Sunday, July 15, 2012


I'm planning to play in a couple of GASLIGHT games at Historicon next weekend, so I tried out a small skirmish just to get some familiarity with it.

First I wrote up a Quick Reference Sheet, a good way to get familiar with the rules. This is not a complex game; everything I needed easily fit on one side of an 8.5 x 11 sheet (although I left out vehicles and artillery).

I contemplated having an evenly balanced game--each side getting one Main Character, one Unit and one Vehicle--but where's the fun in that? Our heroes, Major Garnet Wooley (Hero, stats 14/14/14, only one card in the turn order because I forgot he should have two) of the Albionic Army and his reasonably faithful companions Beau Brummidge and Clytemnestra Crumpet (Adventurers, 12/12/12), are exploring a ruined city on the lost continent of Mu. They hear the tramping of goblin boots approaching, and hastily take cover behind a broken wall. The goblins, all greencoats of the Guz 16th ("Blood Moon") Regiment, are a sergeant and two squads. The sergeant (Leader, 10/10/10) has a brace of pistols and a cleaver; each squad has seven infantry (Extras, 8/6) armed with flintlocks. They are patrolling the road that runs past the wall where our heroes are hiding. The first squad marches on, unaware, but as Beau peeks out to keep an eye on them, a goblin spots him. Action!

Turn 1:
Goblin Squad 1 is abreast of the explorers, marching in column past them. Most of the squad turns to get ready to charge, but three have line of sight and fire. The hapless Brummidge is hit and falls.
Goblin Sergeant Thurk fires one barrel of his pistol; the ball whizzes over Wooley but misses.
Blood Moon Squad 2 charges through a gap in the wall; their charge is not very enthusiastic (d6 for extra charge distance = 1) and only two of them make it into contact with the adventurers. The Major draws his saber and meets them with a menacing "Baa!", the battle cry of the Wooley clan. He cuts one down, and fends off the other. He calls over his shoulder, "Doctor, may I suggest that you gather up Brummidge and make an expeditious withdrawal?"
Clytemnestra decides that this might be one of the rare occasions when she should pay attention to the Major's instrctions. She scoops up Brummidge, flings him over her shoulder and scrambles away over fallen stones to take cover behind a small structure; she tentatively identifies it as a wellhouse. The carvings are fascinating.
Wooley circles left a little, and beats down his opponent's guard; a moment later, he beats down his opponent as well.

Turn 2
The five remaining Guz soldiers of Squad 2 are undismayed by the fate of their two fallen fellows, and press in. Three of them surround Wooley, incidentally blocking the line of fire from Squad 1 (although goblins have been known to fire through their own units, to get at the enemy...). One of them even pinks Wooley with his bayonet, although the Major manages, barely, to twist away from the point without serious harm (made his Save by one). Wooley lays about with the saber and a third goblin falls.
Sergeant Thurk circles to his right, intending either to flank the explorers, or to keep Squad 2 between himself and the deadly Albionic steel.
Squad 1 fires at Clytemnestra, but she (and Brummidge, who is limp but jabbering in Old Haptic) are protected by the stone wellhouse. One round does come uncomfortably close, snipping off a plume from her hat. Dashed ungentlemanly of them, to fire at a woman!
Cly returns the favor with her Lady's Patent Galvanic Death Ray. She remembers to aim low. The goblins are on the other side of the broken wall that the adventurers had been hiding behind; the galvanic bolt scorches the stone. She makes a mental note to aim a little less low, next time.
Wooley withdraws a few steps, and then lunges to strike down an overeager pursuer. Four goblins now lie victim to his blade.

Turn 3
Wooley retreats to the wellhouse.
Squad 2 breaks and the three surviving goblins scamper away.
Sergeant Thurk had been intending to clamber over the wall and take Wooley in flank, but without Squad 2, this is no longer looking prudent. He fires the second barrel of his first pistol at Wooley, putting a hole through his coat but not injuring him. Wooley, thinking of the distance to the nearest acceptable tailor, expresses himself with a few soldierly words.
Clytemnestra had qualms about leaving Wooley to fend off the goblins on his own, but he seems to be doing quite well. She calls out "I'm away, heading South! John, do be careful!" Wooley spares enough attention from his swordwork to say "It's Garnet!" but by then Clytemnestra has sped away, with the babbling Brummidge still over her shoulder.
Greencoat Squad 1 has no target, so they advance in skirmish line over the broken wall.

Turn 4
Clytemnestra continues her retreat.
Sergeant Thurk draws his second pistol, fires at Wooley again, and misses.
Wooley yanks out his Nemesis Liberator Mk III Hand Cannon and returns fire lefthanded. It's a poor shot, but the round crashes into the wall and sprays stone chips into the Sergeant's torso. The goblin falls, feet drumming on the stones.
Squad 1 could charge Wooley, but they are aware that didn't work so well for Squad 2. They have no line of sight to either of the adventurers, and upon reflection, decide that they're quite content to leave it that way. They withdraw, "awaiting reinforcements".


Simple and straightforward. The goblins would have done better to stand and shoot; in melee, only the ones in contact (maximum of three) could attack, and Wooley got to counter attack. Their Shoot number was better than their Scuffle, so in theory that would be another reason to fire; however Wooley also didn't get the benefit of cover, so that was a wash.
One key point, mentioned by Dr Vesuvius of the Axis of Naughtiness, is that colour is all-important.
"Whatever the setting of your GASLIGHT game, whether it's lacepunk pyrates or Darkest Africa, try to give everything colourful names. If you start feeling obliged to put on a silly accent then you're probably doing it right."

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