Sunday, November 25, 2007

Blast from the Past: Anger in Katanga, Wars of Insurgency AAR

The Warlords plot their moves in this modern Africa Wars of Insurgency scenario

Here's another blast from the past - a Wars of Insurgency AAR from the early days of playtesting our modern skirmish rules set. This was in the days of limited web space, so I apologize for the scarcity of photos.
Anger in Katanga: Wars of Insurgency AAR
I ran an impromptu scenario using our (Wars of Insurgency) rules for Modern Africa. Three players fielded troops representing the UN-spearheaded invasion of Congo's breakaway province of Katanga. The invaders had one UN force and two ANC (Congolese National Army) forces. The three defenders represented the militia of Katanga, stiffened by white mercenaries hired from Britain, France and Belgium.

It was a bloody battle, with the two Congolese Army groups virtually wiped out: Only the UN force remained relatively intact at game's end. The defenders suffered gravely, too, as the Katanga militia were eliminated, and both mercenary forces suffered light to moderate losses. On the strength of that disparity, the game was declared a narrow victory for the defenders. The invasion would be forced to pull back and regroup, with doubtless more UN waffling on whether to continue participation in a civil war in the Congo.

Closeup of Keith's troopers and "Technical" with HMG
Keith enjoyed the game to email us all his account of the action, which I've taken and published here.

We were pretty angry, as our native Congolese seemed to be taking the brunt of kills on both sides. On one side, we had Congolese Regulars (my troops) in the center, the UN (Joe) occupying part of the town on the right, and a mixed force (Joel) on the left. Pthomas was opposing Joel with some Rhodesian mercenaries, Allen faced me with the usual militia gaggle, and Dave faced the UN in town with some Belgian mercs.

I had a jeep with HMG, a 4WD truck with a recoiless rifle, and two squads of regulars. Allen had three milita squads and a technical with a HMG. Pthom's ptroops seemed to be professionals, and he had a mortar, an armored truck, and a recoiless rifle. I never did quite figure the composition of Joel's force, while Dave and Joe seemed to have an almost identical mix of troops -- all regulars.

Allen and I chewed each other's forces to bits. Noted hits included eight of Allens militia dying from a well-placed recoiless rifle round, and four members of one of my squads dying from a well-placed RPG round. Dave and Joe played Stalingrad in town, although Dave did abandon the direct assault when three of his guys ran into the street on turn one, and two were killed by a recoilless rifle blast!
Joel delayed Pthom's troopers for the entire game, dying to a man. He did make a superb sniper shot, killing the driver of the armored truck, though.

My jeep moved out towards town to get another shot on Allen's immortal technical (his gunners, alas, all too mortal). My HMG gunner killed the technical's gunner, and then succumbed to a perfect storm of RPG, small arms and LMG fire from Dave (hiding in a little window in town, and just waiting for a juicy target).

Unknown to me, Pthom had been moving his mortar in a very stealthy manner, and just before the end of the game, he dropped a surprise mortar round in the midst of my last four healthy troopers - then rolled no skulls for hits! Boy, but those guys dispersed on the next move! 

At the end of the game, the rebel/merc side was deemed to have the advantage. While the UN troopers were solidly fortifed in town, there was very little left to support them. I had two squadlets of three men each, while both vehicles were wrecks. All of Joel's troops were dead. So, Pthom and his heavy artillery (mortar + recoiless rifle) could blast Joe out of town room by room, and Daves mercs would gun down any that tried to flee.

I had 3 BIG SURPRISE hits during the game: The first was Allen's militia RPG getting four of my squaddies in a blast and killing all four; The second was my jeep moving into a place where Dave could take a shot on them from town; And the biggest surprise was Pthom's mortar round from nowhere. In each case, I was concentrating on the battle in front of me, and not observing other places of danger. This is one of the more realistic aspects of the game. I think I inflicted 2 BIG SURPRISE hits - the RR shot into the woods that killed eight of Allen's militia, and the turn one RR shot that killed two of Daves troopers.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Blast from the Past: Radio Fryer, Q&P AAR

As my Earthlink-based gaming website heads towards internet oblivion, I am reposting some fun AARs using the rules we play onto my blog here. This is another game using Tom Graves' For Queen and Planet rules. 
Martian/Mahdist Commanders (L-R), Dave, Joel, and Tom survey the battlefield and the advancing Italians
So, Tom, feeling sorry for my poor Colonial Italians that I'd painted up for his Victorian Sci-Fi/Colonials system, designed a scenario so the oppressors of East Africa could take the field. The background behind the game was this: A Martian vehicle had crashed in Sicily, providing the Italians with a chance to salvage some advanced technology. Jealous of their fellow European powers, they located their research facility in their East African possessions. Their experiments attracted the attention of Martian scouts, who were promptly shot down by the Marconi Radio Cannon. Realizing they were discovered, an Italian field force was dispatched to secure the Research Facility, while simultaneously, the Martians sent a Mahdist force to capture it.
The battle report below was written by one of the players, Joel Sams.
Madhist/Martian force of Flying Machine, Beja Rifle, Beja Warband, and Ansar Cannon advance
Battle Report: Radio FryerMartian/Sudanese Recon Force: Commanders: CnC Joel Sams, Tom Graves, Dave Welch
Italian Rapid Reaction Colonial Force: Commanders: CnC Mike Demana, Joe Merz, Keith Finn

An Italian Radio Cannon brought down the Martian S.S. Millennium Faulkner.  A Martian/Mahdist Recon forces dispatched to investigate had a meeting engagement across the fast moving Dheep Dudu River, with severely restricted crossing points.  The Sudanese forces, on the right flank (Dave), moved quickly to capture Cannon Hill, but the high frequency and highly accurate cannon fire (Joe) drove off all the natives, repeatedly. 

Meanwhile on the left flank (Ptomas) and the S.S. Faulkner were on the verge of being overrun by Eritrean Italian Askaris (Keith).   Martian cannon fire slowed their advance enough to allow a fanatical tribal warband to maneuver onto a Italian flank.  What followed goes down in tribal history as "their finest hour" (if they could tell time that is!). Hats off and a Martian Salute ('nnack 'nacKK!) to Ptomas for a job well done. 

Meanwhile the Martian center (Joel) command developed slowly due to indecision, formation changes and the river crossings.  When the battle draws to an exhausted end, the New Sudanese Army "won" but too few survived to exploit the victory.
Italian center advances in column over a hill towards an East African village
Thanks again Ptomas for running- Keith for letting us use the club house.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Blasts from the Past: Raid on Police Compound, Wars of Insurgency AAR

Knowing that one day my old Earthlink-based Lead Legionaries website is going to die, I saving some fun After Action Reports. Here is one from the early playtesting days of Wars of Insurgency. We didn't call it that then, the final title being the third working title I used. The pictures are neither large nor numerous, as this was in the early days of website hosting when space was at a premium. I hope you enjoy them!
Keith advances his Professionals towards the police station, while Allen watches the bullets fly
 Raid on the Local Police Compound

Joel staged another (Wars of Insurgency) scenario using our rules we have been playtesting. As GM, Joel controlled the local police forces guarding a police station / local force compound. Allen, Keith and myself were cooperating but not necessarily friendly rebel forces whose goal was to raid the compound. There were political prisoners inside from our various factions, as well as a cache of weapons and various other supplies we needed. Allen took his usual all Militia force, augmented by a technical -- a jeep with a HMG to provide long range covering fire. Keith took the opposite -- one squad of professionals. I took a two squad force, with small arms and RPGs.
Allen's technical tried to provide covering fire for his militia, but his losses kept piling up
Allen opened the firefight at long range with the HMG, picking off defenders when they left their sandbagged positions. He also blew a hole in the barbed wire fence for his militia to pour through. Great plan, except that the policemen upstairs in the 2-storey building gunned down any militia men who came close to the opening. Meanwhile, Keith and I worked towards the compound from the opposite side. Keith's professionals picked off many of the policemen shifting positions to confront us, while a lucky RPG shot by  me blew a hole in the side of the building. Once all the policemen in our area were down, my two squads left the buildings and raced for the opening.
My rebel forces prepare to enter the police station and free our the nifty order markers I created?
I was first through and my militia squad gunned down the remaining defenders, darting to the basement to free our prisoners. We also looted the supplies, while Keith's clever professionals raced upstairs and found the cache of weapons. Allen's militia men were last through, and got the leftovers. It was a rousing rebel success, and we even maintained our cease fire as Keith and I had too good of loot to jeopardize it by turning on each other. Allen's losses were too heavy to be strong enough to challenge either of us for our spoils, so we darted back into the jungle to count our newly-won spoils. Meanwhile, Joel counted up the points to see who the winner was...and guess what? Keith's STILL winning...!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Blast from the Past: Clash of Warmachines, Q&P AAR

My Earthlink-based gaming site will disappear before long, so I'm salvaging some fun AARs using the rules we play and reposting them here. This is a August 2007 report of a battle using Tom Graves' For Queen and Planet rules.
British forces roll towards the Sudanese, led by their steam-powered Imperial Walker
Tom Graves ran his eagerly-anticipated Colonial Sci-Fi game at what is becoming our regular gathering spot, "Keith's Clubhouse." We had a great turnout -- six players and Tom as GM. Keith Finn, Joel Sams and I were the Sudanese defenders of a zariba (thorn fort) and village. Allen Sams, Dave Welch and Steve Verdoliva were the imperialistic British attackers. The scenario showcased Tom's new resin British gunboat and his scratch-built Arab dhow. Nice eye candy for the tabletop, though most of us felt they should be able to DO more...
Tom's nifty new gunboat was great eye candy on the tabletop!
It was a knock-down, drag them out fight, with the British overpowering the Sudanese. Our Martian weapons ended up outclassing and defeating their infernal machines (Steam Tank and Walker), but that was our only real success. In the most one-sided butt whupping that I've been a part of recently, Steve Verdoliva's elite British force handily thrashed my command.

In Tom's game, you roll 2d6 vs. your shooting or melee factor. The less you roll under it, the more casualties you cause. Steve's dice rattled off "3's" and "4's" repeatedly against me, then after he'd wiped me from the board, marched on and started to chew up Joel's force. He capped his evening rolling back to back snake eyes against Joel! Even when Joel snatched his dice away -- forcing him to roll different ones -- Steve slaughtered him. In short, his elites fought like elites, while our tribesmen fought like...well, we had somewhere more interesting to now!
The bitter end -- British crash through the zariba fort, despite the efforts of the Martian Scout Walker
It was a great scenario, and really did come down to the end, as both sides had suffered grievous losses. Both commanders continued to pass their army morale checks to avoid quitting the field, so it dragged on to the bitter end (for the Sudanese). The British seized the ford, and was able to secure a crossing to relieve General Gordon at Khartoum.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Blasts from the Past: Ambush of the Minister, Wars of Insurgency AARs

Knowing that one day my old Earthlink-based Lead Legionaries website is going to die, I saving some fun After Action Reports. Here is one from the early playtesting days of Wars of Insurgency. We didn't call it that then, the final title being the third working title I used. The pictures are neither large nor numerous, as this was in the early days of website hosting when space was at a premium. I hope you enjoy them!

Ambush of the Minister of Interior (March 25, 2007)

My friend Joel offered up another interesting scenario set in modern Africa using our (Wars of Insurgency) skirmish rules. It was meant to be a small game, four players, lasting perhaps two hours or a little more. Each side had only 100 points of troops, roughly 50 per player. That translated into two small squads of 3-7 figures each. Allen and I were the rebels set to ambush the returning Minister of the Interior in his fancy schmancy new car. Tom and Keith were the local police force and the National Security troops, respectively, out to protect him as he drove down a dangerous stretch of road in the Congo.

I'll let Joel take it from here, with his tongue-in-cheek report:   

Modern Africa: A delicious mix of small arms, ambush & greed
 PopoBawa and his sidekick Ruben vs. Local Police/National Security forces
Friday's troops check out the Lushoto Leisure Lounge prior to the shooitng staring
"...My name is Friday Ibo and I carry a badge (....most of the time).

"I am a cop, this is one of the stories from the dirty streets of Tanga where I work. The National office put an alert out and our entire substation found ourselves working a lonely stretch of Lushoto/Tanga Parkway. With orders to stay on point, eight hours of hot dusty work only turned up...a stolen pickup truck. I decided to question Madame Fifi at the cat house. The other police of the station thought the roadside Lushoto Leisure Lounge, across the street look suspicious, so we split up. Time passed slowly, Madame Fifi claimed to know nothing, I vowed to get to the bottom of it. Headquarters called on the radio and told us to look alert, the Chief of Staff for the Dept. of Interiors was returning from an OPEC meeting.
The Minister of the Interior and his escort on their way back from the OPEC meeting
Rebels lay in wait for the Minister and his convoy to arrive on the lonely stretch of road
BOOM! A lucky, long range RPG shot takes out the truck carrying troops escorting the Minister
 "We moved to the roof and watched the truck escort and his new Roll Royce raise an ample dust cloud. That was when Mhamed spotted men with rifles and movement in the palm grove. I gave orders to open fire, then a burst of AK-47 fire came from the old brick factory across the blacktop, too. It was an ambush, and only PopoBawa would be so stupid (or drugged out) to try it. The parkway was a perfect crossfire hurricane as everyone went to full auto to kill the rebels. The heavy truck escorting the Chief of Staff swayed and bucked from bullets, but didn't slow down. We killed three or four rebels as the National forces sped under our position. The truck stopped next to the palm grove, security men jumped out, fired into the grove, and hastened back to the truck.

"The Rolls Royce had long ago turn off the parkway and pull in behind the Lushoto Leisure Lounge. That was when I first saw the red berets of the National Security forces as they slowly made their way toward the old brick factory. Then the shot up truck crawled back onto the blacktop and began moving down the road again....until a rebel pickup truck pulled into a blocking point and more men opened fire. The men in the truck and the pickup traded fire up until the time the RPG from the left (long range shot) hit the truck on the extra jerry can on the side. Everyone in the truck was lost, the few rebels left alive got away in that pickup truck. It was much later that we learned the Chief of Staff was on the floor of the truck, along with all the important contracts with ExxonMoble..."

The scenario was a blast, as Tom summed it up the next day on e-mail:
"Thanks to Joel for running and everyone else for playing this scenario. It was a hoot and I recommend it for convention play. It would easily be finished in a 3 hour time slot. Between the incredible good and bad luck that was going on in this game. The out-of-control truck (driver shot on first round as it sped down the road at 18") the fact that it slowed to a stop without crashing with the HMG gunner still firing at the rebels on both sides of the road, and with the troops hopping out of the back to dispatch one rebel before hopping back in to continue driving down the road to their doom only inches short of escaping off board, I have to say this was one of the most hilarious evenings I have spent in a long time.

Well done PoPo, but we still have the Rolls Royce!" -- Tom Graves

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Blast from the Past: Ethiopians vs. Somalis, Wars of Insurgency AAR

Here's another AAR from days gone by when we were playtesting what would become Wars of Insurgency -- my modern skirmish rules set. Back then, web space was at a premium so I apologize for the scarcity of photos.
Allen's mechanized Ethiopians who we would get the better of on the first evening, but struggle against on the second
Ethiopians vs. Somalis using (Wars of Insurgency)
 Our Sunday night group was shrunk to just three of us, so Joel thought it'd be the perfect time to try out his Ethiopian vs. Somali scenario using our (Wars of Insurgency) modern skirmish system. Joel had worked up a map, given us forces, and let Allen and I plot the location of our troops, and the arrivals of reinforcements. Our scattered squads would then march to contact, and the battlefield would be selected from the topographical map Joel provided each of us with. A clever scenario idea, and one that would end up taking two gaming nights to play out.

As the Somali Islamist militia, I was in an interdiction role against a more mechanized Ethiopian and Somali Provisional Government force. The way it played out, we had one small scale battle the first evening, and a much larger one on the second. It also worked out that the others weren't able to attend either night, so it was just Joel, Allen and I for both Sunday evenings. In the first battle, my squad of Somali militia held off the enemy for long enough for my Regular troops to get in position -- with a recoilless rifle in tow -- and blast the enemy militia. Allen's reinforcements of Regular troops were also mauled and retreated. Meanwhile, both our forces were marching towards the engagement, and at the end of the evening of map moves combined with battlefield action, Joel felt he had a good scenario generated for next week.
My Islamist Somali militia advance to the fight
On the second evening, Allen's Ethiopian backed force got revenge, and decimated my main militia force. My recoilless rifle proved key in chasing off his flanking force, allowing my Islamist militia to control one side of the field. Try as we might, though, we were unable to get enough troops to bear against the more mechanized and heavier armed enemy. Our mortar never found a good firing position, while his HMG-armed vehicles chewed up all who got near them. When it came time to call the evening of fun, we had a couple RPG-armed men stalking the enemy vehicles, but the chances of getting a shot off and making it score big -- plus taking the central hill which was the battlefield objective -- didn't seem good. Although Allen wanted to call it a bloody draw, I gave his forces the edge as hitting his vehicles before my RPG gunners were shot down seemed slimmer odds than him simply holding his ground.

A fun scenario, and one that proved the flexibility of the system we've developed.