Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blast from the Past: Battle of El Obeid, Q&P AAR

As my Earthlink-based gaming website will disappear one day, I am reposting fun AARs onto this blog. Here is a Colonial battle from December of 2009. It is set during the Mahdist rebellion in which a discredited Pasha Hicks invades the Darfur region of The Sudan. We use my friend Tom's For Queen and Planet rules. He is the author of this battle report.

The battle for El Obeid swirls around an Ansar strong point

On Sunday we played a scenario of Queen and Planet that was semi-historical. Early in the Mahdist revolution, a mercenary named Pasha Hicks (a discredited British officer) was sent into the Darfur region with 8000 penal and 'conscripted' police troops. They were guided by what were suspected Ansar sympathizers that lead them around in the wilderness until their food and water was exhausted. They were then surrounded by about three to four times their number of Ansar and in a battle that lasted over three days were killed, virtually to the last man.
My wing of the Anglo-Egyptian relief force advances
In our semi-historical recreation, I assumed that their guides were loyal/competent and were able to guide them through the wilderness and avoid the Mahdist forces operating against them. They arrived at the capital of Western Sudan, El Obeid, and gave battle to a force of Ansar just slightly weaker than they were. Our battle consisted of about 2900 British-lead Egyptians and 2800 Mahdists in a struggle on the outskirts of El Obeid. Joel and Mike lead the Egyptians and Allen and Keith commanded the Ansars.
Joel's command leads the assault on the Ansar-held town
The Ansar deployed hidded in the buildings, slums and orchards of El Obeid and the Egyptians marched forward to recapture the city. As the battle developed it was clear that the two Egyptian commands had Shiek Keith's single command in a bit of a 'pinch.' Shiek Allen rather leisurely (but brilliantly) redeployed to assist his commander in chief. The Ansar had deployed a battery of old brass cannon on the roof of the most forward home and since this home had been designated by the Egyptian CinC (Joel) as the initial objective to sieze both Colonal Mike's command and General Joel's command quickly closed in on it. Unable to removed the cannon from the rooftop. CinC Keith decided to support his forward position by pushing his Jehadia infantry forward to support the cannon.The home and the battery quickly became the focus of the entire battle with the Egyptians twice storming the building and attacking the battery on the roof only to be driven away by extremely well timed counterattacks from Sheik Allen's redeploying command.
Our "high water" mark - the charge of Hick's Own Cavalry penetrates into El Obeid
In a final outpouring of bloodshed both CinC generals were killed or routed and with casualties on both sides at 50% or higher and with both commanders fallen, the Egyptian and Ansar armies broke and fled the field.
Successful Ansar counterattack drives the relief force back from its hold on the town
I was trying out some new thoughts/rules on urban warfare and most things seem to work well except close combat vs units in buildings. It didn't seem reasonable to give overlaps against units inside buildings, but it also didn't make sense to give hard cover to them either. Thoughts on how best to handle hand to hand with one unit inside a building and the other attacking from outside would be appreciated.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blast from the Past: Europeans Try to Protect Retreating Column,Q&P AAR

The action is fast and furious as the allies try to hold off the advance of a Chinese/Cephlapod force to save a column of civilians
My Earthlink-hosted gaming website is disappearing, so I am in the process of salvaging some AARs from there and reposting them on my blog. Here's another one using Tom Graves' For Queen and Planet Colonial/Victorian Sci-Fi rules. 

No, it hasn't been four months since we've gamed on Sunday night. It's been that long since I updated this part of the website, though! Time was mostly the reason I hadn't gotten around to it. The guys had written entertaining reports of the gaming action. I had pictures of some of the evenings, though the troubles with my camera contributed to the sporadic updating. Also, I was worried about space -- since Earthlink gives me only so many megabytes for storage for this website. With learning how to "hotlink" -- which means storing the photos elsewhere but linking them here so they appear part of the page -- that concern should also be one of the past.

The introduction below was written by the GM, Tom Graves:
A Chinese and Cephlapod force on the march
Sunday evening we met to try the new rules for Queen and Planet VSF. These included, the joker card inserted into the action deck to represent all uncontrolled movement in the game (warband charges, damaged machines, positional instability of water and air craft, also movement of CinC between units). Also, the modified morale rules to limit units that will require a morale check from taking offensive action without making the check.

There was a black smoke projector on board, which required wind rules, but it never was able to fire on the enemy because the Chinese and Allies troops were so intermixed (I'm not sure the Cephlapods would have been as careful of Chinese casualties as Joel played them, but that was good for us).

I liked the joker card very much, it made the warband charge that much more uncertain for both sides. The ability of the warband to charge as many as three times in a turn gives them the leg up they need against the firing superiority of the colonial troops, so that is still working well. The positional uncertainty of the flyers was also interesting as I found them much more reasonable in their (in)ability to just hover around and shoot things. Now they are more "strafing-like."
Russian machine gun company and rifles momentarily check the Chinese/Cephlapod advance
The set up for the game was that the Sino-Cephlapod alliance is in pursuit of a column of retreating civilians. The Colonial allies are tasked with securing the route of escape and holding against the onslaught. The idea comes from the scene in the most recent War of the Worlds where the American armored brigade hopelessly engages the Martians in an attempt to allow the civilians to escape. This battle was quite a bit more balanced than the movie!

An 'impassable' river bisects the board with only a single bridge crossing it. Two villages are along the road that runs from West to East toward the safety of a port and the evacuation ships. Ceplapods, Imperial Chinese, and Boxers are pursuing from the west and the Colonial Allies are deployed hidden to try to defend the line of retreat (represented by a supply wagon marking tail end charlie of the refugees).
Chinese forces close in on the west village
Each Command (3 Sino-Cephlapod and 3 Allied) had a special ability of some sort (The imperials knew of a ford across the river, the Italians had minefields, etc). Joel had the Cephlapods, Keith the Imperials, I had the Boxer command, Allen had British and half of the Russians and Mike had Italians and half of the Russians. So, of course the Russian command were sacrificed at the point of the spear! However, they acquited themselves very well, and absorbed an enormous amount of Chinese punishment before being forced to withdraw across the bridge. 

Mike's "death trap" was never completely sprung, but it held up my Boxer command as I probed for a solution. We played six of the expected 12 turns necessary to complete the scenario. It is hard to tell what the result would have been. The Boxers overran the West Village, but it looked near impossible to have secured the bridge by the turn 8 deadline. Each side had one command destroyed, one crippled, and one about half dead by the end of the game. It definitely could have gone either way. 
The gallant Russian guard battalion makes a stand in the center of the west village

And here is Joel's, always humorous take on the action:
The European Powers relief force had collected the threatened civilians and were working on a slow, methodical  evacuation. The Allies dug in to provide full cover for their citizens return to safety.  The Boxers were on the massed on the right flank of the Imperial Chinese, the Celphalods on the left and back slightly.  

The battle opened with a Russian machine gun raking an advancing Imperial Chinese unit, then the Boxers took a slower, caution advance on the village.  The Cephalods seemed fascinated at the hilariously primitive Sikorsky flier.   After two turn their side bets were much more important than the battle in the village & wheat fields.  The Italians had  hoped on a crossfire to stop the Boxers, but the Russians, to their right were pressed and wavered.  
The allies are slowly shoved out of the west village by the Boxer assault
Then the sound of gongs, firecrackers and bugles signaled the Imperial Chinese & Boxers to charge on village.  The Cephalods were still betting that the Sikorsky flier would/wouldn't crash any minute now. The Italians pulled back in order, then the Russians ran passed and the Cephalods were disappointed the Sikorsky flier, wobbled & dipped but survived the entire battle.  Once the British finished their tea & biscuits they were ready for any fight.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blast from the Past: Haitan Food Riots, Wars of Insurgency AAR

So, as my Earthlink-based gaming website is on its way into internet oblivion, I've decided to re-post some of the AARs here on my Lead Legionaries blog. This is one from when we were regularly playtesting my modern Africa rules, Wars of Insurgency. No photos this time, but some may enjoy it anyway!

Haitian Food Riots
So, with the digital camera at the repair shop, no pictures of our modern warfare session at Joel's this past Sunday. Here's our host's account of the game he ran:
• Some called it "Bizzaro world"
• Shots fired at UN troop. They immediately "arrest" a pig on suspicion. The pig squeals. National Police loot (secure?) NGO rice bound for the poor of Haiti.

Joel's report:
It was my attempt at simulating the Haitian Food Riots of 2008, with Mike's Wars of Insurgency rules. The government players were Keith, with two squads National Police, and Zeke, with one squad of Brazilian U.N. troops. The well-armed mobs were Mike, Steve V and Allen. The government troops set up in the middle of the board, while the wild mob surged over two edges.
The government kept the initiative, but had trouble finding enough good cover. Keith took cover in a warehouse and the cheap 'No-tell Motel.' Zeke was on the road when shots rang out and took the nearest cover he could find. The Brazilians took cover in a pig sty and dealt with Allen by giving well-aimed fire we expect from the UN troops. Keith's squad in the Notell Motel suffered a terrible toll in a crossfire from Mike and Steve. 

The mobs broke into warehouses and grabbed anything of value. Keith retaliated by effectively dropping flash grenades into the mob in the street and stairwell. The mob moved back. Then, tragedy struck as the UN came under fire and three soldiers from Brazil were killed (the paperwork hasn't stopped yet). The mob was declared the victor and ruled the field that day.
Meanwhile...somewhere in dusty hot Really, really, bad.....
Afterward a few of us stuck around for a quick comparison glimpse at Firepower modern fire skirmish rules. A British foot patrol (Allen) was ambushed by Sheik Kover (Keith), mujaheddin leader. The mujaheddin draw first blood and Pvt. Kilkenny, S.A.S., dies a gruesome death. After initial panic and shock, the British strike back by dispatching Ali, then Muhammed, and finally AliAliMuhammed. The mujaheddin quickly withdraw...