Friday, April 5, 2013

Hotlead Game Photos #2 - I Ain't Been Shot Mum

For Saturday morning at Hotlead I got into another game with Too Fat Lardies's rules - "I Ain't Been Shot Mum", their WWII company-level rules. This game was in 6mm and was the "A Canadian VC" scenario from the rules, although we didn't know that at the start. Keith B. and Brian H. ran the game as a double-blind game, which was pretty cool - we (I was German) couldn't see the Canadian table, and they couldn't see ours. Both tables were set up essentially identical in terms of layout, with just minor visual differences.

The additional fog of war came from us not even being able to see their blinds until we spotted them, and then when units were out of our line of sight they'd either disappear or just sit there until we spotted them again and realized they'd moved. At one point they gained almost 1/3 of the town without us realizing it, as we didn't have anyone looking in that direction. We were also convinced (and were right) that another unit was completely unaccounted for and we were spotting everywhere to try and find it. Then later in the game we kept having mortar fire landing on our heads and we had no idea where it was coming from.

I'll save the best bit of the double-blind situation for further below, I have to say that that Keith and Brian's ability to keep straight faces as they moved from one side of the blind to another was a key to the game!

There were five players aside in the game, on the German side that meant three of us had seriously understrength infantry platoons, in my case I just had a section of 8 men and a MG42 MMG. Another player had two PZ IVHs, and Ana had a Panther and a Tiger. Our goal was to hold the bottom end (left side) of the town, protecting an off-table bridge from artillery observation.

As always, you can click on the photos for bigger versions.

One platoon and the two IVHs were our only forces on the table to start - on blinds on our side. The infantry was set pretty far up, actually on the far side of the town from what we needed to hold, and while our IVHs started at the crossroads at the back of the town, over the first two moves they jumped up to firing positions in an orchard on the other side of town. Both decisions ended up costing us.

Now we finally see the enemy coming over the bridges towards us - looks like Fireflies in both platoons!

The first reinforcement we got on the table were the two German cats. The Tiger set up at the crossroads at the back of town where it had great lanes of fire down both roads.

Unfortunately Ana rolled terrible - I'm not sure if she got in any kills before the Firefly the Canadians held back just on our side of the river killed it. Basically it was all over for the Tiger in one turn (turn 3 of the game).

BUT - the Tiger didn't burn, it just died in place. So the Canadians thought it was still alive and kicking, and spent the rest of the game shooting at it! This was the best and funniest situation from the double blind set-up. Ana had to keep rolling fake piles of dice just to keep the other side honest every time they put a licking on the Tiger.

After Ana's cats, we got Joe's "platoon" - two sections with a Panzerschreck team - on the table and he advanced on the left side (top of this pic) of town, grabbing a building with one section and the 'schrecks, but his other section was caught in the open on a road by a platoon of Shermans who spent much of the rest of the game machine-gunning the unit, until the 'schrecks finished them off (see a few pictures below).

In the pic above you can also see our initial on-board infantry platoon has retreated back to the big stone building in town, but has been followed closely by Canadian infantry in the orchard. While it took two assaults (Joe's infantry was on overwatch and laid a beating on the first assault), our platoon there was soon done.

You can also finally see my unit - still on a blind, but stalled at the crossroads. I think I spent two or three whole turns just sitting there - luckily no one spotted me.

If you look at the last pic (far right), you'll see Canadian infantry and armour still sitting by the river - and that's all we knew of them until suddenly they were close enough to auto-spot in the town. And then we realized they'd grabbed a chunk of it and had nothing in front of them (and nothing really to the side of them), except for my ditherers poking around at the crossroads.

Finally I get to bloody move, and after one spotting check (still trying to find the mysterious missing Canadian unit), I run along the road and grab one of the key town blocks with my unit. At that time I find the Canadians had advanced even further through the town and actually got a bit too focused on the wheatfield, and were now stuck in the open in front of me. Who would get to go next?

Shortly after my move, a tea break (turn end) card came up, so now everything was re-shuffled and my platoon gets pulled before the Canadian platoon, and I open up on them. I got two more shots at them, although they eventually got some of their guys into cover and were firing back; I was down to about 6 guys all told when the game ended.

But at least I knew where the stupid mortars were!

Meanwhile, on the Canadian side of the screen, Brian had been taunting one of the Canadian armour platoon leaders about his failure to utilize the Heroic Leader card. As Geoff (the player) later said - "You can call me chicken once, but not twice!"

So Geoff now made his move, and rammed his tank into the stone building in which German troops had been hiding. Unfortunately for Geoff this was a unit that was down to two guys with seven shock and had long "lost their bottle". So he lost his leader and his tank for very little. Of course, we had very little left on the table at this point too.

A shot from near the end, Joe's still dealing with Shermans gunning his infantry, our surviving Panther has had its main gun knocked out and is temporarily dueling with a Sherman with its MG (later the Panther pulled back into town).

Joe's dealt with the Shermans now (see the pillars of smoke!) but I've taken my hits and the Panther's not much help now.

An aerial shot of the German table at game's end - a Canadian victory.

The Canadian side of the table - hopefully someone from there has pics of how their game developed.

I played in Brian's IABSM game last year (in 15mm) and had a good time - just need to finally finish off some of my 6mm and get it on the table so I can play my own games of IABSM. Getting to that point is my goal for 2013.

Hotlead Game Photos #1 - Dux Britanniarum (Friday)

It's been a long while between posts, mainly because everything on the painting table's been in a half-finished state for months now (but progress is being made). I'll try to kickstart things a bit with some after-action photos from the Hotlead convention two weekends ago; these would have been up sooner but I came down with a wicked case of influenza (rather than everyday stomach flu) that laid me low for a week and I'm still catching up at work.

Up first is from Friday night at Hotlead - a game of Too Fat Lardies' Dux Britanniarum (hereafter called Dux B, even though I know there's also Dux Bellorum, another set of Dark Age rules) hosted by Cain of the Kent-Essex Gaming Society (KEGS). Three of us played the Saxon side, versus those evil Romano-British types, as played by Mark and "Chicken Boy".
The table at game start, with my two units of warriors, plus some bowmen, on the bottom right. You can see we had a bloody forest right in front of us to start - I blame that for all subsequent traffic jams! Not my fault!

Our elites were in the middle, and then we had another two units of warriors and more bowmen on our left. The R-B's kept their bowmen on their right (our left), with their elites, while they had two units that formed shield walls on us in the centre and left.

My forces. Like Ty Cobb, they were like a coiled spring...but with a dangerous flaw.

And this is "me" - hmmmm, a tubby blonde-haired guy - pretty much spot on...

So here we start moving forward, and I find that for some reason, my right-most unit refuses to roll well for movement and lags behind. Because I'm supposed to be protecting the right flank of our elites, I need my other (left) unit to keep moving.

I believe this is where our glorious leader and his champion taunted the other side's elites.

And so instead of fighting our elites, their elites attacked our warband on the left, and routed it in a couple turns. They also captured the warlord, and rather than ransom him later like civilized folks, they killed him on the spot!

Meanwhile, remember those other two R-B forces (each of two) - well one moved up and came down on my guys, catching one unit still alone and ahead of the others (however, I did keep them from flanking our elites, they didn't have room to turn). My unit played the Evade card, but evaded 1" (aka "one bloody inch") too short to form up on their compadres, and also too bloody short to escape the shieldwall coming down on them. So, basically, they got whooped (that's a technical term) and are already off the table in this picture.

Elsewhere, however, our elites hit their elites in the side, and while this pictures is mid-battle, routed them pretty quickly. We captured their leader (and killed their champion, as I recall), and in a fit of revenge offed him, just as our warlord was offed. However, the Romano-British still fought on.

Meanwhile, both of the R-B shield walls are on the move and have hit my final unit, and are in the process of wiping it out here. That pretty much made the game, and we called it at this point (or our morale bottomed out - same difference).

It was a fun game - our Saxons were rather disorganized to start and I think that cost us, the R-B's grabbed some good terrain early, and then were able to get a better 2-1 result than we did.