A grand day out at Salute in London yesterday, made even better by gamer friends from my schooldays in Northern Ireland making it along as well. Purchases were mostly rulesets due to an embargo on adding to the lead mountain and using the figures I have rather than getting in to new periods (but see below…)
However, if I had managed to pick up a set of the new “Muskets & Tomahawks” ruleset from Gripping Beast, I’m sure I would be buying some Hurons and Mohicans on-line this morning – luckily Gripping Beast were sold out by the time I got to their stand, so panic over….til I can get a copy. I just can’t resist anything that says card driven on the tin at the moment, and coupled with the fact that Last of the Mohicans was one of the first books I ever read (and I love the film), this was a sure buy for me.
The 7TV participation game “On Her Majesty’s Crooked Service” looked absolutely splendid, though very busy, so no chance of picking up a game. I did however pick up my Crooked Dice 7TV “On Location” supplement and some bits and pieces from their stand. Also on the list were the Saga “Northern Fury” supplement, Normandy Firefight, Operation Squad Moderns and Hostile Realms (sold to me by Gonsalvo’s excellent recent run-down on his “Blunders on the Danube” blog http://blundersonthedanube.blogspot.co.uk/p/hostile-realms.html and the fact that I am heartily sick of GW tinkering with Warhammer Fantasy)
For us the stand-out game was Corunna. I didn’t see that many of the display games being gamed as it were, and this one was no exception. Maidstone Wargames club president gave us a great run-down on their 6mm Pegasus Bridge game (of special interest to my son and me as we have visited the site in Normandy). They were using a cut down Flames of War as their rules just for the show, though it seems they wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole otherwise! Given that I bought the last edition not so long ago and now there’s another edition out in short order, I can relate to that.
So some new reading material and new rules to try out, but nothing to really kick-start the current lack of painting progress malaise. Still, a day out with old friends is hard to come by these days, so thanks to David, Ian and his son, and my son Tom for being there and putting up with me.
I had planned to run an Easter game of Dystopian Wars between my gaming buddy and my son today, but the real world intervened (for them) so I ended up playing a solo game of FAB:Bulge instead. The reasons were twofold – I really like FAB: Bulge a lot, but I have not played it since I had a game with Nick last May, and I needed a refresher on the rules to play the newly acquired FAB: Sicily.
St Vith holds out
The Germans got off to a really good start, punching a hole in the Allied line all the way through to Bastogne, Marche and Malmedy by the end of turn 3, though St Vith refused to fall (see left) thanks to the 106th Infantry division.
Things went from bad to worse when the 101st Airborne were duped by a Grief team’s dirty tricks and didn’t make it to the front line on the turn they entered. They were meant to plug the gap in the line at Ciney and block the road to Namur to Panzer Lehr, but their failure left this road open, so on turn 4 the Germans managed to cross the Meuse and get to Namur (worth 3 VP) and destroy another large unit (worth 1 VP) while protecting their supply lines from the Allied counter attacks – this gave them the auto-victory.
The road to Namur is open (turn 3)
I find it hard to remember where the mutual victory point areas are on the map, so I need mark them with some grey and blue wooden cones I have in future. I also need to remind myself that contested areas still counted as VP for the last owning side (usually the Allies) – this is important in the case of Kesternach in the north which gives 1VP to the Allies (and takes 1 from the Germans) while they contest the area.
Next up will Sicily, but also coming up in the the future is FAB: Golan – a definite pre-order when it goes on the P500 based on the play test map posted on ConSimWorld – http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?233@@.1dd03706/3620!enclosure=.1dd6d551 – simply brilliant.
I have “No Better Place to Die”, also in the Gamer’s ACW Brigade level series, so when Nick suggested playing the Gettysburg game in the series, I was quite keen to see how it worked on the table. When I initially scanned the rules years ago, I had been put off by the written orders and casualty record sheets, but when you’re actually playing it all seems to make sense.
Thunder at the Crossroads box art
The scenario was from day 2 – Longstreet’s attack, with the objectives being the Wheatfield, Little Round Top and the road behind the Tops. After a turn I was well into the swing of the rules, and though I’m sure my tactics probably left a lot to be desired, I had broken a couple of (admittedly green) Union brigades when we had to call time. A neat system and a good game, made better by my Texas brigade blowing a huge hole in the Union line at Devil’s Den!
My “No Better Place to Die” (which covers the battle of Stone’s River) will probably be our next outing in this series, though I’d love to get some ACW figure gaming in at some point in the near future as well – dream on…
A quick try-out for a real-time Vassal game with a friend in Northern Ireland, which turned out to be one of the more unusual turn 1 sequences I have seen. We both drew hands of 3,2,2,1 and me being Marlborough and wanting to go first, played a 3.
I did the usual – advanced to Liege (the French failed the intercept and retreated leaving a corps behind), sent the force from London to Cadiz and added a strength point to a half-strength corps. The Bourbons played a 2, charged the Elector out of Munich to Ulm, then marched an army under Vendome to Mantua to take on Eugene in Italy. Eugene sent the French back with their tail between their legs without getting himself killed in the process, and this left the way to an unmanned Munich wide open.
The Vassal module in action
I played a 2 card next thinking that Munich would wait and that I had to take Liege and Cadiz by siege – 2 rolls of ‘1’ later made me regret that. The Bourbons rallied and built up their forces, so with my next card (a ‘1’) I marched Eugene to Munich and laid siege after the Elector tried to intercept and failed. The French advanced their main army up the coast to Bergen-op-zoom and I left a Dutch corps behind to hold against a siege while retreating the other Dutch corps and leader to Amsderdam. The Elector made a futile attempt to take on Eugene and lift the siege of Munich which predictably failed due to the odds of 2 against his 1 (even though Eugene again rolled 4 ‘1’s out of 6 dice, the other 2 hit leaving the Elector needing to hit on all 3 of his dice to win).
This left me with only a 2 card and 3 sieges to do on my last turn – I chose Liege and Munich and left Cadiz reasoning that Munich was worth 8 VP – I needn’t have worried so much! Another ‘1’ at Liege and a ‘3’ at Munich meant that both sieges had failed and both Eugene and Marlborough had to retreat into winter quarters. The French on their last turn managed to reduce the fortress of Bergen-op-zoom to rubble, but still the Dutch corps held on. Bourbon control of the Med was uncontested as the Alliance forces at Cadiz also sailed home for the winter, and things looked bleak for the Alliance after a promising start.
No photographs this time and the Vassal module seems to be missing the capture screen button, but a fun turn none-the-less. To be continued…