Well, the day started with doling out some serious loot we got sent to us by Osprey Publishing.
Each kid got a oopy of either Frostgrave, Dragon Rampant or Horizon Wars. Osprey’s a pretty standup company, I really appreciate their assistance with prizes and the assistance of HMGS’ outreach program to help pay for expenses in putting on this camp. Truly, I was just expecting something simple, like a paper product of some sort, this was unexpectedly generous. The kids were suitably impressed. Keep in mind that most of these kids have never gamed with miniatures before, and today I heard one say “I know where I’m going.. Ebay!” “Why?” “to get some cheap Frostgrave miniatures“. My work here is done.
New Pulp SF rules
Schedule: well, Friday was scheduled to play out like this.. I was going to playtest BOOM! ZAP! (my first stab at Pulp SF rules) in the morning with five campers. One had to leave earlier in the week and I was going to run Viking Looters in the afternoon. I was a victim of my own success, as it were. Everyone present wanted to continue playing BDB, and by that, I mean all day, right through lunch. Big Danged Boats has become something of a standby in recent years; I’ve run it for six years easily (although not every year) and the campers like the spectacle. The down side, of course, is you have a hard time adding new things to the lineup, which is important to me to keep things fresh. Still, I do say on the first day, if you want to carry something over to the next day, just tell me and we’ll adjust the schedule. Well, they told me loud and clear. Believe me, “we love this creation of yours so much we want to cancel other things to play it” isn’t something that I’m complaining about!
For once, we saw the Stahlheimers depicted as something unique, not as standard humans.
The casualties on the Isle of the Dead were most impressive.
I’m happy to say that every session teaches you something. I was blessed with some innovative campers who really took to the simple “bucket o’ sixes” philosophy of BDB, and had some suggestions to add in that I improvised on the spot. For instance, the Bone Brigade (two galleys, one with a giant catapult, manned by mostly skeletons and a Wizard figure). Why can’t that guy be a necromancer who can bring back casualties? Well, why not then. Also, could they have a plague cannon, like the undead faction in Uncharted Seas? Well, sure, but it would be a “Plague Package” they put on the catapult, the necromancer has to be present to prepare it, and it fires an ensorcled skellie that is there to spread disease (slowly). Not bad additions to the Undead factions– they fit. I also improvised a fix to the damage repair rules and introduced new Ship Sheets, which are an improvement on the old ones.
Less complex and more streamlined than before. Speed on the left, check of damage and roll for further bad things on the last box on the line.
So in this game concluding Epic, the Ratlings of Ingoldsby held back, not committing themselves to much, trying to get gold by treasure hunting and trading. They did bribe the local militia to fight the Gnomes, but not much came of that. The Gnomes of Batenburg played an aggressive game, Ramming Stahlheim’s Gauntlet Ironclad, deploying Gnome Marines, fighting shore parties, etc. The Bone Brigade was also and took chances, using his fatigue chips, not holding back. The Deadnought (the larger galley with catapult) got sunk late on Friday, stranding one of his landing parties on an island. Oh well, plenty where they came from!
Our other big player was the Empire of Stahlheim, who ran the Gauntlet ironclad, a steam powered ship (which, btw, we changed– Steam isn’t as complicated now, and you break down a lot more). Stahlheim has probably the best ship on the board, in terms of defense, and it saved Stalheim’s hide many times. He lost most of his deck crew to crew fire.
It was a great camp this year– I definitely proved the value of War Rocket and Frostgrave games (Frostgrave being played for an extended day on Wednesday) and reaffirmed that Big Danged Boats continues to be a camp favorite.
I wish we had had more campers this year, this was the smallest I’ve run ever.. maybe I need to be involved in promoting it better? I have some ideas about that. I’ll talk to the good folks at St. Stephens when it comes time to plan for next year.
So until next year, thanks, parents, and thanks campers, for hanging out with us for a week in August. I’ll see you next year.