My son Tom was home for the Bank Holiday weekend and wanted to fit in a beer festival in Crowborough, going to see the new Star Trek film and a game of “In Her Majesty’s Name” (after being wowed by the demo game a Salute) – happy to say we achieved all three, though a long day at the beer festival on Saturday made me want to sleep most of the day Sunday :-). In the end, on Sunday I built three 4Ground buildings for Muskets & Tomahawks (practice for building the warehouse for IHMN which is coming for my birthday and looks difficult!) and we played IHMN on Monday before and after going to see Star Trek.
For a change we left the Middle East (especially as the Scotland Yard company was getting its first outing) and located the game in a factory, with a mess of platforms and pipework. In recognition of how dangerous an environment this could be, we said that any miss of a figure within 3″ of pipework, the 2 silver steam tanks and the huge steam boiler in the middle of the board would roll a D10 – any result of 10 would cause an explosion as per the dangerous terrain rules on pg 22 giving an automatic hit on any figure within 6″ of the strike point. Tom opted to run the Fuzz while I had my first try at playing with the Prussian Society of Thule. Our scenario was the set-up 2 from pg 50, putting 6 objective counters within 12″ of the centre point of the table and not within 4″ of each other, the twist being that 3 of the counters were dummies, while the other 3 were worth 20 VP each. Each enemy figure was worth 2 VP if taken out of the game, whereas a leader counted as 5 VP.
We played with the Scotland Yard list which came with the boxed set. In the list, as well as being Fearless, Holmes has Erudite Wit (he is -1 to hit in melee & shooting if within 12″); Intuitive (+3 to armour first time shot at during game); Martial Arts (+1 to FV and +1 to speed – very much in keeping with the new film character). Dr Watson has Marksman (ignore cover) and Medic (useful to revive casualties). Both Holmes and Watson have Faraday coats giving 11 armour v Arc weapons. The Chief Inspector was Fearless while the Sergeant was Tough (adding +1 to pluck rolls for shooting and melee). After the game, Tom costed out the supplied lists with the amended points values from the errata and Scotland Yard came out way down on points – he made it 68 less than the Prussians, so significant in a 250 – 300 point game. If we’ve got this right I need to source some more Bobbies or wait until North Star allow you to buy them separately.
Both sides ran like mad for the objectives in turn one, and even the Prussian Jagers with their healthy shooting values made little impact.
In turn 2, objectives were still the priority, but even stationary Jagers struggled to hit. In an attempt to stop him shooting, a Bobby unwisely charged a Jager who had captured an objective on the pipe walkway. As the Prussians had the initiative and struck first, the Bobby died quickly, bayoneted on a roll of 10.
By turn 3, we had uncovered all 6 objectives, and I knew Scotland Yard had 2 as I had 1 and 2 dummies – he did have to get them off the board yet though. The last one to be uncovered was on top of the pipes – the Bobby who uncovered it didn’t last long up there, felled by a long range Jager shot.
As a delaying tactic, Dr Watson led an advance against Kobalt and 2 Jagers, but was gunned down mercilessly by a volley (a pluck roll of 1 against the Prussian volley). In response, the Chief Inspector pistolled one of the Jagers who had contributed to the volley and the first Todtrupper was born.
Unfortunately for me, though I won the initiative for the next turn, when I charged the Bobby holding an objective counter with my zombie he failed his pluck and ran away taking the damned counter with him (which was probably what he was going to do on his turn anyway :-(). The Chief Inspector and the Special Branch man moved to confront the zombie, and Holmes charged Dr Kobalt in an attempt to take out an Arc generator.
In a stunning round of shooting the Prussians took out the Sergeant and another Special Branch man. On a roll Krieg decided to fire his flame thrower into the fight between the Chief Inspector, Special Branch man and zombie, but missed the 2 enemy figures and set his own zombie of fire – struggling to put out the flames, the zombie was defenceless but the Chief Inspector and the Special Branch man just couldn’t finish him off.
Holmes did succeed in taking down Dr Kobalt, but paid for it next turn when all the Erudite Wit in the world couldn’t save him against 2 Jagers’ roll of 10. Krieg also got his eye in and managed to miss his own zombie and kill the Chief Inspector before being shot by a Special Branch man. Luckily for Scotland Yard they managed to move their 2 objective counters off the board, as all their characters were down and there was nothing to stop the rampaging Prussians taking back the counters if they could catch the unfortunate Bobbies. It ended up as a pyrrhic victory for Scotland Yard by 47 to 34, but in terms of casualties the score came out at 24 to 7 to my Prussians – lucky it wasn’t a death match really :-).
I’m still impressed by the rules, but a bit puzzled that the Scotland Yard company as bought is nowhere near the points value of the other companies – I hadn’t bothered to work this out (just assumed they were around about the same) but given his Warhammer background, my son did :-). I assume that it came down to having 11 figures in each box set in the end, but I for one wouldn’t have minded paying a bit extra to get a “balanced” force, and I’m loathe to buy another boxed set just for the 4 Bobbies. Also, this company has 4 figures with leadership, while the rules say you can only have 2 with that trait per company – good for the Prussian VP total, but contrary to the rules as written.
I’m also thinking for and scenario balance, given the size of this game, the objective counter VP should come down to around 15 points each (and maybe even 10) in an attempt to give the side which only captures 1 objective counter a fighting chance of victory by killing more enemy models – either that or having a fixed number of turns before anyone can exit the table with an objective. There was nothing to stop Scotland Yard running all their troops from the table after capturing the 2nd counter as there was no way the Prussians could get anywhere near the 40 points this would has scored, but luckily my son is a good sport and hung around long enough to try out the rest of the rules (it could have been a very short game otherwise).