Sunday, December 4, 2016

First game of our BA2 Greece Campaign and going for Baroque at the Club!

Mate Ian at the club last Wednesday chided me for yet again neglecting my blog and not posting for weeks - and clearly spending way too much time on #@$%ing Facebook. Guilty Yer Honour! To make amends I'm posting on not one but TWO games I had recently.  The first was my introduction to Bolt Action Ver 2 - which rules we tested out at 3D6 in Tuggeranong. Now I always give a decent establishment a plug as well, hence the link and this one to their nicely done pub next door, the Loaded Dice which has a decent bar and hot food reasonably priced mere steps away from your gaming table (food delivered while-u-throw dice!)

The first game was several weeks ago and featured by LV33 tankettes uncharacteristically successful and my Bersaglieri getting into all sorts of trouble in town. No matter as the purpose was to get use to the new revised version of BA - which is a quantum improvement over the first IMO.

The stirring sight of Italian LV33s coming to the rescue of the DAK. Hilarious!
 A rather good table with my very own 12' desert battle mat made from a canvas drop cloth from Bunnings (all of $24 - the rubber backed ones are $36 but better mats).  The second game of BA2 also went well as the first of our Greece Campaign series. In this as Italian commander I am taking a rather un-historical tack by successfully invading Greece from Albania along the coastal route.  It is a surprise move so the poor old Greeks are heavily outnumbered by Italian armour, mobile troops, artillery support and even air cover.  My opponent Mark put up a game fight (note to any Italian generals: avoid hand-to-hand with Greeks!) but pounded by a preliminary artillery bombardment (which also heralded my rolling of more boxcar D6 for any game in living memory!) which absolutely hammered the Greeks who had no defences other than a solitary bunker with an AT gun in it - an almost impossible nut to crack as it turned out.
The Greeks were outnumbered 3 to 1 and faced a horde of tanks supported by mobile infantry: the lead truck is stopped by taking a few hits - the Bersaglieri section dismount and advance across open ground at the Greeks hiding amongst the grapevines. They were reduced to half strength but kept on going - not bad for Italians!
The Regia Aeronautica also enjoyed uncharacteristic success being called in by the FOO and taking out the Greeks only artillery ordnance (a WWI vintage Austrian howitzer) virtually before it could fire a shot. The explosion marker on the other side of the grape vines marks another hit on the Greeks only HMG - which otherwise should have done great execution on the Bersa out in the open.
  Even the Italian tanks performed well... mostly. One copped several hits from the AT gun in the bunker and refused to go anywhere but the other two used their plentiful MGs to hose the Greek infantry among the grapevines.

Mark's Greeks were plenty tough - twice they had to be taken out in hand-to-hand and even hugely outnumbered, inflicting as many casualties as they suffered in the process. Like the Japs, you do NOT want to get into fisticuffs up close with the Greeks - they'll hurt you every time!

Italian armour advances. The flame symbol on the bunker in the distance is a rather optimistic (as it turned out) aerial attack marker. 
The Italians didn't get it all their own way - the AT gun in the bunker took out a truck and some of the infantry section it was carrying, forcing the rest to bail out.
The second wave of Italians, regular infantry plus supports, were most reluctant to come on before all the fighting was done, so just in time for the awarding of medals.  The Greeks bunker was a true beast which was impervious to everything thrown at it. To kill anything in the bunker you literally need to roll three 6D6 in a row, otherwise the only way to take it is with infantry assault. That's hand-to-hand. Against Greeks. Not good!

The tank made no impression as had the aerial and artillery bombardment beforehand. It was up to the brave Bersaglieri to frontally assault and pin the crew inside while the rest went around the back to get inside.  The two surviving crew took the leading NCO and his oppo with them. Another was given a large AT hole in him trying to throw grenades etc into the embrasure. Mumma mia!
The game at 3D6 was really enjoyable and we got through four turns in three hours as we became more familiar with the rules. Mark's Greeks put up a credible performance considering the odds stacked against them but the next encounter will be in the mountains to the north and they will only be outnumbered two to one next time - and no tanks!

At the Lanyon club last Wednesday Doug and I finally had that TYW game of Baroque ('Europe At War 1550 - 1700') we'd been promising to do for months. Its an unusual Impetus-style rule system that reduces things to simple mechanics rather than multiple factors, so once you get used to how it operates, the game flows and its quite enjoyable.



Unlike other systems it does not require hordes of figures, which is also useful. Two 650 point armies going at it will give you a good three hour game. Doug fielded his Ottomans and I my Poles taken from the Baroque lists. The only criticism is that artillery seem completely useless. You really don't need to spend the points on them as they do very little anyway. I realise that artillery were not as effective during this period but I think they probably go too far the other way (I may be a bit harsh here - if you buy a Master Gunner they are more effective). No matter - it doesn't spoil the game and the combat is, as it was at the time, rather brutal!

Polish army with Pacerni closest and Rieter behind. The other Pacerni are on the other side of the useless gun and Winged Hussars next to them.
The infantry - must be a later Polish army as only one unit of the fearsome Haiduks (closest) are allowed in the army list.  The rest are all standard Pike and Shot.
After being rebuffed by Doug's Sipahis, my Pacerni are hit - hard - by his ferocious Quapukulu Sipahis heavies.
My Pacerni hold and a second unit hits his Sipahis in the flank. In the background my victorious Hussars (scratch two units of mounted Sipahi Bow) are about to get their comeuppance with a devastating volley or three from the Janissaries. 
Reduced to just one effective figure the unit somehow remained on the field with Doug frustratingly unable to get the one extra hit that would have destroyed them.
Closeup of the endless melee between the Polish Pacerni and the Sipahi (Deli?) heavies.  The Ottoman heavies are as hard to kill as my Polish winged hussars.
The Pacerni in turn were hit by Doug's Sipahi/Deli heavies.
  After running out of time the infantry on the right didn't really get engaged.  The Haiduks volleyed the Ottoman bow (Anatolic skirmishers?) into oblivion but Doug's advancing Janissaries were unable to get to grips with the Poles. On the other flank Doug's Ottoman Dragoons (lurking in the rough) were destroyed by a rolling attack - effectively a caracole by the Reiter and one of the Pacerni units - who rode up to the edge of the rough, fired then were replaced by the next unit etc. With Doug's entire right wing (a third of his command) gone it was a convincing Polish victory  BUT Doug generously explained how the rules worked and I got lucky dice when I needed them.  After a frustrating start where most of my units failed their initiative several times while Doug's entire right wing division advanced, I got lucky with the melees. All in all an interesting game to play and - importantly - gave me the excuse to get out armies I haven't played in years. Great fun. We'll be playing more Baroque in the future.

'Pulled' the post for a final bit of editing as I just noticed the counter has turned over 150,000 visits. Wow - has it been that long? A HUGE thank you to all the followers and visitors to my humble blog.

Cheers,
             Doc