Monday, March 09, 2015

Raid! (Song of Arthur & Merlin)

Played a game of Song of Arthur & Merlin the other night with Sebastian. This an Athurian skirmish game using Ganesha Games' Song of Blades & Heroes engine.  This consists of rolling one to three dice against a figure's "Quality" score (usally 3+).  Every success result gives you an action to spend (move, shoot, attack in melee, etc).  However, if you roll two failures, it is a turnover, and you turn ends immediately and your opponent may begin making activation rolls.  This flip-flopping turn structure is the heart of the game, as that if you roll only one dice to activate, you will not get a turnover, but will have less actions to spend. 

We were playing the "Raid" scenario, where each side tries to obtain and get away with herds or treasure tokens.  I had acquired some plastic sheet and based them two-to-a-base, so we were stealin' sheep.  Each side had a 300 point roster consisting of five basic warriors, a champion, and a leader. I was playing axe-wielding  Irish, and Sebastian fielded Saxons.  All figures are by Old Glory. The sheep are by Ertl.

The game took about an hour and a half, which was probably uncommonly long due to explanations and some rule searching by me (mainly regarding the control of sheep). There were six herds of sheep, and the Saxons had obsconded with three and the Irish with two. Sebastian killed one of my Irish warriors, but my chieftain slew his warlord, which in turn triggered a warband-wide morale check which caused his champion and a warrior to flee the field. This left him with one warrior on the table (three Saxon warriors and two Irish had already left the table with thier stolen sheep). At this point I was still trying to get one sheep herd off the table. The lone Saxon made a dash and, for a second, did actually wrest control of the sheep to himself. But the Irish snagged them back and made good their getaway.

Each sheep marker is worth 3 VP. So 9 to 9. Figures are 1 VP for every 50 points they cost. The slain Irish warrior costs 32 points or thereabouts, so that nets 0 VP. The Saxon warlord was like 70 points, so that gives the Irish the narrow win with 10 to 9 VPs.


I think we'll try it again. Probably use a bridge scenario called "None Shall Pass" and up the warbands from 300 to 400-500 points (basically add 3-6 more warriors per side). Maybe try some world-building, too. Make a little cartoony map and show where the sheep raid took place. Then add where the bridge is and say that the bridge battle is one of side trying to cut off the escaping sheep raiders. The campaign system in the book has dice rolls to determine whether slain figures were really slain or just wounded and can recover and play in the next game, so we could do that too…

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Great Urinals of the Pacific Northwest

Oregon Zoo.
Was almost positive these were already part of the collection, but I couldn't find them anywhere.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Fleetwood's Regiment of Foot

Here are 12 pikemen (including 3 command figures) and 16 shotte comprising a "regiment" of foot for play in English Civil War scenarios.  These are all Warlord Games 28mm plastic figures.  They are wearing orange jackets because I wanted to put a unit (of any gunpowder era) in orange, and this ended up being the one since information on unit colors during the English Civil War is sketchy.  The flag is idenitified as "Colonel Fleetwood's Regiment" and a Parliamentarian flag, so I guess this is a Parliamentarian unit (although I will probably downsize the flag by about 50%).

These are based individually on metal washers. I have card with magnet paper glued on which make movement trays.

Parliamentarian officers favored orange sashes and Royalists ones favored red. This means orange might be an appropriate color for a Parliamentarian infantry unit but also means I put its colonel in a red sash by mistake (third from left, front row).

The banner is mounted on an extra thick styrene rod instead of the banner provided on the sprue. It looks like he's carrying a small tree trunk if you look closely but it means the banner won't snap off too easily (as has happened to me before).  The pikes are also quite brittle but you can cement them back together in a pinch.

Not a fan of the lack of poses with Warlord Games plastics. You get different hats but that's about all you can really do to vary the poses. The musket poses are either firing or marching/advancing. It'd be nice to have a loading or at-ease type pose to use as the second row behind the firing poses.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

He's sheef p'lice.

Napoleon Davis and Chief Barry Join in Debauch

Barry Said He Was Running the Town and Viciously Assaulted a Saloon-Keeper.

   The spectacle of the chairman of the police commission and his chief of police staggering along the streets in a drunken spree, shouting curses, brawling in saloons, destroying property and viciously assaulting unoffending citizens was furnished a number of people the night before Thanksgiving.  Although Chairman Davis and Chief Barry may have forgotten all the circumstances of the episode, these are perfectly fresh and distinct in the minds of many witnesses, particularly the unfortunate victims of their assault.

   Early Thanksgiving eve Davis and Barry started out with the praiseworthy intention of showing the town that they owned it.  After they made the rounds of the saloons and dives, leaving a trace of overturned beer kegs, bicycle racks and signboards in their wake, and imbibing all the liquor they could get free, the brought up about 1 o'clock Thursday morning in a saloon on Morrison street, both ugly drunk, and looking for trouble.

   Banging the door open, they staggered up to the bar and demanded a drink.  It was furnished them.  They they started for the private rooms in the rear, one of which was occupied by two young men named Mannard and Lenner.

   "Who's in this here room," demanded Barry.

   "There are two young gentlemen there, chief," said the bartender, civilly.  "There are plenty of other rooms."

  "Do' wan' no other room; want this here one," said the chief.

  "You'll have to take another."

  "I'll do nothin' kind; I'll break door in," shouted Barry, giving it a vicious kick.

  This brought the one of the occupants of the room to his feet.

  "I don't know who you are," said he, "but if you want this room worse than we do, we'll get out and let you have it."

  "Looker here, young feller," yelled Barry in a drunken rage, "I'm chief p'lice, I'll git in there 'n show you who's runnin' this here town."  He threw back his coat and showed his star.

  "Thas' what he is," corroborated Davis, "He's sheef p'lice. I'm cham'n p'lice. I'll stand 'im back. Don't give no jaw."

  At this juncture, William Anglin, who runs a saloon on Morrison street, near the corner of first, and the bartender came running in, and took a hand in the melee.

  "I can handle him," said Anglin, and  he made a grab for Barry.  The chief, who is a powerful man, suddenly swung around and smashed Anglin on the face, breaking his glasses into fragments, and sending him back into the barroom.

   "Leave me 'lone," he shouted, "I'm chief p'lice.  I'll fix these here kids in this box."  He thrust his hand in this hip pocket, and would have drawn his pistol, had not the barkeeper seized hi and pulled him back into the barroom.  A crowd had in the meantime gathered, and by the united efforts of every one present, Davis and Barry were pushed into the street.  The next day one of the young men who was in the box received a note of apology, signed by Barry.  Anglin was paid $5 for his broken glasses, which was a sufficiently large sum to purchase his silence.

   Earlier the same night Davis and Barry came out of the Imperial, a concert dive on Fourth street, between Morrison and Yamhill, and made the best of their unsteady way around the block, overturning bicycle racks, piles of beer kegs and everything they could lay their hands on.  Every time a bicycle rack was reached David would kick it over, and order Barry to pick it up and heave it into the center of the street, which the latter would do with alacrity.  The four sides of the block around which they made their irregular course were strewn with smashed movables, and their course could be traced a long way by the wrecks, whatever they were able to lay their hands on.  In the Louvre, at Fourth and Alder streets, their boisterousness soon led to their ejection, as it did in a number of other places.

   Before reaching the Morrison-street saloon, they made the rounds of the dives and disreputable houses.  It was the night of Bud Smith's victory at the Multnomah Club, and the street was crowded with young men, celebrating the event.  Nearly all of these met the drunken officials in their travels.  Whenever the latter met any one whom they knew they stopped and engaged in maudlin conversations, telling with great glee that they owned the town, and were going to do what they pleased with it.

   Several policemen met them, but the only one who had the courage to advise them to go home was roughly told to mind his own business.  At 2 o'clock a county official, who is a personal friend of Barry, put the two drunks in a hack and sent them home.  It was too late, however, to avoid a scandal, although both Davis and Barry have been spending considerable time and money to hush the matter up since.

   There have been no arrests.

  Although recent publicity has lessened their patronage, the dives, dancehalls and like places are still open, and undisturbed by the police.

   At First and Madison streets, a combination joint is run by one DeMartini, which is the rendezvous of the toughest element in that section of the city.  Downstairs is a bar and a disreputable show, in which women take part, in open defiance of the law, which forbids womenin the same room with a bar.  Above is a crap and stud poker game.  Here thugs and toughs congregate in large numbers, and not a night passes that the place is not the scene of a disgraceful drunken brawl.  Policement wander in and out of the place and drink at the bar.

   A place known as the Imperial, on Fourth street, near Morrison, is nightly filled with women, who take no trouble to conceal themselves behind the curtains of the boxes in which they are ranged.  A close inspection of these boxes will reveal the presence of numerous young girls not of their teens, who have been lured thither before they know the character of the place, and who have been corrupted till they enjoy the entertainment.

   The proprietors of the dancehalls in the North End constantly visit such places of theses in search of women to fill their dives.  These men prefer young girls, who are willing to pay them large commissions to dance in their resorts.  Girls whose first lessons in evil are taught in concert halls like the Imperial invariabley find their way sooner or later to the dancehalls of the North End, and are associated with the worst element to be found in the city.  All such places are frequented by the police, and not the slightest effort is made to keep young girls out of them.

-Oregonian. December 9, 1897.

Patrick J. Barry was Portland's Chief of Police from June 9, 1897 to July 2, 1897 (just 23 days!), so the date of this article (December 1897) and purported date of the drunken foray (day before Thanksgiving, 1897), both months after the end of Barry's short tenure as chief, means Barry was carrying on about being "sheef" long after it no longer being the case (but Barry flashes his "star" to get his way?).  Portland's then-Mayor Pennoyer appointed four police chiefs during his term (1896-1898). His successor, Mayor Mason, replaced the entire police force, its chief, the janitor, and the board of commissioners, including… Napoleon Davis.  Davis knew Mason would clean house and forced each the Portland patrol to donate $25 a month to war chest to defeat Mason in the election.  He collected $2,500 and instead kept it all for his own personal use "to buy big fat cigars" (see Portland's Finest, Past and Present (2000) p22).