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Author Topic: Aces and Eights and other Old West Stuff  (Read 578 times)

Offline dddd99

  • schoolboy
  • Posts: 7
Aces and Eights and other Old West Stuff
« on: August 21, 2019, 04:05:06 AM »
Hello All,

I have been wanting to buy Aces and Eights hardcover version but they have been OOP and at ridiculous prices from second hand sellers. I do not know when it happened but it's back in print @ 70 USD. More pricy than I like but I did not want to miss out. Well the book arrived the other day and it did not disappoint. Just wanted to put this on other peoples' radars in case you were like me. It is a great source book.

But...... the combat system. It counts up in tenths of a second and is very detailed. I read the example gunfight and it went on until the 30th count (ie 3 seconds). Well if OK Corral gunfight was 30 seconds then 300 counts. Seems like it'd take awhile.

I use a customized version of The Rules with No Name and was trying to add target acquisition rules (changing targets,etc) and it doubled the time of the game... lol

And also, I found another awesome book. This time I was able to buy it cheap, 2 USD called the encyclopedia of american gunfighters A preview from google is here: https://books.google.com/books?id=5KLrfdOrI78C&printsec=frontcover&dq=encyclopedia+of+american+gunfighters+bill+oneil&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiw2MDaxYzkAhWEm-AKHdiBABkQ6AEwAHoECAEQAg#v=onepage&q&f=false. It captures and describes 587 Old West gunfights. Just start reading from the preview and you will see what I mean. It counts the number of gunfights and the number of foes killed in these fights. I got a good vibe from the book, but it has not arrived yet.

And lastly, found a great post on running a Boothill campaign. It gave many great ideas and was extremely well written: http://www.chocolatehammer.org/?p=5773.

Right now I am trying to tighten down my rules and maybe get a campaign going like the one the Boothill Campaign article I linked above. Also looking to incorporate some Aces and 8's ideas as well. I have about 20 buildings and am adding to my Blue Moon Western figures as I go. Having a blast so far and if anyone would like to discuss their Old West game ideas please respond here. Best wishes.

Offline FifteensAway

  • scatterbrained genius
  • Posts: 2406
Re: Aces and Eights and other Old West Stuff
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2019, 05:20:31 AM »
While the scale is 15 mm so I'm not referring to that sort of 'size', but I may have the world's largest collection of Wild West figures on this planet.  Or, WAY TOO MANY.  But, heck, it's fun. 

I have gunfighters/lawmen sorts to the number of 216 - all with a mounted, foot, dead option (though not all, by quite a margin, are Peter Pig figures - though plenty are PP).  I have several hundred mounted indians, plains and Apache, hundreds more on foot, and quite a few villagers - including numerous with travois.  Of teepees I have at least four dozen.  Of wagons, carts, and coaches I can out-do Lincoln's "four score and seven years ago".  And civilians beyond count (well, an awful lot).  And much more besides, like 48 + 48 longhorns; yes, there is a reason for listing it that way.

So, you might imagine the rules with seconds mentioned won't work well for me.  While many like old west rules that pit numerous factions all having a multi-dimension gun fight - fun as they may find it - it's so much 'nonsense' to me.  Mind you, I'm all about fun, witness Sheriff Quiet Burp - a leading character in Anachronism, my primary old west town.  Yup, more than one.  Returning to gaming, I prefer games similar to the big gunfight in Chisum, two hard hitting sets of opponents opposed to each other, not some crazed six way crossfire.

So, sure, you want to talk old west, I'll chat you up something fierce.  Have to track down that Encyclopedia book.  Are you familiar with Hey, You in The Jail rules from Peter Pig?  Only set of rules that even comes close to what I'm driving towards - and it doesn't even get into the right county.

The great downfall of my collection is, while near or more than one thousand figures are primed and ready to paint, those actually painted are a much smaller number.  Much smaller! 

Too many other distractions - why, even other miniatures periods to distract.  Imagine that.


Offline dddd99

  • schoolboy
  • Posts: 7
Re: Aces and Eights and other Old West Stuff
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2019, 05:18:35 PM »
Hey fifteens away.

Thanks for the response. Glad to hear of your nice collection. I am planning to do the mounted and foot thing but not dead. Haha I didn't even think of that. Maybe I shall do it later.

I also plan to do Apache too, but I have other things to do first. 😀

I like Peter pig. Not sure why I didn't go with their figures. Maybe it was a late night purchase but I ended up with blue moon 15 mm but they're more like 18 mm which is fine by me.

In terms of PPs rules, I was planning to buy hey you in the jail. So yes I am familiar and I like the PDF option. Also did you see they have updated those rules and they're now listed under the title Western? So maybe you want to check that out.

In terms of that encyclopedia book it is I think about 400 pages so it will give lots of good ideas for scenarios. I will update later when I receive it.

Did you check out that other link about the boothill campaign? I'm really trying to go with some campaign fun. I sort of an thinking about writing some campaign rules for the tabletop since this genre you can get some really organic stories to pop out. Right now I'm kind of playing thru a two faction range war set in my fictional town that I did not yet name. 😀

Best of luck in more continued progress on your project too. Thanks for chatting.

Offline Verderer

  • mad scientist
  • Posts: 887
Re: Aces and Eights and other Old West Stuff
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2019, 12:49:54 AM »
Oh yeah, A&8s.... we've played it, and while it's certainly well detailed with lots of minigames, like gold prospectin and pan handling, cattle drives, court room procedures (!), and whatnot, the gun play is... rather slow. Those shot templates seem a great idea on paper, but in practice it's all very fiddly. and adding to the count etc. And since the templates & silhuettes are rather large, they're a real handful. (I wish they were smaller, something like in Millenium's End RPG). Love the detail put into the game though. Those NPC sheets are great!

I have the 1st edition though, no idea what's changed since then. They had this Kickstarter for the 2nd edition I hear, but I completely missed it. There also the bare combat rules version of the game, Showdown!


Offline frank xerox

  • librarian
  • Posts: 119
Re: Aces and Eights and other Old West Stuff
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2019, 02:34:22 PM »
I've read, well, read some of the Aces & 8s book (2nd edition I guess) and its a lovely book to look at and touch and sniff the glossiness, (weighs a ton) but I reckon its pretty much unplayable for the ordinary gamer. If you have a hardcore group who are happy to roleplay the life of an old west train conductor/ chemist or whatever, then its your go to reference, but lets face it, most of us want to run around holding up the bank and shooting up the town.

There is an abridged version as Verder says with just the combat rules but gritty reality's not what I want in a cowboy game. Even if it was, I'd need someone else who wants to simulate the harshness of frontier living rather than pretending to be John Wayne. Who wants to game with that guy?

Love the campaign ideas - Ive thought of looking at gangster games to get ideas for a deadwood type set up, quarrels over rackets and territorys, that sort of thing. Obviously Im still going to be John Wayne...




Offline FifteensAway

  • scatterbrained genius
  • Posts: 2406
Re: Aces and Eights and other Old West Stuff
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2019, 02:47:35 AM »
Well, if you are "going to be John Wayne" then you have to be the good guy - you can't rob banks, trains, or stagecoaches.  He never played the bad guy in the westerns!   lol

Offline dddd99

  • schoolboy
  • Posts: 7
Re: Aces and Eights and other Old West Stuff
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2019, 03:08:51 AM »
Verderer, yes the gunplay is extremely slow. I agree. So it's like what do you gain from all that minutiae? I think we're all in agreement here, but it is just so seductive haha. In terms of what has changed since 1st and 2nd I suspect not much; prolly just cleaner presentation and fixing some stuff. I had looked a little at first edition some time ago (which is why I wanted it then it sold out before I could pull the trigger). It is a great sourcebook tho. I love all the detail to goods and services and their prices, the firearms descriptions and stating, etc. You have an interesting idea about shrinking the whole shot clock deal. Wonder if they considered that.

frank, I love yr blunt way of putting it holding up the bank, shooting up the town haha. I know that aspect is needed to be captured in a good game. I am starting to have some ideas on how to accomplish this with respect to the campaign idea. Glad you're into the campaign idea. I think that is where all the fun comes. Plus if you can get a group of friends together then kill their little lead cowboys haha....

So I was actually thinking more about what I wanted in a game. I was about to play another gunfight but instead I decided to think.

Here is what I came up with:
1. I want a system that has luck. No one is invincible. Anyone can die at any moment.
2. I want a system where there are enough decisions to make strategic play possible, in that skill is possible.

Taking these 2 points together, I want something where anything can happen due to luck, but skillful strategic play will be effective. This does not mean that if one plays perfectly within the confines of the system that his gunfighter will never die. It just means that if you play more skillfully than your opponent that in say 100, 4 on 4 gunbattles, you would win like 65% of the time of something (depending on how skillful you play).

In terms of character,

3. I want a system where there are intrinsic skills maybe rolled or built for that involve no experiential aspect (a priori).
4. There are fun/interesting experiential aspects that come from participating in and more importantly surviving gunfights (a posteriori).

Maybe I could call it Immanuel Kant has a duel haha.

5. Needs to be a good campaign system.
6. No excessive bookkeeping. No excessive time consumption. No excessive any other bad stuff.

I know, tall order. Thanks for the replies. Maybe I will figure something out. I read once that most wargamers eventually write some of their own house rules. Guess I will soon see if that is true. At least this is not as complicated as Napoleonics or WWII haha.

Offline dddd99

  • schoolboy
  • Posts: 7
Re: Aces and Eights and other Old West Stuff
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2019, 03:10:02 AM »
Well, if you are "going to be John Wayne" then you have to be the good guy - you can't rob banks, trains, or stagecoaches.  He never played the bad guy in the westerns!   lol

hit the nail on the head haha. but I guess he could try to stop those that do.

Offline FifteensAway

  • scatterbrained genius
  • Posts: 2406
Re: Aces and Eights and other Old West Stuff
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2019, 06:37:42 AM »
Quad-d66, just FYI, when you post here on LAF there are plenty of pre-made emoticons available that help 'sell' the intent/mood of your words.

Now, as to how a western game or campaign should work.  For me, the easy route is Offensive Force, Defensive Force, and Survivability - and, to keep things simpler - which is always better for a good game that focuses on the action and not the rules, you can leave out the Defensive Force.  Others are welcome to their approach as long as the base goal of having a good time is met.

A player with better skill has a stronger offensive force and the more important characters - the above the line talent in movie casting terminology - can survive a lot longer than the 'joe-blow' cannon (or six shooter) fodder.  So, say, there are forces from 6 down to 1.  A top quality gun-slinger or law man might have a 6 while the harmless school marm rates a 1.  Similarly, the tough guy can take 8 hits before going down while the aforesaid school marm can only take 2 (a babe in arms only 1).  Simple to play, simple to understand, keeps the game flow going and the focus on the figures - which is where it should be in my opinion.

And for a campaign, just add healing between games and keep simple track of the games.  Nothing complex needed.  Rules writers love the complex but game play is best at its simplest.  Sure there is a minimum of information needed but it can be quite small.

My penultimate goal/game will be an "Extravaganza" game entitled: The Whole Slightly Wilder West, All At Once.

That means gunfights, bank robberies, stage robberies, train robberies, cattle rustling, range wars, duels on the gambling boat, sheep wars, calvary on patrol, calvary versus the plains indians and the apaches, indians doing bad things to the mining camp - and worse to the miners and more and all in one grand game.   For the record, once I get all my stuff painted, I can do such a game.  Have what I need - excepting adequate painting time.

And for a sense of scale, I have 120 bison (American buffalo) and 36 pronghorn antelope all painted, just need to texture the bases and seal coat.  I have one of my two 12 company cavalry regiments (153 men including regimental command - that's figure strength before dismounts and casualties) including dismounts and dead men and horses primed and ready, same with the 72 horse indian pony herd and the 36 cavalry remuda (remounts) herd (not counting the recently added 24 native horses with blankets on to be tied ready outside the teepees in the village).  I have the 8 wagon army supply train plus a couple of gatling guns and a small battalion of infantry ready to paint, too.  Actually, the infantry is the one thing I might expand, could use several more companies - want to redo the Battle of the Rosebud and that means more infantry.

A sort of side mix within my Old West are Mountain Man figures and opponents.  Yup, I'm a bit crazed for the Old West.

Oh, and if you are a close student of the period you will learn - if you don't know already - that it was quite unusual for a criminal to get away with their dastardly deeds.  The lawmen were persistent, patient, and persevering and would track their quarry for months or years across many states and territories and, literally, thousands of miles without fear.  So, yeah, John Wayne characters can be pretty realistic.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2019, 01:56:24 PM by FifteensAway »

Offline frank xerox

  • librarian
  • Posts: 119
Re: Aces and Eights and other Old West Stuff
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2019, 10:19:22 AM »
 :o I though I was bad!


You know, alcoholics have a defence/denial mechanism that goes " I cant be an alcoholic, that other guy is much worse than me" - you are now officially my Old West, That Other Guy. Thanks!


On John Wayne though, quite a few of his characters have shady pasts - The Ringo Kid, Rooster Cogburn, Ethan Edwards they were just never caught on camera, except for the War Wagon escapade and nicking Futtermans gold pieces in the Searchers.
Come to think about it, it would a fun scenario to have different John Waynes go up against each other-Rooster Cogburn whooping it up in John T Chance's town, Chisholm and McLintock quarrelling over grazing rights...

Offline FifteensAway

  • scatterbrained genius
  • Posts: 2406
Re: Aces and Eights and other Old West Stuff
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2019, 02:08:34 PM »
Frank the copy guy  lol a substantial percentage of lawmen spent part of their career on the wrong side of the law so that is not surprising about some of Wayne's characters.  Some writers actually know their period pretty well, sometimes even in Hollywood! 

And to help with that "other guy" syndrome you're struggling with, I have a dozen wagons for my wagon trains, half pulled by horses, half by oxen.  And four, yes, four, stagecoaches.  I will be modifying some wagons into mud wagons since they were much more common out west than the very expensive and heavy Concord coaches most of us associate with a stagecoach courtesy of western movies.  I'm also converting some wagons into hearses - at least two, for the scenario where two opposing factions are headed for Boot Hill on the same day and a ruckus is going to erupt.  And one for a tumbleweed wagon - had to source enough proper sitting figures to do that one.   

By the way, tumbleweeds are NOT native to North America!

I have a character I refer to as The Dude who is my Wayne-alike figure.  Don't know of a 15 mm or 18 mm not John Wayne figure.  If I did, he'd be in my collection - though maybe one of the Bluemoon figures fills that bill.  I'll have to check.

Oh, quad-d66, I have Peter Pig and Blue Moon - and Minifigs, Irregular, Hovels, and pretty much everyone else who makes Old West figures in the mix (there is one company who shall remain nameless whose figures I decided were just too crude).  Even have some buffalo from the old Atlantic plastic figures set.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2019, 02:57:30 PM by FifteensAway »

Offline frank xerox

  • librarian
  • Posts: 119
Re: Aces and Eights and other Old West Stuff
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2019, 02:22:50 PM »
Surely a 15 - 18mm figure of the Duke, should be at least 20mm?  :D

Offline fred

  • Supporting Adventurer
  • scatterbrained genius
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    • Miniature Gaming
Re: Aces and Eights and other Old West Stuff
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2019, 07:16:22 PM »
rules wise, I’d have a look at Dracula’s America - while it has fantastical elements, these are very much an extra layer to a Wild West game. The core mechanics of the game, with card driven initiative (from a small hand), 1 or 2 activations per model, give lots of tactical choices around when to move figures. The basic dice mechanisms revolve around a standard target number, with more sided dice for better characters (d6, d8 or d10).

It cracks along as a game, works well with multiple players.

It has a campaign system. While death is relatively rare, injury is very much present.

And the fantastical stuff is very much an add-on that can be ignored.

Offline Verderer

  • mad scientist
  • Posts: 887
Re: Aces and Eights and other Old West Stuff
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2019, 10:43:32 AM »
Good ole Boothill is still great if you are looking for a manageable RPG...

Things I didn't like about A&8 1st edition:

Alternate History. I have absolutely no use for this, real history is fascinating and bizarre enough.. so that part of the book is wasted on me.

Brawling - as I recall, there the actual combat rules don't account for using your fists etc. in a serious fight, instead you have this separate minigame for non-lethal (I assume) in a bar room brawl type of situation. That system is totally fiddly and unnnecessarily complicated, and does not in any way connect with the actual combat system. Plus what do I do when I want to hit someone in a fire fight?

Reversed procentual skills: ie. you need to roll OVER you skill. The lower your skill, the better you chances to succeed. This is totally counter-intuitive for me after years of using 100D systems. And calculating the start percentages... o_o

The designers made a number of choices which may sound cool, but are actually very strange and/or impractical. In a second edition, I would hope they'd streamline and rationalise some of these features.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2019, 10:45:10 AM by Verderer »

Offline dddd99

  • schoolboy
  • Posts: 7
Re: Aces and Eights and other Old West Stuff
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2019, 03:51:33 AM »
Quad-d66, just FYI, when you post here on LAF there are plenty of pre-made emoticons available that help 'sell' the intent/mood of your words.

Hey Fifteens. I gotcha. In case you took anything in offense, none was intended at any point. I do not think that was the case, but I thought I would clarify. Sometimes humor is lost over just typing.

Quote
Now, as to how a western game or campaign should work.  For me, the easy route is Offensive Force, Defensive Force, and Survivability - and, to keep things simpler - which is always better for a good game that focuses on the action and not the rules, you can leave out the Defensive Force.  Others are welcome to their approach as long as the base goal of having a good time is met....

And you continue on to clarify and expand for the next two paragraphs after that. Yes I am with you on most if not all, but I'd like to add it is also interesting when a story grows organically out of this as well. All I'm saying is a few rolls on some random tables and you get some fun stuff to happen; I am a big fan of procedural generation.

And in the last parts of your post where you dicuss your "extravaganza" style game.... I love that idea. It seems compatible with an idea I was thinking of called the Episodic Old West. Meaning there are little episodes or vignettes that pop up and the campaign system carries one from one episode to the rest. I am interested in what is the mechanism that brings you from episode to episode. That is where the procedural generation will come into play. I know you may be thinking, 'well yes, but give me an example,' but the truth is I have not built or written that yet. I am working on it.

Quote
Oh, quad-d66, I have Peter Pig and Blue Moon - and Minifigs, Irregular, Hovels, and pretty much everyone else who makes Old West figures in the mix (there is one company who shall remain nameless whose figures I decided were just too crude).  Even have some buffalo from the old Atlantic plastic figures set.

So you mix PP and Blue Moon and all of those others? Please tell me how it looks. I am especially interested in PP versus Blue Moon. Are they compatible? I see PP makes Longhorns and Buffalo. They might be easier to mix since they are beast. I think I'm gonna have to get on that train and buy some of those.

Fifteens, seems like your table must be a joy to play on. You should take some pics. I am sure it'd put mine to shame. I am trying to improve it steadily but surely . :)

Yo Fred, yeah I will check Draculas America out. I have heard of it but never really looked into it.  I do not much get into the fantastical stuff with Old West since to me it is more like an historical subject, but sometimes it is fun to play things like that from time to time. Vampires are cool. Zombies are cool too. Imagine a Walking Dead American Old West edition.... Plus I am much more willing to play something like that if I have a friend that is into that sort of thing and close by then yes of course I would play.

And Verderer, I wonder if you clicked the Chocolate Hammer link in my first post. That is all about Boothill and reading that article is what got me more into this kick. I do also like the scenarios/adventures they came out with. If you check I think drive thru rpg they have I think pretty much all of the boothill stuff there. In terms of aces and eights from my fast reading i think the skill system is still the same as how you described the first. The Brawling system is still the one that uses poker chips. They call these 'MiniGames' and they're still there. So that did not change, at least the overarching system.

So thanks for all the responses guys. It is really nice to discuss this stuff with you all. I did start to work on my own combat system tonight, but I kept "starting and stopping' since I am really play testing. It is going ok tho and I still have a smile on my face. take care.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2019, 03:53:31 AM by dddd99 »