Andy tells the story of the Fenris mission from a different perspective.
Following the limited success of the first mission to Denides, Captain Ash de Vere set about recruiting replacements for the losses incurred, Eric Olsen, the First Mate and Sam Fleet, a pathfinder had both died during the mission.
The first order of business was to recruit a new First Mate, by a stroke of fate the best candidate Ash could find was also called Eric, Eric Bamburgh. After some reflection Ash decided the crew really ought to have the services of a medic, and fortunately the new first mate knew of a good man called Dan McIntyre who was looking for a new berth.
As the two new crewmen were settling in Patina dZuk, one of the Runners Ash had engaged for the last mission, popped in and asked Ash if he could stump up 20 credits to get her the kit needed to become a Chisler. As there was just enough credit remaining after hiring Dan, Ash agreed.
So, with the crew back up to full strength Ash set about looking for a new mission to bolster the funds. An information broker Ash knew, Germy, had heard some rumours that Fenris, site of one of the major battles in the Robot Wars, was awash with loot and knew of potential buyers for any physical loot that Ash could find. What Germy didn’t say was how many robots remained active on the surface of Fenris…
Ash and Eric tried to lay some groundwork for the mission, Ash tried his usual sources for some high impact ammunition, but none was to be found. Eric tried greasing some palms to get possible rival crews to look the other way at an opportune moment, but there were no takers.
As Ash set the shuttle down on Fenris he briefed his crew. He would lead one team with Charlie, Jen and Patina. Eric would lead a second team with Skel, Honu and Offler. Bren, who hadn’t fully recovered from the injuries sustained on Denides, and the new medic Dan would be the reserve.
As the teams approached the ruins of a town movement could be seen, several of the Fenris incident robots were moving around the town.
In addition, more than one other crew were in the town, no doubt searching for the same loot Ash was after.
Ash led his team towards Tony’s crew, an ex-military group judging by their uniforms, activating his Energy Shield as he moved through the ruins.
Ash’s team took up positions behind some rocks while Patina got out her lock picks and set to opening a promising looking crate. Success, unlocked!
As Patina checked the contents of the crate she came under fire from Tony’s crew, presumably trying to take her out so they could steal the loot.
Ash and the rest of the team returned fire at Tony’s crew, giving the wounded Patina the chance to fall back with the loot behind some rocks to take her out of the line of fire. Ash told Patina to get back to the Troubadour with the loot as fast as she could; he and the rest of the team would cover her retreat.
In the ensuing firefight Jen was knocked down, and as Ash and Charlie were both hit before they pulled back. As did Tony’s crew, perhaps they realised they weren’t going to be able to catch Patina.
Meanwhile, Eric’s team had moved into a different part of the ruins searching for more loot.
As they advanced a clanking sound was heard behind them, one of the Fenris Robots had appeared from the ruins and opened fire, wounding Skel.
Bren and Dan came to Skel’s aid, Bren taking out the robot, and Dan treating Skel’s injuries.
Honu took up a position to guard the right flank, hunkering down amid the ruins. Good job too as another Robot moved up, firing on and wounding Honu. In returning fire Honu managed to put the Robot down.
While Honu dealt with the robot, Eric and Offler advanced through the ruins, finding another crate.
As they examined the crate they came under fire from Stephen’s crew, who seemed to be concentrating their fire on Offler. She was knocked down, and after returning fire Eric pulled back to some cover, with Bren coming up to support.
For some unknown reason the crew that had shot Offler then fell back, giving Eric the chance to go back and unlock the loot.
With Bren and Honu covering, Eric grabbed the loot and headed back toward the ship, only for yet another robot to appear! Luckily for the crew the combined fire of Bren, Honu and Eric managed to take down the robot, although Bren’s carbine jammed part way through the firefight.
With the robot down Eric’s team made good their escape, with Eric wondering why they had been robot magnets.
Once the Troubadour had left orbit, Dan took Jen and Offler into the sick bay to treat their wounds. Jen was remarkably uninjured after all, it must have been just a glancing blow, but Offler was in worse condition. Dan managed to patch her up, but she would not be back to full strength for a while.
Back at the Grand Market, Ash decided not to fence the loot through Germy, he hadn’t forgiven Germy for the bad intel on the robots. After some haggling, he found buyers for the Trade Goods and Alien Artefact they had recovered, netting 250 and 400 credits respectively. Ash would have to think on how to spend the hard-earned credits.
The crew gained 135 experience from the mission, enabling Eric to advance a level.
On another club outing with Stargrave Jeremey ran a game set on the legendary planet of Fenris, with Stephen providing a dramatic write up of the game …
The game was set up in the ruins of a city with the robots of Fenris on patrol throughout the region. The crews of four ships arrive to search for loot.
Each crew was given a random mission brief providing additional bonuses to be had based on those missions. Stephen ended up with a mission that allowed the crew to pick a rival crew and gain extra credits for any kills against that crew.
The Seedy Dive Space Bar
“100 Credits!? You gotta be kidding me. I want 200.” Kersh Wilson banged his fist on the table for emphasis.
His opposite number leaned forward. Only now did Kersh get an idea of his features in the half-light of the smoke-filled room – the flattened nose, the red skin and ritual scarring. Kersh was dealing with a Creduxian.
“I’ll tell you what I’ll do, Kid,” said the Creduxian. “What I’ll do for you is make it 150 credits for a kill. Just 75 for a hit. Do we have a deal?”
Kersh leaned back, trying to recover his composure, remember the calm and measure he’d been taught as a young student by his masters.
“150 for a kill, huh? Yeah, OK – we got a deal.”
“Good. Good. I’ve made it easy for you. The hit’s name is Offler dZuk – she killed my kinsman. She’s a crew member on a ship called The Troubadour. The captain’s name is Ash de Vere. I’ve had one of my cronies slip Ash some information about some ruins on Fenris. Told him there was money to be made. So I’ve got ‘em off-planet for ya’, somewhere quiet, somewhere away from the eyes of the lawmen. Who knows, maybe you can make some extra loot out of it yourself…”
Kersh and his crew, as well as trying to collect loot tokens, had a special mission – extra money for taking an opposing player’s crew down to zero Health.
Fenris was an area of ruins and covered in undergrowth. Also present were some battle droids, so they’d have to take it careful. I had to choose which player I would have to try and shoot. It would have to be either Andy or Phil, as they were either side of me. I looked at where the loot tokens were and I reckoned that I was more likely to bump into Andy, so it would make sense to have him as my target since there was every chance we’d exchange gunfire anyway. Where I deployed there were two tokens that shouldn’t be too difficult to grab. I pretty much split my force in three – crew Captain Kersh Wilson (a mystic) led a couple of his crew after one token. Shoggoth (a biomorph), the first mate, led some crew after another. I had two raw recruits who I decided I’d send after the furthest away, but also with an eye on the possibility of taking a pop at Andy’s crew if the opportunity presented itself.
Oh yeah, I also had a pathfinder and used his extra speed to lead the way, draw any fire, see what droids were about etc.
I took the first token without too much difficulty. At that point Phil rolled a bad initiative roll (any roll of 4 or under meant a random droid would appear – Phil proved good at rolling low…) and a droid appeared near my crew. Kersh took out his lightsabre (sorry, ‘void blade’ *ahem*). The droid took a shot and Kersh deflected the shots with his blade. He then concentrated carefully and caused psionic flames to shoot from his hand and engulf the droid. Didn’t do too much. So he drew his blaster pistol and let off a couple of shots. Down went the droid.
The two recruits – a robot called 2B-55 and a pale-skinned alien called Ronnock Crowder – advanced through the ruins. Not too far behind was Shoggoth and Yammet Lament, an ex-commando. TwoBee and Ronnock by-passed a loot token, leaving it for Shoggoth, and took position behind some ruins. Because on the opposite side of the road two of Andy’s crew could be seen trying to unlock a loot token.
Both TwoBee and Ronnock drew their pistols and started shooting. Down went one of Andy’s crew – Offler dZuk. She was only wounded, so on Andy’s activation he decided to pull her back. But TwoBee and Ronnock let rip again, and this time she wouldn’t get up – down to zero health. But was it a kill?
With three loot tokens, and having successfully completed their special mission, I decided discretion was the better part of valour and got my crew off with all their loot.
It had been a very successful first mission for Kersh and his crew.
Or was it? The story will to Return to Fenris for a different perspective …
A brief picture album of the third meeting back, still operating under members only rules.
Four games in play today, in chronological order:
First up a FOG Ancients game by Colin & Paul, we only have one picture of this unfortunately.
Moving on to the 17th Century we had a FOG Renaissance game with Brett, Pete, John and Mark, the Scots involvement in the English Civil War.
Moving on a couple of Centuries we move to Mexico in the 1860’s, with the French Intervention played by Alan and Mike using Zouave II rules.
Finally we have a couple of games of Stargrave.
The first game was run by Stephen, with Eric, Marcus, Jeremey and Andy sending their crews to investigate Dr Moreau’s House of Pain.
We had to cut the first game short as Stephen had to leave, so we then played a second game which Jeremey had devised. As Andy’s crew had to disband after his Captain was killed in the first game he ran the second game enabling Jeremey to play.
A ship had crashed, leaving a trail of cargo and potential loot in its wake. Jeremey, Eric and Marcus’s crews came looking for loot, with indigenous interference run by Andy.
Last Saturday was the second meeting post lockdown. We are still operating with members only. Fewer games and members this time, perhaps because of the Bank Holiday weekend?
First up, a couple of games of Fields of Glory, Dominate Roman vs Selucid, report from Chairman John.
Mark’s Romans took to the battlefield against a very mixed force of Paul’s Seleucids. The Romans deployed their many legions in the centre to face off the Seleucid cataphracts, pikes and elephants.
With the full deployment revealed the Romans moved aggressively to take advantage with their skirmishes on the left flank. This resulted in successfully routing the enemy light foot off the table and capturing the enemy camp. However the Seleucids fought back attacking the rear of the Roman horse who were still sacking the camp. In the meantime on the other flank the Seleucid light foot seemed to be in excellent shooting form scoring hits in multiple rounds and routing the Hun cavalry.
The deciding battle should have been in the middle with the Seleucid caraphracts taking on the legions, but despite vicious fighting no overall victor emerged. At this point the Seleucids were declared the marginal victors due to their success on the flanks.
The second game was a repeat meeting, this time the Romans sat back and let the Seleucids come to them intending to not be aggressive on the flanks and risk losing their again. However the Hun cavalry again proved to be very vulnerable to shooting, with the cavalry and light horse on the other flank also suffering at the hands of some good dice rolling by the Seleucids. In the centre the cataphracts managed to manoeuvre to hit the Romans at their weakest point, eventually routing several battle groups, the Roman army withdraw just before it would break, a successful day of battle for the Seleucids.
The next table saw some Border Reiver action. Report by a different John.
I brought along Osprey’s En Garde! Ruleset, my collection of Outpost Reivers I’d purchased and painted many years ago and scratchbuilt terrain for Eric and Tony to try out the rules. We played on a 3 foot square mat. Whilst rule memory was hazy at times, we did manage to play two scenarios.
Scenario 1 – During a previous raid some of the stolen booty had to be hidden in a derelict Shepherd’s hut in Bewcastle Waste. Both gangs were desperate to recover the heavy chest containing cutlery and a wooden dinner service (yes, they would have been that desperate). We used the capture scenario from the En Garde! Rulebook. It was dark and raining, typical Reiver weather.
Both forces approached the hut with some figures dismounting so that they could enter the hut and grab the chest. Eric’s gang managed to score some hits using a Latch – a short range rapid fire crossbow as the skirmish developed around the hut.
With men down, Tony attempted a ride by lance charge on Eric’s Headman but unluckily failed and with that, Tony’s chances in the game faded.
Scenario 2 – Eric’s gang have kidnapped the lady love of Tony’s Headman’s son and locked her up in their fortified farmhouse. The scratchbuilt Bastle House is an accurate model of Gatehouse (North) Bastle in Tynedale. We used the Defence Scenario from the En Garde! Rulebook.
For this scenario, Tony had got some hired help as He would have to break into the Bastle. He decided to use the time honoured tactic of ‘Scumfishing’ applying fire to the door in order to smoke out the occupants.
Meanwhile if Eric’s Headman’s son could rush out and light the straw pile, this would alert the Land Sergeant and the Militia who would be duty bound to come to their aid (unless handsomely paid off by Tony). The son was ruthlessly put to the sword by one of Tony’s henchmen. Tony was unable to start a fire at the door and with time running out, brute force was brought into play. A fierce melee took place in the basement with Tony’s men just avoiding a bucket of night soil thrown down the chute above the door. The Headman’s son was able to rescue his sweetheart (the only girl in the village with her own teeth) in the nick of time or by the skin of his teeth.
So honours were even over the day. We had a couple of queries on the rules and will probably bring in house rules next time where our protagonists will encounter ‘Mad Meg’s Bairns’ a merciless band of cutthroat mercenaries and I’ll start looking at the possibility of a campaign.
Last, but by no means least, Tony and Andy tried out Dragon Rampant. Report by Andy
Tony wanted to try out Dragon Rampant using his Lord of the Rings Rohirrim troops, so we agreed on a 24 point game.
For our first Game Tony’s army was made up of :
1 x Elite Riders (Theoden and guard)
1 x Elite Foot (Royal Guard)
1 x Light Riders (Eomer and escorts)
1 x Light Foot with Mixed Weapons
1 x Light Foot.
I fielded a Goblin force with the following:
1 x Offensive Light Foot (Durburz and guards)
1 x Light Foot Wizardling (Shamen and Drummers)
2 x Light Foot with Mixed Weapons
2 x Scouts
Tony threw forward his cavalry, with the foot catching up as best they could.
Having the leader as a unit of Elite Riders had the drawback of the unit having the wild charge rule, so once within move distance of my forces he had to test to charge.
After a game of attrition, with both sides losing their leaders, the last unit of Rohan foot await the end.
For the second game we both expanded our armies, Tony added a unit of Bellicose Foot, using his Army of the Dead models, and another unit of Light Riders, lead by Eowyn. I added a couple of units of Light Riders (Orcs on Wargs). This took both armies to 32 points.
In this game my Wargs were often successful in evading Tony’s Light Rider charges, until they ran out of space.
Another game of attrition, at the end all that was left of Tony’s Rohirrim was Gamling, leader of the Royal Guard
For our third game we expanded the armies yet again. I added a unit of Venomous Giant Spiders (Lesser Warbeasts) at 7 points. Tony gave his Elite Riders the Level Headed upgrade, which removed the wild charge and made it easier to move. He also converted his Light Riders to Heavy Riders and added a third unit. For the last point he added a War Banner to the Elite Riders.
Theoden still getting ahead of the rest of the units.
Eowyn lead her unit to charge the Goblin Shamen, who surprisingly held them off.
Theoden about to fall to the Goblin King.
In all we easily got three games in at the meeting, and plan to try doing the Battle of the Pelennor Fields at a future meeting. Tony now has to work out how to portray the Mûmakil in Dragon Rampant.
After a gap of exactly 17 months the Society resumed meetings last weekend. For the time being meetings will be members-only, no visitors or prospective new members are allowed. That is being kept under review.
For the first meeting we had five games in progress; Ancients (6mm, Fields of Glory), Dark Ages (28mm, SAGA), WW2 (3mm, Rommel), Modern / Post Apocalypse (28mm, Zona Alfa) and Fantasy (28mm, Lord of the Rings).
Fields of Glory, by Mark.
This was the first outing for the Pontic army, who took on a late Republican Roman army, basically pike and cavalry vs well trained legionaries.
The first battle was a close run thing, the Pontic cavalry chased the Roman cavalry around the left flank before taking out two units, alas this was too little too late as the Romans swept around the right flank destroying all in their path, a close battle but the Romans won the day.
The second battle saw the Pontic forces consolidate their pike into one large block (24 bases) with two generals attached and rear support in the shape of offensive spearman. The intent was to take out two elite legions, however the Romans had other ideas and deftly avoided a full on battle taking out the supporting spearmen and eventually surrounding the pike block which spelt the end of things for the Pontic army.
A heavy defeat for the Pontics this time as the Romans showed that well drilled troops and some great tactics can win the day. Great to be back at the club, as for the Pontic army, there’s always next time!
SAGA, by Andy & Jeremey
We staged two games, both with 6 point armies. In the first game Jeremey had a Viking warband, comprising his Warlord, two units of six Hearthguard (3 pts) and three units of 8 Warriors (3pts). Against that Andy fielded an Anglo-Danish warband, comprising his Warlord, two units of six Hearthguard (3 pts), two units of 8 Warriors (2pts) and a unit of bow armed levy (1 pt).
Both sides deployed across a diagonal centreline, with each sides right flank extending past the opponents left flank.
As the warbands advanced Andy brought the units of Warriors and Hearthguard on his right flank round to try and out flank Jeremey’s left, and also pushed his levy forward taking a second activation (and a fatigue marker) in order to loose arrows at some Viking Warriors, to little effect. Jeremey responded by using the Viking Battle board ability Odin to exhaust the Levy, and promptly charged the Warriors in decimating the Archers.
That set the tone for the first game, with Andy dishing out Fatigue when he could, and Jeremey removing it and several of Andy’s warband in response. The battle culminated in Andy’s Warlord with a couple of Hearthguard taking a stand against the last of Jeremey’s Hearthguard, only to fall in ignominy.
In the second game both players changed their warbands.
Jeremey changed his army completely, going for a Anglo Saxon warband with three units of 16 Warriors* (2 pts each) in addition to his Warlord.
* (Ed: We got that wrong, maximum unit size is 12 figures, so it should have been 4 units of 12 Warriors).
The Anglo-Saxon battle board is markedly different from most to others, with abilities dependent more on the number of figures in a unit rather than their quality.
Andy retired his Levy archers and took an additional point of Warriors, splitting them between the two units to make 2 units of 12.
The armies advanced, clashing in a range of hills. Jeremey made good use of the abilities that reduce the number of attack dice available to their opponents. (Ed: Which would have been less effective with units of 12 rather than 16).
The battle raged back and forth with the Saxons keeping the upper hand while their unit sizes remained large. But similar to the first game the battle was hard fought, coming down to a fight with the Warlord. Although in the second battle Andy sent his Warlord to his doom against the last of Jeremey’s Saxon Fyrd, cutting down several before being overcome.
Counterattack at Deir el Tarfa, by Alan
In the summer of 1942, following its victory at Gazala, Panzerarmee Afrika pursued the British 8th army into Egypt. Rommel’s first attempt to break 8th Army’s lines failed in July, but by the end of August he was prepared to mount one last major offensive. German and Italian armor turned the Allied left flank almost 90 degrees and drove deep into Allied positions. On the evening of 31 August the 15th Panzer division began an assault on Alam-el-Halfa Ridge while the 21st Panzer division protected its exposed left flank.
The latter, however, suddenly found itself under counterattack by the British 22nd and 23rd armoured brigades. Eighth Army’s new commander, Bernard Montgomery, had held these units in reserve for precisely this contingency.
Our game focussed on the fight between the two British armoured brigades and 21st Panzer which was supported by elements of the Italian Littorio Division.
An initial advance by the British held most of 21st Panzer between the Deir el Tarfa and Deir el Agram ridges and an intense tank battle ensued. But the Italians swept around the British right flank and managed to seize one of the objectives. With the tank battle see-sawing between the British and German forces the Italian held objective became the key to the engagement. Despite several British counterattacks on the position the Italians held on.
The last British infantry assault almost succeeded but couldn’t quite take the position. So as night fell the engagement went to the Axis but with supplies running low they were forced to pull out overnight.
The game was played using the Rommel rule set by Sam Mustafa and using 3mm models from Oddzial Osmy.
Zona Alfa, by John and Tony
I decided to run a 4 mission mini campaign to introduce a new player (Tony) to the rules. Tony would have to recover salvage to generate funds to enable retirement from the zone whilst achieving the objectives from the mission. This is done by searching Hotspots of which there are five and the objective. A triggered Hotspot is guarded by Zone Hostiles, these can be of 6 types, the type and distance from the Hotspot being determine by Dice. Those Zone Hostiles with Melee capability head for the nearest member of the crew, those with ranged combat capability will head for cover then shoot at the nearest member of the crew. The missions were linked so that achieving an objective allows the player to proceed with the following mission.
Tony’s first job was to pick a 4 person Veteran crew from my collection and kit them out ready for action.
Mission 1. Disaster at Kovgorod.
A patrol has been lost in the Exclusion Zone. The last signal has been tracked from their APC to Kovgorod so that’s where the crew are headed. As they approach the village, they spot the disabled APC but a pack of Zombies has beaten them to it attracted by the smell of Blood.
Tony did well in this game and was well on his way to the retirement fund target after just one game. What could possibly go wrong?
Mission 2. The Prisoner at Bunker C13
After completing the mission, the crew recover a map with a bunker highlighted. There were four dead bodies in the APC, the map revealed the location of the fifth member of the patrol. Here Tony got into trouble with Bandits. One party of Bandits had been triggered before the start of the mission and a second entered on table as Tony triggered a hotspot. Caught in a crossfire his Leader was killed early on the mission and when deciding to head for the objective, he found that these were also guarded by Bandits. Using smoke to blindside this group of Bandits, the crew were able to move out of Line of Sight, rescue the prisoner and make it out. The objective had been achieved but at a high price.
Mission 3. Road Block at Strabants Crossing
The Prisoner from the bunker had recovered and told the crew about a Laboratory hidden deep in the forest so after reequipping that’s where they were headed until they found the track blocked with a party of bandits lying in wait. This time they were dealt with clinically, as were a swarm of zombies headed for them.
A satchel charge was laid and the roadblock cleared at the second attempt. Another hotspot was triggered and a gaggle of ghouls were stopped in the nick of time. Things were heating up as another hotspot was triggered and a pack of wild mutant dogs clambered over the APC to attack one of the crew members stationed on its roof.
A desperate fight saw all dogs killed and as the PC was refuelled from the diesel tank, the crew were able to make good their escape.
Mission 4. The Hidden laboratory.
With no time to replenish the supplies, Tony’s crew appeared in good shape. The retirement fund had almost been achieved and now all that was needed was a top up and recovery of the drugs caches hidden in the lab – piece of cake, except at the start of each turn a D10 was rolled. If this result added to the turn number was more than 10 a zone event would occur the following move. The crew moved quickly to the lab and whilst the first zone event, a swarm of irradiated insects was easily avoided, the second – a zone security patrol was a different proposition and two of the crew were wounded in a protracted fire fight whilst the lab was being searched. With the security patrol eliminated and the drugs collected, it was time to head back to the APC, just as a terrifying Alpha Mutant entered the arena.
Unable to take on this monster one crew member bravely fought it as the rest of the crew fled. Finally succumbing to the vicious attacks of the Mutant, she had bought vital time for the rest of the crew as they just made it back to the APC before another Zone Patrol entered the area.
It had been a rollercoaster Zone Run with plenty of tactical decisions to make, with some jeopardy and the result hanging in the balance until the final stages of the final mission.
Lord of the Rings
Tony and Phil staged this game, they each sent reports, Tony’s first:
We played two Lord of the Rings games, both involving Mumaks. The first involved a group of Knights of Dol Amroth supported by some Gondorian archers attempting to take down a single beast. This all went horribly wrong for the good guys early on when Phil started shooting my knights from their saddles with archers from the howdah, much against the odds – he is not renowned for rolling sixes when it matters !
Prince Imrahil did his best to tackle the beast single-handedly but in the end was only ever one failed priority roll from being trampled, as he duly was…
The second game didn’t show any improvement (Ed.: If you can’t kill one Mumak in the first game then of course you should have two in the second game!)- this time we played a scenario in Ithilien (similar to a scene in the films) with Faramir’s Rangers ambushing an advancing group of Haradrim.
My plan was to wound the Mumaks, hope it panicked them (as happened on screen) and defeat them that way – trying to just pick them off with arrows was never going to work.
I managed to inflict some wounds on Eric’s overgrown pachyderm but it simply shrugged them off, and they simply marched on by, killing Denethor’s second son on the way.
Finally, Phil’s somewhat shorter report:
“Phil in shock double LOTR victories”
It should be noted that Phil deliberately stomped on a couple of his own spearman to get to the Dol Amroth chaps.
The Union are on the advance and have discovered Confederate troops in position on a hill overlooking a creek.
The Union troops are given the order – engage the Confederate troops and take the position.
The Union had two small divisions of three brigades each plus artillery. The Confederates had just the one division, though a sizeable one, with five brigades and artillery.
The Confederates were deployed with the artillery atop the hill so they had a good field of fire. The infantry were positioned at the bottom of the hill along the line of the creek. The Union divisions each had two of their brigades up front with the third brigade in reserve.
On the first turn the Union moved forward. The guns started unlimbered so moved slowly, and I decided to move the infantry with them to keep the line together. But the Confederate artillery rolled really well, and one of the Union brigades took (light) damage. So it was obvious that if the Union infantry moved slowly with the artillery they’d spend longer getting pounded by the artillery, so on subsequent turns they left the artillery behind, but that was OK since the artillery had now moved into effective range.
The Union right flank had been loaded with a single division concentrating on the extreme right – just the one Confederate brigade facing them, but a second in position to turn to offer support. This left the other Union division to contend with the middle and left flank. The fact that the middle was fairly open meant it was always going to be a difficult proposition. The two Union brigades going up the middle also had the artillery from both divisions to support them, however, although the Union artillery was in range of the Confederate infantry brigades at the bottom of the hill the Confederate artillery was at long range, which made counter-battery fire ineffective. Conversely, as the Union infantry advanced they put themselves in effective range of the Confederate artillery.
You can work out what happened. Needless to say, even before they reached the creek, the lead Union brigade took withering fire from both the artillery and dug-in infantry. Exit one Union brigade.
This left the two Union brigades in the middle/left to split either side of the farm, with one now taking up the fateful position in the centre against all and sundry, and the other on the extreme left facing just a single brigade.
On the right flank the two opposing forces came into musket range and let rip at each other. The Union advance had been slowed due to the rocky ground delaying one of the brigades, and this time it was obvious they should advance together to support each other or else be destroyed individually.
Back in the centre the inevitable happened again – the Union brigade there took heavy fire from both infantry and artillery. Discretion was the better part of valour, so they were pulled back out of musket range so they could rally. The Union artillery moved up so they could fire at the Confederate artillery, scoring a good hit.
There was only one way the Union was going to win this – take it to a charge.
And that’s what they did. On the right flank the order to charge went in and two Union brigades went forward. The Confederates fired their muskets, hoping to blunt the charge. But in it went and the Union troops won and pushed the Confederates back, but lacked the oomph to pursue them.
Emboldened by this, the Union brigade on the left took the hint, fixed bayonets, and charged in as well. Not so effective this time – the Confederates did counter-charge and pushed them back across the creek.
Meanwhile, in the middle, the Union brigade had pulled back to rally. The artillery of both divisions turned their barrels to the Confederate artillery on the hill, hoping to silence them.
Again, the Union brigades on the right went in and charged, again pushing the Confederates further back up the hill. Only now, sensing victory, they managed to follow-up on the charge and in they went again and swept away the Confederates on top of the hill!
But the middle was once again turning into a killing field, for both sides. The Union artillery annihilated one Confederate brigade, and the unlucky Union brigade who had rallied had been sent back in – they would not be coming back out.
And then, on the left, the Union brigade that had charged found itself taking musket fire. The combination of being bounced by the Confederate infantry and then the musket fire was enough – they were routed and left the field.
At the end of the turn, both sides had taken enough loses to lose! Although the Union left had taken the hill they did not have enough strength left to chase off the rest of the Confederates, and there was not enough Confederates left to truly hold the hill securely.
A draw was called.
In the end the Union did better than I was expecting. I thought they might get a good drubbing. The fault I made was trying to engage the Confederate troops on a wide frontage. The middle ground was very open and it should have been obvious that any troops advancing through it would suffer badly. What I should have done is load the left flank the same way I loaded the right flank, and brought the Union artillery together to keep shooting away at the centre.
Instead I wasted two Union brigades marching up the centre just to get obliterated for nothing. I would fully expect the officers of those brigades to come up to me afterwards and tell me exactly what they thought of me.
The first historical wargames army I ever bought was a Crusader army. It’s always been a period of great interest to me, especially the later crusades of the thirteenth century.
I resisted buying a crusades army in 28mm because that meant I’d also have to get some Saracens and I just didn’t want to paint all that patterned cloth.
Then a while ago I was given a box of plastic Gripping Beast Arab infantry. They sat in a cupboard for a couple of months because I still didn’t have the will to paint all that fabric. Then I saw some pictures of other’s Saracen armies and I saw how they’d done them in plain white material. ‘That’s a good idea’, I thought. So that’s what I did, and decided I’d make the Ghulams a bit more colourful – representing wealthier troops able to buy expensive fabrics.
Being motivated to get these done, I motored through them. And this weekend I decided to have a game. I was going to play Saga, but it doesn’t play solo so well. So instead I went with Lion Rampant…
The two sides lined up opposite each other. Both had 24 points a side.
The Crusaders had two units of Templar knights (LR: Mounted Men at Arms), two units of Mounted Sergeants, and one of foot Crossbows.
I gave the Saracens two units of Ghulams (LR: Foot Men at Arms), two units of Ghazis (LR: Foot Yeomen, armed with short range missiles – javelins), and two units of Ahdath (LR: Bidowers).
I did a simple meeting scenario – both sides hacking at each other until one is gone.
I rolled for leader traits and got Vulnerable for the Crusaders (leader killed on a Lucky Blow of 2 or 3) and Lionheart (ironically) for the Saracen leader (meaning his unit could re-roll 2 failed hit dice).
The Saracens went first and they were lucky enough to activate all their units – moving up to occupy favourable terrain that would hamper the mounted crusaders. The Ahdath would be well placed in these areas of bad terrain, where they could lodge themselves in and shoot at the Crusader cavalry. The only solution to this would be the Crusader crossbows, so it would be worth the Saracens taking out the Crossbows as soon as possible.
The Crusaders were equally lucky, activating all their units. The Sergeants on the right went galloping past the village, the Crossbows moved up to get into range of the Ahdath hiding in the scrub, and the Knights also moved up.
One thing became obvious – there was a natural funnel to the battlefield between two areas of rough terrain. The Ghulams had moved up to block this gap, with the Ahdath either side with their bows to shoot at anything coming between them. The only thing the Crusaders could do was to advance as quickly as possible to minimise their exposure to the enemy arrows.
The Saracen Ghazis kept moving up to the Crossbows, desperate to engage and eliminate them – if they could it would make a Crusader victory difficult. The other unit of Ghazis, over by the village, decided to hurl their javelins at the approaching Sergeants, scoring enough hits to take one of them out. When it came to the Crusader’s turn they were more than ready to return the gesture. Although the Ghazis were approaching the Crossbows, it was obvious the Crossbows had to take a shot at the Ahdath in the scrub. Spanning their bows, they took aim, and…a devastating volley! The unit of Saracen skirmishers were devastated and routed off the table! Both units of Sergeants advanced – those on the left moved into the middle of the funnel to threaten the Ghulams, whilst those on the right put in their spurs and charged the other Ghazi unit.
Casualties were taken on both sides and the Ghazis were bounced back. But the Sergeants were now down to half strength which meant their combat effectiveness was also halved.
It was then over to the Saracens to go on the attack. On their activation they sent the Ghazis in to charge the crossbows.
Improbably, the Crossbows prevailed! They didn’t take a single casualty and pushed back the Ghazis who failed their courage roll and were now battered. The other unit of Ghazis managed to rally, ready to block the Sergeants. The remaining unit of Ahdath drew their bows, trying to decide who to shoot at – the unit of Sergeants leading the attack through the funnel, or the unit of Knights who were coming in behind to mop up any remnants the Sergeants left behind.
Deciding that the Ghulams should be able to resist an attack by the Sergeants, the Ahdath took aim at the Knights and let fly. No effect this time.
Now it was over to the Crusaders. The Sergeants were in charge range of the Saracen leader, so decided to go for it and see if they could get a lucky hit. And they did! OK, so the Saracen leader didn’t go down, but a couple of his Ghulam bodyguards did and had to retreat. The Crossbows, knowing how lucky they’d just been in repelling the Ghazi charge, took aim and let rip. A good shot that took out a couple of the Ghazis. However, best of all, the Ghazis then failed their courage test. It was such a bad fail that they routed off the table.
The Saracens had to go on the counter-charge. The Saracen leader ordered his men to charge and in they went against the Sergeants. But it happened again – the Sergeants came out on top. Sort of – no casualties on either side, but since the Saracens had charged and failed they had to retreat. The Ahdath had another go at the Knights, this time scoring a kill. And the Ghazi unit by the village threw more of their javelins at the Sergeants, taking another rider out and leaving them battered.
Things were coming to a head. The Sergeants, not believing their luck, charged the Saracen leader again. Not such a good result this time – the Sergeants took heavy loses and were pushed back, under half strength and battered! The first unit of Crusader Knights went in and charged the Ghulams. A fairly even result, meaning the Crusaders had to retreat. Had the Saracens managed to turn things around?
Back to the Saracens, and they spent most of their turn rallying units. The Ahdath once again took a shot and once again took out one of the Knights. They were starting to become a real pain.
So on the Crusader turn the Crossbows moved up so they could get in range of the other unit of Saracen skirmishers. The Crusader leader also decided to take part (remember, his leader trait would make him more susceptible to a lucky blow, so he’d been wise to keep out of it until needed). So the Crusader leader took command of his Knights and they charged one of the Ghulam units. Casualties were taken on both sides, and a Lucky Blow roll was made against the Crusader leader: double 6 – nowhere near!
On the Saracen turn I noticed the two leaders were near each other. There was only one thing for it – Leaders Challenge! The Crusader leader accepted. Into the middle they went and rolled for it.
No hits for the Saracen leader, but the Crusader leader scored a hit, meaning the Saracen leader had been killed in personal combat! All the Saracen units now had to make courage rolls. Only the ex-leader’s unit failed, leaving them battered, but all the others passed. There were still enough Saracens left to make it worth fighting on, so I kept the battle going – despite losing their leader, could the Saracens still manage to win?
Well, maybe. But on the Crusaders’ turn the crossbows took a shot at the remaining unit of Ahdath in the rocks. Despite the extra protection, they still lost half their unit and fled. It was now looking extremely unlikely that the Saracens could win this one. All they really had left was a single unit of Ghazis. Well, there were the Ghulams, but both of those units were down to just two models each, so they’d lost their punch.
Ultimately and inevitably, it would be a Crusader victory. The Crusader leader, emboldened by his victory with the Saracen leader in single combat, led his knights in repeated charges on the final unit of Ghazis. The Ghazis were steadily whittled down until they finally failed their courage test.
Marcus gives us the next instalment of his Sci FI adaption of What a Tanker!
I have continued to develop my WA(G)T ideas since the first outing and this is the third time on the table. Well actually on the floor again, but I did at least get to use the table for game 2.
I have introduced some changes, and there are more ideas to come. Firstly, I went back to the original Lardy allocation for the dice orders. On reflection I didn’t feel much was gained by that change.
Secondly, this time I added in a command group each. I tried this in the first game but adjusted how they worked this time. For simplicity I gave both command groups four dice. The idea behind these is that they can (apart from making nice objectives for the enemy maybe…) use their dice to cancel enemy orders or supplement their own units die rolls. I played it that the command units needed to roll at least one 6 to use as a comms/data link. At first it was too easy to disrupt enemy shooting by allowing any dice rolled by a command unit to cancel an enemy order dice. This time I went for the following options:
Cancel one enemy move dice or substitute a friendly unit dice
Cancel or add an acquisition dice
Add a shoot dice
Add a defensive dice
I also added in missiles in both games. However, in the first game they didn’t work satisfactorily. In the second, well, you’ll see.
I added in a wider selection of cards than in the original WAT game, to add some sci-fi flavour. Some were successful, although those relating to missiles need to be revised.
Finally, influenced by PSC’s “Red Alert” which I have written about previously, the biggest change in this iteration was the number of vehicles on the table (sorry, floor!) with a shift to multiple element units. Essentially these employed the same stats as used previously with a hit just removing one vehicle.
There were a few new or adjusted vehicles. The “attack boats” were a Callisto class boat, as seen in the previous game, but with a change to a missile launcher in place of the forward twin gun. It is a modular design (the turrets on the models are magnetised). The two smaller boats notionally have vertical launch cells under the bow cover. These still acted like one unit, although in retrospect I think I should have upped the defence value and/or the hits that could be taken, especially on the larger Ganymede.
Ganymede 8 missiles; Leda & Ersa 4 each
Pz 35 “Hornisse”
The British started with 2 groups of 4 Chieftains, one of 4 Ferret’s and the naval group of Ganymede, Leda and Ersa plus the command group, see the header picture.
The NAU had 3 groups of 4 Wespe, 1 group of 4 Hornisse and the command group.
The Hornisse models are envisaged as earlier models which have not been completely replaced by a later version, but are ideal for service in a riverine/swamp environment (maybe they should be better than grav vehicles over this kind of terrain. I always envisaged grav vehicles having more “mushy” responsiveness over wide stretches of water)
Ersa and Leda are also from GZG. The Hornisse is from the Osario from the Scotia range. As an objective I thought about both making this the command groups or taking the previous route; the British was to get the Callisto off the far river edge with the NAU needing to prevent this. In the end I went for just targeting the naval group and playing out a few turns.
Activation worked as previously, but I forgot about the “exploding 6’s” for hits. It seemed likely to be a more destructive game anyway…
Here is an “drone” shot of the initial set up:
With shots from the British perspective:
And the NAU positions:
The NAU took the initiative moving the green Pz 37 unit up, seen at the bottom of the drone recce photo, and the corresponding yellow unit to the top. The yellow unit benefited from a stealth card requiring an additional 2 acquisition dice. The British Ferrets activating next were unable to move, but prepped for future activation with the idea that they would designate targets for the missiles on the naval units if possible. The Ganymede group also moved up and were able to acquire and aim at the NAU yellow group having rolled three 6’s.
The cautious positioning continued since the British had no data link and the GBR yellow group were therefore unable to acquire the stealthed NAU yellows. No firing took place this turn.
The NAU again gained the initiative (on exactly the same number of dice as the GBR), continuing a theme from the last game.
NAU command had rolled two 6 (one of which could be used as data link) and two “shoot” dice last turn. The dice rolled for the last turn continue to be available until a unit activates in the subsequent turn and rolls a new “hand” of dice.
The NAU orange “Hornisse” hover tanks moved forward in the centre, but were unable to find a target in line of sight. However, NAU blue had no such difficulty. Moving to acquire the naval group they launched a 15 dice attack. Despite the GBR side using a card for a D6 firer systems down, resulting in a reduction of only 1 attack dice to 14. A roll of 6655 didn’t seem too threatening, until the 8 defence dice yielded no blocks! A further desperate defensive systems card for the GBR took out one of the critical hits, but under the new rules either critical (6) or a double hit (55) would destroy a target. While the card saved the Ganymede the Ersa and Leda were destroyed.
In response the GBR yellow Chieftain unit moved out of cover and launch a retaliatory attack on the more exposed NAU yellow unit. With 13 attack dice -1 for range attenuation, the Brits roll 666655. Despite playing an “All power to shields” card, the NAU rolls only a 65 against the incoming fire, seeing three of the four vehicles in the unit destroyed. The remaining vehicle rolled a test and stayed in the fight (D6 higher than the number of vehicles destroyed)
GBR orange Ferrets attack the “Hornisse” unit, having rolled 6543 (using the wild 6 as a 2 to acquire), but hits of 665 were all blocked . The Ganymede went into stealth mode with a card.
Both command units now activated successively and maintained comms/data links.
The turn concluded with a GBR Green Cheiftain attack on the exposed NAU yellow over the river with a 6555 on 13 dice. With only a defence of 4 the unit still blocked with 65 resulting in one tank destroyed.
This proved to be the final round of a vicious confrontation.
The NAU maintained the initiative and their yellow unit used an extra command unit acquisition dice to make 3 allowing them to target the Ganymede in stealth mode. 15 dice resulted in a 66666. A defensive systems card d4 roll resulted in two of these being cancelled. The Ganymede’s defence dice only took out one of the remaining hits, resulting in a mighty explosion as the last two critical hits crashed home. BOOM!
The NAU red Hornisse unit rolls 65511. However, despite being unable to acquire or aim, using a “snapshot” card, they are able to make a reduced level attack. A ten dice attack results in an unlikely 66655. The green unit with all power switched to attack is unable to stop any of these critical hits, although a damage control card cancels the non-criticals.
NAU command rolls a 5321. Without a data link it cannot use any of these dice to support its units. NAU Green rolls 633322 continuing the paralysis on the NAU left flank as without a shoot order, they cannot get into the fight.
The GBR command group still has data link and the GBR yellow unit uses a command unit 2 to acquire NAU yellow. With a 13566 and the 2, the GBR unit can make two attacks using the wild 66 as 44 shoot orders. A 66655 followed by 65555 leaves the NAU unit doomed, having only two for defence against each attack.
That effectively ended the action for the round and the game, with both sides more or less suffering equal damage and choosing to retire.
As alluded to earlier, the missile rules didn’t get tested and the cards need further development given the rule changes. Overall though, I like the changes; having the extra vehicles on the board “Red Alert” style and the command unit rules, although these could evolve further. While the game was excessively destructive I think that was a function of the lack of defensive allocation and a need to restructure the cards to reflect rule developments. The cards are a key thing to work on going forward.
However, missiles still need work. I am thinking of rolling one dice (probably a D6 but maybe others depending on missile characteristics) per missile and in the spirit of using the same dice in a different way, rolling the defence dice to block the specific number rolled (i.e. a defensive 6 would take out any attacking rolls of 6, a 2 would take out any attack rolls of 2 etc.)
I hope to develop the command group idea and use multiple groups (2/3 perhaps depending on the size of game).
I have an idea that I might do an Antarctic game going forward. I have a suitable shower curtain that I used as a mat for a club show game. However, I have no suitable vehicles or other terrain. In the interim I may break out my island terrain (a couple of pictures of which can be seen here) for the next game and hopefully some future blogs might cover painting vehicles (probably striping and re-painting old vehicles) in snow camo and creating some terrain.