L’espion haï

Sargeant Gabe Marchand felt the warm spring sun on his face as he stood watching across the grassy fields of El Casa Blanca. Days earlier a careless English Spy was captured and the 4eme Dragoons were ordered to hold him until a detail could come to escort him to the authorities.

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It figured that the company’s coward was first to spot the approaching roast beefs.  It appeared the British wanted their man back.

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Lieutenant Fournier left the Sargent with Lafonte and Hardy and took the others into cover behind the wall by the large house.  Tou-tou, a small dog that had been following Gabe bounced after him as he took up his position along the fence.

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The English slowly move forward, making good use of the cover. Trying to discover a weakness in the French defense.

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Not satisfied with the honourable weapons of war, the British hid one of their cowardly Green jackets in the garden.  His long ranged fire began to wear upon the honest citizens of the Republic.

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The eagle eye of the villainous Green jackets drops brave Joacham.  Blood has been spilled.

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Gabe bellowed at his command to continue firing at the Redcoats through the olive orchard, one close shot left little Tou-tou silent at the sargeant’s feet.  Gabe knew he’d miss the little fellow, but still he continued to fire into the trees.

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Suddenly to British soldiers came dashing along the wall at Lt Fournier’s position.  Bravely the officer closed into range and fired his pistol wounding the leading man.

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The shot does not stop their onslaught however.  They both charge the poor Lieutenant, just reloading his pistol in time he get another shot off blowing one of the Roastbifs off the wall. Giant Jean Baptist charges into the fight as well.  The dastardly English jabs the suffering officer right in the patates before severally wounding him.  Jean avenges the fallen officer with a deep plunge of his bayonet.

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Adrenaline raging through his veins after his success in the melee, Jean Baptiste runs to a position against the house and begins to return fire.  His well aimed shots nearly took the English commander, had not his rifle received the shot instead.    Apparently, with out the aid of his formidable weapon, the British Lieutenant lost his taste for battle.  His men began to fall back.  Now both sides had suffered and lost a few men.  Both sides became fragile.  Gabe figured the day was one but one last british musket ball found its way to cowardly Pierre Lafont.  It was too much.  The weary dragoons were forced back, taking their prisoner with them, they fell back, leaving the field to the British, but depriving them of their target.  We might have lost today, but the 4th did well and fought bravely.

Until next time Viv l’empereur!

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Viva Espana!

In an attempt to reign in our natures as Gaming Butterflies, and to improve our knowledge of the rules for the games we play, the Williamsburg Legati know plays one set of rules for at least a month.  the rules for July are Forager, the Napoleonic Skirmish Wargame. This is a new game From Stand To Games.

Forager is an excellent set of small skirmish rules with plenty of narrative action.  Each player has about six characters with different statistics and traits.  Most things are determined by rolls of d10s and the game rules are straightforward and easily played.

We have elected to play a campaign, that is campaign with the little “c”. At present at least our games are not necessarily meant to follow one another but we are all tracking the careers of our little pewter men.

The fist two games were played on are usual game night (last Thursday) with Tim and Chris playing “A Chance Meeting” and Dave and Peter playing “Escort”.

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The escort set Dave and his Voltiguers with the task of escorting a horse (it was supposed to be a wagon) across the board.  Peter’s 95th Rifles sought to stop the French progress.

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Oddly the 95th rushed forward losing the advantage of their rifles and getting close enough to allow the French to charge them.  A very nasty fight occurred at the gate of the brick wall but eventually the Voltiguers were bleed dry and quit the field.  In the process one of their men were captured by the 95th.

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I didn’t get to follow the Chance Meeting game very closely.  This is a scenario were two commands come into contact while foraging for supplies. Barrels, Donkeys, Pigs and sheep are scattered around and the different types give different victory points.

What I do know is that at the end of the night, the British how proved victorious in both games, having driven their enemies from the field by casualty.

Geoff and I were to play later.

 

Until then, Cheers.

 

More What A Tanker

Last night we played our second game of TooFatLardies new What a Tanker. Last week we played a Normandy period game with Canadians and Germans.  We decided to try early war in a far more built-up area.  I have to admit I had some doubts about this.  From the comments over on the What a Tanker Fans Facebook page it appears most people prefer early tanks but with light terrain, but crowded city was the plan.

 

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Dave’s Somua comes looking for John’s Panzer II

 

We had planned for six tankers, with the French fielding two Hotchkiss H39s and a Somua while the Germans were supplied with two Panzer IIs and a Stug III.  In the end, we only had five tankers.  I suggest that one of the French players take the two Hotchkiss but that met with immediate refusal.  The decision of most was that life isn’t always fair.

 

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The Somua come to aid one of the Hotchkiss tanks

And so it was that John and I took command of the Panzer IIs, Geoff took command of one of the two Hotchkisses, and Dave the Somua.  Peter played the Stug, which as he adjusted all the terrain to provide for room for the Stug I suspect he planned on playing it all along!

We rolled for the Fat Boy scenario, which means that we were playing on the wide sides of the table.  very quickly the action settled upon the less cluttered side of the battlefield, with both French tanks chasing after John’s Panzer II.  I tried to get there to provide aid, but miserable dice luck (or perhaps a less than enthusiastic crew) slowed my progress.  The Stug seemed in another world while Peter tried to navigate terrain to get over to the action.

 

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One German Down

Eventually, Peter and I got into the action, but by that time John had been hit enough that he was suffering.  The damage system for What a Tanker consists mostly of removing the dice you roll for your actions.  Some of  these removals are temporary and some permanent but either way the result is that you start to fall into a pit.  The more damage you receive the fewer options you have and the more likely you will take more damage.  John’s tank was the first to be brewed up.

It is worthy of mention that Geoff’s tank had managed to bounce off several hits in an amazing fashion, but he too was being whittled down. eventually, he fell victim to the Stug.

At this point, per the rules, John could have respawned his tank where he had come in, but we decided instead due to the unbalanced nature of the fight, to have him respawn with the final Hotchkiss from the position it would have begun if we had six players.  he raced forward to get into the fight, surprising my tank with shots into the rear.

 

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Just after the Stug came to my rescue!

By this point I had received a bit of permanent damage including hits to my optics and damage to my turret ring. I tried to race away from John’s Hotchkiss to disrupt his aim and buy some time but the Somua used its superior speed and flew out of cover after me, only a well-timed and luck shot by Peter saved my bacon.

Still my salvation was short lived.  John relentlessly kept firing on my little tank until my crewed decided that discretion is the better part of valor, and bailed out.

The game had been a lot of fun up to this point, but now it got a little silly.  The rules allow for an outnumbered tank to simply leave the battlefield, which was a choice available to both remaining tanks at various times in the game but that option was never taken.  Now these two tanks were in a one on one duel that was clearly likely to continue for hours, mostly due to all the terrain.  Instead, as it was late, they just sat there and poured fire into one another at a very close range, and had great difficulty causing any damage!  That continued for some time until the Stug, which was slowly getting the upper hand finally caused the French crew to bail.

So, German victory with two German crews surviving and Peter gaining three kill rings.  the French may have lost, but their one surviving crews has a kill rings as well.

Final notes, the light tanks are a lot of fun.  Too much terrain also was fun, though the game continued very long because of it.  With the terrain being mostly site blocking buildings it also meant a lot of very close quarter fighting.  Plan is to continue again next week.

 

Until next time, Cheers!

 

p.s. Thank you to Geoffrey Hummel for the Pics, mine were all blurry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What A Tanker!

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.

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We had five players, and after far too much wondering and figuring on how to balance that we finally decided on a Normandy themed game with Canadians against Germans.  The Canadians fielded one M4 Sherman, one Firefly, and an Achilles tank destroyer.  The Germans chose a Panzer MkIV H and a Panther.

The Allies began their approach with the M4 and Achilles coming through the cover on their right, the Firefly, on the other hand, came straight down the roadway.  The German Panther was quick to take advantage of this and while using a bend in the road for cover, fired down the street into the front of the poor Sherman.  This was enough to cause damage to the Canadian’s drive train. That damage and poor luck with the dice left the Firefly mostly uninvolved until the end, though he did rattle the crew of the IV at one point.

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The Panther had used its speed to get to a strong position but the Panzer IV Commander had great difficulty urging his crew forward and lagged far to the rear.

Unexpectedly and rather bravely, the Achilles raced forward making use of the excellent cover and appeared in point-blank range on the flank of the Panther. Following this action, the M4 roared forward as well. Together they did some real harm to the Panther, coming very close to forcing its crew to bail.

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This then began the next Act of this play, which would soon show its self to be some cruel comedy.  From this point, until the end of the fight, the game was marked by bad to hit rolls, or low strike rolls and high armour saves.  Everything I have read about this game suggests that the battles are over very quickly.  There is even a discussion online about one club’s home rules due to having a tank lost in the first activation!  Our game continued for over two hours, some of this was due to unfamiliarity with the rules but the greater challenge was poor dice rolling.

Curiously it all ended very abruptly.  The Germans were slowly being pushed back.  The rules state that a tank can not leave the board, but we felt that if that move was caused by forced retreats (shots that don’t penetrate armour but come close cause the targeted tank to retreat a certain number of inches) that we would consider the tank driven off. The Germans were getting very close to that position when finally the A10 again burst forward racing to a position behind the IV which was quickly brewed up.  The very next shot, which I believe was fired by the mostly inactive firefly did the same to the Panther.  Two kill rings won by the Allies.

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In all, even with the frustrating rolling we all enjoyed the game.  We have already decided to play again next week, this time doing early war, so France in 1940 here we come.

 

Cheers

Hated Spy

Last night we played a scenario of Sharp Practice set in the American Revolutionary War.

In December of 1781, Benedict Arnold, now a British General invaded Virginia in an attempt to disrupt the State’s support of General Greene’s forces in the Carolinas.  With a force consisting mostly of Hessians and Loyalists, Arnold landed unmolested in Portsmouth and preceded to raid up the James River until he reached and burned the new capital at Richmond.

Returning to Portsmouth, Arnold turned his attention to securing the deepwater port. This meant defending not only the town but also a redoubt on the road to Portsmouth from North Carolina called Fort Murray (Great Bridge) and Kemps Landing.  Arnold was hard pressed to defend all of this and to maintain his anti-partisan orders with his small numbers.

Virginia was suffering her own challenges.  The state was embarrassed by how little defense they had been able to muster to defend their capital and their fort on the James that was intended to be impassable (Ft Hood) proved little more than an annoyance.  Now, two months later both Generals Muhlenberg and Nelson had raised some militias but mostly they sat and watched.

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This interim period, while Arnold sat in Portsmouth is filled with the sorts of actions that make the new campaign style in Dawns and Departures come alive.  The British are constantly moving their forces around their three main garrisons as well as harassing the inhabitants, looking for partisans, destroying American material of war, and foraging supplies and horses.  Two of the main forces of Arnold’s command are the Queen’s Rangers and Ewals Hessian Jagers.  Not only are the colorful and interesting troops both both Simcoe and Ewald have left memoirs which detail some of the action.

The American are more difficult to get specifics on and were mostly just militia forces, but they are under the command of Captain Amos Weeks who appears to be something of a local “swamp fox”.  Probably a relocated Conneticuit man, Weeks was leading a hit and run partisan campaign based out of the Dismal Swamp.

Our scenario was fictional, though it was built around a real event.  Ewald fought at James Plantation in a failed attempt to capture Weeks.  Weeks had been warned of their intentions by a young lady living in Portsmouth.  Our scenario was the rescue out of the rule book.  Some of Simcoe’s rangers had caught Polly and were holding her in the tobacco barn at James’ Plantation as a spy.  They are awaiting Ewald’s return to take possession of her.  In the Meantime Capt Weeks tries a brave rescue.

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The Americans had a secondary deployment not far from the tobacco barn, and Weeks had his best troops, Some Virginia State men deployed there amongst the outbuildings of the plantation.

 

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A small group of Rangers try to hold off the Virginians

 

The first of Ewald’s men to arrive were the skirmishers of the Queen’s Rangers who in a frenzy of spirit disregarded their orders and surged forward at some american militia skirmishers.  Their sargent, deciding that it was better to take advantage of the situtation that to try to regain their control ordered rushed them forward and the devastated one to the two goups.  The others would continue to fight on in a fire fight that continued for most of the rest of the battle.  Both sides fought bravely and hard, but the Ranger Sargent continued even after having been wounded twice.

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When Captain Ewald arrived, he ordered one group of Jagers to help the Ranger skirmishers and then threatened the Princess Anne County Militia who were attempting to hold the American route of escape.

 

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The Skirmishers fight by the Quarters while the Militia holds near the Barn

The militia fired a powerful first volley into Ewald’s Jager screen, sending them running but after that the firing between the main forces seemed to be having little affect.   For much of the game the advantage of momentum seemed to be going tpo the Americans and the British force morale was wavering.  Some of this was bad luck of card pulls, some of it was lack of familiarity with the rules some was just bad dice.  The Americans, seeing that the British Force Morale was collapsing decided to change their priority to that.  Figuring that if the drove Ewald off then they could take as long as they like to save Polly.

The British than through it all on one mad die.  They used their “Thin Red Line”.  This allows the British to fire a volley and then rush in with extra movement.  The caused some shock, but the movement left them just an inch short of their target!  It looked like their cause was lost, they were down to 2 or 3 force morale and inch from their target at the end of that turn.  We almost stopped playing, with the opinion that the British cause was lost.  It was decided to play one more turn, and miraculously the first card was Ewald!

The superior abilities of the Rangers saved them now.  Both groups of Militia were routed right off the table and a constant barrage of Bad Things Happen rolls took the Americans right to a complete collapse.

 

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Cheers,

Ron

Merry Christmas to All…

While I realize one can not tell by this blog, but the Williamsburg Legati are still very active.  This year has seen some Altar of Freedom games, an increase in some of our boardgaming,  an introduction to Blood and Plunder, Guild Ball, and Battlestar Galactica.  Chris is excitedly preparing for Rommel.

An unexpected home repair disaster has seen us temporarily convening in a storefront (thanks, Joe) but we expect to return home soon.

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Last Thursday saw a return to our seasonal game celebration.  We played 7TV.  A variation of their Search and Rescue episode starring Department X and Shiva casts, with a special guest appearance of St. Nick himself!

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Both sides had 60 some points.  The set up was that Santa’s sleigh had crashed/ been shot down over the Greendock area of London.  Both Department X and SHIVA were in a race to recover Santa who was the McGuffin for the episode.

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SHIVA pulled the “setting the scene” countdown card which allows a piece of scenery to be moved.  They used this to great advantage to move the main warehouse in the center of the table enabling Kali to easily capture Santa.  This and a failed attack by the single shot rocket of the X Track gave SHIVA’s dastardly plan a very successful head start.  The took this advantage and pulled back with much of their force to a lockup in an arch deep in one of their corners.  As Chris said, “this was to be their Alamo”.

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This did prove to be, however.  The episode did seem to begin to sway in Department x’s favour. Hugo Solomon defeated the Guru in a very quick fight.  The X commando support by their Xtrack and Pandora King (not Stryker as printed in the comic) made quick work of SHIVA’s minions.  It looked like it would, in fact, all come down to a fierce fight for the lockup.

SHIVA, however, had been burning through the countdown cards trying to end the episode early.  With luck they got the “PLOT TWIST” allowing them two more Countdown cards, one of which was “Cliffhanger” thereby ending the episode prematurely, with Santa in their clutches.  Vince suggested that SHIVA was injecting Santa with the Krampus virus, to turn him evil.  Hmm, I do have a Krampus model on the way here, I think I see next years Holiday special!

Until Next Time, Cheers and Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

Wiliamsburg Muster 2017

DSC_0012The club participated as we always do in another Williamsburg Muster.  Though this one was different in a number of ways.

The Convention itself was held over Memorial Day Weekend (May 26-28) rather than its usual time in February.  It was not just a wargaming miniatures convention, but rather reached out to our local board gaming and roleplaying game communities to help expand the convention into a greater or more universal gaming convention, and lastly, it was at a new venue, The Doubletree here in Williamsburg.

The hotel was a great improvement, and one attendee stated that “it was nice to have a hotel with hot and cold running water for a change”.  If you attended last year’s Guns of August you will know he wasn’t entirely exaggerating!

The convention was different for the club as well.  Chris had planned on running some games but his business demands (The Phalanxe Consortium) and his convention duties got in the way.  He was present as a vendor of course as well.  Poor Peter found himself laid up at home with an injured back.  This left me to carry the Legati flag as far as running games and reduced the number of games supported by the Legati in years past.

My first game was intended to be a “Big Chain of Command” game, using TFL’s expansion for multiple platoons.  It was based on a scenario for Mud and Blood in an older TFL special, “Midnight at the Oasis”.  This was part of our ongoing commemoration of the World War One centennial.

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Only two players wanted to participate, however, and so the game turned into “regular” Chain of Command with just two of the original four platoons.  One of our long lost Legati, Andrew Frantz participated and gained victory with the Turks holding the supply depot.

I also provided two 7TV games.  Both were set in 1970s London and played on the same table.  That made it far easier for me to run two games on Saturday, but it also gave me the opportunity to show off the versatility of the game.

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The first game was “The Beat” a gritty London detective show involving a security van robbery.  The game was undecided.  The criminal firm successfully pulled off the heist but the Met did manage to nick some of the baddies including one of the stars.

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The second game was a more outlandish spy-fi game.  Department X was escorting a VIP when attacked by the mysterious SHIVA. Al and Kerry played and the VIP was safely delivered.

Overall the convention seemed successful to me, and the new venue has a lot of promise.

Until next time Cheers,

Ron