Thursday, 1 August 2013

Back to BAIT-sics

I can't believe it has been that long, but it's been nearly a year since we last had a go with RFCM's SCW rules "Bayonets & Ideology Two", aka "BAIT".

Looking back at my post on the subject in August last year I can see we weren't completely satisfied then, but in lieu of an alternative for low level actions I thought I'd give it a go again.

I don't use the full recce sequence in the rules as I want to play specific types of game. In this case, as before, I want to do some of the street fighting around University City in Madrid.

To set the game up I also ignored the basic BAIT army list for the Republicans. The defence of Madrid could be a bit ad hoc at times, so I put together a mixed group of platoons, with some veteran Asaltos backed by a few regulars, some militia and a couple of FT-17s.

The attackers were Spanish Foreign Legion with a couple of field guns.

The role of attackers was taken by Monday Night regular, Will, and a newbie called Harvey. Phil took the Republicans. Ian called in sick.

The basic terrain looked like this, with the Nationalists attacking from the bottom right. Their starting position was a mixture of partial and closed squares, but they then had to cross the road which was open before getting into partial terrain the other side.

The Nationalists started with two platoons and the guns, all veteran. The Republicans had a platoon of Asaltos, also veteran, and the sector commander.

Will took the right hand Nationalist platoon, and Harvey the left. The guns were placed on or about the road. The defenders were split between the large grey wrecked building in the middle and the building just this side of the park with the trees half way up on the right hand side.

Will started off with an aggressive sneak move to the aforementioned park and the unoccupied building next to it.. This succeeded, but he received some opportunity fire and took casualties. He then returned fire and inflicted a lot of hits on the defenders.

When it came to Phil's turn he had one base left in this location, and aware that he would probably lose it the following turn close assaulted the Nationalists in the park.

This tactic succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, as he disposed of the remaining SFL bases and himself surviving.

I should note at this point that the artillery were gloriously ineffective. This part of both BAIT and PBI is thoroughly poor as they seem only to be intended for firing at vehicles, with anti-personnel effects just tagged on the end.

On the other flank Harvey was crossing the road hesitantly, and exchanged fire with the Asaltos in the central building. This, together with a bit of artillery and a close assault left us with the result in the photo - everyone dead.

So at this point pretty much all of the infantry on both sides was dead, apart from the Republican commander and a mortar and the two Nationalist field guns.

Will, however, and salvaged something on his flank and got into the building next to objective two. Phil was now throwing on any reserves he had ready just to keep a presence on the table. The Asaltos then failed a break test and fled.

Phil actually made a good fist of this, and his decisions to bring on units once they'd got four or five bases ready proved effective and he was able to take objective 1.

At this point the turn countdown ran out and the game was over. A count up of victory points gave Phil a marginal victory.

Overall it was a manic and probably unsatisfactory game. Close assaults happen very simply and are devastating to both sides. Phil's theory is that the game is more balanced when the troops are of average quality as the modifiers for veterans mean that troops have to pay less attention to use of cover and so on. I can see what he means. Close assaults are generally much too easy for veteran units.

I should also have done away with the reinforcement rules and had the units come on at predefined points (the tanks never got on). The artillery rules also need work as alluded to above. The idea that regular troops might manhandle an artillery piece up to a strongpoint to blow troops out of it really doesn't work.

What we do next with this type of conflict I'm not sure. It's an important part of the SCW repertoire of games that I want to be able to fight, so it is a problem that needs fixing.

Most perplexing.


  1. Thought I should add ...

    I was defending with one small platoon against 2 attackers who had artillery. Each enemy platoon used close assault as their main method and assaulted independently. Both sustained sufficient casualties in doing so that we all 'died' and my skimpy reinforcements had the balance.

    The attackers should have used one platoon to pin me down (firepower: shoot to pin), and the second platoon to move up to adjacent squares and assault from very close range against pinned enemy. That is a winning formula.

    Uncoordinated attacks against an enemy in buildings is not a winning formula. With my dice I might still have gotten away with it but I doubt it.

    As previously with this scenario, the attacks went in too early and piecemeal - it isn't necessarily a fault of the game that that doesn't work. Will and Harvey were too easily dissuaded from preparing their attacks with shooting (on which, OK, they needed to get luicky - but a/. it's a game and b/. it's against enemy in buildings ... so you may have to wait for a favourable outcome before going in).

    Despite all that, the scores weren't that much in my favour. For SCW, however, I'd be tempted to make the units bigger and drive the game more by scenario than BAIT rules engine.


    1. Phil,

      All of your comments are completely valid. More toys on the table is always a good thing. The pinning and artillery are an issue. To be fair to Will his sneak move then close assault was a perfectly legitimate tactic by the Legion. Just didn't expect everyone to die.