Hunting Buffalo at the Veterans Museum

Today was the day I unveiled The Buffalo Hunt.  It was an NHMGS Game Day at the Veterans Museum in Chehalis.  What a great venue. Just south of town, and not far off the highway, it is a terrific museum.  It’s full of small arms and uniforms from American services of the twentieth century.  Most of the exhibits did a great job of tying display pieces to local stories.  Worth your time for sure.

I drove down with David Sullivan and Dave Schueler.  They popped in to Chez Smyth at 9:00.  They endured three barking Australian Shepherds and after downing a cup of coffee we headed south.  We made it to the museum before 10:30.  The Dave’s slipped into a game of What A Tanker while I hung out and kibbitzed.  It was great to see everyone, as always.  We dashed out to lunch, and returned around 1:00 and quickly set up the game.

I always have trepidation running games by myself, but especially a game that’s really never been run before.  While the game owes a lot of inspiration to Matthew Hartley’s Tusk, there is a whole lot of me in this game.  While Tusk has a few mammoths in the game, my game had six obstinacies of seven buffalo each. Each player had four to seven figures in clans, each somewhat different from each other, so the scale of the game is simply larger, and a little more complex.

Buffalo Hunt 1

Neil’s hunting party killed plenty of buffalo, but suffered some figure losses as well.

Al Rivers, Neil Marker, Michael Koznarsky, Dave Schueler, David Sullivan and Dale Mickel all took part in the maiden voyage.  The game, overall, went pretty smoothly.  But we ran into an early snag as I ran out of figure types right away.  In the future, players will simply choose and arm the figures as they wish, and simply pay the appropriate point cost.

Buffalo Hunt 2

The buffalo were spread across the table.  The players rolled for their entry, and set out to kill their buffalo.  Unfortunately the buffalo had other ideas.  In the first turn, as we had two dead buffalo and two dead hunters; it was clear the players weren’t going to have a walk in the park.  Arrows were missing, hunter die rolls were failing, and there were twice as many hunters dead as buffalo.

Buffalo Hunt 3

This group of buffalo is fleeing to the board edge, pursued by Al’s group of foot bowmen as well as a pack of wolves.

By the end of the game, nearly all the players had multiple losses.  Only Al’s party came through unscathed.  While the victory conditions called for killing buffalo, players were also punished for losing party members, and there were plenty of those.

Buffalo Hunt 4

Michael’s party is in pursuit of the white buffalo. Unfortunately, the white buffalo is having none of it.

I think we got in about 13 turns in two and half hours.  We never ran into a major snag in the rules, though I did file away some ideas for the future. In a quick debrief, everybody seemed to have a good time. There were also some great ideas that came out of the discussion.  I can honestly say I’ve never had so much fun running a game.

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