Author Archives: Tom Abbott

The fields of Raury – game 6

After securing Fontenay the allied forces pushed on to their objective of Raury. The allies were confident but now faced a difficult march over open countryside. What resistance would the German forces offer?
 
 

 The British forces led the advance. A Sherman moved along the road and began to gain sight of the German lines.
 


Slowly the advancing troops edged into the table and the first shots were exchanged. No immediate damage caused but both sides looked nervous of the open terrain.
 
 

 Conscious of the need to advance the British transports moved on supported by the tanks. The German PAK40 opened up and left the Cromwell a smoking wreck.
 
 The Centaur took revenge and launched its HE rounds at the German anti-tank gun, destroying it and the crew.
 
 The British continued to advance, laying down smoke to hinder the German line of sight whilst trying to keep vulnerable infantry in the cover of moving vehicles.
 
 

 The German lines stayed steady waiting for their moment – the arrival of their outflanking forces. The arrival was well timed and veteran German forces piled into the advancing British.


The British forces were shaken but not routes by the sudden assault. But the sound of heavy tanks struck fear into the attackers – the Panzer IV advanced onto the flank of the British and suddenly chaos reigned!
 
 The British advance ground to a halt under the assault on it’s right flank. Units exchanged fire and the Sherman was immobilised. Assaults saw one British unit wiped out and the Panzer IV come under infantry attack.
 
 


The German veterans could not stand up to the concentrated fire and HE rounds. Whilst the Panzer seemed invulnerable, the German veterans took heavy casualties and were wiped out.
 
 Pressing forward the British sought to consolidate their position attacking the deep German line whilst surrounding the heavy German tank with the remaining armour.
 


The British were clearly rattled and could not get a shot landed on the German tank.
 
 


As the battle reached its conclusion the British finally assaulted the German positions, taking out a field howitzer and a defending unit. The German’s, however now moved to head off the advancing British and quickly dealt with the attackers.
 
 The British began to consolidate their gains whilst the Germans repositioned for the expected fresh assault.
 
 The field remained contested.
 
 

The Battle for Fontenay – part 4 and 5

Proceedings begun with the allied prep bombardment, which had very little affect on the German units, just a few pins and several misses!
 
 Turn one saw a flurry of activity as both sides looked to cover ground. Allies pushed hard on both flanks while the Germans pushed on into more advanced defensive positions. The AEC was the most adventurous, looking to inflict early damage and secure cover from the Panzer IV but managed to miss landing HE shots into German occupied buildings.
 
 Turns two and three were where the real action started. The Germans secured better positions, entering buildings on the left flank and securing positions in the terrace houses on the right and behind stone walls covering the road on the right flank. From these positions they were able to bring effective fire down on the advancing Brits, the worst of the damage being inflicted on Tom’s exposed infantry on the left flank. On the right the German’s superior positions was bogging down Bryn’s advancing force, fortunately the Staurt Recce managed to dodge the Panzer’s fire.
 
 The biggest moment however was the loss of the AEC. Having recce’d into cover to avoid the aggressive Panzer IV the AEC was taken out by a volley of no less than four Panzerfausts!!!! Things were not looking good for the allies.
 
 Turn four was the pivotal point in the battle for the allies. The infantry on both flanks found better cover, making it to the edge of the building complex on the left and up to the barn and orchard on the right. From these positions they could finally pester the German positions with some effective fire.
 
 But it was the arrival of the outflanking special forces that turned the tide. from both flanks Commando’s and SAS units entered the fray and had immediate effect, taking positions in buildings on the left and swiftly removing the Kriegsmarines on the right.
 
 The arrival of the special forces freed up the rest of the infantry and British infantry on the right flank managed to liberate the terrace houses with an assault. Things didn’t go so well on the left where an assaulting British Infantry unit was ambushed by German enfilade fire from the farmhouse. Only two plucky survivors made it to the assault where they fell bravely.
 
 Turn five saw even more assaults. The Commando’s on the left assaulted and destroyed the Infantry in the bunker outhouse and British infantry followed up the bloody assault from the previous round and finally took the small buildings on the outskirts of the complex, both were at a heavy cost…….mentions in dispatches for possible medals for bravery.
 
 On the right the Germans were being pushed back by unrelenting fire from the Commando’s and SAS units, bolstered by the Stuart recce who had secured good cover from the Panzer IV. Allies move into the German deployment zone on the right.
 
 At this point we ran out of time and called the game. The result is that most of the complex is contested. On the left the Allies and Axis share an equal split of the buildings with the Pak 38 and MMG units holding a defensive line to the north of the road. The allies on the left suffered horrific casualties and really are holding onto the buildings with a handful of survivors.
 
 On the right flank the special forces have made a mess of the German resistance and the Germans were in the process of consolidating into the large barn on the crossroads. With the Stuart recce and two other infantry untis in support the flank seemed poised to collapse.
 
 The Panzer 4 is still on the prowl but was struggling to find targets in the open.
 The church on the crossroads is held by the solitary German mortar spotter.
 
 ————-
 
 We don’t have a report for game 5 (sorry) but the allies pushed on and ended the German occupation of Fontenay. They now push on through the open fields towards Raury – their final objective.
 

Desert war

Here’s the start of the Desert War project. First up 30 odd LRDG/SAS plus supporting trucks and jeep. Also about 30 odd 8th Army with a Humber Mk II.

Another LRDG truck on the way, this time with an auto-cannon and maybe a few more support options and transport. Also planning on some mid-war tanks and a few other things.

DAK to follow.

The battle for Fontenay part 3

Following the grinding opening of the battle for the sprawling village of Fontenay it was up to the British and Americans to force the matter. Throwing a sizeable force into the frontline, was this risk going to pay off? Would the German lines be strengthened? Could there even be a counter attack? The next few hours could be crucial.


The Americans and British quickly started their advance whilst the German defenders began reinforcing position. A few early casualties on both sides reminded everyone that this was likely to be a bloody encounter.


The British Cromwell tank tried to deal with the defenders in the church, but its HE rounds were ineffective. Two armoured cars advanced up the right flank only to be chased off by a well positioned Panzershreck. British sniper fire started to take it’s toll on the Germans left in the bunker. The MG42 gunner took a bullet as he tried to line up his machine gun.


The Germans hurried defenders forwards and managed to get a fanatical SS unit into the farm house, storming the building and wiping out the defending British.


On the allied left, American units made good progress with engineers well positioned to bring their flame thrower to bear.


The new defenders in the farm house took casualties from British rifle fire and the American engineers swung into the courtyard, first pouring deadly flames into the bunker and then into the farm house, removing all but one of the defenders. The last NCO was shot by the sniper and finally the allies had taken the farm.

The Germans had the last laugh, however, as once again the accuracy of the mortar team was evident. A single mortar round exploded in the courtyard, killing all but one of the engineers.


From here on the allies rolled forward. The Humber scout car took out the Panzershreck team whilst the Cromwell threatened the other flank. Its fire remained ineffective.


In the centre mid communication between American and British forces led to one American unit being caught in the open. It became the focus for German shooting and was taken out.

Finally the British assaulted the church and took the building. The American Greyhound attacked one of the units that had shot up their supporting infantry and got revenge.


The German defenders began to fall back to their next defensive line.

At last the allies have a strong foothold in Fontenay.

This was another hard fought game with the German defenders holding on in impressive fashion and exacting a fearsome price from the allies.

The allies need to decide wether to push on hard or take a breather. The Germans fall back to the next line of defence and prepare for the next assault.

Can the allies take Fontenay and push into Raury? It’s not going to be easy!

The battle for Fontenay

Operation Martlet game 2.
 
 With the sun now rising the British pushed on into Fontenay supported by fresh forces and heavier armour. The clock was ticking so they needed to move on.
 
 


The German defenders were better prepared, alerted by the fight on the outskirts.
 
 The British forces pushed into the table, setting up fire positions for their machine gun.
 
 

 Incoming! The first German mortar round fell and took out the been carrier. First blood to the Germans.
 
 


The British pushed on with the Germans taking up defensive positions. Infantry inched forward trying to hold cover and avoid attracting German fire. A Sherman rolled slowly up the flank whilst an AEC armoured car pushed along the road.
 
 The German mortar began hitting allied positions with incredible accuracy, the HE rounds inflicting horrible damage. An ambush was sprung and the advancing British were hit by machine guns and rifles, sending the remaining troops scurrying for cover.
 
 


The allies advance stalled as the German positions started to fire on the troops. Even the British sniper was struggling to keep his head up long enough to find a target.
 
 Finally some luck for the British. The Sherman and AEC managed to catch a Puma in the open. Two rounds later the Puma was ablaze and abandoned. Could the British make their advantage with armour count?
 
 


Not if the German panzerfausts had their way!
 
 The Sherman pushed forward but its fire into the church was ineffective. The Germans were not as forgiving and left the Sherman a burning wreck.
 
 


In the middle of table the weight of allied troops finally told against the veteran defenders, but even taking the farm house proved costly, and the British were not able to finally clear the farm.
 
 The allied mortars finally found their target and with both sides exhausted, the fighting began to die down.
 
 We ended with no clear victor, though the Germans probably had the best of it. The central farm house remained contested but neither side had enough to force a decisive victory.
 
 


The choices for the Germans is either to reinforce their position, fall back to their next line or counter attack.
 
 The allies need to either take the table with a fresh push or fall back to their previous position and consolidate. Not sure what the British commanders would make of that last option!
 
 Decisions decisions!!

The battle for Fontenay

We’ve started a Bolt Action campaign based on the Operation Martlet scenario book from Two Fat Lardies.

As ever the TFL source books are excellent value. A bit of hacking for BA but otherwise good stuff.

This is a ladder campaign so we’ll move back and forth depending on how it all goes.

Here’s the battle report for game 1.

Game 1.

The sun was yet to rise and the fog hung heavy on the farmland outside the outskirts of Fontenay. The German positions were manned by an under-strength force, still sleepy from the nights watch. Envious of their colleagues a few 100 yards back and in warm beds the disgruntled sentries kept a bleary eyed watch.


At just past 5am the sentries were preparing to move off for a well earned sleep. Packing up their positions a young soldier started to hear a distant noise. Could that be movement in the fog?

The British were advancing!


The first opening moves saw the British push through the fields and orchard to the flanks of the farm seeking to stay away from the open lines of fire. The German defenders pushed forward to their defensive lines and hoped that the relief watch was on its way!

The two forces made contact with shots fired from both sides as they tested each others lines. The fearsome PAK40 proved to be manned by crew still suffering from a long night and unable to make out clear targets in the fog.

The British recon units hugged the cover and pushed forward harried by rifle and machine gun fire but taking few casualties.


On the German side confusion was the order of the day as the allies seemed to rise up in the fog on all fronts. On the left flank the German line broke in disorder as instructions were misunderstood.

Thankfully the relief forces began to arrive – could they get into position and tip the balance?

On the allied left flank the US contingent pushed up to and then past the farm house, giving a bloody nose to the defenders. The scout car in the lead didn’t stop to consolidate and drew fire from panzerfausts. Luckily the fog continued to cause problems as shots went wildly overhead.


On the right flank the Germans finally managed to get effective fire – against their own lines. In the dark and fog the friendly fire incident demoralised the German defenders who began to fall back to take up positions in their second defensive line.

The scout car on the allied left flank took the opportunity to push rapidly forward and broke through the final line. The Germans had no choice but to fall back.


All in all this was a challenging game for the Germans. They were under strength in the early rounds and struggled with botched orders that disrupted their line. Poor shots from the PAK and AT infantry weapons were countered by some highly accurate British rifle shots.

The fog kept things sketchy with shooting tougher than usual.

Outcome – The Germans fall back to their next position. The Allies push on and continue their move through Fontenay towards the main German defences.

Saga, Bolt Action and getting thwacked at Kings of War

A few games on this evening. Firstly my Ratkin took a beating from Paul’s orcs. The dice were not smiling as the slaves ran away on the first turn leaving a huge gap.
 
 We also had Saga and Bolt Action out plus ninja action and Blitzkrieg Commander.
 
 Variety is the spice of life and all.
 
 Off to thing about rat speed bumps.
 
 


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15mm sci fi

There has been quite a bit of stuff going on for 15mm sci fi of late. The ranges from http://khurasanminiatures.tripod.com/ look especially interesting.

I’ve been looking at both the Gruntz and Tomorrows War rules – opposite ends of the spectrum to my mind. Of the two it’s TW that is grabbing my attention right now, having played Force on Force. The rather harder edge seems to appeal to my intent with this.

My interest was sparked by watching the film Elysium and a how such a setting could build into a campaign.

Force on Force: ambush valley – first go

Paul and I had a go at Force on Force using the Ambush Valley rules for Vietnam. We’ve both been looking at this ruleset for a while so it was good to get a game in to try the mechanics.

I set up a scenario with a US army patrol watching a suspected NVA trail for troop movements – observation post with other patrol members further away. An NVA recce group approaches the post and trips some alarms – mayhem ensues!

We kept the game as a reg vs reg to get used to the rules and I aimed for balanced forces – a platoon each side with the US getting claymores around the observation post and the NVA commander able to call in an off table mortar.

We knew that the action/reaction mechanic was going to take some getting used to, and so it proved. The first few rounds of action had us flicking back and forth trying to figure out initiative player, opportunity fire, overwatch and so on. Thankfully the basic ‘beat a 4′ system means that once you have figured out what you need to do, getting a resolution and outcome is realtively simple.

By turn 3 we were getting the hang of the action/reaction process and things were speeding up. We managed to get quite a few types of action in which gave a decent feel for the opportunities of the system.

A few observations:

– this is totally a scenario and objectives game. The system will not reward casual hit each other type games. It needs a strong narrative and purpose to drive actions.

– the balance was interesting. The NVA had more men per fireteam, but the US could put out more firepower thanks to the availability of support weapons (machine guns and bloopers). The US benefited from better initiative management meaning their squads generally drove the engagement, but the NVA numbers meant that they were less fragile than the US and could sustain attacks for longer. The US suffered each time a soldier got hit, the NVA could ignore casualties. In writing this down I’m reflecting that this is totally spot on for the theatre – they nailed it

– Squads HAVE to work together. The troops in the observation post were on the back foot from the off as they had no supporting fire. The other Americans were too far back. The NVA were able to get multiple squads supporting each other and this gave them an edge, until the US managed to finally blow the claymores!

– We usually multibase 15mm, but this game needs individual basing. You need to have tactical flexibility to really make the most of your resources, so some of the subtleties are lost if you multibase

– The dice mechanic of beat a 4, plus the firepower/defence dice approach is nice. The quality of the troops is the critical factor rather than the weapons they carry. Support weapons adding dice works well and it was interesting to seek how attrition degraded fire effectiveness of forces.

We really liked the system, though it will take some getting use to in order to really draw out the nuances. We felt that the morale rolls were a bit off kilter, but the advanced rules around combat stress seemed to add the bit needed to make these more realistic. The casualty rules are something you have to really think about and have a significant influence on the game.

We’ll keep coming back to this.

Beginners’ RPG game

Hi

I’m hoping to finish up the Yggdrasill game at the club by the end of March and noticed that have quite a few new members.  Hence, wondered if there was anyone, especially those who’ve not RPG’d before, who would be interested in trying a beginners’ RPG game one night?

There have been a few introductory boxed sets published recently, linked to popular gaming or media properties and happy to run any of them if people are interested.

Pathfinder Beginner Box

 

This is an entry set to the popular Pathfinder game by Paizo.  Classical fantasy and based on the d20 v3.5 D&D rules.  Very nice pregens and a fun dungeon crawl

Starlit Citadel Review

Game Geeks review

Dragon Age RPG

The RPG is based on the setting from the computer games of the same name.  Aspires to be a rules-lite dark fantasy.

Dragon Age RPG overview

Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop Part 1

Star Wars Edge of the Empire Beginner Box

In a galaxy far, far, away…. The latest iteration of a Star Wars RPG, this time from Fantasy Flight Games. The first releases focus on ‘fringe’ games – smugglers, bounty hunters.  Cool dice, illustrated pregens and a fun adventure that highlights the various rules.

Tabletop generals

Beginner game and beta