ways just slowed it down.  The activation of units is great and the suppress rules are worth trying and keeping.  I think we will revert to the D6 system and add the Vietnam vehicles and specifics back to Core FUBAR.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Recruits Convention 2013 Don Featherstone Memorial Game

The Secondhand Lions After Action Picture Blast

We had a wonderful time recruiting new players and all of our games included new players to the hobby as well as students in the "know," from Lee's Summit High School.  Thanks go to the new admin staff that kept this convention running as well as previous years.

Don Featherstone Memorial Game

Here we look in on Friday night and find the Secondhand Lion's game club set up for a ACW 54mm tribute game to the father of wargaming - Don Featherstone.

The table is set and the scope is large. 54mm on an 18x11' L shaped table representing the fishhook familiarity of Gettysburg.

There's the copse of trees and the soon to be high water mark.

Confederates march to the sound of the guns.

First time war gamer is in awe of the hobby.  She commanded well and did some earnest damage to the "Federals."

Mr. D.  a friend from school brought his children and their friends.  All MS aged kids they were very interested in the hobby and did some gaming and a lot of shopping at the vendor booths.

Click for awesomeness.

Coming to "grips" with the butcher's bill. Marking casualties on the roster.

The notion of gaming in 54mm with old school rules reminds me of my introduction to the hobby in 1976 when I borrowed Don Featherstone's book War Games from our local library.  The tribute game has truly been repeated often in those years between then and now.  On the death of such an influential author and innovator it is fitting to designate a convention game with the honor of being a tribute to Don Featherstone.  This game and all those that came before for me in the hobby of wargaming are indebted to our friend and mentor.

Good gaming with good friends.

Another battlefield view.

Appropriate attire for the game master.
Thanks for looking in.

Saturday Morning ALIENS

 Saturday morning the Secondhand Lions set up the THK collection of ALIENS and did three sessions of an ongoing campaign to cleanse and burn the hive on LV 426.
The image above is from the hot LZ in session one.
Take and hold the ground.

Get access to the planetary atmospheric plant. GM Terry and Jon Mark give pointers on the art of staying "frosty".

The big game included 12 players, each with 2 characters to control.  This was the cleanse and burn scenario that showed a pretty exciting ending for the crew.  They killed the queen xenomorph.

GM Terry Carr administering the session.

Saturday Night Pirate Fight

Jeff Gully borught out his "Argh There Be Pirates in that Port" game and I played in it to my utter delight.  I liked it so much I went back on Sunday morning and played on the terrain again.

The presentation, game mastering, storyline, character development in this is nothing less then brilliant.  There is a ton of piratey action packed into this layout.  Click images for a better view and enjoy.
Well that's all that is on my camera and it gives just this one persons view of the show but hey that is what blogs are all about.  I cannot wait to see the recruits gallery of images from the whole convention.  It was an amazing weekend of fun and games. 
You should really check it out.