Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Spanish Grand Opening

As a grown-up I have access to a large garage. This houses the car during the winter, but in late Spring it is given over to its prime purpose, - acting as a wargames room.

The exact timing of the grand opening of the garage for wargaming each year varies. I have been guilty in the past of being too eager and nearly given friends pneumonia in early May. Having said that last year it served well in April as we had the unseasonably warm weather around the time of the Royal Wedding.

This year I left it until the last Monday in May (ie yesterday), hoping to benefit from the lovely weather we've been having. In celebration of the opening I finally got down to writing up my corps/army level SCW rules so we could make the most of this opportunity. This meant some juggling round of my weekend activities so that I could fit in everything and still set the table up. The challenge for me at the moment is getting back from work in time to set up the game for an 8pm-ish start, but if I can do it on the Sunday that makes it all possible. That's important as with the current job commitments and commuting four hours a day my remaining time to wargame is precious to me.

So Monday turned out to be a disappointment as one by one the Monday Night Group dropped out during the day, leaving me with a large game set up and no players. There was nothing for it then, having watched the Test highlights on catch up TV, to run it solo. Luckily the design at the moment is open with no hidden movement.

The system at the moment is a mash up between SNTK and a set I wrote a number of years ago called "Red Army, White Guards",(RAWG) which is a RCW set that plays on a six inch square offset grid (ie it works like a hex grid without actually being one).
The table from behind the
 Nationalist lines
I set up a Nationalist attack by some Legion, Falange and Regular Army on an entrenched position guarding a road held mostly by a motley collection of militias and some International Brigades.
The Republicans' front line

The Nationalists are nearest the camera, and there's a fair sprinkling of olive groves and other bits of cover to help them out. In this system cover prevents you from being easily observed and so shot at. Once you are acquired as a target it is only solid buildings and trenches that save you from serious damage.

In order to get the staccato movement from either side that I have in SNTK I've adopted a different approach. You have to roll to activate each battalion/unit. the base roll is quite easy, but when transitioning from one type of unit to another(eg Legion to Falange, or Anarchist to Communist militia) it becomes harder. If one side fails an activation then play passes to the opponent who does the same until he fails. play passes back and forth until everything has moved twice.

Falange command stand with a die
 showing current EDNA score
Fails can be overridden by command bases, but these have to pass an EDNA* test to be able to do so (you can see the Nationalist command groups clustered around the Divisional commander in the village. They're made up of chaps with flags and a Pz1 command tank).

The militia finally get it together -
 although there's need for some commend
intervention in the middle.
Serendipity sometimes gives you a real narrative. The Nationalist left wing  of Legion moved into the olive groves, spearheaded by some Condor Legion armour. After a successful brigade move the order to fire the artillery got mislaid, passing the turn to the Republic. They in turn start to get ready, by issuing Reserve Fire orders all along their trench line. Alas a dispute between the anarchists communists meant that the order didn't get passed. Repeatedly.

The Legion surge through the Olive Grove
This enabled the Nationalists to move up the rest of their line and ineffectually open fire with their artillery (a whole series of 1s & 3s made artillery a complete waste of time so far).

A white puff of smoke and a black ring.
Some Condors aren't going home
The Condor Legion decided to overawe the militias by pushing forward one of the armoured companies. This immediately provoked the Republican artillery to switch targets and bring down fire upon them. I was using the armour rules from SNTK as those in RAWG never really worked and in any event relied on playing cards, and this is not a playing card game. The moment the artillery acquired and hit the target (note to self to look at hit factors) I realised I was knocking out a whole company in one shot. So armoured vehicles now take three hits to destroy, but have a degraded fire effect with each hit.

Which is about where I left the game, with the Nationalists poised in the olive groves and the Republicans lining their trenches with safety catches off.

*Ever Decreasing Number Allowance. An idea of Graham Hockley's. You allocate a score for something to happen. You roll less than that number for it to succeed. If you equal or exceed the number you fail and reduce the EDNA by one (or the amount of the failure difference) for the next roll.

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