Monthly Archives: July 2012

Liftwood & Steam: Commerce Raid

On July 21st, several of the usual suspects showed up at my place to give my latest VSF air-naval rules a spin. I drew some inspiration from the Seas of Steel rules that we have played in the past, and melded it with ideas taken from a few other sources.

The game was straightforward. A British dirigible convoy, escorted by two squadrons of Aeronef, were set upon by a French commerce raiding flotilla. After the French withdrew, one of the British squadrons gave chase. The escort commander, suspecting a trap, moved most of the remaining squadron up into the thick cloud cover above, staying just low enough to track and follow the dirigibles below. The plan was to lure more French raiders in to attack the poorly defended convoy.

The British transports and their escort sail steadily toward their destination. As always, click to view a larger image.

A French commerce raider flotilla in two squadrons moves to attack the British convoy.

The British pursuit squadron rushes to the rescue of the dirigible convoy.

The convoy sat at the middle of the table, moving toward the northeast edge. A French flotilla entered sight from the northwest, rushing to intercept the poorly protected convoy. And the British squadron that had hared off after the earlier attackers makes best speed in line astern from the southeast, trying to rejoin their charges. This sets the stage for the game; the remaining British ships are hidden on the table, waiting for the right moment to descend and attack.
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Big Game Hunt – Play Test

While several our members were having fun at Historicon, four of us met at Bill’s, first for an Aeronef game (see separate report) and then for a play test of Mexican Jack Squint Presents The Lion Eats Tonight from Brigade Games.

The “hunting” fields are all ready for our intrepid adventurers.

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Air power leads the way

On Saturday July 7, 2012 the Jackson Gamers played a 15mm WWII game at Jay Stribling’s home in Jackson MS. For rules, we used our variant of the Memoir 44 boardgame rules which we tenatively call “Memoir 45.”

The Blasted and Bombed battlefield

Two stands of infantry replace the four figures of the boardgame to designate an Infantry unit – with a marker behind it showing 4 strength points. One 15mm model tank represents an Armor unit – with a marker to its rear indicating 3 strength points for Mk IV tanks or Sturmgeshutz vehicles. And lastly the Memoir 44 game’s artillery units are replaced by two bases with 81mm mortars – the marker to the rear showing 4 strength points.

American players: Jim Pitts (on left) and Bill Hamilton (on right)

The German players were Jay Stribling and Phil Young. Each of us had an infantry battalion with two tanks. Two more companies of infantry and six tanks came on as reinforcements.

The American commanders were Sean Pitts (on the right flank), Jim Pitts (Overall commander – in center) and Bill Hamilton (left Flank).

Another view of the Battlefield

The battle is just beginning with American tanks and infantry visible at the top in the distance. The chaos, fires, and destroyed units are the results of the American aerial bombardment on July 25, 1944. After the attack, General Collins attacked with his VII Corps and within 2 days had broken through the German lines.

A German Flak 88 knocked out by the air attack

You can see American artillery fire impacting on German units in the background. We have a “move deck” of cards for each player to use for his units, an “Artillery deck” to control off-board artillery arrival and a “Special deck” to generate odd occurances – such as “friendly fire” artillery hitting one’s own troops.

An American P-47 fighter swoops down to strafe German infantry

The allied fighters were the bane of the German players. Every turn seemed to bring another of the loathsome “Jabos” (Fighter-bombers) to bomb, rocket or strafe us. And where was the Luftwaffe? We still know nothing of them!

Knocked out German tank and cowering mortar squad.

The American artillery and air power blasted every German that they saw. The Germans seemed to get mainly “No Guns Available” cards for thier off-table artillery fire. The Americans got a few of those also, but mainly they were able to get fire missions when they needed them.

Another P-47 attack

This fighter roars down a line of German platoons attempting to damage them all. While this attack may not have been totally successful, the American Air was terriby bothersome to the “pleace-loving” German army.

An American Flamethrower tank in action

As if conventional weaponry was not enough, the Americans had two flame-thrower tanks. They employed one to evil effect, but several turns later, a German Panther destroyed it. The other flame tank was still waiting for the German armor concentration in the center of the battlefield to be reduced when the game ended.

German artillery impact on their own troops

One of the “Special deck” cards for each side is one entitled “Enemy Fire Targeting Error!” This allows the player who would normally be on the receiving end of the off-board artillery fire to relocate the impact point to any spot within six hexes. There are only 2 or 3 of these cards per deck and both sides triumphantly made the other side “eat” some of their own shells.

A view of Hell!

Toward the end of the game, the center of the battlefield became a cratered burning mass of knocked out tanks, and dead German infantry. All of our Mortars were destroyed, all of the infantry and tanks on the left had been knocked out, and only two Panthers (damaged) and a Tiger held the center. The American numbers and fire-power had told, as the game-master had known that they would.

The angel of death in the form on the olive-drab P-47 can be seen on the left, busily harvesting souls.

The center holds - barely

This is another view of the destruction in the center. The three German tanks shown are the only Axis forces on the left and center of the field. Phil Young, commanding the German right flank still had one platoon of infantry and a Mark IV tank, but he was too weak to come to the assistance of the center.

The Collapse of the German Left

Jim Pitts tanks are nearing their objective – to exit the battlefield into the German rear in this photo. Sean Pitts American right-flank infantry was held up only by the rough terrain and the constraints of the movment cards.

While technically the Americans had not met their victory conditions – to exit forces into the German rear – they were about to and we ended the game at about 2:15 pm. The German players could feel good about thier resistance and the casualties that they had infliced on the Americans. The Americans could relish the fact that they had triumphed over a very strong defense.

A good time was had by all!


Wings of War Games, July 4, 2012

On the Fourth of July, a small number of us met at Jay’s to try the Wings of War rules.  Bill has the WW1 set and Ed has the WW2 set, so we tried them both.  Once we got a handle on the rules they seemed very straight forward and fairly easy to remember.

Jim “Col Campbell” flew these planes during our Wings of War games.

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German Counteroffensive

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