Today witnessed a clash of two well matched sides. No, not the Rugby World Cup Final, something far more important – the Red River Gang versus the Blue Hills Boys, snow ball fighting and “Packing Sugar at Freddy” again.
This was the previous “Packaging Sugar at Freddy” snowball fight, after some other scouting Wide games like Snow Fort: https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com/2019/10/29/packing-sugar-at-freddy-street-gang-snowball-fight-scenario-write-up/
Alan Gruber the Tradgardmastre of the Duchy of Tradgardland blog and game co-creator made some interesting rules suggestions about our Scouting Wide Games Snowball fight ‘spin off’ scenario, reprinted on my blog here: https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com/2019/10/30/tradgardland-suggestions-about-snowball-fight-rules/
In preparation I tracked down some funny dice (anything that is not d6) on a trip to town but forgot to buy curtain rings as hit counters. I discovered that my nearest local Games Workshop (now smartly rebranded as Warhammer) don’t do funny dice, only using d6 and d10. I was hoping they of all shops would be the home of funny dice. However the helpful shop assistant pointed me towards an unlikely interiors and lifestyle shop that did!
These repainted Lemax figures are 60mm Christmas Village figures.
Alan argued that younger, smaller Scouts and snowballers would not be able to throw so far or so accurately at distance.
Alan: “Competence and incompetence at throwing could be represented by using a eight sided dice for experts and a four sided dice for wee kids who can’t throw so far.”
They would have to get right in CR Close Range for a good hit, which is why they have a d4 or four sided dice. They are really only useful for ambush.
The Marksman or older stronger youngster would have more range, so has a d8 or an eight sided dice, making it more likely that could hit even at Long Range.
Which type of dice the character should use could easily be recorded on the character’s record card or character table. It would vary amongst the members of the same Patrol or Snowball Gang.
NPCs – Passing Townsfolk or Civilians
If characters were snowballing in more built up areas, there would be passers by, adults etc as NPCs (Non player characters) who would have to be avoided and certainly not hit by snowballs. Otherwise they would yell about the pesky kids etc. and make trouble for you, etc. They know your Dad!
Clever Scouts or snow ballers could use these NPC Civilians as cover to get close to the other side. You have in effect a moving screen and a stalking horse, like troops following in the armoured wake of a tank. Their NPC entry and exit route would have to be predetermined in a solo game if you have no umpire, moving at a set rate each move.
Sectoring the board up by numbers means a d6 throw would give an idea when and where the NPC or two entered and where they left the board. For simplicity, they would take a reasonably direct route across the board unless they met each other and stopped for a natter.
Cold Hands, Called in for Tea – reasons for ending the game early
Alan’s suggestion about throwing a d6 or two at the start of each turn after a certain amount of time to see if the game will end that move due to cold hands, being called in for tea, the light levels dropping, whatever, is an interesting one.
Finally having a smaller test Gang of four each side, makes it easier to keep tally of how many shots have been thrown before the snowball fingers effect comes in after three shots
Alan: “After three throws a person could get a minus one on a dice to hit to simulate very cold fingers.”
You could as an alternative have to alternate turns firing, warming hands up, firing, warming hands up. Otherwise the very youngest with a d4 would have no chance of hitting anything after three shots and gaining Snowball fingers.
This matches suggestions by the Wargaming Pastor of the Death Zap Blog that you have a loading (or making Snowball) turn, alternating with a firing turn. In split second Skirmish type games, this type of complexity would be suitable.
Game write up
IGOYUGO d6 each turn for who should move first, others move second, first side fire first, other side second, end of Turn. No melee. No morale tests.
Sudden Endgame – called home or too cold
Dice d6 thrown at start of game to work out at which turn we should begin rolling each turn to see if this is the ‘sudden end’ turn. In this case, after Turn Four, we should dice at start of each turn.
NPC Civilians rule
Mr Black, Mr Blue Suit and Mr. Topham Hat are all out for a stroll in the snow. Throw a d6 for each NPC civilian to show which turn they should enter the board. Two additional d6 thrown for each civilian, corresponding to where they enter the board and then where they leave, walking a direct-ish path between these entry and exit points.
Hitting a civilian with a snowball means being sent straight home and your dad being told (probably a clip round the ear for this!) To work out if you are likely to hit a civilian with your direct or start shot at another snowballed, throw a percentage % dice for the likelihood of hitting them, then throw the dice again – if it matches or exceed the first, you have a hit a civilian by accident and are in deep trouble!
Weirdly all the civilians or townsfolk (Lemax figures mostly) arrived on the board at turn 5. A quick few lines on the sketch map of the game board reminded me of their probable route right through the middle of the Snowball fight!
As before in the previous game, each side needs to defend their base lamp post and capture the blue or red totem from their rival’s camp, bringing it back to their own camp.
Movement only, no firing as out of range, even long range
Red move first, Blue move second, bringing the first few characters into long range for firing.
Throws like a girl? Red River Gang’s Marnie, using a d8 as an older youngster, lands a direct hit at long range on Biff. Gem hit counter added to his base. Red Otto missed his throw at Blue Andy.
Blue Hills Boys Andy (d8) and Biff (d6) landed return hits on Otto and Marnie (gem counters added).
Proof that both a d6 and d8 are effective at long range.
“Goalkeepers” Blue Bob and Red Dwight stay close to their own lamp post base ends. They have kept their Marksman status from the last game, adding +1 to their d6 throw.
Red moved first, Blue second.
Red Chet having only a d4 short range hit cleverly moved in behind the screen of a pine tree, cover until close enough to ambush the Blue Hills Boys at close range.
Marnie with her d8 landed a second hit on Biff, putting him temporarily out of the game. A washer ring was hung over his outstretched arm and he as turned round to head back to base for having his game life restored.
In return Blue Hills Boy Andy with his d8 landed a second hit on Red Otto, who also had a washer added to American him out of the game for now, turned round and pointed in the direction of base.
Blue Schulz had no clear targets in range (using a d4) so did not fire.
Blue moved first, Red second, some characters like the goal keepers staying put and Chet staying in cover to use his d4 dice up close in ambush.
All shots missed. Several characters on either side like Andy and Marnie have now thrown three snowballs, so under the Coldfinger rules, each now had -1 taken off each dice throw to reflect their numbing fingers. (“Coldfinger, he’s the man, the man with the icy touch …”)
To see if the game ends suddenly this turn, we now have to throw a d6 to roll equal or more than the current turn number. A two is rolled, so the game continues after this turn.
The NPCs or civically characters Mr Blue, Mr Black and Mr Hat enter the playing area from SSW and NNW corners of the board.
All the shots miss during this turn.
Mr Black was in (long) range from a shot by Marnie at Goalkeeper Bob so a d10 or % dice was rolled – 50% chance of missing Bob and hitting Mr Black. Marnie rolled again – 40%. Mr Black is safe from a stray Snowball and Marnie from being sent home.
Civilians move first, then Reds, then Blues.
Both Red Otto and Blue Biff reach their lamp post / baselines so next turn a hit counter will be taken away. They should turn to the board as an active character in Turn 9.
Young Red Chet waiting in hiding has two Close Range target choices – Blue Andy 4 to 6 on a d6 or Schulz on 1 to 3. He aims for Schulz but misses on his d4.
Despite -1 for coldfingers, Red Dwight lands a hit on Blue Andy. When the Blue Hills Boys return fire, Bob lands a second hit on Marnie who is closing in the blue base and so this sends her heading home, washer hit counter balanced awkwardly over her cupped snowballing hands.
Red Chet is also hit for a second time, a snowball from Schulz, so he too has a washer hit marker balanced on his cupped snowballing hands and is turned for home to restore his game life.
Endgame d8 is rolled, scoring less than (turn) seven, so the game continues. Civilians, then Reds, then Blues move.
First hit counter / gem removed for Red Otto and Blue Biff so they can join in again on Turn 9.
Most Blues and Reds have no targets or are unable to fire.
Endgame dice d10 thrown, less than (turn) eight so this is the final turn. The children are getting cold and beginning to get called in for dinner.
Final Turn 8: the Civilians are getting in the way.
Blues move first, Reds second. Red Otto and Blue Biff have their second hit counter removed so would be be back in the game on Turn Nine. But this is not going to happen now …
Final shots see Blues firing first, Blue 2 Andy landing a hit on Red Goalkeeper Dwight.
Red Dwight landed a hit on Schulz at close range – the final shot.
Post Game Reflections
The game ended suddenly – at least it didn’t drag on – but how do you score who won? By Turn 9, with two characters returned to playing condition, Red River Gang would have only two active characters and Blue Hills Boys would have four active characters.
Neither side has made it to their opponents baseline or stolen their totem from the barrel before the game finished.
Having different Funny dice / throwing abilities does change the game – younger ‘weaker’ characters like Chet and Schulz with only limited firing range of a d4 can only land a snowball hit on another character at closest range. Staying hidden or in cover and ambush tactics are required.
The frozen ‘coldfingers’ rule after three shots would make the d4 player or character very careful of expending Snowball ammunition, otherwise the highest possible score they could get would be less than 4, the lowest score that would land a hit at close range (d6 4,5,6).
The d8 dice for the older stronger youngsters allows them to strike far and hard. This is snowballs as range weapons. In other Scouting Wide Games, players have only range weapons with limited ammunition of whiting balls or throwing darts. This would change the approach, conserving shots until at a more certain close or medium range.
Civilians just get in the way, which is a good unexpected complication.
I think that some of the new suggestions added some tension and limitations or restrictions, just as the cluttered terrain does.
Keeping records or tallies could be improved or made easier with individual character cards.
A gift of some blue and white frosted sea glass from the family adds some icy hazard areas to avoid in future.
Blog posted by Mark, (snow) Man of TIN on 2 November 2019