Friday, May 19, 2017

F1 Brazil

Race two of the current season was located in beautiful São Paulo, Brazil at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace.  Team Force India (Ken) joined the racers.  Ferrari #1 (Jon Mark), Ferrari #2 (Terry), Williams (Bill), Sauber (Tim) and McLaren (me) were all present for the race in the hopes of improving their overall season standings.


The Race

A field of 18 cars lined up for the race.  McLaren won the pole, with the rest of the field filing in behind.  Brazil is a slightly larger track than Kansas City, so the crowd was expecting an exciting race.

Overall, McLaren started with the pole and maintained the lead virtually throughout the entire race.  Sauber, Ferrari and Williams all threatened the lead at various points in the race, but McLaren held firm.  Force India managed to blow the engines of two of their cars (seriously, do they even know how to race?!), making their 2017 initial foray somewhat anemic.

The leaders have taken off...
First lap, first turn
A sea of red...
...followed by the rest of the pack.

Force India's first blown engine...
The hairpin

Tight race for the lead!

McLaren carried the day.
By the end of the race, two Force India, one Williams and two Ferrari #2 cars were DNF.

Race results:
1. McLaren (47)
2. McLaren (42)
3. Ferrari #1 (41)
4. Williams (40)
5. Sauber (39)
6. Sauber (38)
7. McLaren (37)
8. Williams (36)
9. Force India (35)
10. Ferrari #2 (34)
11. Ferrari #1 (33)
12. Sauber (32)
13. Ferrari #1 (31)

Overall season points:
1. McLaren    244
2. Sauber        227
3. Ferrari #1   179
4. Williams    143
5. Ferrari #2   142
6. Force India 35

We had a great time.  Next race:  The Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai International Circuit!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

It's March...time for some F1 Racing!

The Teams

Jon Mark (Ferrari #1), Terry (Ferrari #2), Bill (Williams), Tim (Sauber) and me (McLaren).  We each had three cars in the race.


We played Ken's wonderful home brew rules, Going the Distance (GtD).  I have some modular track I acquired a while back and started converting and adding to it for use with these rules (that's why some of the track pieces are different shades).  This was a random track set-up, so I jokingly said it was the new race course in Kansas City.  The stars are where cars take a pip of tire damage if they move into that space.  Three laps and Bob's your uncle.

Kansas City Road Course

The Race

Team Ferrari #1 won the pole and the rest of the field assumed their positions.  Out of the gate, Ferrari (both teams) got off to a cracking good start, with McLaren and Sauber tailing closely behind.  

Calamity ensued right off, as Williams miscalculated and rammed the back end of a Sauber car, starting a chain reaction of bad right at the race's opening moments.

Utter chaos 
Meanwhile, Ferrari made a great showing of holding the lead over Sauber and McLaren, but it cost the leader from Ferrari #1 heavily.  His tires were almost nubs by the time he pulled into the pit.

Ferrari dominance
The delay cost him the lead, as Ferrari #2 pushed to the fore, with McLaren and Sauber gaining.

Ferrari #2 limped around the final tight turn of lap 2, but the car was spent.  Terry gave it his all, but his car was a jiggling mess of loose parts, bald tires and wishful thinking.  Team McLaren passed him on the turn, with Sauber closely trailing.

Meanwhile, in the rear of the pack, Team Williams finally was getting straight and chugging along.  While not a deciding factor, Williams proved the race was still important.

The start of lap three featured a total blocking of all available lanes by Ferrari and McLaren.  This allowed Sauber to catch up and stay within passing distance of the leader.

Lap three.  Back stretch.  McLaren held the lead, but Sauber was knocking on the door.  A poor turn by McLaren sent him out wide of the curve and low on power.  Sauber took advantage of the mistake and streaked past for the eventual win!

Race results:
1. Sauber (47)
2. McLaren (42)
3. McLaren (41)
4. Ferrari #1 (40)
5. Ferrari #2 (39)
6. Sauber (38)
7. Ferrari #2 (37)
8. Williams (36)
9. McLaren (35)
10. Ferrari #1 (34)
11. Sauber (33)
12. Ferrari #2 (32)
13. Williams (31)

At the end of the race, points standings were thus:

McLaren  118
Sauber      118
Ferrari #2 108
Ferrari #1   74
Williams    67

It was a great race and everyone had a blast.  Perhaps we'll play more for this 'season', but perhaps not.  With a modular track, the possibilities are wide open!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Shoot 'em up!

"Bring your Nerf gun."  That was pretty much the only thing I said in the invite to the game.  Nevertheless, the gang was ready; packing more "heat" than anyone outside of pre-pubescent youngsters should...

The Plot

The sleepy border town of Deadrock was set to wake up.  The Mexicans, who had been in the town since it was named Roca Muerta, had had enough.  The Texians that had swaggered in treated their Mexican counterparts like offal.  They boasted about Texas independence and how much better they were than Mexicans, Mexico and basically anything or anyone that wasn't Texian.  Enough was enough.  
Today, as the sun broke over the horizon, it was time to give Deadrock its true name and drive out the Texian squatters!

The Players

Jon Mark and Bill played the Texians (three apiece).  Terry, Tim and I played the Mexicans (two each).  It was last team standing.  Simple enough!

Did I make the shot?
Terry, wearing the SHL +2 Poncho of Warmth.

"Wild" Bill shootin' up the joint!
Jon Mark, bringing the heat!
Tim with his fancy ammo.

The Game

Using Ken's wonderfully simple rules that combine movement elements from the Song Of... family, easily understood and remembered modifiers and a special "shooting element" using Nerf guns, we began.

The two forces began on opposite long sides of the board.  They soon came into contact with one another and the Nerf "lead" started to fly.  

Let's go thataway...
Texians moving up

Wrapping around the left flank.
An Irish Texian?!
The Mexicans (and an injun) advance
...I see you!


The blood flowed heavily.
Extra powder in that bullet!

Ol' Doc died on the stoop of his practice.

Things were touch and go for quite a while, with neither side gaining an appreciable advantage.  Finally, it came down to Nerf accuracy.  Unfortunately for the Texians, either the powder in their bullets was of an inferior grade or they were just lousy shots.  By the end of the night, a single Texian scampered away...the lone survivor of a short, but bloody, gunfight.

I ran so far away...

As the sun set on Roca Muerta, the tequila freely flowed...

A fun night of hearty entertainment!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

In honor of Bill Paxton...

It has been quite a while since I last blogged.  With the end of my pirate campaign, my Muse wasn't giving me any direction on what to play next.  I've been gaming, but it's been a hodge-podge of titles, genres and scales.  My gaming group started and is in the middle of a Blood Bowl season.  I originally thought to post about the game outcomes, but never seemed to get pictures or good recounts from the games I wasn't involved in playing.  Thus, not blogged.

Anyway, here it is...March!  One of my favorite character actors, Bill Paxton, recently and unexpectedly died.  I absolutely love the movie Aliens.  It's in my top five of all-time movies.  Mr. Paxton played the role of Pvt. Hudson in said movie and had some very memorable and quotable lines.  On another note, Mr. Paxton and Lance Henriksen are the only two actors that were "killed" by aliens, predators and terminators.  Some would argue that the character of Bishop was an android and wasn't technically 'killed' (he was shut down in Aliens 3), but that's splitting hairs.

To honor Bill Paxton, the group (Terry, Jon Mark, Jared and myself) played the board game adaptation of Aliens Thursday evening.  The plot was slightly different than the movie's...consider it a "what if?" scenario.


The Colonial Marines engaged the aliens in the reactor room and got whooped.  Sgt. Apone, Pvt. Dietrich and Pvt. Hudson were grabbed by aliens before Lt. Gorman, who didn't panic, ordered an immediate evacuation.  The dropship didn't get waylaid and was able to deliver an arsenal of weapons to the marines.  Burke's self-preservation overrode his desire to save the colony, so he went along with nuking the site from orbit.  There was only one problem: Marines don't leave anyone behind.

The marine section proceeded to arm themselves and took an elevator into, literally and figuratively, the "belly of the beast".  Their mission was simple: Find their teammates, get them out and kill any bugs in their way.

This scenario takes place adjacent to the nuclear reactor which powers the colony.  Weapons fire weakens the protection around said reactor and eventually will make it go BOOM.  If your marines are still present when this happens, game over, man.  Game over.  Flame units don't count toward causing this catastrophe.  The placement of the captured marines is randomized.  Of course, the die roll placed them in what was considered the hardest location to reach.  That should've given us a clue as to what the night had in store for us.

The captured marines


Things started smoothly for the marines.  Not wanting to unnecessarily draw attention to themselves, they didn't enter any rooms.  This meant taking a circuitous route around the entire map.   The squad made it relatively far, with Ripley and Hicks in the lead.  That's when the motion tracker started to ping...

The crew is ready...or are they?

Taking the lead

We've got motion!
One thing about aliens...they're fast!  The leading wave met with Hicks and Ripley in moments.

Good thing there's a wall!

Blocking the doorway with fire
 As the point marines took care of their mess, another wave crept up from the rear.  Only by the grace of Drake's machine gun were the marines able to get out of the jam.

I think we're outnumbered...
Things continued to be dicey, but with controlled flamethrower usage and withering fire, the marines slogged on.  Unfortunately, Drake was grabbed and taken away.

Finally clear of aliens, Hicks entered the room.  Aliens poured up and out of the giant stairwell, nearly overrunning the marines.  It was here that Ripley was taken.

Her sacrifice wasn't in vain.  Hicks was able to pull a wounded, but groggy Hudson out of the 'ick' and hand him a pulse rifle.

Again, the marines cleared out the area and proceeded to free Dietrich and Apone.  Although wounded, they both carried their trusty flamers, which were proving to be indispensable.  

Another wave of aliens!!!  In the resulting scrum, Dietrich fell to another wound.  Gorman was grabbed, but Apone knocked the alien to the floor before torching it.  It was at this point that gunfire had critically damaged the reactor, starting the countdown sequence.

Hold them off with fire

I see 'em...

The end of Apone
Apone and Gorman, lagging behind the rest of the group, were surrounded.  Gorman ran (of course), leaving Apone in a tough spot.  Crowe, trying to help. killed a bug, but its acidic blood spray in turn killed Apone.  Gorman's reprieve was short-lived as he was killed instantly by the next alien that attacked him.

Meanwhile, Crowe, Frost and Wierzbowski had their own problems.  Frost and Wierz had flamers.  They used them effectively to keep the bugs off of them while Crowe shot them dead.

Hicks and Hudson, well in advance of the group, were faring little better.  Eventually, Hudson became incapacitated and Hicks had to sling him over his shoulder and make a mad dash for the elevator.  They made it, eventually.

With the reactor heating up, Crowe, Wierz and Frost applied a steady diet of pain on the aliens.  They finally broke clear; the map was empty of bugs...

...and then it wasn't.  Wierz and Crowe were wounded, meaning they could neither shoot as far nor as effectively.  With 17 turns left on the reactor clock, things were looking bleak.

It's feeling a bit overwhelming...

It went right around the fire!
Frost was grabbed and taken away, leaving Wierz and Crowe.  Wierz was the next to go, with an alien pouncing on him.

Game over, man!  Game over!
Finally, Crowe was incapacitated and taken away.  Truly game over.  There were seven ticks on the reactor countdown, so it wasn't too much longer before the whole place blew up anyway.  Even if there weren't any more aliens to stop them, Crowe, Wierz and Frost would've been hard-pressed to make it to the elevator in time.


Seven marines and one civilian went in.  Two marines escaped.  One of those was Pvt. Hudson. It was a great night of edge-of-seat die rolls, cheers and groans. 

While I'm sorry to say he's gone in real life, Bill Paxton will live to fight as Pvt. Hudson on many gaming tables and in many gamers' imaginations.  I hope Mr. Paxton's family finds peace and realize that they aren't alone in their mourning.