ADVENTURES IN LARDEST AFRICA DEBUTS AT BATTLEGROUND 25/11/17

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Next Saturday we will be at Pendraken’s excellent Battleground Show with the first exposure to the world of the “Adventures in Lardest Africa” Sharp Practise 2 supplement. Everyone is welcome to come and try their hand or simply watch the dramas unfold – the brief for participants is reproduced below and we look forward to seeing you there.

Monty the Desert Rat

RESCUE MISSION

It all started three days ago when they came to your house. The Umkiliwakosi tribe have been the subject of much attention by Her Majesty’s Representatives of late and you have been trying to negotiate a treaty allowing access to and through their lands. This has proved difficult. They are wary of outsiders and dubious about your intentions. But then your chance came! The runners arrived just before lunch (most inconvenient!) and reported that the Chief’s daughter, Okuhle Kakhulu, had been seized by the Umkiliwakosi’s long term and bitter enemies, the Amadoda Adle. They believe that the Amadoda Adle have taken her to sacrifice and then eat her as part of the assention of a new chief. The Chief of the Umkiliwakosi, Isisu Esikhulu, sent word that, if you returned his daughter safe and well, he would trust your words and agree to the treaty. So, off you went. You gathered a small party of local Askaris – 4 trained men and 6 not so well trained and, along with your companion, Archibald Trevelyan, set out in pursuit. You anticapted catching up with them just across the Amanzi Asheshayo river and instructed Sub Lieutenant Chalmers of the Royal Navy to gather some sailors, make ready the boat and meet you two miles up the Amanzi Asheshayo.  All has gone well. Moving quickly, you soon found the trail and were able to follow it with little difficulty. Closing fast yesterday afternoon, you set in place a plan to sneak into their camp in the dead of night and recover Okuhle Kakhulu, smuggling her out wihtout being detected. Your master plan succeded and you are now on your way back to the river, hoping young Chalmers has done as instucted. You have just taken a short break to refresh when you hear cries of “Naim, Naim”[1] echoing through the morning air. Time to move. Can you make it to the river and (hopefully) safety?

 

[1] Roughly translated as “Dinner’s here!”

SHARP PRACTICE 2 – AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER

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TooFatLardies have announced that the much anticipated Sharp Practice 2 is available for pre-order. There are some stunning discounts to be had here and I am extremely excited by this news. My pre-order is in and now it’s just waiting for release on the 23rd. All the info you need is at:

and you can buy them here:

http://toofatlardies.co.uk/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=6

 

Monty the Desert Rat

 

 

BATTLEGROUND 2015

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Last weekend I traveled down to Stockton for my last Show of the year – Battleground. This is a really great Show, extremely well organised by Pendraken Miniatures, even down to bacon butties at 0830!!. It has a very friendly atmosphere and is well laid out with plenty of space to circulate, even around the tabletop sale. There are loads of interesting traders to visit and, although I didn’t get around much, there were quite a few games that caught my eye and that I would have liked to explore further and closer up – better organisation required on my part next year!

As ever, I was there both as Monty and as a Lard Ambassador, in this case showing the upcoming Red Dawn Cold War supplement to TooFatLardies’ excellent Chain of Command rules. The scenario was based on a Soviet air assault on the crossings over the River LEINE, with our particular interest focused on a small bridge on the approach to the river. The Soviets were keen to seize it to ease the advance of their Main Body, the British clearly wanted to prevent that.

Here’s the table, the British to the left as you look at it:

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We managed 2 games and ended up with one win to each side. In the first game, the Soviets made a dash for the bridge, were caught in the open and hit hard. The British managed 4 phases in a row and had effectively dealt with one squad and pinned another on the hill over to their right. All going well! But the Soviets don’t give up easily – the British player brought on a section and rushed for the cover of the hedge to the left of the bridge. Decisions, decisions, do you try and make it in one go or go tactical? The British player opted to go for it with 2 dice and fell short! The Soviet player then let rip with all he had and managed a couple of phases in a row. Here we see the active members of the section after that:

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And those at the back are a different unit! One section wiped out, 2 leaders lost and the Soviets were laying down some serious fire. The British continued to take losses on their left, where they were now outnumbered and finally broke. Round one to the Soviets!

Round 2 saw the same set up. The Soviets again spread themselves across the table with the British focused on the centre. This time we saw little attempt at manoeuvre with both sides seeking cover and trying to win the firefight. The Soviet player was spread and the British were able to focus their fire, causing some significant damage (very good dice rolling) and the Soviets were unlucky in losing leaders quite quickly and they all, except the Platoon Sergeant (!), proved quite popular. Soviet force morale plummeted and, as we approached the end of the Show they were down to 2 with no real prospect of making any progress. Honours even.

And here are some more shots of the action:

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Monty the Desert Rat

A HUNDRED YEARS OF WAR – RED DAWN

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A week ago yesterday I travelled down the road to Falkirk for the ‘Hundred Years of War’ day – an event that is becoming annual and which is designed to promote the Society of Twentieth Century Wargamers.

The format for the day is that there are 2 game sessions – one in the morning and one in the afternoon; the idea being that people can get 2 different games in during the day.

In the morning I played in a Pulp game – far from my normal fare but it was an excellent game – well thought out, well run and with interesting challenges. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and, if you’d like to know more about the game, just visit:

www.morvalearth.co.uk

and look up Skull Island.

In the afternoon I was running a game of Red Dawn the upcoming Cold War supplement to TooFatLardies’ excellent Chain of Command rules.

You can see the table here:

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The scenario was that a Soviet Motor Rifle unit had been air assaulted into an HLS some distance off table to the left. Their objective was a bridge off table to the right. The Bridge Guard – a platoon of Territorial Army soldiers and a detachment of Royal Engineers (preparing the bridge for demolition) dispatched 2 sections led by the Platoon Commander to establish a blocking position on the high ground to the left. The Platoon Sergeant remained in command of the bridge with one section and the Royal Engineers. So, the British needed to establish their blocking position, meanwhile one platoon of the Soviet Motor Rifles had been sent ahead to clear the route and try to capture the bridge by coup de main.

The scene was set and the Patrol Phase saw the British with two JOPS in the low, rough ground in the centre and one on their extreme right flank, well advanced. The Soviets were similar, with 2 central just behind the ridge and one well advanced on their right flank. The British centre JOPs;

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The British came on quickly, pushing a section from the right hand JOP up into the woods, aiming for the hill.

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The second section and platoon HQ came on in the centre. The 3 Soviet squads also deployed quickly – two behind the ridge

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and one over on their right.

The British on the right got into a good position on the ridge but the Soviets sent 2 squads that way, aiming to get into close combat and swamp the isolated Brits. The centre British section was moving to assist, but the Soviets closed quickly and attacked. The dice gods were not kind – only one squad made it into close combat, but they threw the Brits off the crest and occupied it themselves. The British Section, however, then responded by opening fire on the reorganising Soviets and did tremendous damage – leaving them suppressed. The other British section arrived and they all went over to the attack. This time, both sections made it into combat against the one remaining Soviet squad, which had moved up to support the suppressed squad. Outnumbered, the Soviets failed to cause much damage and the British not only broke that squad, but killed the platoon commander. Things were not looking good for the Soviets and, at that point, we called it.

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We declared it a British victory – they had men on the ridge, albeit down about ½ a section, but they had their blocking position. The Soviets had lost 2 squads, but the third was moving round the back of the British position and would be able to continue on to close with the bridge. With no radio to talk to company, coordination would be problematic, but we acknowledged the partial Soviet victory as well.

 

Monty the Desert Rat

THE CHAIN OF COMMAND CHALLENGE!

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Not yet got a copy – now’s your chance!! 20% off the Chain of Command at

http://toofatlardies.co.uk/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=25&zenid=05f4ed6773c6c9e3036a4158099ad7c8

There is more info at:

http://toofatlardies.co.uk/blog/?p=5132

And if you’re not sure, there is a great review/comparison with Bolt Action at:

http://trailape.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/so-youre-platoon-commander-comparing.html

 

Monty the Desert Rat

ALGY FLIES AGAIN – TWICE!!

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Last Friday Dave was round to continue our WW1 air campaign using TooFatLardies’ excellent Algy rules. In fact, we are using the version 2 Playtest rules, which dispense with hexes

It was a very different evening as we have missed a couple of game dates for a variety of reasons and wanted to move things along, so we played 2 games in the evening. We adjusted the firing rules to make things more brutal to help things along and we weren’t wrong about that!

The 2 games were set in October 1917 and January 1918, so the war is marching towards a conclusion. For the first game, I had 3 Camels and 3 SE5a s against a Rumpler, a Fokker DR1 and 2 Albatross DVa s. In each of my Flights I had a Junior Ace backed by a Veteran in the Camels and the rest were Experienced. Dave’s Top Ace took the Fokker, he had a Veteran and an Experienced pilot for the DVa s and a Sprog Pilot with a Veteran Rear Gunner for the Rumpler.

I won’t go into too much detail – to be honest, it was very focused gaming and I had no chance to make notes and the 2 games, being over quite quickly, have merged into one a little. Anyway, the first game went to the Germans, although we both lost a plane. In my case my SE5a Junior Ace was downed but I did get the Rumpler in exchange. The difference was, however, Pilot quality – a Junior Ace being more of a loss than a Sprog.

The second game was even more brutal. Dave and my Camels went head to head whilst my SE5a s came in from my right to try and get onto the scouts. Some nifty moves and a well judged break of formation saw Dave’s Ace and Veteran get on the tail of my Camel Junior Ace and a Veteran respectively (this Veteran had replaced the Experienced Pilot from Game 1, the Experienced Pilot having had engine trouble on take off). Dave’s Veteran duly nailed my Veteran and the Ace jammed my Junior Ace’s rudder. My other Camel Veteran then pulled an amazing move – he managed to get in between his Flight Leader and the Top Ace, going nose to nose with the latter and damaging his engine. The SE5s were coming into the fight as well, all except the Sprog, who just couldn’t get his turns right! The Experienced Albatross Pilot duly got on to him and down he went. However, one of the SE5s then got behind him and they headed for British Lines. The Albatross broke the tail and turned for home, he would be safe!

The other Albatross was trying to run interference for his Top Ace leader, the latter was limping for home, diving as he went to gain some speed and escape pursuit. Two British aircraft were in the hunt – the same Camel, damaged but still able to match the crippled Fokker, and one of the SE5s. The latter latched onto the Albatross and sent him down in flames, leaving the Camel to pursue the Top Ace. Try as he might, he just couldn’t land the killer blow as the Ace played every trick he knew to keep his aircraft in the air, ducking and weaving but, at the last gasp and as safety beckoned, the Camel fired a sustained burst and the aircraft exploded.

Looking at the value of the Pilots lost in the second game, it was a draw. However, across the 2 games, the Germans were in front. Looking at it another way, however, it was 4 British planes lost to 3 Germans, or 50% versus 75%, a loss rate the Germans just cannot sustain. The British have 4 aircraft and pilots left for the next game, the Germans only one, albeit with the Pilot upgraded to Veteran and with a Kill under his belt. If only additional resources could be released from somewhere else, like the Russian Front!!!!!

And here are the pics of the games:

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Monty the Desert Rat

CARRONADE 2015 – RED DAWN DEBUTS

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What a great day! I have always had a soft spot for Carronade – the Falkirk Club are great people and really do work hard to put on an excellent day – but it is also the first show of the year for me and it’s great to see all those old friends emerging after their winter hibernation!

This time I was showcasing Red Dawn, the upcoming Cold War supplement for Chain of Command. A huge amount of work has gone into this so far with numerous playtests and so I felt it was ready to be exposed to the wider public.

I ran the same game though twice on the day with all places occupied. Here is the table:

From the Soviet left flank:

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From the Soviet right flank:

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From the British left flank:

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From the British right flank:

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Sorry I wasn’t able to take any more photos but I just didn’t have the chance as I was so busy running the games. Anyway, the story! The Soviets have attacked and, after several days, have reached the River LEINE. The lead echelon, after some hard fighting (as evidenced by all the wrecks on the table) have got across the river and are pushing on. We join the action with the Second Echelon, a BTR equipped Motor Rifle battalion, mopping up the remnants of the British defenders. The Soviets had 2 dismounted teams already on the table – one in the woods top centre, as we look at this table:

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and one behind the fields in the centre. The Platoon Commander is in the woods and the Platoon Sergeant with the men behind the field. Their one BTR is coming on the road at the rear. The British have a GPMG team in the right hand building, a second GPMG team at the edge of the woods and an anti tank team with a Carl Gustav held back in the woods. The Platoon Sergeant is with the men in the woods.

In the first game the Soviets pushed the BTR well forward to support the team moving through the field. This proved their undoing as the British in the building let rip with their one M72 LAW. Some excellent dice throwing and the BTR exploded! This also left the Soviet team in the field exposed to the fire of the 2 GPMG teams and the riflemen of the anti tank team and they just could not match this, gradually being whittled down. The rearmost team played little part in the action and the Soviet Command Dice limited their options and forced them to focus effort on the forward team. Game 1 to the British.

Game 2 was the same set up but played differently. The Soviet player kept his BTR well back, masked from the Carl Gustav and out of range of the M72. He proceeded to use the HMG to target the GPMG team in the building and some excellent dice soon saw the team wiped out. The Platoon Sergeant had tried a quick dash across to help once the Team Leader went down, but only got as far as the cover of a wrecked BMP before realising that the team was no more. He returned to the woods.

The Soviet player was now in a difficult position. The obvious course of action was to move the BTR to engage the British in the woods but doing so would require him either to significantly close the range or expose himself to the Carl Gustav. He chose the latter course and moved at speed into a new firing position. It was a sound decision – he was at longer range and moving fast, so would be hard to hit, but the Carl Gustav gunner was on fire – 11 on 2 dice! A good, clean hit and the BTR was knocked out.

The Soviet player now moved his rearmost team forward and engaged the British in the woods with the team in the field. Both sides had cover but, as elites, the British were harder to hit and the GPMG gave them a significant fire advantage, especially when the Platoon Sergeant was able to direct their fire. But they missed the effect of the second GPMG and a more drawn out firefight ensued. The second Soviet team moving forward was caught in the open and cut down, but casualties were mounting all the time on the British. In the end, the last Soviet team was down to only a handful of suppressed men and the British advanced to take their surrender. A British victory of sorts. They had stopped the Soviets but the Soviet task was to clear the home bank and there were so few British troops left that they had effectively achieved that. Okay, at some cost, but men and BTRs are cheap in the Red Army!!

 

Monty the Desert Rat

CARRONADE 9TH MAY – RED DAWN DEBUTS!!

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Hello Everyone,

I will be at Carronade in Falkirk next weekend with my game – ‘On a North German Plain’, which is the first public outing of the new CoC Cold War variant known as “Red Dawn”. It is a participation game, so do come along for a look, to chat or to roll some dice with us. I will be running through the game twice – once at 1100 and once at 1330 and I am more than happy to take pre bookings. See you there!

 

Monty the Desert Rat

A BLACK DAY FOR THE ROYAL FLYING CORPS

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It was a black day for the RFC!

Last Friday good chum Dave was back to continue our Algy campaign. We are jumping forward in 3 month bounds because we want to move through to the end of the War in a reasonable number of games so we can see the development of the planes and the changes in balance as time progresses.

Anyway, so it was April 1917. A ‘Big Push’ was on the cards and the Germans had located a British Divisional HQ close to the front. With the Push probably only days away, the Germans decided to complicate British planning and bomb the HQ! They sent 2 Rolands with bombs and an escort of 2 Albatross DIIIs. All German crews were experienced except for the leader of the Scouts, a Junior Ace.

On the British side, we had elements of 2 squadrons again. The Nieuport 17s were back, but this time with a Veteran Flight Leader and an Experienced wingman – both having progressed as a result of the last game. We also had the same 2 Pups with a Junior Ace and an Experienced wingman.

So, the Germans came on in the centre of their short edge, the Rolands flanked by the Scouts, who were also higher. The Nieuports were clearly on their game again and came on first move from the British left corner of their short edge and quite high too. The Pups? Once again, breakfast was clearly too good and there was no sign of them. Here are the Germans coming on and the Nieuports diving to meet them:

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As the Nieuports swooped in on the bombers, the Pups arrived on the opposite (right) corner and used their speed to good effect to drive towards the Rolands, who proceeded to advance towards their target, dropping to low level and positioning themselves for bombing runs in sequence.

The Pups arrive with the German Junior Ace heading straight for them:

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And now it all turned into a real melee!! The Experienced German Albatross Pilot stayed high and pretty much out of the action, but the Pups swept past the Rolands and pulled round to get behind them. The Nieuports were closing on them from their front right and things were looking good for the RFC. The German Junior Ace was coming past with a view to coming round and back towards the Rolands and the British fighters.

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First off, the Nieuport wingman got off a burst and forced the left hand (grey) Roland to side slip – would it be enough to compromise his bombing run? Sadly not and both Rolands successfully bombed the target scoring a whopping 5 points of damage. Next up was the British Junior Ace in his Pup he closed and got a chance to get on the tail of the left hand (grey) Roland – “anything but a 1” was the cry and he duly threw a 1!

As the lead Pup moved and overshot the left hand (grey) Roland, the Nieuports moved in behind him and again, a chance for the Flight Leader to get on the tail – “anything but a 1” and he managed it!

The Pup overshoots but the Nieuports come in and get on the tail:

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But the Roland got the first shot and the gunner did enough to cause the British pilot to lose control and go into a spin. Now the problem was that we were so low because of the German bombing run, that the pilot had no chance to recover and crashed into the ground. One down.

The German Junior Ace then tried his luck against the Pup Junior Ace, it was a hard shot but, once again, just enough to cause the Pup pilot to go into a spin and yes, still too low and into the ground he went! Two down.

The Nieuport wingman had his go next, we ruled that we would give him a chance to take over on the tail having seen his leader crash – “anything but a 1” and, guess what, ANOTHER 1! He overshot and could only watch over his shoulder as the Rolands both turned for home and safety, the grey giving him a parting shot! But it wasn’t over yet! The German Junior Ace manoeuvred hard to come in behind the fleeing Nieuport and duly got on the tail. With his superior firepower and having got up close the Nieuport really stood no chance at all – a long burst and the Nieuport burst into flames and headed into the deck. Three down.

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So, a REALLY bad day for the RFC. In campaign terms, the German Junior Ace chalked up his third kill and is now a Top Ace! The Grey Roland crew both did enough to become Veterans and the Pilot has been transferred to the Scouts with his replacement being a Sprog – good job he has a veteran in the back seat. The other Germans remained unchanged as experienced crews. As a Top Ace, the German commander has much more choice in terms of planes and will return in a brand new Albatross DVa! His Scout comrades will retain their DIIIs, at least for the next game, and the Roland will also soldier on.

As for the British. Only the Pup wingman was left and he stayed as Experienced. We rolled up 5 more Pilots to give us a total of 6 – British numbers are starting to tell as we move to July 1917. The Nieuport Squadron has been withdrawn as a result of the losses and has been replaced with a Squadron fresh from conversion to the new SE5a! They come with a Junior Ace and 2 Experienced pilots. The Pup Squadron got another Experienced Pilot and a Sprog and remain equipped with Pups for the time being – although there is talk of a new Sopwith super weapon due towards the end of the year and they have been warned for conversion!

And what’s up next – Balloon Busting!!

As for the rules, we have made a few changes to the playtest version and these have worked well. We have also come up with a few more to test in the next game but we are really finding that these games now flow well, give realistic results and play well and quickly for a club evening.

Monty the Desert Rat

COLD WAR COC AAR – LUDERSEN 2 APRIL 2015

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Thursday saw another trip to Edinburgh for a further playtest of the Cold War version of TooFatLardies’ superb Chain of Command rules.

Once again, we saw the might of the Soviet Union pitted against the plucky Brits of 1 Br Corps. We were situated in the Main Defensive Zone as the Soviets sought to expand a breakthrough to open a route west for exploitation by their tanks. The Soviets had a full BMP mounted Motor Rifle Platoon and a section of 2 T64Bs in support. They also had an HE preliminary barrage and a smoke preliminary barrage. The British had a full Mechanised Infantry Platoon (less 432s), 2 minefields and a Chieftain positioned off table in a support role.

Here is the table from the Soviet and British ends respectively:

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And after the Patrol Phase – you can see the advanced Soviet JOP on the left (the rest were on the home table edge) and the British along the trees with one more over by the building on the right. It also shows the 2 British minefields on the left.

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And now with the Soviet smoke:

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The Soviet plan was to push along both flanks. Their armour came on over on their right flank and was pushed forward hard, covered by the smoke. Their Motor Rifle troops came on dismounted via an advanced JOP on their left flank and they were quickly in occupation of the building on that flank – one section upstairs, one down and one to the rear of the building on cover. They were also able to gradually bring on their BMPs in off table positions to provide fire support, albeit obscured by the smoke at this stage.

The Soviets moving into the house and the armour heading into the smoke:

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The British struggled to deploy. Some poor dice throwing meant they came on in dribs and drabs and, crucially, the Soviet armour was able to block the JOP on the British left flank before it could be used. This forced the British to deploy in the treeline across the centre. A firefight then ensued. The British had the numbers against the Soviets in the house, but the better cover of the house evened that out and the arrival of the Soviet armour, bristling with MGs, really swung the balance. The British were gradually worn down, becoming pinned and then suppressed with several leaders falling dead and wounded; there was only one way this was going to end. The Turn ended and the smoke duly cleared. For the Soviets, this allowed their BMPs to add their HE into the firefight, but not before the British Chieftain interrupted to destroy one of them with a well placed round. Although Soviet morale had suffered, the bombardment of the British platoon left them with few men, lots of shock and a force morale that duly plummeted. Victory to the Soviet Union!!

At the top here we see the British deploying on overwatch in the treeline and, below, we see one Soviet T64B in position and the second will come up on the nearer corner. We also see the 3 BMPs poised to give fire support.

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From a game design perspective, this game went really well. We have been working through some issues of Soviet Activation and Command to try am make sure we accurately represent the way Soviet forces operated. In the past, we have found it simply too difficult for the Soviets to work in a combined arms fashion but with the inherent friction in their command procedures still evident. This time, we think we cracked it! It felt absolutely spot on.

The firefight also played out very well with the adjustments to overwatch being thoroughly tested and proven. Again, a real feeling that we had captured that exchange of fire and the effects very well.

The Victory or Defeat process is also much better, but a couple of tweaks are still necessary.

Overall, the consensus was that it was another great game, that we really are hitting the mark now with the rules, after over half a dozen full playtest games, at a pretty well developed stage.

We will be at Carronade on the 9th of May running a Participation Game – whether you fancy taking over Western Europe or defending freedom from the Red hordes, do please come and join us or stop by to see how things are going on NATO’s Central Front.

 

Monty the Desert Rat