In Search of a Rare Flower – Part 1

It is time to shift into high gear and prepare for this year’s Texicon. Once again, it is time to return to the land of Nobelongga. Last year’s game was a mash-up of two games from Two Hour Wargames: Adventures in the Lost Lands and Colonial Adventures. A few months ago, Two Hour Wargames released a new rule set that accomplishes what I did last year and more, Mission St. Mary. So I’m going to run a new revised scenario of In Search of a Rare Flower. Each week between now and the convention, I will post the progress I’ve made toward preparing a game that I hope will be fun for the players at the convention.

The scenario is essentially the Explore encounter with some bells and whistles added. The premise is set in 1900. Lady Hamilton has decided to aid the cosmetics industry by discovering new botanicals so that all the ladies will look ravishing when the lads return from that unpleasantness with the Boers in South Africa. Each player will lead a group of adventurers, scientists, soldiers, hunters, and misfits into the jungle searching for that rare flower that will make millions.

We’ll be playing on a 10′ x 4′ table this year, which means that I can double the number of people playing each session from 3 to 6. Each player will control a group of 10 figures. The first thing to do is to create the player characters or “stars” that will be used by the players to represent themselves in the game. I’m going to create 12 of these characters, 8 male and 4 female, for the players to choose from. The second thing to do is to create 6 groups. The groups will be nearly identical. They’ll contain bearers, a scientist, adventurers, soldiers, and various “ne’er-do-wells”. Why soldiers? Well, Lady Hamilton is a royal cousin. It wouldn’t do for any unnecessary harm to come to Lady Hamilton, so Her Majesty’s government has provided a military escort for the expedition.

Primed and Ready

As I work on the miniatures needed for the game, I also need to consider terrain features. In the ordinary Explore encounter, each group needs to spend one activation in the center of each terrain section. The table is divided into 9 sections. In this game there were will be a themed terrain feature in the center of the section that may hint at what the player may encounter there. The features I’ve thought of so far are a native village, a lost mine, an ancient temple, the tree of life, elephants’ graveyard, etc. At these places the player might encounter swarms of Tsetse flies, angry natives, curious bushmen, lions, velociraptors…. Velociraptors? Well, yes, on Nobelongga there are mountain valleys forgotten by time. If you’ve never encountered a velociraptor, here is a link to a short lecture by one to the top men in the field, Dr. Alan Grant.

Dr. Alan Grant’s Lecture on the Velociraptor

While some players may score a little higher than others, the only way to lose the game is if Lady Hamilton is killed, captured, or wanders off into the jungle alone. If that were to happen, all of the player characters would lose 1 point of Rep and the leader of the group that had Lady Hamilton would lose 2 points of Rep. But don’t fear, Lady Hamilton is the only NPC on the board that has “Star Power” and “Free Will” just like the player characters.

Alice Kingsley, Lady Hamilton, Sir Geoffrey, & her maid Caterina. (figures by Foundry & Old Glory)
Alice Kingsley, Lady Hamilton, Sir Geoffrey, & her maid Caterina. (figures by Foundry & Old Glory)

That’s it for this week. Hopefully next week will see some Ruga-Ruga come off of the painting table. If you have suggestions, advice, or would like to share your experience about running a game at a convention, please feel free to leave a comment.