Nobody in Mexico – A Fistful of Lead AAR

We’ve finally managed to unpack most of the boxes from our house move. I’ve settled into a new painting workspace and a nice one it is. It’s a semi-temporary setup: Not a permanent working station, but at least a separate table so I don’t have to pack everything away each time we have dinner. The table will also double as our main gaming table. As we had our nephew over, we decided to break it in with a game of A Fistful of Lead Reloaded.

K. and the kid played the Mexican Revolutionaries. They were supported by Bud Spencer and Terence Hill, controlled by the kid. I had the Federales, supported by the German military advisor Otto Strunz von Blunzenstumpf and an American Mercenary know as Sentenza. The Revolutionaries were intent on liberating the village, which was occupied by the Federales. I set up my figures in the middle of the board, situating one on the church roof to act as a sniper – something that would annoy the attackers quite a bit.

Here are some impressions from the game:

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My rooftop sniper really annoyed the attackers.
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Otto and Nobody duel – Nobody won!
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Ferocious fighting in the village.
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My Jeffe in a tight spot.
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Sentenza duelling.

Sentenza turned out to be my meanest guy. In the end, he had two wounds but, despite being armed only with a pistol, he sold his life dearly. Alas, to no avail! The Revolutionaries won and the kid was very happy with a well deserved victory.

A Fistful of Lead is a nice set of rules with a clever activation mechanics. However, despite what’s advertised, it’s not the quickest of games to play, especially with more than two persons. With three persons and a total of 20 figures, it took us five hours to play the game to a conclusion. The lack of proper morale mechanics and the possibility to heal wounds made characters come back even when they were already crippled. I have to admit the game felt a bit drawn out towards the end and had me wishing it would end already – not something that happens too often. However, the kid had a blast and that’s the important thing.

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The Great Mexican Shootout

Last weekend, we had a Mexican extravaganza out in the country side – a couple of friends came over to my former grandparent’s house for an afternoon of gaming and an evening of barbecuing. Appropriate to the theme, the weather was very hot, but we had a nice big and airy barn which offered plenty of space for the table. We had planned to have several boardgames and at least one miniature wargames, namely a multi-player scenario for A Fistful of Lead Reloaded. I had prepared factions of five figures each, with each faction having their own objectives. Players would get money for each member of an enemy gang they took out and for the leader of another gang, with each gang having their own specified enemies. There was also money to be had by looting the houses, stealing the car or hauling the box of rifles back.

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Half of the guests had never played a miniatures game before, but everybody wanted to join in, so we had a game with eight players. As A Fistful of Lead are simple and fast rules, everybody got them hang of them pretty quickly and the shooting started. Some players concentrated on looting the houses while others sniped at enemy gangs and leaders. I desperately wanted to get the car and managed to drive around for a short while until my leader, who personally was behind the steering wheel, went down in a hail of bullets and crashed the car in a rock.

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In the end, we had a clear winner: The player controlling Bud Spencer & Terrence Hill’s gang had earned the most dollars, despite Terrence Hill being killed pretty soon and Bud Spencer taking to his heels soon after. The second place went to the Villistas, which looted a lot of buildings, while the third place was shared by several players. Naturally, I was the only one who managed to get all of his gang killed!

Here are some more impressions from the game:

The game was great fun and everybody seems to have enjoyed the experience. However, it was interesting to see how even a simple and fast system like A Fistful of Lead starts to bog down with eight players. We played for six hours straight and there were still plenty of gang members left. Also, turns did drag out a bit, which is no wonder if you think about it: Eight players with five figures each makes 40 activations per turn – with two actions per activation! If you had bad cards, it could take quite a while until you could do something. I guess that next time, we will have two different games running parallel and then just switch players.

Anyway, fun was had and what better way to spend a hot saturday afternoon then to hang out with friends?

Shootout at the Cemetery

Having finally painted my American Mercenaries from Pulp Figures, I was keen on having another game of Fistful of Lead Reloaded.

As I’ve also recently finished building a graveyard, we decided that the scenario’s objective would be a cache of gold hidden in one of the graves. K. took the Mexican Revolutionaries, while I assembled my Gringos to grab the loot.

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Still peace and quiet…
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The fearless Mexicans advance.
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Three Gringos (and a snake).
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The shooting starts.
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The Mexicans grab the crates.
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Gringos outflanked.

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A desperate struggle.
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Gringo advancing… too late.

Well, this was quite a defeat for the Gringos. I lost one of my men right at the beginning when K. took a potshot with one of her soldaderas – who proved to be her most efficient sharpshooter. Then I let myself get pinned and outflanked behind the cemetery wall while K. was rushing towards the crates. Despite a hail of bullets hitting her guys, she managed to take the gold and retreat before I could stop her. Viva Mexico!

A Fistful of Lead delivered another fast and furious game. We especially like the card activation system, which is very thematic and provides exciting and cinematic action. Let’s see if my Gringos can reverse their luck next time…

A Fistful of Lead – AAR

Thanks to a couple of days off, I could finish the Mexican Revolution stuff far enough to have a first game. We set up a sleepy village, K. took the Zapatistas and I got the Federales.

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I decided to get my jefe and two of his guys to work up the left flank, while another guy and a soldadera were to position themselves behind the wall and guard the right flank. Fearlessly, K. led her troops forward, while her female leader waved her hat encouragingly.

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As the shooting was about to start, the inhabitants made themselves scarce.

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K. had one guy with a shotgun, who worked his way around the church to attack my right flank.

Having positioned themselves behind the wall, my guys were still confident.

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However, a couple of shots threw my soldadera in panic, who, when pinned, failed the recover test catastrophically and fled the field. This, as we will see, was a wise and foresightful decision. The federal soldier stood his ground and even fired back, but the Zapatista with the shotgun had nerves of steel. Disregarding cover, he ran forward and killed my soldiers with a salvo from his gun.

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¡Ay, caramba! My right flank was gone! Things weren’t going much better on my left flank. A well-placed bullet hit my jefe, who bit the dust. Angrily, one of my soldiers wanted to take revenge and jumped on a pile of crates to get a clear LOS and finish off K.’s leader. In the excitement however, he dropped his bullets and was out of ammo!

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Of course, being exposed, he was pretty quick disposed of by another hail of Zapatista bullets.

It was now down to the last man, but I decided to sell his life dearly. I managed to take down one of K.’s men, but was then gunned down by the combined firepower of her remaining three guys.

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We had great fun with this fast and rather brutal game. We both very much like the card activation mechanic, which gives a good ‘Western’ feeling and which also has more tactical depth than one might think at the first glance. The rules are easy to remember and the game goes along at a fast pace, which is very fitting to the genre. I think that the rules and especially the activation mechanic come into their own with multiple players, so I’ll get the Americanos painted as soon as possible and then I’ll try to rope in some other players to have a chaotic shoot-out.