Friday, 23 January 2015

Devon Wargames Group goes large with X-Wing

My original scenario had involved Jar-Jar Binks having to be rescued from a moon however I soon realised that both sides were planning to combine into one joint fleet and that also the inhabitants of the moon were prepared to blow themselves up just to get rid of this annoying tw*t. (Honestly, how much funny tobacco had George been smoking to come up with this character {apparently my lawyers have advised me that the answer is zero and it was a committee decision and nothing to do with Mr. Lucas}).
Therefore, here is version 2.

In a Galaxy far far away (I cannot do the scrolly thing so just use your imagination), two intrepid Rebel spies, cunningly disguised as journalists from Evil Dictator Monthly had arrived at Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer for an interview with the great man and whilst he was busy buffing up his helmet they naughtily stole the secret formula for his new improved asthma medicine. Making their excuses they quickly fled back to the rebel base which was hidden somewhere on the twin moons of Whipton.

Vader now had to urgently track them down as his current asthma prescription was running out, so he sneakily sent a package by Parcel Force addressed to: The Rebel base, care of the Twin Moons of Whipton, for a next day delivery, before 10.00am. Three weeks later it arrived and whilst Luke was signing for the delivery, the scouts who had secretly been following the delivery shuttle raced back to report on the location of the base. The waiting invasion fleet was now despatched, strengthened with one of the new Decimator ships and to make sure that everything went to plan, Vader went with them.

Meanwhile on the twin moons the Rebels had checked the senders address on the package so they knew now that they were in trouble , two A-Wings were therefore sent up and kept on constant patrol looking for the first signs of the expected Imperial fleet’s arrival , soon enough they picked up something on their scanners.

The A-Wings moved out to investigate the blips on their screens which turned out to be two Tie Interceptors on reconnaissance for the fleet , everyone then automatically said “Don’t let them get away to report back “and headed into combat . Quickly one of the A-wings was destroyed but the other ships then did very little damage to each other until the first wave of Imperial fighters started to arrive at the end of the board.

Strangely both sides scouts then simultaneously broke off to head back and report , the Rebels had spotted five Tie fighters lead by a Tie Advanced flying at maximum speed towards the Twin Moons and the Interceptors had seen five X-Wings just leaving orbit.

The two fighter squadrons engaged in combat along with the remaining scouts, A Tie Interceptor exploded and both sides took damage before the Imperials broke away and headed for the moons because they had just spotted another wave of rebel ships taking off consisting mainly of B-Wings and Y-Wings and which could be a much bigger threat to their plans; rather than follow them the X-Wings chose to engage the second wave of Imperial fighters that had now arrived, another five Tie fighters and Darth Vader himself in his Tie Advanced.

The battle split into two parts, the first Imperial squadron raced past the Rebel fighter-bombers, turned around and headed back, the Rebels tried to ignore them and flew flat out towards the now arrived Decimator; all their ships had been loaded up with missiles with the intention of tackling this big ship however the Tie fighters easily outpaced them and were snipping away from their rear. After three turns of this the Rebels realised that they either had to abort their plan or be destroyed so they turned back to take on the Tie’s following them, this was bad news for the Tie’s with two of them lost in exchange for the Y-Wing

Meanwhile further up the board the second wave quickly lost a Tie Fighter to the X-wings in first contact and then a pell-mell melee ensued whilst the Decimator, now accompanied by the remaining Tie Interceptor flew steadily on.

The Imperial second wave unfortunately at this stage got tunnel vision and concentrated on finishing off the 2 X-Wings fighting with them instead of following their orders and protecting the Decimator . The rebels had concentrated all their nearby remaining ships on taking it out and over several turns the prolonged fire from two X-Wings , the A-wing and two B-Wings quickly wore down its shields and then …

Boom !

Knowing it was now a lost cause the Imperial’s collected up their remaining ships and retreated with no one being too keen to be any where near Darth Vader .

Overall both sides’ losses were quite similar, with four rebels lost against six Imperial but the Rebels better shields helped them stay in the fight and survive long enough to take out the Decimator. 

Imperials = 15 ships
Rebels = 11 ships plus lots of unused toys
Points = 280 each
Thanks to Steve Land for the additional ships and all who took part

This was a Mr Steve production.

Stay tuned for 7YW in February.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Hold the Line - Maurice

Every now and then you play a wargame that really holds the tension throughout, with swings one way and then the other, finally culminating in a dramatic climax. Such was the game we played yesterday at our first meeting for 2015.

I designed the scenario around the the board game scenario from "Hold the Line"from Worthington's Games.

The scenarios in the game provide a rich source for games easily converted to Maurice, and this one uses the orbats and set up for the "Long Island" scenario.

So my map illustrates the set up positions for the British and American troops, together with the objective positioned behind the defences protecting the American embarkation point.

Two thirds of the American troops are strung out on the ridge defending the approaches and need to stop the British getting the objective and avoid a morale defeat whilst trying to break the British morale if they can. The playing through of the card decks in Maurice act as the clock in the game, so the Americans can win by simply avoiding defeat until all the cards have been played

I determined the forces to be:

The British represent the powerful forces under Howe that conducted the 1776 campaign around New York with (Lethal Volleys) designed to encourage the British player to shoot his way on to the objective.

The American force represent those troops dedicated enough to resist this British Army, more comfortable defending than manoeuvring (Steady Lads), but with that determination to fight to save the revolution (Rally to the Colours).

With the terrain very much favouring the Americans but with the American army split with four battalions of Regular Trained (Continentals) occupying the defences together with their gun, and the remainder having to occupy the ridge line, the game presented challenges for both sides.

The American defences on the approach to Manhattan Island
With all the troops in position and the cards dealt, we were off.

Howe's Army climbs the ridge seemingly opposed by a single militia unit
The British came on in a two deep line with a third line of units forward of their right flank as seen above. The Americans opted to put their militia forward supported by the continentals, knowing the copses along the ridge would disrupt the British formation.

The rest of Washington's force behind the ridge line
Probably one of the biggest threats to the American position was the British cavalry which due to a lack of an American counterpart gave the British commander a threat of getting them in behind the rather stretched American line. Fortunately for the Americans, that threat never materialised.

Howe oversees his British elites (Guards and Light Infantry) and Hessian's
As the British climbed the ridge they were met by some very effective firing from the militia. The combination of the British and American ability cards made the combats very entertaining and the initiative swung back and to for a couple of turns; until the British players brought the numbers to bear, together with some cute card play causing one American militia unit to charge its British counterpart whilst carrying three disrupts.

In another combat the American player attempted to avoid a volley phase hoping to rally off disrupts on another militia unit only to be forced into a volley phase by British card play.

The loss of the two militia units was also costly on army morale with a five point loss. The Americans struck back with the destruction of a Redcoat battalion and the playing of "Death of a Hero" card causing three points loss to the British.

First Clash, the militia trade volleys with the 33rd Foot
As the British pushed the Americans back off the ridge we were close to the re-shuffle card appearing to set up the final deck.

Continentals support the militia
The firing was general across the line as the British attempted to force their domination of the situation. The Americans resisted tenaciously losing a continental and militia unit but taking out another British unit in return.

Firing erupts along the American ridge line 
As the reshuffle took effect, both sides were exhausted as we entered the final phase with the British having just one card to hand and the American with three cards.

Hot Work and Hard Pounding - Who will break first?
The battering both sides had inflicted had reduced the American Army morale to five points and the British to nine. The slight lull in the battle allowed both sides to reassess their respective positions with the British looking the more crestfallen as they felt victory was beyond their grasp.

The British push the American line back
As the Americans attempted to retrograde march back towards the defences, conscious of the British cavalry threat, they played the "Retrograde" card, allowing them to drop back a whole move instead of just half.

Still the fighting continues as the American line falls back on its defences
The British responded by closing in on the forward American units and shooting themselves into combat using their Grenadiers and Guards to attempt to "seal the deal".

The last line of defence - The militia casualties at left back of the picture shows the cost
The final deck was coming to an end but so was American morale as with just two points remaining the Americans lost one combat along their line bagging the final points with the loss of that last American unit. The British were exhausted with just six points of Army morale left but able to claim a marginal victory.

The Guards and Light Infantry attempt to turn the American flank - Howe observes the progress
This game played out very well and kept everyone involved through out, leaving me to exclaim that this was the best game of Maurice I had seen, and that is after I can safely say that I have always enjoyed playing this rules system. Sam Mustafa must be congratulated for producing a very fine game that is always a pleasure to play.

If you fancy giving this scenario a go, you might want to try getting that British cavalry to work, and the Americans decide on how they would fall back differently.

Yesterday was my first game in 2015 and if it is a sign of things to come, I can't wait.
Much thanks to Ian, Martin, Steve M and Phil for putting on a very entertaining days battle.