January 13, 2019 by Lee
So here we are again, game number 2 of the Battlebunker Groups Christmas wargames day. If you have not seen or read game number 1 of Blood and Plunder then click here to see if Henry Morgan can escape the island.
During November, while we were getting everything sorted for the blood and plunder game, I just happen to say to Mel “Why don’t we put on a small Wild West Exodus game using the Red Oak Starter set?”.
Mel was quite enthused about the idea, which took me by surprise considering the work that we were doing with the other game. I happen to then comment “Wouldn’t it be good if we could build a Mesa to set the scene?”. The look on Mels face was a mix between horror, desperation and really?.
I then showed her the mesa built by Rob Hawkins on his blog site, to which she agreed that if we could do something like that, then it would set the table off nicely. A future blog post on how we made it will follow.
While work was under way with building the mesa, we ordered the Wasteland V2 mat from Deep Cut Studios. We were lucky to pick up the Wild West Exodus western cottages by Micro art Studios from Wayland Games. These would prove to be just the part for our little mining camp. Again, Mel will do a post at a later stage on how she painted them.
Everything was ticking along nicely for both games, until we realised that the figures were still in the Red Oak box, still unbuilt and more importantly unpainted, “AGHHH……”
Mel set about one evening and put the figures together, they fitted together very well which was a blessing as we had no time for too much cutting and filing. With our Blood and Plunder figures being painted by Shaun from Little Ninja Painting, time was getting away from us and so we sent a message to Dan from painting Realm to see if he could help. Luckily for us he had some free time and was very keen to paint these figures as he had not painted any of them before.
The last minute idea was to have a train as part of the objective for the game. We knew that 4ground had recently released a western train kit and so a quick call to 4ground to ask them to bring a kit round as they were coming round for a evenings gaming. The next day Mel set about making the train, once built we thought we would add a flickering LED to the fire box to bring it to life.
To add some atmosphere and flavour to the setting, I thought I would come up with a digital backdrop. To start with I added animation to the Wild West Logo and while this was playing I added the music from Wild Wild West, Cowboys and Aliens and Hell on Wheels themes. This would be playing as the guys came into the room and while I was explaining how the game plays etc. Also, during the game a series of western / steam punk pictures would cycle through on the TV and while doing this I added an ambiance sound to play throughout.
So one evening close to Christmas Mel, Jamie and I were sat going through ticking off the list that everything had been done and with a sigh of relief it was all complete, or so I thought….. Mel suddenly said “We should have some wanted posters of each of us”, “What?” I said “You’ve got to be joking, where are we going to get that done this close to the day?”. After all neither of us can draw. As it happens one of the people Mel works with is a good artist and so Mel asked if it was possible. Gary said he was up for a challenge and would give it a go with no promises made. He came through for us, Mel had given him some photos of us and he had created hand drawn western versions. Mel then created a basic Wanted poster and had ordered some vintage effect paper to print them on and good old Wilcos for the frames. These pictures would be gifts for everyone on the day.
Everything was now finally ready for the game, the table was setup. A quick video of the table can be seen here.
The scenario for the game was for Jesse James and his outlaw gang to get the mining cart from the entrance of the mine to the train and escape. But stopping them was the notorious Wyatt Earp and his Lawmen posse, hoping to put an end to Jesse James.
The players drew counters to see who was playing who and which faction. Mel and I were going to run the game again as this was going to be the first time that any of us had played Wild West Exodus before, (Jamie, Mel and I did have a run through of the rules a week before the game), Jamie and Josh drew Outlaw counters and so Richard and Regan were the Lawmen.
As the Red Oak starter set comes with Boss and Face units, we decided that each player would play one of these along with the other units from the box. Jamie was playing Frank James, Josh was Jesse James, Richard was Wyatt Earp (which was ironic) and Regan was Doc Holliday.
So with the table set, the players knowing their characters and other units and the scenario they were about to play, it was time to throw down some dice and get this game underway.
I thought that we would tell the story of the game through the pictures taken as the game went on.
Both sides advanced cautiously as they were getting to grips with how the game plays.
As the game progressed the Outlaws were getting closer to the train, but Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday were holding strong.
With the hard pressing by Frank and Jesse James, Wyatt and Doc were struggling to hold on. Both sides had lost their Hands and Support units, but it seemed nothing was going to stop the James gang from reaching the train.
Until Wyatt Earp and Jesse James were the only two left standing on the last turn of the game. What a better way to end this game with a showdown between these epic rivals.
The game finished with Jesse having just got the cart close enough to count as scoring a victory point, which meant the James gang were victorious by the skin of their teeth. A great battle with a very good set of fast paced rules (which I need to learn a bit more), we needed to understand the action points to the actions you can take. Everyone seemed to enjoy the game and the atmospheric background really set the scene.
Oh, what happened in the showdown between Wyatt and Jesse, well, lets just say that neither character were as epic as their notoriety (or at least both players failed to hit each other).
So another very enjoyable day, I always look forward to the Christmas gaming day as all the hard work certainly pays off when you see everyone just having a great time. And so, with another year over, plans are now afoot for the Christmas 2019 game. This time we must make sure we don’t leave it until the last minute (but hey it wouldn’t be that much fun if we didn’t).
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