Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Battle of the Hellespont 321BC using Ancient Battlelines Clash

Introduction
This is game 24 in play testing my ancient rules by replaying historical battles.  The latest version of ‘Ancient Battlelines Clash’ is on its own blog page. I am play testing the rules by replaying all the Peter Sides scenarios from his Historical Battles books.  ABC is designed to finish in under an hour on a 2'x2' table.

Battle of Hellespont
Craterus (Antipater's general) and Eumenes (Governor of Cappadocia and Paphlagonia), acting of behalf of Perdiccas, fight it out in one of the early succession wars after Alexander the Great's death.

There is not much on the internet on this battle but here are some links:

Wikipedia article
Great Battles of History scenario
A CC:Ancients scenario (opens a PDF)

Scenario changes
Reduced by about a third the troops due to my smaller sized table. I also made Craterus's Pike regular fortitude and Eumenes's Pike low fortitude - the scenario has Eumenes with Pk(S) and Craterus with Pk(I), and my (limited) research seems to lead to the reverse.   I roughly halved the spear and pike units as the scenario units are for DBx that assumes in this case that the units will be rear supported, not the case with my rules.

Troops
Macedonian (Craterus)
The Macedonians - Craterus on the left of this picture.
3 Phalangites, battle infantry, phalanx
1 Hypaspists, battle infantry, phalanx, some protection, high fortitude, drilled
1 Hoplite, battle infantry, phalanx, some protection
2 Thracians, aux infantry
2 Psiloi, skirmish infantry, short missile
1 Companions, aux cavalry, high fortitude, disciplined
1 Heavy Cavalry, aux cavalry
1 General with Companions

Breakpoint: 8

I have called them "Macedonian" as the troops were mostly Macedonians.

Cappadocia (Eumenes)


Cardians with more screening skirmishers and cavalry.  Eumenes the leftmost cavalry unit in the picture.
4 Phalangites, battle infantry, phalanx, low fortitude
4 Cappadocians, aux infantry
6 Psiloi, skirmish infantry, short missile
1 Guard cavalry, aux cavalry, high fortitude
3 Heavy Cavalry, aux cavalry
1 General with Guards

Breakpoint: 10

I have called this side Cappadocians as Eumenes at this time was the governor of Cappadocia (and Paphlagonia)

Note that I have omitted the light cavalry that Eumemes had.  There was no room.  Eumenes has 4 heavy cavalry and Craterus two; this is more than enough of an advantage for Eumenes.

Deployment
Deployment:


Macedonians on the left, Cappadocians to the right.  Fairly standard deployment and as per scenario
The Game
Craterus moves first. In the actual battle, Craterus charged with his cavalry and this lost the battle.  To simulate this, I can use my programmable opponent system and force the Macedonian side to use the "envelop flanks" tactic.  This means they have to advance with the cavalry first.  This may seem forced, but Eumenes would just charge with his cavalry (as he has more of them) and hold his infantry back. The end result is the same.

The heavy cavalry on both flanks.

The first turn sees the Macedonians advance

The Macedonians advance.
Eumenes and another heavy cavalry charge at the Macedonian heavy cavalry opposite, the latter is routed (a 6 rolled against them).   Both cavalry units pursue.

Eumenes and Co. engage the enemy cavalry (that subsequently routs)
The Eumenes infantry is not as good as the Macedonians and so they choose not move.

The two heavy cavalry on the Cappadocian left flank charge into Craterus and all three are disordered.

Craterus engages the non-Eumenes flank.  Grey spears are disordered markers.
The Macedonian battle line splits off a Thracian on their left to hold the Cappadocian heavy cavalry while the rest advances.

Hard to notice, but a lone Thracian unit is left behind on the right to protect the battleline from Eumenes.
Eumenes and the heavy cavalry do a complex wheel and charge the Thracian.  Only one heavy cavalry contacts, the Thracian retreats, the heavy cavalry pursues, routs the Thracian,  heavy cavalry continues to pursue.

The Heavy cavalry accompanying Eumenes charges the Thracians (who rout).
The Cappadocian skirmishers want to advance by fail (rolled a 1).  Craterus and the Cappadocian heavy cavalry continue in melee and Craterus routs one of the opposing heavy cavalry.

Craterus (to the rear of the pictures) routs one of the opposition (the other shown here is routed next turn)
The Macedonian battleline advances and sees a few skirmishers rout after missile exchanges.

Skirmish skimming - most the the skirmishers disappear in a flurry of missiles
Eumenes and the heavy cavalry are moving round the back.  Craterus routs the remaining opposing heavy cavalry and charges the Cappadocian light infantry on the edge of the flank; it retreats.

After routing the cavalry, Craterus (at the left) charges some light infantry and forces them to retreat
The Macedonian battleline moves up. Appalling Macedonian dice rolls sees all the Macedonians disordered bar one and no retreats on the other side.  This despite being of higher fortitude giving them a combat bonus.

Ancient battlelines clash.  Despite the disparity in combat values, mostly both sides are disordered.
Eumenes moves but the other Heavy Cavalry fails its order roll.  Two rounds of battleline melee see Cappadocian losses of 3 Light Infantry and 2 phalangite units routed.

The Cappadocian batteline is failing (only a couple of pike units remaining at centre left).  Eumenes can been seen in the distance at the rear of the Macedonian line.
The good news is that Eumenes is poised to charge into the rear of some Macedonian phalangites.  The bad news is that his army has reached its breakpoint and so will flee.  Craterus, unlike history is victorious.

Game end positions - Eumenes and his other Heavy cavalry on the left, The battleline to the right (with only two Cappadocian pike units)
Verdict
I played this game over several sessions over several months, but enjoyed it nevertheless.  It did not go quite like history.  It was when Craterus was in melee I noticed I had removed from the rules the possibility of generals dying in combat (currently the only way to kill a general is to kill the unit; this is not easy)  It was there but accidently removed in the great version 2.0 rewrite in September 2014.  I have now added it back in.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

20mm WW2 skirmish '44 France with Advancing sections (own rules)

Introduction
Last year I played a few games of NUTS! and then I modified it a bit to be NUTS! but using 1d6 (rather than 2d6) and card activation, and adding in light and heavy wounds. I added in the wounding to make it easier for campaigns.  But over the last year I have been thinking of going in a different direction.  I have revised them heavily and while some of the NUTS! reactions will still be recognisable, not much else is.  I was looking around for an alternative activation mechanism – I had already moved from NUTS! to card based last year -  and in my head I thought it would be good to roll per figure/group to activate and have some way to alternate between the sides.  I thought maybe 5+ for regular, 6+ for green, 4+ for veteran sounded about right…and then remembered that I seem to remember FUBAR (that I have but never played) had something like this.  FUBAR is exactly like this! I also used something similar for some battalion level rules I write a few years ago, but went back to card based.  So I am using FUBAR based activation, but not much else from FUBAR.  I also wanted to cut down on modifiers so I have 1-2 for all the rolls/reactions except firing, which has 4.

Anyway, before testing out some other skirmish rules I have, I thought after spending many hours revising and tweaking these rules that I should give them at least one go before moving on to other rules things (the other things being playing with other published skrimish rules and likely combining my own skirmish rules with my battalion level rules to produce a company game that played on a 2'x2' table at 1:900 game scale with reactions like NUTS!.  for the latter, I am hoping to scale the ranges down and keeps some of reactions to produce a company level very solo friendly game).

Scenario
I went with some old favourites from the NUTS! game played last year.  We are back in Normandy July 1944 on the way to Maltot with a section from the British 7th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment of the 43rd (Wessex) Division.

Corporal Box (leader and veteran, +1 to spot rolls, Sten SMG)
Lance Corporal Airfix (leader, Bren)
Private Jones (first KO = pinned)
Private Killan (+1 to melee, first pinned = shaken)
Private Barret (-1 to shoot)
Private Hart (+1 to shoot)
Private Peel
Private Tennyson (green; can run and shoot)

Assuming another patrol and need to get to the other side.
Rolled up some random terrain,  and them placed 3 PEFs/blinds as per NUTS!

The board.  British patrol enters from the bottom, the three possible enemy forces are the three animals.

The QRS that I used - just need to write the rules around it!
Game
I was going to write this up interspersed with pictures but I have done the previous three skirmish writeups as a comic.  So I decided to go with the comic style again. There may be some shots out of focus.  If I am doing a comic, I tend to take about 3 times as many photos as I would use, and craft a comic from the images.  If doing a report interspersed with pictures, I tend to only take about 25% more pictures and just not use the poor quality ones.  I had to use all but one image to craft the comic, so used a few poor ones that may have not made it.

I have rambled on enough, onto the 5 page comic.  After it is the tidied up notes of what occurred in game terms.

Click on the picture for a larger version - likely easier to read.








A translation of the events in rule terms
The section moves into woods.  The Possible Enemy Forces (PEFs) all roll 6 for activation and move closer to the section.
Box and Airfix also succeed for activation and move into into the middle of the woods with the two other soldiers each has with them (as a group activation)

Next turn, Airfix activates, moves forward, and now at the edge of the wood can spot the Trojan pig PEF.  The Trojan pig has a (lesser) chance to spot so a spot contest opposed roll. Airfix wins.  The Trojan is revealed to be...a pig.

Barret and Jones activate, as does the two PEFs.  Out of the last 11 activation rolls, I have rolled 7 6's!

Random event rolled - one British soldier has the trots and it pinned.  Oh no, it is Corporal Box!

Lance corporal Airfix moves up to edge of woods and can see the chickien PEF. Another spot opposed roll.  Airfix win, the chicken is an LMG team and Airfix gets the first fire with the Bren.
The two Germans are shaken (-1 to fire until next activation) and retreat to the nearest cover in the shellholes.

Now to resolve Airfix, who can also see the COW. Another spot opposed roll (note the opposed roll occurs as the cow has a chance to see Airfix, and vice versa; need to see who spots first). COW wins and is 3 riflemen. They fire and Tennyson is shaken and retreats into the wood.  Airfix returns fire -  two Germans down and the third retreats back to the wood, shaken.

Jones and Barret activate and move up to the edge of the wood and spots the German that has just retreated into their wood. No spot roll off required - the German is shaken.  Jones and Barret fire for no effect.  The German returns fire for no effect, so now there is a firefight resolved by opposed rolls.  It is a tie (after modifiers) and so both are shaken and both retreat further into their  respective woods.

Box activates and is unpinned.  Killan also advances, beats a spot rolloff versus the German LMG team in the shellhole, fires, misses, LMG return fire misses, firefight sees a tie again (after the opposed roll) and both shaken.  Lot of ties occurring!

For the German activation,  the LMG is still shaken (rolled a 1) but the German in wood advances, spots, fires, misses, and the return fire return fire misses. The ensuing firefight (opposed roll) sees the sees the German down and out.

Next turn the British Bren team fire on German LMG team - 2 hits, two Knocked Out.

No more Germans to activate so will call it a day (it is time for my bed anyway). I could keep playing and moving the British to the other side with the possibility of more Germans appearing as part of random events.  But I don't.

Verdict
50 minutes including notes, photos, a short break, looking up a couple of rules and first time playing. I kept forgetting to roll a couple of dice at the same time for hit and damage, which would have speed it up some.  I think this game would be 30 minutes if it was the third time I was playing.  A few tweaks are required to the firefight rules (the opposed roll once the first trading of shots has missed). I need to actually write the rules behind the QRS as even though I mentally knew some of the process behind the table, I was making up some of the detail as I went along.  In short: it was fun, fast, the rules played as expected (a good thing), seems solo friendly and nothing jarring on how it may have occurred in real life (to me, in my limited view of history and soldiery anyway!). Now to scale them up to company level.  I also need to write the rules for section (squad) level as I expect to use them again sometime.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Quick Star Wars space fighter game using Starhound derivative

Introduction
May the fourth.  Star Wars day.  Not a fanatical fan but do like the movies (well at least 4, 5, and 6). On Sunday, I thought – “hang on, I have some Star Wars Micromachines and I have a few Space fighter rules that I played in the early 80’s.  Maybe put the two together for a quick game?”  So on Sunday I dug up Starhound (go here for a look at the reference sheets), a ruleset I played a few times in the early 80’s.  I seem to remember it was fun, but looking at it now it seems to be a longer game that it could be, and it uses d100.  I also dug out the other space fighter boardgame I had played – Yaquinto's Shooting Stars. [update 10 May 2015: an older version of this post referred in error to  Yaquinto's Starfall instead of Shooting Stars].  Shooting Stars is a long game and quite detailed, so while I remember it been a good game, not for me at the moment when all I want to do it put a few fighters on the table and push them around for a one-off game.  I would have liked to play Star Wars: Star Warriors as it looks like it would fit right in, but I do not have it :-)  And I have resisted so far getting Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game, or I think I would have been playing that!



Rediscovered rules
But what should be in the Shooting Stars box but a few sheets of space fighter rules I wrote based on a whole bunch of different rulesets at the time.  And the Starhound book had a printed version of some of it.  So I was writing rules 30 years ago!  I did not remember doing this at all – they have remained there for 30 years, just waiting for this moment.    They are mostly based on Starhound but moving from d100 to d6.  It also uses facing for hit location.  And goes to the Shooting Stars 16 impulse movement system similar to Starfire/Star Fleet Battles.

I decide to use these rules.  But rather than the impulse movement sequence, I go back to Starhound (similar to full Thrust but with more and greater turns).  It reality, the game is much like StarHound but not using d100, less to hit modifiers and a slightly more detailed hit location chart.  I photocopied the typed up page and scribbled changes over it for about 10 minutes and that became the playsheet.  It is only for this game - I would have typed it up if I was playing a few more games.

My scribbled playsheet.  The typed part is 30 years old.
Quick Starhound overview
Starhound movement is based on thrust points that equal movement about 10-15.  The number of engines also allow you to turn, mostly up to 4 60 degree turns.  Movement is pre-plotted per player turn with the plotted turns happening evenly during the turn i.e. if you were going 3 turns, it is turn, move one-third, turn, move one-third, turn, move one-third.  firing is at the end of turn, with about half the normal chance to hit if the target was not in the forward arc the entire turn.  Light weapons
have a range of about 45, heavier weapons 90.  for my game, I quartered everything and played in inches with thrust about 4, light weapons range 12 (using a d6 to hit), heavy weapons range 24 (using a d12). There are no shield rules. After playing once after 30 years, I still found them to be a fun game.

Units
I do not have many space fighters in the Micro Machines but do have two X-wings and 2 tie interceptors so will go with that.  Nice and simple.  I have a quick look at the Star Wars wikia to figure out weapons and engines.  I drop the torpedoes and missiles as they would involve the advanced rules and more rules that I do not have time to think about.

So, here are the ships stats, that look very much like Starhound stats:

X-wing
Single seater
4 engines X X X X
4 lasers X X X X
10 hull XXXXX XXXXX
Speed: 4
Turns: 4

Tie interceptor
Single seater
2 engines X X
2 disruptors X X
5 hull XXXXX
Speed: 5
Turns: 3

Lasers are light weapons and have a range of 12; disruptors are heavy with a range of 24.
Turns are the number of 60 degree turns per player turn.

Scenario
The battle is on between the fleets of the Rebels and the empire.  The fighters are send out from each side to engage.  This is the story of the meeting engagement between two X-wings and two tie interceptors.

The two X-wings are veteran Sam with novice Anne.

Rebels (Micromachines)


The two Tie Interceptors are veteran Catty with novice Frosty.

Empire (Micromachines).  Yes, I know Catty is really a tie bomber and Frosty is Vader's Tie Fighter.
(Names are from my children's teddy bears).
The game is played on an Ikea table as that is all I have at short notice.

Game
I set them up on opposite sides of the table.

The Ikea battleground.
Rebel plan: Try and go on one flank, go in fast and try and shorten the range (the X-wing weapons have a maximum range of 12").  This sort of worked but in reality the Tie Interceptors came too close anyway.

Empire plan: go slow and keep the distance open (weapon range is 24").  due to my mismanagement and poor visualisation of distances, the Tie Interceptors ended up closing the range and losing the weapon range advantage.

The first two turns see the two forces rushing up to each other, increasing their velocity.

X wings going for the flank.  Empire just charging ahead.
 Turn 3 sees the Rebels do some good manoeuvring and the Empire slowing down and not so good.  The Empire player is very close and lost any range advantage of the longer ranged weapons.  Sam slams Frosty with 3 hits (from 4) but they end up being near misses (three 6's in a row for damage).  The near miss on Frosty means that, as a novice, Frosty has to thrust maximum next turn (a hit does this to a novice as well).
Firing is simultaneous and Frosty fires at Anne - 2 hits, each destroying a weapon.  Unlucky - there is only a 1 in 6 chance of hitting a weapon.  Anne, also a novice, will have to thrust maximum next turn.  Anne is already going 12", so will plot a 16" move next turn!

First blood to both sides.
Next turn is a mess of multiple tuns on both sides.  Anne plots 4 turns and ends up in a good position, fires at Catty and misses.  Catty, that barely moved, fires at Anne for two hull hits who will continue to accelerate next turn due to being hit again. Frosty does some pathetic plotting thinking he was really clever but ended up nowhere. Sam has a line on Frosty and score two hits, destroying an engine and a hull section.  Tie interceptors have only two engines so it now means Frosty has one engine and is limited in speed and turns.

Dancing around each other.
Anne and Frosty, both novices and both accelerating as fast as they can due to being hit, end up in limbo away from the centre.  Not great, but not bad as neither can be fired on.  Catty turns in place and Sam does nifty turns at low speed to see then face off each other at very short range. Catty destroy's one of Sam's four engines, and Sam destroys one of Catty's engines, damages the other and also one Catty's two weapons.  Catty can only thrust at 1" per turn now and no turns. Catty is really out the game as he can be picked off at any time, and is not a threat.

Sam and Catty face off.  Catty loses one engine and the other damaged.
 More plotting that wanted to be clever but wasn't (except Catty, who just moved 1"!).   Moslty is is down to my inexperience with plotted movement - my (limited) experience since 1985 with spaceship gaming has been impulse movement or vector driven.

A turn of downtime to stop doing mandatory actions.  Not intentional but useful.

With Catty out of the game, only Frosty was left.  I plotted Frosty to do some turns and slow down,but read Catty's plot, but for the previous turn and did not move Frosty at all.  You would think with only four pieces, how hard could it be to remember to move them?  Well, obviously it isn't.  With a poor turning anyway (as a novice he gets a poorer turn, and less turns as he only has one engine), the outsome would not be much different.  The range would have been a little longer but he still would have not had any X-wings in his firing arc.

Anne and Sam line up Frosty very well.  Anne is in "the slot" and so gets a bonus to fire.  Anne hits with both shots to stun Frostly (does nothing for one turn) and damages the remaining engine.  Sam scores 3 hits destroying a weapon, a hull and the engine.  Frosty is stunned, no engines and one weapon.  He is also out of the game.  Victory to the Rebels - a yay or a boo depending on your alignment!

Forgot to move Frosty and the X-wings take him down.
Verdict
A hoot.  I could visualise some of action in my head - the swooping and firing of cinematic space fighters as it appears on the big screen was well represented by the Starhound rules.  And I got to use the rule modifications  I wrote 30 years ago but never played.   The game lasted all of 20 minutes over 7 turns, including plotting, note taking and dice rolling.  It took longer to scribble some modifications than it did to play the actual game.  But I had fun the whole time from digging out the old rules and games to reading them, discovering the scribbled rules and the actual play.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

6mm WW2 Russia 43 Iron Wedge Red Guards scenario with MWR

Introduction
I have acquired a lot of WW2 rules for company/battalion (1 figure = 1 team/squad) over the years and have not played most of them.  My aim is to use the Russia ’43 Red Guards at Kursk Skirmish Campaign book and use a different ruleset for each scenario.  I am going to scale the scenarios up from skirmish to the level required by the rules and then scale the measurements down from inches to centimetres to play on a small board with 6mm figures.

This is my first battle in the series and so will start with something not too complex.  I am using the Mechanised Warfare Rules (MWR) rules by Andrew Thomas and available from Irregular Miniatures.  MWR is one of the inspirations for the Pz8 series of rules.

See this page for information on my replaying of WW2 scenarios with different rules.

Overview of Mechanised Warfare Rules
MWR is a 'rules light' set of rules for WW2.  It also contains an addendum for post-WW2 conflicts.  If you like a lot of detail and everything spelt out on what you can and cannot do, these rules are definitely not for you.  But for a fun game, these are great. But I do miss that there is no command and control at all.

Scale
There are two scales of the game: 6mm where 1” = 25 metres and 2mm where 1” is 50 metres.  Other than this difference, the example base unit for 6mm is generally a team of 1 vehicle; for 2mm it is 1 squad and 3-5 vehicles. All distances are in game are in metres.  Game uses d6s only.

Turn sequence
Game sequence is:
Player A moves
Player B fires
Player B moves
Player A fires

Command and control
There is no command and control. There is no spotting or hidden movement other than unit cannot fire at unit not in LOS.

Move
Rough ground moves are:
  • Infantry move 100m
  • Vehicles move between 150m and 350m depending on the vehicle (there is a table)
Road movement is double.

That is all the movement rules.

Fire
Example fire ranges:
  • Infantry base range is 100m.
  • MGs are 200mm.
  • Guns are dependent on calibre and  range from 200m (20m), 6pdr (500m) up to 1500m for the large guns.
To hit roll 1d6 and a 5-6 hits, 4-6 at half range, -1 if firer moved. Artillery uses a 1” burst circle and hits on a 5-6, +1 if FO of HQ unit within 500m of target (this is the only mention of HQ units); If artillery misses it falls long or short.  This is it for the to hit rules.

To fire attacker roll 1d6 and adds their attack factor against soft or armour targets e.g.
  • 1 for infantry Vs armour
  • 2 for infantry Vs infantry
  • 5 for a Stug Vs armour
  • 2 for a Stug Vs infantry
Defender rolls 1d6 and adds defense factor e.g.
  • infantry in open 0
  • infantry in soft cover 1
  • Stug is 3
Compare attacker score against defender score:
  • If less, no effect
  • If equal, defender cannot fire or move for one turn
  • If attacker 1 or 2 more then defender is immobilised but may fire after 1 turn
  • If 3 or more then defender destroyed
Close combat
There are no specific close combat rules.

Morale
There are no morale or experience rules.

Aircraft
There are aircraft rules – limited sorties, 4 types of aircraft and anti-aircraft rules.

Scenario
I am using IRON WEDGE the third scenario from the Russia ’43 Red Guards at Kursk Skirmish Campaign book.  This first two scenarios is quite small and infantry only.  I wanted something with some more variety to test out the rules.  It pits limited but dug-in defending German infantry and AT gun against advancing Russian tanks and tank riders.  The Russians are trying to exit off the German side of the table.  The Russians win if they exit 3 AFVs by the end of game turn 12, otherwise the Germans win.

Overview of the table - Russians enter on the left, Germans deployed anywhere from the hills to the right edge.  This is also this board that I cut and flocked.  did not turn out too bad.
Troops
German

Germans - picture is fuzzy but gives you an idea of the quantity.


Force HQ
     1 Infantry HQ base
     4 infantry bases (each with satchel charge)
1st Pioneer company
    1 HQ base
    1 MMG base
    6 infantry bases (2 with satchel charges)
    1 flamethrower base
2nd Pioneer company
    1 HQ base
    1 MMG base
    7 infantry bases (1 with a satchel charge)
1 AT section
    1 Pak 36 3.7cm AT gun

The 2nd Pioneer company was the variable attachment.

There are no satchel charge rules in MWR so will use: range 1", hit on 4+, Attack value Infantry 8  AT 5 

Soviet
A not great picture either of the Russians.

T-70 unit
    3 T-70 on turn 3 (a d4 roll)
T-34 unit
    3 T-34 on turn 1 (a d4 roll)
1st Tank Rider company
    1 HQ SMG base
    7 SMG bases
2nd  Tank Rider company
    1 HQ SMG base
    7 SMG bases
1st Motorised infantry company
    1 HQ Rifle base
    1 MMG base
    5 Rifle bases
    3 trucks

The 1st Motorised infantry company was the variable attachment.

As each vehicle may represent 3 vehicles in the rules, I will allow 3 squads per represented tank to be mounted.

Deployment
The scenario calls for an 8’ long table that I am scaling to 30” (I have made a board 72cmx48cm scaled down 2.5 from a 6'x4' to match scaling rules down from inches to cm. Naturally, the first scenario I try out is 8', not 6'!) .  German setup is 72” inches from their edge that equates to ¾ of the length.  So for my Game, the Germans may setup within 22.5” of their edge.  German infantry may be in foxholes and the AT Gun dug-in.  Additionally there is two 1"x3" (1cmx3cm on my table) unmarked AT/AP minefields that may be placed at the start. note:

The stream is soft and impassable to the trucks and cause a bog check to AFVs.  MWR has no bog check rules so I will use:Bog check - 1 on a d6 is bogged; 5-6 on a d6 to unbog.

All Russian AFV entry points much be recorded prior to the start. Tank riders may enter on or off the tanks.

Focus for the Germans could be on back just before exit, or up front hoping for early KOs and slowing down.  I went with focussed mostly at the back with some at the front to keep the Russians honest.

Note the 37mm AT gun has a rang of 10 inches and infantry stands are 2".

German deployment
Game
Turn 1 the T34 and trucks enter.  The trucks are going in the front to find the defence, rather than the T34s.  Getting 3+ tanks to the other side is the aim.  12 turns, 6" a turn move for tanks is 5 turns.  The T70s not on until turn 3 and it will be 8 moves for them!  Trucks move 4'".  There is no sight rules or hidden rules in MWR so will just say cannot see units in or behind cover. Unless the Russians want to dash the whole way without stopping, 12 turns seems doable.

That Russian tank riders are at the edge of the board indicating what tank they are on.

Russians enter on the left. Infantry at the edge are the tank riders that are riding the tank further up the table.
The Russians decide to focus on right flank as there are less ambush positions.  This leaves a flank (their left) alone. Hopefully the defense is distributed (of course it is as the game is solo, but this is the attempt to think from one sides view!).  The trucks will need to go first as they do not count for victory conditions and need to wait until the T70s show up as they should go before the T34s to probe the defenses as well.

In Turn 2 and 3 the trucks advance a little more and in turn 3 the T70s enter the table but don't go to far - the best paths are still unknown.

T70s enter.  Again, infantry at the edge are actually riding the tank/truck further up the table.
The trucks reach the gap, and are fired on by infantry to each side.


Two German infantry are close enough to fire at each truck.  Infantry miss (5+ required at long range i.e. 1" to 2").

In turn 4, the Soviets will have to speed things up with only 8 turns to go. The fired on trucks unload (no rules for that either - I made up one saying 1 turn to load/unload).  The T34 and T70s dash forwards.
The trucks showing where the enemy after, the tanks roll through the gaps.
Dismounted infantry fire at the Soviets -  one miss, one permanently immobilised.
Some of the German infantry on their right flank move closer to middle - there is nothing coming there way so they will race to try an intercept the Russians.   Note there is no rules for moving in or out of melee. At this scale, I will follow the rules, so trucks etc. can move of of melee if they wish.

The Soviets fire back but miss with all rolls.  I assume you cannot fire though troops so the Russian tanks have no line of fire to any spotted infantry.

Turn 5 see lots of movement from the Russians as they race through the first gap between the hills.

Russians closing in on the gap before the river.  The German AT Gun is in the centre in the woods, To the right can be seen German infantry racing towards the gap to beef up the firepower.
The Russians are closing in on the last gap between the woods before the river.  Close enough for the 37mm to open up a hit and a difference of 3 in the dice sees a T70 KO!  And the Russian infantry disable a truck and the passengers debark.   Any German infantry not near Russians  move towards this gap.  The Russians fire on the 37mm with everything they can but all they achieve is a immobilise (no fire for one turn).

37mm AT gun (at right) immobilises a T70 (shown with some smoke).  At the left is the disabled truck with dismounted German infantry.
Turn 6 - Do the Russians wait or dash through the gap? Dash!  Only as the rules will punish them if they sit there. The sequence of "Player A move, Player B fire, Player B move, Player B fire" really helps the short range infantry fire if you do not move. Regardless, the more chance of movement the Germans get, the more firepower they can bring to bear and the worse off the Russians will be.  Dash it is.  After the Russian move, the Germans fire and  KO a T70 and another T70 is immobilised for one turn.  Germans move in to maybe get in another shot if the Russians stay still.  The Russians fire at the approaching German infantry and manage to rout two stands.

The gap before the river is crowded as the Russians attempt to dash past the Germans.  The square bases are Germans - they are surrounding the tanks but the turn sequence means they move close, but then Russians will fire and then move away.
Turn 7 and two T34s move off the board.  I am assuming 1/2 speed for the river.  It is 1" wide, T34s move 6" so they moved 4", enough to exit.

Two T34s have already existed and the last T34 is only a short distance from existing.  
The third T34 is nearly off and there is only two stands (one with a satchel charge) that can fire at it.   Both miss.  I don't play out any more moves - in turn 8 the T34 can move off the board.

The table at game end.  Russian infantry at the first gap between the hills and a lot of Greman and Russian infantry at the gap at the river.  The T70s are unlikely to make it off the table but no matter, the Russians got 3 tanks off the other side.
The Russians meet the victory conditions and win.

BUT....

It was 4 weeks after I started playing until I played the last turn. When writing up this post that I  realised I had completely forgotten about the minefields.  So let us replay a part of turn 7 when the first T34 cross one of the minefields to see if things go differently:

T34 enters unmarked minefield: minefield misses.  Assuming that nothing was triggered due to the miss, roll for the second T34 entering the minefield:  A hit, but no damage.  The third t34 avoids the area.  So the three T34s still make it off the table and it is still a Russian victory.

I also forgot a bog check for the tanks at the stream.  I roll now for each of the T34s and they all passed.

The game is actually a lot closer than it was adding in the mines and the bog checks!  One poor roll for mines or bogs would have seen the Russians lose.

Verdict
I did not realise I did not scale the rules down from inches to cm until turn 5.  This turned out to be a good thing as it played really well using inches on the small table - the firing distances in cm (2cm for infantry) and the number of turn it would have been for the T34s to cross the entire table (12 at full speed) would have skewed the game.  There was only a small number of units on the table and the rules are likely designed for much more. It worked really well and felt right.  About 2 turns in a though the turn sequence would not work for chase games like this, but it did.  I thought it would be a Russian cake walk.  It wasn't.  I like the rules ans a basis to build on. They are simple and fun.

I originally made the 30"x20" board about 14 months before this post and this is its first outing. I had also set out the terrain about 14 months as well.  It took awhile to get around to finding the gaming enthusiasm for this (it came back months ago) but I am glad it did.  I like the small table and 6mm games.  I already have the second one setup and ready to go, hopefully taking less than 14 months to get around to playing it!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Operation Jupiter Game 05 - The Ridge

Introduction
This is game 5 is replaying the scenarios from the Briton Publishers Operation Jupiter skirmish scenario book (Lulu PDF link).  I am replaying them on a 4.5'x5' table using 20mm, my own Advance to Cover rules and a figure scale of 1 figure = 1 section.  Background on why I am playing these is at the start of the first game post.

Scenario
Germans are dug in on a ridgeline.  The British start in a nearby walled wheatfield and have 6 turns to dislodge them.

The empty table from the British wheatfield deployment area.  The German ridgeline is in front of the trees. You will have to imagine a slope from the trees to the wheatfield.
Troops
British
The British units.  I have no Crocodiles, even though the tanks are Airfix, I cannot find their fuel trailers - I must have mislaid them sometime in the last 34 years!    So the grey ones will be the flame tanks.
1 Battalion HQ
     6 figures
2 Companies, each:
      1 CO, 1 2" mortar, 1 PIAT and 9 figures
2 Churchill VII
2 Chruchill Crocodiles (flame)

German
The Germans.  One day I will base the second Pak 40!
1 Battalion HQ
   4 figures
1 Company
   1 CO and 9 figures
2 Pak-40
1 MMG
1 fire mission of 80mm mortars

Deployment
The Germans are in foxholes on the ridge.  In the actual battle, the Germans were behind the ridge and the British simply overran them.  So I setup the foxholes on the ridge.

A simple setuip - AT guns and MMG and platoons each in their own foxholes.
The British start in the wheatfield.  The only way out is via the opening, or for the infantry they can jump the wall.

The British - tanks will lead the way out the opening, infantry will follow.
Game
The tanks move out while some infantry follow.  Other infantry race for the wall.

The British move out.
The Germans open up with their anti-tank guns.  good range, good chance...both miss.  And both are spotted (a 4+ was required to spot them).  The tanks continue movement, as does the infantry (when the activation card  actually happens - the joke came out a few times to end the turn before the British infantry could move).

More movement by the British.
The anti-tanks guns get to fire again and pin one and KO another.  This makes up for their earlier  poor performance.   A platoon (3 figures) opens up on the infantry to cause a casualty but is spotted and routed the next turn but some good dice rolling.

Two tanks out of action (one temporary).  The empty foxhole was a German platoon
The remaining Churchill crocodiles open up with HE and via some amazing dice rolls KO the two anti-tank guns.  The British brought their good luck with them on this game.

The two empty large foxholes used to have Pak 40s/
The German mortar is called in, the Germans open up with everything they have and pin one of the two companies.

The pinned British company in the foreground. 
The British then open up with the Churchill HE and the other British company pours fire into the foxholes.  The Germans have had enough and retreat into the woods.

End game.  The British still have a a full company, half the tanks and a pinned company that could rally/ 
Verdict
It may not read like a close game but it actually was.  If one more tank had gone, or the British were less lucky in knocking out the Pak40s, it could have easily gone the other way.  The British must have been using some good luck dice for this battle.

It was a fast game (always good) and I felt it could have easily gone either way.  As with these "vignette" battles, a few lucky dice rolls can determine the game.