Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Moon-men and Space ships (Sci-Fi)

 Breaking up the terrain I idly commented that it looked like the surface of the moon. I asked Tom if he had any sci-fi stuff....ha! Has the sea any salt in it!? He duly came around the following week with assorted Martians and this is what happened...

(Disclaimer: I Don't remember many of the real names but I will use descriptive nomenclature throughout for the sake of comedic recognition)

The tome from whence the rules have come are called 'Beyond the Gates of Antares' - Not to be confused with the shed round the back of the Gates of Antares Bar and Grill.

For the Concord Commander (after snacks and drinks served from the trolley)

A routine scan of planet C-0014 (an uninhabited rugged desert world) carried out by the Concord Shard Scout has found an unidentified item of technology. A Concord skirmisher force has been diverted to invest the site pending the arrival of a research/retrieval team to study the item.

The Concord team have noticed the arrival of a Freeborn ship in orbit and the landing of a significant number of troops. Reinforcement/retrieval/extraction will be in eight moves

The item (without user manual) located by droid
 The skirmishers arriving by Concord (nothing but the best) put out a perimeter to guard the 'thing'.
 They push out to scout the approaches
 Meanwhile a doughnut droid (technical term) and a purple pizza-on-a-stick guard the 'thing'
 Sweating along, weighed down by two hair dryers each, the Concord people stake their claim and plant a green pizza...and salute (emotional moment)
 A way off in the distance the even more aliens approach!...now stick with it for things become a bit hard to follow...

Freeborn mission: The item is in fact an extremely modified Isorian Transporter Drone containing the necessities for a small clandestine survey base. (told you) It has been place there by Freeborn yadda, yadda, made-up-name, yadda, yadda, made-up-name and the battle force is to destroy it et al.
 Having found the life jackets under the seat in front, just as the stewardess said they would be, the purple Concords put them on for a larf before beaming down.
 Rather like 'Bolt Action' the orders are conveyed by dice...in this case 'Wave rubber chicken at enemy'...takes all sorts.
Zap zap you are sterile!
 However Lloyd the droid puts down covering fire

 Incoming from a mortar...er...indirect zap gun or whatever...

 Barbarella and the fellowship of the high vis cloaks command the Freeborn (Elsa the lioness couldn't make this trip)
 Her own purple people promptly push towards the enemy
 A flying Christmas wreath guides fire onto the target it hovers over
 With adjustments to fall of shot...
 ...it's pretty wide of the mark. Even in a fantasy era of galactic travel and space hair dryers hitting the target is still a problem
 The disc in the middle counts up 'pins' the main morale changing factor in the game
 The wreaths close in...
 ...surprisingly quickly...
 knocking out two of the Concord space men...
...and then themselves (hazards of target indication as a career choice)... leaving only the boss and his pizza
 the enemy approaches so, deciding there is safety in numbers and firepower, the surviving group leader seeks out the company of rubber chicken HQ
 Yellow and purple camouflage seem to be standard in space but the telltale sign of the enemy is his light blue Ed stones following the troops
 RCM waves his lunch at the advancing foe firing from the hip with his ray gun
 The main thrust from the front...
 ...but is protected on the flank by some really old men with only one decent coat between them
 However, they effectively match the flanking squad of purple hairdryer cyclopes and reduce them to a single person which is a handicap as they need at least two of them for depth perception
 RCM not only waves his poultry but his pizza at the enemy just to show how long he could hold out in a siege (if it came to that) but it's no likely as they are storming forward
 Barbarella orders her people forward not realising that chicken man isn't alone (and I don't just mean his food supplies)
 Another squad has been laying in ambush (according to the dice) but have been spotted at the last moment
 The single purple cyclops is still holding out on the left flank but even more 'people' are advancing towards him/her/it....none other than tortoise head people (good grief Charlie Brown) mercifully, not pictured.
 Mortary type stuff falls all around the tripped ambush...
 ...and in they go to close quarter fighting
 The ambushed ambushers give a good account of themselves against the Freeborn non life vest wearing scum (man, this is getting partisan)
 The non life preservers are wiped out...clearly your better of with one even on dry land in the future/somewhere out in space/both
 The last line of defence has be reached and Lloyd the droid faces Barbarella in the final shoot out (I just can't help anthropomorphism when it comes to metal doughnuts)
He explodes and leaves a wife and three circuit boards to support. Still, Barbarella and the various members of her much reduced band must do a sweep of the area to find the 'thingy' before it is too late. As it happens they run out of time and, not finding the 'thingy', it is whisked away to the foam lined Mother Egg Box ship and so the Concord teams sacrifice has not been in vain.

My thanks to Tom and his amazing eclectic mix of war-gaming figures and rule sets and to Colin and Ross for keeping me from getting too disparaging about space war-gaming. It's a game of soldiers just like any other. You imbue a blob of material with a value just like in any other game. I get it, I truly do, and it was a lot of fun to be released from the confines of history for a game.

Next time: Back to hysterical war-gaming...yes, I know what I'm saying.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Action at Schongraben 1805

A pleasant afternoon spent doing a 15mm Shako 2 game very loosely based on Schongraben in 1805 (sometimes known as Hollabrunn apparently) where the Austro-Russians (Kutuzov) defend the river crossings against the French (Lannes and Murat) and it went roughly like this...Billy wants to fire his artillery...
 The Austrian infantry deploy short of the banks of the river while the, cavalry heavy, reserve hold the ground between the fordable area and the edge of town...Billy asks can he fire his artillery now?
 The French just decide to hang about on their left flank looking ominous but push forward in the centre and right...and Billy is going to fire his artillery (not yet Billy, in the artillery fire phase)
 Taking note of their recently signed off camouflage and concealment course the Generals observe the French deployment from cover? No Billy! The artillery can only fire in the artillery phase...
 The 1st Toblerone Regiment advance to the banks with very large gaps between skirmishers (to save chocolate). Billy asks are we nearly there yet?
 Skirmishers rush the bridge to deny it to the enemy until the line troops can get forward. Austrian regiments match the French all along the river banks (Billy puts artillery request into writing...actually a crayon picture of a cannon firing...)
 The action along the banks is in a kind of stalemate as the Austrians hang on to their bank with extraordinary tenacity. Unexpectedly, for this stage in the battle, a mass of Russian cavalry arrives and is thrown into the central support. Austrian cavalry is now engaging to stem the French entering an imaginary village to their front (I know, don't ask)...Billy wants to fire his artillery having just fired artillery in the artillery phase when artillery should be fired so...NOT NOW Billy!!
 On come the reserve Austrian artillery. Billy's knuckles a rapped before he can reach for the dice.
 On, on come the French through the imaginary village, over the imaginary wall shouting "Can we do artillery now?"

 It turns out the Austrian artillery fire is quite effective...Yes Billy, you can fire. This is the artillery fire phase
 ...and the fire fight over the water is a brutal affair
 The weight is on the French side for the most part (supported by a very large piece of paper)  but the Austrians are proving remarkably resilient (no Billy, you just fired you artillery, we all saw you)
 The French begin to make good headway through the imaginary village and come up against the Austrian reserve forces that the Russian cavalry arrived to bolster.
 Typically, as soon as the first cavalry get a whiff of the nearest enemy they charge and, before you know it, all the cavalry has kicked off
 It's a shambles. Cavalry all over the place but no decisive breakthrough by either side
 With all the cavalry pretty much blown French right flank infantry can swan forward onto the plain
 It says here "Artillery is fired in the artillery fire phase". It also states that "handcuffs can be used at the umpires discretion"
 It is to no avail. With impeccable timing the left flank mass of Cuirassiers are ordered forward.
They hove into view just as the French infantry of their left flank and centre win the firefight and in one long torrent the Austrians give way. Regiment after regiment break to the rear and the French begin their crossing with no one to stop them. In the collapse of the Austrian right, the left and centre are forced to give way. The battle is over. It is for Kutuzov to salvage what he can.

Thanks to Ferdy our host, Dave, Colin, Big Simon and assorted Billys for a very pleasant afternoons gaming.

Next: Space - war gaming for the colour blind - the thing from Uranus