Necromunda Campaign: The Finale.

The final game of the Necromunda campaign promised to be something special and upon walking into the club the first thing I noticed was the massive ‘L’ shaped table Mark had put together, the height discrepancy being bridged with stairs and walkways.

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The impressive table as viewed from where I deployed.

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The Genestealer reveals itself and the game begins.

Marcus’ scenario to finish off the campaign was that all of the gangs in our section of the hive had put their recent differences aside and joined up to clear out the Underhive of the Genestealer menace once and for all.

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The gangers of Tech Noir take the high ground as usual.

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Pipes make for a nice bit of cover on my right flank.

Four of us started the game: me with Van Saar, Niall with a different set of Genestealer Cultists, James with Venators and Mark with Escher, J (Goliath and Joe (Venators) would be arriving later so were coming on as reinforcements, in scenario terms they were fighting in the tunnels to prevent the Genestestealers infiltrating in.

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A sump monster goes for one of the Venators…

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… whilst a second goes after my Rogue Doc.

Once our gangers were spread out across the huge table the game began with a purestrain Genestealer appearing at a random location and beginning the assault, fortunately this was by Mark’s Escher at the opposite end of the table to me. Unfortunately, every other ganger on the table had to take a shot towards the scream uttered by the unfortunate victim of the surprise attack. This meant there was a risk of gangs firing on other gangs, thus breaking the truce and even friendly fire between the gangs as your own team mates get in the line of shot. This happened to both Mark and I. Shooting, and then taking your own ganger out of the game straight away on turn 1 was an inauspicious start for me and really set the tone for my game.

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A Rad Cannon armed Champion looks towards where all the nasty shouting is coming from.

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The sump monster moves on more Venators.

I started fighting with James and Niall straight away as our deployment areas overlapped in the first turn, by turn two however J and Joe were ready to enter the game. Their deployment was to be randomised to one of 8 tunnel entrances, J arrived right in the middle of Niall and Mark as well as by a sump monster and suffered accordingly.

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Joe’s Venator gang- a very well appointed gang it has be said as he was never short of money all campaign – appears right in front of me.

Joe, who has to be fair been my Nemesis throughout the campaign – I have fought him more than anyone else- appeared right by me. He did have the disadvantage of having all him men set up bunched together with several of my gangers in position to shoot down on them. However, my gangers were already involved in a 3-way fight with Niall, James and the NPC Genestealers and weren’t in great positions for mutual support.

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J and Joe consider their next moves.

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Somewhere down their Eschers are battling Genestealers….

Still a nice group of Joe’s Bounty Hunters made and excellent target for my Rad Cannons, so I tried to pour shots in, more than a few grenades were thrown too. Joe’s tough gangers stood up to it well, even though he suffered many flesh wounds, and he fighters shot back at me with a vengeance. At this point we were pretty much ignoring what was happening in the rest of the game as we just wanted to settle the score in this, our last chance.

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Half Horn moves on my Rad Cannon.

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My leader is tempoarily inconvenieced by a flamer.

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A two way combat becomes a three way…

Servitors with heavy stubbers and Ambots were a worry to me so I tried to take them out with a Plasma gun armed Champion whilst my Melta gun armed Leader tried to get into the fray. Whilst I was dealing with that the noted bounty hunter half- horn was heading up the gantries to take out my Rad Cannons. To make matters worse, Niall and James were still taking shots my way, I began to feel a little persecuted (even more so when one of the wandering sump monsters took out a juve…)

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… which becomes a four way.

All of this made for a wonderfully chaotic bloody and memorable end to the campaign, I lost 9 of 16 starters having got the highest loss of this finale… the Genstealers although defeated rigged the hive with explosives, with us gangers being double crossed by the Lord so he got rid of Cultists and gangers together….

 

I’ve got to say thanks to all the guys, Mark, J, James and Niall for being great opponents and Marcus for running such a great campaign and all of them for making me so welcome. I can’t wait for the next one and I’ve lots I want to try out when I get another chance. One thing the campaign has done for me is rewarmed my love for 40k… something I didn’t think would happen….

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

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A Genestealer in disguise: Necromunda Campaign game 7.

In this penultimate campaign game, I was drawn against my erstwhile colleague James and his rather strong Venator gang. He was several hundred points ahead of me, especially as he used one of his territories to get one of my champions to miss the game… so I got extra tactics cards which I was determined to put to good effect. Playing with a limited deck of cards has its advantages… what you lose in choice and flexibility is made up by knowing your cards well and how best to use them.

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The scenario was quite simple, the game would start as a straight up gang fight, however one of the gangers was actually a purestrain Genestealer in disguise… the ultimate aim was to take it out of the game, this being an instant win for the side whose ganger administers the coup de grace. How do you know which ganger is the Genestealer pretending to be? Easy every time a figure takes a wound a D6 was rolled: on a 5 or 6 the figure is replaced by the Genestealer, only one Genestealer was incognito. Once it was revealed a further dice roll would determine it behaviour.

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I decided to be bold for this game, I figured that whilst it isn’t in my best interests as Van Saar to push close to the enemy gang I didn’t want to be a long way from the Genestealer when it appeared.

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Eschewing my usual ‘take the high ground’ approach I went low to make the use of the ground level cover.

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The game progressed quite slowly, neither James or myself could convert hits into wounds so several turns went by without much happening. James did try to infiltrate some gangers in behind me. That didn’t go as well as expected, my Van Saar ganger proving far more competent in close combat than he had any right to be.

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The game threw up several funny moments… a pair of my gangers got hit by a incendiary grenade setting one alight. In a panic he ran across the front of my firing line before rolling on the floor in agony, sensing an easy kill a Venator moved into close combat. Fluffing the roll my ganger stood up to fightback promptly dispatching his attacker before going back to the serious business of extinguishing himself.

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Both of us were unlucky with ammo rolls with lots of our guns going out of ammo… James’ Venator with a grenade launcher, having already ran out of frag grenades decided to try his luck with a krak grenade… missing so badly that he hit one of his own side taking them out of the game….

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My high risk ‘push forward strategy’ wasn’t really paying off- I had many fighters out of the game- felled by more powerful weaponry. The Genestealer turned out to be disguised as one of my juves, it took a ganger out of the fight then made a beeline for the opposite table edge, trying to escape. Fortunately, the route took it past and in front of my plasma gun armed champion… a couple of blasts at full power stripped it of its extra wound, then a venator with a bolter felled it at the end of a turn. Both of us had pushed gangers forward to intercept the fleeing monster. With it prostrate on the floor victory would go to who ever got priority next, sadly I’d already used my tactics card that would of given it me automatically. I won the roll and my juve moved up to get me the instant win, not a moment too soon as I’d only just passed the roll not to flee.

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Thankfully the post battle sequence went well for me, no nasty injuries, only one fighter missing the finale and a free juve was recruited to my ranks to make up the numbers.

 

It was a great game loads of fun- thanks to James as well as Marcus and Mark for answering the rules queries.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

A rescue mission: Necromunda Campaign game 6.

In my last game against Joe’s Venator bounty hunters led by Colonel Reynolds Feathers I had a ganger Lebedev captured, as such I had the right to attempt a rescue mission before he was sold to the guilders. James (running a rival Venators gang: Harkathnut’s Void Pirates) also had a fighter captured. I was approached to see if I was wanting to run a joint rescue mission to free both of our gangers; that sounded like too much fun to pass up so we teamed up in raid into Joe’s territory.

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I was a few members down as they were recovering from wounds recieved in the previous fight and James’s Void piratesd were down in number too… still together we just were more powerful than the Colonel and his men.

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We set up on a large 6 foot by 4 foot board with the prisoner’s cage in the middle on the back edge. Joe deployed a few of his gangers as sentries and lookouts, the rest being held back as reinforcements.

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My plan was to slowly work my way forward until all my gangers were where I wanted them before I made my move. This didn’t work for two reasons: firstly Col. Feathers himself is always accompanied by a mutt of some description which is great at detecting troops and secondly James used his terrain and cards to inflitrate a large portion of his Void Pirates getting them into the fight almost straight away.

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We had fun rolling to control Joe’s sentries, moving them randomly and turning their backs’ to face the wrong way, ostensibly to jeer at the prisoners. James and I also used our cards well to switch of the lights, plunging that sector of the underhive into darkness. This was less of a problem for us as we had lots of photo goggles (gave us a 12″ line of sight unlike Joe’s 3″).

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One of my gangers was quickly detected by Col. Feathers dog ending the sneaking around part so James used that moment to spring out of cover using his infiltration ability. A few of my men were a bit far away to do much at this point but wewere able to divert some of James’ reinforcements. They spent a bit of time hunting down my gang trying to root me out. This took the pressure of James so he could free both prisoners.

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Other than the swirling confused melee around the prisoner cage (Col. Feathers has an Ambot as well as Half- Horn in his outfit meaning we never wanted to get too close of hang around in one spot really) the highlight for me was dispatching the Col. His mutt had bitten the face off two of my gangers (Van Saar are beyond feeble in hand to hand combat) and was bearing down on my leader with the Col. not far behind. The Col. raised his bolter and emptied his clip in the face of my leader missing completely. My leader calmly raised his melta/las combiweapon, and successfuly ignoring the mutt one shotted Col. Feathers taking him and his dog out of the game. Not sure which I was most pleased to see the back of him or his dog….

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I was taking gangers off the table as they got to the edge and this meant after freeing my gangers I involuntarily bottled. Still for freeing my man I gained more than I lost. Ending one of the most enjoyable games so far.

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In a nice twist of fate my next opponent will be James. I was kind of hoping he would betray me thus giving a nice narrative reason for the next game… will have to see what happens…

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

Mixed fortunes for Tech Noir: Necromunda Campaign games 3, 4 and 5.

I’ve played several games in my Necromunda campaign in quick succession so I have decided to do the write ups in one go.

For the campaigns third game I had to intercept Niall’s gang of Genestealer Cultists who were trying to escort an Imperial agent safely through the underhive.

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I did my usual trick of setting up on the high ground to present a firing line of gangers whilst my champions and leader went in on ground level to try and do the damage.

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The plan was OK and I had a couple of early success, especially in getting rid of the webgun armed cultist that would have got annoying quickly but overal I found that whilst I wasgetting lots of hits on target I wasreally struggling to convert them into damage.

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As a consequence I got quite badly chewed up inthe game and had most of my gang out of action.

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My fourth game was a challenge against Marcus and the campaign constant opposition. It would hopefully be an easier game and allow me to regroup before my next campaign fight.

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Fighting Fighting genestealer cults again wastough, again I struggled to convert my hits into damage. This is due partly to bad luck and partly to the low power of my guns.

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The game saw us trying to defile a relic/ marker belonging to each gang. I played defensively; by trying to make the cultists come to me I was hoping that the high rate of fire I could put out would chew them up.

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This didn’t really happen, and after some nasty brushed with the bigger genestealer mutants I cheesed a win by the clock running out on the time we had to play in.

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My fith game, and fourth campaign game was against Joe’s Venator (Bounty Hunters) gang. I knew this would be a hard fight as they are a powerful and well equipped gang. This was made harder by the scenario as the game was played in the dark. Line of sighht was limited to 3 inches and 12 inches if you have night vision (as most of mine did). Furthermore isolated figures could be picked of by monsters in the dark

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The game was a bit of disaster. My luck was against me and many, many volleys of grenades were thrown in my direction (they could be thrown blind).

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Again what hits I did get on targets for the most part failed to convert into any damage.

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In the end I voluntarily withdrew from the battlefield… to add insult to injury one of my gangers was captured. My next game will be a rescue mission to try and get him back.

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After these games the weaponary for my gangers needs a re-think I’ve got some ideas of what to do plus another box of gangers and some upgrade parts so hopefully next time I should do a bit more damage.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Megagame Report: Juntas.

Taking inspiration from the classic old board game of the same name (which I still haven’t played yet) Paul put on this megagame in Manchester on the 24th November. The scenario was expanded beyond the premise of the board game to have players taking on the role of the ruling politicos/ families of four fictional 1960/ 1970s South American countries, all of which were centred around the Anaconda basin. Also, there were players representing various multinational corporations trying to exploit the countries natural resources; four 2- person ambassador teams from the major powers (USA/ UK/ France/ USSR), five single player roles were given over to intelligence operators (all with bland names starting with ‘J’) and finally there were two players taking the roles of writers floating about looking for the story of the century. These final two roles were based on Ernest Hemmingway and Paul Theroux.

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The network figures on the abstracted board.

My job on the day was to run the intelligence game, something that I always enjoy doing. The game was a mixture of open and closed maps. There was a map that everyone could see that showed the info that everyone would know but a large amount of the info about the actual state of a country was kept hidden by control. This design philosophy was reflected in the intelligence game. The players had an abstracted map of the area upon which coloured figures were moved that represented local and transnational networks that could be hired to do the intelligence officers bidding. Whilst the players could negotiate and talk to other players in the game pretty freely the only way that they could mechanically interact with the game was through the networks. The hidden information came from the fact that they invested money into each network and only I as intelligence control knew who had invested what and who had ultimate control of each network. The five players were all experienced megagamers and kept me busy all day with some excellent ideas. Of the five roles four were American, and the final one was Soviet. Three of the US players worked quite closely together whilst John, playing a National Security Agency player, acted to type and kept a distance. Daniel as the Soviet was up against it from the start as the others instantly were suspicious of him, furthermore he invested heavily in the worst network in the game meaning that their loyalty to him was only matched by their incompetence in the field. Networks could be tested to see how good they were but that was not really done by many of the players.

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A general view of the hall with the screened off umpires’ section, the open map (bottom right) and the country tables round the edge of the room.

I could tell from turn one that I was going to be in for a busy game as Matt had been planning on the train down to the game, as he told me after the game’s conclusion, for his opening gambit. He wanted to buy a large quantity of heroin to have it at hand to potentially use to destabilise any of the four played countries if it looked like that they were going to move towards socialism/ communism… very CIA. His networks spent a few early turns locating and the purchasing said drugs. Ed was seemingly unhappy with his budget allocation and rather than deal with the paperwork to increase it (which was an in- game option) decided to raise his own slush fund by having his network rob some banks for him. This did wind up the counties no end as it got docked out of their budgets, as Ed’s networks were pretty good he never had an agent captured that might’ve given him away. A couple did go out in a hail of gunshots on the steps of a bank.

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The common knowledge map of the Anaconda basin.

Within the structure of the turn I was busy all the time as I needed to keep my paperwork regarding the networks up to date, thanks are due here to Becky W for helping my out with  cash counting duities. Collate the pieces of information that the intel players were asking for, resolve any other actions then relaying any pertinent info to the relevant country controls. As such I didn’t see much of the game other than that which was through the spy’s lens. John played the slow and steady game, sticking to his brief by infiltrating and bugging each countries’ radio network. This was spotted by the other three American intel players and they did try to spy on John to find out his loyalties. I just told them that they didn’t have a high enough security clearance to have the answer. At this stage of the cold war even the acronym ‘NSA’ was classified, hence its occasional nickname of ‘No Such Agency’.

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A glimpse behind the umpire’s screen where the countries’ actual data was tracked.

Daniels lowly network was nothing but not persistent taking several turns to finally blow up a dam as an act of economic warfare. As he was about to be hunted down to the others as the game drew to a close Daniel did the sensible thing and negotiated for himself a French passport. The heroin did make its way into the game as it was infiltrated, by the troika of US players when a country went over to communism, into a player’s food to make him unwell when it was withdrawn to limit his efficiency. It may have sounded far- fetched but one only has to remember the CIA plots against Cuba’s Castro during this time frame.

All in all it was a busy but very fun day and another solid political- military game by Paul to finish off Pennine Megagames 2018 calendar. The only thing that I would think about changing from my corner of the game would be to have an intel player tied to each ambassador team as it was difficult for the USSR player to do much and the US got a bigger advantage than the others as there were four players supporting that side.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

https://www.penninemegagames.co.uk/

Megagame Report: Czech mate ’38.

Czechmate ’38 was an operational megagame put on by Paul Howarth in October.  As can be guess from the name it is a what if? Exploration of what could of happened had the Czechoslovaks militarily resisted the attended annexation of the Sudetenland.  It was designed to test out some mechanics before they were used in other, bigger, games; as such this game was run as a small affair through Paul’s Story Living Games.

I got the chance to be the overall commander of the Czechoslovak forces. I came up with a simple plan. A crust of defences that would be held doggedly and the reserves held centrally to respond to the inevitable breakthrough. With only one good mobile division I kept it near the capital as I figured that this would be the main target for the Germans on the day to try and force the Czechs out of the game. I did know that the Germans only had about a fortnight’s worth of supplies, so it was a question of just holding on and trying to not give up any more real estate than I could.

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The plan forms.

On the day because of the small numbers of players I would also be running the air forces for my side. I had helped Paul with playtesting this part of the game quite a bit, so I was confident that I could do both jobs easily.

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A close up view of the air game board.

What really made my day go so well was the sterling work gone by Nick who was my aide de camp who kept me up to date with what was happening on the map, relaying messages and generally keeping things going along.

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My reserves looked impressive stacked up until I saw all the German cubes….

The previous playtesting of the air game had given me a slight advantage even though the Czechoslovak Air Force was greatly outnumbered by the Luftwaffe: I knew I could go toe to toe so put very little up in the early turns conceding air superiority on the basis that I’d never be in a position to seriously contest it anyway. I fully expected a massive German offensive, so my plan was to only fly 50% of my force at any one time, keep stuff cycled through quickly and concentrate on targeting the command and control links of the Wehrmacht.

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General shot of the room: the two smaller tables are for the air game.

The main game was played on an open map with 5cm polystyrene blocks. Each block represented a regiment with the face uppermost indicating that regiment’s current status. The blocks also showed the combat value in each state. Players were given and then had to spend command points to activate their units. It was my responsibility to assign from my pool of points allocations to each player.

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See what I mean about all the red German cubes…? Good job they took so long to clear the border fortifications.

In the plenary briefing of the game I got a little worried when Paul said that if the Czechoslovaks got wiped out and defeated by half past 12 would could just reset, swap sides and go again… it got me expecting a whitewashing. Fortunately, the bunkers that most of my troops started in were pretty tough and the fact that the German Heer was trying to advance whole Corps along a single mountainous road in October meant that they struggled to get the command points to activate.

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Fall back positions were organised.

When the Germans made their first breakthrough I called a tea break to sort out the allocation of reserves and to speak to each commander to see how likely they were to hold out and for how long. At this point I assigned some fall-back positions trying to make the best use of natural obstacles. I was prepared to give up some areas rather than risk having any forces encircled.

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An army marches on its stomach so I brought tea lof to sustain my Czech team.

In the end the reserves, at least those that were rifle divisions, were parcelled out quite early. Hindsight has made me consider if a bolder strategy would have been to have released them to players at the start to make the initial crust of defences very strong indeed. It would have left me with only the Fast Division to act as a reserve which wouldn’t have been very much at all…

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Towards the end of the game the Germans did start breaking through.

I got the chance to do a little roleplaying/ politicking to try and appeal to the French to apply diplomatic pressure. I knew a full-scale invasion of Germany wouldn’t be possible (and outside the scope of the game) but when it was announced that the Poles were mobilizing to take advantage of our misfortunes I appealed to the French to call them off. I knew that this would be easier if we managed to put in a decent counter attack. I knew that I couldn’t turn back the German tide, but I could definitely put a dint into the main thrust. It is worth remembering that the German tanks at this stage were quite poor, mostly Panzer I and Panzer IIs with the better Panzer IIIs and IVs being quite rare. Easy prey for the LT 35 and LT 38 tanks with their 37mm guns I could field. The attack went in as I planned and managed to stall the main German thrust to Prague. It wasn’t a game winning manoeuvre, but it should that will still had fight left in us and saved the capital for a few more days. In the end the game ended after ten days/ turns; certainly, much of the country was occupied but we still had units in the field and a functional government. The Germans had paid a heavy cost to get this far, especially in materiel. So much that a further invasion of Poland the following year would have been doubtful.

The game system seemed pretty solid and I’m looking forward to it being used in next year’s Poland game. The only thing that needs to be added would be a better fog of war mechanism so the location of my reserves would of have to have been discovered in the game by the Germans but that is a minor thing. The only down side of the day is that I now want to raise a 20mm collection to fight out some of the battles the game generated with toy soldiers.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Megagames Report: Everybody Dies 3: Playing with Fire.

I’m a bit behind with putting up my megagame reports so expect a glut of them over the next few days… They might not be as long as previous game write- ups but I’m keen to get as much down on each of them.

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The very evocative map was back- new were dragon miniatures.

The first of September saw Pennine Megagames put on Becky Ladley’s Everybody Dies 3: Playing with Fire. This was a return to the Game of Thrones world; this time set a good 150 years before the novels/ TV series. The big feature of this game is that it featured large numbers of dragons flying around and getting involved in the narrative. As I’m, seemingly, one of the few people that have still not read the books or watched the TV show I volunteered to control. I was put in charge of running the map where those players commanding armies would be.

Keeping the players on track proved to be hard work and I’m sorry to say that it was my first experience of players purposely bending the rules. I’m sure it happens in many games, but it was a first to see it first- hand…

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The busiest part of the map for the whole game.

The game was very much focused around the events in King’s Landing where the King died in the first turn sparking a civil war between the Greens and Blacks. There were only a few battles on the map so most of the day I was regulating movement and calling players on it to keep them on the straight and narrow… some not liking that.

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Becky had won a competion to get an ice sculpture- got to be a first in a megagame.

As the third run of the game it was very slick in terms of the mechanics. Becky had done a great job simplifying and clarifying both the map movement and the combat. Using the same basic mechanisms for both land and naval combat was a good idea and the game handbook was well produced.

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Daniel lays down the law with a two hand point during a combat.

For an excellent reflective piece by Becky on her game look to her blog here.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.