Friday, 17 November 2017

Winter War 192......? Part 9 - Bootleggers!

It's been a while since I did anything with this project, so I thought it time to get the figures on the table again. It's a three-player scenario with American and Canadian patrols encountering each other whilst a gang of bootleggers try to get a lorry loaded with booze across the table. The rules are The Men Who Would Be Kings using the skirmish scale (half sized units).

I played this a couple of days ago with Jim and Martin, we played the scenario twice in an evening  and we had a hoot!

                                                              The table layout.
A road runs North to South, crossing a stream that marks the Canadian/US border. The bootleg convoy enters from the North and their objective is to get the lorry across the bridge. The Americans enter from the West and the Canadians from the East.

                                                           The Americans
                                                        View from the US side of the table
The US forces consist of a unit of regular army infantry and a BAR team, a unit of naval ratings and a unit of  volunteer militia (trappers and loggers).

                                                                  The Canadians
                                                    View from the Canadian side of the table.
On the Canadian side are two units of army infantry and a lewis gun team, backed up by a unit of Mounties.

                                                             The bootleg convoy

The bootleggers have 3 units of gangsters, one in each of the vehicles, plus a unit of corrupt cops who are meeting them on the bridge.
                                                                 Cops on the bridge
                                                       View from the bridge

Rules for the vehicles were simple.
If they were carrying a unit the vehicle was activated by the unit's leader, if empty the driver activated on a 7+. A unit used a move action to enter or leave a vehicle. Vehicles could only move along the road, but could be deliberately driven (or pushed) off the road. Once it had left the road it was bogged down in the snow and immobilised.
If fired at, units inside a vehicle were treated as being n cover. Any kills removed figures, but the pin test was taken by the vehicle (using the unit leaders Leadership or 7+ if empty). A fail pinned the vehicle (which would automatically rally in the next turn, but could not move), if the adjusted die roll was 2 or less the vehicle was permanently immobilised and blocked the road (but could be pushed off the road).

The first game was very much a two horse race. As the Bootleg player my dice rolling was awful! The booze lorry only moved twice in the entire game! The one car I did get moving was quickly immobilised, blocking the road. The police on the bridge were caught in a crossfire between a unit of US army and a unit of Canadians and quickly cut down. The gangsters managed to debus their vehicles but never got a chance to take cover and were wiped out when the Americans and Canadians both still had 3 units apiece left. It turned into a punch up over the booze, first a unit of Canadians seized the lorry, but they were charged by the American militia, who saw them off and managed to set fire to the lorry, destroying the contents. US victory!

The second game was very different, or at least my dice rolling was much better. I held the cops off table for 3 turns, which meant everyone was already engaged when they arrived and they never took the devastating fire they had suffered in the previous game. The vehicles moved quickly, I managed to get the two cars down the road and debus in a position to hold the road open for the booze wagon. My shooting was better and I decimated the Canadians and held back the Americans long enough to get the hooch on it's way.

                                                                Gangsters in position
                                                  The Mounties rush forward
                                        Gangsters in the trees cut down the Canadian soldiers
                                     Americans move forward under covering fire from the BAR
                                                The militia rush the booze wagon
                                      Canadians move out into the open (never a good idea!)
                                                             The Navy!

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Four Player Frostgrave

I had some of the guys (Henry, Colin and Mark) around yesterday for a Frostgrave Day. We have played a few games but not really got a proper campaign underway, so this was the attempt to get one started. I don't think one can appreciate Frostgrave properly unless it's player as a campaign and I've wanted to get something going for a while now.

We just played a basic treasure hunt, everyone putting 3 treasures down (which made it crowded). I used a couple of tweaks, the warbands started at the table edge rather than 6" in (so they didn't bump into each other straight away) and a monster appeared very time someone picked up a treasure (Henry and I both have a box full of D&D monsters and we wanted to use them!). We also placed the monsters differently to the rules, we rolled a directional die and the monster appeared behind the first piece of cover in the indicated direction.

The Lost Ruins

                                                  It's narrow streets seem quiet.....

                                                .                     ...and empty

                                      At it's centre lies the ruinous base of an ancient tower.....

                                          ....said to be the scene of an epic wizard's battle.

                                                          But now all is quiet, too quiet!

Unfortunately, once we started playing we got to engrossed to remember to take photos until the action was all over! Here's a couple of pictures of my Necromancer and his orc warband at the start of the game.

We had great fun, with Bone Darts and Elemental Bolts being thrown around, loads of thugs skewered by arrows and lots on monsters. Colin was definitely unlucky when it came to the monsters, Mark got a couple of skeletons for his first treasure, I got an ice spider but Colin got a Giant Worm!

It was a bloody game for the spell-slingers. My apprentice died, as did Mark's, Colin's Wizard snuffed it and Henry lost both his wizard and apprentice! When it came to survival rolls, all the apprentices came back OK, but Henry's wizard had a permanent disability and Colin rolled 2 for his, Brown Bread!

My plan was to get two games in, but we were only half way through the first game by lunch time and in the end there wasn't enough time for the second game. We will have to think of some ways to speed up the game next time, if we can.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017


I recently managed another game of  The Pikeman's Lament with Imperialists fighting Ottomans, somewhere in Eastern Europe. We played the Beating Up Quarters scenario with 36 point companies.

                                                                   The battlefield.

 A quiet, sleepy hamlet in the eastern part of the Empire.

 Women gossip as they go about their daily chores.

 The menfolk set off to work the fields.

 Or tend to their livestock.

 Their lives are made harder by having a company of soldiers billeted in their homes. But the garrison makes them feel safer...or are they?

 At sunrise the sentries cry out in alarm as shrieking Ottoman cavalry swoop in from all sides. As dozy soldiers struggle out of their quarters, volleys of shots cut them down. The red counter marks a unit of pike in disarray behind the house, fired upon by Ottoman infantry just out of the picture.

 A second unit of pikemen stumble out of the house the have been sleeping in, just moments before Ottoman sipahis set the roof alight.

 The Imperialist Captain realises that the Ottoman commander is isolated with his Janissary bodyguard, so leads a unit of musketeers forward to support the cavalry trying to ride the Turk down. The Janissaries fight like heroes, throwing back repeated cavalry charges with heavy losses, then cutting down the opposing musketeers with withering volley. The Imperialist captain stands, bareheaded, among his musketeers just seconds before a well aimed musket ball blew the top of his head off!

 The pikemen, now rallied, charge a unit of Turkish horse. Unfortunately they are not sipahis, as the pikemen thought, but Tartars (elite dragoons!) who deftly avoid the charge and cut them down with accurate bow shot. As casualties mount the pikemen's morale collapses and they flee in rout.

 The final moments of the game. On the right of the picture the last unit of pikemen have just fallen back in disarray after being shot up then charged by a unit of sipahis.  To the left the Janissaries still stand defiant against the Imperialist cavalry. At this point we called it a Ottoman win, the Imperialist only had 2 figures on the table that were not in disarray, whilst half the Ottoman company was still effective, including 2 units at full strength.

Another great game using these fun rules.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Mapledurham at War

A change to my usual postings, last weekend I went to a WW2 reenactment at Mapledurham near Reading.
Broni was booked to sing with her vintage duo, the Lu La La,s and managed to get a spare entrance ticket for the Sunday so I went along. It was a fun day, with lots of reenactors, period music, two battles and demonstration of amphibious vehicles in the mill pond. Also more jeeps that you could shake a stick at! Particularly interesting were some of the talks given by reenactors of interested groups of visitors, especially that by a fallschirmjäger on German grenades and mines, with an impressive amount of kit!

If the Mill looks familiar it was used for scenes in The Eagle Has Landed and more recently was the gunpowder factory in the BBC's Taboo series.

As a picture is worth a thousand words.....