Tonight we tried The Too Fat Lardies newest game, WHAT A TANKER. What a Tanker is a fun, quick paced game of tank to tank combat in World War Two. It is designed for any models ranging from 10mm up to 1:48, which was the scale we chose. We had five players, and after far too […]
Due to the various demands of the Holiday season, and a housing emergency, Dave Wilson and I found ourselves as the only members of the Williamsburg Legati meeting a couple of weeks ago. We took the opportunity to play a game of Chain of Command.
I set up a table imagining that the battle was somewhere around the area of British Paratrooper activity at Normandy. Mostly because I am preparing to run the Von Luck Pint Sized Campaign by Too Fat Lardies. We rolled randomly for scenario and got Scenario Number Five: the Flank Attack.
Dave was attacking with the Paratroopers and I was holding the farm at the upper right corner. This scenario give the attacker the ability to bring his patrol markers from two different sides at the same time. Very disconcerting if you are the defender. I tried to do too much with mine, trying to defend both fronts and soon found that I could hardly maneuver them. I have often said that Chain of Command can be won or lost in the patrol pase. In this game I lost that very way. In fact Dave could have wrapped around me even, so badly had I played my patrols, but he elected that in light have having an enjoyable game he would not. Thanks Dave.
Dave’s Paras started advancing on the farmhouse just down the road from mine and was first to notice that the layout of the buildings left most of their windows facing away form the action. Only the house in the middle of the board really had a useful vantage point, and it was right alongside of one of Dave’s jump off markers. The Section shown above made little progress up the table.
The Germans had the same problem however so most of my deployments were into the cover of the hedges. My jump off markers were also all cramped together, all three being in the area of this one photo! Also visible in this shot just under the tree is my poorly chosen support option. The PAK 38 is aimed at the only useful house on the board, which was the center of much of the Para Activity. I chose the PAK 38 because I like the model and don’t usually even remember to bring it, but in this case I knew I wasn’t going to be opposed by any armor. If I knew the German equipment better I would have brought the ie IG 38 infantry gun. This model doesn’t get used much either, costs less support points and would have been far more useful in taking out troops concealed in stone houses.
Surprisingly, I took few pics of the British forces. Dave started to bring forces on to my right, trying to flank me so I ordered a section to secure the stone barn across the street from my position. This was a good idea, but I did it too late. Further more, when they started to receive fire from the enemy I pulled them back. This was a fatal error. I did have to go into the open to get around to the entrance of the barn, and do so under fire. I don’t doubt that I would have received some fire, but had I laid down covering fire with the MG42 and taken the risk I suspect I would have survived most of it. Instead I got shot down in the street. Punished for my indecision and lack of aggressiveness.
Meanwhile my first section and ATG were taking so0me serious cross fire, and doing very little damage in return. I eventually had to pull the ATG back while the crew recovered their bottle.
Part of why I had to withdraw the PAK 38 were the two snipers the Para had deployed. We haven’t used snipers much, due to some disappointment with them early on, but the PARA platoon fields two normally. In this occasion they were very useful.
In the end we had to call the game because it had got quite late. My force was still in pretty good shape but I had squandered so many opportunities early on and by not being more aggressive when I should have I allowed myself to get boxed into my corner. I hope I have learned my lesson.
Until next time, cheers,
I have decided to play a solo campaign of Chain of Command using Joseph Legan’s wonderful book Platoon Forward available at Too Fat Lardies.
For anyone not aware, this useful supplement generates random scenarios, provides support for them and makes it all a bit more interesting by adding a narrative campaign element.
Platoon Forward us designed for World War two but is easily altered for other periods. I originally used it for a Very British Civil War campaign! It is meant to easily be used with any tactical level World War Two game. Some things are not perfectly fitted to Chain of Command, but a little flexibility and creativity will solve these little issues.
Since I have the figures and support for it, I have decided to set my campaign in the Vacaville area of Normandy in June of 1944. My Platoon is a part of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion.
My platoon 5th Platoon of C Company is commanded by Lt Jimmy Ryers. He is a cautious and yet cocky 23 year old hoping for recognition and promotion. His platoon Sargeant, Archie Giles is a very sensible and even-tempered former clerk. Greg Fulton a jovial 30 year old, more comfortable with art than warfare has the first section. The second is led by 28 year old Trent Carpenter. Patriotic and naively reckless. Before the war, he was a mechanic. The support section is commanded by the Hedonistic and cultured Quebecois, Harris LeBlanc.
5th Platoon’s first assignment after landing in France was to take a German observation post in a country church. The position was believed to be lightly defended so apt. Keefe ordered Lt Ryeres forward with his 5th Platoon.
The German position was in an old stone church surrounded by a churchyard and its low wall. Ryers ordered his first two sections to advance forward along the hedgerows. The Headquarters sniper took a position within the hedge and waited for a shot.
He didn’t have to wait long. The distinctive sound of a German MG42 soon destroyed the solitude of the quiet June night.
Lt Ryers quickly deployed his 2″ mortar team who ably provided smoke to aid the advance.
Under the cover of the smoke, Sgt Fulton’s section started to receive fire from a German squad holding the church. They dived for the cover of the hedge by the Sargeant was wounded.
Ryers ordered Fulton’s Bren team to quiet the fire from the church, Soon with the help of the sniper they had reduced the German fire. Ryers order the two sections to move forward and the assaulted the church rather handily.
All in all a successful first mission. Rolled pretty badly for the German blinds, which did make for a easy fight than it might have been. Some challenges I am facing as I do this, the table I am using is smaller than the usual 6×4 which makes for a less effective patrol phase, I might just use the entrances Legan suggests on the scenario cards and there are no spotting rules in Chain of Command which is how the blind system in Platoon Forward usually works. I simply rolled for my blinds as I was hoping to activate them. The blinds are rated as probably infantry, probably support, and probably vehicle. I would roll the command dice for the Germans and this if I would roll for the blind I hoped to activate, if it came up empty I just rolled the next one of that type. Not sure that was the best answer.
Until next time,
Thursday night the Williamsburg Legati played another Spy Fi game of Crooked Dice’s 7TV. More of the miniatures are painted, and we are playing around with different scenery ideas. Our newest member Geoff brought a lot of jungle foliage by, so we decided to set the game in the jungle. We also shook things up a bit on the villainous side by replacing the Evil Mastermind with the Despotic Dictator. The Mastermind hasn’t been very successful for us and we think it is probably due to the small cast sizes we have been using. We have been playing with just 30 ratings points. The Mastermind’s star qualities are mostly based on ordering minions around and we just don’t have enough minions! We also keep going back and forth regarding the inhuman servitor and plastron. This happens more from confusion than anything else but does make a great difference in the game.
The episode we were playing was “the Race”. In this episode, both players start on opposite sides of the table and race towards a goal. An interesting twist is that the objective is about to be destroyed. We decided it was an active local volcano. Players can gain extra plot points by electing to burn two countdown cards a turn, making the danger arrive sooner. We weren’t sure what the rules meant by “Goal” so we decided to make it the McGuffin. The characters had to collect objective tokens, on doing so on any turn where they had turned two countdown cards, they rolled a dice to see if the objective was actually the McGuffin.
On set up, the three spies on the hero’s side gave them a bit of advantage, with a number of their figures beginning play right inside the complex. Their first countdown card being “set dressing” it allowed them to push a bookcase against the window that the villains were obviously planning on coming in through. The good guys made their way through the building taking objectives were they lay.
The villains followed a different strategy. Our star (Geoff and I were playing the villains again) stayed outside and sent their minions in through the windows to collect objectives and shoot at the heroes. Meanwhile, the inhuman servitor stayed off on his own (most of his star qualities are designed for that. What luck that turned out to be. One objective was outside of the complex, upon a rock formation and the inhuman servitor went to get it. That turned out to be the Mcguffin! He took it started to leave, but he is also the slowest character being unable to run. that was our undoing!
The heroes sent one of their annoying ninja out after the servitor. We had gathered the Junta and his sidekick out to support the servitor, but the ninja used two gadgets. Sleeping gas, to put the alien to sleep and then camouflage spray to make her invisible. Basically what this meant was that the Alien lost his turn and nothing could be done to the ninja standing right over him! We were also very quickly losing the firefight within the complex. When the game ended, we had lost all but our star and one costar. The good guys had only lost a ninja and one or two security guards. They also had most of objectives, but not the Mcguffin. The heroes won, but not as cleanly as they had done in the previous games and we almost won! The Dictator will be used again.
So, on Wednesday I received the long-awaited Kickstarter from Firelock Games, Blood and Plunder. This was a very successful Kickstarter, which in my opinion is a great example of what a Kickstarter campaign should be.
From the very start, the images on their page were beautiful and attractive. The tabletop they made to display their models was just stunning. The Caribbean waters of their little board attracted me to the game and it wasn’t available to me!
Furthermore, the folks at Firelock added interesting well-made videos showing not just their models but describing gameplay. Their communication during the actual campaign and throughout their fulfillment has been very good and open.
I wish that I had the money to buy more when I joined, but the level I supported at provided me with the rules, all of the game aids for play, one faction, and one ship. Fortunately, my pal Chris with the Williamsburg Legati was also participating in the Kickstarter and would purchase an opponent force. I chose the Guarda Costa as my faction and the basic sloop as my vessel. I am beginning to regret that I didn’t upgrade to the Frigate, and suspect I will be ordering one of those soon! Chris went for the obvious British Buccaneers.
So what was in my box? I received a beautiful hardback copy of the rule book with a QRS sheet and some further clarifications of the artillery rules placed inside of it. While there are templates printed in the back of the book it would have been nice to have a cardstock copy of that to simply cut out. There were two little burlap bags that contained the game dice, several custom D10s and the marker dice (d6s marked to represent various game statuses). A nationality specific deck of cards to activate the models (a regular playing deck can be used). All the cards that describe the abilities of all the different models. The Guarda Costra miniatures, 25 prebased figures to make up my force. Of course the plastic resin sloop. Addons I received included a number of different leader and hero miniatures, a second set of heavy guns for the sloop, and some detailing accessories for the boat.
All of the components are very well made, but the sloop deserves special notice.
The casting is very clean, I just need to trim off a small amount of flash in the gun ports. Having actually sailed late 16th century vessels, I was pleased to see how much of spars and masts are actually represented.
In this scale it would not be to great a challenge to increase the detail if interested, by adding dead eyes and fife rails and such. With the sloop being fore and aft rig, I don’t expect that this will clutter gameplay to much, that might be less true on the other vessels however,
At least one of my friends participated in this Kickstarter at a lower lever just to gain ships for his Sharp Practice 2 game. Not a bad idea, and I already know that this sloop will find itself in such a circumstance as well. Have to decide how to keep my flags interchangeable!
If you missed this Kickstarter you are not out of luck. I noticed that they are offering pre-ordered offers on their webpage already. this is presently limited to U.S. costumers but I imagine that will change later.
Very well done Firelock Games!