Sunday, 13 July 2014

Conference of Wargamers 2014 - Saturday Sessions

The day dawned bright & sunny etc, etc. Up and blogged Friday & now ready for some serious gaming on a packed Saturday schedule.

Boots on the Ground

My first session of the day was John Armatys' game of counter insurgency in modern Afghanistan. The rules are fairly simple but with an ingenious firing mechanism that reduces the flow of fire from a unit as it has to deal with the consequences of being shot at. Casualties are determined a move after fire is inflicted, and the hit result table has a chance of hits doubling up and being re-rolled. This cleverly genuinely means you cannot estimate either the likely best or worst result of fire on a unit until it is resolved.

The table with Coalition forces laid out prior to deployment.

Fire support group and no 3 platoon choppered in to provide covering fire

Covering fire being provided

Look! The insurgents have taken some hits.

The Taliban leader flees under the watchful eye of a drone.
We had a good plan, and were well lead by Tom M who seemed to know what he was doing. The scenario was kind to us, - we had lots of kit and used it well, I think. An interesting discussion was had on using a Javelin missile to provide an extra doorway into the compound, mainly based on the actual cost of the weapon.

The game is challenging partly because of the rules of engagement. You can't start shooting until a potential hostile points his gun at you, so they in theory get "first strike".

An interesting and nice looking game.

Warriors for the Working Day

No photos for this one as it was a design session for a megagame in Normandy using model tanks. It was run by Jim Wallman and he used the numbers present to run a series of sub-groups to look at the combat mechanisms and the campaign structure. In our sessions a number of interesting ideas got floated, with one team (not us) actually producing a reasonable working version that had tactical movement, decision making and combat resolution all in a 15 minute playing segment. We had a card based system that was doing a good job of simulating the different ways that experienced and green tank teams operated that may surface again elsewhere.

Nimy Bridge
Wayne Thomas is well known at CoW for his neat and beautifully presented 15mm games set from the late 19th century onwards. This game was a re-run of two BEF battalions holding off a German attack in Divisional strength in 1914. I partnered Matt Hartley as the left hand British battalion.

The game has a simple dice command activation system and a random card mechanism that provides sappers, reserves, heroic actions and so on.

Nimy & British positions on the left. Germans approaching from the top

They had a lot of infantry and guns. We didn't.

A BEF company concealed in the woods holds off an entire Regiment.

The sappers blow a bridge

The Teutonic hordes try to assault across the canal

The Huns find a gap in our line. Have they broken through?

The flanking Germans from above are repulsed by our reserves.

The final German attacks are beaten off
As with any dice activated games frustrations can occur. Through a series of "1s" the BEF was unable to move of fire its guns, and had a lot of its line pinned. Then it leapt into action all of a sudden and gave the Boche a bloody nose.

Having played these rules a few times ("Far Away Wars") I think they work better for less well organised armies and wars. That said this provided a tense and exciting game where honours ended up about even. Lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

To Ur is Human

As this has been well and truly covered on this blog not much to say here (and not many pictures). I had six keen and active players  who seemed to enjoy themselves, with the defenders pulling off a victory for the first time in this scenario. New players approach things in new ways and I got one small rule change out of the game.

The titanic struggle across the canal.
The post game de-brief had a lively discussion on the simulation and on the general use on towed wagons in combat. Hopefully the participants will share their thoughts through the Nugget.

Cabinet Office Briefing Room A
This was a Jim Wallman discussion game where the players dealt with a completely unanticipated crisis. I played the Head of ACPO.

Home Secretary, Prime Minister & Defence Secretary

The Ambassadors of German, Netherlands, France & the USA
 The scenario was  a science fiction based one but the game forced us to deal with it in a real world context.. Without giving too much away it looked like we were going to have to refight WW2 on our own. Another interesting game and scenario with potential spin offs.

Hemlock & Democracy
The last game of the day, running for an hour and a half up to midnight.John Bassett gave us a game set in the aftermath of the fall of Athens to Sparta as the democrats tried to retake their home city from the Thirty Oligarchs.

The Thirty arguing again before going off to get drunk. Again.
I was the leading democrat in exile with a long Greek name I can't spell. At the start of the game I was isolated in Thebes but as the Thirty squabbled and the Spartans looked on in despair I was able to gather followers and march on Athens under the pretence of celebrating religious mysteries and sacrificing at the Parthenon. I knew I was doing this right and was close to winning when Rob Cooper tried to assassinate me.

We captured the Spartan governor, turned out the Thirty and I gathered to my side those loyal Athenians who could see which way the wind was blowing then defeated Lysander at an epiuc battle fought in the plains before Athens.

Never before have I got all four of my objectives in a John Bassett game and got away without someone slipping a knife blade under my breast plate.


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