I had the opportunity this last weekend to introduce a number of new players to the wonderful world of 7TV while attending the regular monthly meeting Dales Wargames Club at Darley Dale near Matlock.
Teaming up with Mike Wilkins from the 7TV Production Facebook group, whom I had previously met at other events last year (and unbeknown to me also happened to be friends with some of the other members at Dales), we set about taking four new players through some introductory games.
We had prepared a selection of 30 ratings casts with the idea that we could easily get through a couple of games in parallel on small tables and get people used to the game rules quickly through playing.
The casts in question were variations on the Department X and Shiva casts from the 7TV Programme Guide Volume 1, concentrating primarily on the Spy-Fi shenanigans of the core 2nd edition game.
Mike brought his excellent ‘desert compound’ table which I had previously seen at the Board in Brum day back in January. I setup a small 2′ by 3′ board using a neoprene mat (originally from the Terminator Genesys Miniatures Game) and various bits and pieces of scenery I sourced both from home and the clubs ample terrain collection.
I’m pretty poor at remembering exactly what happened in games (battle reports are not my strong point), but the first thing to note was the ease in which the players I was coaching through the game got both the basics of the rules and the unusual ‘meta’ concept of the game.
The latter is really helped by the mechanics of the ‘countdown deck’, and one comment that was repeated a number of time during the day was how fun it was to play. In fact one quote was ‘I’ve not laughed this much in years while wargaming’. I could rest my case here, but it was also worth noting at this point that the only thing that did distract my players was the allure of checking out on smart phones what other figures and settings could be used to play. Discworld, ‘Allo ‘Allo, Sharpe and many others were mentioned in passing….
The first game ended with the Shiva cast being axed during Act II (partly down to the Guru repeatedly mistakenly energy blasting his own co-star as he fired into a combat).
Once Mike had finished taking his newbies through their game (which lasted slightly longer than ours) and involved Fembots and a very mauve Hugo Soloman duking it out on a slightly larger table we retired for refreshments and discussion. It was at this point, Robin who had just had his first game (and was responsible for the aforementioned blue on blue incident with the Guru) started talking about placing a club order with Crooked Dice – so job done!
The afternoon was taken up with a larger four player game that both Mike and I took part in this time. Having setup a 6′ by 4′ city board we agreed on some ‘house rules’ to cover the additional players. Deployment were done simultaneously and restricted to an 8′ square in each corner of the board. Spy placement (and subsequent turn order after initiative) was determined by drawing coloured counters from a bag (well a spare coffee mug anyway). Objective counters were placed by a neutral third (or should that be fifth) party. For these we used Mike’s War Bases MDF crates with random victory point values pencilled underneath. The countdown deck was beefed up to a larger than normal number of cards for the table size due to the increased number of players.
The activation system worked really well. As mentioned above we each had a different coloured counter and we took turns drawing these to randomise the turn sequence. Once everyone had a turn, back into the mug went the full set of counters and the draw was started again. One concession we made was that if the same person who had previously taken a turn drew first again the next time round, each other player would draw up two plot points each (this actually happened at least once).
So in this game we had two different factions of Department X going up against an alien invasion of ‘visiting’ aliens and Mike’s interesting mix of Spectrum/Bond/Yakuza types!
It was during this game that we got the biggest laugh of the day when an early countdown card caused the swap in positions between two star and left General Gordon of Department X right in the middle of the lizard like invaders. Despite dispensing five rounds rapid (or at least trying to), the poor General wasn’t too long for this world. Unfortunately time got away from us and we had to call it a day before the venue closed.
By this point it was even more obvious that we had a hit on our hands as there was open talk of holding a 7TV campaign day at Dales in the near future (more on that soon).
So all in all an excellent day. 7TV continues to be my favourite game and the reaction we had from new players at the club really reinforced for me why I like it so much. No one was really bothered about who won, a lot of imagination was stoked in terms of thinking about potential figures and casts and most importantly we all had a really enjoyable day playing with toy soldiers. Which is really what it is all about isn’t it?
A quick should out for the Dales Wargames Club. We meet usually on the 3rd Sunday of each month in the wonderful setting of the Whitworth Centre in Darley Dale, just outside Matlock in Derbyshire. We play loads of different games (are always happy to try out new things) and are very welcoming to new comers. If you are interested in finding out what we are up to, or when the next meeting is please check out our Facebook group.