Zombies in Leeds: A Megagame.

On the 17th November Brian (Count Zero), Chris, Paul and I headed off to the Royal Armouries for a megagame based around zombies. Like last years game (Operation Goodwood) it was put on by Jim Wallman/ Megagame Makers.

The Briefings had arrived the preceding week in the post so after a quick briefing we were all ready to get down to business. The game was set in Romero City (any similarities between this fictional place and Detroit are just pure coincidence) in ‘the State’ which bordered ‘North Land’. Brian took the role of Deputy Mayor. Chris controlled the Emergency Services- Fire and Ambulance. Paul was part of the sinister corporation ‘Necrotech’. I had a slightly easy role- that of part of the Federal Reserve- 101st Airborne liaison Officer. I considered my position to be like the US cavalry in an old western film- ride in at the right moment and save the day….

Other players roles were the State Government, State Police, Media, National Guard and the Local Police. The last two groups made a real effort in terms of fancy dress, matching dress, fancy hats, mirror shade and even Police badges and a pile of donuts for the Police table.

The game started fairly slowly for us sat on the Federal table, my fellow teammates were Carl and Simon, both decent guys and a pleasure to game with, as we could only be called in after a request from the State Governor. As a result we spent the first few turns contingency planning- I went through nine different drafts, and going through our rather extensive and powerful assets list. In fact a lot of our strategy revolved around what we hadn’t used yet. We did get various reports filtered up through the various agencies about what was going on, which with then had to evaluate and possibly advise the President of. Rumors of the annihilation of the police, outbreaks of zombies elsewhere in the state and border tensions with ‘North Land’ were all discussed and plans were altered. The lad who took on the role of the media- ‘Stoat New Network’- was our main news source. In fact I’d happily nominate him for the man of the match; almost every turn he produced a full A4 front page of news from the game, a result of running around interviewing the protagonists. Occasionally play was stopped so a full new conference could be called.

When we were finally deployed I decided on no half measures- Companies of Paras with armour support pushing back into the city. By this time the Local Police had been evacuated, the State Police were setting up and administering refugee camps outside the city. The National Guard were in the city holding the center, judicious use of helicopter gunships and artillery kept the zombies at bay whilst they evacuated civilians.

At this point my favourite part of the game occurred; Chris wanted some support to get his firefighters through (a man on a mission protecting life and property); where the fires were was deep in infested territory so the only thing I could offer him was a few helicopter gunships. I was skeptical, the umpire skeptical but I thought what the hell, the Government is here to help. Next turns Chris said it worked like a dream so for the rest of the game the RC Fire Department had gunships on top cover.

Whilst the battle for Romeo City was ranging, Necrotech had come up with a possible chemical solution to the problem, with a bit of federal help. Any rumors that SOF troops snatched live ‘samples’ is completely unfounded… 😉 A small scale test went well, after that is was just a matter of spreading the love across the city, that and tidying up a few last areas with Fuel Air explosives from the Federal arsenals.

Looking towards the National Guard.

Whoop Whoop, Dat’s da sound of da Police.

At this point head umpire Jim Wallman called the game. The city was surrounded with the civilians evacuated and a chemical ‘cure’ found so a successful game, this was the opposite to the previous run through of the game in London.

Remember the 6 Ps.

The Federal team’s table.


All in all a great day’s gaming, and we’re all looking forward to future megagames in Leeds.

Cheers,

Pete.

Useful Links:

http://www.megagame-makers.org.uk/

http://www.jimwallman.org.uk/

http://www.chestnutlodge.org.uk/

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(Board) Gaming Latin America.

Recently, and quite accidentally, I’ve found myself drawn to the recent, i.e. post WW2, conflicts in Latin America. It came about from a innocuous comment on a yahoo group about the gaming potential in 1/600th of the 1995 Alto Cenepa War.Which was a border dispute between Peru and Ecuador, it was air to air combat between Mirages and Sukhois… who wouldn’t be intrigued?

This interest led to the purchase of these two books:

Latin American Fighters, I and M Guevara:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Latin-American-Fighters-History-Fighter/dp/0982553900/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353035321&sr=8-1

and

Latin American Mirages, S Rivas and JC Cicalesi:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Latin-American-Mirages-Mirage-Service/dp/0982553943/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353035338&sr=8-1

both are good, though considerably more expensive now then when I picked them up. They give a fine overview and just the kind of information I needed for my air war plans. At this point the air war side of things was put on hold as the rules I’d be using need playtesting and I was going to do that with the Vietnam era models I’d already got. However as these aren’t even painted let alone glued together the whole idea has taken a backseat.

When I was at Triples in Sheffield earlier this year helping out Bill at the UFM stand I got into a conversation with one of the exhibitors who was putting on a 10mm Latin American game (Honduras versus El Salvador if memory serves me correctly). He recommended this book which I’ve now got round to reading:

Latin America’s Wars: Vol 2: The Age of the Professional Soldier, RL Scheina.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Latin-Americas-Wars-Professional-Soldier/dp/1574884522/ref=sr_1_25?ie=UTF8&qid=1353034178&sr=8-25

It’s a very good read, although it is relatively brief. Given the amount of ground it covers both geographically and historically this is to be expected. As it jumps about from country to country you get a whistle stop tour round the countries’ conflict as thematically grouped, though all the different names and acronyms gets slightly confusing so you need to take your time to get it straight in your head.

In the past few years I’ve been playing a lot more board games than before (Brian’s influence no doubt, which is a good thing I hasten to add….). I looked around and found a still sealed copy of Central America dating from the 1980s (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2080/central-america) and it looks like a great game. Loads of counters, decent map and a lot of different scenarios to work through. Looks fairly heavy going but no worse than any other game of a similar vintage. I’ll report back more once I’ve read through it and actually had a game.

Following internet recommendations I found out about the game Andean Abyss (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/91080/andean-abyss); what especially drew me to it was that it can accomodate 1-4 players making it idea for one our Monday night games nights regardless of how many people turn up. It arrived through the post from IG UK (http://www.iguk.co.uk/) the other day. Very impressed with how it is put together, great rules booklets and components as yet I’ve still not read through it… again….

So where does this leave things? Once things have quietened down on the home front I’ll read through the 2 sets of rules, and a re read of the old osprey (http://www.ospreypublishing.com/store/Central-American-Wars-1959%E2%80%9389_9780850459456). Then it will be time to get some games in. No doubt the air war side of things will come with time and I’ll resist the temptation to start skirmishing the Latin American conflicts in 20mm too… that said there is tons of potential there… raids… guerrila actions… coups….

Cheers,

Pete.

Tanks Forward, Bagration 1944- Game Report- Part 2

…. continued from yesterday’s post…

One of the pair of PEFs that were behind the hill was identified as a field kitchen:

However Evan’s IS2 versus a Goulashkannon is a no contest, but as he crested the hill another ATG was revealed, this time a 5cm PAK38:

A burst of MG fire and a HE shell forced back the crew, At this point Chris’ IS2 lagged behind as his commander was of a lower REP so activated less:

The next board is laid down, the rock face fronted hill would prove to be the crux of the game:

Meanwhile the PAK38 is crushed under IS2 tracks:

A general shot of the board from the West board edge- not the two PEFs behind the hill:

AS one of the PEFs turns out to be a Tiger tank, from the photo’s left we have Evan’s then Chris’ IS2s and then Brian’s T34/85. Here the three Soviet players really need to work together to take out the biggest threat in the game:

As the IS2s lay down AP shots the T34/85 charges forward to try to turn a flank:

Even the flank armour is hard to crack:

Remember that there were two PEFs behind the hill…? Well the second one turned out to be a squad of infantry, as the Soviets were no considering an assault with AT grenades it really made life difficult for them:

With the Infantry squad taking care of the attacking Tank Riders and taking out the T34/85 with a very lucky Panzerfaust shot the Tiger could pick off the two IS2s, winning the back and forth exchange of AT shots and ending the game.

The three Soviet players had done very well, they has revealed 16 feet of the board and all but two of the PEFs (the STUGIII and MMG didn’t make it on to the table) but the Tiger was too strong for them and in their panic to take it out didn’t coordinate their actions as well as they might have. Either way it was a great game- Chris, Evan and Brian enjoyed playing it and I enjoyed running it. For one of the little scenario experiments it worked very well. It’s an idea I’ll be making use of in the future, it would work well for any tank based attack or even a convoy game, so watch this space- I’m thinking early war Blitzkrieg and possibly Gulf War 1 too.

Cheers,

Pete.

Tanks Forward, Bagration 1944- Game Report- Part 1.

Evan, Chris and Brian took on the roles of the Tank Commanders; see the previous post for the scenario details. Evan and Chris chose to take a IS2 tank each whilst Brian opted for a T34/85. After picking 2 attributes each for the tank commander (their respective ‘Star’ that represented themselves in the game) they generated the rest of the crew and accompanying tank riders. This done the first 6 foot of the game area was set up.

Looking down the table to the Soviet starting position. Evan’s tank took up the centre of the table with Brian on his left and Chris on the right.

The first 2 PEFs resolved were the mortar team and the Nashorn SPATG. Both were quickly dispatched, luckily the Nashorn didn’t even get a shot of as its long barreled 88mm gun was easily the most powerful gun in the game. Brian’s dismounted tank riders did for the mortar team with SMGs and grenades.

The after a false alarm the next German item of the table was a 105mm howitzer, fire from both Chris’ and Evan’s IS2s took it out easily enough.

At this point it was time to roll the terrain boards back and put out the next 2 foot slice.

You should be able to use the map in the previous post to follow how the table plays out. The white skull counters indicate an unspotted PEF. They were activated and moved according to the rules in NUTS!.

Things started to get a little more serious with the arrival of a PAK 40.

Here Evan and Chris are using the road to move up while Brian takes the left flank.

The IS2s on the road:

The T34 passes the taken out 105mm gun:

The next unit encounted was a HQ group in the edge of the wood- with no AT weapon and only being armed with rifles they spent all of their time cowering before being taken out.

The 2 IS2 tanks again- the orange marker is to show what sort of round has been loaded in to the main gun:

THe next slice of table is laid: the double skulls show that a PEF has split into two as per the rules:

To be continued….

Tanks Forward, Bagration 1944- Game Scenario.

For the last game I ran I decided to try out a few ideas I had floating around. Namely that of a rolling board to give more playing area to my usual 6 foot long board, also I wanted to explore some of the player versus the game aspects that the 2 Hour Wargames rules offer. The game made use of the PEF system that is prevalent in their rules but with some modifications of my own.

I decided on a scenario set in Operation Bagration- 3 players would take on the roles of tank commanders whilst I would umpire the game and run the mechanics.

Basically the players would start at one end of the table and drive forward as far as possible destroying as much as possible. The idea was to represent the period after a break through when the tanks are rampaging through the German’s rear areas. This was the briefing that the three Soviet players received:

Tanks Forward, 1944.

Soviet Briefing.

Date: Summer 1944.
Location: Eastern Front.
Situation: The first assault of Operation Bagration has broken through the German front line; it is up to our tank units to exploit the situation.
Victory Conditions: Cover as much ground as possible, destroy as many targets as possible.
Initial deployment: Enter the eastern board edge.
Support Level: n/a
Special Rules: Pick an AFV (T34/85 or IS2 or ISU122 or Sherman), generate a crew and accompanying SMG squad. Vehicles carry 30 rounds of ammo it is up to you to split this between HE/AP/Smoke. Tank Riders carry 4 grenades: 2 fragmentation 2 Anti Tank.

Forces:

AFV:

Tank commander (Star) REP: Attributes:

Crew man 2 Position: REP: Attribute:

Crew man 3 Position: REP: Attribute:

Crew man 4 Position: REP: Attribute:

Crew man 5 Position: REP: Attribute:

AMMO: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Tank Riders:

NCO SMG REP: Attribute:

Private SMG REP: Attribute:

Private SMG REP: Attribute:

Private SMG REP: Attribute:

Private SMG REP: Attribute:

The Reputations and Attributes were generated as per the NUTS! rules. Also using the NUTS! rules I generated an 18 foot by 4 foot table to play on; though I only generated 1 set of terrain per 2 foot square section, this is meant to be ideal tank country after all and I hoped it would facilitate the rolling board system. My gaming table is made from three 2 foot by 4 foot boards; as soon as the last tank left the rearmost board it was stripped down, the other 2 pushed back and it was place at the front with the appropriate scenery on it.

The following are the notes I used to run the game:

German/ Umpire Briefing.

Date: Summer 1944.
Location: Eastern Front
Situation: Russian Tanks
Victory Conditions: n/a
Initial deployment: Behind cover in middle of each 2 foot square.
Support Level: n/a
Special Rules: When Player has LOS to a PEF- pull a chit from the cup and consult the table below. All PEFs and spawning units are REP 4.

Forces:

1-6: False alarm.
7: Field kitchen and 2D6 men only half armed.
8: HQ of 3 Officers and 2 Dav men in foxholes.
9: Medium Mortar team of 4 men in foxholes.
10: MMG team of 4 men in position.
11: Infantry squad of 2Dav men with 1 LMG and 1 Panzerfaust
12: Infantry squad of 2Dav men with 1 LMG and 1 Panzerfaust in foxholes
13: PAK 38 ATG and 5 Crew and tow, on a 6 it is limbered.
14: PAK 40 ATG and 5 crew and tow, on a 6 it is limbered.
15: 105mm Howitzer and 6 crew with SDKFZ tow, on a 4-6 it is limbered.
16: STUG III
17: Nashorn
18: Tiger I

I tried to balance the variety of forces that the Soviet players would encounter. 1/3 were false alarms, 1/3 were infantry based targets whilst the final 1/3 were a bit more dangerous to the tanks.

The game report will be in the next post.

Cheers,

Pete.