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Friday, 20 June 2014

Rivet Wars, Battle in a Box.





Despite howls of derision from some of the less open-minded individuals of our happy band of wargamers I have dabbled my toe in the board-gaming pond for the first time with a foray into the outstanding new WW1 / Steampunk themed game known as 'Rivet Wars'.



The above two images are official Rivet Wars images so hopefully I havent breached a zillion copyright laws and am about the be swooped upon in the middle of the night by sinister leather-coated copywright infringement agents...??...now theres a great idea for an IHMN company.

This latest foray came about quite by accident in fact. Somewhat naively I popped into my local game supplies store with the intention of purchasing some pots of paint and the latest Wargames Illustrated, mysteriously I emerged many dollars lighter, minus paint and magazine but with the Board Game Rivet Wars grasped firmly in tow.

I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the box of goodies.
The two forces are styled on Circa WW1 British / American forces (The Allies) and suitably Prussian looking chaps (Blighten)
The plastic models are extremely well rendered and once you get past the somewhat comic look of the characters you really appreciate the thought that has gone into their design. The terrain tiles allow numerous layouts and scenarios and the rules are easy to understand. Dont, however, think for a minute that the rules are simplistic. This isnt snakes and ladders. I strongly recommend watching several of the demonstration game videos available for viewing on YouTube to better understand the mechanics and subtleties of the game.

A game winning strategy requires careful deployment of your troops and tactical use of the Action and Secret Mission cards.

The following images are from a game I oversaw between Dave 'Tex' Houston (Allied Forces) and Richard Draper (Blighten Forces)










The object of the game is to capture strongpoints or perform secret missions as described on the Secret Mission cards. The winner is the first to reach the required number of VP's as per the requirements of the scenario. In this game Richard adopted a dominant position in the centre backed up by infantry in strongpoints which prevented Dave from achieving enough VP's, even though he raced away to a good start and was leading for over half the game.

A word of warning...the game is extremely brutal so dont get too attached to a favourite bit of kit. Your hulking steam tank can be reduced to a smoking ruin in very short order if you're not careful and your infantry will be mown down in swathes if you bunch up and get stonked by artillery...watch out also for those damned wheelie bike things. Faint hearted types or people of a nervous or sensitive disposition should avoid this game at all costs...you have been warned!!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Steampunk Festival, Oamaru. A celebration of silliness.

The well dressed gent and his lady.

It was my very great pleasure to attend the Annual Steampunk Festival, held in Oamaru in the sunny South Island of  New Zealand, last weekend.

The event kicked off on the Friday with 'Fire Night' which is held in the old Victorian Precinct of Oamaru. At night the old streets and buildings of the Victorian Precinct are transformed into a magical place filled with gas torches, street vendors, braziers, traction engines, craft markets and a particularly noisome artillery piece. The highlight of the evening's entertainment is the Fire Dancing and of course Scott's Brewery and the Whiskey Shop wherein it must be said I did partake of a tipple or two of their marvellous amber liquid refreshments. I thoroughly recommend Scott's Pale Ale and the Double Wood 10 year old.


Eliza Braun and Amelia Constance Paine

Her Majesties Ministry of Peculiar Occurances

Toffs out on the town for a tipple.

Baroness Sonya Von Gaspankoff of Voltavia
Eliza Braun, Archivist, Field Operative, Ministry of Peculiar Occurances

I was accompanied on this excursion by my wife Kathryn, my daughter Courtney in top hat (otherwise known as Eliza Braun, Archivist at the Ministry of Peculiar Occurances) her friend Emma ( Amelia Constance Paine, wealthy American Socialite and Explorer) and my Sister, Sonia ( Baroness Sonya Von Gaspankoff of Voltavia)

We chose to pay a visit to Dunedin on the Saturday to inspect the disappearing gun emplacement at the Tairoa Heads. You simply cant begin to imagine how fascinated the ladies were by this marvel of Military Engineering (more of which in a another post) so were unable to view the Airship racing or the teapot racing.From all accounts this was a real hoot, although technical glitches did cause some rather errant behaviour with a couple of berserk teapots...obviously not a sport for the faint hearted.

Sunday morning was an opportunity to stroll around the Victorian precinct at leisure, take plenty of photos and visit the Steampunk HQ (this fantastic establishment will feature in another post as I cant do it justice in just a few lines).



Agents compare notes






Steampunk HQ


In the afternoon we were treated to a visual extravaganza at the Steampunk Fashion Parade compered by that likeable rogue 'Te Radar '. What an incredible display of pure genius. Sadly my miserable snapshots can in no way do justice to the brilliance of the costumes or the amazing narrative that accompanied them. I am in awe of people with such talent.

Te Radar, good bloke and all round thorough type.

Agent Dangerfield, Pericles Bickerstaff

Aeronef Commander Garnet Quigley

The Inquisitor


The Grand Finale to the weekend was the Gala ball.

You shall go to the Ball

I'm ashamed to say I didnt attent the Ball as I didnt bring my formal evening steampunk attire. Something I will most assuredly rectify next year.
I'm already planning......


Sir Percival Fortesque Cutler, Director, Ministry of Peculiar Occurances





To conclude, what a utterly delightful weekend. I cant recommend this event enough. If you've an ounce of fun in you put this on your must do list! Finally a big thank you to the incredibly talented and hardworking people, Steampunkers and otherwise, of Oamaru, Steampunk Capital of the World.