With The Legion In Spain

I tried another two hander of "For Whom The Dice Rolls" with Jon F this week. This time I ran a scenario based upon Franco's 1st Column under Lt Col Asensio during the drive on Madrid, trying to take two villages and a river crossing, in the face of some militia, hurriedly rushed to the front by the Madrid Junta.

I seem to be making this excuse a lot these days, but I was a tad rushed off my feet, so I only had time to send Jon his force listing and an outline briefing, rather than the full pack and detailed map my players have been used to getting recently. 

Luckily I had enough time when I'd finished sticking in the plants we'd (that's me and  Mrs T, not me and Jon) had picked up from the Garden Centre to take a couple of quick photos and fake up a flyover by a Condor Legion recce flight: 

Thus armed, we were ready for the game. Asensioi's column has 1 x SFL Bandera, 2 x Tabors and 1 x 75mm battery, all with trucks. I had three militia columns, plus a battalion of Civil Guards, but I was closer to the objectives.

And fired up with revolutionary zeal.

Jon has got his basic tactics sorted now. He identifies his first objective, deploys his artillery, and starts to shell it, in order to pin the defenders. He then rushed up a Tabor in a truck, and debussed. I thought he could have pushed up further in safety, but the smell of burning trucks from the Guadalajara games still lingers in the nostrils.

Mean while a column of Anarchists marched into the other objective....

...and set about fortifying it.

Jon continued to shell their colleagues in the other village.

The Legion Bandera now roared up in their trucks and leapt out.

The first Tabor advanced across the field, whilst the other Tabor zipped past in their truck.

Then a flight of Republican fighters turned up and strafed the Legion, to very little effect.

Jon kept on pounding the village.

My second airstrike arrived, and missed everything. Curses.

The 2nd Tabor stormed up to the village in trucks, and debussed, forming a firing line. They seemed contemptuous of the workers just across the river.

This is a wide angle picture of where we were at this stage.

Jon survived a round of shooting from the militia across the river. He then lifted the artillery bombardment, delivered a couple of rounds of small arms fire, then rushed the village.

It was all over fairly quickly.

The workers across the stream did inflict a small amount of damage.

Only to be strafed by the Condor Legion for their pains. This caused them to retire.

Where they were caught by the second wave.

The Legion, not to be outdone, advanced on the other village.

There was a brief exchange of fire, then they rushed the village.

A brief round of fighting saw them repulsed.

On the other flank, the militia returned to the fray.

The Legion put in some more fire...

... I reorganised, consolidating my losses.

Jon rushed the village again.

Second time was the charm, and the anarchists died to a man.

On the other flank, the Moors drove the workers back from the river. Apparently it was only a stream, and easily crossed.

The Tabor delivered a quick burst of firing, and then rushed the militia, who fled back to their trucks. Game over.

The game was set for 2 1/2 hours, and Jon had to take the villages and bridge by then, which he did with 30 minutes to spare. He was helped by me rolling 78 d6s, and only getting two sixes at one point. He pushed his luck, and succeeded marvellously. He didn't play a perfect game - another 11 hits from a par dice roll would have destroyed one of his Tabors, and let me get my Civil Guards up to counter attack. As it was my army was broken before they even moved.

There's a need to modify this scenario, but it is a valid one, and probably needs to be written up properly.

I enjoyed it, even if I did get clobbered.


  1. I enjoyed the scenario too...even though you got clobbered! Yes, I made a couple of tactical missteps. More than once, I played the activation card and I knew almost immediately that I should have made a different choice. Luckily, I got away with these mistakes. This time. Your small arms dice let you down but you took it in stride as the good sport that you are.

    My screenshots from the Zoom session are quite a stark contrast to your gorgeous game photos. Some times, I can barely make out what I'm doing. Seeing your photos here is a shock to my eyes. The game looks brilliant from your camera lense.

    Thanks for the satisfying gaming session.

    1. I don't think I had the camera in the right place, and as I was playing I was fully occupied. And SLR pictures should be better, shouldn't they?

  2. I guess that’s the fog of war Jon. We’ve all been searching for mechanisms to replicate the fog when all along we just needed to do games via the internet 😉

    1. I was part of a WD workshop on Saturday to discuss what we've learned from all this. You're not wrong.

    2. Your workshop sounds interesting. I would have enjoyed listening in.

    3. It was. I took some notes I can let you have.

  3. Just received your rules from Amazon. It's rekindled my interest in the SCW.
    I used to use Command Decision (CD) and played many of the early column scenarios. Inevitability, the Foreign Legion and Moors would (as in real life) slaughter the militia.

    In CPQ the CD magazine there were two editions with SCW amendments for CD, including a nice random generation table for the early militia columns. I wrote a simple set of mini-campaign rules which used them. It also worked solo. It was based around a Nationalist column advancing through a series of boxes. Each turn a militia column was generated, so the more cautious the advance, the more chance of opposition but the quicker the advance, the chance of missing supplies. This meant an advance could run out of steam ending the campaign.

    I remember a real nail biter where it culminated in the Nationalist column facing three militia columns, one approaching from a rear flank. Superior quality won out.
    I always fancied a more balanced game of Mola's columns of Carlists and regulars v militia.

    I'm glad to see you separate training and morale / motivation.

    Your game reminded me of a real life anecdote; on taking / relieving the Alcazar of Toledo, some Anarchists stayed to fight. The Legion had to fight building to building and room to room. The anarchists when realising they were about to be overwhelmed, killed themselves with a grenade. On discovery, the Legionares were impressed and gave a grudging respect to the Anarchists - "there are men who know how to die!"

    Perhaps your anarchists in the village did the same......

    1. Firstly, thanks for buying the rules. If you like them, write a review and tell all your friends.

      Secondly the issue with the SFL killing everyone else is a problem if you want the rules to reflect reality even remotely. I can tell you that militia will get roughed up badly by SFL and Moors as they did in this game. Especially if they roll poor dice.

      Thirdly, on campaigns. I've never been good at organising campaigns or producing random encounter systems, and what you have there sounds really interesting.

      And I'm afraid that often the best militia can do is die to the last man. Alas my anarchists got a "hit overload" before they could reform. It wasn't pretty.

      Enjoy the rules. My email is in them if you have any questions.

    2. I can't judge by the rules - it's not my topic at all, but I really liked the visual design. Using a glass for aviation is an interesting solution!

    3. Thanks. The look of it all is very arid, I hope. The hot plains of Spain in the summer. By the way, the wine glass is plastic - don't try it with an actual glass one.

      And make sure you empty it first.

    4. I like the use of the wineglass for the for the flights...but I think the lads I game with might not want to empty it so quick for their turn. :-) Or we'd have to house rule, he with the empty glass gets air support.

    5. As I said, they're plastic. I wouldn't actually drink wine out of one, except in extremis.

  4. Trebian,

    This read like a real SCW battle report, with both sides behaving as one would have expected. This is in no small part due to your excellent rules, which have identified the essentials of SCW fighting. It is not WW2-lite, which is what quite a lot of supposedly SCW rules are.

    An excellent battle report. By the way, have you considered using the Snakes & Ladders campaign system to help generate a series of battles for a mini-campaign?

    All the best,


    1. Bob,

      Thanks for that assessment. I am pleased with the way the rules have played out over the play test period and subsequently. They're going to COW in July, if everything goes to plan. I am pleased that a few people have picked up on them being different to WW2 rules.

      You are the second person to suggest a snakes and ladders style campaign game. I've never really been good at designing campaign games - I don't seem to be able to work out where to start! I think it would be a good idea to launch one to go with the rules, so perhaps that's the next mini-project.



  5. A nice scenario and I'm looking forward to receiving your rules (just ordered) so I can appreciate your AARs more.


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