Invasion Aftermath – 7TV Event Report

The late May bank holiday Sunday saw a small (but very select) group of 7TV players gather in Darley Dale, Derbyshire.  This was the inaugural  7TV event for the Dales Wargames Club, who have recently caught ‘Baron Studios’ fever.

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The Mannequin goes for a stroll

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.

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Just another day repelling the alien horde while sipping Dom Perignon for Hugo Solomon

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!

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Summoned from the deepest darkest corner of the universe, behold the eldritch light!

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.

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The dockside (with a sign of unwelcome ‘Visitors’)

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.

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The wasteland refinery

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’.

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The award winning airbase table

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.

Buoyed by the feedback we’ve got, I’m already planning on running another event at some point.  Dales Wargames Club continues to meet on a monthly basis at the Whitworth Centre in Darley Dale just outside Matlock.  You can checkout our Facebook group for details about upcoming meetings (we have a Saga Ironman event scheduled in July).

I’d also like to give a shout out to Kieron and Carl who have both written up nice articles about the day on their respective blogs:

Finally I’d like to give another big shout out to Karl at Crooked Dice for continuing to produce such a great game, but equally in supporting the community that has built up around it.

 

Dales Invasion Earth 2019 AD – A 7TV Campaign Day

Following the successful introduction to the game at the last meeting, Dales Wargames Club have got 7TV fever.

So much so that we are looking to hold a campaign day on Sunday 26th May at our Whitworth Centre venue in Darley Dale near Matlock, Derbyshire.

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)!

Robomen
Classic Doctor Who Robomen by Harlequin Miniatures / Black Tree Design

For more information and to book your place visit the event page or drop me a line via the blog.

By the way did I mention there may be cake?

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.

 

 

 

Revisiting Star Wars Legion

Earlier in the year I got really invested in Legion, the tabletop miniatures game in the Star Wars universe, published by Fantasy Flight Games. Having spent some time assembling and painting minis, I immediately got distracted (as all good hobby butterflys do) by terrain and re-utilising old toys for the tabletop.  A couple of vintage Kenner / Palitory AT-ATs were purchased from eBay (and then resold as I say sense), as were some Rebel Transports, a U-Wing and various other bits and pieces.

Then as often happens I just didn’t get to play the game.  I had a learning game with my good friend and gaming compadre, Mr.Hawkins, back in the Spring and then nothing.  This was partly due to the distraction of other shiny things, and partly because my best chance of getting a game was at my local club.  Due to other commitments I wasn’t able to get down and I missed most of the monthly meetings over the summer.

However this last Sunday I was finally able to Legion to the tabletop for a couple of games at Matlock and Dales WRG (at the request of another member who similarly had sat on the game for quite a while without actually playing).

I’m no good at reviews, but will say this (and have said so before); it’s a good game.  A very good game.  Bearing striking similarities to other Star Wars games in the Fantasy Flight catalogue (lots of tokens and cards, custom dice, the ‘surge’ mechanic), it seems to have ironed out some of the inconsistencies and clunkiness of games like Armada and Imperial Assault.  Adding to the mix an alternative unit activation mechanic and innovative and intuitive command and control element, this puts it above many similar games I have had experience of in the past. My opponent and I did get quite a few things wrong in the early rounds, but this wasn’t really noticed and didn’t interupt the cinematic flow of the game (I was making a lot of ‘pew pew’ sound effects in my head).

In getting ready for the game I wanted to just share a couple of hints and tips, both on the painting and army construction side of things.

While I had got at least a basecoat down on most of my miniatures (the contents of two core boxes and a handful of expansions), there were a few I had not yet touched.  It wouldn’t be realistic to get everthing done in time for the game (real life is quite hectic at the moment), but I at least wanted to be avoid playing with any completely unpainted models.

Therefore I concentrated on detailing up all the Imperial Stormtroopers I had previously undercoated white, adding in some basic detail and making them tabletop ready (with the intention of going back and finishing them off to a higher standard later).  Here, the humble toothpick was my friend.  Rather than rely on a brush and a steady hand to pick out the black details on helmets and armour and to minimise the chances of despoling that trademark white with any overbrushing I found toothpicks gave me the control and steadyness I needed (but maybe not the patience!).  This was particularly useful when doing helmet eye lenses and something I will try out for painting eyes in general moving forward.

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Small detail on the Stormtroopers applied using a toothpick. Note Revell TIE Fighter model kit as scenery (yes I know wrong era, but it does have working sound!)

My next job was to paint up the only fully unpainted squad I had not yet tackled, the Rebel Fleet Troopers.  These are the guys who valiantly get slaughtered by Darth Vader at the begining of the very first Star Wars film (and of course we now know this fight continued on from the end of Rogue One).  As figures go, I think these are some of the nicest that have been released so far.  Very characterful sculpts and true to the films.  I’d picked these guys up at UK Games Expo back in June, assembled them and then, well, got distracted…

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While they didn’t do too well on screen, they were pretty rock solid on the tabletop!

Taking a very methodical approach I blocked out each colour (having applied a grey undercoat).  Following a production line approach of doing all of one colour across the squad before returning to the first and adding the next hue I was able to get these guys done in only a couple of hours.  I left the dark grey undercoat showing through for the mainly black coloured vests and let Army Painter washes do the rest.

The squad leader is based on Captain Antilles from the film and follows a different scheme.  The intention with these is that I will go back and do some proper basing and highlighting at a later date.

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“If this is a consular ship, where is the ambassador?”

I have to say I’m not a huge fan of painting armies or even squads (I much prefer to do more individual character models): however the fact I was actually going to able to field these in a game was a real motivator.

The Rebel Fleet Troopers proved to be a really solid choice in play (and are my new favourites), having almost taken down Vader in the first game.  Some form of sweet revenge for their on screen performance perhaps?

Using Tabletop Admiral
Preparation and list building using Tabletop Admiral

I also just wanted to give a quick mention to the Tabletop Admiral online army building application for Legion.  I used this to quickly knock up the forces the night before the game allowing me to sort out cards, tokens and minis quickly beforehand and enabling us to setup quickly on the day.  If you are a player of Imperial Assault or Runewars this also might be of interest to you.

Sandstorm Palace
My next distraction – Star Wars style buildings in MDF. Please note that no Play Doh was required for construction!