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Monday, October 5, 2020

Hercule Poirot and the search for Perilous Island Game 1

 Hercule Poirot gravely read the telegram Miss Lemon had just set before him.  "This is from the solicitor of the Lord Darrow.  He has been missing for 3 months and he begs us to locate Lord Darrow's daughter, Lady Elaine, and see if she can assist in finding him.  She was last seen excavating mysterious ruins in the Central African region of Zamunda.  Hastings, pack your bags!  You too Miss Lemon, I will have need of you as well.  Let us see if the little grey cells are up to the task, mes amies!"

And thus began the curious adventure of Hercule Poirot and the search for Perilous Island. Click photos to enlarge

I have introduced my wife to Puly Alley and must say it was quite the hit.  She really liked the cards and is planning on doing a little write up for my fellow gamers on how to lure your spouse into playing with you.

Lady Elaine is deep in the jungles of Zamunda, excavating a set of ruins that have no known connection to any other civilizations.  Poirot must travel ("oh the accursed sea"), find Lady Elaine and convince her to help find her father.  Unbeknownst to Poirot, The German Institute of Theosophical Studies (G.I.T.S.) has also sent its most ruthless officer, Major Klink, to find Lady Elaine and locat Lord Darrow my any means necessary for their own nefarious ends.

Here is an overview of the dig site:

Lady Elaine, the major plot point, at her dig site:

The radio set, minor plot point.  Will the logs give a clue as to Lord Darrow's whereabouts?

The mysterious artifact, minor plot point.  What can it tell us about Perilous Island?

The traitorous expedition member, minor plot point.  What information does he have?

And Lady Elaine's luggage, minor plot point (not pictured) Will the letters contained therein from Lord Darrow shed some light on the mystery?

The action was fast and furious, as Miss Lemon showed her worth outside of her filing cabinets, dispatching 2 Nazis over the course fo the game.
One made it to the radio set, only to be shot down by the redoubtable Miss Lemon

Hastings failed to break into Lady Elaine's luggage but Poirot was.  Hastings pent the rest of the game taking potshots with his large-bore hunting rifle.  Did he ever tell you about that time in the Amazon?....

Despite Major Klink's efforts to wrangle Lady Elaine, he was foiled by Poirot (and riddled with bullets by Captain Hastings and Miss Lemon, but only after he unchivalrously shot Miss Lemon in the shoulder. 

Here we see the GITS high command in Berlin reacting to the news of what happened.
While Poirot and company are pleased with their performance.

Poirot reaped a nice stack of rewards, having gotten the major and 2 minor plot points.  Let's see what happens in the next exciting episode... THE LAST PLANE OUT!!!!

Monday, September 28, 2020

I have been to... Key West and the Dry Tourtugas

 Just back from vacation and a quick report with a wargaming slant...

This was my first time visiting Key West, and we went for my wife and my birthday (they are only 4 days apart.)  If you are considering visiting we were a little put off at first, as we are beach people and the ones in Key West are not very large.  It was described to us multiple times while we were there as a "party" town, which is not our thing.  But, once we scratched the surface, we had a great time and there are many things that might be of interest to my fellow wargamers.

Don't forget to click photos to enlarge

There is a plethora of boating, fishing, and diving in the area, but I can only comment on the snorkeling we did. 

  • The beaches are ok, but small.  We went to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.  We liked it, it is a natural coral beach, so wear your water shoes if you have sensitive feet.  It started to get crowded around mid-day, so get there early.
  • Fort Zachary Taylor: An excellent example of pre-civil war coastal fortifications that were later upgraded during the Spanish American War.  It is a small fort guarding the harbor at Key West and never fired a shot in anger.  Like many other forts of the period, the top 2 tiers were knocked down during the Spanish American War for a modern, black concrete set of batteries.  Similar to what you can see at Ft. Moultrie or Ft. Sumter.  It was a lot of fun to crawl around and worth the visit.
  • The Hemingway House: While I don't emulate the writer's heavy drinking nor approve of how much of a terrible husband he was, it is worth the visit to see where he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls (my favorite novel that he wrote.) It is well preserved and descendants of Hemingway's 6 toed cat roam the grounds.  The swimming pool his wife built is impressive and she kept the house after the divorce and raised her sons there.

Just stunning it was one of the highlights of the trip for us.  The fort is well preserved and was NOT upgrade during the Spanish American War like most installations from the civil war era, so you can see the full 3 tiers where the guns were housed. It is very impressive and helps, at least for me, to put places I am more familiar with such as Ft Sumter into the context of how they actually appeared.

It was the largest of the masonry forts constructed in the period and covers 7 acres on Garden Key guarding the straits of Florida.  Most famously it held the Lincoln conspirators, including the infamous Dr. Mudd, until they were pardoned by Johnson in 1869. It also held Confederate POW's and Union military deserters and other prisoners, all living in the casemates.  For a flavor of the place and a cracking good story, read Flashback by Nevada Barr.  I won't get into the Mudd innocence debate, I don't know enough about it beyond a documentary I saw 35 years ago.

There is an abundance of sea life, and while the water was a little murky on the day we went, the snorkeling was amazing.  It is worth the 2-hour ferry ride and next year we intend to go back and camp for 3 or 4 days.

Here are some snaps:

Additionally, go see the CGC Ingham.  It was closed for annual maintenance while we were there, but I saw it years ago when it was berthed in Charleston and it is worth it. I also saw LCS 11, USS Sioux City docked in the harbor but alas did not get a picture.  It oddly had an Army dark green UH-60 on the flight deck (not a grey Navy Seahawk) but maybe not so odd considering the US Army Special Forces dive school is one of the tenant units at NAS Key West.

Other than that we enjoyed walking every night 8 - 10 miles, some good food, and an escape room!  

Ok, now I am back to work and in the real world.  Visit Key West of you have the chance, driving the keys is fun.  Until next time, good gaming!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Pulp Alley League: Dr. Nefario

 (Also see my revamped Pulp page on my website)

Dr. Nefario's background is shrouded in mystery but is believed he studied chemistry, biology, and zoology at a major European university before The Great War.  His services were rejected outright by all of the major Entente and Central Powers during the war due to the abominable nature of his experiments.  As a result, Dr. Nefario now serves no man but himself.

Since the war he has been performing his hideous experiments at an unknown secret location, producing creatures that are an affront to nature itself. He is primarily motivated to leave his laboratory in order to obtain financial and other resources to further his work. He has been know to temporarily ally himself with other sinister forces around the globe to further his own ends.

Approach Dr. Nefario with extreme caution, his expertise in biochemistry is lethal and he never travels without his entourage of monstrosities.

Dr. Nefario is a brilliant scientist and biochemist, but lacks all morals and scruples.  If spotted, do NOT approach, but report all sightings to the League of Nations.

Kurpanga is a male lowland gorilla that Dr. Nefario kidnapped from the London Zoo.  He has heavily modified the beast with the human brain from a former lab assistant and a steel-reinforced skeleton.  Do not approach, Kurpanga has incredible strength and possesses human intelligence.

One of Dr. Nefario's attempts to engineer a super-soldier that was rejected by all of the major powers (even the dastardly Hun!)  He is always on the lookout for fresh "volunteer" subjects to undergo one of his diabolical procedures.

A new experiment by Dr. Nefario to create the perfect underwater saboteur.  Identifiable by its distinct dead fish odor.

Monday, August 31, 2020

3D Printed WW1 trenches are painted and table ready!

 I have finally finished painting up my 3d Printed trenches for my 10mm WW1 troops.  They have shown up a few times on the blog but are finally table ready!

If you are going to play WW1 Western Front at any scale, trenches are vital pieces of terrain to have in your collection. Ideally, trenches would be carved into a terrain board so that troops are truly under the level of the ground (like Sidney Roundwood's amazing terrain boards)  

But, trenches that sit on top of the ground cloth are more flexible and meet my other needs better as well. My requirements were:

  1. Flexible layouts
  2. The right size for my 10mm troops and handle the 40mm x 20mm bases they are on.
  3. Don't stick up too high above the table.
  4. Be rugged and able to stand up to abuse
Number 2 was difficult, I had previously tried Flames of War sized trenches for 15mm, but I felt my 10mm guys looked like they were in the Los Angeles River and not a trench. 

This was the perfect problem to solve with (drum roll) my 3d printer! For an inexpensive FDM printer like my Crealty Ender 3, making terrain is an ideal project.  All I did was take another guy's 28mm trenches he had designed and posted to Thingieverse and (with his permission) I remixed them and shrunk them down to the exact size I wanted and created the exact sections I wanted as well.

You can download the STL files here:  

I printed a stack of these up a few months ago and have finally finished painting them, including gluing sand for texture (I do not know how to do textures in 3d design programs yet)

(Click pictures to enlarge)

Here is the VERY messy process in progress

Here is a layout to show you what types of setups I can do.

A Vickers HMG in a sap.

A British section occupying a firing bay waiting for the Hun.  All of my troops are Pendraken 10mm mounted on 3mm thick bases, to give you an idea of size. 

Here are the unique pieces.  If you click and enlarge the photo, you can see I have the ability to add dugout openings as well.

I am very pleased with how they turned out.  The next stop is to refight every Western Front scenario in the Too Fat Lardies scenario book and in their WW1 compendium, Play The Game.

Until next time, good gaming!