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Friday, 2 November 2018

DevLAM in the Desert - The Scoop

It’s like going to see the Head Mistress at Roedean moaned Katie Monk to her cameraman, you know never know why she wants to see you. Could be smoking behind the bike sheds, or the small incident in town with the butchers boy, what ever it is, it’s usually the one thing you’re not prepared for. What do you think it could be this time, I know we didn’t cover ourselves with glory on that last story, but if it hadn’t been for that interfering mother it would have been fine, we should have got an award for investigative journalism instead of being hauled over the coals.

Donald Tronji reflected on that last shit storm, the kids were all happy and content, they were living in a very poor country, in squalor, very little to eat and washing in the street drain but they had been happy. Katie wanted a piece to camera with a grubby, crying little bairn so she could bewail their plight on national TV. The upshot was she had hit the kid in face, made his nose bleed, thrown him in a muddy puddle and she had the centre of her piece ready for the camera in no time at all. The look of concern she had on her face as she started the third take was as good as it had been on the first, she was good. Katie had to pinch the child hard to make him continue crying for the last shot but it was going well, they would soon have everything in the can and be able to get out of this godforsaken hole.

The problem was the child’s mother saw everything, there was hell to pay, the Press Council was called in, even a question in Parliament, although that was about Police brutality not Press brutality (you know they never get their facts right) and the Editor would have sacked them both on the spot except that the news station owner thought Katie was the best thing since smoked kippers, and he liked smoked kippers.

Even so they had a severe dressing down and missed a couple of good stories that had gone to other reporters who were more the flavour of the month with the Boss.

Don Tronji wondered and not for the first time how long could he put up with this woman, and the answer was the same every time, as long as he got paid top dollar. They were a successful team, she had no morals or scruples where a story was concerned and would do anything to get it and his ratings in the industry as her camera man were sky high, a crying brat was a small price to pay.

Liam O’Rorke was wondering pretty much the same thing as Katie, not about the Butchers boy or Roedean but about why the Boss wanted to see him and his cameraman so early in the morning. Damn the man, where was he, Liam had tried all the usual haunts but Billy was no where to be found, he would be sleeping off another drunken binge, that’s for sure. There’s going to come a time I won’t pull his chestnuts out of the fire he thought, and if he wasn’t the best S.L.R. man in the game, drunk or sober it would have happened before now.

I wonder what excuse I can give this time, but then again the Boss knows his problems, after all he is his son, must have been difficult bringing him up without a mother, but other kids don’t seem to go so far off the rails. Well not all of them.

The Editor was waiting in the corridor for them, this wasn’t looking so good.

Katie pushed to the front and slapping a bright smile on her hard but beautiful face said Hi Boss it’s good to see you, I waited for Liam to get here otherwise we would have been on time. Liam just glowered at this lying toe rag of a woman but said nothing.

Joe Diamond looked questioningly at Liam but he just shrugged so Joe didn’t ask where his son was.

Ok I think you all know Mr Kolinski the company lawyer, I’ve asked him to sit in on our meeting and give us the benefit of his knowledge on State Security and the law of Trespass, that sort of thing. This caused a few raised eyebrows and Liam wondered where this was going, maybe not where he wanted it to, but it was nectar to Katie.

OK come to my office and we’ll go over the details.

Well I’ll get straight to the point, we’ve had contact from a fellow name of Tomori Daisuke, I’m still not sure which is his given name but no matter, his story is interesting though. Claims he was flying over the Mojave Desert with his Boss Hasimoto Taichi, that got everyone’s attention, when the helicopter had an engine problem and they went down in a fairly controlled landing in a small built up area. They called for assistance and were informed that they were in a restricted area and to sit tight and some one would come and escort them out.

He talks of humans there who behaved unnaturally, they seemed to shamble and have very little coordination, like they were on drugs or something, but then they got violent and people got hurt. He’s not seen his Boss since then. He made his own way out because the security guards were also attacked by these drugged up people and surprisingly he made it back to civilisation. He was fairly certain that one of the other occupants of the helicopter Okumura Katashi was alive and well but both of them headed in a different direction to get away from trouble. When he had a phone signal he called Katashi but some one else answered the call, they wanted him to stay where he was and said they would come and collect him, when he asked to speak to Katashi they just said he’s safe and well, just give us you location Sir and we will collect you.

It was the Sir that did it, he broke the Sim card and destroyed the phone, 5 minutes later a black sedan pulled up and 4 serious looking men got out. He’s been on the run, laying low since then, but called us twice a day until eventually Tammy Jones in reception thought there might be a story in it and put him through. After five minutes Bill thought there was some thing in it, we have Daisuke in hiding with a couple of good men looking after him.

We’ve checked out what we can, the helicopter crash was 500 miles further north than Daisuke says they were and was a burned out wreck, with three passengers, no survivors. The radio call wasn’t logged, the flight record show it was not going over the Mojave and Daisuke was not on the passenger list. So either Daisuke is lying or there’s a big cover up. I favour the cover up because the flight log says it was the 21st but we’ve a witness lives next to the field who is sure it was the 20th when they left. He’s a bit of a weird young man but described the 3rd passenger as a very attractive oriental woman with green hair, and that has to be Amori Mizuke the girlfriend and she was reported as one of the fatalities in the crash.

Katie I know you’ll want Gasper your normal bodyguard on the job and I’ve got Big Freddie on stand by, but I’m going to pull in a couple more guy’s for this, better to be safe.

The guy’s in planning think the best way for you to go in is either by helicopter or boat, if they’re there they’ll be ready for trucks. We sent an unmanned drone over the area, but there was a technical failure and we got no pictures back, in fact strangely the drone must have crashed because the pilot lost contact with it shortly after the tech problem with the camera.

So we’ve hired an old river boat the Marie Ann, that’s where we were flying the drone from when we lost it.

The skipper says he can tow a raft carrying a couple of vehicles up the Mojave River and put you ashore close to where we think the buildings are, there was an old adobe village out in the desert, it’s shown on old maps but there’s nothing visible on Google Earth so it’s either not there or it’s been redacted. It’s not quite where Daisuke thinks his buildings are but nothing else is showing up either so it’s our best bet.


Check out Daisuke’s report to see what he says happened, make your own mind up but you will be leaving in 24 hours, I want you to work as a team and I mean you Katie.

I think we have a story on our hands, it could be big and it could be dangerous, I want you to go down there and find out.

OK Kolinski, I think we’ve got trouble with this one, I want you working day and night to get a water tight case together so that if it turns nasty and the Government is involved we can stonewall them forever.

This is the start of one of my games for DevLAM 18 I hope you’ve seen some of the posts the Mad Lord Snapcase has done for his game, they are over on the right somewhere. He’s put an enormous amount of effort into his offering, including building err buildings, a canal, lock gates, fences, as well as painting figures and generally being very creative, his back story is clever, witty, erudite and well worth a read if you’ve not seen it.

If you read my post The Mabel Street Mob to the Rescue you will have seen Mi Lords desert mat, I was much taken with it at the time and this game that I’ve just laid the foundation for came into my head driving home from our meet a year ago.

So to get things rolling I played out an introduction to this game to set the scene, that was the story Red Sparrow Down which left some questions unanswered, maybe they will get answered here and maybe there will just be blood in the desert, who knows.

I’m hoping I don’t have the US Intelligence guy’s hacking into my computer and censoring my reports like last time.

Since then, and at great expense The Mad Lord has purchased from a master modeller Silent Invader on the LAF, three separate sets of boards, one of which is arid desert scenery, I’ve only seen pictures but I would give my eye teeth to own it. Maybe I can get it in the back of the car without him knowing, we’ll see. I might need a bigger car. Humm.

These are the boards and I can’t say how excited I am to be able to play a game on terrain of this quality.

Anyway the boards have built in adobe houses, and the roofs don’t lift off, not quite what I’d envisaged as a secret research facility but they are superb and so I shall try and weave the story around them. Maybe I can have underground bunkers below the buildings.

Any thoughts?

I still have some work to do on the specific detail of the scenario but I know what I’m after and it’s coming along, hopefully it will be alright on the night.

Well if you’re still here - thanks for reading.


  1. Oh, yes, I'm sure there's more than meets the eye in that unassuming desert landscape with the sleepy adobe buildings...

    1. Hi Fitz you forgot the river in the desert, or have you given up on reminding me of reality. :) :)
      Cheers mate.

    2. Trying to rein in US Intelligence. LOL ;P

    3. Yep not much chance there but be careful they're probably listening. ;)

  2. The security guards I have hired for DevLAM '18 have been warned to watch out for any attempt to load Silent Invader terrain into the backs of cars! Seriously, this is a great lead-in for your game. Really looking forward to playing it and finding out the truth behind all these stories. A very intriguing plot.

    1. I knew you would have found out the Roller went missing last year and taken precautions not to loose the family silver this year. :)

      I wonder if we can gouge the roofs off these buildings so we can play inside them!

  3. What an intriguing set up you have here, John. This looks like it's going to be a whole load of fun. That desert board does look amazing. It is a shame that the roofs don't come off. By the way, I loved the background pieces you used in so many of your photos and the closely cropped shots of your figures. Very clever and very effective!

    1. Thanks Bryan, glad you liked the background shots, it's all that Franks fault, I spent 30 min writing up the text and thought I'd just send it to the other 2 Guys taking part, but then I thought maybe I could add some photo's and make it a bit more interesting, and do it a bit like one of Franks stories. Well it took 2 days to shoot, looking for backgrounds, digging out buildings and scenery cropping everything. I must have has about 100 photos, probably more. That's when I realised that most of my figures don't stand up to being enlarged 3 or 4 times, all the flaws in both the painting and the casting come out. I changed the Editor figure 4 times for a new one before getting something half way decent.
      I did enjoy it but as I'm running well behind on getting these games ready for the table I should never have started I'm afraid.

  4. Replies
    1. If only it was mine, but I will be coming back with loads of photos that's for sure.

  5. Great set-up for what will no doubt be an interesting game full of your usul twists, turns and surprises. It would be a real privelidge to play on such magnicicent scenery.

    1. Yep I look at it and all sorts of ideas for games just jump up and shout, play me, play me.

      In my opinion this is the best of the 3 boards but the next one coming up is almost as good.

  6. Enjoy gaming on that desert board it looks fab! Nice setup for the game enjoy your pics.

    1. I'm really looking forward to it, cheers

  7. Well deary deary me, I head over to Cardiff for a few days & come back to have me socks blown off, talk about upping your game John I'm looking at what's on here & thinking I'll just burn all my stuff & take up knitting as a hobby :(

    New stars, new special effects department & adding to all of this the wonderful terrain of Martin how is my poor old studio ever going to compete ?

    A great intro mate & from what I know of what has gone into the planing of this event by all the parties concerned you guys are going to have the most wonderful time & we're all going to really enjoy reading all about it.

    On the QT if you'll sent me the location of Snapcase Hall I know a fast driver who has a big car & we might be able to make off with all 3 of the tables ;)

    1. Frank I don't know if you saw my reply to Bryan but I hold you personally responsible for this, I even when as far as planning a couple of indoor sets like you have but did think better of that idea.
      It was fun to do but hellish time consuming.

      OK I'll let you know the address but this boards mine, that goes without saying. ;)

    2. Yep I did notice my name been taken in vain John & looked real close to see if there was any grounds for a counter law-suit :)

      Time well spent mate imho & now that you've set the bar I'll be looking for more of the same, I love to see what lengths people will go to & do in this great little hobby of ours & how we all inspire one & other, so bravo sir you hit this one out of the ball park :)

    3. More of the same, you've got to be joking mate.

      I've just finished the Wings of War scenario, I'm hoping to have 20 planes on the table and just 3 of us controlling them, not sure if I'm being too adventurous with that. It should be frantic.

  8. What a cracking post John! As already mentioned, your background look absolutely amazing! It sounds like you spent quite a bit of time on them but I'll tell you, it was definitely worth it πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Ivor, thanks, I'm pleased you think they looked ok, as you know it's that Irishman's fault. :)

      I really should be more focused, next game up will be set in the French Indian wars, May 1758 to be precise. I've been making Barack's and tarting up Bateaux, I know what I want to happen just need to get it down on paper.

  9. Really enjoyed this lead in, enough detail to wet the appetite but vague enough for plenty of surprises.
    As For the car not being big enough to move large pieces, I have a van, just saying ! LOL

    1. The van sounds like a good idea Dave although if there's more security guards guarding the terrain than are guarding the facility it might be difficult to get away with it. Worth a try though.;)

  10. Absolutely cracking intro John, and though I fully appreciate the time and effort it's taken, boy was it worth it!! Bravo :-)

    Re the terrain, I too have a van available and could be available to act as a decoy to confuse the pursuit? change of vehicle for onward transport after the initial heist? or maybe create a road block at the exit to the grounds once you've cleared Snapcase Hall?

    1. Well it looks like we're good for our own version of the Italian Job, perhaps we should call it the Devon Dumpling Heist?