Sunday, 9 August 2015

Gone West

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so they say. Occasionally Phil & I wargame with Richard who organises the SoA game days. When he last came up and spent a day in Shedquarters we discussed his upcoming project to build his own wargames Shed at his new house. He had planning permission for a two car garage, and felt that the enclosed space could be used for something a bit more...special.

He has taken a while to deliver, but a few months ago he confirmed that he was done and that he wanted to hold a grand opening games day with me & Phil, Who could say no?

Cleverly Richard has preserved the garage look of the building by leaving on the wooden doors. Opening them, however, reveals a set of double glazed doors behind each.

The interior is not very garage like. It has a big table with flaps that fold down to make small tables if needed. This, I am assured, was a design feature based upon the removable inserts in my table at Shedquarters. Here the centre flaps have been put up to link the two tables we used during the day.

The footprint of the building is much bigger than Shedquarters, as you can see. The size is misleading as I'm using a super wide angle lens, but the table is 6 foot wide compared to my 5 and he has shelving down both sides. He's also got proper plumbing

First game was some Ardennes based PBI. Richard has an "Easy" Company (they were based near his village), and I had Phil's German engineers.

This is the main assault engineers half track, with the crew next to it, ready to come on as reinforcements (they never did).

This is my company commander.

We were using modified PBI & playing a scenario. My recce vehicles drove up the road until a die roll stopped them. Right in the middle of the village next to the cross roads, surrounded by close terrain. Whoops.

Richard had some dug in infantry support artillery, so I had to be careful.

I had a half track mounted platoon, so I sent this on a wide left hook. It was supposed to hide out in these buildings and suppress the target with massed fire before I launched an assault.

On the other side another platoon was mounted in a collection of soft skins. Due to the vagaries of dice rolling my Platoon Commander got to the objective first in his Kubelwagen. With his trusty LMG armed side kick he was able to shoot off or pin the US counter attack in the square right in front of him.

When the smoke and dust settled and he had unpinned there were quite a few dead Yanks in front of my position. That bazooka was a worry for my armoured cars who were struggling to get enough APs to bug out.

At this point we had some important decisions to make. What should we do about lunch? Should we snack over the table, or go to the pub. A quick bit of critical path analysis soon established that as Phil & I both had to drive home in the evening, going to the pub and drinking at lunch time was the best option.

As it proved to be.* After a couple of pints and some food Richard proved unable to make a saving roll whilst I couldn't stop rolling sixes.

Eventually my left flanking force broke through and I seized the road junction (objective number 2)

By this stage even some serious pointing by Richard was unlikely to save him.

And we ended like this. I was holding two out of three objectives and most of Richard's on table stuff was dead.

In fairness to Richard, Phil's Germans are a bit of a beast to take on. They're armed to the teeth and they're German. Which is pretty good under PBI.

We then switched to the other table to play with Richard's Wars of Spanish Succession stuff, using rules he had written that we had tried back at Shedquarters. I had the French, Phil had the British & Allies.

We had a lot of toys on the table. Richard wanted to see if his rules could handle a big game.

We opened with a cavalry melee on my right. The white rings represent disruption. Get 5 of those in a turn and it starts to get really unpleasant.

The melee see-sawed too and fro

And fro and too. I got the upper hand, but it was a bit fraught, giving our rules writer lots of food for thought. He wants to capture a lot of period flavour, but the level of resolution and the DPs are probably a bit fiddly.

The infantry lines slowly closed on each other. Richard has random movement  in inches using an average dice to determine how many. You can double it if more than 12" apart. My view is he should start the armies closer together.

Back to the right flank cavalry. It still goes backwards and forwards, but by this point I have broken one of Phil's units, so I'm starting to get the upper hand.

And still the infantry advance on each other. Actually, by this point Phil has formed up and stopped moving.

I'm definitely winning the cavalry battle now.

At last the infantry open fire on each other. After some rounds of firing I've forced Phil to do a passage of lines and bring up his reserves, proving that if you have the bigger army it is often a real help.

My final shot of the day. We had to call the game off at this point as it was time for me to head home. It was fun pushing Richard's toys around, but we had a discussion and agreed that there's some work to be done on either these rules, or a fresh set that really work on brigade resolution.

A brilliant day's gaming. Really pleased to have been invited to help open "Shed West" officially, and I hope to be invited back again. In the interim I think I shall be looking at my table configuration in the light of what Richard has achieved.

Now, menu for the next day looks something like this..."Science v Pluck", "AK 47 Republic" & "Beyond the River Don". Something to look forward to.

*On a side note Richard's local is "The Cloven Hoof", the pub from the classic Dr Who episode with Jon Pertwee in it called "The Daemons".


  1. Very handsome game room and two interesting games.

    1. PBI always provides food for thought and working on developing a system is always rewarding as well.

  2. That's a pretty damn impressive shed! I hope you lowered the tone with some silly hats.

    1. Alas no. The man doesn't have a hat shelf.

  3. Yes ... it was a fine day and a very impressive shed. Your camera proved itself and the shots of my Germans in particular are top notch.

    It seems to me Richard has chosen an attritional model for his WSS game and it takes a lot of time and work (well it's attritional) ... I'm starting to wonder if he doesn't need a game or two of Megablitz to get a feel for a much bigger picture game ... A lot of the game works but we destroyed/routed/removed too few units per game turn to be close on getting to the end.


    1. I think the camera may get an extended workout in Shedquarters sometime soon, - I, too, was very pleased with the results.

      Your points on the WSS game are valid too. I think we need an attritional game, but one that does it quickly...not sure how that is achieved!

    2. Well the answer is easy ... you take the units off sooner ;) ... seriously, though ... say when R does his recovery phase, anything left with hits on it is withdrawn (put it at the back - maybe test to see if it routed or just retreated etc. etc.) ... Given the number of units on the board, it would still have a number of turns hard pounding in it ...


    3. There's quite a few options, but Richard's desire to have an element of hard grinding in the game is going to give us a problem without some innovative thinking.