Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The War to End All Wars....

A few years ago, a friend of mine came up with some fantastic 3" trench hexes and barbed wire for 15mm World War I games. I made some simple rules (2 pages of rules) and they appeared to be fun (from input from the players), as well as fast (games play usually in under an hour).
The current board and pre-set up. A typical "squad" is at the bottom of the picture.
The premise is simple- you and up to 2 other players are German night trench raiders. You are in a race to garner more points than the other players. The players are to take their squads (10 men and 2 leaders) to kill as many of the enemy (in this case it was French) and take bunkers before they reach less than 50% strength (after which they are considered to have withdrawn). In addition, each player has 6 grenades and 2 medical packs to help accomplish their task.

Why are the attackers German ? Simply because I have lots more painted French and British and only a few Germans painted up. It also let me call the rules "Stahlgewittern" (Storm of Steel)- named after the book by Ernst J√ľnger as it seemed appropriate.
 
The trench consists of MG positions (4 in front), regular trench line, and bunkers (from where large amounts of enemies may come). The lighter ? markers are potential spots where enemies can be activated (usually 1-3 riflemen). The red ? markers are bunkers (usually 9-12 figures) and MG nests (usually MG, but may be composed of 3 riflemen).

The attackers each take a set of 3 consecutive shell holes and setup in these on the other side of the wire. After setup, I roll to see if there are gaps in the wire, which can influence the paths the attackers have to take to get into the trench.

The defenders (the French) are controlled by die rolls and a simple logic tree. They are activated by being in range of the attackers or a grenade attack. Their actions range from firing at a target (it is nighttime, so the range is limited to visibility), charging down the trench, to throwing grenades.

There are events in the game that can happen. It consists of things like "starshell", which increases the visibility to the length of the board and "returning enemy patrol", which appears on a particular player's shellholes as they work themselves back to their lines.

As the game progresses, the player's troops take wounds that can be healed by medical packs. Of course, there is also the chance of instant death instead of wounding. Leaders help in getting players to charge enemies and to be able to fire at enemies charging at them as the defender will charge a lot when you are in his trench. This tends to create wild melee's that are always exciting to resolve.

As soon as a player reaches less than 50% active troops, he is out of the game. The other players keep going until they also reach 50%. After all player's have been eliminated, all points are totaled up (kills, bunkers uncovered, MGs destroyed). The highest scorer wins !

Its a fun, fast and furious game and has a small footprint to carry to a convention. Maybe someday I'll get more Germans painted up and be able to use the French or British for the raid....