We played the scenario 'Tigers by the Tail' the other day. This scenario pits two ultra-high tech grav tanks versus five near-future tracked tanks in an ambush scenario. It is one of the scenarios from the TW rulebook and is there expressly for the purpose of practising the vehicles rules. We got some bits wrong, had a few questions about interpretation of the rules but generally had a great time: enough of a great time that I only remembered to take one photograph throughout the game!
Captain Kolawski grinned as the enemy tanks came into view. The trap was working well. He’d knock out the lead tank, while Sergeant O’Donnelly would take out the back tank. Between them they could wipe up the rest of the commies. He couldn’t believe they would have sent such pitiful vehicles into combat, they would have been out of date in his grandfather’s time. You could see the plumes of smoke from their diesel engines miles away, and as for the noise.
“Rear vehicle destroyed.” Whooped O’Donnelly, over the radio.”They didn’t even see us.”
(The only fog of war card that affected the game was one Steve drew. It involved high command interfering directly with events on the battlefield so he lost initiative immediately and could not regain it for the rest of the game. In the scenario the US force is meant to have initiative for the first two turns to represent their ambush.)
Just then the second tank appeared. Before Kolawski could react it had fired a shot at them. The shot pinged off the front armour. Again their own cannon fired, causing the track of the new enemy to uncurl from the left hand side. The lead tank lurched forward again heading towards deeper vegetation. Even with their advanced sensors it would escape in there.
“Well done Captain, carry on and score one for the good guys.” Barked the General.
Sergeant O’Donnelly’s voice came through the speaker.
“Second tank has been immobilised, Captain. Going after the third…” The speaker blurted out static, then came a robotic voice.
“The other caller has disconnected.”
(Yay, I managed to destroy one of the US tanks through its front armour! The US tanks had the advantage in being able to ensure that they present front armour at all times due to their superior mobility. This made quite a difference to my ability to hurt them)
Captain Kolawski frantically viewed the telemetry screen in front of him. The Sergeant’s tank was down and crippled, but all the crews life signs were in the green.
Another shot lanced out from the crippled second tank and the tank rocked.
“Guns damaged, Captain,” yelled Corporal Kennedy.
“Get that tank put out of action now,” he ordered back. “Then after that other tank.”
Their gun fired again, this time the crippled tank fell silent. The tank moved rapidly and soon they were behind the remaining tank. Just time for one shoot before it disappeared into the thick jungle. As the enemy tank fell into the sights the tank suddenly lurched and the shot went wide.
“Damnations.” Cried Kolawski and slammed the panel in front of him.
Still they had stopped three, but at the cost of one of their own.
(With the scenario over, we took stock of the damage. Steve had brewed up two of my DPRG tanks and immobilised one, counting three kills. I had exited two tanks and killed one of Steve's US tanks. The other US tank had a damaged gun, but that did not score any points. The final score was 6 VPs to Steve and 5 VPs to me. Steve won in what was a very close game.)
This was a great scenario to play as training for vehicle actions. I think we need to try it again, because I can see a range of opportunities for the US tanks to make this into a serious kicking for the DPRG. I'm less sure about the tactical options for the DPRG. Running seems to be the optimum strategy, or maybe forming the wagons into a circle in the woods and letting the US come to them. Winning reaction tests that allow you to move out of sight is obviously a good strategy too. Basically, the US forces control the action for the first two turns unless you are Steve and draw the wrong fog of war card. In those two turns, I think the US should be able to cripple or destroy most of the DPRG force, if they are canny and have a bit of luck. Hmm ...
Friday, 17 May 2013
Saturday, 6 April 2013
The Bwendi Bugle
06 April 2313 Standard Reckoning
Moping Family Pleads For Return Of Missing Moping
|A publicity still from 'Moping Goes Over The Top'|
It was rumoured that Moping had also undertaken secret impersonations on behalf of General Boleyn, such as attending his children's school plays, and other similarly hazardous endeavours. Nothing was ever proven.
Mr Moping's family is distraught at his disappearance. They say that he has never done anything like this before, and that he would never miss pork chop night voluntarily.
If you have seen Mr Moping, please report all sightings to your nearest police station. His family has offered a reward of £50 6s 10d for information leading to his return.
You can watch a Moping marathon on Buglevision Channel 43 from Mondaeg starting at 8am.
Friday, 5 April 2013
The Bwendi Bugle
05 April 2313 Standard Reckoning
Dalliance Boleyn Returns From Antarctic!
The tale of Sir Dalliance's survival is a truly remarkable one. As the survey team travelled southwards, they encountered an injured Threnody. Sir Dalliance insisted that the team stop and tend to its wounds before continuing onwards. Only a few days later the survey vehicle plunged into an unseen crevasse. The radio equipment was damaged and the GPS systems were destroyed by the crash. The team were able to haul the vehicle out of the crevasse and turn around for home, but the damage was too severe. It broke down two days later and they could not restart it. Sir Dalliance set out on his own to try to get help, while the team stayed with the vehicle and its supplies. Two days after setting out Sir Dalliance collapsed. When he became conscious again, he was surrounded by Threnodies. Their warmth had saved his life. The Threnody he had saved was part of the herd that saved him. They nursed him back to health on a diet of Threnody milk and he remained with them until tragedy struck six months ago.
The herd was suddenly annihilated by a rabid Campanicule, which killed every animal in the herd. Sir Dalliance had answered the call of nature and was hidden when the Campanicule, a creature that sports iron-hard, 30cm long claws and razor-sharp teeth, slaughtered the Threnodies before charging off into the sea to die. The Campanicule was apparently suffering from a degenerative disease that caused it to become even more erratic and vicious than normal.
Making a coracle from the hides of the Threnody that saved him, Sir Dalliance prepared a boatload of smoked Threnody and set sail northwards. By sheerest luck he survived and was picked up by the fishing vessel.
Sir Dalliance has announced his regret at his twin brother's unfortunate actions and subsequent demise, but has declared his intent to continue where his brother left off in the Albion military.
Buglevision Channel 2 will broadcast a documentary about this amazing tale of survival on Satordaeg evening at 8pm.
Thursday, 4 April 2013
The Bwendi Bugle
04 April 2313 Standard Reckoning
Imprisoned Boleyn EscapesGeneral Sir Laurence Llewellyn-Boleyn returned to the Albion capital, Avalondon, yesterday following a fraught high tea with our glorious leader Colonel Throckmorton P. Gladiolus. The General's role in the recent atrocity at Cumknocking-on-the-Piddle remains unclear but prisoners taken during the battle have indicated that the General may have instigated it.
Upon his return to Albion the General was immediately imprisoned in the Tower as reparation by the Albion government for the atrocity. The King of Albion declared that he was particularly concerned about the actions of rogue elements in his nation creating friction between the two nations and swore eternal friendship with the Colonel.
Yesterday evening, General Boleyn escaped from the Tower by diving into the waters of the River Thyme, which pass beneath its walls. He appears to have perished in the water, mauled by a Beltene Hyperkarp. The remains of his body washed up downstream and were only identified by a distinctive tattoo of a yellow thistle on his right thigh. Police are treating his death as natural causes.
Wednesday, 3 April 2013
The Bwendi Bugle
03 April 2313 Standard Reckoning
Albion PIMMS in Pyntagahl AtrocityYesterday the survey station at Cumknocking-on-the-Piddle was destroyed by the Pyntagahl Irregular Mobile Militia Service. PIMMS is an Albion-sponsored terrorist organisation, whose goal is to force the Bwendi nation to kowtow to Albion imperialist ambitions. The PIMMS insurgents attacked the town and then waited to ambush the elements of the 23rd Fast Reaction Team that were sent to deal with the problem.
|Cumknocking-on-the-Piddle yesterday. PIMMS militia lurk behind the buildings on the left while elements of 23rd FaRT perform a pincer movement to turn the tables on the PIMMS.|
|How our heroes defeated the PIMMS|
This was our first try with irregular troops. Steve wanted to use his Rebel Minis Sahadeen, so we set to with little knowledge of the rules but a will to muddle through. I think we mostly got it right, but there seemed to be holes in the rules that careful re-reading may plug.
We used the campaign rules to set up the scenario. My mission was to hold an objective on the enemy side of the table at game end with no enemy near it. I cleared out one objective by mid-game but forgot my mission and got caught up in capturing Steve's troops, so I did not complete my mission on a technicality. Note to self: remain aware of the mission at all times. I wonder how many times I have said that to myself and still failed to do so?
Steve's goal was to stop me achieving my mission. He succeeded in this because I moved my troops away from the objective marker. Looking at the board at the end of the game, it was clear that his troops had lost the fight and that I controlled the whole of the area around the objective marker, but the rules are clear about how you measure victory. O me miserum!
For once, my casualties were minimal, which was nice. I did kill two of Steve's leaders, which lost him victory points. Again, I did not check what Steve needed to do to gain victory points, else I would have played the game differently. That's another lesson learnt/reinforced. Check what the other side scores points for.
So, as a result of my failure to pay attention, I finished the game on -3 points (3 wounded soldiers) while Steve finished on +13 (my failure to fulfil the victory conditions precisely - 2 dead leaders). A decisive victory to Steve. Hmm ...
Our next step is to play a tank action scenario from the rulebook to learn the vehicle rules fully. After that we shall move through the rest of the scenarios in the book, or we shall start a mini-campaign using the rules that we have been using to set up these scenarios.
Wednesday, 27 March 2013
The Beltene Union Settlement Trust Incorporated is pleased to welcome you to Beltene. If you check your viewscreens, you will see Beltene shown with a marker to indicate the initial settlement area.
The highlighted area on the world map identifies the main settlement area. Touch your screens in that area for a close-up. Avalondon will be the headquarters of the Albion Collective, whose main function will be harvesting the resources of the sea within their area. Landfall City will be the headquarters of the Bwendi Syndicate, whose main function will involve mining the spinal hills on BUST Inc Island, as we have chosen to name the main settlement landmass.
The Bwendi Bugle
27th March 2313 Standard Reckoning
Scout Camp TerrorA fun week away at Camp Crystal Lake turned to terror for young scouts this week. An Albion Defence Force special forces platoon descended on the camp, where young Bwendi were learning how to tie knots and earning their woodcraft badges. The ADF shot up the camp, killed two of the young scouts and kidnapped 14 others along with 3 the scout leaders. They left the rest of the scout leaders wounded on the ground at the camp together with several of the scouts. In response to this outrage, Colonel Throckmorton P. Gladiolus has ordered the Bwendi Army to block access across the land bridge to Beltene Starport to deny the Albion monsters any external support. The blockade will be removed when the Albion government returns the kidnapped youths and formally makes restitution to the families of the slain.
So, I decided to field a militia platoon (d6 quality, d10 morale) for a change. They had no armour but I made the fire teams larger (6 figures each) to compensate. This was clearly not enough. Steve fielded Albion regulars (d8/d10) and chose to group them as full squads instead of as fireteams, giving him massively more firepower at the expense of flexibility. We both got 7 points to spend on additional troops. I bought a sniper team and a regular Bwendi section (both d8/d10). Steve bought a special forces section (d10/d12).
We both rolled the same mission: Break Contact. This meant that we both started at the centre line of the table and had to get half of our forces off our own table edge. We both drew Fog of War cards at the start. I got one that affected Steve's off-board artillery (he had none). He got 'This won't play well on the holovids' and lost several victory points at the outset because of some perceived atrocity committed by his troops. That's why I chose to represent my force as peaceful scouts on a camp.
Tactically I made a huge mistake in engaging Steve's force. I won the initiative and my central militia section was able to retreat after shooting at some of Steve's troops but before they could shoot back. This put me in a great position for getting most of my troops off the table very quickly. All my troops that were in buildings or woods started hidden so he had to spot me before shooting at me. I should have taken advantage of that to get out of there and claim a draw. Instead I lost track of my main objective and shot at Steve with other units, thus causing him to shoot back. His dice were smoking hot and I lost two entire fire teams to two rounds of fire. More fool me for starting by shooting at him. My sniper proved his worth though. Using a laser rifle (suppressed weapon) he was able to pick off Steve's medic and a few other troops, which could have given me the win had I been sensible.
So, what have I learnt from this game?
- Well, I thought it would be fun to field militia. It was, but in a frustrating way, because they were too easy to take down. For militia to be useful, I really need to focus on the mission and just achieve my objective. I need to avoid contact with regular troops while using militia and accept that a draw is really a victory under those circumstances.
- Using the campaign rules, both sides should start from the same baseline quality and morale, unless we use the points system. I shall try costing up both sides to see what the points system suggests as a balanced start.
- The 'hidden' rules are not that difficult and added a new edge to the game, which was fun. Likewise, the sniper team was interesting to deploy. It lasted longer than I expected.
- I need to throw Steve's dice into the Humber! His dice-rolling was unfeasibly high last night. I mean regularly getting a 90% hit rate with a 50% or 60% chance of success and most of those hits being at the high end of the range too. I lost three fire teams in their entirety to his dice in single rounds of fire. Bah! Those die are going in the river next time Steve leaves them unattended!! ;-)