Plus, I was not using Pulp Alley -- the rules I normally run for the guys in our Sunday night games, Dakota Smith's Oriental Adventures. I had set it up for 8 players, and I really didn't feel confident running the rules for a group that large. Instead, I was using "Flying Lead," the modern rules set from the Ganesha Games engine made popular by Song of Blades and Heroes (which I use for Dark Ages skirmishes). I had never actually run a game using FL, but had played in a number of them. I was using my innovation I premiered at Advance the Colors 2013 of splitting the game board into separate, simultaneous games. Rather than have it be four one-on-one matchups, like at ATC 2013, this game would essentially be two separate four player games. The figures could meet up, though, as the two boards were connected by a the rope bridge piece of terrain I'd scratch-built. I felt pretty safe running the rules, though I did need to scan them a couple times to make sure I was aware of the differences between FL and SBH and the French & Indian War variant I usually run, Song of Drums and Tomahawks.
I really didn't need to worry as the players all said they had a blast. There was a lot of laughing and joking around going on, so I think everyone had fun. I made one adjustment after the first game, switching out the deployment of the secret martial arts society, The Order of the Fire Coral, with that of the international smuggling ring, Svetlana's Smugglers. The pygmy cannibals were simply too deadly to the martial artists, and I felt that with three submachine guns, Svetlana's lot would be able to handle the swarm attack of the pygmies. It was a near thing, though, and if it hadn't been for the Pygmy player crapping out twice in a row exactly when they had the smugglers on the ropes, they might have repeated as the scenario winner on Saturday, too.
As it was, there were a lot of humorous and cinematic moments. My favorite was when the portly Harris McLeod of the British archeological team braved the crocodile infested water and escaped only by the skin of his, well, you know what...! Another favorite moment was when Svetlana -- beset by three martial artists -- was knocked off of the cliff. The player remembered the reroll ability of the Hero trait just in time. With a new set of dice rolls, Svetlana went all "La Femme Nikita" on the Fire Coral and drove them off, remaining Queen of the Mountain.
Pics and comments are below. I'm grateful for all the praise and comments I received from players and convention goers. Many years ago, I remember admiring South Pacific Island skirmish games set up by other GMs. I recall secretly wishing that, one day, I could run a game like that. Well, Cincycon 2014 was THAT day, and I'm happy it all worked out great and seemed to give the players several hours of enjoyment.
|The board was a big hit with the players, and got lots of nice comments|
|Close up of the board, with the river dividing the boards. Notice the large temple in the upper left and the giant, Petco statue in the river island.|
|Svetlana's international smuggling ring advances towards the jungle hut|
|Von Jaeger and the German archeological party, with a force of German sailors, advance on the jungle hut on the other board|
|Harris McLeod leads the British Museum party, guarded by a force of Sikhs, survey the area around the big temple|
|The Order of the Fire Coral infiltrates the temple area, looking to secure artifacts from the prying hands of the foreign devils...|
|The Pygmy Cannibals were vicious and deadly, swarming over the martial artists of the Fire Coral and then attacking the Germans and Americans in Friday night's game|
|Pierre Fournereau's French archeological party and their Senegalese Askaris seize the high ground|
|Tatko and Jaz Minh of the Order of the Fire Coral sprint up the cliff path to be the first to make it to the river island|
|Other agents follow them and cross the rope bridge in their path, while below Jaz Minh -- who fell when making the leap into the lap of the stone god -- scrambles away from the hungry, hungry hippo|
|Meanwhile, H.T. (who won playing the Pygmy cannibals Friday) notices that the martial artists have split half of their strength off...it is a well-known fact that Pygmy Cannibals highly enjoy Chinese food!|
|One by one, the Fire Coral's agents remaining on that half of the board are surrounded, beaten down, and dragged off to the simmering cookpot -- including the leader, Opay|
|Meanwhile the British climb up their side of the cliffs to squabble over it with the French|
|It became quite the scrum on top of the cliffs. Peace broke out for a moment in Anglo-Franco relations, but it was quickly tossed aside as close-range shotgun blasts proved too tempting!|
|The final, climactic battle royale atop the cliffs. When the martial artists attempted to cross over to join in, Harris McLeod cleared the bridge with a shotgun blast that pitched three into the water|