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Friday, 31 January 2020

A Detective Game - Retrieving the Grimoire of Life

“How in the name of all that’s unholy did you manage to lose my Grimoire of Life, it’s only four months past that you were able to acquire it in the first place and now you’ve lost it”. There was a short pause.

“Have I spent the last 18 years teaching and training and schooling and coddling and wiping your snotty nose for it all to have been a waste of my time”. “I’m not getting any younger you know and don’t have the years or the patience to go through all that nonsense again”. “I knew I should have stuck with the cat, at least he could catch mice, had a better aptitude for potions and was a better conversationalist than you, you great clod of an apprentice”.

As you will appreciate this was all a little unfair but the tirade directed at Rufina Grey Eye by her boss Thanda the Grim was never going to be fair. Thanda was not known for being fair, she was known for being Grim, she was from up north and there’s no fair about it, no one ever says it’s Fair up North, especially Southerners.

Rufina Grey Eye bowed her head and waited for Thanda’s wrath to fade, she knew it would take some time but it would eventually pass, erupting again a few times and then the air would be cleared. Well apart from the static charge as if a great lightning bolt had just struck the earth and of course, the faint smell of sulphur as well.

That was the real reason she wore the battered hat with the big brim, she had learned the trick when she was only ten years old. If you lowered your head and wore a big brimmed hat no one who was taller than you could see your face, at 10 she used to pull faces at Thanda from beneath the hat and that helped to pass the time before life got back to normal and her wrath subsided. Now she was older and taller she had to bow her head even more and refrained from pulling the faces because that would be undignified for the Apprentice to a renowned Wizard, she just thought them instead and the brim hid the smile in her eyes.

The painting above is of happier, carefree times when Thanda led the band of warriors, thieves and vagabonds throughout the land and Rufina was the Apprentice and did as she was told, - usually. Things were changing, she had recently been sent out leading her own party on Thanda’s errands, the responsibility was hard for her to bear but on the last mission she had successfully recovered the Grimoire of Life, from it’s rightful owner of course, which in a well policed country might be considered stealing. It was this same Grimoire that had gone missing, or maybe been recovered or stolen depending on your point of view.

“You will have to go and get it back” Thanda’s voice had quietened from the volume of a volcanic eruption to more like a bull in heat and Rufina knew it was time to start listening again.

The obvious question was “where is it?” but she had learned to not ask obvious questions for obvious reasons.

“Take six of the household, ask Sonia and Tina if they will go with you and take that new lass, the tall one - Astrid, let’s see if she can fight as well as she can eat, oh and try and get her to keep her shirt on”. “I know she comes from Vanaheim and they have some strange ways up there but it doesn’t set a good example to the rest of the Household if she goes around half naked”.

“How many days provisions do you think we should take” Rufina asked cannily. “Six or seven should be fine, you’re only going a day beyond River Run” Thanda replied.

So far so good thought Rufina, we’re going west 3 days, about 40 miles, the only village she could think of was Halfdan’s, maybe that was too obvious but she tried it anyway. “Does Halfdan know where it is” she asked.

“Of course not you oaf, Halfdan and his people left when the Dead moved in, but they’ve probably moved on by now, however the Grimoire is there, or if not at least you will find evidence to lead you to it”

Ok that didn’t sound too bad, how much trouble could a few dead spirits be, even if they were still there?

Thanda went on “Just to make it perfectly clear, I want the Grimoire back, or at the very least to know where it is, and I also want to know who stole it so we can have a little discussion about my property” “Oh and you might need to find out how they’ve protected it before trying to pick it up”

Hummm it might be a little more difficult than she had assumed, oh well best get on with it then.

A sexy little shot of Halfdan’s village.

This after action report is about an experimental game I played trying out concepts of solving a crime but doing it solo, so it’s not just for fun. About 18 months ago there was some discussion on here about detecting games i.e. games with detectives, detecting and solving a crime and how they could be played solo maintaining the essence of finding clues to solve the case without knowing the answers. I want to maintain it as a miniatures game and all that entails, grafting on the detecting, clue solving bit to give some sense of solving a crime as well.

Someone, I think it was Eduardo suggested using the board game 221a Baker Street, the Sherlock Homes detecting game, it’s a more sophisticated version of Cluedo, can be played solo and means I have to work out who done it etc.

I already had some 1930’s gangsters, they just needed a lick of paint and of course I needed to build a city to have my hard boiled detectives wander around, so no problem there then.
Well the figures are still unpainted and the city block’s still waiting for planning permission but for Christmas I received a cobble mat to lay it all down on. So rather than wait for it all to be ready, I’m going detecting in some other time zone, with swords, spells and horrors rather than guns, molls and mobsters and this is the result.

I thought I would describe the clues as I find them so that anyone reading along can see if they are smarter than me in solving the case sooner than I did.
Essentially the game board has 15 locations and you visit each of them getting clues or not as the case may be, once you have enough information you rush back to Baker Street to announce the result of your deductions. Mrs Vagabond seems to be better at this than I am.

I’m not sure about the law of copyright so if I get sent to prison, maybe some one could send me a cake with a file inside I would much appreciate it.

The village is deserted, obviously abandoned in a hurry, there are sacks of produce and food left behind in the rush to leave. Tina has climbed one of the trees surrounding the place and has spent most of the day watching to see if there’s anything useful to be discovered before the group enter the village.

Tina in her eyrie.

Nothing stirs, it’s as quiet as the grave which might be an ominous sign, we’ll just have to wait and see. Rufina has decided to enter the village after night fall. It’s a full moon and there should be plenty of light to explore by, this might not be such a good plan but at least it’s a plan.

As well as the possible crime clues each building may contain something or someone that caused the village to be deserted. I’m just using a shuffled deck of cards, all the diamond cards have had something allocated to each card, nothing good usually. To counteract that I left the Jokers in the deck and they will represent the Grimoire which will be a lucky break because otherwise I will have to solve the riddle of the crime to find the Grimoire. So odds of 1 in 4ish that there will be a reception committee waiting in each building.

Entering the building the first through the door has to succeed on a stealth roll and they get the advantage in any confrontation, fail and they are at a disadvantage and equal it and it’s even - yes I know, - I like to keep it simple.

Night falls and this is me trying to simulate moonshine, by turning off 2 out of the 3 lights, all it did was make it difficult for the camera to focus and didn’t achieve much additional atmosphere, it does means there are a few more blurred shots than normal, sorry, I would sack the camera man but it was me.

If you are concerned about semi naked people please switch off now because it looks like Astrid ignored Rufina’s instructions about taking her shirt off before a fight.

The village is quite large and as Rufina is expecting to have to enter and search most, if not all of the huts she decides to split the party into two separate groups to try and get the job done sooner rather than later.

This was to be a re-occurring theme at each hut, Tina the Swift who was a skilled thief, well versed in entering places stealthily would be the first through the door. Rufina would take up a position at the window to provide a magical spell casting back up and Red Sonia and Atsuko would be prepared to rush into the building to protect Tina if there was anything dangerous inside.

You can’t see Tina because she’s quite small and is hidden behind Red Sonia who’s quite stocky.

I checked to see if the door was locked before Tina tried to enter but then decided that as the village was abandoned hurriedly no one would lock their doors even if they had locks.

Nothing and no one inside, they spent a couple of turns searching and then went on to the next building going in a sun wise direction around the village, (no one had invented a clock yet and this is the northern hemisphere)

Minors and easily offended people look away now. In fact keep your hands over your eyes throughout the story because there are disturbing things happening in Halfdans village.

Signy Freyasdotter is also an experienced footpad and pickpocket and so leads the way into their first building, she enters quietly but finds nothing. She is backed up by Ayesha and Astrid, the tall one of the group.

Astrid is a recent recruit to the band and didn’t appear in the round up of the members that I posted late last year. She feels a little out of her depth amongst this tight knit group of adventurous souls and is a little awkward about her height, she’s trying to create a legend for herself, and likes to be called the Ice Maiden which the others find amusing. She is armed with a double handed axe that because of her strength she can wield one handed and when doing so can also use the shield to defend herself. This was going to come in useful later.

Searching the next house Tina discovered a scrap of burnt parchment that was written in some rune-ish script that they could just decipher, the first part appeared to be a poem ___ for the wings of a dove, the first word was burned away and then a part of a riddle Reverse of Nil, they puzzled on this, wondering if it might be some reference to where the Grimoire was hidden?

Continuing round the village you can see them emerging from the 3rd building, it was obviously used as some work room, to what purpose they weren’t sure but they found nothing and moved on quickly.

On the far side of the village Signy Freyasdotter had investigated the flat roof building but it was also empty however in the low building they are entering, daubed on the wall, written in charcoal in the common tongue were the words Little _____ Least, the middle word was smeared and undecipherable, was this an indication of the Thief?

They needed to press on and in the next building found a piece of a clay tablet inscribed with the three words Puffins Liberation Organisation. Had Halfdan been a bird lover, was this left by the dead who had driven him out, no it had to be human or semi human to put pressure on the clay! Could this be some indication of the protection afforded to the hiding place of the Grimoire? No point in guessing and they moved on.

Rufina’s party had entered and searched two more buildings and I was wondering if I’d left the diamonds out of the deck of cards. No encounters but the tension was ratcheting up, they had however discovered a piece of a clay tablet inscribed in a pictorial script which was translated as No___ pense Spared, translating it was easy although the big thumb print after No might mean anything, a clumsy scribe probably. In the last hut someone had written on the wall in charcoal Commerce Wind in the Southern Ocean what the hell did that mean.

Clues on Parchment indicate Location, on Clay Tablets – Protection and daubed in Charcoal are the Thief but I expect you got that by now.

Signy has a very good stealth roll as she makes her way into one of the buildings in the centre of the village but draws the Queen of Diamonds, not a clue but a Green or Gollem Demon. This thing is horrific and inspires horror into anyone who comes close to it, she draws a horror card and pushing past Astrid and Ayesha who were just behind her, she runs like hell. The creature chases after but with fear providing the spur her little legs going like pistons she easily outdistances it but will continue to run next turn after that she may regain her composure.

Ayesha and Astrid see what’s caused Signy to run and also take horror cards, being overcome with madness Ayesha strikes out with her sword, not at the Gollem but at Astrid who has retreated in the face of the Green Horror. Recognising her weakness it rushes at her but taking a firm grip on her shield she defends herself bravely and holds off the attack from both the Demon and Ayesha.

Ayesha lost control of her mind to the Gollem for a short time, hopefully she will regain control or it’s curtains for Astrid.

Things have taken a turn for the worse, I expected the split parties of 3 and 4 adventurers would be able to stand against most of the creatures and horrors that they might encounter but this is not going well.

The next turn Signy continues to run away and makes it to the tree line. Astrid has still not recovered her nerve and continues to back away from the Demon but facing it and ready to fight if she needs to. Ayesha though recovers quickly from the madness that overtook her, she comes to her senses and places herself between the Demon and her retreating friend. The Demon considers the new threat and a very aggressive threat it looks as Ayesha waves her fist in the air and threatens the Demon with hell and damnation (which if he could understand her words he might like the prospect) but her aggressive stance matches his own.

They both failed the test to charge.

The next turn Signy is now overcome by panic and instead of running away, runs in a random direction which was back the way she had just come. If only she can pass her guts test next time she is in a good position to aid the other two.

Astrid though continues to back away from the Demon and Ayesha thinks she should attack it, but just not yet. However the Demon takes the decision away from her, howling like a Green Demon, which is a bit like a Banshee but not as loud, it attacks. She stands her ground and after a flurry of blows from claw, sword the deciding thing is the small armguard on her right arm that deflects the scrabbling claws trying to reach her throat.

Back to the other party and Tina entering the next hut, trips on the step as she enters making a noise. This turns out to be the first hut that she’s entered that has an occupant so a bad time to make a noise.

It’s the Red Woman, the same one that appeared in the last adventure, she wasn’t so hard then but this time she’s not attacked unawares and her Terrifying Aura overcomes Tina who is a bit chicken anyway and she becomes Transfixed. Being Transfixed means she doesn’t defend herself and the Red Woman easily defeats Tina in the 1st round of combat which means she can move in close and Bite like a Vampire.

Red Sonia was behind Tina but when she encountered the Terrifying Aura she Lost All Reason and backed away loosing a few of her marble for the rest of the game.

Biting like a Vampire sucks Tina’s life force from her, she is not dead yet but isn’t going to be much help for a long while. Rufina pushes past the retreating Sonia and seeing Tina sink to the floor summons all her powers as a would be Wizard and casts her least favourite but most deadly spell, at least it’s been deadly to its caster, making her unconscious one time and nearly so on another occasion. There’s a little blue crackle, a faint smell of sulphur and then nothing. Just a very small tingling in Rufinas right arm, followed by a sense of relief when she realized it hadn’t rebounded too strongly and she was still on her feet. Then a feeling of panic as she realized it hadn’t affected her antagonist either.

Fortunately for her, Atsukio is a brave and bold warrior, also maybe slightly stupid and she overcame the Aura and rushed in wielding her trusty sword but it was the sneaky spikes in her boot that inflicted just enough damage on the Red Woman to cause her to step back from the combat.

Things are not looking good for Ayesha, she continues to battle with the Gollem, back and forth but her allies are getting further away Signy has disappeared entirely, that’s the problem running around like a headless chicken, but Astrid still hasn’t overcome her initial reaction to the horror and continues to back away slowly.

Atsukio in the hut following up her ferocious attack on the Red Woman has been stopped in her tracks and pushed back, Rufina had a second attempt at casting her Elemental Bolt of Power spell but again failed, only just though, which is better than catastrophically but it still has no effect on her opponent.
Red Sonia recovers her bravery if not her brain and prepares to re-enter the hut and help out but it’s a bit crowded in there and she can’t get in.

Ayshas persistence and endurance has paid off, she’s still on her feet and Astrid recovering her nerve (YESSS) has advanced to help her, swinging her axe like a Viking Berserker she charges into the fight, bere shirt as some would have it, although coming from Yorkshire it would be bar shirt.

Back in the hut Rufina thinks bugger this spell casting and pulls her knife and wades in to help Atsukio, who having been beaten in a round of fighting is open to the Bite like a Vampire, fortunately or unfortunately depending on who you are rooting for, the Red Woman gets her fangs tangled in Atsukio’s armoured shoulder plates and misses her opportunity but doesn’t break any teeth so it’s not all bad.
Sonia still can’t get through the door to help and over in the forest Signys nerves have failed her completely and she’s run away.

The fight continued, Atsukio was thrown to the floor, Rufina was thrown back, turns out she’s as good with a knife as with her spell casting, she bounced off the wall which opened a space for Red Sonia to enter the hut.

Trying a different tack Rufina decided to go with a alternative spell and instead of attacking the Red Woman directly she cast one to enhance Sonia’s fighting powers and bugger me but it worked, only just, but who cares. Well Bryan if he ever reads this but he may not.
Sonia feels an extra flow of power coursing through her body. She is a famous fighter, renowned for her strength and prowess with her axe, who’s name I’ve forgotten (the axe that is), but with this additional boost she smashes the axe two handed into the apparition in front of her and destroys it.

Rufina helps Atsukio to her feet but Tina is unresponsive, damn they are going to have to carry her, fortunately she is light and Sonia is strong, but it means their best warrior is encumbered.

They search the hut before leaving but there is no clue to the mystery of the stolen Grimoire.

Ayesha and Astrid finally manage to defeat the Green Gollem, Hurrah!!! The fight went back and forth for a very long time, usually these things are fairly short but the dice decided otherwise this time.

They went into the hut that the Gollem had emerged from but found nothing. What a let down after such a ferocious fight, one of the longest I’ve had apart from maybe the Samurai fight last year or was it 2 years ago.

Back with Rufina and in the next hut she finds another piece of the clay tablet that translates to Implement used to separate fine grains from coarse?

Finally having searched everywhere the two groups rendezvoused in the village square and reviewed the clues and I realised I couldn’t answer the question “where the Grimoire was” because I only had half the clues. Also I couldn’t work out “Who stole it” because I wasn’t bright enough but I did know what it was protected by.

I now have a dilemma, Rufina and her group had visited 14 buildings, and missed one, they would have to go back to search it. With 1 in 4 cards being encounters with bad things I had expected 3 or 4 encounters, so far I’d only had 2 and was loath to chance my arm again.

What’s the saying, “the cork’s been drawn and now the wine must be drunk” Mrs V’s says she’s never heard of this saying and maintains it must be one of mine but I’m sure it was Napoleon or one of his Marshall’s although I can’t find it on Google, mind you I can never find anything on Google unless someone wants to sell me something.

Rufina decides she is the leader on this expedition and with no stealthy thieves left will enter the hut first. Red Sonia and Atsukio disagree in a half hearted sort of a way and let her go first.

There’s no ravening beast or slippery snake in the hut but she does discover a parchment that has a drawing of a flower and underneath is says “A short Violet” and further down “If P’s and Q’s then presumably J’s and ___” the last bit was missing.

Having searched the whole village they have a number of clues and suggestions that might lead them to answer their questions regarding Who Stole the Grimoire, Where is it, What Protects it.

They decide to leave this dark, haunted place and make camp in the forest, have a drink of the super smooth mead they keep for emergencies and have a think about the information they gleaned from the nights work.

OK so that was my first run through of a detecting game, I know it’s not in the true traditions of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett but I wanted to continue Rufina’s story and it seemed like a good opportunity. The best bits for me were nothing to do with the detecting at all but with the standard wargaming storyline, the surprise and adrenaline rush of an exciting game. Yes I know I don’t get out a lot but in the main I find the games exciting, the detecting and clue solving was pretty pedestrian by comparison, but it served it’s purpose.

The various clues were.

Who Stole it – the clues daubed in charcoal:-
Little ____ Least
Commerce Wind in the Southern Ocean

Where is it – the clues on parchment:-
A short Violet
___ for the wings of a dove
Reverse of Nil
If P’s and Q’s then presumably J’s and ___

What Protects it – clues on clay tablets:-
No___ pense Spared
Palestinian Liberation Organisation
Implement used to separate fine grains from coarse

To work it out there was some other information and bear in mind this is a Sherlock Holmes story, so the answers relate to that, also the clues are given in order.

The story line has a number of red herrings but the pertinent information is that Sherlock Homes plays the violin and a master of disguise has escaped from prison and Inspector Lestrade brings Sherlock the news.

In the end I struggled with the Who Stole it because this had the most red herrings but I got there in the end.

So in my adventure Rufina found out the location of the Grimoire, and can go there to recover it, knowing how it’s protected, she knows who stole it and therefore who might be waiting for her to try and recover it, however that might be another story.

The 221a Baker Street game is quite good, I’ve only played 4 cases so far but it’s a bit more of a word puzzle than my idea of clues to solve a crime so if anyone has any thoughts on this I would much appreciate it. I know that Frank is working on something for his own stories and Greg was very helpful with ideas for other sets of rules which I’m looking through although reading rules tends to send me to sleep faster than a few whiskies.
I’m looking at 5010 and the Department but the main problem with trying to solve a case doing it solo is I can’t think how to, not know about it. It also needs to be fairly simple concept as I’m a bear with a small brain and can’t be doing with complex rule systems.

A much shorter post than last time – Thank goodness.

Take Care it's Dangerous Out There.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

The Little Whiskey Bath House and Brothel Wars 1875 - The Game

The Little Whiskey Bath House and Brothel Wars 1875 - The Game

The day started quietly, almost like any other day in Little Whiskey, well that's a lie it usually starts with mayhem and death but today was different. There were only a few people on Main Street, three strangers dressed in black outside the Westmoorland Grocery Store and over by Slim Tinley’s Gunshop, Temperance Jenkins and Miss Virginia were in deep discussion, maybe about the low moral standard in the town, or maybe it was the weather, but as every day is hot and dusty in New Mexico, it was probably the low moral standards.

To place all the buildings in the town and help with some understanding of the events that took place in the Little Whiskey Bath house and Brothel War of 1875 I have commissioned this special aerial photograph, taken from a hot air balloon by Fly’s Photographers.

Things are starting to stir, a trio of hard bitten characters led by Hard Nose Dave Stone emerge from the piles of lumber around the construction site, and head towards the Saloon.

Meanwhile, a pair of shadowy hombres, wearing grey hats, make their way over to the gunsmith, they nod politely to Temperance Jenkins, she of course ignores them.

More men in grey hats, not goodies or baddies, they are led by Captain Snapcase, the slightly rotund chap 2nd from the right as we look at them. They have just left Whiskey Jacks Emporium the Tail Feathers Saloon, Banjo Greg on the right of the line up seems to be shouting at the Captain, not sure if he’s angry at something or just that the Captain is a little hard of hearing. Bad Boy Roy over on the left of the group is looking cool and hard at the same time, that’s very difficult in the New Mexico heat and Joakim the Swede next to him is thinking longingly of his native Sweden, the snow and cold, but then again no sun and little daylight in the winter time. Hum maybe New Mexico wasn’t so bad after all.

They cross Main Street headed towards Blonde Edna’s their job is to break the place up a bit. It will be hot and dusty work but then it’s back to Whiskey Jacks for a beer, maybe with a whiskey chaser, but only if it’s the good hooch from the bottle, not the rotgut he serves from the bucket.

Miss Virginia is trying to ignore Mary Ann Conklin one of the girls from Blonde Edna’s and giving some hard glances at the three men in black on the front porch of the Hardware Store.

The Captain always leads from the front, especially when there’s trouble behind, in this case they are surrounded by trouble, they just don’t know where it’s coming from first.

Miss Virginia on the right has become the “Wanton Wench” (an Event) she moves towards the nearest Character and persuades him to defend her honour, Fecadermis in the top hat might look like a wild eyed killer but he’s a softy at heart and agrees to help her.

Katie McBride appears on the boardwalk brandishing a shotgun and yelling get out of town you varmint, yes Preacher Zabadak I’m talking to you.

The girls on the balcony look on with amusement, until…….

Boom – Boom she fires both barrels and he falls slowly to the ground, well I guess he would be blown about 10 feet backwards in reality, Katie McBride looks down aghast.
“Ma’am you’ll have to come with me, put the gun down please” a quiet voice spoke from the shadows of the porch as the self styled Judge Bryan Vampifan drew his pistols. “It wasn’t my fault” stuttered Katie, “it was that damn event card made me do it”. “We’ll let the jury decide that” was the laconic reply.

Strolling down Main Street there are 2 hardened Bounty Hunters looking to make a quick buck without doing too much for it. Wild Dougal Emfore is nearest the camera and his almost look a like twin is that well known ex Arizona Ranger J.J.Tucker.

Wild Dougal has received information that Texas Red is coming to Little Whiskey and he aims to collect the bounty on her head, the one JJ failed to collect when he and Red met up in the game “The Big Iron”. JJ is now out for revenge, he still walks with a limp from that encounter.

The Hole in the Pocket gang leave the gunsmith, having loaded up with bullets they are on their way to the saloon to load up with whiskey before making their way to the Bank and they’re not going to make a deposit.

In the background is lucky Joe Tucker although no one calls him lucky anymore. For him “Love was Blind” and he had seen his old school mistress Temperance Jenkins on the street corner. All thoughts of making his way to the Sheriffs office and gunning down the dirty rat who was held in the jail disappeared from his head. When she wagged her finger at him in that stern but oh so alluring way, all he could think of was taking her to some secluded spot to whisper sweet two times tables in her ear, (he never did got very far in arithmetic).

Back at the other end of Main Street Chester’s strident voice rings out. “Hey Tucker, you been messing with my wife and now you’re goin to pay, draw your gun you son of a bi**h”.

Molly and her kid look on as Chester makes a fool of himself following another Event card, he’s so jealous, if anyone so much as looks at her it’s a cause to kill them. JJ spins around drawing his revolver in one fluid motion, his partner doesn’t bat an eyebrow, maybe been sipping too much fluid from his hip flask or maybe just a long night in the saloon.

There’s a sound of slapping leather, then 2 shots ring out followed by a dull thud as JJ Tucker hits the ground raising a small cloud of dust.

Dougal finally turns, sees Chester with his pistol pointed at him, sees his dead partner, sees the future and doesn’t like it.

Before you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious he legs it into cover, well out of sight of Chester that’s for sure. The gal calmly strolling up Main Street is Rose, she will act in support of the Law in the town. You notice the Sheriffs Office door is firmly closed.

Deputy Sheriff English Bob finally came out of the office and barked at Chester to drop his gun, something that Chester failed to do because he is down in the ground wounded or dead I’m not sure which. I’m also not sure who shot him, English Bob or it could have been Rose, either way he was hit with a shotgun and Chester don’t care who fired the fatal blast.

In the side alley Donna is making her way from the Saloon to the back of the Sheriffs Office, you should be able to see her sombrero, if not her bottle. She must have urgent business because she didn’t spend long drinking in the saloon and she is not her usual inebriated self, indeed her legs are only just a little wobbly.

Mean while, round the back at Blonde Edna’s four men in light brown hats exit the building and head off to the Tail Feathers Saloon, their job is to break up the Saloon a little.

Doug who was controlling the men in the brown hats decided to go round the right hand side of the building just as the men in grey hats controlled by Martin were coming round the left hand side of it, hopefully you remember their job was to break up the Brothel. Neither of the players knew what the others tasks were, and everyone had started on a random turn 1 to 6, Martins men had set off on turn 1, Dougs men were somewhat later and only just missed being in the Brothel when Martin arrived. I know it's not very funny but it amused me.

Doug’s figure - Dougal decided Main Street was an unhealthy place to be and was sidling round the back of the Saloon to see if the rumours about the whiskey were true.

The bodies are starting to litter Main Street, but it would get worse – much worse.

Near to us, the man in black, Judge Vampifan is escorting poor Katie McBride to the jailhouse, she was stunned after the shooting and went along quietly, mainly because she was smart enough to know that with an empty shotgun, the jail was her best option. I don’t think her defence about an event card will stand up in court but you never know.

Maybe there’s more to Miss Virginia than meets the eye, you remember she had enlisted Fecadermis to help defend her honour, it turned out it was Poison Ivor a member of the Hole in the Pocket gang who she wanted revenge on. Fecadermis went up to Ivor swinging his fists like mallets but his opponent is not known as Poison for nothing and promptly knocked Fecadermis down. Miss Virginia then stepped in close and with a swift knee to the groin had Ivor measuring his length in the dust.

The rest of the gang were set on getting to the saloon and let Ivor fight and loose his own battles. Comrades eh?

Meanwhile at the other end of Main Street, in the Wells Fargo Office, Doug triumphantly declared “I rolled the right dice” “What for” Martin and I said in unison. “For Poker Faced Fitz-Badger” he replied. “You did a Brains test and he failed?” I said “Yes” “and a Guts test and he passed” I continued “yes” Wow!!

The Badger throwing caution to the wind pulled out his pepperbox pistol and fired on the four members of the Embroidery Circle gang. He missed them all if I remember correctly but Juanita Mendoza fired back.

Three of the gang ran out the door, but the Badger faced with the deadly fire from Mendoza had nowhere to run, so he dived through the window, rolled on his left shoulder and came up on his feet, fight or flight – works every time.

Over by the Blacksmith it transpired that Mary-Ann Conklin was tired of her one way love affair with Big Jim Smith the Smith and had stuck a knife into him and when Shawnee Mary the other side of the triangle had tried to defend the big lump of a man, Mary-Ann had stuck the knife in her as well.

It was much more complicated affair than that and went on for quite a while but that was the end result, two more bodies on Main Street, it was bad but would get worse – much worse.

Captain Snapcase had led the way into Blonde Edna’s and encountered the proprietoress Pearl De Ville, a woman not to be messed with. Let’s just say he messed a little too much and she punched his lights out, I thinks that’s the way it went but he might have a different story.

Her four hirelings were still in the alley and were aware of the activity behind them so two turned back to see what was going on.

That was the last mistake they made as Dusty Motte and Coyote Curran fell beneath the hail of lead from Joakim the Swede, Banjo Greg and Bad Boy Roy.

The other two desperados, Irish Frank O’Donnell and the Colonel had continued on into Main Street to meet their fate there.

Back with the Badger. As he rolled to his feet he realized at this point, if you have a four shot pistol, it might be better not to fire all four shots at the same time, but as they say, you live and learn.

Providing that you live to learn!

He was staring down the barrel of Alice Morgan’s revolver and he wasn’t a happy bunny. Behind Alice the other two members of the gang turned to face a new danger.

Shotgun wielding Frank and the Colonel were determined to stop the robbery in the Wells Fargo Office, some nonsense about Pearl De Ville their boss having shares in Wells Fargo but at this stage there was nothing to rob, the gold bullion hadn’t arrived and the robbery had gone horribly wrong.

Rose was probably consoling Chesters Widow, unless she was the one who shot him!

Judge Vampifan is still escorting his prisoner across to the jail. (He kept failing to activate)

Alice took one look at the Badgers steely glare and ran. The Badger took one look at Alice’s steely glare and ran.

Guns were discharged by the rest of the gang and both of them were hit but barely scratched unlike Frank and the Colonel who hit the dust (Sorry Frank). Well looking on the bright side, Pearl De Ville won’t have to pay their wages, maybe funeral expenses but you never know they might survive and she will only have to pay for the Docs bill. She is probably checking if they have medical care as part of their employment package.

Not wanting to be left behind Juanita Mendoza runs out of the Wells Fargo office trying to catch up with her sewing circle members. Alice has already moved on, is the robbery over before it began or does Martin have another plan?

The rest of Captain Snapcases men come bundling up the stairs but Pearl De Ville has reinforcements, her two girls who were on the balcony come inside and face off to the men in the grey hats.

Grey Hats will not shoot women and so it’s down to bare knuckles to resolve the issue, unfortunately the girls are not so chivalrous and each has a knife kept in their stocking tops for just this sort of occasion.

The result is 3 - nil, 4 - nil if you count Snapcase who is fast asleep in the other room.

Martins Girl Gang having gone round the back of Edna’s are coming back to Main Street!

Juanita who was in the rear trying to keep up had to decide if she could turn out the pockets of these two but reasoned there wasn’t enough time and besides they looked pretty poor anyway.

We hadn’t had an event card for a turn or two so decided on one now. “Barking Mad”, random place but it had to be in this place. Dora Du Fran was in the Marshall’s Office, to protect him of course, but he had stepped outside for a minute and his dog took against her.

Donna is at the door trying to work out how to open it.

The dog attacks Dora and then Mary, the Marshall hearing the commotion returns and with a “good doggy” and a couple of treats has it under control in no time.

Well a bit late for the two women it savaged.

Donna finally manages to open the door and stagger in, sees the Marshall and starts flirting in that endearing way that drunks have.

I forget what she did, but he’s locked her in the cell with Bill Samuelson. Maybe she shot the dog?

Back on the street it looks like Fecadermis and Miss Virginia have dragged poor old Ivor to the side and she was going through his pockets looking for proof of his misdemeanour or maybe his wallet?

Just then he recovered and jumped to his feet, pulling his revolver at the same time.

Woops, he should have stuck with his fists, although that hadn’t worked too well either (Sorry Ivor).

The stage is making it’s way towards the Wells Fargo office, carrying the boxes of silver bullion. In the far distance just coming out of the alley, on the left, I can see 2 of the female gang, and now I see what Martin is planning.

Sure enough, as the stagecoach moves on up Main Street, the girls from the gang jump out, guns blazing.

Two of them run to the rear of the stage and attempt to board without tickets, this won’t end well.

Juanita and Alice fire at the driver and guard but apparently miss, although this scares the horses and they veer away from the shots. Jane Grey fell in the attempt to climb onto the moving coach but Emma De Witt from Holland was more surefooted and made her way onto the roof.

The driver is hauling back on the reigns, or he would be if I’d given him any, Emma is on the roof holding on to her revolver tightly.

The cameraman has been given a written warning for this shot and thoroughly deserves it. Emma got paid extra for doing her own stunts and all we can see are her boots.

She doesn’t need to tell the driver to haul back and stop, but he’s headed straight for the Saloon, that’s going to be a hard landing.

Notice this shot and she has her back to the camera, I wonder if she did get a double in to do the stunts?

I bet you’d forgotten about Joe Turner, lucky or not! You decide.

Well he found his quiet place with Miss Jenkins in the back of a small wagon and 6 turns after entering he has managed to finish his 2 times table and is taking his leave. He has some cold blooded killing to do but this interlude has slowed him down a lot.

Before we can get to that bit of killing there is a small altercation in the Saloon.

Frank MacAuley led the Hole in the Pocket gang into Whiskey Jacks establishment and came across Lefty and Mississippi Sam Shaw drinking with Hard Nose Dave Stone. As you will remember they were in town to kill the Marshall but needed a drink first. However Dave had an old score to settle with Frank MacAuley and only one of them would walk away.

The rest of the men stood back, it wasn’t their fight.

They both drew together but Dave missed his shot, Franks didn’t and Dave bit the dust although in Whiskey Jacks Saloon dust was the best bit. (Sorry Dave)

No sooner had the shots been fired when the back door of the saloon swung back crashing on it’s hinges as Bill Samuelson strode in. (Another event) announcing that he was taking over the gang and Frank had better get used to it.

Frank didn’t want to get used to it and drew his pistol, again, but this time was too slow and got shot down by Bill.

“Ok boys what’s the plan, what we robbing”. Bill quizzed them. “The bank, gawd damn, better have another whiskey then.”

Whiskey Jack in the corner behind the bar was trying to decide if this was good for business or not, what the hell, no one lives forever but it’s a bit of a faff having to clean up all this blood, maybe I should paint the floor red he thinks.

Back outside things had been happening, Emma de Witt had been shot and fallen off the roof of the stage, Brummie and Dew had put up a fight but both had gone down under the guns of the girls, Jane was now in the driving seat and hoping to remain there.

Down to the left, the other two gang members are trying to climb aboard, when shots ring out from inside the coach.

A quick view up the street and Jane is missing from the driving seat and she must have been shot, but by whom is anyones guess, it could have been Sheriff Tarot who is standing on the boardwalk outside his new office. However he has other troubles now.

This close up shows why he has other troubles. Bill Samuelson is now leading the Hole in the Pocket gang and Doug who is controlling the gang decided to exit the Saloon by the front door. However the last time Sheriff Tarot saw Bill he was in jail. This led to an awkward moment for everyone concerned, until the inevitable happened and they all went for their guns.

Panning back up the street shows the forces of Law and Order, not much Law and virtually no order though. Off to the left, dressed in black is the Marshall, he had decided to do a walk around the town (well the dice decided it for him). In the far distance is Rose, she’s behind the buckskin horse and will throw in with the Sheriff, then there’s the Sheriff (white hat) facing off against the Hole in the Pocket gang comprising Dangerous Dave, Skully and Stevie G, led by Bill Samuelson.

Right – this is where it all gets a little hazy, Dangerous Dave is down but so too is the Marshall and the Sheriff has taken 2 light flesh wounds, they just slow him down for a short while. Of course with the rest of the gang armed and dangerous his future looks unpromising.

Not a good photo but essentially someone has started firing out of the stagecoach and Juanita has taken a light wound. Jane has fallen between the traces onto the inert body of Brummie, it’s getting a bit crowded down there between the traces.

To complicate matters all the shooting has disturbed the cattle and they have broken through the fence and are streaming down Main Street – STAMPEDE. (another event)

From a standing start they are picking up speed and creating Mayhem on Main Street.

Back with the stage and Juanita has climbed up on top, the chap in the top hat jumping out on the right is Gravedigger Awdry, he’s decided the Insurance Company can carry the loss of the Silver Bullion.

The outcome of all the shooting was that English Bob came out to see what all the fuss was about and got shot down, so did Tarot.

Not a good day for the Law.

Bill continues to lead the gang towards the Bank. He likes to keep his plans clear and simple. (No Age of Sigmar for him)

The Judge decides it’s a good time to come out from the safety of the Sheriffs office, Bill turns to face him down and the Judge decides the time is not quite right and ducks back inside.

Rose had retreated behind the shelter of the bank walls having decided that Bill Samuelson and 2 men were more than she wished to take on alone.

Looking at the poster promising land in Iowa and Nebraska she was wondering if the sun shone there. Maybe not. Ok so she would have to take her chances here in New Mexico and so making sure the shotgun was loaded she jumped to the side ready to face down what ever was there, or shoot if it faced back.

It turned out to be Bill, the sun went out and the world turned black.

The cattle just kept on coming, nothing and nobody was going to stop them.

Having finally drunk enough to give them enough courage these two are looking for the Marshall, but only found the Sheriff, finally they saw he was lying on the ground on the other side of the street, shot by some one else and there wasn’t much sign of life and so they decided to go home, then they realized they didn’t have one.

The Judge again pops back out of the doorway but this time when he sees Stevie G he shoots him down, Stevie is rolling around on the board walk off to the left. (Sorry Steve)

I’m not sure what Fecadermis and Miss Virginia are up to, maybe it will be explained sometime in the future.

The two characters with grey hats have being quietly moving round the board going from business to business conducting their business. It looks as though they are finished though and going to the saloon for a celebratory drink before leaving town.

This turned out to be a bit of a mistake.

The Bounty Hunter Emfore was drowning his sorrows because he had not being able to find Texas Red and claim the bounty. Then his face lights up “in all the gin joints, in all the world, and she walks into my gin joint” he thinks happily.

He recognises her immediately, is worried momentarily about the odds but has put away enough of Whiskey Jacks rotgut bucket brew to ignore his brain telling him a $100 reward is not a lot of money.

They all go for their guns.

The handsome chap on the right is John Vagabond, Texas Reds sidekick and his alter ego (me) was quietly confident about the outcome.

Which just goes to show - the unexpected happens all the time in Little Whiskey. A very slightly drunk Doug outdrew and outshot them both.

The saloon is almost as crowded with bodies as the Main Street. Not quite but almost.

Back on Main Street the final drama is being resolved in true Little Whiskey style, Joe Turner (Grey Hat) has finally reached his goal, which is the Jail where Bill Samuelson is incarcerated. He doesn’t know that Bill escaped, had a gun fight in the saloon, and that he shot the Sheriff but he didn’t shoot the Deputy, and is now on his way to rob the bank.
He doesn’t know or care, he sees Bill, takes careful aim and fires, Bill (Black coat) falls to the boardwalk and Joe has his revenge.

The Judge calls to Skully to drop his rifle and surrender, realizing he is the last of the Hole in the Pocket gang Skully decides to take the offer of a warm bed and 3 square meals in Jail and reaches for the sky, he can’t quite reach but it’s a good attempt.

Juanita has been busy, she threw Brummie off of his resting places between the horses, helped two of her gang members into the coach and climbed back on top and is making her way out of town with the silver bullion still on board.

The only other people who know about the bullion are Gravedigger Audry who is hiding behind some barrels of fruit off to the right and Poker Face Fitz-Badger who is trying to stop the draught coming in through his broken window. Neither of them feel inclined attempting to stop the gang escaping and no one else in town cares.

The jail is filling up, Judge Vampifan is the only force for good left walking, he has 2 prisoners incarcerated in the jail, I’m still not sure why Donna is in there, maybe if Martin or Doug read this they can shed some light on the matter.

Wild Dougal has arrived for the bounty but there’s no one to pay him out.

A final look behind the bars as the screen fades to black and the credits start to roll.

Thanks to Martin and Doug for a great few days of games, laughs and not a little alcohol drunk as well.

I was going to split the report into a couple of posts, but I always forget what’s happened when other people do that and it really was just one game, although with numerous plots and subplots to ensure the players would have some interest all the way through.

The problem I find with 3 handed games is once your gang/faction/team are out of it there’s not much to do apart from hitting the bottle and so I was trying to avoid that as these two don't need any excuse to hit the bottle.

Anyone who is still here deserves a medal, this is a long report even by my standards, so thanks for sticking with it.