Sunday, February 25, 2018

D-Day - Part One

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"That chap right there, I just plain don't like him." Gen. BRO discussing tactics with his Field Generals. The Americans plan was basically get up the beach and work the rest out later. 

One of the advantages of Memoir '44 is the wealth of scenarios that are available and the fact there have been so many battle reports recorded.  This allows you to work out roughly how slanted the scenarios are one way or the other.  I have had a hankering to do a D-Day game for quite a while and while our much ambitious ideas haven't come to fruition, nor are they likely to, I was glad that we managed to tackle it to some extent. 

Troops wading through the surf at Omaha beach
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We played three game on the day.  Omaha Beach, followed by Sword Beach and concluding with St. Lo.  This made it much easier to organise as I didn't have to write any scenarios and I had a good idea of what the win/loss percentages are. 

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A spot of Robert Capa style camera shake as the lads dash up the beach. 

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I was lucky enough to get a lucky eBay from a chap who was disposing of a large collection of landing craft. These are I think Airfix and aren't waterline models, but seem to work fairly well just plonked on the mat. 

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The venerable Airfix D-Day beach defences looking out over the seawall. 

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Another shot of the Airfix D-Day defences, Conflix pill box in the middle distance. 

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The American Commanders ponder their options.

 Note the shell craters in the foreground indicate hexes that are out of play. 

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General Clint Fatzenberg discusses the utility of using the seawall as cover. 

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We also had some very special visitors. Boomerowski Junior's clenched fist and gimlet eye were exactly the sort of thing that the Americans needed to give them some backbone. 

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The Americans are making some progress, but are taking casualties. 

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The landing craft don't actually have a game function in this scenario. They were mainly used for set dressing. We used them to count victory points. Each time an American unit was killed, we placed an explosion marker on one of the landing craft to keep score. 

A Frenchman awaiting liberation

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This chap might look a bit familiar to some of the more sharp eyed amongst you. I was given this figures as a gift several years ago by my good pal Mr. E. We used them to keep score during the game. Each time a German unit was killed, we added a French civilian to the cafe. 

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Having discussed their strategy upstairs the German team descended to view the flotilla facing them. 

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General GT Boomerowski orders the troops ashore, cigar clenched between his teeth, while Fatzenberg's DD Shermans take the sea wall. 

I didn't actually take any more pictures of this game as the whole thing was fast moving. Omaha Beach is a very tough scenario for the Americans and they lose 80% of the time.  The result was about on par with previous games, but hard fought none the less. If the Americans can get armour off the beach things can get very dicey for the defenders, but alas it was not to be. 

To be continued with Part Two: Sword Beach. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Audiobooks & An Osprey Bargain

I've listened to audiobooks for a long time, but I really upped my consumption last year.  I have a couple of avenues for these, Librivox, Audible, etc. But I have been backing a Patreon run by a chap who glories in the name, Felbrigg Napoleon Herriot.  FNH does a mixture of stuff, mostly 19th century fiction, classic sci-fi and military history. I've been listening to Felbrigg's stuff for several years now - probably my favourite piece of work is his recording of Oman's "History of the Peninsular War".  He's currently working through volume 4.  I had read the first three volumes in hard copy.  It was a pleasure to revisit them in audiobook form.  I only regret that I didn't pick up all the volumes of the Spellmount edition when I had the chance, but I am slowly finding them second hand. 

FNH has recorded Stephen Crane's "The Red Badge of Courage" and made it freely available on YouTube.  If you'd like to have a listen, click on the image above. If you'd like to back his Patreon, which is less than the price of a pint a month, you should have a look here

If your tastes run to weird fiction, you should have a look at Edward French. He records classic horror and science fiction short stories.  He puts them all up on YouTube and they are absolutely free. French is an excellent reader and you should give him a try. 

Click on the image above to hear his recording of Algernon Blackwood's "The Empty House". 

The Men Who Would Be Kings

The Men who would be Kings by Dan Mersey is an excellent set of rules and we've been playing it for about a year now. I recommend them unreservedly.  They are currently half price (£6)from the Osprey website.  If you've any interest in Colonial Wargaming, they are well worth the money.   

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Aboard the Space Hulk “Memory Lane”

In the grim dark future there are only cardboard dungeons 

Target and Savage came over for a game last week.  We had intended to play "The Men who would be King", but Target's eye lit up when he heard I just gotten my paws on a copy of "Space Crusade". This and Heroquest were firm favourites when we were about 10-11.  So we pulled out the old girl and put her through her paces. 

Savage acting with typical magnanimity after snatching victory from Targets grasp

The result was interesting.  The game is simpler than I remembered, but has some intriguing wrinkles.  I enjoyed it's simplicity and the sense of nostalgia that playing it evoked, but also I liked the situation.  Heroic adventurers exploring a dungeon in space is evocative stuff.  I wish GW would release a game that bridged the gap between this and Heroquest.  The idea of exploring Space Hulks is a powerful one, but could benefit from some more "character". 

Mr Target damning the dice 

We used a mixture of the figures that came in the box and some painted 40k chaps I had knocking around.  One thing that struck me was that the game was quite luck dependent - the lack of an overwatch or interrupting mechanic made it difficult to deal with stuff that wasn't immediately blasted. 

Service in the Space Marines is a grim humourless  affair.

Space Marine Target giving the Chapter Approved signal for 
“Oh Dear, that is a Dreadnaught - isn’t it?”

We played two games in quick succession and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Target reckoned he'd give it another go, but Savage thought that it wasn't a game he would play again other than for nostalgia's sake. 

Lt. Randius Quaidius of the Imperial Fists bites the dust 

The final two marines stalk through the Space hulk before being mobbed by gretchin 

Honours were even between with one victory to the Marines and one to the Alien Commander. My love for the Rogue Trader setting might set me to do something more with the game, but the answer to that question remains a resounding maybe.