Viewer's Choice Celebration MiniCampaign

It has now been over 20 years since I launched "With MacDuff On the Web" and nearly 10 years since I launched my 2 blogs: Gathering of Hosts and Battle game of the Month.

To celebrate the years and the friends and the million hits I've decided to run a 3 game mini-campaign in late October. By popular vot e it will be set in the mid 18th Century.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Published Portable Wargame Pt 4b: The Fight for the Junction

As seen in previous post's pictures, the game began with Naryatrian recce forces driving hard up the road until they bumped into local Defence Forces.

Ignoring the threat posed by the arrival of Roscian reinforcements the Naryatrian light forces rush forward to try to seize the objective which is the pass at the end of the table. The lead vehicle spotted the defenders of the town and opened up with its HMG. (repeat picture from the previous post)

Initially I had planned to use 12 units attacking 8 using the standard roster system but my infantry units were in disarray after some fever crazed person cut up many of the bases last spring and while I wanted to get as many of my meagre force of 10 tanks as possible onto the table, the planned 2  model tank units looked rather cramped in practice. In the end I decided to up the number of units to 16 units + transports attacking 12 units. I had a feeling that using that many units with the roster system was going to make for a longer game than I was in the mood for so decided to try the Sudden Death option again.

The Roscians react. I'm not keen on the Roscian camouflage pattern but the Centurion hiding amongst the palm trees on the far right suggests it could be effective in the right circumstances.

The first shot of the game was fired by the truck mounted HMG as it rolled up the road and, despite needing a 6 to hit troops in cover while roaring up the road it destroyed the defenders of the first block of buildings.  (Queue the Rat Patrol theme!)

The invaders won the initiative on the first couple of turns and were first up to the low ridge across the road near the middle of the table. The Roscians had two obvious choices. Deploy all mechanised units to the right and race the enemy to the pass hoping that the town would hold up the enemy and that the following infantry could hit the main column in the flank or counter attack the head of the main column vigorously. A roll of the die selected the latter, aggressive plan.

While one Centurion platoon rushed ahead to the crossroads, the other deployed into cover to provide fire support from the flank. The armoured car and mechanised infantry were sent to relieve or retake the town and drive off the opposing light troops.

The town is secure. Clouds of swirling black Angora rabbit hair mark destroyed vehicles. Red dots mark the demise of Roscian infantry, casualty figures mark lost Naryatrian ones. 
A flip in initiative then offered the Roscians a chance to deal a heavy blow but the tank crew's faith in their  20 pounder guns was misplaced. Behind them though the town's defenders who had earlier been driven out of the town by heavy fire, managed to counter attack and take out the enemy armoured car using their obsolete WWII bazookas at point blank range.  (It felt a bit odd that they could rally and come back so quickly and easily. It was partly due to the initiative flip but I didn't want to stop and think about it.)    With the arrival of the elite Paratroopers in their Saracen backed up by a Saladin armoured car, the town now seemed secure while infantry support for the tanks was up.

Nothing daunted the Shermans shot up the Centurion tank at the cross road and pressed forward sending the truck borne infantry and mortars off road to the left to avoid the Roscian infantry and remaining armour. Behind the infantry, unseen by the camera, a pair of T34's has driven right to flush the remaining Centurion out of the woods and away from the road in case it should hit something at last. (Unfortunately for Roscia the dice heavily favoured Naryatria all game. It got to the point where I made them roll the same dice but even that didn't help! ) The Roscian infantry moved into the grove and spread out across the open and prepared to hold against what was coming.

Hordes of Naryatrian infantry race forward firing as they come.
For a turn or two the situation seemed to be stabilising. The T34's had flanked the last Centurion but it had withdrawn and then shot one to pieces. Then the Naryatrians  deployed their secret weapon: Indirect fire from Mortars and Heavy Artillery!  Turn after turn they dealt out indirect death with the blow of a single die! 6 then 1, 6 then 1. Suddenly the Roscian forces were decimated and Exhausted. All the survivors could do was hang on and hope while the infantry returned fire and the mortar opened up, hitting the last company of T34's badly enough to cause the crews to abandon their tanks.

As luck would have it, the last aggressive Roscian move had been to slip their armoured car through a gap in the line towards the deadly artillery. As the gunners hastily lowered their sights and gun barrels, firing wide in panic, the armoured car let loose with HE and machine gun fire.  Suddenly the Naryatrians had had enough!

 The pass was in sight but the Roscians were still blocking the way. Of their 7 AFV units only 2 were still operational and in addition to the loss of their artillery, several infantry companies had been shot apart including the elite Red Berets of the Lion Brigade. (Oddly enough every one of the 4 Elite units (Centurions, Paratroopers and Lion Brigade)  was killed by the first shot that hit it! I was left wishing on their behalf that I had used the roster system!)

Despite the cessation of hostilities due to exhaustion, the Roscian mission had been accomplished. The Pass had been held.

Instead of working on this blog post yesterday as intended, I found myself reorganising  and basing the infantry of both sides into 2 stand units. Further hopeful experiments with putting 2 vehicles in a square were unsuccessful though. Still, it was enough that a new game is on the table with some house rules to try out. That report by Monday!  


  1. Ross Mac,

    A thrilling battle report, and one that appears to have been enjoyable to fight.

    I think that the 'Sudden Death' option works well when the rules are used on a larger tabletop and with more than eight units per side.

    All the best,


    1. It would have been a lonnng game with normal strength points but the sudden death is still a little too sudden for me so for the next game I gave all units 2 strength points and that was just right for me.

  2. An enjoyable read, Ross. Great! I has got me thinking about the Nabob of Tchagai and his trouble with the hill tribes up near the Nor'west Border with the Harad Empire...

  3. A very nice two part post on the rules and game - supported by some very nice photos.

  4. In our neck of the woods, elite units have a long history of rolling ones when they really need to be sixes!

    Nice battle report, Ross.

    Regards, Chris.

  5. Another well played and reported battle! What scale are your forces? Do you have any mechanized artillery to support your armor? Was air power in the mix? Helicopters or paras? try the same scenario with an airborne element grabbing the objective and then trying to hold on...infantry supported by keeps with recoilless rifles. Are these rules available on the site?

    1. The figures are 1/72 (mostly) I am lacking in 1950's mechanised and towed artillery and armoured infantry carriers, like JSIII's and T54's these are on my want list for when the happens to be convergence between a full war chest and interest in this collection. In the meantime I have a few M113 that can pass as M75's in poor lighting, including one equipped as a mortar carrier.

      I had originally been thinking late 1960's as a period so have some helicopters but I decided to roll back to 1955 for my fictional setting since I got my hands on a number of AFV from that area when WWII and Korean war troops and equipment, both easily available, were still in use. That still keeps it as my only wargaming collection set in my lifetime though I would have been a little young to join at birth!

      Paratroops will eventually be given that capability. The first troops for this were painted about 14 years ago but don't get out or get reinforced very often.

      The rules were Bob Corery's The Portable Wargame, avialable through Amazon and else where. The ebook is cheap enough to buy as a preview but the printed book is easier to reference.

    2. ps. In this game I considered the units to be platoons.