Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Game Report: War of the Roses Campaign, Game 1

The first game of the War of the Roses campaign provided a suitably bloody start to things.

Lancastrians defended, and set up with the Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset (Mike) on their left, Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland in the centre (Boon), and Henry VI (Arjun) taking the right flank.

Yorkists set with with William Herbert Earl of Pembroke (FG) on the left (facing Henry VI), Edward IV (me) in the centre (facing Northumberland) and Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (Corbon) on the right, facing Somerset.

The short summary of the battle: FG and Arjun slogged it out for a hill on the Lancastrian right flank, a brutal see-saw battle which saw Henry VI himself joining the fight to bring things to a decisive conclusion - which it did, with Henry's death in battle. The rest of us stood in the wings and watched, with Mike and Corbon settling into a Mexican standoff on the Yorkist right flank, and me ineffectually trying to come to grips with Boon's forces.

The 3 pictures above show the rough progress of the battle for Herbert's hill: after an unopposed occupation of the ridge line, FG's archers were pushed back over the top, while his billmen and retinue engaged one of Boon's (Northumberland's) archers that had strayed onto the right side of the hill (1). The heavy foot wiped out the archers just as Henry's forces closed in on the hill for a decisive clash (2), reforming just in the nick of time to face this assault. The lines bounced back and forth over the top of the hill until Arjun (Henry VI) managed to get a unit of bill in a flanking position to roll up the line (3): FG responded by sending the depleted remnants of his retinue (still powerful) and a single base of billmen to meet the flank attack (making a command roll of 3 to motivate a brigade that had a -2 penalty on commands), prompting Arjun to throw in his command base to the fight.

Henry VI (left) falls to Herbert, Kingslayer (right)

One quick combat, and it was over: FG's heavy retinue chopped up the billmen, and Queen Margaret now commands the Lancastrian forces ...

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Game Report: Operation Vertitable

The NN had their usual Lye-Keong-comes-to-town WW2 Crossfire game yesterday. The scenario, chosen by LK, was this one here: Operation Veritable.

21 Jan 06 Game
View from the British side: initial set-up

What complicated the thing for both sides was the fact that we didn't know our victory conditions - neither Mike (commanding the Gerries), nor I (commanding the British) really knew what we were supposed to do to win (other than "kill the enemy", which is a given) - part of LK's devious plans to spice up the scenario.

Any hesitation this "fog of war" may have introduced into the equation was quickly overcome by the fact that we were playing open deployment. This is something we haven't done for a long time - the pros are that it speeds the game up, and requires less paperwork from the umpire and players. The cons, as demonstrated, are that in a system like Crossfire's, where a single player's move may be indefinitely prolonged by careful avoidance of anything that loses initiative, knowing exactly where all forces were on the map gives serious first-mover advantage - especially when the first mover (me in this case) outnumbers the other, and has better quality troops, and tanks (versus no tanks), AND half of the other side's forces set up in the open, on a road.

The general consensus at the end was that one or more of the following would have balanced the game a bit more:
- hidden movement
- letting the Germans move first

Still, this was possibly the shortest WW2 game the Nuts have ever played, and on the plus side, we actually finished it with time to go for kway teow = ).

Friday, January 20, 2006

Disposable Heroes Game in Berlin

Napnuts Newsflash from Berlin:

Dom's Paras were blooded in action yesterday night with Tom Weiss' rock hard Fallschirmjaeger.

Ruleset used was "Disposable Heroes" available from http://www.ironivangames.com/index.html

This is a skirmish ruleset and appears to be a simplification of the old Battleground WW2 rules by EasyEight and provide a fast-paced, if somewhat bloody, game. The sequence of play is basically an initiative die-roll followed by sequential activation of units. The person with the initiative activates one of his units. He can move, fire and close combat with that unit. Defender may react fire, but only at close range, and only at reduced accuracy. Then it is the defender's turn to activate, and so on until all units are activated, and the cycle resumes again.

Combat resolution is pretty easy. Roll to hit based on the shooter's accuracy, then roll each hit to kill, based on the weapon's killing power. For eg an MG42 gets 8x D10s to hit with a 50-50 chance of hitting, followed by an 80% chance of killing! Woe to the squad that finds itself inadvertently in the cross-hairs of an MG42 gunner!! (In comparison, a Bren only gets 3x D10 to hit with a 50% chance of hitting and a 60% chance of killing).

After movement and firing comes close combat, and this is also a pretty dicey and bloody affair. The person with the initiative (reroll for initiative just before CC), hits first with all his figures (1xD10 per fig), then the REMAINING defending figures fight back, and so on until one side is totally wiped out! Really bloody business!

Enough about the rules. How did the game go? As this was a training game, we only played with 2 sections on each side. The first game was with 2 sections of British Paras advancing to take a Fallschirmjaeger-held village. One section of Paras advanced up a road, covered by a Bren team, but was massacred by deadly accurate MG42 fire! The other section outflanked the MG42 team by working its way out of LOS of the MG team. Once in range, grenades were thrown and the Paras charged into close combat. This was a bloody affair, with only one Para left standing at the end. The Paras therefore had to beat a hasty retreat as there was still one Fallschirmjaeger section in the village. The whole game took only one hour to complete.

For play balance, it is necessary to limit the number of MGs on the German side (a provision made for in the rules by making them more costly in terms of points). Anyway, it was a fun game and a good learning experience. Hopefully there will be more reports to come!

More pics of Tom's Fallschirmjaeger and Dom's Paras.

Friday, January 13, 2006

War of the Roses Campaign

The Napnuts have just launched a War of the Roses Campaign using 15mm figures. Here is a comment from the campaign organiser, Cpt Arjun:

"Wahj, corbon and I have been working on a set of campaign rules for the War of the Roses, to be played using Warmaster Ancients rules (with lists drawn up by ourselves). The campaign requires 6 players (i.e. we need 3 more players, no campaign moderator required), and we hope to run it from Feb to Apr, with one battle each weekend, maybe two when we become more familiar with the rules.

About 150 elements of figures will be used for the battles, 2/3 of which will be provided by corbon; wahj and I will each provide 1/6. The other players will only need to paint up one base of foot command and one of mounted (total 10 figures) to represent his own commander. The figures will be provided by me (when I receive them anyway). Other stuff like terrain we will use what we already have, plus some I have ordered. That's the hardware.

The campaign features a two-tier system. wahj and myself, as the contesting Royals of the Houses of York and Lancaster, must try to win the campaign by winning battles. The other players, the Nobles, must try to be the one holding the largest number of counties by the end of the campaign.

The campaign is a mapless one but 'counties' are the currency of the system. Royal players gain or lose them in battle, and Nobles can gain them by grant from Royal players, or by ransom for captured rival Nobles (or you can execute them and make the player use a lousier commander with poorer stats). Noble players do not have to stick with the same Royal player but may switch allegiance throughout the campaign to gain an advantage."

Watch out for more news!