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What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it. 
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
In my Monday night In Harm's Way: Pigboats Game, we had an interesting situation. The submarine, USS Pike, was heading north at night to position itself for a daylight submurged transit of the Lombok Strait between the islands of Bali and Lombok in the Japanese-controlled Dutch East Indies. The Lombok Strait - unlike most of the straits in this area - is fairly wide and deep, and uncluttered with inconvenient little islets and reefs. The US subs use it constantly as a shortcut to the Java and Sulu seas north of the archipelago, and the Japanese are very aware of this fact, countering with strong air and sea patrols.



The Pike was on the surface when a lookout called out a sighting. A large sampan with the typical deckhouse covering half the length of the boat, and a single mast, though the mast was lowered and it was traveling on a gasoline engine. The sampan was putting from west to east across the route to the Strait. The Skipper and XO looked it over with their night glasses, both scoring phenomenally good successes. The Captain saw two people on her deck, with one sitting at the tiller in the stern, and the other walking towards the deckhouse carrying a bundle - "Maybe explosives" he added - and also noted the silver thread of a radio antenna in the quarter moonlight. The XO said the second person was a woman, based on her walk. The Lookout muttered to the other lookout that he barely even saw the boat.

The Pike swung in beside the sampan - which proved fairly large at about 50 feet long - and sent a stream of tracer across the bow, while one of the Lieutenant jgs tried various languages to call out for a halt. The sampan first tried to cut away, but realizing it was hopeless, soon cut its engine and waited. The boat linked up, and the Skipper sent Lt. jg O'Grady, the Signals officer, Ensign Rodriguez, and three volunteers over to the sampan.

The helmsman of the sampan proved to be a Malay, wearing loose cotton pants, a kris, and a turban. Lt. jg O'Grady interrogated him in Dutch, with one sailor standing guard with a rifle, while Ensign Rodriguez and the other two men went to investigate the deckhouse, presumably where the woman had gone to. The helmsman tried to mouth the word "Japanese" to O'Grady, who figured it out in time for a shout to the men at the deckhouse.

Innis, the lead seaman on the detail, had already opened the door to the deckhouse, but Rodriguez and the other seaman were able to throw themselves to the sides as a submachine gun burst slammed into Innis and dropped him immediately. A grenade came out of the deckhouse next, but it clipped the coaming and fell off into the sea harmlessly, where it exploded. Then two Japanese soldiers charged out of the door of the Sampan, screaming "Banzai!". One shot a SMG burst at Rodriguez, but he had taken cover behind a crate on the deck, and the burst just blew splinters into the air. The other fired a burst at seaman two, but missed high.

Seaman two (never named, unlike Innis) fired his rifle from the hip, catching the second Japanese soldier in the leg. He fell to his knees, but was not out. Rodrigez fired his .45 pistol at the first soldier, but missed wildly as the man ran by. O'Grady fired his .45 and hit the first Japanese soldier in the left arm, but the man kept on running at him like a berserker. He fired his pistol at O'Grady, but was in bad condition and missed terribly. O'Grady fired again and the man was dead, drilled with a torso shot. He skidded to a stop in front of O'Grady and bled out in a pool at O'Grady's feet. The other solder took another SMG burst at Rodriguez, but missed again with the effects of his wounds. Seaman 2 and Rodriguez both hit him with shots, and he too was gone.

O'Grady started to walk up the deck to the others but the Malay helmsman shoved by him, attempted to hurdle Rodriguez, who was assessing if Innis was still alive - he was, but was out cold and loosing blood - but clipped Rodriguez and spun into the coaming, cracking his head and knocking him senseless.

O'Grady and Rodriguez had no idea what was going on, but O'Grady got past him and went down into the deckhouse. There he found the woman - a Malay - with her throat cut. On her lap was a wailing baby girl, covered in blood from her mother. O'Grady shouted something and stumbled out on deck, vomiting over the side. Rodriguez took one glance inside, and turned away, face blanched, not wanting to see more. O'Grady recovered enough to get some rags and clean the baby up, and the session ended there.

Next session, a decision must be made by the Skipper as to what to do about the sampan, the Malay man, and the baby. Does he put them into the sampan and let them go? They could talk about his presence - would have to in fact. Does he keep them as prisoners and destroy the boat? A quandry.

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Flying Mice Games/Better Mousetrap Games: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Release: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
I FLY BY NIGHT Blog: http://iflybynight.blogspot.com/


Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:26 am
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
Wow, that was dramatic. And sad. What a situation. And a quandry.


Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:52 am
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
RedBlok wrote:
Wow, that was dramatic. And sad. What a situation. And a quandry.


Yeah - the session was really intense. The characters were so deeply immersed there was no hesitation between finding the woman and baby and their reactions. It doesn't help that submariners aren't used to that kind of war - brutal and bloody. They sink ships with torpedoes - clean and neat - and they can fool themselves into not thinking about what happens to the men aboard those ships.

-clash

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Flying Mice Games/Better Mousetrap Games: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Release: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
I FLY BY NIGHT Blog: http://iflybynight.blogspot.com/


Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:55 pm
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
In my Saturday game - Star Wars-ish, using StarCluster 3 suitably modified - the ship was being chased by an Imperial StarDestroyer. The captain flew it onto a desert planet with bad air, so that the Jedis and Padawan had to wear breathers outside. She set it down under a rock overhang, facing out, as a shuttle was sent down to follow them. The Jedis fanned out and took down a platoon of Stormtroopers, dressed in their uniforms, and walked to the shuttle, with the wookie and Salustan as "prisoners". They almost botched the signal to come in safe, but a Jedi Mind Trick on the commander led to him emptying the shuttle, which the Jedi took over. The Wookie flew it up to the Star Destroyer, where it was directed to land in Bay 3. As it did, the jedi saw that two officers and twelve stormtroopers awaited them.

The PCs set the engines to explode after twenty seconds, and succeeded in downing everyone but one stormtrooper and shutting the blast doors behind them before tine ran out. The shuttle exploded, and - while men from all over the ship raced to the bay to contain the damage, the PCs sped through the ship, cutting their way through two stormtrooper patrols and Mind Tricking another before they reached their goal, the engineering section at the stern.

They forced their way into Engineering, cowing any resistance and locking the engineers up in storage before setting the Star Destroyer's engines to overload, then smashing the controls - the Salustan was an ex-Imperial engineer who did an amazing number on them. They located (using LUCK) the captain's gig - a swanky atmospheric ship for impressing VIPS - and bulled their way through the service droids to get in. They had almost escaped when the Star Destroyer blew up. The rear of the gig got caught in the explosion and was on fire. The Wookie did a great job and crash landed the gig in the desert. They ran out of the wrecked and burning gig into the desert. Minutes later, the flaming Star Destroyer smashed in some miles away, sending out a huge blast wave, and covering the party in sand.

They were dug out and picked up by the captain and crew, and all left the system post-haste.

-clash

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Flying Mice Games/Better Mousetrap Games: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Release: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
I FLY BY NIGHT Blog: http://iflybynight.blogspot.com/


Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:39 pm
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
I'm really slacking. Two weekends ago we played our fourth session of Paizo's Kingmaker adventure path. It was a great session. I'll have to try and dig up a link to one of my player's blog about the games. He's a mad genius. :hand: In a good way.... :lol:


Here is a link to Scott's Corner, where you will find a players log about our Kingmaker sessions. Note: I often modify published modules a little bit whenever I fancy to so if you see something not as it was presented in the Kingmaker AP, you'll know why. But it's at least 90-95% as it is written.

http://scottrpg.com/scottscorner/


Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:21 pm
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
The first five sessions of our Kingmaker game are up on the blog link above.

Our sixth and final session of part one is tomorrow!


Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:48 am
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
Catching up on posting my Pigboats APs!

The USS Pike transited the Lombok Strait underwater during daylight, and prepared to surface in the Java sea after sunset. On the routine periscope scan of the surface, the XO thought the sea looked "weird". the Skipper took a look. "Snakes? They better not be snakes! They gotta be eels!"

The boat surfaced, and when the conning tower hatch was opened, along with the usual gallon or so of water, in dropped a big ol' sea snake, right on top of the XO. The skipper hastily stepped away as the XO tried to grab the snake, and failed miserably. The snake reared back to strike, and Lt. Carnegie, the Weapons Officer, reached in and grabbed it in a lightning move, right behind the head. Carnegie dispatched it by wringing its neck, but the XO ordered it evicerated. Carnegie handed it off to a seaman to bring to the cook.

On the bridge, the officers looked out on a heaving mass of migrating sea snakes, covering the water in all directions. A lookout called "I see smoke, sir! To the north, over the horizon!" Lt. Vaugirard, the XO, put up his glasses. "I see it! Looks like a convoy, tracking to the east!"

The Pike intercepted on the surface, eventually coming in and paralleling the convoy to their starboard. The convoy consisted of a small corvette in the lead, followed by two small, coastal freighters sailing abreast, then a big freighter of about 9000 tons and a somewhat smaller tanker of about 7000 tons, then another big freighter, about the same size as the one ahead. A fast frigate ranged about the rear of the convoy, going up and down both sides, and cutting between the rows on a random path.

The captain judged by observation that the convoy was following an asymmetric zig zag, and painstakingly established their pattern. Lining up to starboard of the convoy, the Pike dived to periscope depth and simultaneously turned hard to port, aiming to cut the convoy ahead of the freighter and tanker.

At short range, the Pike fired fish 1 and 2 at the tanker, about 20 degrees to the port bow, and 4 and 5 at the big freighter, at about 30 degrees on the port bow. All four fish ran hot, straight, and normal. Due to the timing of the shots, fish 1 and 3 hit almost simultaneously, doing terrific damage. Fish 2 and 4 also hit about the same time, torpedo 4 tearing off the bow of the freighter, but 2 was a dud, hitting with a weak pop. Luckily, the one torpedo was enough and both ships began sinking, the freighter driving itself under in moments, and the tanker burning like a torch and lighting up the night,

The frigate zoomed around the bows of the burning freighter, straight at the Pike. She had been ranging the port side of the convoy, and was right beside the tanker when it was hit, masking it from the Skipper's sight. The skipper ordered the boat deep, "Go to 175 feet. Dig for depth charge! Rig for silent running!"

The frigate came on, pinging like mad, but unable to get a lock on the Pike - she was bows on, and in the debris of the freighter's sinking. Right over the Pike, she loosed a classic diamond pattern of six ashcans and roared on by. The explosions set the Pike to vibrating like a plucked string, coming as they were from every side, but none were close enough to cause permanent damage. the Skiper ordered Vaugirard to collect junk and oil from all over the ship, and to bring it to Lt. Carnegie in the forward torpedo room.

Lt. jg O'Grady, on the hydrophones traced the frigate's sweep off to starboard, apparently catching up with the rest of the scattered convoy, while another source of pinging came down from the head of the convoy. Probably the corvette. It slowed down and turned lazy loops at low speed, pinging constantly. Eventually it looped over the Pike and dropped two cans. The second was very close to the Pike, knocking her sideways. The Skipper ordered all stop, which was the signal for Lt. Carnegie to launch the junk and cans of oil out the number four tube.

The boat sat, slowly settling in the water, while theJapanese in the patrol boat looked over the debris, Evidently satisfied, they left, roaring off to catch up with what was left of the convoy.

"A classic ambush, Skipper! Congratulations!" said the XO. The Cob said "Well, we're no longer virgins!" The boat surfaced and turned back to their original course for the Makassar Strait, between Borneo and Celebes.

-clash

_________________
Flying Mice Games/Better Mousetrap Games: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Release: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
I FLY BY NIGHT Blog: http://iflybynight.blogspot.com/


Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:21 pm
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
Last night's Pigboats game went off into an odd direction. The Captain and XO were discussing how to get through the 300 mile long Makassar Strait, and had just decided on running through it full speed on the surface at night, when the XO thought aloud "I wonder how Hope is doing?" Hope is the name they gave the baby they rescued from the Sampan. I had also been wondering about her, so I rolled a d20, low good, high bad as befits a roll-under game. I rolled a 20.

I told the XO that she had been crying for some time, and he could hear it up on the bridge from the forward torpedo rooms, even over the diesels. Signals Officer O'Grady went to see what was going wrong. He found her being cosseted ineffectually by a torpedoman, who told O'Grady she was hot. O'Grady felt her skin - definitely feverish.

Some time ago, O'Grady had learned that the Skipper had received Corpsman Training - a very odd thing - which meant he was more qualified medically than the ship's "Doc", a mere Pharmacist's Mate, who the XO had gotten hastily and partially trained in battlefield medicine on his own, in case one of the flyboys they might rescue on Lifeguard duty had been shot. He sent the Torpedoman up to get the skipper, while he took Hope and went to get the Doc.

He found Doc Kendall pulling a sheet up over Hope's father's head. The Malay had gotten a depressed skull fracture, striking his temple on the hatch coaming on the sampan, and had lingered for several days after the sampan incident. The sub had meanwhile submerged as dawn was coming up.

in the Captain's quarters, Doc Kendall reported "The girl is an orphan now, sir. Her father just died. We'll have to bury him tonight - he's Muslim." The Skipper nodded and asked for Hope. He placed her on his bunk and began to examine her. Kendal took her temperature. "She's at 104, Skipper. Not good. Looks like an infection to me." O'Grady asked "Is there anything I can do? Can we cool her down?" Doc handed him some gauze and a bottle of diluted alcohol. "Moisten a cloth with a little alcohol, and wipe her down gently. It will cool her as it evaporates. Be careful that she doesn't take a chill!" O'Grady did so, and as she cooled, she calmed down.

The Skipper looked her over - mouth, eyes, nose, but when he touched her left ear, she screamed. "That's it!" said the skipper. Kendall handed him an auriscope, and the Skipper bent over her, looking into her ear. "She's got an infected flea bite in her ear. It's badly swollen and blocking her canal. What have you got for this, Kendall?" He unrolled his never-used surgical implements. The skipper chose his tool with care. "I have some wicking for abcesses, plenty of gauze, and sulfa powder." replied Kendall, rooting through his supplies. He set them out.

O'Grady held her steady. Hope looked into his eyes, whimpering a little. "Poor little thing!"Kendall held her head as the captain cut into the abcess. Blood and pus spurted out as hope screamed and twisted her head violently. "Shit!" shouted Kendal as she twisted her head out of his grasp. The Skipper hadn't fully withdrawn the blade, and her ear was gashed. She screamed louder. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" shouted Kendall as O'Grady tried to comfort her, singing softly to her, and the Skipper cleaned out the ear, sprinkling it with sulfa powder before suturing the gash. Kendall packed the abcess with the wick, with Hope bawling the whole while. She quieted down to whimpers again when they finished.

O'Grady started back to the forward torpedo room, walking very slowly, and holding the girl like a package of nitroglycerine. He stopped and turned to face the others. "Thank you guys. I know you're doing your best." He turned back and moved on towards the baby's bunk.

-clash

_________________
Flying Mice Games/Better Mousetrap Games: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Release: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
I FLY BY NIGHT Blog: http://iflybynight.blogspot.com/


Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:23 pm
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
Continuing catching up on my Pigboats APs!

In Monday night's In Harm's Way: Pigboats game, the hunter became the hunted.

It was forty minutes to sundown, and the sun was over the tops of the mountains of Borneo as the USS Pike came up to periscope depth at the entrance to the Makassar Strait between Borneo and Celebes (Sulawesi). The Pike needed an early start to run the 300 mile strait in one night on the surface. The Skipper looked around with the 'scope, seeing nothing. The boat came up a bit further, just high enough for the SD radar mast to be exposed, thus exposing the periscope shears. Lt. jg O'Grady scanned the sky for planes with the radar. There was something - either very far out or a glitch of some sort. No way of telling, but no immediate threat.

The Skipper was about to order the boat surfaced, when O'Grady decided on a hydrophone sweep. Why? I don't know. That is not standard procedure. They were looking for planes - the skipper had already looked for ships in the vicinity, and it was clear. The player later said he had a feeling - the Pike had hit that convoy hard, and this was a logical route for an American sub, a perfect place for an ambush. There were the faint, whispery sounds of two screws, and the faint hum of vibrating wires in the water. No sound of engines.

"Sir! I think there's a sub out there! 30 degrees to port. Close!"

"Hold off on the surfacing! Can you get me a range?"

"It's real faint, sir. If I ping him, he'll know we see him."

"What can you do?"

"If we can wait a bit, I can get a new bearing for a parallax, and I know his speed. That should give me a good range."

Retry. "Sir? By the revs of his screws, he's making about three knots. That places him at about 1500 yards. I think he's waiting for us to cross his bows, sir. Give him a fifteen degree angle on the bow."

Skipper to XO: "Set me on that bearing. Our periscopes are nice and high - I should get a good look."

"Aye!"

"OK! I see him! Bearing... Mark! Speed, three knots! Angle on the bow 15, Range one-five-oh-oh. Ready all tubes forward, but we'll use tubes one and three."

"Ready all tubes!"

"Shoot on my mark"

"Sir! His screws have stopped!"

"He's getting ready to fire! Replot! Speed zero! Fire One! Fire Three! Rudder hard a-port!"

"One and three away, sir! Both fish running hot, straight, and normal!"

Hydrophones: "Fish in the water! I hear two fish coming at us!"

Over the periscope, the skipper watches as both of the Pike's fish hit the submarine dead center, flinging the debris high and far. One of the Japanese torpedoes misses forward, evidently set for where they would have been if they continued straight. The other burrowed through the waves right at the Pike - aimed for where they might be if they slowed or turned.

"Luckily" said the skipper's player, using a LUCK point, "the torpedo's rudder sticks, and it turns past us."

The Japanese fish ran past the side of the sub. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

"Reload tubes one and three, and prepare to surface!"

_________________
Flying Mice Games/Better Mousetrap Games: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Release: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
I FLY BY NIGHT Blog: http://iflybynight.blogspot.com/


Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:24 pm
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
Finally caught up on my Pigboats APs wiht this one!

It was a dark and stormy night...
... over the mountains of Borneo, and while it wasn't raining over the Makassar Strait, the clouds had solidly blocked the moon and stars. The only light was the fireworks from port as the Pike ran at flank speed north northeast up the strait. The Pike had Lifeguard duty for a carrier raid on Davao in the Philippines, and the sub was running out of time. They had a mere six hours in hand before they were scheduled to take part in the carrier raid.

The XO, Lt. Bob Vaugirard, was Officer of the Deck. They had cleared Balikpapan, the big Borneo oil port, an hour before. Now they could just barely make the Makassar run all the way on the surface, if they ran at their fastest speed and stayed on the surface an hour past dawn. The lightning flickered and crashed on Bob's left as he scanned the sea ahead and to each side. There was a cry from the port lookout. He thought he had seen smoke - three separate streams - in the last lightning flash.

The XO scanned the port horizon from the Cigarette Deck rail. Nothing. He climbed up to the lookout's perch - a small steel plate for the feet, and a steel hoop at chest height welded to the periscope shears, holding the lookouts aloft eight feet above the bridge deck - as the lookout hung on off the side. There, in a jagged flash of lightning, the XO saw three towers of smoke as well.

Bob climbed down and looked at the charts. the chances were overwhelming that these were tankers loaded with sweet Borneo crude out of Balikpapan. The most likely route after transiting the strait was north to the Sulu Sea and on to Hong Kong, Manilla, or Japan. The Borneo crude was so sweet the Japs burned it straight from the ground without refining, so the other possibility was east to the Palaus and eventually Truk in the Carolines, Japan's main base, the Gibraltar of the Pacific.

He ordered the course altered from north northeast to due north, a route converging slightly with the convoy's route rather than paralleling it. As the convoy and sub neared, the lookout saw what might be the tall thin stacks of an older destroyer escorting them. The sub was also passing the convoy. Bob ordered the sub down to decks awash - a state where the decks were just at water level, with the waves breaking on the conning tower shearwater - slowing the speed from 19 to 14 knots, and reducing the silhouette of the sub to the size of a fishing boat.

The skipper had slept through the change in route, but came awake as the Pike slowed and wallowed through the lightly choppy seas. Hcame up on the bridge, and the XO outlined what he had seen and done. The skipper rapidly built a situational map in his head. They discussed various courses of action - the XO was nervous about missing the lifeguard appointment, and was trying to lose as little time as possible on this side excursion. The skipper was more sanguine, and brushed aside the XO's concerns. Those fat, sassy tankers guarded by a fast but lightly armed old destroyer were calling his name seductively.

The skipper decided. They would go in for the kill. They altered course again, to NNE, converging more sharply with the convoy yet. They rapidly neared. The Skipper decided he needed a better idea of the disposition of the convoy, so he went aloft himself, up to the port lookout station. The poor man once again dangled from the hoop, his toes on the platform, a line clipped to his harness his only margin of safety.

The skipper was a man of astonishing clarity of vision - skilled in interpreting the slightest hints of structure - and he rolled five successes, a masterwork. A big flash of lightning gave him a wealth of information. There were four big tankers in two columns, ranging from 7000 to 10000 tons, wallowing deep, and filled with sweet Borneo crude. Racing up the starboard side was the tall tacks of an older type destroyer. This was what he expected. What he did not expect was the presence of another, new type destroyer trailing the convoy, and two fast, well armed frigates - one leading the convoy and the other racing along the other side.

He called for another course change - hard to starboard. The Pike had almost run into a buzzsaw. The tempting convoy was too strongly protected. The Pike was an older sub, with only four torpedo tubes forward and two aft. The Skipper felt sure he could take care of one destroyer, and maybe another escort too, but two destroyers and two fast frigates were too much. The Pike ran to the east, now far behind schedule. Their six hours in hand had dwindled to a half hour, because they couldn't run the strait on the surface any more. They would have to dive early, going from 19 knots to two knots submerged, long before they got to the end of the strait.

Unlike the other encounters, which were randomly rolled, I sculpted this one to tempt the Pike away from its mission. The bad, intermittent visual conditions allowed me to very gradually ramp up their awareness of the danger. If the Skipper hadn't made a spectacular success in discerning the structure of the convoy, I might have sent the Pike to the bottom. The trap worked perfectly. The Pike is teetering on the edge of missing its rendezvous, and cannot allow any other distractions until their duty is performed. Even then they may not make it - the edge is that razor thin. The stakes are now very high indeed!

_________________
Flying Mice Games/Better Mousetrap Games: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Release: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
I FLY BY NIGHT Blog: http://iflybynight.blogspot.com/


Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:25 pm
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