Saturday afternoon was what I thought of as our main game though it wasn't much bigger than the previous game once I'd scaled down the unit sizes and table size so we could finish in the time available. I figured 4-6 players would be optimum but was prepared for as few as 1 (or none) with GM's playing or as large as 8. Happily we had 4 players once I succeeded in pressing Don into service (with the permission of his wife of course
|The game begins!|
The scenario was a slight adaptation of Sittingbad, the sample battle from the venerable Charge! rules but played using the FINAL (Stop sniggering in the back!)
version of my With MacDuff to the Frontier
rules which were originally published in The Courier in 1997. The game uses a card activation system which allows 1 unit or group of units to act on each card with one side being assigned 1 colour or sometimes 1 suite in multi faction games.
The scenario is a delaying action which requires one side to hold up waves of attacking enemy units until vital supplies can be evacuated over a bridge along with as many troops as possible, then blow the bridge to delay pursuit. This scenario seems to always end with a bang (sorry)
with the advantage teetering back and forth to the last moment.
Shoeffen-Busch-Hagen played the role of the defending or Imperial forces, Rosmark, that of the attacking or Elector's forces.
|Dawn and the Shoeffen-Busch-Hagen army and train begins to stir.|
Naturally, with all the work that had gone into preparing and testing the game and the excitement of the fluid manoeuvres and combat as cunning plan met cunning counterplan, well, I barely took any pictures. A frequent problem for me when the rules are fluid and interactive with no clear break between turns.
I also need to learn how to get the most out of my low end phone when its in a dark place.
|Rosmark rolls on. This is 2 waves, there are 2 more to come.|
The Rosish commanders decided to send their cavalry wide and rely on artillery and skirmisher fire to drive the enemy from the advanced town. Well, the rules have provisions that prohibit ignore enemy if you're within 6" of their front (which is all around if its a defended village) and that soon became a problem for the advancing Rosish forces. This might have been just a loss of time if the defenders had sat back and watched but the defending cavalry was aggressive but disciplined throughout the game and several times were able to even the odds by hitting at the right moment.
|A closer look at the convoy and the bridge whose preparation regular blog readers had to suffer through. The driver for the General's coach seemed to have deserted his post. He'll probably be found in the Inn's taproom when the town falls.|
The attacking cavalry, supported by long range artillery fire, did its best to quickly blow a hole through the line of defending cavalry and infantry but it was a hard slog with heavy casualties on both sides and the forlorn hope in the advanced post clung to their position with surprising determination. (The original rules used a sort of saving throw system which has been replaced by a morale check and a random card that allows you the possibility to recover a few figures. SB was lucky in this respect with several cards drawn at the right time in both games.)
|Finally the advanced post was forced to retreat and the way was open to push the attacking infantry up the road at nearly double the speed of cross country lines.|
(I thought the new "unit has fired" markers did their job well.)
Shortly after this we were interrupted by some very generous, hardworking members of the club that makes it possible for us to have such a great time with friends and explore parts of the hobby we may not see at home.
It was a welcome interruption though.
|Rob and I have both received various awards over the last 20 years of co-hosting games including a Best in Show at Cold Wars 2005 but still each one is special and appreciated. Each time, I look around at all the great games many with better terrain or really creative ideas, throngs of excited players and so on and can't help thinking "Why me when there are so many worthy others to choose from?" .|
Then I find myself wanting to think up something even better to work on for next year!
By now, time was short! There was some hard fighting helped by the cards seeming to favour the defenders at times but there was just time to play through to a conclusion, a tense conclusion.
The Crown Prince Pandours led the way and stormed into the town, putting the garrison of the Stone House to the sword. They were within musket or bayonet charge range of the engineers on the bridge if they got 1st card. If the engineers got 1st card next turn they could try to blow the bridge but they only had 3 charges (1d6@ needing a total of 12 to succeed
) planted so it would have to a slightly better than average roll. The defenders decided to gamble and laid a 4th charge. Before the attackers could move, a joker ended the turn. The next turn began with another black card!! The General rode over the bridge and gave the order, The fuses were lit, the 4 dice rolled, 13!! ....BOOOM!
|Mission accomplished though very few combat troops managed to retreat over the bridge. Could be a few years before Shoeffen-Busch-Hagen is ready to take the field against Rosmark again. |
(OK so plans for something different were already underway but its my blog....)
As co-GM this game was a great deal of fun to run which mostly down to the great friends and gamers who took part and to my friend and co-host Rob Dean (Sharp End of the Brush blog
2 small games left to go!