With the move to Winchester, I am now much closer to the sites of the HMGS Big Three gaming conventions and so was able to make it up to Fall In! this year. I hosted two games this year and I guess the theme for the two was ‘Broken Alliances’ as each featured former allies now trying to do in the other.
My first game was a Check Your 6! – Jet Age game set during the brief conflict between Libya and Egypt during 1977. In the scenario the Libyans are attempting to destroy some Egyptian artillery positions and send in a strike package of 4 Mirage V fighter-bombers escorted by 4 MiG-23s. The Egyptians respond by scrambling a flight of 4 MiG-21 to the area. The Egyptians on one side of the table largely ignored the strike fighters and went after the MiG escorts, while the other pair of EAF MiGs went after the bombers on their side. One Mirage went down on the way in and a one of the others failed a test and panicked upon receiving ground fire and was forced to climb up above the AAA. The remaining Mirage on the north side of the table was forced to go defensive and eventually bombed an empty bit of desert in order to lighten the aircraft and go on the offensive with hi twin 30mm cannon.
Meanwhile the MiG-21s had managed to turn the fight to their favor by getting in tight with the Libyan escort. This allowed the MiGs to make the most of their more maneuverable aircraft and their better pilots. A couple of the MiG-23s were lost, which unfortunately for the LARAF, included both of their skilled pilots and their payload of more advanced AA-2D Atoll missiles. The Libyans continued to scrap, destroying one of gun batteries with a 30mm strafing run and downing one of the MiG-21s, but evetually they had a couple of more planes limping along with engine damage.
At the end of the night the Egyptian air force had won a handy victory, destroying 4-5 aircraft and damaging a couple of others at a cost of 1 aircraft down and one artillery battery destroyed.
It was nice to see the Egyptians get a win in the scenario as the LARAF had won the last two games – one at BrianCon and a second at a recent game I did at the FLGS. Everyone had a great time and the CY6! line of games continues to impress with it’s ability to take a complex subject and make an intuitive and playable game with great feel. The set up with the 3D altitude stands, missiles, and nice sized 1/300 planes also drew a lot of raves and I think it looked really good.
The second game I hosted was a repeat of one of my games from last Fall In!, the Roman Seas scenario featuring a clash ebtween naval elements of the former allies Pompey and Caesar. The game was at 8 AM on Saturday morning and so I was worried about having enough players, but ended up with 6 guys, which was enough to play the scenario comfortably.
Caesar’s captains set up first, with their forces somewhat concentrated to the north and one squadron more to the south. Pompey’s forces deployed in kind to meet them. As the two groups closed, Pompey’s ships got the upper hand and were able to race in to engage the less numerous escorts of Caesar and tie them up with boarding actions. In the center, Caesar’s flag ship accelerated to ram speed and attempted an oar rake of one of Pompey’s ships – unfortunately, the crew on Pompey’s ship was quicker to pull in their oars and Caesar’s ship lost a bunch of oars and was force to drift at max speed! That took their largest ship out of the battle for a while.
In the north, on of Pompey’s quadremes raced forward and grappled one of the supply ships. One of the escorting triremes raced in and delivered a crushing ram attack that came within inches of wrecking the quadreme. Caesar’s men fired several rounds of artillery fire at the ship hoping to take down the last few hull points, but were not able to connect and the heavy Roman marines on board eventually swarmed aboard the trireme, swept her decks and transferred their entire ship’s compliment to the trireme. That same Roman player later inflicted a second crushing hit and completely wrecked another Roman ship.
However, despite these gains and some success in the far south in sweeping away the marines aboard one of Pompey’s ships, the fleet had gotten bogged down and Pompey’s men were able to keep most of the enemy ships grappled. One of Pompey’s quadremes had mounted a combat tower and that ship fought against several of Caesar’s ships at once and managed to grind away all of their combat strength. Caesar’s ships resorted to trying to force a passage through the shoals around one of the islands to squeeze through, but grounded the ship each time.
Caesar’s flagship eventually came back around and entered the fray in the south, but it was a case of too little, too late as the escort proved unable to free up and of the merchants to make a break for the coast. In the end their were several ships drifting as derelicts with no crew remaining aboard and Pompey had seized several of the merchants and at least one of Caesar’s warships. The players mostly seemed to have a great time, except for one gentleman who said the level of detail was just not his cup of tea… fair enough.
As before, the ships draw a lot of attention as they look really fabulous when fully crewed up with marines, ballista, etc. Unfortunately, I stayed pretty busy with helping to move the game along and mostly forgot to take any pictures (doh!). I’m inspired now to move on to my next Roman Seas scenario project, which will features one of Pompey’s fleets against a flotilla of pirate ships – lots of little small nimble ships against a few lumbering brutes loaded down with Roman heavy marines. My main issue with this has been trying to scrounge up any reliable information about the composition of the various pirate fleets that plagued Rome.
Last weekend I went up to Gettysburg to host some Roman Seas games at Fall In! in support of Eric’s recent launch of the rule book. Although the convention staff had a lot of “difficulties” leading up to the event, the con director did a stellar job of pulling it out of the fire. One of my games got moved from the time slot listed in the preliminary event listr, but since I was running three games, people who wanted to try Eric’s new rules were able to get into one of the games. I did two sessions of a convoy escort scenario and one of my 289 AD scenario. The couple of weeks before the convention had been busy ones so I hadn’t had the time to make all of the little improvements on my ship models that I had wanted (such as adding rigging to all of the merchants) and I spent Thursday night at the convention painting bases on the marine stands. But by the first game on Friday I was satisfied with the look of the game and judging from the many, many positive comments I received, I’d say I achieved a nice level of visual spectacle.
I finished up a few more Roman Seas ships as I gear up to be able to do some convoy escort games. In addition to builing up the merchant fleet, I am also expanding my collection of ships to offer the players more variety of escorts and raiders than my current giant collection of liburnians allows.
After the successful game at Historicon using Eric Hotz soon to be released Roman Seas rules, I’m definitely interested in playing some more games. My collection is pretty limited at this time, since the scenario I have run before is set in 289 AD, by which time the Roman fleets were almost entirely smaller bireme Liburnians. So I’ve embarked on a ship building program to expand the repertoire a little for future games. One of the scenarios in the rulebook is a convoy escort and I’m doing a number of merchant vessels for that game. The first one out of the shipyards is this Corbita, a Roman grain ship.