Our latest club meeting went well...especially for me! We had eight members attend playing three games, a very healthy situation. Mark, the winner of the Miniature Wargames Readers Painting competition (and as it turns out joint second place holder too), brought the mag along for me to see and the two figures he sent in. Slight apology to Mark here as I thought he had sent in two of the figures from the set he painted a while ago; he actually painted up two new figures specially. He was given a bit of a ribbing, obviously, but the figures were very nice and we were all pleased for him...perhaps also a little proud that one of our members won too. So once again, well done Mark, good job mate.
The Operation Squad game
Mark and I played Operation Squad, me with my Italian Paras (and the Brixia mortar :) ) and Mark used his newly finished British Paras. Mark was at a slight disadvantage as he had not been able to work out his full 500 point allowance...I had offered to do this but couldn't find the bloody rule book, nor was there a list on the Op squad forum! We cobbled something together and he basically used my British para list. The problem for the Italian squad I have is that they are almost exclusively armed with shorter ranged machine guns (my choice), this means that you have to use them quite aggressively and can therefore run into trouble. The mortar also has to be directed by the Sergeant who must not be anymore than 20cm away, so that he can shout the range, target and direction etc. This can be a little limiting so you need to have a bit of a plan from the outset; as you should anyway.
I decided that the mortar was to be central to the plan and have the rest of the squad deployed to cover it and take advantage of any damage it managed to do. I managed to move it up into a field just behind a ruined house whilst the Sergeant moved forward to a hedge lined road to act as spotter. My Breda MG covered the main road of the hamlet we were fighting over from the edge of a wood This was itself protected by three squad members deployed forward of it and all three were hidden. the rest of the squad was moved up the the same hedge line as the Sergeant, to support him and cover the left flank of the mortar position. I was quite pleased with the dispositions as Mark's figures moved forward. Mark focused upon another large ruined building in front of my lines and his end of the long wood that concealed by Breda MG. I think he was hoping to hold a strong centre whilst he swept the woods, thus keeping my right flank troops out of the game. This actually suited me as it would allow my mortar a free rein.
First blood fell to me and my Breda MG as Mark tried to move a figure around the house and up to the main road. The Breda team managed to spot the figure (a test they had to pass before they could even think of shooting) and won the initiative. Of the four shots they were allowed it was the very first one that killed the British Para outright! Poor Mark rolled some appalling defence dice.
I took out a second Brit para, who was foolish enough to wander into the field opposite the hedge line, with one of my figures covering the mortar; although that figure was then taken out by the British Bren gun positioned in the house. this all happened during one of the frenetic episodes of multi-figure interaction that makes Op Squad the great game that it is. You work out who is trying to do what and to whom (up to three figures from each side) and then roll to see the order in which those actions occur. My hedge line guy went first and killed the para in the field. My Breda MG was supposed to go next but as the target para was killed by the hedge line guy the Breda lost its go. The dead British para was to go third, but was now dead, so the last figure to come into play was Mark's Bren gun. It had targeted my hedge line guy and took him out with a couple of shots.That Bren gun was well defended and placed to cover any attack I made against it...but I have a mortar!
I moved my Sergeant forward and successfully managed to spot the Bren gun in the building before communicating this to the mortar team. As Mark had already activated the Bren gun team he could not now move them, when it was my turn to activate a figure I chose the mortar team! To hit with a mortar you need to roll 1d6 and score equal to or less than the figures Tactical Value, in this case a four. The Brixia is a light mortar so fires shells half the size of ordinary mortars in the game but, it has a greater rate of fire so gets two shots! The first shot rolled a five, so the round missed. You then have to roll a d10 to see where it went, double the number rolled for distance off and follow the pointy bit of the D10 to see in which direction; that one fell short. Shot two was a direct hit! The radius of the burst circle for this mortar is only 10cm but was more than enough to catch the Bren gunner and his assistant. The gunner was taken out but due to crappy die rolls on my part the assistant wasn't even touched...a bit deafened perhaps. I was one casualty off making Mark make a morale check but, club nights having the time restrictions that they do, the game wound down.
This was a good game but it did raise issues that we now need to check, principally, whether a figure that makes a 'move & fire' move that then doesn't fire can fire if an opportunity arises later in the move.
Blood, Bilge & Iron Balls
Andy and Dave G. played Blood, Bilge & Iron Balls, a reduced version of one of the scenarios in the rule book. A British fleet is trying to stop a number of French transports and their escorts escaping from port. Dave chose to be the Brits and immediately fell fowl of a changing wind direction. He found it very difficult to keep station as the French approached and this had an effect on his firing. The French, on the other hand and as the fact that they were making an escape attempt in the first place suggested, were taking full advantage of the wind direction. Andy, the frogy commander, said this of the game;
'One of the French 74's got off table, as did one of
the transports, the others following in line astern. Subject to any damage Dave
might have inflicted I think the remaining merchants would have escaped in
another turn or two. The other French 74's were still on table, at close range
with the British.
Overall I think
the French can claim victory, none of the men o' war had any significant damage;
a couple of the merchants had lost some cargo due to damage inflicted, and one
was running out of crew.
was the ship caught by the stern rake, she was completely dismasted and had, I
think, several fires started. Not surprising with a total of 23 damage cards
drawn (6 hits @ 3 cards/hit because of the Stern Rake, one of which was a Joker
= another 5 cards). A couple of the other RN ships had taken some damage, but I
don't know the details.'
Sounds pretty good to me Andy, quite a convincing win for the French. That stern rake was pretty nasty, as stern rakes should be of course. That many hit cards at once could sink a ship or leave it a smoking ruin...always a laugh if it isn't your ship being hit. The Brits were forced to make a series of tricky manoeuvres to try and keep their guns trained on the enemy but this is easier said than done in a battle. The guys had fun and became a little more familiar with the rules, always a good thing...although I am a little biased :)
WRG 6th Edition
The third game being played was a trip to retro-ville. Richard and Bob C. fielded an army of Macedonians against Clive and Martin's Persians. Bob C. said this of the game;
It took me a while to get used to the charts and die
rolls, but I really enjoyed it. Richard laid out the armies and told me when to
put the archers in front or behind. He then used one group of light cavalry to
roll up the Persian's left flank. Right, it did not go well for the Persians
but they seemed to enjoy the game.
The melee is quite complex
but with ancients, probably needs to be. I like the simultaneous moves. They
give me all sorts of ideas for campaigns.
On the drive home Martin explained that the Persian army was of lower
quality class-wise than the Macedonians and that made a Persian loss
almost inevitable. I put this to Martin's compatriot, Clive. Clive had a slightly different view to Martin;
Martin and I thrashed them by killing at least 6 Macedonian figures for only the
loss of the equivalent number of Persian units!
...Which seems to settle things I think! Usually, Ancient games at our club are usually run with Hail Caesar, Might of Arms or, very occasionally, DBA. The ancient players amongst us do have an interesting hankering for the old-school and do play the older rules on occasion. Personally, I do not like the old style rules, I find them slow and heavy going. You don't get any better or more historical results but do get the headaches and nosebleeds from the endless table reading.