Alan K updates us on the club’s two visits to the the Skirmish wargames show in 2018.
As I was putting together the forces for our game at the next Skirmish show (the Second Battle of El Teb, 29 February 1884) I realised that I hadn’t written anything about our two visits last year.
For the first show we had decided on a 28mm Vietnam scenario based on a hastily mounted search and rescue operation for a downed helicopter crew. But as we watched the weather forecast steadily worsen (an interesting contrast to this year) with snow expected it was touch and go whether we might attend at all. In the end we decided to brave it and the snow turned out not to be anywhere near as bad as we had feared. Unfortunately it did have rather a chilling effect (sorry about that) on both the traders and visitors.
In any event, we arrived well in time and set up the game with the crashed chopper over to one side and the landing zone (LZ) over toward the other. The players took control of the small US unit designated to search this area and were duly landed at the LZ. The Viet Cong (VC) and other random encounters were all handled by the FNG rules from Two Hour Wargames.
Between the LZ and the main search area was a fast flowing stream crossed by a single ford on the main route to the nearby village. The players seemed reluctant to use the ford and so decided to cross the stream. Unfortunately the first man lost his footing and if it had not been for some quick reactions on behalf of his squad mates he might have drowned. Of course all the commotion attracted the attention of a lone VC who began taking pot shots from cover at the US troops in the open.
After dealing with this initial threat the Americans advanced and began to make their way slowly through the long grass towards the jungle encountering more VC emerging from cover or well concealed spider holes and always keeping an eye out for booby traps! The US forces made slow progress taking a few casualties before being assaulted by a larger VC force. Having seen them off they finally located the chopper crew and withdrew to the LZ for a dust off.
Our second visit to Skirmish later in the year was another 28mm affair but this time winding back to the Great War. In this case our game was set early in the war, featuring a certain Erwin Rommel and taken directly from his own account of the action in his book Infantry Attacks. In his own, admittedly potentially self-aggrandising narrative, after advancing west from Hill 325, Lt. Rommel stopped his platoon in cover in a field and took a scouting group ahead. Making use of cover and the foggy conditions, they passed one farm and found their way close to the Mussy-la-Ville road. As the scouting team approached they spotted a couple of French squads relaxing along the road. Rommel decided to attack rather than wait to bring up the rest of his platoon. Surprised by Rommel’s bold attack the French put up little resistance and then surrendered.
In our scenario the player who took Rommel was somewhat less bold and when he encounter the French decided to fall back and gather his platoon before attacking. Unfortunately for him that meant another French squad had arrived before the Germans returned and they had more of a fight on their hands!
I finally managed to get my first Wars of the Roses units done. Here we have the Men at Arms getting ready to go up against fellow club member Stephen. For my units in this army I wanted a real mixed up, unevenly distributed look. I’ve never liked the standard number of figures evenly spaced DBA style units. Despite 35 years in this hobby this is my first historical army and I’m clearly not a purist! But I’ve done some research, read several books and listened to a podcast on the history of England during this period, so I’m definitely putting the effort in.To get a good mix for the units I used miniatures from Peter Pig, Lancashire Games and Essex Miniatures (plus some others I’ve forgotten). I even chose some miniatures from the early 15th century to represent a few of the less wealthy lords and knights, still using their grandfathers armour.
Another thing I decided to do was not to chose a side in the conflict. It was clearly a messy affair with allegiances changing as the conflict went on (or even during a battle!). Add that to the fact the armies had identical troop types I went for removable flags for the units and commanders. In the first picture the units are representing Sir Thomas Neville but after a quick swap they are now in the service of Lord Dudley.I think this system will work quite well and I intend on making a collection of flags, so regardless of who my opponent turns up supporting, I’ll be able to pick an opposing lord!
Stephen brings us up-to-date as the the club’s year-long SAGA campaign comes to a close…
War is finally over. The ravens have glutted themselves.
During 2018 we held a Saga ‘Age Of Wolf’ campaign and we now have a winner.
The background behind the campaign was that it was set in north England (sort of around the Chester area) in 1070AD. The armies we had were Normans, Norse Gaels, two Anglo-Danes, Welsh, and Vikings.
Before we come to who finally came out on top we thought we’d give you some stories from the players (or is the warlords?) on their best moments and reflections on the year’s campaigning.
The Saga of Iomhar MacAuley (and his father Olaf)
The first game against Andy was pivotal as my Warlord was killed (a 1/20 chance) losing the Who’s Next challenge, the best ability on the battleboard. In subsequent battles he would never be able to lead from the front. The best battle was against Jeremey’s Anglo Danish where a huge dane-axe melee took place on a river crossing resulting in the complete destruction of a unit of 8 Norse Gael Warriors against 6 Anglo Dane Hearthguard in one combat. This allowed a challenge on his weakened warlord which was won by the Norse Gaels and the Anglo Danish Warlord was killed outright.
Sailing home after a successful raid on the Anglo Danish recruits of Irish axemen from Donegal paid visit to our Hall and after much drinking and feasting agreed to join in our expedition the following summer to raid the Anglo Danish lands again. We were surprised to find an Anglo Danish army lying in wait with additional mercenaries and witchcraft prevented us gaining their Sacred Ground. Sensing that greater battles lay ahead, we left and whilst the Anglo Danes celebrated for many nights, it was an empty victory. Their lands had been stripped bare.
I sought vengeance for my father’s death in turn 1 and raided more Anglo Danish lands. We intercepted them escorting trade, yet more witchcraft confirmed the presence of a large body of Anglo Dane huscarls from their Allies. We heard news that a Norman force was setting sail from the south and rumours of a Viking raid from the North. The Huscarls were nearly all slain but we left without booty to face the greater threats from North and South.
Returning quickly home, we were able to intercept the Normans at a ford near the border of our lands. We learned that these Norman’s do not fight like real men and our valiant men were cut down in wave after wave of cowardly arrows. It will be a long hard winter waiting for the Vikings, we pray for storms to scatter their ships.
The Saga Of Andraes Willhelmson
It has been a mixed year for Andraes Vilhelmsson; many men have come to pledge their service, his family has expanded through marriage, his fame has grown and a firm friendship forged with Uhtred Beornson.
The year has seen battles with the Welsh, the Norse Gaels, Vikings and the Normans. The high points have been consistent victories over the Norse Gaels of Olaf Tidbit, and after Olaf‘s death at Andraes’s men’s hands, Olaf’s son Iomhair MacAulay. Andreas’s struggle against the invading Normans has not gone well, with three battles lost to Gislebert. Andreas crossed axes with Owain the Cantankerous Welshmen twice, with the Welshman besting Andraes on both occasions and he has also suffered a raid by the sea wolves.
Andraes’s Wealth and Reputation have increased, and he is now considered an Atheling; but his lands have been beset by many raids, a campaign by the Welsh and diverse floods and famine. Andreas himself has been grievously wounded in two of these battles.
Andraes will spend the winter recovering from his wounds, and will set forth again next year determined to keep the invaders at bay.
The Saga of Antoine de Gislebert
I started the campaign season with what looks like an unorthodox warband, but my randomly generated special ability (scout), meant that all my levies generated Saga dice. For the Normans this played into our hands.
Motivation of land would also help as the higher this went the more levy units I could have. Initially this was a problem in that I had to generate money to buy land as campaigning with mounted knights and levy is very difficult, so I tended to raid my opponents.
Campaign season 4 wasn’t looking good…. I had already lost a raid against the Welsh when we were in turn raided by the Anglo Danes. I took a chance and played the 4 point encounter with myself, 1 unit of warriors with x-bows and 3 units of levy bowmen. If I got into close combat it wasn’t going to be pretty for the levy, but luckily I only lost my warrior unit and ultimately won the game. 3VPs
Campaign season 5, I ended up defending this season. This would have generated no VPs except the Anglo Dane’s were up for revenge and raided trying to stop a baggage train. Although some of the baggage was looted, the game finished as a draw. 1 VP
Campaign season 6 was the turning point. Raided by another Anglo Dane warband, we fought challenge scenario…wrongly. We played it differently to the official errata and I should have lost, but my opponent stated that we keep the original result, as the battle would have undoubtedly been fought differently. I rounded off the campaign with a resounding victory against the Norse Gaels. 4 VPs
The Saga of Owain the Wolftamer
I started cautiously and decided to play a devious game. I was lucky at the start because I gained three wealth and my aim was to acquire wealth! Which meant I started as a aetheling with the post-battle benefits that brings.
It was at the Cavalier show in Tonbridge that things started to get political. I overheard Jeremey and Andy (the two anglo-dane players) having a sneaky discussion about forming an alliance. And I could have sworn that I heard them plotting to attack Tony’s Normans. So I decided to deflect attention away from myself and emailed the other players letting them know of such skullduggery.
And I had been partly correct.
Next turn Andy and Jeremey did indeed declare an alliance. But they attacked me!
This meant I had to face two opponents, on the same day, both with reinforced armies. I wasn’t confident.
Somehow, though, I managed to win both games! It was from this turn that Owain became the Wolf Tamer (he’d previously been Owain the Cantankerous because I rolled the ‘Quarrelsome’ personality trait). I gave him a warbanner, and made one up especially for the campaign (yes, I know it looks more like a pair of angel’s wings than two clipped wolf tails. I could re-paint it, I suppose…). I think this banner will be used in other games, outside of the campaign, just to remind Jeremey and Andy of their infamy and how they lost. They deserve nothing less.
This then set me up for the rest of the campaign and put me in a strong position.
The Saga of Unhtred Beornson (and son Erik)
The campaign season ended as it had started with the spilling of Norman blood. Our Lord Uhtred Beornson rallied the land to face the first unprovoked attacks of the Norman aggressors. But the lands were ravaged and soon the vultures were gathering on our borders. Lord Uhtred mustering a force strong enough to challenge these other threats launched successive attacks against the Welsh bandits and godless Norse Gaels, but the omens were bad and despite a strong alliance with the fellow Anglo-Danes of Andraes Vilhelmsson, Lord Uhtred was slain during a bloody encounter with the Gaels. Bearing our lord’s body back to Elmslac his first born Erik Uhtredson took up his father’s axe. As the campaign season drew to a close Erik turned towards the Normans determined to seek retribution. Blades clashed, shields were splintered. Many Normans and Danes were slain, Erik fought with the ferocity of his ancestors slaying a number of Norman knights single handed. Supported by his chosen warriors, several blows were landed on the Norman Lord Gislebert, but as the sun set it wasn’t enough. Returning to their lands as the first snows of winter fell, the exhausted warriors reflected on a hard fought campaign.
To The Victor Go The Spoils
Firstly, our immense thanks go to our friends at Gripping Beast. What each player did was put a fiver in a kitty to get a prize for the winner. Winner takes all. I then contacted Gripping Beast, told them about our campaign, and asked if we could have a deal on a copy of the Saga 2 rulebook and Age Of Vikings supplement. They very generously agreed! Great stuff.
And so the winner was…Tony Gibbs with his Normans.
Yup, the result was quite a historical one: the English (Anglo-Danes) had come out poorly, with the norse still nibbling around the edges but not really having it in them to make a firm hold, whilst out on the Celtic fringes they are still independent (for the time being). Top of the heap, though, are the Normans.
And with that, we have now gone over to Saga 2. Tony won the books, and I have it on good authority that Santa may have visited others as well. As I write this, we are yet to have a game of the second edition, but there is an upcoming session in the club diary. So if you want to play a bit of Saga (or anything else) you’d be more than welcome to join us.
The Royalists started with 15 battle groups. The Scots Covenanters and Parliament had 19 battle groups. The Royalist right flank collapsed under the onslaught of Cromwell’s “Ironsides” Horse regiments which caused an Army break, after the Cavaliers accrued 16 attrition points.
A bad day for the Royalist Cause! Hopefully, there’ll be a re-fight later in the year.
In our first session the five German players each commanded their own JagdDivision of Night Fighters, aiming to intercept the incoming bomber Command raids that night.
The Germans were lulled into a bit of a false sense of security as they did not spot any incoming raids until turn 3. The air picture then clarified and the main force raid was identified using a northern route, with a mosquito raid to the south and two other diversionary raids emerging from the main force attack.
The first unit to strike were the Ju-88 C-6 of Mike’s II Gruppe, NJG3, which had been placed on overwatch under control of the defensive radar chain in Northern Germany. They attacked as the Main Force Raid Lancasters passed over the radar line. However, this unit had been dispersed by the poor weather on take off, reducing its impact.
Fighters were given only a very general indication of where the bombers were by their heavily jammed ground radar and mainly relied on their own airborne radar to find targets. However, only 2 of the players had the new sets that were free from British jamming.
In the action that followed, it was Chris that got in the first attack, badly damaging Lancaster C for Charlie in a hasty attack. However, he’d picked the wrong plane to mess with and his Ju88 was shot down by return fire from the defending gunners.
Next up was Bob, who homed in on Lancaster E for Easy. However, this plane’s gunners were really on alert and they opened fire first and shot the Ju88 down before it had a chance to land any hits.
However, at last the NachtJagd managed to get off the scoreboard as John locked on to Lancaster H for How, damaging the target on his first pass. A second pass shot the Lancaster down. The gunners never saw what hit them.
With the first attack completed the players returned to the raid map. Here diversionary Mosquito raids were beginning to hit their targets in Duisburg, Witten and Hamburg. The Duisburg raiders got clean away without being intercepted. However, the only unit equipped with high-speed specialised He-219 A-2 Night Fighters, Chairman John’s I Gruppe NJG1, was now placed on overwatch in the radar line astride their return route and were vectored in to attack the Mosquitos that had raided Witten. The Ju-88s and Me-110s in the air in the area were too slow to catch the Mosquitos.
In this second action the unarmed Mosquito Mk IVs played a cat and mouse game as the Heinkels tried to home in on their targets, relying on their speed for protection. Mike managed to get into position to make a power dive to pounce on one of the raiders, but his approach was spotted and the Mosquito attempted to shake him off with a corkscrew turn. Mike second guessed this and followed the Mosquito through the turn, then shot it down with a well-aimed burst, as it began a second corkscrew evasion.
The raid will continue at the next session in April.
At the end of session 1 the league table points scored are as follows (it is worth noting that the Germans were stupendously unlucky in their dice rolls to lose 2 Night Fighters in air to air combat):
Mike (2JD) 3 +2 for Mosquito shot down, +1 for GCI attack
Chairman John (3JD) 2 +1 for Lancaster shot down, +1 for GCI attack
Dave (1JD) 0 no gains, no losses
Chris (7JD) -1.5 +.5 for Lancaster damaged, -2 for Ju88 shot down
This year’s Field of Glory tournament started with a 3-a-side game on the first meeting of the year. From the scores it would seem to have been a very close game, with the triumvirate of Paul, Pete and Brett just edging out Colin, Jack and Chairman John 11-9. The FoG league page has now been moved to the blog from the club website – the page can be found here.
The end of year Society wild west shoot out for 2018 has gone down in the Annals of the West. The town photographer captured the action!
This saw Sheriff “Frontier Steve” Walters defending the good citizens of Tombstone against raiding gangs led by Black “Texas Bob” Jang and Frank “Bexley Dutch Mike” Schmidt. The Sheriff was later reinforced by a mercenary crew led by No-Eyes “Chairman John” Luke. A motley range of citizens were controlled by the host and umpire, “Treasurer Mark” showing varying levels of commitment to help defend their town.
The gang led by Dutch Mike made a beeline for the bank, whilst the gang led by Texas Bob made a bee-line for the Drink n Drop Saloon. Patrolling deputy Ted ‘The Lawman’ spotted Dutch, raised the alarm and opened fire with his trusty Colt, while Sheriff Steve Walters moved round the general store to outflank Dutch’s gang, only to die in a hail of bullets from Quick-Draw Mc-Graw. Several citizens waded in to help – the general store owner shot down Dutch from the window of his store before rashly coming out and in turn being gunned down by Quick-Draw. Ted the Lawman fell to the shotgun of outlaw Heath Robinson. The hapless citizen Bashful Baz placed himself squarely in the line of fire and then spent the rest of the game rooted to the spot and twice trying to unjam his Colt in a hail of bullets, emerging unscathed with only a few bullet grazes. The only Deputy left standing, Camp Freddie, despatched outlaw Doc Savage through a window, having fled for cover in the bank.
At the other end of town Texas Bob went head to head with the newly arrived John ‘No-eyes’ and gunned him down in a hail of lead, then laying out his gang-side kick Jimmy Six-Shot with a ‘real-bad’ hit in the legs. His rampage was finally stopped with a hail of bullets from ‘No-Eyes’ number 2, Yankee Seb. Texas Bob’s side-kick, Stick-up Joe moved in to rob and recruit in the Drink n Drop. Joe won over his secret admirer, saloon girl Rosie Williams and saloon ‘resident’ Whiskey Will. All hell broke lose as the jilted and alcohol-fuelled Hallelujah Jones attacked Rosie. Stick-up laid him out cold and Rosie completed her journey to the dark side by finishing him with her trusty Deringer. However, as Stick-up Joe emerged from the Drink n Drop, he was gunned down by hired guns Yankee Seb and Ugly Trev.
Meanwhile outlaw Sam Sharpshot went after town resident ‘The Butcher’ who had been gunned down after emerging from his livery stable and wildly shooting his shotgun at Texas Bob’s gang. ‘The Butcher’ was heroically rescued by the town Doc, Sweeney Todd, but both were then pursued and ‘The Butcher’ was killed by the hard-bitten Sam assisted by Whiskey Will – Sweeney Todd was badly injured trying to save him. Meanwhile last member of Bob’s gang, the outlaw Maximillian met a sticky end at the hands of Yankee Seb, Deputy Camp Freddie and hotel owner ‘Hurricane’ Higgins, who suddenly found the ‘courage’ to shoot him in the back as he faced Yankee Seb.
Crazed with grief Rosie dashed across the street aiming to gun down lawman Camp Freddie, who calmly turned and shot her down.
With this, the surviving outlaws headed for the hills.
The winner on the day was the gang of Black “Texas Bob” Jang, who scored 7 points after robbing the Drink n Drop and the Livery Stable (1 point each), recruiting two citizens to the gang (2 points), killing Legend ‘No-Eyes’ (2 points) and two citizens (half a point each). The only survivors were Shootist Sam Sharpshot and the now infamous ex-citizen Whiskey Will.
In second place was “Chairman John”, who scored 4.5 points after killing Legend Black Jang, Doc Savage, Maximillian and half a point for citizen turned outlaw, Rosie. All of the hired gang except leader ‘No-Eyes’ survived, but Jimmy Six-Shot was ‘hurt real bad’.
A close third was “Bexley Dutch Mike”, who scored 4 points, his gang gunning down Legend Sheriff Walters, Deputy Ted the Lawman and citizens ‘Doc’ Walters and Ol’ George. Only two gang members survived, Quick-Draw Mc-Graw and gang side-kick, Heath Robinson, who was ‘hurt real bad’, but caused mayhem with his shotgun. McGraw becomes a legend after taking out the Sheriff and his marksman deputy without so much as a scratch before avenging his fallen leader.
“Frontier Steve” had an unlucky day with 3 of the 4 lawmen shot down stopping Dutch’s gang with the Sheriff and Chief Deputy killed and Deputy Billy the Bloke badly shot up as he emerged from the jail to help. Their sacrifice will always be remembered.
The citizens held a fine funeral for Doc Walters who fell defending his store and the town, killing outlaw legend ‘Dutch’ Schmidt. Bashful Baz can spin a fine tale showing his bullet grazes having survived a hail of bullets and shotgun shells (probably leaving out that his gun jammed twice and he never hit anything other than the side of the bank). The severely injured doctor, Sweeney Todd becomes a town hero after his selfless rescue of ‘The Butcher’ and attempt to save him from the brutal assault of Sam Sharpshot and the treacherous Whiskey Will.
The tragic tale of the doomed love of Stick-up Joe and Rosie Williams enters western folk-lore.
Camp Freddie plans to stand for Sheriff.
The game used “The Rules With No Name” and 20mm figures and buildings from the collection of our late Chairman, Trevor.
The rules use a card driven activation sequence and make for an excellent, fast, fun game.
A random roll was used to drive the action of citizens, with the potential to defect to an outlaw gang under pressure, avoid action, or alternatively suddenly gain the courage to defend the town, with limited, or excessive enthusiasm, as events unfolded in their direction.
To kick off 2019 at the first meeting in January there will be a game of Dragon Rampant based on the story of Beowulf and Grendel. Stephen sets the scene…
“In off the moors, down through the mist beams, god-cursed Grendel came greedily loping…”
The game will involve two sides – Grendel and his marsh demon minions against Beowulf and the assorted heroes of Heorot.
All models and materials will be provided. Just bring yourself and a desire to roll dice in good company. There’s no need to know the rules either. Dragon Rampant is an easy game to pick up and, though it’s open to anyone, I’d be particularly keen to have players who’ve never played the ‘Rampant’ family of games before or new players to the club.
So if you fancy a go then join us on the 12th Jan for a bit of mythological dark ages fun.
“For a brief while your strength is in bloom but it fades quickly; and soon there will follow illness or the sword to lay you low, or a sudden fire or a surge of water or jabbing blade or javelin from the air or repellent age.”
John Lambert fills us in with the goings-on at the Christmas Gaslands game
Five Gangers set off from the city in pursuit of the two escaping War Rigs and their escort. Stephen was keen to get stuck in but slide out of control and was stuck in 1st gear at the end of the first move. It was going to prove a frustrating day as He tried to get back into contention.
The War Rigs were in good shape but the escort had managed to position themselves so that they were unable to provide cover for the rigs. This close escort was proving frustrating for the second War Rig and despite strong words between the rig driver and escort the escort failed to take evasive action and was hit by the War rigs side rams – Ouch!. Sometimes tough love is the only way to learn. This was to prove costly for the War Rigs too as hazard accumulation caused by the collision and the wide bends caused the trailing War Rig to wipeout. This separated the rigs and left Chris’s war rig vulnerable to attack from all sides. The folly of taking fixed position machine guns instead of pivot mounts was plain to see as Chris suffered attack after attack, particularly from Bob’s car armed with two deadly miniguns.
Meanwhile the Escorting vehicles took a well earned lunch allowing Andy to score significant hits on the second rig. Chris was lined up to smash through a road block but He never made it and had to respawn. After two and a half hours, the War rigs had become bogged down but were able to carry out some repairs on the move. The trailing war rig decided to cut across the desert to avoid the attentions of the Ganger pack as a Pell Mell battle developed around Chris’ rig. It was at this point that Stephen dropped a glue slick which was to prove pivotal in the penultimate turn.
With Bob still in the lead, there were two dark horses. Carefully and quietly, Jack was amassing points and by pretending not to have any interest in the game, Mark’s tally was increasing un-noticed. Stephen also managed to register some hits.
This was the moment to bring on the Gyrocopter with snakes as a dropped weapon. The snakes were duly dropped causing confusion amongst the Gangers which pushed Andy out of contention, made worse by a direct hit from a Molotov cocktail and Bob was not able to get in strike range of the Rigs, stuck in the glue. With the final turn approaching, Bob was still in the lead but only just. A ramming and boarding attempt by Mark failed and whilst Jack was able to score some hits, a fumbled gear change prevented further attacks or a ramming attempt on the Rigs.
In the end, Bob just about held on to win by a narrow 2 point margin from both Mark and Jack. Bob’s pre game preparation had proved decisive and He is now the proud owner of a 3 car Gaslands team. Well done Bob!