Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Big Game at Little Wars '09

Knuckleduster exhibited this February at Little Wars in Lincolnshire (Chicago suburb), the yearly convention run by HMGS-Midwest. In addition to having a sales booth in the exhibition hall, we ran two games, each attended by about eight players. Here are a couple of photos kindly sent to me by one of the guys.

We used the classic version of Desperado and a table full of Knuckleduster 40mm figures and scratch-built terrain. I had a lot of help from Kevin Brown of CITW (as always) and another local, James Harness, who has a smashin' 28mm setup of his own and is known to run some pretty interesting games over Peoria way. Here's Kevin (in the red shirt) keeping a watchful eye on the action . . .

These buildings are made from foam core, balsa wood, and Knuckleduster's generic pre-cast architectural details. They're mounted on masonite bases. It's a pretty inexpensive setup. I'll explain more about how to construct these kinds of buildings in other posts, but take note of how the buildings fit on the table. There is an interesting dynamic with 40mm; buildings are larger (I suppose if they were resin, they would cost more than 28mm), but it takes fewer buildings to fill a table. In the Old West, gunfights rarely ranged over block after block like a military skirmish; they occured in short bursts of violence in an alley or streetcorner. A concern some folks have is that 40mm buildings will look too massive. To that, I would say, judge for yourself from the photos. They are only 50% larger than 28mm (3 to 2 bigger), after all.

The scenario we played featured an evil mining baron, Finneas Burns, and his henchmen vs. a gang of cowboys and a couple of good-hearted sisters of the demimonde, who used their feminine charms to lift the keys to the hooskow from an unsuspecting marshal. A massive fusilade ensued as the cowboys attempted to pick up their liberated comrade and escape the hail of bullets hurled at them by the mining company thugs. In both game sessions, the scenario was played to the last man standing.

Here are a couple of the ne'er-do-wells the cowboys were hoping to chase out of town; Doc Holliday and Big-Nose Kate, who had built quite a reputation for relieving unsuspecting cowhands of their hard-earned pay at the card table on a Saturday night.

This alley was a trap for the cowboys each time the game was played. It was a tempting shortcut to the backlot where the hooskow was situated, however the windows proved fatal loopholes for their enemies to snipe at them from. One of the cowboys was blown off his horse by a dove with a derringer (spelled "deringer" when referring to derringers made by the Deringer company). The poor fellers pictured below are about to feel the sting of battle . . .

Adios, pards, and as always, visit my store at

Ol' Knuckleduster

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