The club held a second ‘virtual meeting’ last weekend, with solo games, and even a socially distanced garden game of FoG. Over to the players…
Stephen – Solo SAGA
Stephen had a game of SAGA – the Prized Possessions scenario. Edward Oswaldson (Anglo Danes) had been tasked by the earl to escort the local bishop and his possessions. Meanwhile, a boat load of Norse Gaels from Dublin led by Ragnall Svendsson had been raiding in the area. The Anglo Danes won. They managed to get the wagons off the table, though the bishop himself didn’t quite get off and the game ended with the bishop looking at a very irate Norse Gael warlord…
Marcus – Galactic Heroes
Marcus took on his sons; never a good move… The game was going well but match abandoned after an 90 mins due to unforeseen circumstances. Just as well, he was the rebel scum entering bottom left, trying to get a droid to the ship (top right) he’d lost two characters already to the eldest son. Youngest son was preparing an ambush should he make it through…
Alan Kirk – Verdun 1916
Alan played a solo learning game of Verdun 1916: Steel Inferno using the first scenario which covers the initial German attack.
Mark J, John Legg, Bret – FoG in the Garden
Mark’s Roman Dominate army had its first outing in his back garden and were truly smashed by the Sassanids…twice!
And finally, Eric played a couple of wargames-based video games (Total War and Dark Future – there are videos !
Last Saturday, at Stephen’s suggestion, some club members held a ‘virtual’ club meeting; some played solo games or with family members at home, and three even managed to play a board game over Zoom. Here’s a round up of what went on.
Mark H, Mark J and Seán – Nightfighter
Mark H ran a three-player game over Zoom – he’s written it up fully in a separate report.
Marcus – Air Combat in the Gulf War
Marcus played a solo game of modern air combat using Wings at War; this will also be getting its own write-up soon.
Phil – Space Hulk
Phil broke out the new (ish) re-issue of Games Workshop’s Space Hulk with his eldest son; unpainted figures, really!
Stephen – Full Thrust
Stephen, whose idea this all was, went for some solo Full Thrust. Which just sounds all wrong…
Mark J – Kobolds and Cobblestones
Mark.2 played out a Fantasy rumble at the docks.
Tony F – Lord of the Rings
And finally, the webmaster played out a simple Lord of the Rings scenario (the one where Sean Bean/Boromir gets shot full of arrows defending Merry and Pippin).
As we currently have no meetings and gathering indoors is not possible, we have been starved of our wargames for 2 months!
We tried a game of GMT’s Nightfighter over Zoom. The game uses some house scenarios that allow multiple players on the German side. The main game map is enlarged and uses miniatures to substitute for counters.
There were four Ju88C-6 night fighters patrolling to intercept bombers over the targets. These could be coned by the searchlights on the ground, spotted by the onboard radar, or spotted visually.
Here is the hidden umpire map showing the Lancaster position at close of play:
We played until a Lancaster was shot down. Mark shot down ‘E for East’ after a four move duel. The bomber spotted him before he attacked and got two rounds of fire, but failed to score a hit.
The Ju88 missed on the first pass from a poor position, then scored heavy damage on the second pass.
The Ju-88 mis-timed the third pass, but finished the target off on the final pass.
Sean had meanwhile homed in on a bomber with one of his Ju-88s, but ran out of time to shoot it down.
This was the game board at close of play:
A scan of the battle map was shared on Zoom with the players and annotated with the fighter positions, radar sightings and searchlight spots.
Game play is slowed, as moves have to be described sequentially, so the game would have worked faster with less planes controlled by one player with hindsight, but the board game hex playing surface does make a game over Zoom possible! We may give it another go having worked out the snags.
With both of our Wars of the Roses armies completed Stephen and I assembled on an unremarkable field somewhere in England for our first clash. Stephen took the role of the Lancastrians and recruited Andy to act as a lesser lord of the realm in control of his right flank. I’d gone for the Yorkists and ended up with the flags of the Earl of Salisbury and his son Sir Thomas Neville. In similar fashion I recruited Tony to the role of Thomas Neville also taking command of the right flank.
The Lancastrian army formed up in a neat row extending across the battlefield with their archers on the flanks and their billmen and men at arms in the centre. The Lancastrians had no cavalry or artillery, however they had more archers and had brought some mercenary pikemen.
Across the field the Yorkists took a different approach forming up with their archers and artillery out front with the billmen and men at arms close behind. The Yorkists also had mounted men at arms as well as some light cavalry units positioned out on the flanks.
The first move of the battle saw Andy move his archers to a commanding position on the only high ground available.
This move prompted me to move my cavalry out past the archers flank screened by a nearby wood. My intention was not to attack the flank but to try and get Andy to weaken his archers on the hill by dispatching them to deal with the now threatened flank.
Meanwhile on the Yorkist right Tony had found himself squashed between my artillery unit and some woods. This would cause a number of problems for Tony during the battle as he was unable to line up his units to best effect.
Seeing the difficulty the Yorkist right flank was in Steve moved his archers in range to pour missiles into the floundering Yorkists.
Apart from Steve’s flaking move and Andy moving his archers onto the hill, the Lancastrians refused to give battle. Seeing the danger on the flank and with the Cavalry feint having drawn some of Andy’s archers away, I push the artillery forward and began firing on the Lancastrian Billmen. The attack did not cause any damage but it had the desired effect, soon the Lancastrian billmen would be on the advance.
Seeing the Lancastrian billmen on the advance I pushed my archers forward and engaged the archers on the hill. The dice definitely favoured the Yorkists destroying a unit of archers outright but taking some damage in return.
As I prepared to receive the advancing billmen, Tony had managed to engage Steve’s archers on the Yorkist right flank. Unfortunately the Lancastrian archers stood their ground against attacks from the Yorkist billmen.
My archers managed to get a volley off against the Lancastrian’s before the two battle lines crashed together. Unable to move the archers had to join the melee and soon succumbed to the billmen, but I had billmen in reserve ready to fill the gap.
The clash was pretty even with both sides taking hits. Out on the Yorkist right flank Tony’s archers had taken a beating but he was still determined to get his billmen into the fight. In the centre Steve still had his men-at-arms directly in front of my artillery and so had no choice than to advance into the oncoming fire.
Although the Men-at-Arms had taken some damage they quickly overwhelmed the artillery leaving them to rampage behind the Yorkist line. Tony still had his cavalry in reserve but didn’t get the activation dice required to charge in and so the Men-at-Arms got the chance to destroy them in a subsequent charge. However Tony was more successful with his Mounted Men-at-Arms.
Charging in against the Lancastrian archers Tony was successful in gaining some momentum on the right flank. But the Yorkists would then throw away a strong position with a number of cavalry blunders. First came my charge with my light cavalry against the archers I had drawn out on Andy’s flank. The charge saw the cavalry wiped out with no damage to the defending archers. Tony then charged his Mounted Men-at-Arms against the Lancastrian pikemen and suffered the same fate!
With the main battle in the centre going the Yorkists way and following the cavalry blunders, I turned my Mounted Men-at-Arms around and galloped back to the centre. The battle was nearing an end with both armies at breaking point.
With the help of my cavalry the Lancastrian centre was destroyed, and with Andy’s remaining units too far away on the Lancastrian right flank, it was up to Tony on the Yorkist right flank to carry the day. The Lancastrian’s still had some strong infantry units but Steve had failed to get the activations he needed to get them into the fight. Needing just a point before breaking completely the battle came down to the long drawn out melee between Steve’s archers and Tony’s billmen.
But the dice finally favoured Tony and the archers were utterly destroyed, handing victory to the Yorkists by the narrow margin of 29-32!
This turned out to be a really good battle. Three of the players had only played 3 or 4 games of Sword and Spear before and for Tony this was his first ever play of the rules.
From the Yorkist point of view, the good parts were managing to draw out some of the Lancastrian forces with a cavalry feint, and a lucky result in winning the archery duel in the centre. Having the artillery also turned out to be a good move as it forced the Lancastrians to advance when they had planned to sit tight. The bad points for the Yorkists though were the poor deployment between the artillery and the woods allowing the Lancastrians to out flank the right hand side, and the poorly executed cavalry charges late in the battle.
From the Lancastrians point of view, the good parts were exploiting the poor enemy deployment and out flanking with archers. But the bad points were reacting to the feint and being unlucky with the activation dice later in the battle preventing them from getting more of their infantry committed against the poorly deployed Yorkists.
The war will no doubt continue with the Lancastrians out for revenge!
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!
Stephen regales us with another saga of the SAGA campaign
There is safety in numbers. Mind, there is also cowardice and dishonour.
It happened that Fritjolf Erlandsson had been raiding the coasts of Britannia and his raids took him north, around the rocky shores of Cape Wrath, and down through the Hibernian seas and the Isles of Manannan. He took landfall at Anglesey before heading down the Conway and harrying the good people who lived in the fertile valley.
This news soon passed to the bishop of Bangor who called upon his bondsman, Owain the Wolf Tamer, to fall upon the norsemen and bring slaughter to them. Owain was pleased to do the bishop’s bidding and he said his prayers unto the Lord that he may prevail in this endeavour.
It was in the woods of Tal-Y-Bont that Owain found Fritjolf and his men lurking, taking camp amid a collection of hoary stones engraved with the symbols of the ancients.
Fritjolf bellowed out to Owain, challenging him to a duel. But Owain was known for his wisdom and canniness, and he knew the deceit of the Vikings, and he was cunning in his actions for he made the leader of the Norse think he had been fooled, but he knew that Fritjolf had hidden his men in the woods and would lay upon him when he drew near. In his turn, Owain had arranged his own warriors and loyal bondsmen, so that Fritjolf would be trapped and Owain could take him back in chains to the bishop in Bangor.
Owain drew his javelins and let a flurry fly at Fritjolf and such was the accuracy of his aim that he pricked the Norse leader terribly. At this Fritjolf showed his true self and hastily fled from Owain and sought sanctuary amongst his men, too cowardly to take the fight to Owain as man against man,as he had entreated. Oh no! This Norse warrior, who had boasted and goaded the bold Owain, soon hid behind his men whilst Owain stood firm, alone, without need of hiding behind the men he was responsible for. So much for heroics when this cursed raider could do nothing more heroic than use his own men, men who had come to his banner, as a shield to protect his own dishonourable hide.
Owain had long since inspired devotion and loyalty in his followers who willingly moved forward to engage the Norse raiders to protect their lord and land.
Many times did Fritjolf and his raiders know the bitter taste of Welsh iron and fell sorry sore at the points of their javelins.
Owain danced around the raiders, his knowledge of the land of his fathers playing into his hands, and the vikings were at a loss at what to do.
And so it happened that Fritjolf and his raiders were sent packing. Lucky them that they were not sent in chains to the bishop, but with their tails between their legs they were beaten off and they made for their longships and took to the seas once more.
The society is refighting all of the naval actions of WW1 as a long running campaign, initially focussing on British Home Waters in 1914-1915.
Scenario 10 covered a night action off the Danish Coast on 17th August 1915.
Ships used are 1/3000 Navwar, with the Princess Margaret and the Light Vessel scratch built, all from Mark’s collection. Rules are Mark’s computer moderated rules written in Visual Basic 6.
British forces were heading in to the Heligoland Bight to lay a large minefield aimed at catching German vessels coming in and out of their ports. The large Minelayer, Princess Margaret, was escorted by seven modern ‘M’ class destroyers of the 10th Flotilla. The sun had recently set and the British force was using the light from the Danish Horns Reef Light Vessel to get a position fix before heading in to lay the mines. These were commanded by Mark as umpire.
Co-incidentally five large German destroyers of the 2nd Torpedoboots-Flottille had been on a search mission to the north that day and were heading back to port, also using the light vessel to get a fix before their final run in. This force was commanded by Jon.
The British force was silhouetted against the afterglow of the sun and so at 8.13pm the German force was able to sight and close on the British unseen. At 8.22 the British spotted the shapes of ships in the murk and after some hesitation about their identity, the closest Division of British destroyers opened fire. A short fight at about 5000 yards ensued with the British getting off a couple of torpedoes. Apart from a near miss on the British destroyer Miranda, no hits were made and whilst the British torpedoes crossed the German line they both missed.
The British had turned away and with the remaining light having gone, the two sides lost sight of each other. The players now plotted their next actions on a map.
The British decided to attempt to resume their course for minelaying and at 20.40 the two sides blundered back into contact. As there was no moon and the Princess Margaret reacted slowly to the new contact, the two sides found themselves very quickly at close range. The British 1st Division raced forward to shield the Princess Margaret, with both sides opening fire as they closed to just 600 yards and the German commander ordered a flotilla torpedo attack.
In a few minutes of mayhem the British destroyer Minos and then the German B 109 sank as a result of shell hits. The British were extremely lucky to avoid 16 well-directed German torpedoes which crossed the tracks of 6 ships including the Princess Margaret.
The Mentor and Moorsom were also badly damaged and reduced in speed and the German G 103 stopped by a shell in her engine rooms. She was able to repair her damaged steam line and get back underway at reduced speed after the action to limp home.
The British again broke off and this time headed west for their covering force. The German boats gobbled up the lagging Mentor and sank her with gunfire, then also stumbled across the crippled Moorsom as they steered south for home, again finishing her with a couple of salvos.
The British destroyers had succeeded in saving the heavily loaded minelayer they were there to screen, but had paid a high price, with 3 of their destroyers sunk, for only 1 German boat lost.
In the real action the Germans used the light advantage to close, then fired 3 torpedoes, before the British saw them. One of these hit and blew the bow off the destroyer Mentor. The Germans and British then immediately broke off, leaving the Mentor alone. Once shored up, she managed an epic journey to limp all the way home.
In all campaign games German losses count double, to reflect the fact that they were less able to absorb losses and to reflect their more cautious use of their ships.
Nevertheless this game was a German tactical victory as the tonnage of British ships lost was more than double that of German ships lost – 2805 tons to 1352 tons, a net score of 101 points for Jon as German commander and a loss of the same for Mark as British/Umpire. This leaves the league table as follows: