Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Schweig’s Gaming Roadshow Gallery

A few posts ago I talked about “Schweig’s Gaming Roadshow,” a host of toys for running both roleplaying games and miniature wargames I’d love to take on the road to various regional conventions to share with gamers (though I’m often restrained in this effort by financial and scheduling considerations). “Don’t tease us!” wrote one astute reader. “You talked about all this wonderful terrain and only gave us a handful of pictures!” And he was right! So I spent this past week tidying up the basement wargaming table, setting up some lights, and systematically pulling out goodies for most of the games I mentioned for numerous photographs. They’re not all that great, but I’d like to think they offer a more comprehensive look at some of the toys I’d like to share with convention-goers. In a few places I’ve relied on a few older photos, some from the actual Valley of the Ape rulebook as well as some Panzer Kids photos from my discussion of “Making Use of What We Have.”

I apologize in advance, but there are more than 30 photos in this post; it may seem long and it may take a while to load. Click on the photos for a closer look. They offer a closer, more expansive look at the materials in Schweig’s Gaming Roadshow.

Valley of the Ape

The material for Valley of the Ape consists of a central temple, pet store aquarium foliage to simulate jungle, some custom-crafted jungle pieces, numerous 54mm Armies in Plastic figures for explorers, encounter tiles (with a big X on each one), and some props for hazards, like the crocodiles, all spread out on a huge green felt tarp (with dabbings of paint to vary the surface).

The first photos here come from the illustrations in the Valley of the Ape rulebook, but they help demonstrate what the table looks like during play. The last three photos I took last week to show off the new temple terrain I got from the pet store on clearance, part of a line of National Geographic-brand Mayan ruins for snake and lizard terrariums. (I’m not sure yet which temple I prefer, the southeast Asian temple or the pillars and giant head.)

A top-down view of the Valley of the Ape set-up.
Mungo attacks the tribal warriors and
sends them running.
British troopers finally
capture the giant ape.
Mungo peers out from his new temple sanctuary.
The giant ape watches the dervishes
wander into the crocodiles.
Big game hunter Remington Harris and his
loyal bodyguards sneak up on
an unsuspecting Mungo.

The Charioteer’s Tomb

The set pieces for this Pulp Egypt scenario come apart and fit nicely into a box, though the figures and other accessories could use some more efficient consolidation. Although I could rearrange the rooms, I usually set them out in the sequence outlined in the adventure. The arrangement allows me to put the chambers out on the table as the characters explore them. The tomb accommodates 25mm figures and some excellent ancient Egyptian-themed pieces I’ve picked up over the years.

An overview of the charioteer’s tomb set-up,
with the entry chamber at the bottom
and tomb chamber at top.
Two adventurers confront a swarm of
scarab beetles in the entry corridor.
Two adventurers confront a swarm of
scarab beetles in the entry corridor.
A giant scorpion guards the main chamber,
while two statues of Anubis guard
the passage deeper into the tomb.
A top-down view of the main chamber with the treasury.
The professor loses himself in the treasury.
Anubis guards block the way
into the tomb chamber.
The adventurers take a break
to admire the tomb paintings.
What lies within the charioteer’s sarcophagus?

Panzer Kids

I’m hoping to complete the rules for this kid-friendly WWII battle game later this year. Most of my materials can simulate tank battles in the North African desert between German and British armies: Pkw IIIs, Crusader IIs, some six pounder guns, two 88mm guns, some petrol and ammo dumps, and a few transport lorries, plus oases, desert hills, and minefields. I still have some unpainted miniatures to finish, including a few more Crusader tanks, some Marder III anti-tank vehicles, and a few M-3 Lee medium tanks. It’s enough to pull together several scenarios highlighting different aspects of the rules, so I can gradually teach kids the game basics, then add optional rules to vary the skirmishes. I also developed a smaller skirmish incorporating British Tetrarch tanks venturing into a forest against some German armor shortly after D-Day.

In Normandy several British Tetrarch tanks
spread out to cross a minefield in search of
German troops hiding in the woods.
The German Pkw IV emerges from the woods
(I was using a hidden movement in this instance)
just as two Tetrarchs brave the minefield.
More Tetrarchs move in for the kill.
In North Africa German Pkw IIIs move in
to assault a British fuel dump
guarded by two 6 pound guns.
A close-up of the British position
around a small oasis.
Panzer IIIs move out toward some minefields.
One of the German tanks takes an unfortunate
short-cut and hits a mine; British Crusader tanks
move in to reinforce the troops at the oasis.
In another scenario British lorries try to
evacuate an ammunition dump in the face of
German tanks and two 88mm guns
they just brought up.
A long shot of the German forces
from the British positions.
Another long shot of the German forces
from the British positions.
A wider view of the battle, with one
German tank and a British lorry smoking from hits.

Mos Eisley

This is the largest, most elaborate game diorama I have and, with all the accessories (figures and ships) takes up the most space in transport. During my West End Games days I set this up at various conventions and ran quick pick-up games to teach newcomers the rules, though I’ve also used it in conjunction with other diorama pieces in full-length scenarios. Kids especially like to spend time looking at it to spot their favorite characters, find the little scenes I set up, and try counting all the Jawas. I used most of my figures for this shoot, though I left off lots of Imperial troops and Rebel soldiers, a few odd aliens, and most of the key Star Wars characters (C-3PO and R2-D2 are in these photos somewhere). I also included two shots of the cutaway cantina model. Both were based on the amazing full-color map of downtown Mos Eisley and the cantina Jennell Jaquays created for the Tatooine Manhunt adventure.

A top-down view of the entire Mos Eisley
set-up, about 3x6 feet, including the cantina
and main square to the left and
Docking Bay 94 on the right.
A lower-angle view with the main square
and cantina in the foreground.
Imperial stormtroopers – supported by an AT-PT –
meet with a spy to track down Rebels.
Unsuspecting Rebels rendezvous near their ship
in Docking Bay 94 while Imperial forces
prepare to ambush them...but can that Rodian scout
on the wall alert them in time?
Another view of the Imperial forces.
Jabba the Hutt and his entourage enjoy
a performance in the main square.
The main square stays busy with traffic,
wandering residents, and a speeder chase.
Starport denizens, visitors, and
Jawas populate the back alleys.
A top-down view of the Mos Eisley cantina.
Imperial spies remain busy pointing out
suspected Rebel agents to stormtrooper patrols.

I sometimes wonder who I think I am hoping conventions might offset some of my financial expenses just so I can attend, bring all my toys, and offer everyone a little gaming entertainment. While some of my playable dioramas are indeed cool, I’ve seen other, more impressive set-ups among the miniature wargames showcased at conventions. In my 20 years in the publishing industry – mostly in the adventure gaming hobby – I’ve seen some fantastic roleplaying game dioramas, too. Many folks make incredible game pieces out of a love and enthusiasm for their hobby; many of mine promote my game publishing endeavors (past and present, whether you consider them amateur or professional). I am always grateful to those cons that invite me as a guest and take excellent care of me. I’m already looking at ways to consolidate and pack the smaller of these collections for a convention I’m scheduled to fly out to in October. Unfortunately my participation in other cons, particularly the regional ones I can drive to, remains subject to my finances and schedule. Nonetheless, I continue seeking opportunities to bring Schweig’s Gaming Roadshow to nearby conventions as conditions permit.


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