My ongoing, background, mental processing had finally recognized that how I determine that a game is over doesn't seem to matter when I'm looking forward to playing the next turn and only became an issue with the last game when I reverted to the Square Brigadier as a base. One of the innovations (so to speak) of the Tin Army version was that I had scrapped the "active side moves and fires" of the Square Brigadier for the much older "A moves B fires, B moves, A fires". Its a little trickier when explaining and gives player's some awkward choices to make but it has a better feel of action/reaction. That change, the restoration of the customary movement rules and the increase in lethality of range 2 infantry fire put the zip back in the rules without being too jerky and made it easier to knock units out which in turn meant that I could drop the new proposed morale states. The result was a game that clicked along to a distinct conclusion with 16 turns taking me about 90 minutes.
So, on to the game.
|You never quite know what is on the other side of a hill until you get there!|
(Scenario 22 Making the Best of a Bad Job from Scenarios for All Ages by Asquith & Grant aka the Red Book)
The Allied force (8 units) is composed of:
Brigadier D. Britts.
1e Zouaves (1 cie)
Brooklyn Fusiliers ( 2 co) + Colonel
Ross's Rifles (3 co + Colonel)
1 MG battery (disguised as an antique mitrailleuse)
Koolahat Mountain Battery
The units are bivouacked haphazardly over a wide area with no sentries out. The units are treated as pinned until ordered.
The German force (12 units) is composed of
General S Schultz (rushing ahead of his staff who are organizing the later advance of the rest of the brigade).
(I apologize to all German readers for never having mastered German ranks ),
2 squadrons of cavalry
8 companies of infantry (1st & 2nd battalions of the 999th Regiment)
an MG company
and a field battery.
The column has been force marching and not only have gaps appeared between companies making it difficult for battalion commanders to excercise command, there has also been a little bit of straggling, (1d6 per infantry company with 5 or 6 indicating a figure lost). The victory condition is to get 8 companies to exit the table, by road, through the woods. The Germans have first move.
The dice, being the sensitive creatures that they are, sensed the situation and the early command rolls were all in the 1 to 3 range making it hard to get the lads out of bed and into the firing line on one hand and hard to move up the column on the other. Once the game got going they became their usual random selves. As a side note, in an attempt to track the number of turns I hauled out 10 little green dice for making the command or orders rolls and used 1 per turn, dropping it in a discard tray at the end of the turn and grabbing a fresh one. Somehow that seemed easier than remembering to make a tick on a slip of paper or moving a marker. Using a deck of cards would have a similar effect with the added bonus of ensuring an even distribution of numbers over all.
|Somewhere around turn 5, the allies are all awake and moving up.|
Once the German artillery came up and deployed, it quickly drove the allies behind the crest but that reduced the gun to less effective indirect fire while making it nearly suicidal for the infantry to cross over without more artillery support. At last the effort to go through the woods was made the main push causing the Allies to counterattack in order to stop them. The German infantry was already too badly shot up though and they were driven out of the woods at the point of their enemies' bayonets.
|As the final German offensive begins to have effect, they reach their limits and are called back. The allies were not in much better shape, a few hits away from being broken, but it was enough, they held the ground and blocked the enemy's advance.|
To touch back on victory conditions, I am satisfied that what I've been using for the last few years works on a practical level. My figure removal theoretically reflects a drop in unit effectiveness including but not limited to missing, killed and wounded, and since such details would not be known to the General or other units, the key is that a unit is still fighting or it there is a big hole in the line and a mob heading to the rear. Since the units are so small this often results in the odd spectacle of a single toy soldier bravely facing down the enemy when the reality might be that a 200 man company had lost 20 or 30 dead or severely wounded, a number of others light wounded and a whole bunch cowering in a hole, maybe taking an occasional unaimed pot shot and a small core still fighting. If I wanted to, I could get around this by adding more figures and removing the unit when reduced to 2 or by using markers or a roster. The odd thing though, is it that things happened so quickly and it was so hard to tell what was happening even a 50 yards away, that a number of such last stands by small groups are on record for the Great War but even it they weren't, the One or the Brave Tin Soldier is a cultural icon so I'm going to let it slide. In any event it becomes a very vulnerable unit and if not withdrawn and replaced by reserves will soon become a lost unit on the victory point list. Artillery stonks and charges are especially deadly to single figure remnants. I do allow players to amalgamate 2 remnants into a single viable unit but at the cost of removing one as lost.
As usual the online working draft has been updated. I am now officially done with the draft and will start working on the full rule set which will take a while and probably be about 5 or 6 pages with only few paragraphs of additional rules, the rest being largely explanation, examples and better formatting.