Historicon 2009 – Games Played
In addition to running a few games, I was able to play in a number of events as well. Here are some short reports and a scad of pictures from those games
The Poilus Come to Schlegehahre, July 1914
The HAWKs always do interesting games and I thought it’d be fun to get into a Blood and Swash game. I was in College Station with Buck Surdu when he first wrote the rules and we played lots of Blood and Swash, adapting it to virtually every period. Duncan’s game was set along the French and German border in the tense days right before the outbreak of WWI. There were many factions in play and everyone had their own secret victory conditions. I was playing the Town Constable and my goal was to protect my buddies the smugglers (who were giving me kickbacks) from interference from German authorities. Maybe I was feeling a bit ornry from the long drive the day before, but I decided to secure my nest egg using a rifle. I ran my group of three into a house at the cross roads and proceeded to blaze away at anyone threatening the operations of my friends. In the end, the Smugglers got the goods loaded onto their cart, hauled through town, loaded on their boat, and across the river. The French spies got their messages shipped out with the smugglers before their leader was arrested by German Military Intelligence. The French pilots had a rough time of it, getting into a shooting match with the German Intelligence guys and losing. In the end, the principles probably all end up in the trenches anyway… It was a great starting game on a really gorgeous table.
A Mixed Bag, March 1945
I had preregistered for this game because the rules listed were I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum by Two Fat Lardies. I’ve got a copy of these and have read them, but they are very “British” and I was interested in getting in a game with someone who had already worked out all of the kinks. However, it turned out that the guys running the game had recently switched to new rules and were using the Force on Force rules. Having recently done the same thing with my Roman naval game, I figurted if they switched it was for a reason and so stayed to play the game. Besides, it was set on the really pretty table stocked by the Miniature Building Authority. The Force on Force rules were a lot of fun and have a lot of very interesting mechanics and concepts. Nothing really earth shattering, but very well done in their integration. I also liked the fact that the rules did not big down in minutia of weapons stats. The emphasis was on use of covering fire, fire and movement, and fast play.
I was on the American side as we attempted to clear away German resistance and push past the village to secure a bridge. We had a rifle platoon supported by a couple of 0.30 cal machine guns, a platoon of Shermans, and an M16 MGMC (a self-propelled AA halftrack mounting quad 0.50 cal MGs). We decided to push up the more open country on the right and I commanded a rifle squad with an assault team and BAR team. After clearing out the church dominating our approaches (with a combination of assaults, luck, and 75mm HE shells from the Shermans), my squad carried out it’s mission and raced forward. I sprinted my assault team across an open courtyard with minial casualties, but the BAR team was pretty well chewed by a German squad covering the ground by fires. Our following infantry and the Quad 0.50 cleared out the town behind us as my squad and the Shermans kept going forward. A German tank appeared, which was reported as a King Tiger. Being an experienced veteran, I doubted that report and figured it was likely a regular panzer when it only damamged one of the Shermans. The rest moved forward and made short work of the tank as well as a Marder that had poked up over a ridge. A panzerschreck team ambushed one Sherman and brewed it up, but the pressure from my approaching infantry caused them to displace and the tank guns got them. Some German infantry had arrived and taken up stations across the bridge, but heavy fire from several tanks and my infantry squad drove them back across. At game’s end we were almost to the bridge and the German defenders were almost gone (down to about half a squad of regulars and some Volkstrum). My infantry didn’t do a lot of shooting, but we did a lot of moving and was at the front of the American advance for much of the game. This one was one of the most entertaining WWII skirmish games I’ve played.
Ste Eugenie, 19 Aug 1944
I continued my WWII skirmish theme on Friday with a game of Disposable Heroes. I played on the American side commanding elements of the 90th Infantry trying to close the Falaise Gap. Our mission was to push through an area of orchards to bring at least half of our tanks and guns to the enemy table edge (where they would be able to fire on German units retreating through the gap). We had a couple of infantry squads, 4 Shermans, and a couple of towed 3″ AT guns, which we chose to leave off table until we had a path cleared to bring them forward. We pushed forward and forced the Germans to reveal themselves and engage us. I moved my forces into an orchard along the right side and immediately began drawing German attention. A German Panzer IV and one of my Shermans got locked into a battle of futility as I could not make the roll to acquire my target and he could not make the roll to KO the Sherman. I punched a bazooka round into him, but scored the lowest possible damage result and merely annoyed him. My forces eventually drew a halftrack mounting a 37mm gun and another tank. This allowed my remaining Sherman room to outflank the Germans and I destroyed one with an immobilizing shot followed by an assault by my infantry. However, time was running out on us and we had to commit the halftracks even though the Germans still had a tank and a StuG running around. Unfortunately, we couldn’t keep them from getting shots on one of the prime movers and it was destroyed. We were not able to get enough units into the VP area and so the Germans got a well played victory. Unfortunately the lighting in this room was bad and I didn’t get many photos.
Operation Catapult, July 1940
I was not playing anything Saturday morning when my buddy Rob called and said that one of the players in his naval game had just walked out early in the game, so I headed over and assumed command of a couple of French battlewagons. My ships looked to be WWI era vessels – slow, undergunned, and with that short and beamy look. Our mission as the French was to escaoe the clutches of our so called “allies” the British, who had come to capoture or sink us. I was at the tail of our battle line, preceded by a destroyer flotilla and a pair of more modern battlecrusiers. Opposing us were three British capital ships (including HMS Hood), a couple of cruisers, and a squadron of destroyers. My buddy Rob commanded the British DD’s and in the finest destroyer captain tradition dashed foward intent on launching his fish as a capital ship. The french destroyer captain launched his fish at Rob’s DD’s, which was a win for the Brits even if they struck home (which they did in one case, sinking a destroyer). I got into a little action before I had to bolt to set up my Roman Naval game, putting some pretty severe damage on the British cruisers. Rob later told me that the French were able to get their battlecrusiers to safety.
One Full Day, 19 Apr 1967
One of the things I was most interested trying this year was the Check Your 6! jet rules, so I preregistered for this Vietnam era game. The scenario centers around the rescue flight sent in to retrieve a down F-105 pilot. The American players start out with a single Thud (with cannon only, no missiles), a couple of Skyraiders, and a CSAR helo. The Skyraiders are there to take out the flak sites so that CSAR helicopter can move in to get the flier. The Vietnamese have four MiG-17s (mostly green pilots though). My buddy mike was driving a couple of the green MiGs while the other North Vietnamese player and I each had one jet. I took my jet off to harry the CSAR helo while the other two tried to shoot up the Thud and the Skyraiders. I soon discovered that the slow moving and agile helo was a tough shot for the jet, especially with my crappy aircrew rating. The helo was also far from defenseless, mounting a minigun in each door. So I soon decided to go off in search of other prey. Meanwhile the other MiGs had managed to shoot down one of the Skyraiders. However, things went squiffy for the MiGs in a hurry as two more Thuds roared onto the table…and they had missiles. The first missile fired at me missed. I continued to swing around and lined up a medium range tail shot on the US Thud that had started on table. My chance to hit was miserable, but at least it was a shot. I missed, but the sidewinder fired from the other Thud didn’t. Over the next couple of turns, the other two green MiGs both got plastered as well, leaving only the lone skilled MiG. However, engine damage soon ended any chance of escape for him. Although I didn’t get to light off any missiles, this game and the two other jet games I played in or watched definitely have me eagerly (very eagerly) waiting for Scott and the crew at Skirmish Campaigns to finish up the jet rules and publish them.