The summer is almost over and we’ve played in some serious heat! Only managed to get 3 games in but did manage 2 ‘away games’ so that was a plus.
First away game was with some of the local Coventry and Warwickshire crowd – Bob, Pete, JC & James in a return to Vietnam after the last awful outing with BOHICA. This time Pete put together a two pager sampling from some 80’s/90’s sets from when we all played in 20mm plus some ideas of his own.
Basic scenario was a US patrol of several fire teams charged with occupying a local village and conducting hearts & minds to woo the locals away from the VC known to be in the area. The VC were aware of the approach of the ‘imperialists’ but reduced in numbers so would have to be sneaky – players had a series of ‘ambush points’ they could appear at during the game, take a shot and disappear, if the US moved over an ambush point it was lost and VC movement therefore reduced. Movement was I Go You Go based on initiative and restricted to one fire team per ‘go’.
It didn’t take long for the US jungle walk to be interrupted when up popped a fire team with an RPG, the round exploded in front of the lead US team killing one GI and sending the officer scampering back 🤣
The US split its forces, one group stayed the course on the road and the other split left into the jungle where a booby trap was triggered resulting in a man down who now needed medivac – one fire team spent the rest of the game trying to get the man back to the start line where the helicopter landing zone was deemed to be.
The VC continued to pop up and at one point flanked the US – a neat little special rule from Pete was that local villagers could pop up (but look like VC) who would fire ineffectually but would cause the US to chase shadows.
Ultimately the US withdrew with 3 KIA and 1 seriously wounded, so much for hearts and minds 😂🤣
Next away game was in darkest Wales and a return trip to Lord Raglan (aka Gareth Lane) in a long delayed return trip, this time we were playing Roman Civil War – Septimus Severus v Pescennius Niger using the Soldiers of Rome rules which are a spin off of Soldiers of God rules I believe.
As the visitor I was offered choice and I chose Niger, mainly because of the camelry and cataphracts. The western army of Severus was almost all infantry; legionaries, auxiliary and praetorians with a smattering of cavalry and the eastern army of Niger was heavy in cavalry – almost one entire wing, plus legionaries and auxiliaries. Both sides were divided into 3 command each (as per the rules); the Severan right was legions, auxilia and a lone unit of cavalry, the centre was the praetorians and the left legions and auxilia, Niger forces had the cavalry command on the right, the centre legions and auxilia and the left legions and auxilia plus cavalry. The rules are card driven (exclusive to the game) and similar to Dead Mans Hand in that you have permanent cards (in this case 3 – 1 for each command) and then 4 dealt cards each that are used alternately based on who has initiative; the cards allow you to do one specific thing, move, charge, melee, shoot, but also have a special event that you may use instead, shooting and melee is resolved using D6 and you can save hits.
The rules limit you as to what kind of battle plan you choose which in itself influences your permanent cards; I chose to hold my centre and attack with the wings, Gareth chose all out attack. This sounds fine but of course to fulfil the plan you need a run of cards and that is a frustration 🙄 It certainly took me a few moves to get into the rhythm of using the cards effectively and managed to throw away 2 units of camelry in the process 🤣 which made me think ‘this is all going to be over by lunch time!’
In short; after my disaster with the camels the right wing redeemed itself (led by the cataphracts) and ultimately broke their opponents and headed for the enemy camp which they duly looted, the left duked it out inconsequentially but it was in the centre where victory was clinched because as Severus looked on as his praetorians slowly pushed my legions back an ignored auxilary archer unit emerged from broken ground and killed the emperor in a volley of arrows! My thanks to Gareth for gentlemanly pointing out I could do this, I had just assumed you could only shoot units 😁.
I’ll admit I’m not a fan of card driven games but we had an exciting and fun game which lasted a lot longer than I thought it would. The reliance on the cards for what you can do did give some odd results, so units in melee didn’t actually fight because they didn’t have a melee card and this did mean melees dragged on longer than they should have and the stop start nature of the moving didn’t seem that realistic to me given the machine like nature of the Roman army. That said, I’d play again, just because something isn’t my thing doesn’t mean I wont play if invited to do so.
Back to our own games and the first of the month was a post Normandy action with Canadians advancing on German town held by Panzer Grenadiers and Volkstrum. Basic scenario had a full platoon of Canadians in Kangaroos supported by a troop of Shermans advancing on the allegedly undefended town, Germans have a weak Volkstrum platoon and a reinforced Panzer Grenadier squad plus a dug in Pak 40 and a Puma.
The Canadians advanced on a broad front (too broad actually), two sections advancinging right, the Shermans and platoon HQ taking up position on the central high ground and a lone section advancing on the far left.
After a few quiet turns the action got underway with the Shermans and the deployed mortar shelling targets as the HQ spotted them. The two sections on the right got into extended fire fights on the outskirts of the town with Volkstrum and Hitler Youth who they quickly eliminated although not before the Pak 40 took out one Kangaroo.
Having revealed itself the Pak 40 was picked out by the Shermans and silenced. The fighting continued into the town with the Panzer Grenadiers doing better but numbers told and they were eliminated along with their transport and the Puma.
Over on the left the lone section struggled to cross open ground and got itself shot up pretty badly but supporting fire from the Shermans saved them especially when it acidentally took out the Volkstrum HQ squad in a random shot on a building.
With the loss of all their heavy weapons and the panzer grenadiers the remaining Volkstrum fled the town and the Canadians took control. A good game, plenty of excitement.
Next up was a large scale eastern renaissance, Poles & Imperialist v Swedes.
Both sides deployed with a strong cavalry wing which in this case ended up facing each other, a weak centre and then a strong infantry wing battling to control a large hill.
On the cavalry wing it was a bloodbath. First of all the Finnish cavalry caused some shock losses on the Poles but strong counter attacks saw them off and momentum saw the Poles smashing into the Swedes & Danes in what became a long rolling cavalry action over several moves. Ultimately the Poles prevailed and 5 regiments of enemy horse were either destroyed or fled.
The battle for the hill was a see saw affair with 10 regiments of foot ultimately battling out what became a stalemate with nothing to show but some very bloodied regiments.
We called time when the victorious hussars started to swing around the rear of the swedes, it was a hard fought game.
Final game of the month was a Sikh Wars game. As usual the Sikhs were defending – high ground on their left and centre with regulars (foot & guns) plus a brigade of cavalry, village on the right with irregulars.
The British/EIC deployed an infantry brigade to march through a village on their left and attack the Sikh village supported by a horse brigade, the centre was two brigades of foot and the right two brigades of horse.
On the British right the horse were held back while the guns pounded the noble cavalry forcing them off the hill enabling the British horse to sweep up and dispatch the remaining horse and turn inward on the guns.
In the centre the British infantry slogged forward under accurate fire from the Sikh guns taking serious casualties before the rear regiments were able to get close enough to volley fire the defenders out of their position.
On the British left the cavalry and infantry acted in concert and forced the Sikhs from the village and then turned in on the other flank of the hill. Sikh regulars wisely retired.
And that was August. Not much done on the painting/modelling front just bits and pieces finished off. Holiday breaks coming up so September might be a bit thin but we’ll see.
See you next month.