Thursday, April 11, 2013

I have a rendezvous with death

The field of Mars

We played a game last night which was all the better because it was unplanned.  I've been meaning to try some Savage Worlds for a while and there seemed no point in missing the opportunity. We've played quite a bit of SW, but it's all been in the black powder era.   This was a Cold War fight during the (thankfully fictional) Soviet invasion of Central Europe. I just picked up a few figures, threw some buildings on the table and came up with a quick game. 

The scenario was that a British army helicopter had shot down in Holland while carrying several senior officers. The crash had been spotted by a foot patrol from the Loamshire regiment who were closing in to check for survivors. Unfortunately, a Soviet fighting patrol also spotted the crash and have been sent to investigate. 

The Villainous LeGlace twirls his moustache

 The players in this instance were the Villainous LeGlace, a treacherous and dastardly member of the fourth estate, who characteristically played the Soviets. England, home and beauty were represented by the Unlikely Douglas McKenzie, noted scientician and punster. 

The gun group covering the advance of the manoeuvre group across the disputed barricade

The figures were Elheim Soviets and Liberation/RH Models Falklands War British. The helicopter was from a part work magazine and the terrain is a mixture of Dapol plastic kits and whatever I had to hand. 

Apple blossoms fill the air

We played on the kitchen table as the War Room is still out of commission  though I am very, very happy with the progress that has been made.  Note the typically Dutch field of tulips. 

At this stage, the British had advanced up to the helicopter, while the Russians were dashing through the town.

The British patrol leader, called Rupert naturally enough, slots a Russian in the semi

Exchange of fire from the house

There was a prolonged firefight between the first Soviet squad in the semi and the British group who were pepper potting forward to the helicopter. The glass at the rear is full of Crested Ten, a birthday gift from Villainous LeGlace, no doubt purchased with the filthy lucre he earns by doing down the widow and orphan. My knowledge of whiskey is slim, but this is was very, very good and certainly worth the shattered lives and blasted reputations. 

Rupert spots his opposite number (not pictured)

As it was a playtest game, we kept the number of characters (as opposed to squaddies) on the table low. However, a potentially game changing shot happened when the British officer in command of the patrol spotted his opposite number and snapped off two rounds. These would have killed him out right, but for the use of Bennies (a sort of fate point mechanic that allowed special characters to re-reroll to not die). 

It may be I shall pass him still

The Russian officer badly shaken is dragged behind a house by his radio operator and sergeant.  Unlikely McKenzie was greatly pleased by this, sadly the rest of the section and in fact the British shooting as a whole  was not up to the same standard. The GPMG in particular would have made any musketry instructor weep. 

Smoke appears

The second Soviet squad completes it's flanking maneuvre, while the Loamshires ransack the burning aircraft. We had forgotten the burning helicopter would block line of sight, despite establishing that it would at the beginning of the game. I added some pillow stuffing as a visual aid. 

Russian loitering - err - flanking around a gentleman's convenience

While the Soviets flanked the British position, the Loamshires discovered that both senior officers were killed in the crash. However, there were sensitive documents on board that would be of considerable use to the Soviets and Lt. Bare realised that whatever happened these must be kept out of their hands. 

Some scarred slope of some battered hill

As we were still getting to grips with the rules, there was a sudden outbreak of going prone which improved everyone's chances of survival. It was interesting to see the difference between the Soviets constant full auto and the semi-automatic fire of the British. More games are needed I think before we'll really see the difference. 

The Soviets close in. 

With the British hitting the dirt and trying to pepper pot backwards, the Soviets managed to keep their flanking manoeuvre going with the grenadier in the squad on the left managing to incapacitate several of the squaddies while they were falling back. 

 One interesting thing that we noted was that troops rarely became suppressed (shaken in SW parlance) because guns are so deadly, troops were either killed outright or were unharmed. That might need some work - assuming we're playing the rules correctly. 

The British continue to fall back, the GPMG gunner providing (remarkably ineffective) suppressive fire

Savage Worlds, rather like The Sword and the Flame, uses cards for determining initiative. This pack are a rather beautiful set from Hungary, a gift from my good friend TK, whose blog you'll find here

The Soviet officer keeps his rendezvous

The Soviet platoon leader pushed his luck a little too hard and was nailed by an eagle eyed chap with an SLR. Too little, too late sadly as the Soviet attack was already going in. 

A grenade explodes

The GPMG gunner cops it from the Russian grenadier while the rest of his section spattered the fleeing Brits with bullets, downing all but one.  The lone survivor ran back to his friends, grabbed the plans and made for the table edge. It's all up to you now, Trev. 

Heading for the hills

Trev, the pride of the North Shields Polytechnic Club, races for the table edge, the sole survivor of his section. With a twirl of his moustache, the Villainous LeGlace picked up the dice and a fusilade of shots rang out. 

Three inches!

A single round catches Trev high in the back and he falls instantly, not knowing what took him, three inches from safety. On the whole, an enjoyable game and one that was in balance towards right to the last turn. It took us an hour and a half to play through with constant reference to the rules to make sure that we weren't making any mistakes. 

The game was good, the company excellent and the whiskey very fine indeed. God is in his heaven and all is right with the world. 

What more could a man ask for? 

Other than a GPMG gunner that could shoot straight, of course. 


  1. Very enjoyable write-up, Conrad! Thank you very much. I am hugely looking forward to further playtesting of the system and setting.

    Your, etc.

  2. I could tell it wass Holland from the tulips. Lokking at the size of them i suspect a degree of genetic modification....

  3. I love your terrain mat, though some of the printing looks out of scale?

    1. It's not actually mine - it was bought by Mrs Kinch on a holiday to Waterford.

  4. Hi Conrad,

    The Loamshire regiment? I do believe the yeomanry thereof are mentioned in Squire Haggard's Journal - a copy of which resided on my bedisde cabinet along with the Rubiyat of Omar Khayyam and the Bible.

    Great write up and I liked the realistic gaming mat....

    All the best,


  5. I think you may by mixing up Haggard with Sapper, though I forgot that they were the Royal Loamshires.

    By the way, I must thank you for introducing me to the Rubiyat of Omar Khayyam. A debt I can never repay.

    1. Hi Conrad,

      I am unfamiliar with Sapper - can you provide some detail for me please? I am very glad you enjoyed Omar - I have two versions, a cheap paperback Wordsworth publication and a hardback edition.

      I am not surprised you enjoyed him.

      All the best,


    2. I can think of no better introduction than the newspaper advertisement that launched his hero, Bulldog Drummond.

      "Demobilised Officer finding peace incredibly tedious would welcome diversion. Legitimate if possible; but crime of a humorous description, no objection. Excitement essential."

      Sapper was the pen name of Herman Cyrill McNeille, the author of Bulldog Drummond.

      You'll find the first novel here.

  6. Looks like you guys had a great time! Love the props!

    1. It was excellent - I'm looking forward to a repeat performance.

  7. Hmm, post disappeared.

    Looks like you guys had a great time. Love the props and the scenario was really cool.

  8. Sorry old chap - I moderate the comments to keep out riff raff - glad you enjoyed it.

  9. Agreed with the preceding comments! Looks like another fantabulous game, old bean. Now, how's about passing a glass and that bottle, eh? I could use a nip or two this week.

    Best Regards,


  10. Superb write up and made all the more enjoyable for seeing just how convivial the evening was.

  11. Great game but that table top is doing my eyes in ! ,Tony