Monday, April 10, 2017

Module Suitability Review - The Black Madonna

Taken from Quag Keep Blog, IP is GDW/FFE

The Black Madonna is one of my favorite all-time Twilight: 2000 adventures. It has a really neat McGuffin, (the Black Madonna), some well-done horror elements, a bit of a back handed swipe at a dungeon crawl (Yes, Mr. Frey, I loved how all the elements of the dungeon crawl were the oldest, and best monster of all: Man), and some memorable characters to boot (Molly Warren, and the Markgraf of Silesia).

It's got it all, and there is a reason people still talk about this module with a measure of reverence today. Hell, I even ran it with a mashup of GURPS: Alternate Earths (Dimension Hopping Nazis after the Madonna! Something actually worse than SSD-1109!!!)

But how does it stack up in the wargaming part? Surprisingly well!

Skirmish Games

Black Madonna is a well paced and crafted story, it's where I got my earliest writing tips, to be honest, so I have a soft spot for this one. But the skirmish scenario possibilities are endless here.

  • Any number of groups shoot it out for possession of the Madonna. This could even make a larger game, but not overly likely, Czestochowa is a mass of rubble that was bombed, shelled, fought over, then nuked flat. Like my last review, you're going to have to model a lot of rubble, and possibly even a dungeon crawl as you match wits with the Madonna's mad guardian.
  • Raids by groups of fugitive American stragglers on the Soviet 129th MRD, this would be common, as mentioned in the adventure, but the Soviets aren't going to be that motivated, they've all but quit the war.
  • The division commander of the 129th MRD has a couple of problem officers, the division Zampolit (Political Officer) and the commander of the Olesno garrison. Both have the potential to tear the division apart. The division commander isn't above hiring a few American stragglers to eliminate both issues, violently.

Larger Games

There are some larger issues that might or might not be coming to a head in Black Madonna, that have nothing to do with the Madonna. Some of them would make excellent game fodder, and would be a hoot to game out:

  • The Markgraf moves against one of his neighbors, either the Czechs to the South, or the Mercantile League to his East.
  • A coup is brewing in the Soviet 129th MRD. The division Zampolit (Political Officer) has ideas of taking over the division and restoring "proper socialist order" whereas the division commander simply wants to get his men home and back to whatever families they have left.
  • Another idea, this is from John R. Albers on Facebook, is to game out the battle for Czestochowa in 1997. This has a lot of promise as a 1:5 game, but it would be a large one and possibly have the makings of a campaign.
All in all, there are some really interesting possibilities here, and they would all make good miniatures games. Next, we'll be reviewing Going Home.


  1. Nice write-up; don't forget CAPT Molly Warren and her troopers, who no doubt patrol aggressively around Dobrodizen, where they've taken up quarters. Though her habit of summarily killing Russian prisoners is....regrettable. (corpses can't be interrogated)

  2. I mentioned CPT Warren in an earlier post on the blog. My thinking is that she could also fall into any of the other above mentioned ideas.


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