Battle Report: Fight for the Cannon

Encounter Overview
I had a ton of fun playing this game because of the smaller table and central objective. I used a 35″ by 35″ section of my table with a 5″ deployment zone, so there wasn’t a “long” side like when I play 4x3ft. This made melee deadlier and also meant everyone could get stuck in early on. To add to the chaos I put a Cannon in the middle of the table as an objective. This report used v1.1 of the rules, so it was all the latest and greatest.
The two posses involved were Hope’s Wardens and Tribe of the Blood Pact. I originally created them for the v0.91 rules, so you can see some of the thought behind the posses in an earlier post. Both posses ended up with 3 members and 1 dinosaur even after the update to v1.1, and mostly just had better equipment with some of the extra money from recruiting the first Member for free.

Note on images, all of them are clickable and will open the image at the full 1280×960 size. Apologies for any blurriness, I think my old camera is having issues focusing.

The Cannon
The smallest objective and totally change the feel of a game session, and adding a Cannon into the middle of the map certainly proved this. The little metal Cannon figure is actually from San Juan off Puerto Rico, and I bought it at an old Spanish fort down there on my cruise holiday. Dinosaur Cowboys is always on my mind and it was the perfect size for the game, so I’m happy with how it looked in this game.
Bit of a tangent here, but plain “capture the flag” objectives can be tough in skirmish games. For one thing you don’t have a lot of troops to throw at the objective, and certainly can’t hope to spread thin and cover multiple objectives. And with a single objective and no turn limit the question comes up of “Why even go for the objective?” since it might be easier to hold back and kill the enemy.
To alleviate this concern I think that objectives should do something beneficial. In Guild Wars MMORPG capturing the flag gives you a +10% boost to stats, for example, so that’s a huge motivation to go for it.
In this game the Cannon could actually be controlled and fired if a human was close to it. Basically whoever had the most humans (dinosaurs don’t count) within 4″ of the Cannon could spend the Action Phase of any of those humans (max of 1 per Turn) to fire the Cannon. It has similar stats to a Field Gun, except the damage is less crazy since these were fresh Posses.

The Cannon: 1A-5D 2″ Explosion, range 1-6/7-15/16-21, no Reload

Posse: Hope’s Wardens: 3/110 IP, 10/1000 ND, 3/3 Traits
My posse representing a high tech Neotechnoist party that is new to the world outside The Wall. They were well equipped and had plenty of Armor to compensate for their low HP. Generally good shooting scores would help. The one limiting factor was range, as the furthest weapon as Limeskull with 16″ max on his Light Repeater. I figured Nedevan and Red Dove would advance together, then dismount and try to cause disarray by getting into melee with separate targets. Limeskull’s purpose was to grab cover up high (for the elevation bonus) and fire forever. Glowstar would be midrange support, probably moving a step or two behind Red Dove.

Limeskull (Neotechnoist Leader)
MV 5, AR 2, RMC 7, MMC 8, BRV 7, HP 10. Light Repeater, Padded Armor.

Red Dove (Bandit)
MV 4, AR 1, RMC 7, MMC 7, BRV 6, HP 9, Whirlwind. 100kW Six-Shooter, Motor Blade.

Glowstar (Neotechnoist)
MV 4, AR 2, RMC 6, MMC 8, BRV 6, HP 8, Neck Shot. Auto Shotgun, Padded Armor.

Nedevan (Trained Ducky Dinosaur)
MV 6, PMV D6, AR 0, MMC 7, DIS 4, HP 18, Bonus HP I.

Posse: Tribe of the Blood Pact: 0/110 IP, 0/1000 ND, 3/3 Traits
The idea of this posse was to get into melee and make things ugly for the enemy. Everyone had high Movement and a ton of Hitpoints which would facilitate them living long enough to reach close combat. The inexpensive melee weapons and low cost ranged options meant I could go for a higher priced Armored dinosaur, which is ridiculously terrific at low IP since it’s AR 4 is very tough for people to hit. Having a ton of HP meant The Crimson Terror could soak up a bunch of damage too. I figured he’d remain unmounted, although if anyone was going to ride the dinosaur it would be Sendar as she had the lowest MV. Otherwise the posse would stick together and advance using as much cover as possible, and most likely sacrifice shooting to Run each turn.

Bloodscar (Savage Leader)
MV 6, AR 2, RMC 9, MMC 7, BRV 7, HP 13, Retreat! I. Pickaxe, 100kW Six-Shooter, Quilted Armor.

Illit'taex (Savage)
MV 5, AR 1, RMC 9, MMC 7, BRV 5, HP 13, Bonus HP I. Pike, 80kW Six-Shooter.

Sendar (Duster)
MV 4, AR 0, RMC 8, MMC 7, BRV 6, HP 12. Staff, 80kW Six-Shooter, Small IRP.

The Crimson Terror (Feral Armored Dinosaur)
MV 4, PMV D4, AR 4, MMC 7, DIS 4, HP 28, Runner.

In the roll off for table edge Hope’s Wardens got the west side (towards the kitchen) and Tribe of the Blood Pact got the east side. Hope’s Wardens had to setup first. Each posse could deploy up to 5″ from their respective table edge.

Hope: Setting up first is always rough as you don’t get to see what the enemy is planning. Looking at the terrain I tried to anticipate how Blood would deploy. I knew the tall terrain near the south would be tempting, so I positioned Limeskull opposite it near the high hill with a tree. This would give him a bit of cover but more importantly force melee combatants to waste Movement trying to climb the hill. It also left me at long range of the central Cannon, so I could provide supporting fire. Let’s just hope Blood doesn’t go for a denied flank and deploy way in the north out of my range.
I mounted Glowstar and Red Dove on Nedevan and plopped him in the middle. The fast MV 6 (9″ effective Run) would put him very close to the Cannon early on, so I could hopefully dominate any incoming groups.

Blood: I had a bunch of deadly warriors at my disposable, and enough terrain that I figured most of them could reach the combat alive. I knew they’d be faster on foot so I left The Crimson Terror unmounted and put him in the northern corner behind a hill. Even with the Runner trait he was ponderously slow (7″ effective Run), but he had a ton of HP and super high Armor so I hoped to hold the middle with him until the rest of my melee group could work their way through cover. Advancing directly across the open would mean his slow speed would balance with the faster humans who would be dodging hill to hill.
I put all my human members in a clump in the south. No one could get to the Cannon in the first Turn so I was safe keeping them clustered. I planned to flank one of them (probably Illit’taex) towards Limeskull on the hill. Bloodscar and Sendar would approach the middle and hopefully control the Cannon to bombard anything left alive, or at least contest it from Glowstar and Red Dove enough to prevent them firing.

Turn 1 – To the Cannon!
1a. Blood wins Activation
Blood: Since two of Hope’s members were mounted they technically only had 2 entities to Activate, so I outnumbered them 2:1 and needed to Activate two of my figures as a result. I decided The Crimson Terror would Run 7″ directly towards the Cannon, as planned. Bloodscar also Ran (9″) forward, but didn’t expose himself to Limeskull and stayed behind the tall hill. Blocking line of sight is such a lifesaver for a melee focused group such as mine.
Hope: I wanted to keep Limeskull in reserve until the rest of the enemy posse had moved, so I activated Nedevan and Ran him forward. His massive 9″ Run meant I would be a the Cannon next turn, which was great.
1b. Blood wins Activation
Blood: Time to Run some more. Illit’taex Ran in a straight line west, and would be in the cover of the hills approaching Limeskull soon. Sendar followed Bloodscar’s approach with a Run.
Hope: Limeskull was out of range and out of sight of everyone so he Ran up the tall hill he had deployed by, which gave him a commanding view of the field.

Turn 2 – Enemy Sighted
2a. Blood wins Activation (again!)
Blood: Time to keep on moving up. I Ran Illit’taex down the flank of Limeskull. Next turn he’d make the deadly approach across the open terrain, but hopefully I could distract Limeskull with more tempting targets until Illit’taex was closer. Sendar also Ran, but couldn’t quite make it out of line of sight. Unfortunately she was inside the long range of Limeskull, but maybe the modifiers would save her.
Hope: Tribe of the Blood Pact had made a bit of a mistake in leaving Sendar exposed, but I didn’t need to waste an early activation to take advantage of it. Instead I had Red Dove and Glowstar dismount Nedevan, which used all of their Action Phases. It left them all with a Movement Phase though, so both humans moved right up to the Cannon (close enough to fire it now!) while Ducky headed south towards Sendar, hoping to slow down her and Bloodscar before they reached the center.
2b. Hope wins Activation (for once)
Hope: Time to start the shootin’. Limeskull lined up on the distant Sendar who was basically at maximum range. She was in Cover (-1 Damage) but Limeskull was at a high Elevation (+1 Damage), so no mods from that. He managed to hit 4 times, one of which was a Critical. In total he did 6 damage and Sendar failed her Bravery Test and is Fleeing.
Blood: Sendar will have to waste some time Fleeing backwards and then moving right back in, so that’ll be annoying. I snapped off a shot with Bloodscar at the Ducky dinosaur, but I missed on 10+. Bloodscar moved forward and behind a tree, hoping to survive any early activations next turn. Finally The Crimson Terror moved closer to the Cannon and Glowstar and Red Dove. They were quite far away but I figured I might be able to reach them with a Charge. Unfortunately I failed the roll (needed 5+) so The Crimson Terror stayed where he was.

Turn 3 – Into the Barbwire
3a. Hope wins Activation
Hope: Hmm kind of a tough call who to activate first. On the one hand I could shoot with Limeskull at Sendar again before she Flees and maybe even kill her. But The Crimson Terror is going to get into melee range and it’d be great to shoot him before the -1 Melee modifier (plus he hasn’t Moved yet, so that’s another -1 avoided), since his AR 4 is enough of a problem already. In the end I decided to shoot at The Crimson Terror as it’s not like Sendar won’t be a target again in the future. To that end Glowstar aimed his Auto Shotgun at 9+, hitting 3 times for 8 damage, but unfortunately also rolling a 1 and requiring a Reload. A Panic token was added to The Crimson Terror from the damage, which should slow him down a bit. Glowstar then moved back outside the barbwire (which was counted as Difficult Terrain) but was sure to still be within 4″ of the Cannon.
Blood: Now that The Crimson Terror had Panic on him I wasn’t convinced of his ability to reach melee. Plus he could handle Red Dove’s firing if it came to that. So I left the dinosaur as is and instead moved Bloodscar into the barbwire cage. He Charged 4″ into melee with Red Dove, then savagely hit with both attacks with a double roll of 11 for a total of 8 damage. Red Dove is down to 1 HP and failed his Bravery Test and is Fleeing. Too bad I couldn’t finish the job!
3b. Blood wins Activation
Blood: Time to keep the hits rolling. I rolled for The Crimson Terror’s Panic Movement (D4 in his case) and unfortunately got a 1. So after moving and Running through the barbwire he was still 1″ short of melee with Red Dove, but at least close enough to deny a Charge. Glowstar having to Reload would mean The Crimson Terror would be a bit safer for another turn until he could get into combat.
Hope: I aimed to counter the increasing melee presence in the middle. Since Sendar was less of a threat I decided to swing Nedevan around and move into melee with Bloodscar. I hit 1 time for 3 damage. Not a ton, but Nedevan’s big pool of HP should keep the Savage Leader busy for a while.

3c. Hope wins Activation
Hope: When I look at the middle I see a giant clump of enemy just BEGGING for a cannonball. Red Dove was thankfully Fleeing which meant I could easily escape combat with Bloodscar. I fled him backwards, then fired the Cannon at Bloodscar! Yar! I hit him for 6 damage and the 2″ Explosion clipped The Crimson Terror for 5 damage, and unfortunately also Nedevan for the same. Like a true coward Bloodscar is Fleeing, and both dinosaurs have a Panic token added.
Blood: Well that was ugly, but at least Red Dove hit their Ducky dinosaur with some friendly fire. Bloodscar has seen better days though. Anyways I Fled Sendar away from the closest enemy (Nedevan), then she turned and shot at the dinosaur, hitting 3 times (with 2 Criticals!) for 5 damage, which added a Panic token to Ducky.
3d. Hope wins Activation (by one!)
Hope: Limeskull had no chance to hit The Crimson Terror at such long range, but Bloodscar was perfectly placed to get shot. I needed an 11+ to hit but managed to hit once (6A is so nice) for 3 damage (thanks Elevation!), which put Bloodscar down to 1 HP!
Blood: I finished the turn by moving Illit’taex along his hillside flank. After a big Run he was at the base of Limeskull’s hill. If he could weather downward fire for a turn I could get into melee with the Neotechnoist Leader.

Turn 4 – Roar of the Cannon
4a. Blood wins Activation
Blood: Bloodscar was in a tenuous position with 1 HP and enemy guns all around. There wasn’t any cover nearby, so I decided to make some! Bloodscar used his Retreat! Trait to move The Crimson Terror 4″ into melee with Red Dove (who only had 1 HP), but also angled the dinosaurs body to try to block line of sight to Limeskull. After that Bloodscar Fled away from Nedevan, then Ran back in behind the hill that was The Crimson Terror.

Hope: I guess Bloodscar didn’t learn his lesson that I have no problem using the Cannon on my own people if it benefits me…I guess that’s more of a Savage thing than a Neotechnoist, but I guess it could be a cold calculated call which might fit the technologically advanced people well. Regardless I fired the Cannon with Glowstar at The Crimson Terror at 10+ to hit. I was just within 12″ of Limeskull in case I needed the Yeehaw! re-roll, but thankfully the shot hit without aid. The Crimson Terror took 6 damage, and both Red Dove and Bloodscar took 5 damage from the 2″ Explosion, which killed them both! After their leader was slain Illit’taex and Sendar BOTH failed their Bravery Tests and were Fleeing, hah! Glowstar finished his epic turn by moving away from The Crimson Terror towards Nedevan.
4b. Hope wins Activation
Hope: Having Illit’taex Fleeing gives Limeskull a bit of breathing space, but I knew the persistent bugger would be back soon. So I moved Limeskull to the edge of the cliff and fired down at Illit’taex, hitting for 4 (one of which as a Critical) for 7 damage. He still has 6 HP left though, unfortunately.
Blood: The Crimson Terror still has two Panic tokens, so I had to roll for his PMV again. I lucked out and got a 4, so I was able to move and then Charge 2″ into melee with Glowstar. I rolled well and hit for 5 damage, but Glowstar managed to pass his Bravery Test. After recovering his wits the dinosaur still had 1 Panic token left.
4c. Blood wins Activation
Blood: Time to move my last two entities for the turn. Most of it would be Fleeing after Bloodscar’s untimely death. Illit’taex Fled back, almost to the table edge in fact, and then reversed and Ran towards Limeskull’s hill. If he managed to survive another turn I’d get into melee with the leader. Then Sendar also Fled away, but used her Action Phase to apply the Small IRP for +2 HP (could have been a better roll, alas).
Hope: By getting into melee with Glowstar it turned out The Crimson Terror was also in combat with Nedevan. The Ducky turned and tried to smash the dinosaur with it’s crest, but missed both attacks on a rather challenging 11+.

Turn 5 – Cleanup Crew
5a. Hope wins Activation
Hope: My ideal plan for this activation was to use Glowstar’s Neck Shot Trait on The Crimson Terror, which would have given +4 damage and meant I could possibly kill the dinosaur. But Glowstar still hadn’t had a chance to Reload from way back, so his Auto Shotgun was pretty much useless. I didn’t want to risk a Cannon shot directly into the crowd again since it’d hit Glowstar himself and the Ducky. So instead, with luck, I could get the bullet sink of Illit’taex out of the way. Limeskull aimed down the cliff again and fired, but only hit 3/6 times for 5 damage, which left Illit’taex with 1 HP! Plus he passed his Bravery Test, which meant he might be able to reach Limeskull and dish out some hurt with that Pike.
Blood: The Crimson Terror lived up to his name by stomping and goring Glowstar, who was unluckily stuck between two towering dinosaurs. I hit for 5 damage which killed the human. Also I got to remove my last Panic token…not that it mattered since it looked like a straight up brawl to the death between the dinosaurs.
5b. Blood wins Activation
Blood: Yeesh Illit’taex is really running on fumes. I moved him to the base of Limeskull’s cliff, but failed to Charge the measly 4″ needed to reach the Leader. So much for my awesome flank. Anyways after that failure I moved Sendar closer to the center and fired at Nedevan. She didn’t let me down with 2 hits (1 of which was a Critical) for 3 damage. I really wish she had something besides an 80kw Six-Shooter as 0D is painfully useless. Anyways Nedevan is down to 5 HP at least!
Hope: The titan brawl continued in the middle, but Nedevan again failed to do anything to the Armored enemy. Having a base MMC of 7 against AR 4 is really painful, especially with only 2 Attacks.

Turn 6 – Last Man Standing
6a. Hope wins Activation
Hope: Illit’taex has snuck behind Limeskull enough that I had to waste my Movement Phase turning around to face him. I unleashed another salvo, expecting a kill, but terrible dice meant NOTHING hit and Illit’taex survived!
Blood: Illit’taex was able to survive with 1 HP against 6 point blank Attacks, probably by praying to some Savage pagan god. Eagerly he moved up the hill and stabbed at Limeskull, but after ALL that running and dodging and pain he only hit 1 time for 4 damage!
6b. Hope wins Activation (again)
Hope: Looks like that hill is bad luck for both of us or something. Anyways speaking of bad luck Nedevan failed to hit The Crimson Terror again (what is that, three times in a row?). Yep, short activation.
Blood: The Crimson Terror really was dawdling too long with that simple herbivore. Somehow I missed all attacks even though I only needed 7+ (rolled a terrible 6, 6, and 4). So it’s up to the humans to carry the team. Sendar moved in behind the hill and Charged 2″ into Ducky’s flank, hitting a solid 4 out of 4 times for 8 damage which totally killed Nedevan. That’s how it’s done.

Turn 7 – Desperate Cat and Mouse (Dino and Human?)
7a. Hope wins Activation. Only Limeskull remains against Illit’taex, Sendar, and The Crimson Terror
Hope: Eh could be a tough one. The good news is I rolled better than absolute GARBAGE (aka last turn) so Limeskull was able to easily kill Illit’taex. I was afraid that Sendar might hop on the uncontested Cannon and outrange my feeble Light Repeater, so I dropped Limeskull down out of line of sight behind the tall hill.
Blood: A dinosaur and villainous vixen against a wounded Neotechnoist Leader? I think I can win this one! I Ran both Sendar and The Crimson Terror towards Limeskull’s hiding place. He’d be out of options very soon.

Turn 8 – Gonna Take You With Me
8a. Hope wins Activation (by one)
Hope: Definitely hanging by a thread here. I moved Limeskull back down the hill and to medium range with Sendar. Too bad I shot terribly and only hit for 3 damage with him! Better than no hits I guess, but still I had kind of hoped he’d finish her off and then maybe survive the dinosaur somehow.
Blood: Sendar returned fire after moving to her medium range, but missed all the shots on a 10+. The Crimson Terror did what dinosaurs do best, and that is Ran forward towards his prey. The noose was closing.

Turn 9 – Bring Her Down
9a. Hope wins Activation (again!)
Hope: I think winning initiative has saved me so far, but The Crimson Terror can basically reach melee regardless of where I go. Ugh I should have stayed on the tall hill but I got so caught in thinking I could outrun the inevitable. Anyways since I was already trapped I just moved Limeskull into line of sight of Sendar and fired. Again I rolled badly and only did another 3 damage, which left her with 2 HP. That was actually the 2 HP the Small IRP had healed earlier, so there ya go.
Blood: Again Sendar returned fire, but this time hit with 1 Critical for 2 damage, but also rolled a 1 and needs to Reload! Good thing her Staff doesn’t need ammo…Oh and of course The Crimson Terror moved into melee with Limeskull.

Turn 10 – All Over
10a. Blood wins Activation
Blood: If dinosaurs could speak I’m sure The Crimson Terror would quip something like “Hey Limeskull, check this out!” before dealing 6 damage. I guess I’ll just have to settle for hitting 3 of 3 times and killing Limeskull, which wins me the game!

After Action Report
Hope: You know I honestly though I had this one in the bag. I guess I underestimated The Crimson Terror’s survivability, and also got a little over committed with Glowstar and Red Dove in the middle. Oh and my total inability to kill Sendar at the end was kind of annoying. But I also was able to deny Tribe of the Blood Pact access to the Cannon for basically the entire game, and ALMOST killed all their humans. I’d say I was a little overequipped, especially Red Dove who didn’t get to use much of anything the whole game. Having high AR helped as it meant more misses and less damage, although it’s a tough call whether high AR is better than high HP. But yeah, very close game and I just wish I had played the end a bit differently (like going back up the tall hill instead of taking to the ground). And I don’t want to be petty but the slightly smaller table really didn’t help matters, as it meant my turns of free shooting on the melee based posse was cut down by 12″ or so.

Blood: Ah the delicious taste of victory. It always feels extra satisfying to win with a bunch of Savages armed with polearms, especially against high tech Neotechnoists. My most valuable asset was definitely The Crimson Terror, his AR 4 is pretty tough to crack with 100 IP and the related RMCs. Bloodscar did pretty well in the middle, although he took a lot of firepower and died earlier than I would have liked. Sendar was terrible at the start but redeemed herself by only missing a single shot all game (with base RMC too!) and by finishing off Nedevan. Illit’taex was great in theory, but yeah, that was a loooooooong haul to Limeskull, and he sort of let me down when I got to grips by only hitting once. Oh well, I still won and plundered.

Complete Turn Log
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Rules Release v1.1

v1.1 is here with two very small changes (although one of them affects posse building quite a bit) plus various edits. The first is moving the Game Overview above the History section so new players can see what exactly they are getting into before they are overwhelmed with a few pages of background information. The second and most important is recruiting the first Member is now free, and the second and beyond still cost $200 (or $250 later) as before. So basically this gives you $200 more to equip your posse with! Players who intend to use their posse in a long, ongoing campaign can always modify this, of course. But for one off games I find $1,000 with the old rules to be a bit low, whereas now there is plenty of money for equipment and weapons beyond a basic loadout of six-shooters.

As for the edits here’s the list:
– Noted that PMV doesn’t affect Run or Charge.
– Noted that Dinosaurs can move too after being dismounted.
– Fixed copy-paste duplication on Fan the Hammer ability.
– Changed how Fleeing while Mounted works, now Flee with the mount instead of dismounting.
– Noted the minimum Run of 1 inch.
– Added three variant rules: Last Man Standing (no Bravery or Discipline for last entity of a posse that is alive), Initiative Choice (choose to activate first or last when winning initiative), and Fast Target (additional +1 to hit if target moved 10 inches or more)

So yeah, small changes but they affect the game enough (and are reflected in The Saloon) so I thought I’d release the PDF:
Get the Dinosaur Cowboys Rulebook v1.1.

Posse: Tombstone (1993 movie)

The 1993 movie Tombstone was a fun show full of big name actors, some good jokes, plenty of wild west shootouts, and everything that made 90s cinema great. The movie itself is based around the events that happened in Tombstone, Arizona and involved Wyatt Earp and Curly Bill.
Today I figured I’d make the main good guys and bad guys from the movie into Dinosaur Cowboy posses. There were two challenges: First no one in the movie depiction of the OK Corral fight used much of anything but six-shooters, so it’ll be hard to have some variety to weapons. And second they forgot to have dinosaur mounts, so none of those either.

The Good GuysView in The Saloon or Download as PDF
3/100 IP, 20/1000 ND, 3 traits, 4 humans: Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp, Morgan Earp, Doc Holliday
I made everyone but Doc Holliday a Duster, as they are pretty true to the imagery. I figured Doc’s weakened health would be reflected well by the reduction of HP that the Neotechnoist allegiance imposes, and the bonus RMC didn’t hurt either. I wanted Wyatt and Virgil to be tough, so they both have Cloth Armor and +1 AR and 12 HP, so they’re definitely rock solid. In terms of Traits Wyatt got Grit since I couldn’t exactly see him fleeing, Morgan got Back Shot since he kind of surprise shot the one guy he killed at the OK Corral in the head (again, in the movie), and Doc Holliday got Rapid Fire because he went wild with the dual revolvers and generally rocked socks. Weapons were a bit simpler as I had a bunch of money left and didn’t have any expensive heavy weapons to buy. Wyatt got a Heavy Pistol since his revolver seemed a bit more special than a standard rated one. Virgil and Doc Holliday both got 400kW Six-Shooters, and Morgan got a slightly weaker 300kW version. As per the movie Doc Holliday had the double barrel shotgun (well, he fires three times without reloading in the movie, but who knows?).

The Bad GuysView in The Saloon or Download as PDF
5/100 IP, 35/1000 ND, 3 traits, 4 humans: Curly Bill Brocius, Johnny Ringo, Ike Clanton, Billy Clanton
For the Bad Guys I tried to pick the best known villains from the movie. Aside from Ringo (who was a Bandit) everyone was a Duster again. Curly Bill got the Trait “Get Up!” since I could see him cursing and ordering a wounded red sash cowboy to get up and fight. Ringo got Go For the Eyes since he seemed like the kind of deadly gunfighter who would get a bunch of critical hits. And finally Billy Clanton got Crippling Shot since he shoots Virgil in the leg in the OK Corral fight, so that’s enough of an excuse for me. Equipment was even more of a challenge as they pretty much use pistols the entire movie. I got Curly Bill a 400kW Six-Shooter and a Knife…pretty basic cowboy in fact. Ringo got a Handcannon, mainly for variety but also because a veteran gunfighter might use something with a little more kick. Ike got a Shank and a Light Pistol since he seemed less inclined to ever stand up and fight. And finally Billy got a 300kW Six-Shooter and Derringer, since he would have a trick or two up his sleeve. Ringo and Billy both got a suit of armor, and Ike got a Whiskey Drop since he seemed kind of into the booze. In terms of stats I made pretty basic choices, pushing Ringo and Curly Bill’s RMC to 6, making Ike a coward with 5 BRV, a few increased HP across the board, and so on.

So yeah, there’s a quick mockup of how I think the Tombstone characters would look in Dinosaur Cowboys. Kind of fun to easily put together posses like this, but the lack of variety in guns does help me appreciate being able to build an original posse from the ground up replete with all the wild guns I could want.

Saloon remote URL example

Some more great news from the busy world of The Saloon posse designer. I now have PDF export working 100%, complete with properly transparent HP values, Allegiance/Breed being “circled” to represent selected, and even nice touches like putting the version number in the bottom right corner. Check out an example PDF exported from the app. Pretty slick eh?

Of course you might be saying “But trucking around a PDF is annoying for forums and email”. Which is true. To that end I’ve setup what I call “URL loading”. This means you can pass in a specially crafted URL bursting with parameters like leader name, dinosaur type, etc. and The Saloon will read these and load a corresponding Posse. So for example for the Drylands United Cattle Company from the PDF above you could visit:
Looks a little messy eh? Normally you’d link it like “Hey guys check out my new posse!” and that looks mighty fine.

To access this feature for your own Posse just click “Save to URL” and copy the link that is generated and then paste it to your hearts content on forums, blogs, email, etc.

Another neat feature is the Load Recent Posses link that displays the 5 most recently saved Posses from ANYONE. That means you could go into the app right now and create a Posse and a user on the other side of the world could easily load that Posse. I like this feature as it helps make the app feel a bit more “alive” and is more of a community friendly element. Like I said it’s just the most recent 5, but if I get enough interest I might bump the number up to 20 or something.
Currently the list is cleared upon shutdown of the server, but I might look into persisting it into a text file or light database.

So yeah, pretty much all done now! All I need to do is provide the source code somewhere (probably as a WAR file that can be deployed but that also has the Java files in it). I like to this for webapps because who knows what will happen to me in the future, and it’d be great if the only copy of the source code wasn’t just sitting on my hard drive.

I figure I’ll start advertising the app and getting some feedback and more testing from actual users sometime next week. I’m super happy with how it all turned out and how quickly it came together, and I think it makes building a posse infinitely easier and funner to experiment and test different approaches.

(Also my apologies if The Saloon is a little slow; I’m hosting it off my wireless media center on a basic home internet package, so don’t expect unstoppable performance :) )

The Saloon PDF export 99% done

I’ve kind of stalled out on Nanowrimo after a disastrous week 3, for which I fully blame my business trip. I haven’t hit my stride since coming back, but maybe I will before the month is out.
The good news is I’ve made lots of great progress on The Saloon, my posse building web application. Currently the remaining TODO items look like this:

Major Saloon TODOs

  • Strip PDF filename of special characters (for example comma doesn’t work well)
  • Need to denote Allegiance and Breed somehow in PDF
  • Need to have transparent HP values (maybe write text instead of using a field?)
  • Split status bar into a different div so just it can be updated via ajax
  • Add URL generation so an entire Posse can be passed via external link

Minor Saloon TODOs

  • Regenerate serialVersionUIDs once classes are completed
  • Add titles to the various elements on the page, like Weapons and Armor, etc.
  • Clean up via internationalization / override the error messages

So basically the main areas left are three touchups to PDF export. Otherwise the PDFs come out looking AWESOME! I have the leader, all members, and the dinosaur exporting properly. To give you an idea of how these PDFs look feel free to download Hope’s Warden posse as PDF. You might remember them from an earlier post. But yeah it’s pretty neat being able to translate a paper copy into a PDF with very little effort (it took about 5 minutes to enter the data through The Saloon).

Lots of improvements and bug fixes are now in the app, so it’s worth checking out again. I’m going to wrap up PDF export soon-ish, and then put up some info on various forums so I can get some feedback and views on the application.

Anyways to give you an idea of some of the recent changes here is a log of my SVN commits:

- Added PDF output for Dinosaurs, including their own unique stat images and additional fields
- Added missing extra column for dino that was created for humans for their refresh button
- Added a method for regenerating a new random name upon user request
- Read the first and last name data from a ZIP file instead, which saved a few KB in terms of the WAR size
- Added random name generation for Leaders and Members. The name data is pulled from the US Census data.
- Added a method for restarting the session. Some minor work around the PDF so that we don't allow a save until the posse is valid, and warn the user of what's missing otherwise.
- Some minor tweaks to the layout of the ODT file. It might need to be ported back to the rulesets/cowboys/ folder after each change?
- A bunch of work around the Save to PDF functionality. Now Leader and all Members export properly. Still need dinosaur and Allegiance and a few other tweaks.
- Fixed some bugs, mainly around the opening/closing/toggling of Traits and the Store. There were a lot of ugly flags being flipped around in there.
- Progress on f:ajax optimizations. Big savings once I realized I can do :f:pl (for example) to render the entity list from a composite component. Now the app won't sent upwards of 120kb just to do something basic like increase MV while the Store is opened. Still some bugs around opening/closing of the store and traits in any non-standard use case
- Changed wording from status to statusbar
- Removed Rope Lasso since it's included for free
- Added a bunch of status messages to the various elements of the app, which will display in the status bar along the top. Also made an option to hide the status bar and revert to the previous behaviour of putting messages in the first table's footer
- Added introductory text to explain DC. This will only display on their first visit, after that a cookie is created and if that cookie is present the intro text won't be displayed. Also made a rad status bar overlay along the top (colors undecided) for displaying error messages and info and general stats of the posse. This helps when scrolling down into the store lists.
- Added sorting to every table, plus some cool cascading sorts so that clicking Name will apply to all subtables, for example. Styled the sort headers as well.

If I had to sum up the big changes I’d say: tables are now sortable, new intro text for the app, terrific looking status bar that floats as you scroll, lots of optimizations with JSF’s f:ajax to reduce bandwidth per click, new random name generation for leaders and members, and obviously PDF export for everyone.

As before feel free to check out the app at

Old “Dino Wars!” Game

From the worn pages of Dragon Magazine #166 comes “Dino Wars!”, a light and fun tabletop game focusing on having the Army (normally represented by little green plastic men) fighting dinosaurs (represented by the usual assortment of plastic toys). I just browsed through the rules but it looks like an even sillier and lighter take on dinosaurs vs. the modern world. Still it’s related so I thought I’d post it.

You can see the BoardGameGeek page:
And download the actual PDF of the rules, which start on page 50: Dino Wars! Rules

Also apologies for not updating recently with a new short story…or really anything. I was on a business trip that sapped the life from me.

Public Beta of “The Saloon”

Well that came together a lot faster than I expected! I still have some bug fixing to do and I need to finish the PDF export function (right now it’s an old roster and just handles the Leader). But I did get The Saloon posse building app hosted so that you, eager reader, can view it and start easily building your very own posses. So go wild:

The Saloon beta

I’m interested in hearing of any bugs or issues you run into. I have a bit of a TODO list on the go but public exposure always helps identify unexpected issues (especially browser related). As I mentioned this is built with JSF 2.0, so you’ll need a semi-recent browser that can handle Javascript to be able to work with the app.
I’m going to get the PDF export going (hopefully by the end of next week, but who knows!) and then I’ll put the word out on various forums and hopefully drum up some interest and testing.