Family holidays and house moves derailed hobby time a bit but still managed to get some games in.
First up was another Successors game in the steadily expanding project. The game went well, which means the rules played out with no major glitches, and we enjoyed the day. High points were the much vaunted Galatians failing to charge – oh how I laughed 😅, elephants dying and the Silver Shields ploughing through their opponents.
Next was our day game of re-fighting Lobositz using our SYW collections. I’ve already posted a blog on the actual game so wont bore people with another battle report, suffice to say we had a hell of a game and history was reversed.
As a change of pace, and because we were unable to do day games due to Dave’s shift pattern, we opted for a dark age skirmish game with one group of Vikings raiding another.
Just having a couple of bands apiece was a nice change and a bit of a challenge. The rules were our own and we added in a couple of ‘add ons’ like guard dogs scenting the invaders and whether they barked or attacked to spice the game up.
Overall it played well and lots of fun was had. Despite the surprise of the early dawn attack the dogs did bark (a lot!) and the attackers were sent packing with heavy losses although the settlement was going to need a new sub leader.
Another skirmish game was next, this time a return to Afghanistan, which we hadn’t gamed for a while.
Our basic scenario was a US marines column called in to escort a pair of Taliban prisoners who had been snatched by a special forces team. The idea was that the prisoners had important intel but bad weather had grounded the helicopters so the SF team were waiting at a deserted wadi for transport. The Taliban were about (otherwise it wouldn’t be a game!) and their 3 groups were given several start point options on the board before knowing what direction the convoy would come from.
The Taliban chose a dry river bed that led to the wadi from the south, a set of ancient ruins on a hill to the south east, a clump of rocky scrub to the north east and a medieval tower to the north of the scrub where they deployed their mortar. The convoy came on from the east which put it between two enemy groups.
As the convoy roared on the Taliban opened up with the mortar and missed the lead Humvee but this revealed their position and the Cougar opened up with the auto grenade launcher and took out the mortar and it’s team.
General firing then erupted as the two eastern Taliban groups tried to stop the Humvees and the lead Humvee crashed off the road – we realised afterwards we had made the Humvees too vulnerable, classing them as the soft skins of the earlier part of the invasion rather than the later better armoured versions.
The game then developed into a running firefight as the marines exited the vehicles to return fire and got the remaining Humvee to the extraction point. The SF operator watching the wadi spotted the Taliban there and shot them up enough to suppress them but the Cougar was disabled by RPG fire. However the bad weather lifted and the marine lieutenant managed to get an Apache on line which made mincemeat of the south eastern Taliban as they crossed the open ground from the ruins. The americans might just pull this off.
At the wadi the prisoners were bundled into the Humvee and headed out but as the SF operators waved it off and faded into the country the one remaining Taliban group zeroed in and blew up the Humvee killing the prisoners and crew. Total disaster!
We had a bit of a post game review after as the game had seemed a bit one sided. The rules are Spectre Operations V2 which we’ve grown to like and feel familiar with but sometimes (like the Humvees) we do make rookie errors; the problem we agreed was in the scenario, a dozen marines against around thirty Taliban was always going to be a stretch especially as the marines were confined to the moving metal boxes, I think we just got excited about getting this collection back on the table after a long absence 😃
Our final game of the month was an exercise in expediency; I had just come back off holiday so no time to organise something, but the desert mat from the last game was still out so Dave was detailed to bring round his Western Desert WWII Italians & LRDG.
The game was simple enough, an Italian supply convoy comprising a fuel truck and two lorries of supplies guarded by two Ethiopian squads escorted by a couple of tankettes and two armoured lorries carrying an Italian squad, had to enter by the eastern road and exit by the north western road. Three troops of LRDG started the game in ambush positions, objective; don’t let the supplies get through.
The game played well and was quite exciting. As the column entered the table, 3rd troop opened fire and disabled one truck but the return fire from the Italians in the armoured lorries downed the British Bren gunner. The Ethiopians also debussed and engaged in a lively small arms fight with 3rd troop.
The column quickly became a confused ants nest as 1st troop charged out from concealment in their Bren gun carriers and the Italians and Ethiopians got out of their vehicles to return fire to their north and south.
The charge of the Bren gun carriers wasn’t quite the success the British player had been hoping for; helped by the sustained smg fire of the two Italian officers who sprang from their kubelwagen, the Italians stopped the carriers and 1st troop ended up ‘circling the wagons’ 😅
As the two firefights raged on the tankettes finally arrived (better late than never) and were directed towards the positions of 3rd troop who quickly succumbed to the weight of heavy machine gun fire and with most of the troop down wounded, surrendered.
Where were 2nd troop in all this mayhem I hear you ask? Well they were dicking around in the wadi or “finding a suitable firing position” as the British player asserted 😂 although this was of no use to the beleaguered 1st & 3rd troops.
Back at the main fight the Italian Captain came up with a cunning plan to escort the fuel truck out of the firefight in his kubelwagen and leaving the troops to cover him thus saving the fuel and his reputation! Unfortunately 2nd troop had finally found their “suitable firing position” and in a fusillade of fire knocked out the truck.
Unfortunately for the LRDG platoon as a whole though things weren’t going too well; 3rd troop were being escorted back to the trucks by one of the Ethiopian squads, thus freeing the tankettes for further duties, while the other Ethiopian squad climbed the high ground that overlooked 1st troop and began to fire down into the already reduced troop. Added to this the Italian lieutenant, who had stayed behind with his men while the captain bravely tried to fulfil the mission (well that’s what the official report said 🙄), had rallied the squad and were advancing on 1st troop.
At that point we called it. Yes the fuel truck was stopped (but not destroyed) and so was one of the supply trucks but all the Italians were still in the game and two of the LRDG were not so we rationalised that 2nd troop would fall back while the Italians repaired the vehicles and carried on. So nearly a success.
In other news, I went to Games Expo early in the month. This was my 4th visit after a pause in 2020 & 2021 and was great fun. By no stretch of the imagination can this be called a wargames show, yes people like, Bad Squiddo, Black Scorpion, Iron Gate, Rubicon, Second Thunder and Crooked Dice are there and obviously Games Workshop, but that is a drop in an ocean of around 400 exhibitors and you can almost taste the enthusiasm . The main offerings are in the realms of board gaming, collectable card gaming and the myriad of versions of ‘role playing games’, but that doesn’t make it unattractive to the wargamer with a broad view of the hobby. Every year I’ve been I’ve played a wide variety of sample games and enjoyed every one of them but except for one have never played them again but this is a big part of the event, many of the exhibitors have games running to market their product which you can just rock up to and take part or in some cases wait to take part, and it’s such fun. There are also a significant number of stands selling ‘clutter’ mainly for the RPG/fantasy skirmish market but every time I’ve been I’ve picked up stuff that I can use in ‘proper’ wargaming and if the the fantasy end of wargaming is your thing (Frostgrave and the suchlike) then there is a whole load of 3D printed figures out there for fledgling games that can easily be utilised as well as barbarian types for Viking skirmish games. What did strike me this year was the shear volume of 3D printed models in all scales and how that is going to revolutionise our small corner of the gaming hobby, the days of metal casts is nearing its end.
On the painting/modelling front it’s been a lean month; various items of clutter that have been sitting in boxes for years have got done, so more stuff to hide behind.
A little bit of extra was added to the gunfight collection
And some 10mm terrain was done for the Iran Iraq project which is now involving me in trying to understand the difference between a tank battalion and a tank regiment (or a company, or a troop, or a squadron 🤯) and how many tanks there are in each and how that scales down using Cold War Commander.
That’s it for now, July should see an Iraqi tank battalion done and some more Successors based up, oh and the Devizes Show – first time ever!