As has been our tradition since 2008, I hosted a New Year’s Eve gaming event at my house for members of the Harford Area Weekly Kreigspeilers. We began at about 3:30 in the afternoon with a 14-player GASLIGHT free-for-all set in Egypt. My New Year’s Eve pulp games typically feature Duke Morrison and his buddies (“Wrench” Web, “Boats” Morgan, and “Struts” McPherson), often trying to rescue Gianna Nannini or her genius scientist father, Dr. Serafini Nannini. This year was the same, with the added bonus of Indiana Jones, Salla, Short Round, and Marion hunting for artifacts. A hapless archaeologist had uncovered several valuable and mystical artifacts in a remote pyramid near two Egyptian desert towns. Once news leaked out, Nazis, Duke, Indy, Russians, Turks, Indians, Highlanders, Australians, mercenaries, and Arabs all converged on the area with competing goals of either capturing the artifacts or ensuring they stayed in the valley. In addition, Sergeants Cutter, MacChensey, and Ballentine leading a group of Indian infantry sought to rescue the colonel’s daughter. The sailors and others also heard a rumor of a lost keg of rum being hidden in one of the towns and had an objective of capturing this rare and valuable shipboard commodity. A renegade group of French Legionaries had the mission of blowing up the platypus idol (Why? How cares? It was fun.). Finally, a secret Papal group, the Order of the Blessed Crucifix, had the mission to retain possession of a religious relic with mystical properties.
You can imagine that with all these competing missions the game was a wild and woolly affair, just the kind of light hearted romp you want on New Year’s Eve.
The first two turns didn’t see a lot of shooting. I deliberately set groups with competing goals far enough apart that they needed to move a little first. One player with two units (cultists and Indians) got the missions of his two forces confused, so the cultists began firing erroneously on the Germans defending their flying wing on turn 2. It did make for a lot of excitement. The German defenders included a handler for a pack of guard raptors. These quickly made a snack of a group of US soldiers, but then the cultists began blazing away at the remaining German defenders.
There were two towns on the table, an “older” one (made of Miniature Building Authority buildings) and a newer one (made from Crescent Root buildings). The newer town didn’t see a lot of action. The Order of the Blessed Crucifix (OBC) brothers were hidden in one of the buildings. After a brief skirmish between a group of Arabs and the OBC, the Arabs got bloodied and decided to focus on other objectives. The Americans who started in the village headed for the German flying wing. The Gestapo (right of the picture above) bypassed the town to try to kill or capture Duke Morrison.
There were four groups of Nazis, each with slightly different but not opposing missions. The Nazi cavalry with submachine guns entered the older town, battled for a while, then went to help the She Wolves maintain control of three of the four artifacts they had “acquired” from the archeologist.
A group, calling themselves (inappropriately) the Girly Girls, had the mission to settle and old (romantic?) score with Duke Morrison. I say “inappropriately,” because the group was composed of tough-as-nails women like Lara Croft. They decided to steal a truck in order to get to Duke’s entourage more quickly. This began a major kerfuffle in the village that eventually involved Arabs, Nazis, Indians, and the “Sergeants Three.” The Girly Girls eventually sped out of town with a truck. Later in the game, they made it to Duke Morrison, but by then the Gestapo had incapacitated him, and the Russians were dragging his body off the table.
Meanwhile the French Foreign Legionaries and their Wild Bunch mercenaries made their way toward the platypus idol. They stole one truck easily enough, but then they got greedy and tried to steal a second one. They thought a Model T on the table had just a single Arab driver and attacked it, only to discover it was full of Arab soldiers. In the ensuring melee, all of the Legionaries attacking the car were killed.
While this was going on, the She Wolves easily “acquired” three of the four artifacts from the archeologist, but then inherited the pyramid’s curse and were attacked by a mummy. Despite his excellent Save number, the mummy was eventually vanquished. He took down two She Wolves and two U.S. soldiers before turning into dust. The She Wolves then spent the rest of the game holding out against enraged dock workers (commanded by “Boats” Morgan) and U.S. soldiers (commanded by “Crusty” Philpott). Toward the end of the game, the Nazis on raptors provided reinforcements for the She Wolves, Arabs fired at everyone, and the Foreign Legion showed up to plant explosives on the platypus idol.
Duke Morrison began the game in a building with a truck parked next to it. The cards didn’t come up in Duke’s favor, so he immediately had to fight a group of Arabs who were trying to steal the truck. While Duke knocked off many of the Arabs, eventually one drove off with the truck. His victory was short lived, because the Wild Bunch jumped on it and eventually killed the driver and hijacked the truck themselves. The Foreign Legion used this truck to transport themselves and their explosives to the platypus idol to complete their mission.
So, how did all the carnage end? Duke Morrison was incapacitated with the Russians and Girly Rights fighting over his limp body. Indy, Salla, and Short Round were eaten by Nazi guard raptors while Marion fled into an oasis to hide. The Cultists retained control of Gianna Nannini in the oasis near the flying wing and were preparing to sacrifice her. Someone had crushed one of the artifacts by driving a truck over it. Most of the Arabs were dead, as were the majority of the Nazis, sailors, and soldiers. The Indians rescued the colonel’s daughter. The Highlanders and Australians had mopped up the remaining defenders around the flying wing and had it firmly in their control. The Golden Skull, a mysterious Nazi leader, was dead. The French successfully blew up the platypus idol, but the explosion killed most of the remaining Legionaries. The big winners (with 30 victory points) were the OBC, who held onto their religious artifact and did enough damage early in the game to the Arabs in the new village so that no one thought to attack them the rest of the game. The U.S. soldiers (aligned with Duke Morrison) were the big losers, with negative 57 victory points.
The game was a hoot. It lasted just over three hours, with everyone fully engaged throughout. We had one player who had never even seen tabletop miniatures before, but he seemed to have an excellent time.
After putting away the pulp figures, Kurt ran another GASLIGHT game on the same terrain. Traditionally New Year’s Eve gaming sessions have included a Santa Claus game. This year Kurt ran a game that featured Santa, his Elves, Moonraiser’s Marauders (misfit toys who parachute in with umbrellas), Rudolph, Yukon Cornelius, teddy bears, and others launching a raid on the stronghold of the evil goblins who have repeatedly attacked the North Pole in previous years.
The Santa forces had launched their raid to rescue a bunch of snowball throwing kids and carolers who had been captured by the Goblins. I was a goblin defender and held on reasonably well, having defeated a teddy bear unit, their artillery, a bunch of elves, and most of a unit of fish-throwing penguins before losing my last goblin. Since all the defenders had been destroyed, Kurt determined that Santa and his forces could search all the buildings and free the prisoners at their leisure, so the game was a resounding victory for Santa.
We finished the evening with a game of Five Year Mission (a cooperative Star Trek dice and card game) and a strange game of Red Dragon Inn. We play this game frequently, but this time, a couple of players had a lot of gambling cards while most of us did not. After two rounds of gambling, and before I even took my first turn, only four of the original 12 players were still in the game. Tank (with the beard in the picture below) eventually bested my daughter to win the game.
As is also HAWKs tradition, soon after midnight we old fogies poop out. By 1 AM everyone had gone home, ahead of the bar-closing traffic. It was a fun evening and a nice way to ring in the new year while avoiding crowds and slobbering drunks.