Tuesday, March 30, 2010

[GameStorm 12 Report] Part Three - Friday

Friday was a good day at the con and though I do not recall everything I played, I played in a couple of interesting games worth mentioning. Friday is the day when the con really starts to get going and when the dealer's room opens (but not until 1pm), so things are starting to jump. I started to see people I recognized from the year prior and wandered around to see what waqs getting going. Hospitality also opened and so we checked it out. They had a nice supply of sodas and sandwich fixings and a projector running non-stop anime though not the sort I like (anime soap opera crap!).


My fleet is the one in the foreground. I found out later I was a bit outgunned.

My first game of the day was a new game that takes a daring approach to miniatures - all paper. I have to say I am not sure who makes Wormhole, but I do know that it is one of the bigger paper terrain companies. The kid genius running the game was polite and really enthusiastic and though I had my reservations about this game, I gave it a go.

Wormhole is a miniatures game where everything used in the game is printable, from the ships, to the counters to the measuring sticks. There are no conventional ship record sheets in this game. Instead you have cards that you print out for ship stats and special abilities and print and assemble, 3D control consoles for each ship.

Left: My entire fleet in 3D console form. Note the collection of missile tokens and the edges of the force cards.

These consoles bugged me a bit. They are clever and include toggle switches for movement, attack, repair and other special abilities the ships might have, as well as a damage slider that tracks both damage and its effects in one step. What bothered me was that they really seemed unnecesarily fiddly, taking up as much room as a stat card and not being stackable like a hand full of sheets would have been.

Game play in Wormhole is really quick. There is an initiative determined by who influcted the most damage in the previous turn, which keeps players playing agressively. The movement system is dymanic and some ships are allowed to move more than once in a turn. Fire is quick and easy with attacker rolling versus a standardized attack roll vs a defender's defense roll. Damage is simply tracked by sliding the damage slider on the console for the appropriate ship with modifiers caused by damage reflected on both stat cards and the consoles.

Overall, I liked this game. I think I'd sub out the cumbersome and often delicate paper models and consoles for a good old fashioned set of SSD style sheets and metal miniatures but it played well. The only other big complaint I had is this game is very much a set piece game. There are no rules for using other ships besides those written for the game and currently there are only two factions (red and blue) using the same ships.

El Capitan and the Sarjento make a break for it, leaving the Lieutenant to fend for himself.

This game was a lot of fun. I was the only player who signed up for it ahead of time and I fully expected it to get cancelled. I was pleasently surprised when it not only didn't get cancelled but also started early, meaning it would not overlap with the other game it was originally in conflict with. The gents putting on the game were a couple of older grognards types and one of their buddies was also playing. These guys were awesome. I am ashamed that I only remember one of their names (Kim, you and your buddies are fantastic). I also found out that at least Kim is a guy from WA like myself and is a regular at our local minis convention Enfilade.

The scenario for the game was that in 1917 a group of Mexican federal troops had raided a lost Aztec city and stirred up a nest of trouble in the form of lizard men. Having failed to find the gold they were looking for they were now fleeing for their lives. The scenario was actually a modified Isandwana retreat scenario taken from some historical wargaming magazine and used a slimmed down Sword & Flame rules system.

28mm Old Glory Mexican Federals

There were three groups of soldiers that constituted the player's teams. Each of them was led by a  different character with a different sub-objective besides the overall objective of escaping to the other side of the board with 25% of our total force.

They were -

The Captain - Tasked with protecting a signorita and getting her safely off the board.

The Lieutenant - Driven mad by the death of his brother, his unit needed to inflict more casualties than the lizard men.

The Sergeant (Me!) - A loyal bat man, his objective was to get the Captain safely off the board.

The lizard men were deployed by random die roll coming at use from varying directions, distances and in different numbers. They could even pop up within charge range. Their actions were also determined randomly and more than once we were offered a glimpse of our enemy only to have him fade away before we could engage.

Traffic jam in the Mexican deployment zone.          Forming the line while the Lt. Fights for his life.

The game went well, even though we lost. We got bogged down in our deployment zone, because the Captain and Lt decided to deploy in formation rather than skirmish. This got them caught up in the rough terrain and the rolls for our semi-random movement distances did us no favors. It wasn't until turn three that I even got all my forces on the board anf by then the Lietenant had already lost half his force and was continuing to get cut down. Heck, our first encounter was with 22 lizard men who appeared at medium range but close enough to charge into combat.

(left) As El Capitan makes his move toward freedom, more lizard men appear in his path. (right) The initial board set up.

We were only about a turn or two away from making it to the other side of the board, but by turn 12 we just hadn't made it and were still being heavily harrassed by the lizard men. After I was done, Chrispy gave it a go and managed to help the good guys to a win, using his unit to stage a rear guard action. Good man Chris!


This game was hosted by my buddy Roy and included most of my gaming group. Roy really made this fun, wacky race game shine with several little touches. He customed built inididualized counters for each of the ships in the game, copying the limited images presented on the ship sheets as well as tricking out the track with 3D laser turrets and easy to use dials on the ship roster sheets.

If you have never played this game before it's a bit like Robo Rally in that you plot your movement, using a number of cards determined by your speed. The big thing is, you don't know what cards you will have turn to turn and have to plot them before the action actually begins. The best laid plans can easily fall apart in this game where the race track is full of madcap pilots, random events, mines, wormholes, black holes, acidic gas clouds and epxloding ships.

I survived to nearly the end of the game until I manuevered myself into a corner that there simply wasn't any escaping from. My only regret is that my explosion didn't take anybody with me.


  1. Good reporting! Wormhole seems interesting but it takes a really great space game to get me to play anything other than Full Thrust. The Space Race game looks neat. Question for you on the Mexican standoff, did the lizardmen make boots out of the Mexicans? Fortress America was one of my favorite games growing up as a kid and I always remembered Red Dawn. Did you know they are remaking Red Dawn by the way? Wow this is turning into a stream of consciousness post isn't it with misspelled words and everything.

    Well Eli it is late here on the East coast of Florida and I'll bid you adiu. I posted those pictures of the nids' I used to represent the aliens from the alienist in Forgotten Realms. I have quite the story arc going on right now and all three games are intertwined. The third is going to be from the side of the antagonists as the players take on roles of their foes...

  2. "My only regret is that when I exploded I didn't take anyone with me."

    No truer words have ever been spoken.

    Great reporting. Question: have you any idea who made the lizardmen for the Escape game?

  3. The lizard men we the new crop of GW skinks.


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