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The Gangs of Nowhereville, 1929


Misc., Gangsters, Legends of the Old West, 28mm

This weekend I was up in Kirriemuir in the north-eastern corner of Scotland, to take part in the League of Gentlemen Wargamers’ weekend. We meet up about three times a ear, and at least one game is a “silly” one. This was it. Each of the dozen players had a “gang” – either gangsters, outlaws, police, FBI or mafia. The aim – such as there was one – was to survive the weekend, and to rake up money through extortion, the selling of hooch, bank robbery, bribes, protection rackets and – strangely – gambling on the results of boxing matches.There were about a dozen gangs in all, about half lawmen, half gangster. Mine were the “Moonshine Mob”, a bunch of rednecks who made moonshine in the woods somewhere outside the city of Nowhereville, USA. Presiding over all this mayhem was Peter Nicholson, whose patience was only matched by the feverishness of his imagination.The rules were an adaptation of the old Games Workshop cowboy set Legends of the Old West. These worked splendidly, after Peter tweaked them to take account of tommy guns, BARs and bolt-action rifles. On the first day – the Saturday – we took turns to play small one-on-one games on a variety of tables – the Canadian border, the still in the woods, the dock, the Mexican border, the big city and the airport.After each game we accrued points, or either rebuilt or expanded our gang, depending on how the game went. This though, was merely the warm-up for the big event – the Sunday fight, where the tables were all joined together, creating a very large town – Nowhereville – complete with docks, airport and – of course – several banks.Each gang had a starting area – a building they owned, a police station etc. My “Moonshine Gang” were the exception, unfortunately. We had our own table – that’s it in the picture down below – and out job was to transport our truckloads of moonshine to the docks. That, of course meant not just getting of my own table, but driving up a long road with potential FBI or police roadblocks on it – or rival gang ambushes.Then you emerged at the wrong end of the city! Pretty early on I figured out I didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of making it there. So, we began looking at other ways of making money, and causing mayhem.Every few turns Peter announced a break in the proceedings, and a boxing match was held. Each player was invited to put forward one of their characters, who were whisked away to the boxing arena in Nowhereville (there’s a picture of it below), and bouts were held, until there was a winner. As boxers gained in experience they got die roll modifiers, so by the end there were some pretty experienced bruisers out there. my own candidate – Wayne the redneck – didn’t do particularly well, although he did manage a few wins in his brief boxing career.Strangely, when the matches ended the boxers were left to wander the streets of Nowhereville, and Wayne fell foul of not just a gang but the police – both were chasing him through the warehouse district, shooting at him. He eventually was cornered, and would have been gunned down if Peter hadn’t announced a new boxing match. He magically teleported out of trouble, and then kept well away from that part of town!During the day certain vents happened – a boatload of weapons arrived at the docks, characters appeared on the table (and were promptly kidnapped, and businesses were seized in order to extend gangster empires. Colin ran the Mounties from his base – the Air Canada desk at the airport – and when he wasn’t sparring with Charlie he was fighting with Charles – Charlie’s father – whose gang were busy robbing the bank in their part of town, and generally shooting at people.As for my Moonshine mob, there was a gas station at the corner of our table., When our moonshine-laden trucks pulled in they found it was an FBI outpost. the redneck family shot three agents, but lost two family members. Then two sedans packed with Special Agents appeared, and the gun battle started in earnest. they’d one objective – to kill “Ma” – the gang’s leader. She eventually went down in a hail of bullets while hiding behind a gas pump – probably a less than ideal form of cover. This private gunfight between  Peter’s brother Andrew and I was still raging when the time came to pack up.All in all it was an excellent weekend. This group went through something of a bad patch a year or so ago, but its now back on an even keel, and everyone got on with the task of having a good time. For the record we totaled up the booty players had, and the winner was Bill with his Jewish gang.It was hardly surprising he had more money than everyone else – not only did he pull off a successful bank robbery, but he was also the boxing promoter who got a sizeable cut every time a fight was held. It turns out that boxing is a particularly lucrative sport – or at least it is for the organisers! Now we’re looking forward to the spring, and a super-sized French & Indian War game.


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