Chris Palmer It has become the tradition with the HAWK’s that every New Year’s Eve Buck Surdu and his wife, Candy, host a gaming get-together to ring in the New Year. This year was no exception; with a fun filled event full of good food, good friends, and good gaming.
We started off in the afternoon with a Dr Who Christmas-themed game that I ran using GASLIGHT rules, called “The 12 Doctors of Christmas”. The scenario was that Santa had mysteriously disappeared and the allied forces of evil (Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, and Weeping Angels) were taking the opportunity to overthrow the North Pole. Rallying against them were various North Pole Defenders. There were also seven incarnations of the Doctor, each with a single companion, (We didn’t have enough players for all 12 Doctors) there to help solve the mystery of where Santa had gone. Once they found Santa (assuming they did), they needed to get him aboard the TARDIS with one of the Doctors and fly him to safety.
|The puzzle I made up for the Doctor Who game.|
While the battle between the North Pole Defenders and the Allied Evil Forces was pretty straight forward, I decided to incorporate a puzzle for the Doctors to solve during the game. To do this I borrowed an idea that my friend Sam Fuson uses to good effect in his GASLIGHT Sherlock Holmes games: I bought a cheap 24 piece puzzle at the local Dollar Tree store, and wrote the location of Santa on the back of the center 8 pieces of the puzzle. (See photo above) I then mixed up these pieces and put them in a brown paper bag. Then, when I was setting up the terrain, I scattered 10 small present tokens on the table to represent “clues”. During the game, each time one of the Doctors spent a turn adjacent to one of these present “clues” he was able to “decipher the clue” by pulling a random puzzle piece from the bag. Only the Doctors were able to decipher these clues, though other figures could bring the clues to any Doctor to decipher. Likewise, the bad guys couldn’t destroy clues, but they could pick them up and hold them, thus denying them to the other side.
|A look at the table near the start of the 12 Doctors of Christmas game. The good guys entered from the left, and the bad guys entered on the right.|
|Some Weeping Angels guard a present token “clue” in one of the train cars.|
In the end, it worked out perfectly, as the Doctors recovered present tokens, and then drew the cards in this order: “IN”, “TRAPPED”, “RED”, “SPHERE”. Also, they drew the last card just as the battle was reaching its peak, and swirling around the very red sphere where Santa was hidden.
|The 11th Doctor checks out a “clue” as the snow monster from Frozen, and the Bumble fight in a melee nearby. Sontarans line the fence, and are being pelted by snowball-throwing kids, and magical snowmen with peppermint-stick guns.|
|Toy Soldiers attempt to hold back a unit of Cybermen and some Daleks. Note the red sphere where Santa is trapped.|
In the final two turns however, the forces of Evil were able to tighten their noose, and no Doctor was able to make it to the TARDIS to fly Santa to safety. With no hope of the Doctors succeeding, I called the game and declared it a marginal Evil side victory.
|As the clues come together, the forces from both sides begin to converge on the sphere.|
|At last Santa is freed, but it may be too late!|
We reconvened after dinner for a WWII game using “Combat Patrol” rules, which Buck Surdu GMed. The scenario had American glider troops trying to grab a German held bridge that ran over a river.
I commanded a German reinforcement squad that entered from the table edge on turn 2.
|The game began with fierce melee on the far side of the bridge.|
I decided to enter mounted on a halftrack that was commanded by another player. This unfortunately resulted in my squad having to disembark in two different locations, and becoming split up. I then thought the halftrack was going to give me fire support with it’s MG, but instead it pulled out right as I was preparing to attack an enemy unit. I was caught between a rock and a hard place and ended up getting my two fireteams shredded.
|The halftrack driver fails a morale check and ends up driving the vehicle up onto the bridge. It is quickly overrun with American’s and is eventually captured after a spirited defense by the crew.|
Unfortunately, my fellow defenders were faring no better than I, and the American superior firepower was able to quickly overcome our defenses. With the collapse of our ability to hold the objective, the game was declared an American victory. Despite our dismal performance the game was still a lot of fun!
|The Americana’s prepare for the final push across the river.|
It was now getting close to midnight, so we decided to set up a quick X-Wing game to fill the remaining time. I was exhausted at this point so opted to sit this one out and just chatted with the other guests.
|The X-wing game that lasted two years; starting in 2016, and ending in 2017. 🙂|
At midnight everyone came and watched the ball drop, and toasted the New Year with some champagne. The diehards then went on to complete the X-Wing game, as the rest of us sat around and talked about the year behind us and the one ahead.
|The gang toasts the New Year.|
It was a great evening and is truly one of the high points of the Holiday season. A big thanks goes out to the Surdu family for once again hosting an excellent evening of fun!