On a fair saturday, at Endgame’s Oakland, a new gaming friend, (who goes by the nom de guerre Hamilcar Barca), and the Middling conducted a demo “swap” of sorts, whereby learning games of In Her Majesty’s Name and A Fistful of Kung Fu were run in exchange, to edify and educate each other in the rules and merits of each other’s systems.
After running a AFoKF demo, we set about to playing In Her Majesty’s Name, a game I have long been interested with, and have been painting forces and terrain for in expectation. IHMN is a Victorian Sci-fi game, a genre found most intriguing since really before it was genre (Space 1889 being the first such VSF artifact recollected). IHMN might be called low-VSF sci-fi in that the technology influences but does not overpower the Victorian setting or mechanics–as can be often accused of in Steampunk and some other VSF titles. IHMN’s is not a world of massive technological upheaval, but the technology has perpetuated political changes to where the world’s powers fight their battles not overtly but in clandestine manner – as troupes (companies) of operatives from these various powers engage in shadowy skirmishes the world over. IHMN lets you play out these battles with a near limitless variety of models and company choices.
The events of this (small 200 pt) game are recounted briefly below (with accompanying photographs).
I was entrusted with control of a company of British soldiers (the very archetypical warrior of the Victorian Sci-fi genre). My rival would field a unit of a shadowy, Eastern European secret service (from a country lost to history/memory; perhaps Zideria(n)?
The scenario was retrieve the carrier pigeon and return it to our deployment zone. Without a model, a chit of a chicken would have to suffice.
The Royal soldiery took up positions behind a castle wall, with clear line of sight on the bird – except for a scenario complication, SPLIT PEA FOG! We would have to roll 2d10 each round to determine the maximum spotting distance. A turn of misfortune for my force of long range combatants!
…as the enemy soldiers advanced, making speedily (through the aid of a character ability to move thrice!), for the pigeon/chicken.
With such speed the enemy commander was soon nearly atop the bird.
As the other Ziderians (let’s call them Ziderians for lack of proper name) took up overwatch positions.
The Royal British forces advanced leaping from cover to cover..
And the battlefield looked thusly from a higher (bird’s eye) vantage:
The British soldiery (employing such stealth that it escaped the view of the camera!) split their forces and appeared as if ghosts from the split pea fog and set up the Zidarian agents, bayonets at the draw…
While the other pair of red coats set to volley fire at the lone Zidarian conscript – but they missed! (A taste of things to come).
The Zidarian returnd fire felling one of the Queen’s finest. His brother in arms had his revenge soon enough, as he downed a nearby Zidarian police operative who could not cling well enough to cover. Blood (or felt circile) was soon soaking the soil of this quiet hamlet…
In the subsequent moments of close combat, the Zidarians got their revenge as their leader ran the British Sergeant through with his spear and broke away from combat, pigeon in hand, a lone British rifle in hot pursuit!
On the Eastern age of the town, the gunfight raged, shooting from cover, in a seeming stalemate.
Unable to get the job done at range, the Queen’s bravest dug in its boots and charged…
…only to find his enemy ready and waiting, shooting him dead before melee could be enjoined!
The momentum was quickly shifted, and before last remaining Brit could shoot the fleeing Zidarian captain (with prized poultry to boot!), he took a sword in the back, and died for Queen and country, if (definitely) not for victory.
A fun first game that left some rules and mechanics questions, but above all, the desire to want to play more. Excelsior!