Friday, December 09, 2005

My little Old World

The GM's confession
So there you have it: my first attempt at plotting my own scenario in my WFRP campaign, and it turns out to be a shaggy dog story. Hardly auspicious I have to say. So what happened? Two things in essence.

First, as the adventure advanced haltingly from session to session, I became ever more aware of the glaring loopholes in the basic scheme of the plot. When the initial message was passed on to Siegfried, I had a notion in mind of how the various secret tongues and signs in the Old World could be used to pass a message up the line a bit more quickly than the pace of the fastest messenger. As time went on, this began to look more and more unlikely. The consequence of this was that the situation of peril into which the PC's were supposed to arrive 'in the nick of time' looked increasingly like one which would have been essentially resolved by the time the PC's arrived.

I tried to figure out various fixes to these problems, but they began to look increasingly contrived in my mind's eye. In addition, even if these fixes could've been made to hold together, they began to look ever more complex at a time when I was more and more interested in just getting the damn thing over with so that I could get back to running published material as I had been doing.

The other main problem was the plausibility of the whole threat itself. This was brought home forcefully to me in the encounter with the outlaws, which cost the PC's 3 fate points. I began to realise that a threat sufficiently dangerous to require a call for help such as the one I had posited would be too dangerous for the party to face, not to mention strong enough pretty much to have mopped-up at the scene long before the PC's arrived. A threat that avoided these 2 problems suffered from the fairly obvious problem of being insufficient to require a call for help in the first place.

Again, I considered potential fixes to this problem, but they all seemed to point in the direction of increased complexity and added playing time just when, as I have already noted, the dynamic of the game itself demanded the opposite.

And so it was that I found myself caught between a rock and hard place, with the session in which these issues would have to be resolved- and quickly- rapidly approaching. There was only one thing for it I decided: I had to abort the whole sorry episode, and turn it into something that fed back into what had been going on in Middenheim before my injudicious diversion. Not the most satisfactory of outcomes I realised, but one that could work if I put in the appropriate hooks for the players' emotions, while also adding new layers of intrigue and paranoia.

That much seems to have worked rather well, but even in that I made a crucial mistake. Nervous as I was at the outrageous stunt I was about to pull after some 4 sessions, I telegraphed the outcome to my players with a couple of cheesy jokes before the session got under way.

Ah well, c'est la vie. Still, the session went quite well all the same, because I'd prepared it more thoroughly than recent ones. And the players quite enjoyed themselves. So all's well that ends well I guess. Anyhoo, I've learned one lesson that I'll bear in mind for quite some time to come: with 3 volumes of the 'Paths of the Damned' to hand or imminent, Plundered Vaults, scenarios in other BI supplements, plus some 29 scenarios downloaded from the BI website and elsewhere, I really don't need to hurry to invent my own plotlines. I'll just stick to adding my own touches to these ones for the forseeable future I think!

From Altdorf to Corman's Landing
- #1 Curiouser and Curiouser
- #2 The Plot Thickens
- Index:- My little Old World: Ashes of Middenheim

Thursday, December 08, 2005

My little Old World: From Altdorf to Corman's Landing #2

The Plot Thickens
The overnight stay in Wurtbad proved uneventful. Taking a rest from his work, Grundi noticed Machholt and Reinholt talking to someone, who soon departed. The same scene was again witnessed by Grundi, and also by Seigfried, the following morning, outside the inn the party was sharing with the merchant and his servant, but nothing came of it- merchants seeking new deals have to foster contacts after all.

And so the party set out on the last leg of their trip down the River Stir in the Black Swan: 2 more uneventful days marked by a following wind helping them make good time, and by flurries of snow which never became the threatening storm. Arriving in Marburg they stayed in the Bosun's Rest they had visited so many months before. There they were recognised by the innkeeper and given a friendly reception.

Seigfreid took advantage of this to pursue a scheme involving the purchase of a horse. The innkeeper directed him to a farmer who might have an old horse to sell. It turned out that the farmer did indeed have a tired old nag he was happy to sell. The price for this discovery was a lengthy chat with the garrulous old goat, in the course of which Siegfried did at least hear a couple of interesting tales. The first was that the outlaw Heinz Gerber was still at large and had recently been active in the area. The other was that Ernst the boatman- who had gone missing when the PC's had last been in the area- had killed himself after his wife Renata had run off with another man. These tales served to remind the PC's that they were returning to the scene of former triumphs.

The following morning the party set off bright and early for Corman's Landing, the site of the Strutting Cock inn. Detouring only briefly to visit the farm for the purchase of Siegfried's 'new' horse, they made good time northwards. Then they heard 2 voices shouting at each other round a bend in the road.

Nursing painful memories, the party halted while Seigfried sneaked ahead through the woods to scout the situation out. Soon enough he saw a cart with a broken axle and 2 peasants arguing over whose fault it had been. Reassured, Siegfried snuck back to the party, and together they continued up the road.

The 2 peasants stood slack-jawed in fear at the sight of the party, the elf and 2 heavily-armed dwarfs in particular. Attempts to glean information about events at the Strutting Cock proved futile other than to elicit the pair's fear that the party were outlaws. Siegfried treated this suggestion with scorn, and headed off up the road. Torn between a desire to help the stranded pair and the need to press on, the others dithered for a while, before following Siegfried, with the promise to send help from the Strutting Cock.

Soon thereafter the party approached the edge of Corman's Landing. Siegfried organised his plan. He had some smart new clothes and a horse. He would pose as a noble, while the rest of the party played the parts of his bodyguards and other members of his retinue. The idea, he explained, was to have a cover story ready to explain their presence to any evildoers they should encounter ahead. Thus prepared, the party proceeded, Berthold slung over the back of the horse because he had by this time fallen quite ill.

Breaking out of the treeline into the open space of Corman's Landing the party caught sight of the inn, the tollhouse, and the other buildings they remembered. Everything seemed strangely normal, and they could hear the birdsong from the surrounding trees as they approached the Strutting Cock. Entering the inn's courtyard, they headed first for the stables. Finding the stables empty roused their suspicions.

Undaunted, they made for the entrance to the inn. On the way they passed the kitchen window. Looking inside, they saw Heidi Handler and 2 serving girls hard at work. Seigfried approached and by dint of hand signals tried to get Heidi to come out and speak to him. Heidi's only reply was shrugs of incomprehension. In the end, she opened the kitchen window and asked Seigfried what was the matter.

We're here because of Josef's message Siegfried explained. What message Heidi asked. The message he sent asking for our help because he was in trouble explained Siegfried. Heidi patently didn't understand what he was talking about. I think you'd better speak to Josef she said. Realisation began to dawn on the PC's, and Mordrin kicked a stone which narrowly avoided breaking the kitchen window.

The party made their way into the inn. In the bar room they found Josef Haarig, Emmerich Handler and a servant decorating the room for the annual harvest festival. Even as the PC's began to wonder what was going on, Siegfried was struck by the realisation that he'd almost forgotten about Mittherbst, one of the major feast days of his god, Ulric. Meanwhile, Haarig welcomed the party as long-lost friends.

Soon enough, the party began to explain why they were there, only to find that Josef knew nothing at all about the message he was supposed to have sent. He did however grasp that they had travelled all the way back from Middenheim on the strength of a message that he and his inn were in peril. So he sat them down with some food and drink, and proceeded to get the whole story out of them.

Haarig was moved and deeply touched by the PC's story, reminding them that he was already in their debt because Grundi and Alane had saved his inn from the curse of having innocent blood spilt on its grounds. He began to review their tale, and just as he did so, Seigfried and Mordrin jumped to the same conclusion at the same time: somebody had wanted them out of Mordheim. Siegfried cursed the name of Beyer and began vowing bloody vengance.

The conversation continued and the PC's began to realise that there were hidden depths to this garrulous innkeeper as he took all their tales of intrigue in his stride. In the end, he pointed out to them that they had progressed from their adventures around Corman's Landing to serving some of the most powerful people in Middenheim. Haarig noted it was likely that they had made similarly powerful enemies.

The talk also turned to Beyer's companions. Josef told the PC's that they had been working with Captain Kurtz and his roadwardens and with Lars the bounty hunter to help restore law and order after the local soldiery and militias had mustered to march north to help defend the Empire against the Chaos incursions. The innkeeper warned the PC's to be wary of Kaltenbach, the leader of the group, who Josef described as a hard and brutal man.

As the PC's sat trying to absorb what Haarig was telling them, the innkeeper announced that they were his guests, and that they would pay not a single penny for their food and drink, neither that night, nor during the festival tomorrow. Josef went off to get on with his work.

The party sat around in the barroom as it filled up for the evening. The locals were familiar with the PC's and their previous exploits, and Josef made sure that they soon knew all about why the party had returned. The PC's found themselves the centre of friendly curiosity. The locals were agitated by rumours of an impending grain requisition, about which one Theoderic- one of Kurtz's roadwardens, currently on duty at the tollhouse- was particularly exercised. That night though, the PC's stories of heroic adventure gave the local farmers something more diverting to think about

Basking in the glow of the locals' admiration for their exploits, the PC's played up to their reputation as local heroes, and soon forgot their troubles. Except for Berthold, who was too busy being ill upstairs, and Siegfried, who continued to bemoan his wasted 60gc, and to nurse his deepening grudge against Beyer, Kaltenbach, and anyone else he might find had been involved in this pointless diversion.

Mittherbst dawned crisp and clear. Seigfried was still brooding, but Grundi and Mordrin sat down to breakfast with typical dwarfen gusto. As they ate they were approached by a young man in the trailworn garb of a woodsman. He introduced himself as Corvin Liess. Liess explained that he was a Longshanks- a servant of the gods Taal and Rhya, and that he was investigating the disappearance of his mentor and his confessor.

Faced with the incomprehension of the 2 dwarfs, the young Longshanks explained his duties as a guardian of the holy places of the woods. He then explained that his missing companions- a priest of Taal and a fellow Longshanks- had last been seen boarding the missing boat of Ernst the boatman. The young fellow told the PC's that he knew of their own search for Ernst, and asked if they had any information that might help him in his search. The PC's had to confess they knew nothing that might help him.

Corman's Landing was by this time beginning to fill up with local families arriving for the day's festivities. Children ran around shrieking with delight as they took part in the games and other diversions. After a while, something about the decorations struck a chord in the dwarfs' minds- some of them reminded the pair of Reinholt's corn doll. They spoke to Josef, who directed them to Liess.

Hearing what they had to say, Liess reacted with shock. He asked them to explain in detail what they had seen. Had they seen a symbol of a sickle he asked them. Grundi and Mordrin racked their brains, and concluded that they did have a vague memory of a ring that Luthor Machholt had been wearing. The young Longshanks explained that these were the symbols of Ahalt the Drinker, a god of the Old Faith whose followers were the sworn enemies of the followers of Taal and Rhya because their cults had supplanted Ahalt's own.

Liess thanked the 2 dwarfs for their information, and went off to play his part in the day's celebrations. Grundi and Mordrin were left with the impression of a sincere young man a little out of his depth.

The rest of the day passed peacefully as the PC's took full advantage of Josef's generous hospitality and joined in the Mittherbst celebrations with gusto. Except for Siegfreid, who spent the day brooding in his room, before going out that night to conduct private rituals to Ulric to mark his own celebration of Mittherbst.

From Altdorf to Corman's Landing
- #1 Curiouser and Curiouser
- The GM's confession: again I lament.
- Index:- My little Old World: Ashes of Middenheim

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

My little Old World: From Altdorf to Corman's Landing #1

Curiouser and Curiouser
Arriving in Altdorf docks, the party quickly attended to the business of selling off their loot from the pirate attack. As they did so, a cheery voice hailed Master Adelbert as he oversaw the unloading of the Ventura's cargo. A bald-headed middle-aged man arrived on the scene and he and Adelbert were soon in animated conversation. Asking Adelbert how his trip had gone, the newcomer was treated to the full story of the pirate attack, with all the enthusiasm the Master of the Ventura could muster.

Hearing this story, the newcomer- who by now had been introduced as Jost Reichart, the master of the riverbarge Black Swan- looked with renewed interest at the PC's. So you're in the business of guarding riverboats, he asked. The party agreed that this was something that they'd been known to do. So Jost explained that he was another river trader, currently plying a run from Marienberg to Marburg and beyond.

The PC's expressed interest in journeying to Marburg, so Jost offered them the chance to work their passage as guards and general labourers. The party were keen to accept another chance of free passage, but not so pleased at the prospect of having to haul cargo as part of the deal. In the end only Grundi signed up for this deal. The rest of the party negiotiated a 6gc charge in return for not having to work as regular crew, plus 1s for each day's food provided by Jost. Ever conscious of each penny he was spending, Siegfried declined the latter in favour of eating his own trail rations.

And so the party hung around for a couple of hours while Grundi set to work with Audric- a brawny but dimwitted youth- to load up the cargoes Jost was buying from the various petty traders who frequent the Altdorf docks.

Jost Reichart proved to be a talkative man, filled with curiosity. He plied the PC's with questions as to where they were going, and why. He proved particularly intrigued by the sight of 2 dwarfs and a female elf travelling together. These questions were parried in a friendly manner with references to visiting an old friend and the fortunes of the road, and so on. Jost was happy enough to accept this, though he left the PC's with a newfound sense of the unusual spectacle they presented to the world at large.

Kemperbad was the first significant port of call on the trip up the Reik. The journey was uneventful- if cold due to unseasonal snowfalls, but was at least quick thanks to the winds which blew the snow into every nook and cranny aboard the Black Swan. Arriving at Kemperbad Jost explained that he would be trading before setting off again, so the PC's would have to stay in one of the local inns. He recommended the Clifftop Arms situated a conveniently short distance from the edge of town. Seigfreid and Mordrin grumbled at having to pay extra because they couldn't spend the night in the boat as they had been doing, but Jost was insistent that he needed privacy to pursue his dealmaking, so in the end the pair cheered themselves up with jokes at Grundi's expense as the aging dwarf sweated away hauling Jost's cargos.

Several hours later Grundi finished work and joined his companions who were by now settled in the Clifftop Arms. As he sat recovering from his toils the dwarf heard a friendly voice call his name. Expecting to see a member of his family, he looked round to see a prosperous ruddy-faced dwarf approaching. Grundi quickly enough remembered that this was Zamrig Skaninson, who had been a smith cum wheelwright responsible for maintaining coaches Grundi had ridden for a previous employer.

Pleased to meet an old friend, Grundi called for a round of drinks and passed the obvious remark: you didn't get that prosperous mending wheels and shoeing horses. No replied Zamrig, explaining with gusto that he had moved on into gemcutting, a far more lucrative line of work. The drinks having arrived, Zamrig was just about propose the first of what would have undoubtedly been many toasts to gold and its virtues when his manner unexpectedly grew icy cold.

Everyone was momentarily taken aback, and Seigfried was the first to realise what was up. He looked round and, sure enough: there was Alane, heading for the table after a visit to the privy. Siegfried's frantic efforts surreptitiously to divert the elf proved to no avail, and she arrived at her seat just as Zamrig exploded into a rant.

What kind of dwarfs share the company of an elf he demanded angrily. Grundi, Mordrin and the others tried all sorts of explanations: how dwarf and elf had stood together lately against evil at Middenheim; how Alane herself had proved her worth more than once; and so on. Their words were to no avail: Zamrig's tirade simply became more insistent. While Alane stood silently by, the enraged dwarf leapt to his feet, denounced Grundi and Mordrin as elf-lovers once more at the top of his voice, and stormed out of the inn.

A shocked silence reigned throughout the Clifftop Arms. The other patrons were sneaking nervous looks at the party. Some were muttering. Others were shifting in their seats. The landlord realised that there was nothing for it. He announced a round of drinks on the house. The atmosphere of incipient hostility was replaced by expectant calls for this or that drink. A couple of the PC's found themselves wondering if this might not be a neat trick for getting themselves free drinks in future. Meanwhile Grundi noticed Zamrig's tankard sitting on the table. Is anyone drinking this he asked.

The rest of the night in the Clifftop Arms passed quietly, though the PC's remained the centre of a nervous attention and the local steered a discreetly wide berth around their table.

Grundi rose early the next day for work loading the Black Swan, as did Seigfried- though his purpose seemed to have more to do with teasing his companion as he laboured. As the party assembled ready for boarding they saw Jost deep in conversation with 2 men. The conversation ended with all the signs of a deal agreed.

Jost came across and explained to the party that the 2 men had booked passage to Wurtbad. He added that they had booked full board, which would mean some reorganisation of cabins. The pair came forward and a very tall and gangly middle-aged man with a pox-marked face introduced himself as Luthor Machholt- a merchant seeking to trade in the fine Wurtbad port, accompanied by his servant Reinholt. The latter was a young, greasy-haired fellow, with heavy-lidded eyes that seemed to peer moodily out at the world, and a nose-ring.

The nose-ring immediately attracted the PC's attention and raised their suspicions. Grundi commented on how striking it looked, and asked if it had been painful. Reinholt answered these questions with as few words as possible.

Master Jost then instructed Grundi and Audric to take the new passengers' luggage to their cabin (which occasioned more jollity on the part of the other PC's), and the Black Swan set off up the River Stir for Wurtbad.

Once the barge was well on his way, Reinholt appeared and extended an invitation to the PC's to join his master in his cabin to sample a few of his wares. Receiving the nod from Jost, Seigfried, Grundi and Mordrin left Berthold and Alane on watch and repaired to Machholt's cabin.

Luthor Machholt proved to be a genial and chatty host. He offered the PC's drinks from the various samples he had collected in his travels, in which, he explained when asked, he was trying to set up a new venture trading in fine wines and other quality drinks. The dwarfs accepted his offer of a glass of port with a measure of reluctance. Sipping the sweet concoction they found themselves mystified as to why it should be so highly regarded. Fortunately for their palates, Machholt was able to offer them a fine ale instead.

As the conversation continued, the PC's once again found themselves subject to the scrutiny of the curious. Mordrin found himself suggesting that perhaps it was time that dwarfs put aside their traditional emnities against the elves. Machholt seemed mildly amused by this, and commented that he could empathise. After all he said, most of the people I want to deal with already have traditional trading partners, so you could say that I too want to change traditions.

Time passed in this vein for an hour or more: the PC's feeling themselves subject to gentle probing because of how their suspicions had been raised; Machholt being ever the genial host. This atmosphere was broken only by a single, trivial incident. Reinholt was bending over to pick something up while attending to his duties, and a small corn-doll dropped from his blouse to land on the floor.

Seeing Reinholt start at this, the PC's asked what was the matter. A look flashed between Reinholt and Machholt, as of a servant asking permission to speak. Go ahead said Machholt, unperturbed. Reinholt explained that the doll was a keepsake from his sister, which he cherished. This explanation was allowed to pass as sufficient, and the matter rested.

There was little contact between the PC's and the other 2 passengers after this encounter, and the rest of the trip passed in a routine manner. The foggy weather that had marked the departure from Kemperbad cleared after a day or two and crisp autumn weather took its place. The wind didn't favour the barge this time though, and the Black Swan arrived in Wurtbad on the afternoon of Konistag 29th Erntezeit, some 7 days after setting out from Kemperbad.

From Altdorf to Corman's Landing
- #2 The Plot Thickens
- The GM's confession: again I lament.
- Index:- My little Old World: Ashes of Middenheim

Friday, December 02, 2005

DiceConEast 2005

Other highlights
DiceConEast is staged in a place on Princes Street called Overseas House, which is a clubhouse of the Royal Overseas League. This is a kind of friendly society of the British Commonwealth, and Overseas House's air of quietly down-at-heel gentility is apt to and evocative of this relic of Empire. DiceCon's event room is on the 2nd floor. The lift is an ancient device that fits only 2 people- with barely enough room for bags full of games, and which almost makes you think that it is steampowered, if not manually hauled! Upstairs you wend your way through corridors giving the impression that the whole place is a veritable warren.

There is a bar situated beside a white linen service restaurant. This is one of my favourite rooms. Well surprise, surprise I hear you say, but the bar's real delight is that it looks right out across Princes Street, giving you a view of Princes Street Gardens, the Castle, and the Old Town. This is quite simply one of the most spectacular city centre views there is, and a very pleasant prospect to enjoy while you sit there supping a pint.

All in all then, Overseas House is exactly the sort of place from which pulp adventurers might set out on their heroic travels, or to which they might return to reflect upon the weird and wonderful sights they witnessed, and the horrors against which they prevailed. In short: it is a bit of a feast for the roleplaying imagination, which just adds to its peculiar anachronistic charm.

So, after the M44 tournament was over, we were casting around for something else to play. As ever at DiceCon there was a veritable feast of games available to choose from, courtesy largely of Ellis and Gordon's remarkable collections. The emphasis is typically more on the modern Eurogame genre, but there is always something there that you won't have seen or tried before. Lots and lots in fact.

I had a look at the recent Avalon Hill release Nexus Ops. I've had a look at this on the website
and tried out the online demo. I came away with the impression that it was a Settlers type game, set in space, and with combat. The set available at the con was brand new, but it seemed to be missing its rulebook, so I had to pass on playing it, although a brief rummage through the box certainly confirmed my interest in the game.

In the end then, 4 of us settled for a game of Settlers. Hardly novel, except that it was the 10th anniversary deluxe 3D edition we were playing, which incorporates the Cities and Knights expansion. This comes with moulded ceramic region tiles, 3D moulded plastic playing pieces, knights with lances with little flags, and so on- all with hand-painted detail. There are even little sheep on the grassland regions! You can find some pictures here, and here. It has to be said that it did take a bit of time to adapt my senses to the lush pieces (and I did spare a thought for the poor souls who'd've had to paint them- hardly lucrative employ I'll imagine), but I have to report that they did nothing for my game: Badger won, which he found most gratifying, since it was his first ever win at Settlers.

After this we rounded off the day with a few games of Ivanhoe- the results of which escape me, before leaving for the drive back to Glasgow. The evening was getting on at this point, so the games room had quietened down a bit from its buzzing peak, but there were still quite a few committed gamers left determined to play on for as long as possible.

And that was DiceConEast 2005- here so soon and gone before you know it. Thanks as ever to Ellis and Gordon for all their efforts in running DiceCon. Roll on DiceConWest 2006! ;)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

DiceConEast 2005

Memoir'44 TournamentSo the 2nd DiceConEast passed on Sunday 20th. Donald drove Antony, Badger and myself through for the day, which required a hideously early start! As I said earlier, I was planning to run a Memoir'44 tournament because I think this is a great game ideal for convention play. My original plan had been just to GM this in the hope of getting a chance to play some ASL or Up Front, but things turned out differently on the day.

Anyhoo, after a tour of the centre of Edinburgh in search of parking, and a visit to McDonalds for breakfast, I set to getting the event going. First off there were some interested people who'd never played before, so introductory games were organised. Meanwhile I had to rustle up players and finalise the details of the format. In the end there were 5 other willing players, so I joined in to make 6, which just happens to be the number required for the official M44 tournament format that I'd downloaded from the Days of Wonder site.

The main issue in M44 tournament play is balance- the game's scenarios are unbalanced by design. One approach to this would be matchplay- playing each scenario back-to-back from each side. This would solve the balance problem, but with the disadvantage of reducing the number of scenarios played, or lengthening the playing time of the tournament. The WBC pack takes the approach of splitting the players into 2 sides- Axis and Allied. Each player then plays the 3 players on the other side across 3 different scenarios, competing to see who is the best Axis player and the best Allied player over the 3 games. These 2 then matchplay a 4th scenario to decide the final winner.

With the format decided then, Badger, Sean and myself became the Axis generals with the task of stemming the Allied tide led by Donald, John Evans, and Mike.We fought our way through the following scenarios:
#1: Pegasus Bridge- British glider troops attempt a coup de main to grab bridges securing exits from the D-Day landing beaches.
#4: Point du Hoc- US rangers scale cliffs to neutralise German artillery batteries on D-Day.
#9: Operation Luttich- the panzers strike to prevent the US army from breaking out of the Normandy bridgehead.
Each scenario was a 4-medal game.

The scoring system for this tournament format is based on victory medals gained instead of simply on wins, with medals and/or figures lost as tiebreakers. This means that even a losing game should contribute to a player's overall score for the qualifying games; whereas a close and costly win could well lose a player their place in the final. The merits of this were seen in the final round. My last game finished first. Checking out the standings and taking a quick look at the remaining 2 games, I noticed that every single one of us still had a chance of making it to the final. I thought this was pretty impressive. It certainly made for some tense moments as we gathered around to await the outcome of the last game to finish.

In the end Badger won out on the Axis side with a total of 10 medals from 2 wins and a loss. Sean was pipped by Badger, losing out by a mere 1 medal after John Evans rolled over his German defence at Pegasus Bridge. With that medal in hand, Sean would've won out on the figures lost tiebreaker. We all thought that this was an impressive performance from someone who'd only played their first game that morning. I trailed a sad 3rd with 8 medals- a performance that included the day's only duck, when my Germans had failed to take even a single medal off of Mike's lads at Pegasus Bridge. Ouch!

John Evans led the Allied camp with 11 medals- another 2 wins and a loss. Mike was 2nd with 9 medals. Donald came 3rd with 8.

John and Badger contested the final over #2: Sainte Mere-Eglise- US paras land to secure the right flank of the beachhead. John played the Allies first, and promptly got in a perfect drop- this scenario starts with the Allied player dropping 4 figures onto the board to determine the number and location of his airlanding reinforcements! John's airlanding reinforcements landed without loss and perfectly surrounding Badger's exposed unit holding St. Mere-Eglise. The result was a swift walkover. Badger was unable to win so decisively as the Allied player, and the day went to John.

The overall standings then were:
1. John Evans
2. Badger
3. Mike
4. Sean
5. Me
6. Donald

Ellis and Gordon of the Scottish Boardgames Assocation pulled out the stops when it came to prize support: all 6 competitors received a prize, donated by Esdevium Games. This was very cool.

So I can happily report that the DiceConEast 2005 Memoir'44 tournament was a great success. Everyone who took part enjoyed themselves. Several people commented on how good the tournament structure was, and I have to agree. Looking over the tournament scoresheet as I wrote this, I could see how every single medal won by each player in all of their games was important. The value of this in a tournament should be self-evident. This tournament structure therefore only enhances the benefits of the supreme playability of M44- itself evidenced by the excellent showing made by the players new to the game on the day. The format can easily be adapted for more players too, without extending the 4 hours it took to run the event (5 if you count the tutorial games).

With this experience under my belt then, I am looking forward to running future events for so long as people want to play in them.

Finally, I would like to conclude with the traditional votes of thanks. First: to Ellis and Gordon of the SBGA, for laying on the venue, and the prize support. Second: to Esdevium Games for providing the prizes on offer. And third: to the participants, for making the event such a success. My thanks to one and all. ;)