30 May 2016

Memorial Day Weekend Game Bash Sunday

The 2016 iteration of the MDB was a damn fine time. I had a handful of guys over for a full day of gaming. I've been working on a couple of scenarios to run at this event - and chose a couple of games / themes that are a bit out of their ordinary.

First up was Sabre Squadron. It was the same scenario that Z and I tested a month or so ago with the African Imagi-Nations forces. Mike, Lee and Landon split the MCC attacking force, while David and his son Anson split the WPA defenders. I was purely a GM for this game.

Deployment happening

Early in the proceedings, one of David's PT-76es exploded the attacker's recoilless rifle jeep, leaving the infantry advancing through the woods without any heavy weapons.

The defender's helicopter unloads two pods of rockets into attacking infantry, while the MCC's air support put a couple of bombs into the workshop. The platoon in the workshop were severely rattled and ended up having to vacate the building, leaving it vulnerable to capture.

Shortly, David lands the helicopter to re-arm it. Mike says "can I shoot it through the open hangar?" I say "sure, you need to roll a ten though." He rolls a ten and the helicopter is wrecked.

Adding to their misery, the Jaguar plasters a tank with a bomb.

There was quite a bit of time elapsed between the previous picture and this one. Landon's infantry had been reduced to a single stand. That stand played cat and mouse with two government platoons until it was finally cornered in the workshop.

The destruction at the front of the base was unreal. Six wrecked tanks and a hulled-out helo! The attackers worked out how they'd attack the old Texaco station (lower right corner). The defending troops across the runway in the workshop wouldn't easily be able to assist.

But as they're forming up, preparing their assault, a few quick shots from the building and a blast from the field gun...

And the jeep infantry quit the battlefield! The attackers have lost more than 50% of their platoons and are done. David and Anson commenced with the hooting and hollering.

That was a very enjoyable game to spectate and a real nail-biter at the end. I think everyone thought the defenders were on a really short clock, but a couple of fortunate shots followed by some miserable morale test rolls (Lee literally rolled 1,2,3 in a row to send his jeep infantry death-spiralling from being in good order to "withdraw" in the blink of an eye.

After tidying up the table, we set up With Sword and Shield - some 6mm Fantasy rank-n-file for a real change of pace.

Our very open battlefield. Mike and Lee commanded the Dwarf contingent, defending the hill. Landon commanded the Dark Elves (the majority of the troops across from the hill) and I would lead the demon horde which would be joining the battle via the scary summoning circle. Us bad guys are trying to break into the cave entrance at the base of the hill.

My summoning circle and the Gatekeeper. My sorcerer hovers behind on his floating chair.

We wasted no time rushing our troops forward, towards the artillery battery. A massive circle of darkness shields the center of our formation. Later, we'd figure out a better way to use it.

Darkness be damned, the Dwarves go bonkers and my demons get wrecked. Compare the two pictures above. Two stands of green plague demons are whacked as are two stands of red blood demons. Saddest of all, my fire demons (the ones where the pink circle was) were wiped out, leaving my sorcerer exposed. A well-aimed cannon shot ended his night early. I'm here to tell you, that really sucks.

The Gatekeeper and the Wiz get some quality time together in the Pit.

My next two summons were my two massive beasties. Interestingly, the stupid Dark Elf sorcerer flubbed her casting and we got no darkness bubble. The big guys were my way of drawing fire off our troops. They'd be sacrificial monsters. You can see that far to the left my flaying demons have engaged the Dwarf infantry and the plague nasties are duking it out with more stunties just ahead of the two big monsters. Elf horsemen continue their flanking maneuver far to the right.

Poor Wumpus. We hardly knew thee. The artillery battery sends him back to Heck.

The noose tightens. I'm just not sure we've got enough gas in the tank to see this through.

From left to right... My flying demons have stalled against some chump Dwarf warriors. Big Orange and some other fliers carve up more Dwarf Warriors. The plague demons continue to be held up. Some Dark Elf warriors make a great showing against Dwarf Berzerkers.  On the other side of the road we have more Dark Elf warriors getting the best of Dwarf Veterans and furthest to the right, the Dark Elf lizard-rider cavlary finally gets in a charge, chushing a regiment of Dwarf veterans. The cavalry was, in turn, smacked into by a Dwarven Walking Fortress, while on the far side of the scrum, Elf horsemen joined in.

It was rather late in the evening - about 11:30. We'd been playing for 10+ hours. After discussing things, the writing was on the wall for the forces of evil. We were too spread out, the Dwarf guns wouldn't stop any time soon and there was no way we were going to get past the Dwarf Hero and one of those damned Walking Fortresses into the tunnel. Although we'd fought a good fight, it was just not going our way. We shook hands and gave the Dwarves the victory.

With Sword and Shield impressed everyone, including a dyed-in-the-wool GW Fantasy player. The system is solid and mechanically it's great. My troop stats took some heat, but to me the question seemed to be about how "out of balance" the two sides should be. The Dwarves are extremely strong in ranged combat while the Demons are extremely strong in melee. The Dark elves are "OK" shooters and good in melee. It was floated that both sides should be move averaged out. My feelings are that, at least with this scenario, it should have been very much like a "Starship Troopers" last stand situation in which the shooters are fine until they get pounced, at which point they're screwed. Food for thought anyway...

We all had a great time and although I'd have liked to have gotten a third game in, by midnight we were beat. Thanks to everyone for coming by, throwing dice and pushing toy soldiers around for a day. Good Gaming!

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