Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Mountie Always Get His Man: On Vacation to Blog-Con and Lard Island


We finally finished transiting from planes, trains and automobiles and are now enjoying the first leg our much anticipated spring vacation. I write this from the picturesque town of Delft, Holland after spending the previous week in the St Alban's area outside of London where we enjoyed the generous hospitality of Sidney and his wonderful family at Roundwood Towers. So now that I'm in a gap between gobbling food, binge drinking and gaming I thought I'd crack off a post and provide a blog update on recent goings on. 


As some may know, last weekend Sidney and I drove up to York to attend Blog-Con. DaveD was kind enough to arrange the venue and put on the first game of the day, a spirited cowboy donnybrook in his storied town of Serenity. This was a real treat as I've had the pleasure of witnessing the progress of this wonderful project over the past two Painting Challenges and now I was getting a chance to play a scenario within it. Brilliant!

(Thanks to Phil and Dave for the great Blog-Con photos displayed here!)

Blog-Con: Great company and a good many laughs.
Being the token Canadian in the crowd I was assigned to play 'The Mountie' in the scenario. His job was to escort the villainous 'Budgie' Ray on to the local train for transport to Canada in order to face charges for crimes against beavers (or something along those lines). 

The Mountie
The Mountie's just mission was opposed by a host of shady characters ranging from bloody-minded Pinkertons to vicious lasso-wielding hillbillies all bent on stopping the virtuous Canuck lawman from doing his duty. Nonetheless, our hero jutted his lantern jaw, furrowed a brow over his narrow-set eyes and resolved to get the job done no matter the cost.

Once he saw what was arrayed against him, the Mountie knew he had to take desperate measures, perhaps cutting a few corners regarding the comfort of his prisoner. With this in mind Ray was unceremoniously shoved off the saloon's balcony, with the intention that he would land in the water trough below and save a bit of time in their bid for freedom. Well, as it turned out, both physics and geometry were not The Mountie's strong suit and poor Ray landed just shy of the trough and was knocked senseless. 

Hmm, where's the splash? Oh, sorry about that Ray old boy...
Undeterred, our Canadian hero jumped down to the ground, fetched some rope from his trusty steed 'Flat-Out' (a name soon to be realized), hog-tied Ray and, not wanting to waste time, set off on his horse dragging the prisoner behind him.



A few local miscreants tried to interfere, but apart from of few wild shots, the steely-eyed stare of The Mountie made them change their minds and leave him be. 


Nonetheless, the arrival of a team of cold-blooded Pinkertons soon made things a bit hot for our hero.  The Canadian's faithful horse tripped on the tracks in front of the moving train, but The Mountie managed to bundle Ray to the other side before the locomotive made glue of the Canadian's unfortunate mount. 


The Pinkertons, these chilling mercenaries of American justice (very ably led by Ian), wounded The Mountie several times but the Canadian girded his jodhpur-clad loins and succeeded in getting both himself and Ray into the caboose of the escalating train.  

After securing Ray to the caboose stove a frenetic gunfight ensued with the Mountie fighting Pinkersons at either end of the rail car. My luck managed to hold out and The Mountie dispatched both assailants in a flurry of pistol shots.

The fierce shootout in the caboose.

The next game was run by Sidney using his fabulous WWI figures and terrain. The scenario was titled 'Get Carter' which entailed the British forces scampering across No Man's Land to rescue their popular Captain Carter. From my post-game discussions with Sidney I understood that the scenario would always be a challenging one for the British. Nonetheless, the Tommies made a valiant go of it and almost pulled the caper off, but were ultimately swamped by elite Stosstruppen released from the German tactical reserve. 


It was a great game and very evocative of the period. I won't go into great detail on it here as Sidney has provided an excellent photographic account on his great blog. He also provides details to running this scenario along with helpful play aids. I must say that I particularly liked the scenario's 'whistle blowing' mechanic. This is where the German side accrued 'alert' points through the whistles of their forward sentries. These alert points eventually built-up to the point where various levels of alarm / activity would be initiated. This added great tension to the game as the British try to creep up to the German lines to quickly snatch Captain Carter and make their escape.


Big kudos go to Sidney in keeping eleven players fully engaged in the scenario. It went right down to the wire and was a treat to both play and view. Well done my good man!


A few days later I got to do it all over again when Sidney hosted a variation of the same scenario for his clubmates on Lard Island. Yes indeed, I had the distinct pleasure to be invited out to a club game night with the collective that makes up Two Fat Lardies. I won't go into the details of the rules behind the game but it did involve the development of the upcoming Version 2 of 'Through the Mud and the Blood'. Pretty exciting stuff.

The nerve center (nerd centre?) of Lard Island...
I must say I was a bit star struck in a dorky kind of way. I'm a big admirer of the Lardies rules and I was quite chuffed to meet all of them and especially to chat with Richard. All the members were very gracious in having a colonial in their midst and were a load of fun to hang out with. I quite enjoyed talking with Richard regarding rulesets, styles of play, clubs, etc. 

Richard and Big Al pondering the enormity of it all...
What particularly impressed me was how open they all were to challenging and changing the mechanics of their own rules. Some rules designers can be a bit pedantic regarding their designs but I was delighted with the enthusiasm and creativity of the group in adapting rules mechanics or changing them entirely. I know, it's pretty nerdy stuff but I found it very cool to witness and be a part of in a small way.

Rich and Big Al looking at Sidney: Patent disbelief on their faces, writ large...
At the end of our stay in the UK I gave out a few figures. Two of them were Mounties, with one of them going to Dave in thanks for the figures he provided me and his great efforts in organizing Blog-Con...



...the other went to Phil whose Pulp Adventure collection seemed desperately in need of a man from the NWMP (North West Mounted Police - the precursor to today's RCMP) to fight the good fight.



I also gave a figure, a French WWI aviator, to Sidney in deep gratitude for his marvellous hospitality over the week.

He just needs a long-ashed gauloises gripped in his fist to complete the scene. 

Thank you Sidney, it was a delight and a privilege to hang out with you! I very much look forward to the next time.

So there we have it! That's brings us pretty much up to date with my adventures. Next up is an update on my participation in the Lead Painters' League and more importantly my gaming visit with the excellent lads from the 'Royal Dutch Water-Bicycle Detachment'. Stay tuned!

39 comments:

  1. Looks like a fabulous start into your well earned holidays! Both games seem to have been great fun and the story of Mountie 'Curt' was a great fun to read.
    Great painting on your present-figures! The mounties look great but the pilot is awesome.
    Could you please point me to who makes this fabulous french aviator?

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    1. Thanks very much Nick, we are indeed having a lovely vacation in the Olde Worlde.

      The pilot figure is from Scarab Miniatures:

      http://scarabminiatures.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=5_20&products_id=67

      It's a very generic figure which you could paint for pretty much any of the Powers. I quite liked the pose and the clothing. Very characterful.

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  2. Very nice to have met you Curt, enjoy the rest of your trip!

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    1. It was great to chat and have a game together Loki! I look forward to crossing paths again in the future.

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  3. I'll say it again, damn I wish I could have been there!!! And your treatment of Budgie Ray was very ungentlemanly!!!!

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    1. You needed to be there to defend your honour!! That will teach you!!

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    2. I wish you and Fran could have made it out - it was a brilliant day.

      In regards to your alter ego: You should count yourself lucky in surviving the ordeal. There were many who just wanted to shoot you outright (poor soul). So misunderstood...

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  4. Echo above, great to meet you though I think your treatment of Budgie Ray was unconventional but just ;-)

    Ian

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    1. Thanks Ian! You definitely gave me a run for my money. I thought for sure you had me alongside the train but the cards turned up in my favour and I squeaked past.

      Once I saw Loki open the gates to the cattle pen I knew I needed to take some unconventional steps to keep alive!

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  5. Budgie Ray was treated fairly and openly and got exactly what he deserved. Maybe if you fell of the balcony and landed on him but as Canadians are known for their politeness I think you were quite restrained. Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip.

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    1. Thanks Clint!

      I did say 'Watch out below!' and 'Ooh, that must have really hurt, sorry' so I wasn't totally heartless. :)

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  6. Yeah, yeah, yeah - we really, really, really believe that you *meant* to drop Budgie Ray into the water trough!

    It's a shame I couldn't get myself organised to make it up to BlogCon 2. It would have been good to meet you again and join in on those lovely games.

    Great pics and write-ups :)

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    1. Thanks very much Tamsin and yes, you were sorely missed.

      I REALLY did try to 'aim' Ray into the trough but the dice were not too kind. Thankfully he landed on his head so no permanent damage was suffered. :)

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  7. A fabulous post and one that certainly made me chuckle in places; looking forward to the next instalment of your adventures.

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    1. Thank you Michael, we had a great visit in the UK. Really a marvellous time.

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  8. Great writeup Curt. It was a cracking game

    A pleasure to spend the afternoon with your good self and the rest of the BC attendees. Thanks very much for he NWMP man, how did you know I was starting to assemble a North American-themed Pulp Alley League?!

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    1. Haha! It was so great being able to meet up with you Phil. It really brought home the fact that I could happily live in the UK and have a wide group of friends already in place - quite humbling really.

      I look forward to your first Pulp N.American themed AAR! (but I won't hold my breath) ;-P

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    2. Best not I think.

      I do feel that good things come to those who wait, though. Without that mantra I'd have sacked it all off a long time ago! ;-)

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  9. Twas brilliant to meet up Curt.
    Great day was had by all.
    Have a super vacation and safe traveling

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    1. Kev, it was a real pleasure to meet you as well. We'll chat soon about that 15mm WSS project we were discussing...

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  10. It was great to meet up , and form some greater bonds created by the blog o sphere. Really appreciate the member of NWMP added to the collection.

    I am looking forward to catching up again with Sidney at Partizan in the Park, and we have plans afoot for blog con 3.

    Wishing you and Sarah a great time on your travels.

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    1. Thanks Dave and Sarah passes along her warm regards to Mrs. D. We both had such a lovely time up in York. Look forward to our next meet-up!

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  11. Great to hear you're having a good trip. I'm green with envy over your gaming exploits with our fellow bloggers!

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    1. Yes, we're having a great time Millsy. It's such a wonderful hobby we're in and I can't say enough about the good will I've experienced from fellow gamers during our travels. A real treat.

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  12. Great to see some international gaming going down! If I ever head back to ol' Blighty I hope I can hook up with some of the kindred spirits I have met through cyberspace, too!

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    1. Yes! It's like the UN of gaming - next stop: Spain!

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  13. Sounds like an excellent start for you vacation trip.
    Enjoy good old Europe !

    Cheers
    Stefan

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    1. It truly was and thank you for your well wishes Stefan!

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  14. Glad you had a good time old boy!

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    1. The only thing that would have made it better was to see some Rejects in the crowd - perhaps next time!

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  15. Curt (and Sarah), it was such a pleasure having you both to stay. We all really enjoyed it. Fantastic company, and a great excuse to eat a lot of croissants and desserts! Thank you for your super-generous gifts - very kind indeed, and for being such a great sport in playtesting the trench raiding game not once, but twice!

    Here's hoping you have great weather and not too many travel delays on the next part of your trip. And, enjoy Delft and please post some photos!

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    1. Sidney, meeting you and your family provided a wonderful start to our vacation and we can't thank you enough for your hospitality. It just goes to show that this 'blogging thing' can produce some wonderful friendships - it really does warm the cockles of my grumpy heart.

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  16. Nice looking Mountie Curt and the event looked like fun!

    Christopher

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    1. Thanks Christopher, yes we had a great time in the UK - Sidney was an unbelievably gracious host.

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  17. Great trip report dude. I hope you get to enjoy some decent weather on top of amazign gaming!

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    1. We've seen a bit of rain in Holland but each day the sun has come out so it's all good. Next stop: Madrid.

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  18. A fantastic start in your holidays! Wonderful game tables and games!
    And poor Budgie Ray!

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    1. It was a cracking start to be sure. Don't fret about Budgie Ray as he's now safely cooling his heels in The Great White North.

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