Megagame Report: Outbreak.

Paul’s Story Living Games company was approached by a couple who wanted a game run as part of their wedding celebrations. Being keen board gamers they fancied something that could involve their party of 30 so Paul came up with a game set in the not too distant future where nation states/ regional power blocks battled each other and tried to contain an outbreak of an unknown virus.

The two of us headed up to the North Yorkshire venue a bit unsure what to expect- given the party was made up of all first time megagamers and possibly hungover.

We set up the main world map on the snooker table in the country house and I commandeered the dining table to run the science game. The wedding party were mulling around snacking and drinking already- some had got into the spirit of things and had got into costume.

20191102_111931

Given all of the constraints of the game and the inexperience of the players the game went fantastically. After a rather polite start they got the hang of things and were playing against each others. An ill advised attack by Russia on the US blew up in the face of Europe who supported Russia rather than the actual aggressors. Guess it comes down what can be proved by the UN player.

Later on in the game the US did take a massive hit and had most of its population wiped out, I wasn’t quite sure what happened here as I was busy trying to help the science players eradicate the virus and stop the bioterrorists that had been revealed.

20191102_175845

 

All in all it was really refreshing and motivating to see so much enthusiasm of these first timers. The way they approached the game was great to see and it showed that you don’t need that many control to keep a game moving. Both Paul and I were made very welcome and Paul’s game must have gone down well as they have book him again for next year and their first year anniversary.

On the way home I did ponder whether there are too many controls in some games given how well it ran with just two of us. Perhaps the more control present the less that players, either consciously or otherwise, are prepared to do for themselves.

Cheers,

Pete.

Megagame Report: Hold the Line, Poland 1939.

Due to illness I had managed to miss two games in a row that I was due to attend… I was really hoping it wasn’t going to be three in a row as the next one on my calendar was Paul Howarth’s Hold the Line ’39. Based on the invasion of Poland that kickstarted the war in Europe, it was to be played using the block based rules set that he had developed last year for Czech mate ’38 (see previous blog post). For a bit of a change I decided to sign myself up as a tactical player at the map. Usually I prefer command roles in these types of games but I fancied a change.

20190921_112109

As a lowly German player I was assigned my sector and given my order: advance through the mountains from the south then sweep round the back of Warsaw to apply pressure on the capital. This was to be the diversionary attack with the main effort coming in from the west to trap and defeat the majority of the Polish forces whilst a push down from East Prussia would take the capital. At least that was the plan that the high command team had come up with. They had also opted for a longer build up and mobilization. This gave us more units and resources to start with but gave away our intentions to the Polish players: quite what bonus that gave them we were unsure. Still, for once, such decisions were above my pay grade.

20190921_114824

20190921_114826

The setting for the game was once again the wonderful, and fitting, Encliffe Hall in Sheffield. Paul had done a great job with the blocks and maps, shame our deployment onto the maps was a bit hamfisted… due to the Poles taking too long then some of the blocks being ‘tidied’- as such my deployment ended up being suboptimal with ramifications for the rest of the game.

20190921_114832

20190921_132700

As you can imagine it was slow work trying to force the mountain passes. Whilst they were lightly defended it did take much for the combat modifiers to stack against me, also my mountain troops weren’t where they should be due to the botched deployment.

20190921_135309

 

The game system is now fully mature and was very nice to play. Given I was on a side map I didn’t see much of the rest of the game other than watching the growing amount of blocks being committed in the centre, that and the shouts of either joy or despair coming from the other side of the ballroom where the attack from East Prussia was going in.

20190921_163125

 

By the end of the game the Germans had managed to get units into the capital of Warsaw; but with much heavier casualties and in a longer time span than what the Germans achieved in 1939. Nice to be rolling dice at the table for a change but on balance I prefer the command roles. As such I request one for when the next version of the game system is rolled out next year for the invasion of France.

20190921_163430

I did take Nicola along as an observer- she was really interested in the idea but felt she lacked enough game experience to take part. I explained that the higher command roles are more about decision making rather than game rules; she seemed more taken with that. Hopefully I’ll persuade her to take part in the France game.

Thanks to Paul for putting the game on, and extra thanks as always to the control team who helped out.

Cheers,

Pete.

Necromunda Campaign Round up.

I’ve been very remiss (black dog issues) with posting up my Necromunda campaign so I’ll do a post with a thumbnail sketch of each game and a few pics to catch up but I’ll do a big post on the last game which we are all planning to finish off the campaign with.

Necromunda Campaign 2: Game 4

Games Workshop have just released another supplement to Necromunda bringing in hazardous environments to the game, as well as some other thing. This was eagerly awaited by us all and the new rules are to be added in.

20190711_183200

The scenario that was chosen to try and force a crossing along a narrow bridge. Between the weather and the lights going out in the underhive James, playing his Delaque, and I struggled to make much of an impact against each other so we were both happy calling it a no score draw.

20190711_184207

Necromunda Campaign 2: Game 5

20190909_191117

This game saw Van Saar on Van Saar violence as Marcus and I fought over the possession of some lost loot whilst trying to avoid three large chasms in the floor. Again random environment effects were in play with a large body of water draining through the hive, I managed to avoid most of it but Marcus suffered quite badly due to it giving me the win.

Necromunda Campaign 2: Game 6

20190909_193319

This cycle saw me as the arbitrator – I game up with a fungus hunting scenario* where they were being used as ingredients for drugs. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

*See the bottom of the post for the scenario.

Part of my role as Arbitrator was to field any challenge matches as such I went up against James and his Delaque on the more restricted board. It was the first game in which I fielded an Ambot- it worked a treat as it kept half of James’ gangers on the run or engaged; either way away from the loot crates. So I got the win.

Necromunda Campaign 2: Game 7

20190916_200525

The roster for the campaign changed as Scott had to drop out, Richard stepped up to fill in with a Venators gang. I ended up fighting Richard in my own scenario which was good fun. As he had a starting gang I was massively more points than him so to balance things James joined forces with him his Delaques. Another fun game and a win, also one that gave me a better insight in how to write Necromunda scenarios.

Necromunda Campaign 2: Game 8

20190916_203657

This cycle Niall had come up with a great scenario to fight past carnivorous plants that a gang was using to guard its drug stash. My gang with 2 Ambots this time, the winning streak I was on had been proving very profitable, took on Richard’s Venators again. Sadly for him my gang had got too powerful and he had to concede. To be fair to him he fought hard and the carnivorous plants did more damage to him than I did. Marcus and J were playing the same game at the same time on a different board, Marcus brought along some cider which made the whole evening very civilised.

Necromunda Campaign 2: Game 9

20191111_184716

My penultimate game of the campaign was to be against Simon and his gang of Genestealer cultists. We were to investigate a dark corner of the hive in Joe’s scenario to try and locate an on the run escaped Ork. I was hoping to simply blast him when he revealed himself but Simon put his men in a better position than I for when the Ork was revealed. I had a cunning plan involving my flamer but I played it a turn too early and it wasn’t as effective as it should have been. A rare loss for my usual firepower heavy approach.

Looking forward to the final game now.

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

*My scenario:

No low hanging fruit in the Underhive….

Introduction:

An Escher gang has been pushing a new drug throughout the hive and the noble houses are not happy as production in the factorium levels is dropping to the point that quotas may not be met. The drug is made from a fungus Psilocybinus that grows on the undersides of high walkways by the hive walls. There has been speculation by Necromundan scholars that the fungus has beewn brought in by the last storm, other look to a more malign xenos influence. The noble houses have been buying up any collected fungus to stop it being processed into the drug whilst the Escher gangs pay handsomely for it too. Gangs have been trying to collect as much as possible before deciding who to sell it to….

Set up:

Gangs start with 6 random gangers, the rest enter as reinforcements as usual. After picking table edges, the player with priority nominates a point on their edge- starting gangers must be placed within 8 inches of this point. Their opponent then does the same.

The howling winds Badzone event starts in play: at the end of a turn roll a D6 it will stop/ start on a roll of 5 or 6. No other environment or event card is used.

Objective:

Collect as many fungal spores from walkways as possible. When a ganger is at least 4 inches off the table surface they may make a basic action to look for fungus. On a 5+ on a D6 they have found some (a failed result means that the figure will have to move at least 6” before trying again), for every 2” above 4” the die roll gets easier by one. There is no limit as to how much a ganger may carry. If the fighter goes out of action all spores are lost.

Ending the game:

Game lasts for 6 turns. The gang that has collected the most spores is deemed the winner.

Experience:

All fighters who take part in the battle get 1 xp. All fighters who end the game in possession of at least 1 spore gain 1 xp. Xp for kills is earned as normal.

Reputation:

The Winning gang gains 1 REP, If this is the first battle between each gang then both gangs gain 1 REP. If a gang bottles the lose 1 REP. If a gang collects more than 6 spores in total they gain 1 REP.

Reward:

Each spore is worth D6 credits. After the battle each gang must decide if they are going to sell them to the Escher gangs or the Noble houses.

If the gang chooses to sell to Escher any Needle Weapons or Choke grenades bought at the Trading Post (assuming a high enough roll has been made) cost 5 credits less or halve the number of spores collected to get 1 drug of that rarity for free.

If the gang sells the spores to the Noble Houses when rolling for income from territories add one to all dice rolls. The authorities look they other way on the criminal activities of the gang for a short while… quidus pro quous….

From the Shed: Yet more 6mm Russian tanks.

My Cold War gaming collection grows ever bigger with this modest set of additions.

20191119_122637

I painted up 3 company bases and 4 individual stands of the T10 heavy tank and 2 company bases of the PT76.

20191119_122654

 

The T10 heavy tank was the ultimate iteration of the IS tank from World War Two, the IS designation was dropped after Stalin’s death. Armed with a 122mm gun it was intended that these heavy tank would act in the overwatch/ supporting fire role to the smaller gunned T54/55 and T62 tanks. A battalion of them was to be found in a Tank division. With the advent of gun launched ATGMs their raison d’etre diminished and as the Cold War progressed they were relegated to more 2nd line units. Still they’ll be a useful addition to my Soviet collection as they’ll allow me to replicate earlier formations to fight my friends’ Leopard 1/ M48s in the case of the West Germans or Chieftans in the case of the Brits.

20191119_125404

The PT76 was similarly an early Cold War tank. Armed with a rather small 76mm gun their amphibious capability meant that they were an ideal recce tank. Given their rather weak armour and gun it is surprising that they saw service with the Russian as late as the second Chechen War in the late 1990s. They also served extensively in other theatres, notably in the Middle East and Vietnam. Painting up these two bases now allows me to field up to a battlion of them in 5core: Brigade Commander terms.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

From the Shed: Old School Orlock (Necromunda).

I wanted to add an Ammo Jack (a special hanger on used in campaign games of Necromunda) to my roster and given that they can be equipped with a Bolter I thought it would be nice to use an old 90’s figure for the purpose.

orlock gun jack

 

I bought one from ebay and gave him a quick paint job. I’m rather happy with how he turned out (the club lighting was less than flattering) I’ll re photograph him outside when it stops raining.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Book Review: Guerrilla Nightmare.

I’ve been playing a few games of the old (1980) Strategy and Tactics magazine game ‘Tito’ so when I saw a copy of this book for a decent price I jumped on it.

20191030_155701

 

Basically it is an operation history of the Stuka units and their time in Yugoslavia. Whilst the Stuka dive bomber is synonymous with the German’s Blitzkrieg* by 1940 and the Battle of Britain it was found to be rather vulnerable it contested air space. Whilst it did serve on the Eastern Front for many years, including as a dedicated tank hunter, it had reached its high water mark in the German opening attacks of the war.

One of these attacks was the 2 week invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941; details of which open the book’s narrative. Once the Partisan movement in Yugoslavia started to actively resist the Nazi occupiers the Stukas were deployed there to offer air support to the Germans fighting on the ground. Given the paucity of the Partisan anti- aircraft capabilities it was the ideal enviroment for the Stuka.

The books draws heavily on squadron recoreds and log books whilst it charts the deployments and notable missions of the different Stuka squadrons. A couple of chapters stoodf out: that which covered the German’s attepmts to disarm and demobilise the Italians after their 1943 capitulation and the Stuka’s role in Operation Rösselsprung, the attempt to kill Tito in 1944.

Until the end of the war the Stukas could fly with relative impunity, losses to ground fire were rare and there were also chances to continue terror bombing of civilian targets. However, as the Western Allies advanced up the Italian mainland the time came when Stukas were being engaged and shot down by the RAF, Spitfire Vcs on one occasion. Additionally the Stuka airfields were bombed as part of distractionm efforts when Italian based bomber units went north to bomb parts of Austria.

The book is rounded off with a nice selection of colour plates showing profiles for German as well as allied Axis operated aircraft. Their is also a single example in Partisan colours which would make for an interesting model (One of my 1/300 collection will end up like that probably).

Overall, this one gets my recommendation if you want to dig a bit deeper into the Yugoslavian campaign in WW2.

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

*A problematic term given recent scholarship, it could quite easily be a blog post in itself….