Andean Abyss Board game.

Over the past few weeks I’ve managed to have three games of Andean Abyss, which I mentioned a few posts back.

Initial impressions were of a complicated game to that wasn’t subsequently borne out. Brian and I went through the very well written and comprehensive tutorial and we found a card driven game that is actually very easy to play. Like the best games its challenge is working out which strategy to employ in a session. It is easy to form a plan but different card driven events can offer a different path, and that’s before you try to counter the machinations of the other players. The game can be played with between 1 and 4 players, one player is always the Colombian government, the other player fores are the FARC (and other left wing guerrillas such as the ELM), the AUC (right wing paramilitaries) and the Drug Cartels (even though they are many in the country they are all lumped together for ease of play). Game play resolves around gaining forces and conducting operations against the other players, building bases, controlling areas and resources as well as general scheming; this is countered by the variable turn order sequence and any events that might be played from each turns card.. That is one thing I like about the game- there are no rules for diplomacy, players make make and break deals as they see fit.

The board as it is initially set up.

The board as it is initially set up.

Each side has its own set of victory conditions meaning it is possible that one or more sides might win at the same time, accordingly the Government player has the hardest job trying to thwart 3 other players simultaneously; they are manily playing for themselves….

Mid way through a game: discs are bases, cubes are police or army, cylinders are guerrillas.

Mid way through a game: discs are bases, cubes are police or army, cylinders are guerrillas.

In our three games the first went to a quick victory to the FARC, the second was to the AUC, and the third was a joint victory to the Government and the Cartels (some sort of deal with one playing off the other not to attack at a crucial juncture).

The board is divided up into areas and cities each of which can only hold 2 bases. There are also vital pipeline that run through the country, control of which is very important for the government.

The board is divided up into areas and cities each of which can only hold 2 bases. There are also vital pipeline that run through the country, control of which is very important for the government.

The game is amply supported with designer’s notes, strategy tips and an explanation of each event card in the game, plenty to give you enough info to play the game. I did however find an bibliography that got me scurrying off to Amazon for some more reading material. I can definitely recommend M. A. Murillo’s ‘Colombia and the United States: War Unrest and Destabilization’.

The game is the first in a planned series of COIN games, with Cuba and Afghanistan being lined up as pre orders already. Given the quality of this game I’ll be picking the others up in due course.

Cheers,

Pete.

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Trench system

I’ve finished painting the vac formed trench system that I picked up at Fiasco, Leeds.

It has turned out nice- better than I expected- with simple wash and dry brush techniques it was easy to do once I got into it.

Once painted I added some static grass to blend it in to my usual gaming boards. I was tempted to leave it in it’s muddy state but decided it looked too start especially as it has such straight edges. I’m thinking of a night time raid to capture a prisoner for interrogation for its first game outing.

Enjoy the pics.

20mm figure for scale purposes.

20mm figure for scale purposes.

A bit of dry brushing brought the detail out nicely.

A bit of dry brushing brought the detail out nicely.

I do like this little shelter built in.

I do like this little shelter built in.

The trenches come with firing steps.

The trenches come with firing steps.

The trench was from Early War Miniatures:

http://www.earlywarminiatures.com/

Cheers,

Pete.

Just Another French Village- WW2 AAR. Part 2.

As per the forces in the previous post we got the table set up and all the toys lined up. Chris deployed his initial forces on the table. The infantry section split into two elements, the PAK 38 further back covering the fields that the village backed on to. The Panzerschreck team was placed well forward to take on any armour foolish enough to try the road.

Panzerschreck team in position.

Panzerschreck team in position.

5cm PAK38 Anti tank gun.

5cm PAK38 Anti tank gun.

Evan and Brian’s advance started with push on their right flank with armour and the Universal Carriers, with 2 sections of infantry taking the center and the Platoon HQ taking the left flank supported by on of the Shermans.

The initial British advance.

The initial British advance.

The PAK 38 and a Sherman were the first to face of against each other, the PAK 38 crew coming off very badly from a mixture of HE and bow MG fire.

ATG crew wiped out.

ATG crew wiped out.

From this point on the game really went the British player’s way. Great use of fire and movement as well as tank infantry cooperation meant that Evan and Brian methodically (I could go as far as to say textbook) rolled up the village. On turn three the German reinforcements arrived on mass and advanced on to the board.

Panzers forwards.

Panzers forwards.

However the activation dice didn’t favour the Germans from this point onwards. The armour stood still whilst the Brits continued to take ground.

The Brits begin to move into the village.

The Brits begin to move into the village.

Halfway through the game- Brits advancing on the road and flank. German armour absent.

Halfway through the game- Brits advancing on the road and flank. German armour absent.

Both the Hanomags and the Panzerschreck team got badly shot up as they tried to halt the British.

Fortunately the infantry had debussed.

Fortunately the infantry had debussed.

The end of the infantry AT team.

The end of the infantry AT team.

Finally the German tanks got their act together and started to move.

Finally an armoured counter attack....

Finally an armoured counter attack….

At this point I have to confess we all missed a vital rule that would have altered the game. The tanks as they didn’t come to a halt should have continued straight forward when they didn’t activate. This would have brought them into action much earlier though quite probably not in the optimal position. In future games we have decided to make any armour that enters the board as a reinforcement such as this to have to follow a preplanned route, as sketched on a rough map.

Initially the Panzer IVs made a good start; one 75mm armed Sherman fell to a well placed Armour Piercing shell, while the second 75mm Sherman was forced to seek cover. However when it came to taking on the 17pdr armed Firefly it was a different matter. A Panzer IV moved into its line of fire, won the insight but missed. It would pay for this as a AP shell came winging back as a means of a reply. The shell ripped through the drivers position killing him instantly, it then mangled the gunner’s legs killing him too, fortunately for the rest of the crew the round had over penetrated and it promptly exited the back of the tank without exploding. (I love how the rules and the dice conspire to make the little narrative vingettes).

A second Panzer IV stepped up to take on the Firefly and got completely destroyed for its trouble.

At this point we decided to call the game and award victory to the British. Their tactics and cooperation had been superb and the German tanks arrived too late to really affect the battle. Everyone seemed to enjoy the game though we all agreed that it was at the upper limit of what we would be comfortable playing with in a game of NUTS!, even though we were just making one roll for insight tests using that particular group’s leader REP to speed things up. Also being limited to a 6 foot by 4 foot board also puts it’s own limits on available fighting space.

Cheers,

Pete.

Just Another Frrench Village- WW2 AAR. Part 1.

A fortnight ago I was tasked by the lads to come up with a NUTS! game for the following week. Something involving tanks, mechanized infantry and the Normandy campaign they said….

So I dutifully came up with a scenario that we played last week. Basically a small German force had to hold a village against an attacking force of Brits consisting of Shermans, Universal carrier and infantry in halftracks. The Germans had their own armour and Panzer-grenadiers coming on as reinforcements.

The scenario briefings for each side were as follows:

British Briefing.

Date: 1944.
Location: France.
Situation: With Caen taken the advance into France continues, you have been ordered to push deeper into German held territory one village at a time.
Victory Conditions: Take and hold the village.
Initial deployment: Enter from your board edge in any order you wish.
Support Level: N/A.
Special Rules: Infantry and Bren section carry fragmentation and AT grenades, 1 each per man. 2 “ mortars have 10 shells each of HE and smoke. The .50 cal cannot be removed from the carrier on which it is mounted. For the purposes of the game each Sherman 75 has unlimited ammo, the Firefly has unlimited AP but only 3 shots of HE.

Forces:

Tank Platoon:

Sherman 75 REP 4, Sherman 75 REP 4, Sherman Firefly REP 4.

Infantry Platoon:

HQ: Officer REP 5 SMG, Sgt REP 5 SMG, 2 Runners REP 4, Mortar man REP 4 BA Rifle and 2” mortar, No. 2 REP 3 BA Rifle. M3 half track and driver REP 3. 2 PIATs to be assigned as wished.

Infantry Squad: Cpl REP 5 SMG, Lcpl REP 4 BA Rifle, Gunner REP 4 Bren, No. 2 Rep 4 BA Rifle. 2 men REP 4 BA Rifle, 2 men REP 3 BA Rifle.M3 half track and driver REP 3.

Infantry Squad: Cpl REP 5 SMG, Lcpl REP 4 BA Rifle, Gunner REP 4 Bren, No. 2 Rep 4 BA Rifle. 2 men REP 4 BA Rifle, 2 men REP 3 BA Rifle.M3 half track and driver REP 3.

Carrier section:

1st carrier: Sgt REP 5 SMG, Driver REP 4 BA Rifle, Gunner REP 4 Bren LMG, no. 2 REP 3 BA Rifle.

2nd carrier: Cpl REP 4 SMG,Driver REP 4 BA Rifle, Gunner REP 4 BA Rifle and 2 “ mortar, no. 2 REP 3 BA Rifle.

3rd carrier: Lcpl REP 4 SMG, Driver REP 4 BSA Rifle, Gunner REP 4 BA Rifle and .50 cal.

German Briefing.

Date:
1944.
Location: France.
Situation: The allies are on the advance- every village must be fought for to slow their advance. If one is lost counter attack immediately.
Victory Conditions: Have control of the village by the end of the game.
Initial deployment: Base force sets up in the village. Reinforcementds enter from your board edge from turn 3 after passing a successful REP test on 1 D6, dice per vehicle.
Support Level: N/A.
Special Rules: All men carry 1 fragmentation grenade. Dav Panzerfausts for each of the squads. Panzerschreck team has 6 shells. The PAK 38 has 10 AT shells and 6 HE shells. Each PzIV has unlimited ammo.

Forces:

Base forces:

Infantry section: NCO REP 5 SMG, JNCO REP 4 SMG, Gunner REP 4 MG42, No. 2 REP 4 BA Rifle, 2 men REP 4 BA Rifle, 2 men REP 3 BA Rifle,.

AT Team: NCO REP 5 SMG, Gunner REP 4 BA Rifle and Panzershreck, No. 2 REP 4 BA Rifle.

ATG Team: NCO REP 4 SMG, 4 Gunners REP 4 BA Rifles. PAK 38 ATG.

Reinforcements:

Tank platoon:

3 PzIVs each: REP 4.

Infantry:

Mechanized infantry section: NCO REP 5 SMG, JNCO REP 4 SMG, 2 Gunners REP 4 MG42s, 2 Assistants REP 4 Ba Rifles, 2 men REP 3 BA Rifles. Sdkfz 251/1 with driver REP 3.

Mechanized infantry section: NCO REP 5 SMG, JNCO REP 4 SMG, 2 Gunners REP 4 MG42s, 2 Assistants REP 4 Ba Rifles, 2 men REP 3 BA Rifles. Sdkfz 251/1 with driver REP 3.

Mechanized infantry section: NCO REP 5 SMG, JNCO REP 4 SMG, 2 Gunners REP 4 MG42s, 2 Assistants REP 4 Ba Rifles, 2 men REP 3 BA Rifles. Sdkfz 251/1 with driver REP 3.

Sdkfz 222 REP 4.

I set up the table and ran the game until the German tanks arrived, at which I assisted Chris in playing the Germans. Brian had control of the British Shermans, whilst Evan and the M3 carried infantry and his trusty Universal carriers.

The games table- the British were attacking from the right hand side.

The games table- the British were attacking from the right hand side.