This time round the focus was Pulp and the newly released 7TV Pulp boxed set. As per usual Mr. 7TV himself, Karl Perroton was in attendance. Also there was Peter Wright from Edge Hill University and some of his students who had worked on the rules in collobaration with Crooked Dice.
As a change this year attendees were invited to bring along a board or table setup. The 7TV community is well known for really pushing the boat out when it comes to scenery and terrain and there were some excellent setups in attendance. The gaming area was spread across the Foundry shop, marquee and also a spare stable!
Abandoned Antartic Base (a Cthulhu Mythos themed board)
One of the Foundry tables
Gaming in the shop
Mike Strong’s excellent Venice table
More Venice docks
Matthew Wildsmith’s amazing two level museum table
For those who don’t know, Wargames Foundry has for a few years now been based in the stable block at Stoke Hall. The stable block is a circular building with a central exterior courtyard in which is based a semi-permanent hospitality tent. The shop itself is large and filled with a huge number of blisters containing just about every type of 28mm scale metal wargames figures you could imagine. Even more exciting for a man of my age, there are cabinets full of beautifully painted ‘old skool’ miniatures. Many of these are old Citadel Miniatures sculpts from the 1980s that once graced the pages of White Dwarf back in the day (Bryan Ansell who owns Foundry is the former head of Games Workshop). Any how, more on the cabinets in another blog!
The day was split up into three games and we were organised into two groups. The ‘baddie’ casts were fighting for the sinister Hydra organisation, while the ‘goodies’ were on the side of the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR). A general theme running throughout the day saw the games oriented around the scouting out and collecting of parts for a sinister super weapon, with the final game being a battle to ultimately control these doomsday devices.
Attendees were also encouraged to model and bring along their own super weapon. I’ve already documented my adventures in putting together my big stompy robot for this purpose, and there were a wide variety of ‘devices’ on show (including a mysterious pyramid, various mechanical men and a plank of wood with some nails in). My favourite however had to be a television set – symbolising the rise of TV in the home and the death of the cinema serial!
Casts were many and varied (according to Wayne from Wargames Illustrated this is by far the most popular event they put on) and in total there were about twenty four attendees playing. Although there was the overarching Hydra versus SSR theme, this did not mean a restiction in the types of casts fielded. There were mobsters, adventurers, Lovecraftian horrors, space aliens from beyond the stars, rocketeers and many more.
My first game was against Peter James and his Rocketeers and was played on the Nazi flying saucer / V2 launch site table I had quickly put together for the event. This was my first ever game using the Pulp variant of the rules and it was interesting to see how a few little things here and there had been tweaked. The new countdown deck (now called the cliffhanger deck) provided a suitably ‘pulpy flavour’ to proceedings. My cast from Mongo didn’t fair too well here, with Emperor Ming and his cronies being axed only just as we entered Act 2!
This gave me a bit of extra time to have a browse round the Foundry shop and discover that despite not being aware of it at the beginning of the day, I suddenly really needed to start an Elf army for Saga Age of Magic!
Lunch followed including a question and answer session with Karl and the gang from EHU. A few tasty titbits of info on upcoming activities and 7TV releases were forthcoming. As you can probably guess I was particularly excited by the upcoming ‘classic sci-fi’ range of figures which are coming to Kickstarter soon.
The afternoon’s games soon came round. First up I was up against Simon Clarke and his excellent ‘North Pole’ cast, which included a heavily armed Father Christmas as well as a particularly violent red nosed reindeer! Two highlights in this game for me. First off Princess Aura being gored off the top of a building by Rudolf. Second (having survived and ultimately being the only cast member I had left), Aura attempting to seduce Santa in the last act of the game. Needless to say my run of luck continued and the invaders from Mongo were once again banished (surely Hydra must have been offshoring to Mongo by now).
Aura prior to the fall!
One of my exploding robots, summoned by Ming’s unearthly powers!
He knows if you’ve been naughty or nice
The final game of the day was against an old adversary, Kieron Mulholland. I’d previously played Kieron at the Dales 7TV event earlier in the summer and got roundly spanked after about three turns when Skeletor and his crew totally decimated my cast of orange jumpsuited fascist space lizards. Surely history couldn’t repeat itself?
While it wasn’t quite as short a game this time, my dice luck and tactical choices were similary awful and I was axed during act 2 as I valiantly tried to defend my stompy robot from Captain America, Bucky and pals. All in all though another excellent game and a reminder (not that it’s needed) how much fun 7TV is to play.
Gaming tables tucked away everywhere!
After all the results were totted up and points allocated, stunningly (although in keeping with the cliffhanger nature of the pulp serials) it was a dead heat between the forces of Hydra and the SSR. A number of prizes were allocated and a few freebies given out. It was a fantastic day all in all. Great to catch up with old faces and meet new ones.
A special mention for Sam ‘Downorder’s’ table
Abandoned Antartic Base (a Cthulhu Mythos themed board)
What monstrosity lurks below
Sam had put a lot of effort into special rules to match the table and theme
A massive thanks to Wayne at Wargames Illustrated and the staff at Foundry for the organisation. A big shout out to all the attendees and their brilliant casts and tables, and an especially loud ‘pip pip’ to Karl, Peter and the brilliant student team from EHU for crafting a fantastic new version of our favourite game. Looking forward to next year already.
I’ve spoken a little about the background to the Pulp boxed set before. A collaboration between Crooked Dice and Edge Hill University Press, development of the game gave the opportunity to get involved to students and we punters are now able to reap the benefits of their hard work.
Back to the theme, having booked in for the day quite a while ago, but before the game was publicly released there was a bit of a dilemma as to what sort of cast to go for. I kid of course, there was never any doubt I’d be going down the Flash Gordon route! The only question really was I going to do Flash and chums, or turn to the villainy of Mongo?
I have fond memories of watching the Larry ‘Buster’ Crabbe serials in the early eighties when they were often repeated daily during the school summer holidays. However my number one love is the 1980 camp spectacular that is the Mike Hodges film. Having already decided on the excellent Princes of the Universe range from Cold War Miniatures to form the core of my cast I then needed to decide which version of Flash I was therefore going to go for. The range is very much based on the old black and white serials in terms of style and I did start down that route in terms of colour schemes (yes that is a weird thing to say about a black and white set of films, but really I was also taking inspiration from the aesthetic of the original Alex Raymond comic strips).
However at the point at which I started to paint up my 3D printed rocket ship I knew that going with the over the top awesomeness of the later film was the way to go. It was also at this point that I settled on the bad guys as the cast I would be taking to the campaign day.
The main bulk of my force is made up of ‘Imperial Fleet Troopers’ from the Cold War Miniatures range. Finding a Ming the Merciless figure was a bit problematic as they don’t really do one. I settled on Hydra Miniatures to fill this gap, although I had to source the figure I wanted from the US as I couldn’t at the time find it closer to home.
With only 30 ratings to work with for the campaign day I was somewhat limited to what additional characters from Flash lore I could bring in. I really, really wanted a Klytus, but again couldn’t find a suitable figure. Long term I am probably going to look at converting a Marvel Heroclix Doctor Doom, or keep my fingers crossed that Karl at Crooked Dice has this on his radar for a future release. Therefore I decided to go with Princess Aura instead. There is a great ‘Renegade Royal’ miniature in the 7TV Pulp kickstarter, but unfortunately this didn’t arrive in time, so I ended up using the ‘Dale’ from Cold War in this role.
While I’ve hit my ratings limit I have also carried on expanding the cast to include some robots, utilising the ever flexible range of 54mm scale plastics from Tehnolog.
The schedule for the campaign day gives the option for attendees to bring along a super weapon for folk to fight over in the last game of the day. Having scoured the internet for something suitably retro to 3D print I then remembered the ‘giant stompy robot’ I’ve got from Mantic Games now defunct Mars Attacks range. I had started to prime this in the thought that it would go into a German ‘weird war’ force, but a quick airbrush job later and Ming has a new threat to bring to those pathetic Earthlings.
I’ve gone similar colours to the rocketship, trying to keep that red/gold/black theme that pervades in the movie. For a pilot I’ll be using a seated Fleet Trooper from Cold War which fits just about perfectly (although being quite a chunky bit of metal on top of a plastic model might mean some weight has to be added to the base).
So apart from a few finishing touches I am raring to go and looking forward to what promises to be an excellent day next Saturday.
Now as I may have mentioned before I am rubbish at writing up battle reports. I simply cannot remember all the details of what happens in a game to a level at which I could write up something interesting. Therefore this little narrative is more about my experience of the day as both a participant and the chief organiser.
The event was put together at pretty short notice, but following the mantra of ‘if you build it, they will come’ we got a good number of players expressing interest, primarily through the highly recommended and super friendly 7TV Productions Facebook group. In the end we got about ten ‘producers’on the day, with the furthest distance being traveled from Cambridge!
The theme of the day was ‘Invasion Earth’, and there were some interesting casts fielded both in the defence of and plotting against our blue planet. So Skeletor and his evil minions rubbed shoulders with the likes of Diana’s ‘Visitors’, some ‘ack, ack’ Mars Attacks aliens and robotic centurions from the 12 colonies. Meanwhile our stalwart defenders included the SG-1 team, some special forces troops, Murtaugh and Riggs with uniformed support and of course (because it is 7TV) some East End gangsters. Of course the Guru and Shiva also chanced their arm by trying to cash in on the chaos, as did the slippery Cobra Commander and his Cobra hordes.
Following the example of other events I have attended this was very much about having fun and telling a story, rather than being in any way competitive. As a number of the Dales club members were also very new to the game I was keen to keep it as beginner friendly as possible. We worked on the basis of 30 ratings casts drawn from either the Spy-Fi or Apocalypse versions of the game (but without the use of the Apocalypse vehicle combat rules). I provided a few sample casts for folk to use who might not have access to figures and made sure we had access to quick reference sheets as well as trying to pair folk off together so veterans could play against novices.
Running at 30 ratings meant we could get at least 3 games in, and we sized most of the tables and terrain layouts to support the smaller sized games. As well as using some of my personal terrain and scenery we also lent on the extensive collection at the club. In addition we also asked for attendees to bring along a board if they could. Special mention to Carl for his airbase setup (complete with cargo transporter) which took away the prize for best ‘set designer’.
Talking of prize support, a very special thanks must go out to Karl at Crooked Dice for donating a 7TV boxed set as the top prize and Wayne from Wargames Illustrated (who attended with his Cyclons) for additional prizes of annual subscriptions to the magazine. Also massive thanks to Wayne for also donating a significant number of miniatures and models which we were able to offer to attendees for a donation to the club coffers.
So how did my games go? OK I think is the answer. I was fielding my ‘V’ cast which is pretty much exclusively based on 7TV core profiles (with some minor tweaks) using a mix of the excellent recent models from Crooked Dice as well as some older miniatures from Nexus/YFT Design Studio.
My first game was against a new club member Nigel who had turned up on the day just wanting to watch some games and was immediately drafted into the event. Fair to say I think we got another convert there. We played pretty much a ‘learning game’ on the airbase setup where the Visitors took on Hugo Solomon and Department X. Let’s just say it didn’t end up well for the lizards from Sirius.
My second game was against fellow club member and recent 7TV evangelist Robin on our ‘Weird World War’ table. This time Diana and her orange glad goons were up against the sinister Guru and his Shiva organisation. Another fun game on one of the larger boards on the day. For the life of me I cannot remember the outcome of this (I think it was a tie). The highlight had to be the draw of that classic countdown event card (‘script editing’ I think) that resulted in our stars swapping places, with hilarious consequences (not many of which were good for either of us).
Finally I was up against Kieron and his excellent ‘Masters of the Universe’ cast. Comprising of Skeletor, Beastman, Trap Jaw and other undesirables from Eternia, they just happened to find themselves in the cargo area of a typical industrial sea port. I do remember the details of this one pretty well, because due to a combination of excellent dice rolling on the one hand, terrible dice rolling on the other and really effective use of tactics I conspired to lose this game about four turns in. For the uninitiated a typical game of 7TV can last anything up to twenty or more turns! Now as we know it’s all about the narrative with a game like this, but I take some pride in being able to say I lost eleven victory points to nil in such record time.
Needless to say we had time for another game, but consigning Diana and co to the long list of failed invaders of Earth I swapped out for a small G.I.Joe Cobra cast I had put together. A much more even (and indeed longer) game was had. Again a lot of laughs and a very tight finish.
All in all an excellent day. Our club venue worked well as did the format. I think one lesson learned for future events is not to hold these on a bank holiday weekend, we had quite a list of people who were unable to attend because of this.
As I’ve already mentioned Carl won a years subscription to Wargames Illustrated for best table. Kieron won best Director (players favourite cast) with Skeletor and friends, and Colin won the overall prize for best Producer for most sporting player and favourite opponent. All awards were voted for by the participants.
The cost is a mere £7.50 and will include refreshments (and quite possibly cake). More details can be found on the event Facebook page. We’ve taken inspiration from the amazing Board in Brum days and indeed have the backing of some of the big minds behind those great events.
In the true spirit of 7TV this won’t be a competitive event, but a chance for like minded ‘directors’ and ‘producers’ to get together to enjoy some fun narrative gaming and have a jolly good time. There will however be spot prizes for best painted cast, most sporting player and best terrain/table build (we are encouraging people to bring along a layout if they can).
The format for the day will be three games based around the theme of ‘Invasion Earth’. Casts can be based on any of the archetypes from the Spy-Fi or Apocalypse lists and be around 30 ratings. In order to accommodate the widest possible variety of casts, the games will not however include vehicle combat from the Apocalypse rules.
We are really keen to encourage new players and share this wonderful game with them, so even if you have never played before and/or don’t have any figures please do sign up and we can sort you out with a cast and some guidance on the day.
In addition to the standard games I’ve also volunteered to run a drop-in game of 7TV Apocalypse using the vehicle rules and destruction derby scenario, so players can jump into a buggy or war rig for a bit of distraction if games finish early.
I’ve not yet decided what cast to field myself yet, but I did find myself digging these guys out to finish the other day (after all they fit the theme)!
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.
I’ll be doing a quick write up of Robin and an overview of the Apocalypse Kickstarter items in another post shortly, but in the meantime I just wanted to point you the reader in the direction of the 7TV Pulp blog.
7TV Pulp is due for release at UK Games Expo later in the year, and is a unique collaboration between Crooked Dice Design Studio and Edge Hill University. You can find out more about the game on their new blog, which includes a game design and development diary.
The Pulp version of 7TV is an ode to the cinema serials, crime novels and ‘pulp’ magazines of the 30’s and 40’s; with a serious nod also to the cosmic horror of HP Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos, as well as the cinematic outings of Nazi bashing archaeologists everywhere.
I was lucky enough to have Karl show me some of the figure previews for the Pulp range and there are some corkers in there. With such a wide genre definition, there’s sure to be something for everyone. I for one am working on a ‘Flash Gordon’ cast that should slot in nicely, that said I have a lot of post-apocalypse to get through in the meantime…..