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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On the Painting Table

Not only am I a lazy painter, I’m also conservative and don’t normally change a technique if it works. Nonetheless, I have recently become a bit dissatisfied with my very limited set of skills. Basically, what I do is apply two layers of basecoat, paint the details, apply a wash, varnish. That’s it. This works ok for 15mm, but with 28mm figures, it tends to look a bit sloppy. However, reading about all this fancy shading and highlighting stuff always left me intimitated and being a bit colourblind, I often can’t even tell the difference between photographs of different stages of the painting progress as seen in glossy magazines!

Fortunately, my mate Sigur is a real wizard with the brush – in fact, he’s so good he runs his own figure painting studio, Battle Brush Studios. Two weeks ago, he offered to drop by for an afternoon and give me some basic hands-on introduction into miniature painting. He ended up spending several hours showing me how to layer the colours, how to apply highlights and shading and how to do tricky bits like black surfaces or hair. I have to say that several lights dawned on me when I watched him! Things are so much more comprehensible when someone actually shows and explains them and when you can ask questions. Sigur is a great teacher – maybe he will start to offer workshops. I for one would certainly attend.

This fox from the fantastic Oathsworn Miniatures range was started by Sigur and finished by me. The tunic, the bow, the quiver and the arrows were my first attempts at painting highlights and I think it looks ok.

I’ve slowly started trying the new techniques on some spare Mexican figures. It’s slower than my usual routine, but it’s also fun and rewarding, even if the result is not always as good as I’d wish it to be.

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I’m also going to try it on some 15mm figures – there are some more crewmembers for the ship I want to paint.

I’m a gamer at heart and my primary objective has always been to get stuff ready for gaming. I certainly have no ambition to become a first-rate figure painter. It is, however, nice to add new skills to my repertoire and to be able to actually choose what to do (instead of having to default to the one thing I’m capable of). I don’t have to paint highlights, but now I feel I can if I fancy doing it.

Thanks again Sigur for showing me some techniques. Sometimes, old dogs do learn new tricks!

Apart from the painting, I’ve done some quick terrain building for our ACW games. I’ve made two decrepit huts and started to build an emplacment for a large gun guarding the coast or a river.

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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?

On the Painting Table

Work has been quite busy lately, so there is not much on the painting table at the moment.

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What you can see here is a group of eight guys for my Mississippi Marine Brigade project. The figures are Minifigs Mexican-American War, but they will do for my purposes.

Also, I managed to finish a couple of 28mm Mexicans. The reason for this is that this weekend, we’ll have an outdoor tabletop gaming event with some friends. We will have a couple of board games, but the centerpiece will be my Mexican Revolution table – I’m planning on a scenario involving six players, which should be fun!

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The Mexican bandits are from Artizan, except for the rightmost one, who is from Pulp Figures. The little guys in the foreground are some more 15mm ACW – an officer for the MMB, a Confederate bugler and a guerilla.

To have some more terrain, I also built and painted two MDF oil wells from ttcombat. They are somewhat simplistic, but cheap and easy to assemble.

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My painting highlight however were those two guys:

pic4Those heroes of my childhood have recently been released in 28mm by the German manufacturer Stronghold Terrain. Bud Spencer and Terrence Hill are very popular in Germany and Austria. When I was a child, no weekend passed without one of their movies being on TV. I’m looking forward to using them in our big game – and I’ll make sure to give them hefty bonus for close combat!