Thursday, July 17, 2008

And now for something completely different (sort of)...

Getting a little burned out with my ancient stuff, I decided to do some mapping for my WW II skirmish game, called illustriously A__Load of Heroes. You can guess what the ___ is for- it rhymes with "Pass" :)

Why that name ? In an earlier incarnation, the game seemed to generate a lot of heroes in-game, until I tweaked the rules a bit. "Boatload of Heroes" wouldn't make sense so I went with what was said in-game by the players :D

Anyway, I created this countryside map to be geomorphic with any more that I cared to do. It is approximately 36" x 40" with a 1.25" hexes, which fits 15mm pretty well, allowing up to 3 infantry (not a good idea in-game though :D) and vehicles covering 2 hexes. The ground scale came out to about 10-12 feet per hex. The map represents about 70 yards by 90 yards or so- good for some close in skirmish fighting !

For the scenario, I had a squad of Germans (2 SMG, 6 Rifle, LMG) facing a very weak platoon of 19 Russians (4 SMG, DP LMG, 14 Rifles) over control of the farm complex in the center of the map.

The Germans were set up as follows:

The Russians were set up as follows:

Here is the map at the start of the game. North is to the left.

While I'm at it, I'll throw in a quick word about the rules I'm using- they require very small six sided dice (D6s in wargame parlance) to be thrown for all the figures and placed in their hexes- this marks how much initiaitive they have. A turn is composed of 6 impulses. Both sides alternate one hex at a time, activating units that have the same initiative dice as the impulse (e.g. only units with "1" can activate in impulse one). This seems to leave a bit of "fog of war" in the game, as you never really know just what order things are going to happen (as will be seen in the game-replay that follows).

I actually based the units on magnets that I trimmed to their base size- this allows them to stand up (the weight of the magnet seems to help a lot) and it lets me mark the units by placing washers under them. The Germans in the above picture, for example, are marked green and are moving (which effects their firing attempts, how far they can move next time, and their target class if fired on).

I use markers to indicate a unit is currently moving (green), firing (red), pinned (white) or doing nothing (no marker at all). This effects the targeting of the enemy and also helps negate the helecopter effect a little bit. When firing, one has to take the closest enemy target in that class (Moving, Firing, or Doing nothing) as its main focal point for the attack (automatic weapons do have a hex spread though- so they can actually hit more than one hex).

But enough with the esoteric stuff. On to the game !

Turn 1- The Russians sent most of their SMG guys to the trees on their right flank, in order to interdict the road leading to the farmhouse complex the Germans were on. The DP set up at the base of the road to provide fire support, and the remainder made for the farm buildings on by taking the left side of the road. The Germans split their forces so as to get to the farm buildings nearest them first.

Turn 2- The Russians began to enter the woods on their right flank, while the rest made as quickly as possible to the closest farm building. The Germans, rolling badly for the initiative, were forced to set up their LMG in the field, so as to get shots at the advancing Russian horde. A lone SMG guy ran up the road to sieze the farmhouse that was furthest to the north. Half of the rest fanned out across the field, while 2 troopers went in to sieze the barn (building "C" - the biggest building).

Turn 3- The Germans rolled badly on the initiative dice, and as a result, the LMG in the field was cut down by long range Russian DP LMG fire. A bad loss of firepower, but on the plus side they managed to capture the barn and get into firing positions behind the trees.

Turn 4 & 5- The Germans, now in good firing positions, begin taking their toll of the advancing Russians (hence they are marked with red "fired" markers). The Russian DP LMG becomes a casualty, weakening their firepower. The Russian attempts to suppress this fire fails miserably. The Russians running pell-mell to the farmhouse arrive and begin to enter it, as well as lay fire on the Germans in the barn.

Turn 6 & 7- After an ineffectual grenade attack (they all bounced off the windows and fell into the yard harmlessly) the Russians rush the barn, and are met with a hail of gunfire, driving the initial attackers back and killing a few. The German SMG guy in the small farmouse at the top of the picture picked off some attackers creeping up on the far side of the barn. On the flank, the Russian SMGs begin taking their toll and supressing the outnumbered Germans by the field. Despite this, the Germans are holding their own, but barely.

And then... it happens ! The German SMG guy just south of the barn heroizes and begins taking out the Russian SMG guys in the woods with some great shots. With their flank secure, now they can concentrate all their attention on the groups rushing the Barn. "That ought to earn me an Iron Cross, ay ?" is overheard. Unfortunately the picture came out a little blurry, so I think he would be denied. Of course, he would have to survive the game :D

Turn 8 & 9- The Russians get a lucky kill on the SMG guy in the house and enter the barn. The few Germans coming from the field to the south for support are too late to save the day and are caught between the field and the barn. When the last German SMG guy goes down, the game is over. The Russians have won !

The game took 1.5 hours to play, and simulated about 5 1/2 minutes of real time. It had enough drama in it to want me to write an after action report. I didn't use wounds (I treated all hits as fatal), which would've lengthened the game a little bit, but it would've added even more drama.

Time to start getting things ready for Historicon, coming up in about a week.....

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