Spreading the joy – introducing 7TV to new players

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.

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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….

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The Guru and his henchmen

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!

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This particular extra switched side multiple times doing the game (thanks to the Guru)

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.

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The afternoon 4 player game setup and ready to go

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).

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Due to a set dressing error this scenery shortly shifted a few inches – got to love those countdown cards

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!

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One of the two opposing Department X casts
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…and the others
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Lots of pointing!

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.

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Close encounters – it did not end well for General Gordon

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?

Epilogue

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.

 

 

 

7TV Apocalypse Vehicles – Interceptor and The Compact Pussycat

More work on the post-apocalyptic motor pool as I prepare for my first full game of 7TV Apocalypse.

Never one to start one new project, when I could do two in parallel, I’ve embarked on building the Crooked Dice V8 Interceptor resin kit and also a conversion of a die cast toy.  The latter is going to be the wheels for my PA ‘Penelope Pitstop’ figure which along with the Interceptor I picked up as part of the recent Kickstarter.

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The (second to) last of the V8 Interceptors

So first off the Interceptor kit.  I originally got hold of one of these when they were released last year and made sure I included another in my Kickstarter pledge.  This is a really nice, crisply cast resin model with loads of accessories.  Taking it’s inspiration from the Mad Max films, the extra bits and pieces allow it to be built in a number of configurations.

I had previously built and painted this as a ‘Main Force Patrol’ police pursuit car from the original Mad Max.  Looking back I wasn’t too keen on paint job I’d done, so the chance to built another one and make a better fist of it wasn’t to be passed up.

I’ve decided to go with a much more wastelands ‘last of the V8s’ look for this one, with the addition of the massive rear shield (which puts me in mind of the Death Race remakes of recent years).

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All the bits for the build (leaving plenty left over)

Following a soak in warm soapy water and using pound shop superglue the pieces went together really well (with minimal clean up required).  I was also left with plenty of accessories left over to use on other kits and conversions.

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Flipping the chassis over to attach the exhausts shows just what an amazingly clean cast the kit is
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Exhausts attached
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Bonnet and air intake / super charger (I think, I’m not really a car person)!
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Wheels attached – I’d attached one of the exhausts too far down the chassis, so one of the rear wheels needed some ‘persuasion’ to put into place
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Ready to attach the bonnet – the engine enclose contains sculpted detail in case you wanted to leave it open (just one of the nice touches on this kit)
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Finished kit ready for painting (bumper and rear shield in place)
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That rear shield should afford some protection out on the roads!

The Compact Pussycat (with claws)

Despite having a huge pile of figures to paint up from the Kickstarter all of which are excellent, there are a couple that stuck out that I really wanted to get to the top of the queue. One of these was the aforementioned Penny.  Now of course, Penny needs a ride for the ‘wacky wasteland races’, so off the the big pile of unused Teamsterz cars it was then.

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Teamsterz Street Machine (approximately 1/43 scale) with conversion bits from Crooked Dice

Using some of the left over Interceptor bits and bits from the stowage set I’ve come up with my own interpretation of the ‘Compact Pussycat’ (only this time with guns)!

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The guns were left over from the Interceptor kit.  Glued together as a twin linked set.
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The pimped up ride, ready for paint
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Bull bars adding a bit of grunt!
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Stowage bits from Crooked Dice

Paint job has yet to be finalised, and as I have now got the full boxed set of rules through for 7TV Apocalypse I shall also be shortly stating up this motor.

You can purchase the Interceptor kit directly from Crooked Dice, where you will also find the stowage sets and loads of other PA goodies for the tabletop.

You can find Teamsterz (sometimes called Roadsterz) in various discount stores and toy shops up and down the UK.

More soon…..

7TV Apocalypse Vehicles – Tamiya conversion

Having recently taken delivery of both the rules and a huge set of miniatures from the 7TV Apocalypse Kickstarter I decided I should probably finish off some of my incomplete PA projects before diving into any new stuff.

Back at the Wargames Illustrated 7TV day last summer I came away with a 1/48 scale Tamiya kit from the prize pool.  This was a World War II SS-100 aircraft tractor, but I immediately saw the opportunity for some conversion work to make this suitable for the wastelands.

Tamiya SS-100

The build of the basic kit was fairly straightforward and I cut some corners in terms of the detail (for example leaving out the interior and some of the smaller body work bits) to make it both more suitable for conversion and more sturdy as a gaming piece.

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Using some of the conversion parts made available by Crooked Dice and a few bits and pieces from the spares box (including some 1:1 scale car body mesh) I gave it a suitably shabby and cobbled together PA look.

I completed the build last year and it has sat on my hobby work bench ever since.  Inspired by the arrival of lots of lovely figures from the Kickstarter I was spurred on to finish painting and weathering it.

Basecoat was a from a spray can (Plastic Soldier Company Olive Drab) with a few suitably muted block colours used for stowage.  The exception being the fuel tanks on both the original kit and the conversion parts which I picked out in red.

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Weathering was completed using a thinned down wash of Army Painter Strong Tone wash and chipping was done using a dark brown using the sponge technique (a cross between dry brushing and stippling using a piece of foam).  The gunner was picked out in blacks and greys – the gas mask giving him an almost SAS look.

All in all I’m pretty please with the overall result.  It was quite a quick, but I think effective paint job.  I’m also thinking that this vehicle would go really well with the ‘Mutant Hill Mob’ cast, so I think they are going to move close to the top of my 7TV Apocalypse to-do list.

7TV Mutant Hill Mob

7TV Pulp Blog (and a whole load of apocalypse)

Today I visited the Robin Wargames Trade show in Nottingham, primarily to pick up my 7TV Apocalypse Kickstarter from Karl at Crooked Dice, but also to have a general ‘mouch’ about while trying not to spend any money.

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A big box of goodies collected today

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.

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Some of the existing Crooked Dice Pulp-style miniatures – soon to be joined by a whole lot more

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…..

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Lots of post-apocalypse miniatures now in the lead pile

7TV Day II at Board in Brum

This last weekend I made the journey down from Chesterfield to participate in a 7TV campaign day at Board in Brum in Walsall.  This is the second such event held at this venue and my first time visiting.

Pitched as a campaign day rather than a tournament (which nicely fits in with the ethos of 7TV), this saw eighteen players come together to play three games each.  Participants were encouraged to bring their own boards and this resulted in some suitably epic backdrops for the action that was to unfold.

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MOD Base

Board in Brum is a new venue to me.  Based in the upstairs of an office block on an industrial site in Walsall, it looks quite unassuming from the outside.  However inside is a gem of a venue, including a well stocked shop (including not only Games Workshop and Warlord Games products but other interesting lines such as Gangs of Rome, Batllesystems Terrain and a range of board games and accessories), as well as a large gaming area.  The gaming area consisted of nine 6′ by 4′ tables and looking at their events calendar looks well utilised, and as indicated by the footfall on the day a great local hub for hobbyists and gamers.

Upon arrival I met some of the participants, many of whom I knew from the 7TV Productions Facebook group.  As always it is great to put names to faces.  I had at the last minute decided to bring a board myself.  This was quite quickly knocked together and consisted of some high rise MDF office blocks (an eBay purchase last year), a recently acquired 4′ by 4′ city map from Antenocitis Workshop (originally designed for Infinity) and (of course) a flying saucer.

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Downtown UFO Landing Zone

As more folk started arriving I got a view of some fantastic tables and layouts.  These included a Nazi Moonbase, an abandoned MOD site, a desert compound, a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a concealed secret base and downtown New York (complete with mutant turtles).

The amazing effort and eclectic nature of the boards was matched by the casts that were brought along on the day.  Again another thing I love about 7TV is the ability to field pretty much whatever you like without worrying about balance or theme – after all we are making a television programme.

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Wayne Bollands’ excellent Time War Veterans
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A repainted Avengers toy formed the centrepiece of this impressive sci-fi board

Talking of the TV background, Mike Strong who was running the event on the day had written a detailed and amusing back story for the day’s ‘filming’.  Against a back drop of industrial action and union unrest at Barron Studios we were to shoot 3 episodes (games) with some specific scenario stipulations to match the problems the ‘studio’ was experiencing.  So for example due to budgetary restrictions (in actuality the fact that Mr.Barron had never bothered upgrading the studio electricity meter to metric in the early 70s and was now down to his last few half crowns), episode 1 saw the ability for us players to choose to turn off the studio lights in certain situations.  The in game effect being to reduce ranges and visibility at random.  This added a real fun flavour to proceedings!

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What horrors lurk in wait?

In addition to these scenario specific rules we were also tasked as players to get as much product placement into our shows as possible to aid the ailing fortunes of the production studio.  Each player was given a product and catch phrase to try and shoehorn into the narrative in as appropriate a way as possible (with the benefit of gaining extra plot points to spend as a result).  Now I must admit I kept forgetting about this throughout the day (I like to think that I was very much in the mindset of a BBC rather than ITV director), but I was myself the victim of some excellently placed advertising, including a well timed ‘I bet he drinks Carling Black Label’ as a sniper (with a Jezzail) took out once of my armed astronauts!

So to the actual games.  I had chosen to rock up with my Action Force Space Force cast, including my re-purposed SHADO Mobile (acting in game terms as a humble Land Rover).

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When is a Land Rover not a Land Rover? When it is a re-purposed SHADO Mobile.

Game 1 saw the Space Force team go up against Alistair’s SHIVA cast on my city board.  I made the mistake of not piling everyone into the transport first off and very quickly my chaps were picked off by the aforementioned sniper and some nifty sword work by the daughters of SHIVA.  The highlight of this game for me was the ‘set dressing’ event card which saw a continuity error/set problem move one of the office blocks mid-episode.  Well those are the breaks I guess when you’ve not paid your stage hands properly for months and you’ve got the union on your backs!

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Chuck Connors about to get a beating
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Look how close that objective token is…..he didn’t make it
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Moondancer and Skyraider survey the scene

Special mention here also to my product placement which I failed to pull off.  I was just waiting for that moment to express the slightly amended catchphrase ‘M&Ms, melts in your FACE not in your hand’ as I blasted a member of the opposing cast away with lasers.  That moment never came to be.

Game 2 followed a chippy lunch and saw a switch to the excellent secret base (which was nominated for and won best setup on the day).  I setup in the base and faced off against a cast comprising a tough detective, a ghost, a tomorrow person and some Victorian police officers.  For this episode budget cuts meant that certain abilities for stars and co-stars were reduced in effectiveness, although due to the choices myself and my opponent Steve made this didn’t have too much effect.

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Look out its the rozzers
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Space Force hide in the trees
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Truncheons versus lasers
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The hidden base

This time I decided to load up the transport and try and nip around collecting objectives as fast as I could.  This worked to a certain degree, but upon disembarking and dealing with the ghost and blocking off the progress of my opponents stars and co-stars I only really had the police to deal with.  The moral of this story is never underestimate police brutality.  Overly confident my spacesuit clad specialists could easily ‘zap’ their way to victory, I underestimated the power of the good old British police truncheon. And it hurt.  It hurt a lot.  So another great game played in excellent spirit, and no real chance to get off my advertising slogan (‘all because the lady loves milk tray’)!

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Simon Quinton’s excellent PA board

The final game of the day saw a move to a sci-fi cityscape board and opposition in the shape of Shaun Pike’s ‘The Laundry’ cast (based on the The Nightmare Stacks, a novel by Charles Stross).  Now this was a fun episode!  Staff shortages in the studio kitchens and an under cooked chicken curry had led to a number of cases of ‘the trots’ and cast members having to very quickly exit to the nearest facilities.  In game this was represented by a ‘line of doom’ gradually moving across the board, with both casts having to keep ahead of this, deal with each other and collect objectives and exit off the board at the other side.  Any cast member caught by the line would have to be removed from ‘the set’ as the dodgy chicken curry caught hold.

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Race for the exit (not for the loo)!

Ha! Thinks I (being all cock of the walk).  I have a transport that I can load up and drive fast across the board.  No problems.  I even sort of apologise to my opponent up from.  Oh dear, as someone once said a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away ‘your overconfidence is your weakness’.  I had not factored on the luck of the draw when it comes to the countdown cards in 7TV.  For those who don’t know in 7TV at the beginning of each turn you draw a countdown card.  This is an event that may of may not be of advantage to either yourself, your opponent or some combination of the two.  These might include things like wobbly sets (scenery disappearing or moving), continuity errors (cast miniatures from each side suddenly swapping places on the board) or special effects malfunctions (often resulting in unexpected explosions in the vicinity of your cast).

Now unfortunately I was the victim of a couple of these, which resulted in my transport driver swapping places with an enemy minion, who promptly drove me in the wrong direction to the line of doom (at least once).  Couple this with an enemy cast member driving a tracked motorbike around and dropping explosive devices to block my exit and let’s just say that the Space Force crew yet again didn’t cover themselves in glory.

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Transport hijacked!

Again another splendid game and like all the games played no real notice was taken of winners and losers.  I think combined with the freedom of choice when it comes to settings, figures and genres, the creativity that this enables with board design, the quirky meta-game of creating a TV programme/film, the easy to understand and flexible rules and most importantly a community of players that embraces narrative and a good time over competitive play really reinforces my love for all things 7TV.

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So a massive thanks to Mike for organising the day, to Simon and Jez at Board in Brum for a great venue and everyone who attended.  A special shout out to Wayne Bollands who brought along a lucky dip bag of out of production miniatures that everyone got to delve into.

Finally of course thanks to Karl at Crooked Dice for 7TV itself.

If you’re interested in finding out more about 7TV, check out the Crooked Dice Games Design website or the ultra friendly 7TV Productions community on Facebook.  The next events which are both in my diary are:

  • Wargames Illustrated 7TV Pulp day at Wargames Foundry (Newark) on 6th July, and;
  • 7TV Day III at Board in Brum (which should by this time have expanded into the rest of their building) is happening on Saturday 21st September 2018 (I’m already starting to think about a board for this, let’s just say it involves a lot of biscuit tins and coffee jars!)

7TV Apocalypse Kickstarter Campaign

Much of my recent hobby activity has been around the modelling and painting of 28mm scale post apocalypse figures and vehicles.  This was inspired by my involvement in the beta testing of 7TV Apocalypse which is now coming towards it’s conclusion on Kickstarter.

Currently over three times funded, but with plenty of good stuff still to be unlocked I’d heartily recommend backing this (if not so we can please unlock the Alien Invaders (‘Visitors’).

The campaign is running until 9pm (GMT) on Tuesday 6th November.

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Some of the new miniatures…..

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