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Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Granny and Pops - Moonshine in the Ozark Mountains

Captain Andy Donovan had received some hard information as to the whereabouts of a Moonshine Still in the Ozark Mountains, he has a crack team of Revenue men and women at his command and they were in position early one summers morning determined to destroy the still and take down the Moonshiners.
The birds had just started to sing, the sun was rising over the mountains, it’s going to be a bad day for some hooch makers he chuckled quietly to himself.
The teams have already been briefed, we are not expecting much opposition, the still is operated by an old couple, known locally as Pops and Granny, helped by their 3 grand daughters. Some times there are a few bikers hanging around, chasing after the girls we think, but they are not expected to be here today.

Text relating to a photo is below it.
A small dirt farm in the Ozark Mountains, a few sheep, goats and a couple of pigs.
It would be subsistence except for the field of cannabis plants and the moonshine whiskey still.
Encounter markers are the green pennies. I posted this on the LAF Dec 2016 so hopefully you have not read it but if you did this may save you having a strange feeling of dejavu.
The Cannabis Plants, in disguise - I know they look very much like last years Christmas decorations.
There is the Still up ahead by the cabin. – to you it might look like a leaky cauldron on an open fire, but in my games you have to use your imagination, - can you see the still now?
Turn 1 - the team led by Elvis, (yes he has left the building) move down the far side of the road towards the square cabin and the still. Turn 2 they continue through the field, checking out the 1st encounter marker on the way which turns out to just be the wind moving the crops around.
The main team of 4 agents led by Captain Andy Donovan (in the trench coat) moves up the road heading for the red pickup truck. Mad Dog Maguire is just passing the marker stone for Bess, Pops old wolfhound.
The 3rd team led by Field Agent Samantha Price (on the left) climbs over the fence and into the cannabis field. Humm smell that weed. – note the encounter marker just ahead.
Not a good shot but it shows the character cards I am using, because I’m soloing these games, any decision I have to make can be guided by the attributes, rolling on a D6 and getting below the characteristic, except affinity, which I will describe later.
Moving through the cannabis, the team come across Tank, a biker tending the crops, or maybe testing the crops – who knows.
Samantha, reacts 1st and rushes Tank before he can get to his gun, the ensuing fight is inconclusive, but then Jennifer Ryan joins in, Tank knocks Sam down but then Jennifer does the same to Tank.
In the mean time Andy Donovan is searching the red pick up and finds nothing there, the other team who are unlucky enough to have Elvis leading them is bogged down in the field off on the right.
You can see the Still much clearer in this picture, humm it is a leaky cauldron.
Andy Donovan rushes round the cabin on the left with Alexandria Lorne following closely. Eric Yonthorn and his sidekick Mad Dog Maguire, can be seen going over to destroy the still. Just then Daisy May (one of the granddaughters) comes out of the cabin behind it.
A better shot. - Eric shouts “hands up – we are the law”, (Been reading too many Judge Dredd comics) Daisy has her gun slung on her back and passes her brains test and fails her guts test, so does as they say, raising her hands high.
Andy Donovan bursts into the log cabin, followed by Alexandria Lorne, there are 3 Bikers in the cabin – Fat Willie and Eight Ball are both asleep, but Big Dave is not. Don’t know who is more surprised, the Revenue men who were expecting maybe a couple of old folk and some girls or the Bikers who were expecting breakfast in bed.
Big Dave, reacts fastest and gets to his gun, boom boom, 2 shots - one at each of the Revenue persons, misses them both but they jump back out of the cabin faster than they went in.
Dave is using a double barrelled shotgun and is now out of ammo and needs to reload. He starts to shake with the adrenalin, it’s going to take him 2 active moves to reload.
Meanwhile Tank has been handcuffed. Straight to jail (do not collect £200) unless he gets rescued.
The shotgun blasts alert all the Moonshiners, this shot shows the rest of the characters activated by the noise, in the background Jack Handsome asleep in the brown truck, Betsie May in the outhouse and Billy the Wolfhound (son of Bess whose grave you saw earlier) is just over the log wall behind Andy and Alexandria.
Samantha and Raymond move up to the back window of the shack and peer in. Eight Ball notices the shadow across the window and swings round and fires with his Thompson and completely misses, Sams nerve holds and she puts a bullet in the middle of his chest and he falls to the ground groaning.
Betsie May looks out of the outhouse her feet are just in camera on the left, she wants to shoot Alexandria in the back, but fails the affinity (bad deed test) so shouts throw your guns down or I will kill you. Alex throws her gun down but Andy Donovan swings round and they both fire together Betsie misses and Andy does not, she drops to the floor and doesn’t move again.
Moonshiners 0 – Revenue men 4.
Billy the dog reacts now and he jumps the wall attacking Andy knocking him down. Alex picks up her gun.
Jack Handsome in the truck does nothing, (failed activation) too much whiskey last night I guess.
The final character to activate due to the shooting is Ellie May (in the distance on the road), she sees Daisy May with her hands up and calmly walks down the road and shoots Eric. Mad Dog Maguire goes “Mad” and fires both pistols at Ellie and misses, she jumps over the fence into cover. No one is watching Daisy so she pulls her gun and shoots Mad Dog - just a flesh wound, but puts him out of action for 1 turn.
Seeing this exchange of fire the guys in the field open up on poor Daisy, she also takes a flesh wound.
Ellie fires her 2nd shotgun barrel at Mad Dog and he drops like a stone, Elvis and crew don’t like the look of these 2 girls and retreat back to the wall. Which is good because I don’t like to see them walking on top of the crops!
Jack Handsom in the truck shouts at Alex drop your gun but she thinks bugger this and fires at him, unfortunately for her he was ready for this and fires first but misses, her return shot goes wide and he then fires back and again misses but her nerve goes and she ducks back behind the cabin.
Billy the dog tears Andys throat out and he dies. Jennifer is still at the window and shoots Fat Willie, hitting him twice and he dies. Big Dave is still cowering in the corner of the cabin and has not finished loading his shotgun. Jennifer Ryan move to the edge of the field with her prisoner to see what is going on.
It’s all starting to get a little confusing.
There is a sudden silence, (almost everyone failed their activation tests) Not Alex though she peers round the edge of the cabin. Billy the dog sees her, she shoots him, there is a deafening “CLICK” out of ammo.
She dies.
Jennifer sees Alex go down retires with her prisoner, (wrong pay grade for this kind of ruckus) but Raymond hearing the screams looks round the cabin. Billy sees him and attacks but is beaten back.
Jack Handsome enters the cabin, sees Samantha in the window, they both fire together, she misses, he misses with one pistol and runs out of ammo with the other, they both lose their nerve and duck back.
Ray knocks Billy the dog to the ground and Samantha runs up and shoots the brave dog. Come on lets pull back she shouts, we need more back up, more guns, and bigger guns as well.
The final action of the day. Big Dave has finally got his gun loaded and moves to the window just as Sam and Ray enter the field he lets them have both barrels (will he never learn) misses both of them and ducks back when Sam returns fire.
Game Over
Moonshiners 4 Revenue Men 3 and 1 dog. Plus 1 prisoner.
The Moonshiners, minus granny and Pops and Billy the dog who was fetching a bone – whose bone no one knows.
The Revenue Men
When the gunfire started I checked each encounter marker for the characters to react. Once the characters are revealed I then replaced the encounter markers that are not activated such as the store of whiskey and the clucking hens and reshuffle those cards back in the deck so that certain objectives still have to be discovered and I don’t know where they are.
I had 13 encounters planned, but there are 16 cards so 3 blind ones. This is so that even though I know what all the encounters are. I don’t know which one is which and I don’t know which ones will finally turn up. It keeps me in suspense.
This can skew the game, in this case 2 of the last 3 cards that were not turned over were Pops and Granny and as they are the 2 best characters on the Moonshine side it looked like it was going to be a bit of a white wash.
Well done Billy the dog.
The next morning the Revenue men were back in force, they brought the local police force, State Troopers and the National Guard, the FBI sent a representative and the Governors Office had one of their men sit in as well.
Granny and Pops were waiting with their lawyer J. Noble Daggett and a quiet looking lady no one knew. There was a sweet sickly smell in the air, those that knew realised it was cannabis but smell ain’t court room facts. The field of cannabis was gone, bits of burnt vegetation could be seen, but the ground was newly ploughed. Pops worked all through the night to get this done by daybreak.
The Still and all the whiskey was missing as well, so too are Daisy May, Betsie May, and Ellie May. No one knows where the Still and whiskey are, or at least they are not telling. Betsie was not killed by that fiend Andy Donovan but badly hurt and along with Daisy is in hospital with their sister Ellie standing guard.
Who’s in charge here shouts Lawyer Daggett, I’ve got some suing to do and we might as well start at the top. It all goes quiet.
No warrant was shown, no ID, no warning apart from some clown imitating Judge Dredd, you are in a lot of trouble here. It goes even quieter. Two young girls shot to ribbons, they don’t have no parents, just being looked after by this old couple, Grandparents who are old enough to be drawing their pensions.
Let me introduce Miss Gemmima Smith – she works for the Washington Post and is very interested in this story.
At this point the FBI, National Guard and State Troopers all started to drift away. It didn’t end well for the Revenue Men – but no one likes them anyway.
If you are still here - thanks for reading and any comments and thoughts are warmly received.
Cheers

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Palaeo Diet – The Hunt

We interrupt our normal scheduled Nuts WW2 games to go back to the Neolithic period for a bit of Dino hunting. I have found fast Internet in a Bar - Whoopee.

The Shell Clan a small Neolithic band of Hunter/Gatherers need sustenance. The sea shore was providing slim pickins, shell fish are not very filling, they are too primitive to make nets to fish and so slabs of meat were called for.

I've written about the Clan that are now known as the Rock Ugly Clan earlier on the Blog but these were the first games I played using the Palaeo Diet rules and using the fair haired Shell Clan and I posted them on LAF back in Dec 17, so sorry if you've already read them, but if your memory's like mine you might have forgotten by now.
Just a thought but if anyone is offended by semi naked 28mm figures you need to see a professional Doctor about it, but look away now ;-)

The Clans are based on the film 1,000,000 years BC, the fair haired Sea Shore Clan and the Dark haired Inshore Clan, it saved wearing white and black hats I suppose. I think I may have got confused naming the characters in my Clans who were all supposed to have been in the film but it's not important.

This was my 1st game using the rules. having read some of Nic’s game reports (Nic is the rules writer) it seemed to me that the rules and concept of the game should provide the sort of fun and slightly chaotic games that I like.

The Shell Clan is watching the Food move slowly westwards, they have been driving them for three new suns across a desolate landscape and the Food is slowly getting weaker. On this new day the sun will rise and the Clan will make their kill.

Their only hope of survival in this savage land is to use their one big advantage over the wild and generally very big things roaming the plains and that is their brains, and so they had a plan.

The females of the clan were adept with a sling and had a good supply of rounded river stones. They would push the Food into the arms of the men, who were clumsy and stupid but strong and brave.

Tohana and Kee’Ak the males would move around the beasts and hide, then the smart ones Ayah and Luana would drive the Food on to them and into the trap. I know it’s not a very clever plan but it could work.

Tohana and Kee’Ak are seen here circling around the Food.



Close ups of our bronzed and magnificently muscled Cavemen

The Brains of the operation.

Ayah and Luana are driving the Food into the trap.

Kee’Ak has worked his way round in front of the Food and Ayah pelts the Beast with stones from her sling and it starts to lumber forward towards Kee’Ak. I love it when a plan comes together.

The Food comes within range and Kee’Ak throws his spear – and MISSES. Oh bugger that thing has big horns.

In the background you can see the Beast that Kee’Ak missed didn’t gore him but is lumbering away from him and towards Ayha.

In the foreground Luana has pelted her rump steak with stones and wounded it, causing it to run from her.

The Beast is getting close to Ayah, she slung stones at it and so it turns round and moves back to Kee’Ak. It must be getting dizzy right about now.

1st Rule of Hunting “Make your prey dizzy”

It doesn’t look as if anything has happened here but Kee’Ak has charged forward, but failed an activation, the Beast has attacked him, it’s horns missing vital organs by a fingers thickness. The beast backs away and Kee’Ak attacks again, the beast roars at him and Kee’Ak retreats away from the ferocious sound and they both end up where they started.

2nd Rule of Hunting “Stick your prey with the sharp pointy thing before it sticks you”

Luana drives her beast towards Tohana, well this was the plan.

3rd rule of hunting “Always follow the plan”

It charges forwards and attacks him but causes no damage, he responds with a wicked blow from his trusty stone axe and gives it a wound. The Beast moves back and Tohana has run out of activations and lets it go.

Luana tries to attack the Beast but she fails an activation and it attacks her first, the fighting is fierce, first one strikes, then the other, back and forth. The beast finally sticks her with one of it’s horns and that nasty looking mould line causes a jagged wound.

In the other hunt Ayah has pelted the Beast with sling shot but this only makes it angry and it charges at her, fortunately it fails to move far enough to make contact.

4th Rule of Hunting “Always stay calm”

Rather than run away she pelts it, yet again missing and it attacks her but she dodges nimbly aside.

5th Rule of Hunting “Practice more with your slingshot”

Kee’Ak lopes towards the fight to help Ayah and the beast reacts by moving away.

Tohana rushes to aid Luana but fails an activation and the beast attacks Luana before he can get there. This is getting serious, the Beast is no longer behaving like Food as it gives her another wound and she drops to the floor.

6th Rule of Hunting “Don’t fight creatures bigger than yourself with a knife”

Tohana wounds the beast and in return the beast wounds him before backing away, narrowly missing Ayah in the process.

I keep the wound counters for the figures on their Stat Cards but I haven’t made any for the Dino’s so they are on the table, it takes 4 wounds to kill a Giant Grazer and so one more and he is down and the clan can feast.

Ayah fails an activation and the beast attacks her but doesn’t do any damage. She however sticks it with that little sharp pointy knife and causes the final wound that kills it.

7th Rule of Hunting “If you must use a knife use a sharp one”

In the background Kee’Ak moves in and attacks the other beast behind Ayah and wounds it. The fight continues until the beast moves away.

Tohana fails an activation over on the left side of the board and so the beast attacks Kee’Ak wounding him, then Ayah charges into the fight but the beast backs away, she pelts it and it changes it’s tiny mind again and attacks her causing a wound. Kee’Ak is back in the fight and fails his attack but the beast backs up and they decide to let it go. They both have a wound and another could prove fatal.

8th Rule of Hunting “Don’t play with your food”

The game scenario calls for the clan to gather 4 food units and one of these Giant Grazers is worth 4 units so a win but at a cost, all the clan are wounded and Luana has 2 wounds which could prove fatal.

Final Rule of Hunting “Only kill what you can eat”

Or should that be “You only eat what you can kill”.



So to round up, I did not have a Clan leader and had not given anyone a trait before the game, my usual half ars*d approach, but the campaign rules provide a recovery chart and an advancement system.

Luana had 2 wounds but a good roll on the after game chart means she survived and is able to take part in the next hunt although is lame from the leg wound and can't move fast.

Tohana only has a little scratch and recovers quickly with no ill effects.

Kee’Ak’s wound was more serious and if he had had any traits he would have lost them, but he is OK for the next hunt.

Ayah’s wound was also a little more serious than was first thought and she also is going to be lame and slow in the next hunt.

Tohana was the only one to recover without a penalty and so he gets the man of the match award and gains a trait and becomes Alert. A useful trait for a hunter intent on survival on the edge of the world.


Just some thoughts on the game and rules.

The game lasted about 2 hours, I had spent some time creating a reference sheet and pretty much have everything on 2 sides of A4.

I found the rules worked well, they are not too long and I had 2 reads through before the game and obviously referred to them but apart from a few things they are clear and easy to understand.

I did struggled a bit with the concept of the activations.

A hunter may activate and carry out between 1 and 3 actions depending on die results, this means he could move into contact but not be able to do a fight action, whereas a Beast making an attack action automatically fights.

When a hunter moves close, to attack a beast, the beast reacts and takes its action before the hunter, so I was finding that the beasts usually got the 1st strike.

When I had a beast between 2 hunters it behaved a bit like a yoyo, going back and forth between them, they move directly away from the cause of the action.

I had 3 games in 1 day and didn’t feel at the end that I wanted to change anything yet and I am a great rules tinkerer, so that is in their favour.

Final note - you may have been a bit surprised to see waggon tracks across the board, I believe this is evidence that the wheel was discovered much earlier than previously thought. I am sending my findings to National Geographic.


Well if you are still here - thanks for reading and your thoughts and comments make it all worth while.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

NUTS- All Come Free - Game 3

“Hiya Sergeant – Reagan isn’t it”, “Ryan Sir” I replied” “Yes of course”    It's the Captain again he’s getting closer with my name, now 2 weeks and 2 days another week maybe – if I survive his mad missions.

“Well we have a little problem, the Germans have infiltrated our lines and there are hostile patrols in our rear, the 60th have a couple of squads out looking in their back yard and I said we would do the same. I would like you to take your squad to this map ref and search and destroy anything you find”.

“You are up to strength” he kindly enquired. “No Sir we lost Perrin and a couple of the men were hit yesterday, not hospitalised, but maybe could do with a couple of days rest”. “Humm – yes Sergeant we all could do with some rest, see Lt Prior, we have a fresh draft of men, ask him for a replacement and go and find me the enemy”.


Great!!!!




So here we are, Lt Prior gave me a new man Peter Haining fresh out of training and wet behind the ears Rep 3. The map shows the grid reference I was given. We were advancing through the forest when our left flank men Dokes and the new man Haining both shouted over that there was enemy movement off to our left. A full squad and 2 panzerchecks, they both opened fire and hit 1 man, turned out later is was their squad commander which explains why most of them ran to the small woods to their left for cover and those too far away dropped to the ground.

As they ran into the woods they resolved a PEF which opened fire on them, but it quickly transpired that for them it was friendly fire from another full squad of Germans already in the woods, the 1st squad realizing they were friends didn’t return fire which from my point of view was a bit of a shame, nothing like seeing your enemy shoot each other.

I pushed Cpl Bolton forward with some of the men on my right with instructions to swing round and take the Bad Guys in the flank, while I set up a firing line in front of the woods to keep their heads down. Odds of 2 to 1 against us and another PEF on the board unresolved. Maybe I should be thinking of pulling back.

All was confusion in the woods, the Germans were inactive for 3 moves which gave me time to get the BAR into position but as soon as he was set the guys who were prone in the field decided they needed to get into the woods with their buddies.
Their plan was for a guy with a panzercheck to stand and fire it at us and then all run like buggery, simple plans often are the best. Well simple or not this wasn't going to work against McKlusky with the BAR, as soon as the Panzercheck man raised his head, McKlusky shot him, 2 of the remaining guys ran for cover and he shot them, the last guy decided the ground was his friend and hugged it.

Cpl Bolton and his men ran into the other PEF which turned out to be some trigger happy GI’s, who opened up on him, they were fortunately bad shots, Bolton kept his calm and didn’t return fire. He tried to get them to join up with him in his flank attack but their leader Cpl Jobbsworthy refused, it wasn’t in his orders.

Bolton moved to the edge of the tree line preparing to charge into the German position but by this time they had sorted themselves out and a general fire fight ensued all along the line.

We had been knocking them down slowly up to this point but as they were all now lining the edge of the wood I thought it would be a good idea to drop a grenade on them. This put the fear of God into them, - that’s our God, not theirs.

McKlusky took one in the shoulder about now and his loader Smith picked up the BAR and carried on firing, albeit at a slower rate. Dokes was down and then the new man Hainning was hit, so there's just me and Smith on our left flank who were still firing.
Over on the far side of the woods the German casualties had been horrendous, Bolton had only lost 1 man and so he roused the rest of them to charge, but they decided it was a dumb thing to do and failed the test, so carried on shooting. The last couple of Germans decided that they would high tail it out of Dodge which meant that Bolton was firing into the flank of the men facing me. This was too much for them and they surrendered.

We captured 5 men, killed 9 and wounded 10.

We should get mentioned in despatches for this - medals galore and 5 weeks in Paris, but as the Captain still hasn’t got my name right, this probably won’t happen.

Haining had a bad wound and will not re-join us until mission 5, he also drops Rep 3 to 2.
Dokes is OK and back with us.
McKlusky is also back, must be the whiskey - helps reduce swellings and infections as my old Grandma used to say.
Samson was also badly hit and will not return until mission 6 and he drops from Rep 4 to 3.
Ernest Mears the youngster lost his nerve a bit and was drifting back out of the line, but Wilson seems to have taken him under his wing and so instead of dropping in Rep he has advanced from 2 to 3.
Raymond Cornwall is holding his shit together well and increased from Rep 3 to Rep 4.

This is the chart at the before Rep changes.

I’ve just re-read this report and find it a bit confusing knowing who was where – I expect you did too – call it the fog of war. - Sorry

If you are still here - thanks for reading and I greatly appreciate any thoughts and comments you make.
Cheers

Sunday, 29 July 2018

NUTS - Western Union - Game 2

“Hiya Sergeant” - Yep that’s the Captain again, I just know he doesn’t remember my name, but he’s been here 2 weeks and 1 day so hopefully soon, when he is ready to give me the furlough that I and my guys deserve he will say Hiya Sergeant Ryan, but until then !!!!

To cut a long story short, we are to baby sit 2 Engineers, seems the telephone line from somewhere, to somewhere else, has been cut by artillery fire, ours probably, but it needs repairing and so we have been chosen to protect these upright citizens, Tex and Rex, don't know their real names, they're not one of mine so don't count.

Sounds a bit safer than the last mission he sent us on. Mind you if it was safe why would they need protecting.

Great!!!


No issued map so I’ve drawn one for you.

I had McKlusky with the BAR to go wide to the north, into the forest to get a good field of fire to protect us the best he can. See ‘BAR’ on the map, no it's not a place of rest and relaxation. :)
Tex was at the rear protected by Cpl Bolton and a couple of men. Me and 2 of the guy’s led out on point with Rex - also protected by 3 of the guys, following us.

Any of us can find the breaks in the wire but only the Engineers can repair them - so I have to keep them safe.

So I am close up front when disaster struck, we ran into a panzercheck team, they reacted faster than we did, dropping a charge right on top of us, Perrin went down, blood and intestines everywhere, obviously dead even before he hit the floor, Mears was down screaming, I’m hit, I’m hit. Me – well I was bowled over by the blast, hit my head on a bloody big stone but couldn’t feel any other damage. Good God I’m stunned but alive, all I need to do is get up, which was harder than it sounds.

Wilson starts running, fast, off to my left, trying to out flank them and get in a shot, but they dropped back fast through the tall grass and into the trees. Rifle shots and Wilson goes down, oh no, not Wilson too, fortunately he had just dropped prone to avoid the fire.

I was back up on my feet, shouting for Bolton to take 2 men and get off to my right and pull round onto the Germans, we should catch them between Wilson on one flank, me putting some fire into them from the front and Bolton and his men on the other flank, seems under control, hells teeth there’s only 2 of them. Bolton’s men start to move forward when phutt the damn Panzercheck again, Cornwall goes down OOF and Bolton is down also, stunned and with blood running down his face but still alive and looking feisty and really pissed off.

Wilson took a shot and the German loader is hit and goes down, one man left and we are in the clear. Just then 2 armoured cars burst through the grassland and straight at us. They must have been there all the time but we didn’t see them, well things aren’t looking too good at the minute, all we have is grenades and guts, and we don’t want them spread all over France.

McKlusky opens up with the BAR, the bullets bounce off the cars but one driver lost it and pulled to the side, stopping before he ran into the trees and crashed - bugger. I ran forward screaming, and lobbed a grenade before I hit the ground with my hands over my head, although what good that would do I've no idea. As soon as it left my hand I knew it wasn’t going to hit, there was a loud explosion but nothing else. Must have given Wilson the idea though because he did the same, his throw was better than mine and straight into the open top of the A/C bang - you’re dead, the car erupted in a sheet of flame. The other cars driver had seen enough, he wasn’t expecting to be charged by infantry, well who would be, he did a fast turn and drove off, - Welcome to the USA.

The Panzercheck man had picked up his wounded loader and helped him back the way they had come, we never saw them again thank goodness.

While all this was going on the Engineers had found and repaired 2 breaks in the cable. We quickly checked out the rest of it, it was OK so I decided to leg it back the way we had come. This is called a fighting retreat in the text books.

“Move it guys”, I shouted as we pulled back with the wounded into our original deployment area - taking up covering positions “Come on McKlusky”. We covered the BAR team as they ran from their position in the forest to join us.
We were just in the long grass when a full squad of Germans came round the small wooded area in front of us.

There we were, the two BAR lads McKlusky and Smith, Me with Dokes and Wilson, the cream of the squad, the Germans never saw what hit them, 7 of them went down and the other 3 ran. I was the only casualty in the fire fight with a flesh wound in the arm, and had to be helped back to our lines. Not very glorious but we survived.

We couldn't recover Perrins body and had to leave him there in the open with no marker. The guys are pretty quiet about it, I don’t think we had a choice but it sits badly with all of us, me especially because it was my decision.

So we have 3 wounded, Sgt Ryan (me), Mears, and Cornwall, we were all lucky I suppose, nothing serious and were patched up and are back with the squad now, all a bit stiff.

Bernard Perrin RIP. our first fatality.

Wilson did well - I have recommended him for a medal, but better than that, he has gone up from Rep 5 to 6, a good result. Dokes went Rep 4 to 5 and Smith went Rep 3 to 4.


If you are still here - thanks for reading and I greatly appreciate any thoughts and comments you make.
Cheers




Monday, 23 July 2018

NUTS - Bring Em Back Alive - Game 1

The Captain called me in this morning, it’s never good, he never says “you and your boys are having a hard time and I just want to show my appreciation. I’ve wangled you all a 3 day pass in Paris and the beer and girls are on me”.

No he never says that.

The war seems to be going on forever, we are pushing hard but the Germans don’t want to be pushed, and they keep pushing back. Anyway no use me moaning, Sergeant John Ryan’s the name, one of the New York Irish, I landed in Normandy and with a couple of short breaks have been in France for around 3 months now fighting and trying to stay alive.

The squad I lead doesn't really look up to me the way I think they should but I suppose being only 5’ 6” means that’s never going to happen. Oh by the way that’s the other thing I try to do – keep the men alive too.

Back to the Captain, - “Hiya Sergeant” (I don’t think he remembers my name, he’s only been here 2 weeks) Officers, what good do they do. “Hiya” (This sound bad, he’s being too friendly) “The Lootenant seems to have gone missing, he took a patrol out this morning and only one of them has come back.

Young Private – humm forget his name, anyway it’s not important. He says they ran into an enemy patrol, the Lootenant was hit and Private What’s His Name hid him in a hollow tree before making his way back here. Anyway I want you and your squad to go and get him back, here’s a rough map, watch out for the bad guys, there seems to be a lot of them but it’s really important that we get the Lootenant back, I know his mother and I don’t want to have to write one of those missing in action letters to her, she plays Bridge with my wife, it wont go down well in the Bridge Club”.

GREAT !!!

I was home alone for 3 days and rather than do some decorating I decided to spend the time more productively and play as many games as I could of the linked scenarios The Big Hurt – using 2 Hour Wargames rules Nuts. I don’t actually have the Rule set, but that’s only a minor problem, I have used Chain Reaction their free rules for a couple of years now and I am playing solo so I can resolve all disputes amicably with myself, well usually, me and my alter ego can get a bit ansy with each other at times. Obviously I do have the Scenario book and The All Things Zombie Rules so should be a breeze.

This is the 1st Scenario “Bring ‘Em Back Alive.

Before we push out let me take a little time to introduce the squad,
There’s me on lead Sgt John Ryan, Rep 4 getting to be an old man, veteran I think is the polite term but I can still shake it with the best of them,
2nd in Command Corporal Ray Bolton Rep 4 not been with us long still has creases in his trousers but I think he will settle down.
Big Ken McKlusky Rep 5 on BAR, he plays it like a Double Bass, slow and steady, he is backed up by young Clint Smith rep 3, carrying the ammo and making sure McKlusky is pointed in the right direction, did I mention that Ken drinks!

The lead in the rifles is taken by Private 1st Class Eric Dokes Rep 4 a steady lad from Ohio, somewhere west of New York I think. Mind you most places are.
Jim Samson Rep 4,  Ernest Mears Rep 2 fresh on the last draft pick, it’s hard to say but I don’t think he will make the grade. Bernard Perrin Rep 3 the Joker of the squad, everyone likes Bernard. Raymond Cornwall Rep 3, another recent recruit.
Finaly we have Richard Wilson Rep 5, Dick is the guy you want as your wing man, if only we could fly everywhere instead of walking through this mud. He and I have been together since Omaha and we rub along just fine.

The squad is a fairly mixed bag of veterans and new recruits and it’s going to be hard work to bring them through even remotely intact. I did start this once before and was doing very well until the 3rd mission when I was getting a little careless and ran into a top class German NCO with a SMG, my men were too close together and he took out my top 2 guys in one blast of fire, then me and another guy, OD or Obviously Dead, I don’t think I have ever been so deflated after a game, half the squad was gone and I could not face rebuilding and starting again, that was 2 years ago and I think I am over it, but the nightmares still come back on those cold winter nights.

No Photos – sorry, 20mm and the table was covered in trees nothing really to see.
Here is the map I was given, pretty ain’t it. We pushed on forward slowly, keeping to cover, visibility in the forest is very close and I didn't want to run into the same patrol that had killed the last lads out here, not without being ready for them.
My plan was to do a right hook to the Firebreak, leave a fire team there, then with ½ the squad push on to the Hollow Tree, so that we could then run away due west and if any one was chasing us they would be caught by enfilading fire from the fire team and we would not be in their line of fire. You’ve all heard of friendly fire, well it ain’t so friendly when it’s directed at you.
As we moved into the forest we could hear sound – could be movement, the PEF came straight at us, moving fast.
PEF’s if you don’t use 2HW rules are Possible Enemy Forces, you throw dice - cross reference to a table and they jink around the battlefield until they come into line of sight and are ‘Resolved’, may be something – may not, Infantry in the open move 6”(my rule), these things can move 16”(Ed's rule), maybe less, maybe not at all. Strangely they introduce an amazing amount of tension into a solo game, you have a rough idea of what they may be, something we can kill or something that can kill us. It sure aint the NAFI girls.
Rolled the dice, - nothing, what a relief.
We pushed on. Cpl Bolton, the BAR and a couple of men set up the fire line on the Firebreak, the only clear line of fire in the damn place, visibility was so short we would run into the enemy before we saw them. We moved on, I made sure that Wilson (you remember Wilson – my wing man) was actually at my wing and the other 3 guys just tagged along, I hoped they wouldn’t get in the way if the shit hit the fan.
We arrived at the stream which gave a short open space so I left the 3 guys as back up to give us covering fire if needed and Wilson and I continued on to the Hollow Tree.
At this point the remaining PEF divided into 2 PEFs and came straight at us, - shit there we were, just the 2 of us, we had found the Lootenant and Wilson was busy trying to get him out of the tree, he had his hands full and me facing what could be anything.
Rolled the dice – twice and both times it was nothing just my imagination, by this time I was getting real agitated and just wanted to get the hell out, having achieved my objective without a fight I could see that we could get away without any casualties.
We were pulling back fast when 3 rounds on the trot I threw doubles for activation, I had decided that PEF reinforcements would arrive on a double, these were all low class PEF’s that is they took a bit of getting going. One set off after us, coming fast and just as quickly turned around and went back to join the others.
Come on I shouted to Bolton as we crossed the firebreak - pull back now and by god we all made it out without meeting one of the enemy, but it was tense all the way.
It seems a bit of an anticlimax now writing this but at the time I was whooping the guys on, encouraging them to get out of there before they got embroiled in a fire fight.
This is my squad, Fit A2 means they are good for the next encounter Action 2, you’ll figure this out as we go along.


I'm away for a while, not sure how long but a few weeks at least, I hope to have limited PAYGO internet so should be able to communicate but not game or post, so I have written a series of short stories from some games I played a while ago that I hope you find entertaining, no pictures, they are all 20mm and not very photogenic and the reports are meant to be Sergeant Ryan's personal observations on a war that hopefully will never be repeated.

If you are still here - thanks for reading and I greatly appreciate any thoughts and comments you make and I hope to be able to answer them.
Cheers

Saturday, 14 July 2018

The Vikings - The Saga of Argonor's Bees – The Honey Trap

Argonor is a bold and brave Viking warrior, known far and wide for his mead making and drinking but feared and respected for his prowess as a raider and warrior, you tread softly around this man. Here is his Farmstead viewed early in the Autumn before the winter snows set in.

The long house is to the right where the free folk live and sleep. In the centre is the working complex of 3 buildings where the Ale and Mead is made, cloth woven and most of the food prepared. The Granary and store house, is the wooden building on stone pillars on the far side. The bee hives next to the granary in the far distance and the building with the sloping roof nearest us is the forge and smiths work shed, it's far enough from the other buildings to avoid sparks from the forge setting them alight.

 
This is a game I posted on the LAF back in Jan 17, so yet again my apologies if you have already read it.


It had been a very successful season for Argonor, his raiding and trading had gone well, he had a beautiful dragon ship and she had come back loaded with plunder and traded goods. He had also brought a few exotic slaves, he was told they came from a large inland sea far to the south, where the sun shone all the time and it never snowed. They pleased his wife it gave them prestige. He did not believe the story – but who would.

In spite of all this he was uneasy. Things felt wrong and he had not lived to a full 50 years without respecting his instincts, he sent his wife and children off to visit her parents and told his warriors to keep their weapons close, but obviously did not tell anyone of his reasons for this, no need to look a fool if he was wrong.

It was early Autumn, the most dangerous time of the year if you were a Viking, your harvest was in, the animals were still in the fields they had not been slaughtered for the winter and so were easy to drive off. The riches from the summers raiding were still in your possession, you were still showing and bragging about them, they had not been hidden or spent.

Worst of all, the weather was still fair, good for sailing if you were a little bold, or maybe a Viking wolf returning home late after a long unsuccessful summers raiding, with little to show the womenfolk when you got back.

Rolf was such a man, he had raided, Anglia and Northumbria, taken some hard knocks with little to show, he had a large ship 50 oars and a crew of 60, but that was down to 50 after the summer, his men were downcast but well armed and still ready for a fight. They grumbled about going West this summer instead of East as usual.

Rolf had met Argonor in the summer, he had arrived late to a village, plundered and burnt by the great warrior and had to listen to Argonor's men boast of his prowess. Argonor the Mead Maker, the Mead Drinker, Argonor the Story Teller, the Weaver of Tales, the Man of many Threads. He had asked Argonor about his mead for which he was famous but all he could get out of him was that the bees liked Argonor, they flourished on his farmstead but no where else in Dane Mark, mead made him famous but also very wealthy. Are you not worried, asked Rolf - no he answered “Raiding the bee-keeper's homestead for mead is an obvious thing to do - but I should probably warn you, that this brewer has swords, shield, mail tunic, and a Gjermundbu-helmet (and a well-sized beard to show his status as an old warrior)”

Rolf lived far to the east and in the late night drunken revels Argonor had revealed where his homestead was and Rolf was sailing past there and decided to pay Argonor a visit, besides he wanted to know what a Gjermundbu-helmet was. Rolf came from Uppsala and a rich Dane was as good a target as a Saxon, except he might fight harder.


Rolfs view down the track into the farmstead.

The scenario is for Rolf to raid the settlement, looting or destroying anything of value, especially the bee hives and to kill Argonor himself, this will give him fame and status. He has to do this quickly and so must be leaving the board by the 10th move to get back to his ship, before too many of Argonor's neighbours arrive.

Argonor and his banner man are watching 2 wagon loads of ale and mead leave on the journey to his overlord. He is sending a small force of 3 warriors and a driver with it.

Rolf has split his force to attack from two directions at the same time. Unfortunately Harrald Horned Helmet got lost and is late. (Bad dice roll, as was the split of the force) Rolf only has 8 men with him, well we are Uppsala men and fear no one he thinks as he charges down the track towards Argonor, some of his men are lagging a little behind, maybe they don’t share his views.

Argonor sees them coming but is so surprised he just gawps.

But only for a minute, "to me" he shouts and runs straight at Rolf.

Their fight - Rolf is Blue Die, Argornor is Red.

In these rules good die for combat are 3 or less, what a bummer for Rolf, he goes down along with 3 of his men, the only success is the 2 warriors attacking Egil who can be seen by the horse, he is rolling on the ground, not a happy man.

The Danes shrieking their battle lust, surge forward over the bodies of the men from Uppsala.

And then they see Harrald Horned Helmet who has finally arrived with at least 18 men, things are looking bleak for Argonor. Probably as bad for Harrald wearing a horned helmet in what purports to be a historical game.

Two of Argonor's men hear the noise and come running back to the farmstead, but they are a long way from the fighting.

It’s carnage on main street.

Harrald has split his forces, Belit the pirate queen leading her men into the work complex, drawn by the food and fire I expect. What that slave is doing sat on the ground tending the food with these wild men all around him I’ve no idea, maybe he’s deaf. The other group lead by the mad Elf is heading north for the bee hives and Granary. Sorry about the alien blue object that has appeared like a Tardis.

Argonor has beaten one of his opponents and the other one ran off but his 2 companions are down, his banner is in the mud and there are 2 enemy to his right and a horde of enemies coming up fast, this is the critical activation of the game. The 2 closest enemy activate 1st but fail their nerve test and don’t attack but don’t retreat either. Then Argonor activates, passes his nerve test and also his brains test and his fast move test and scampers off round the back of the longhouse.

Look he’s on his own, no one is going to see his valiant death fight against huge odds, therefore no one will sing songs of his death and besides he still has mead to drink. Harrald is not so fleet of foot and can’t catch him.

This was the activation roll. If Harrald had got a better roll Argornor would probably feeding the worms by now, but that's the stuff Sagas are made of.

Belits men got bored and broke the unbreakable Viking code, they burned before looting. In case you don't know the code it is - Loot Pillage and Burn, in that order. Anyone who Burns before Looting is going to be poor.

Over by the Granary 2 more of the men working in the fields have arrived, joining up with the sole survivor of the fight by the long house. Argornor is no where to be seen.

This is the 1st of Argornors neighbours to arrive. It was typical of the way the game was going, the number of men arriving was 1D6 and I threw a 1. He roared his battle cry and charged across the field towards about 20 men. Fortunately for him no one heard.

The men from Uppsala break in to the long house, a sleeping hut and the mead and ale store and start looting and destroying stuff. (I was most disappointed that they kept passing their control test and so didn't start drinking the ale.)

There is a fight going on top left of the picture the Danes are trying to protect the granary and the bee hives and with the small group in the middle top is Argornor. You didn’t think he had run off did you, he just skipped round the back of the longhouse and is ready for another fight.

Argornor back in the thick of the fighting but it’s not going too well.

Having taken everything they could carry they set fire to two more buildings. And I spent so long building these.

Here are the plunderers, just getting out of the longhouse in time.

Turn 9 and the tide turns. In the far distance is a banner, this is another of Argonors neighbours, brought no doubt by the smoke, he arrives with 8 men, fully armed and ready for a fight. Harrald calls his men back, some of them have anticipated his every wish and are already on their way.

Argonor – centre stage in all his battle finery, a weary but not unhappy man. He has saved the granary so they will not starve this winter and as importantly his bees so his wealth is assured for the future, on the cart are 2 barrels of his finest mead so there will be feasting to celebrate his great victory and as importantly he will get to hear the songs of his victory. Long Houses can be re-built, but once mead is spilt it can no longer be drunk, an old Viking saying.

Some of the Uppsala men in retreat.

Harrald Horned Helmet shouts his defiance but the words are lost in the crackle of the burning long house. Rolf is on the cart and they are ready to roll. Game over.

I spent a few weeks building the Viking village and posted my endeavours on the LAF Workbench board, and if you look in labels under Terrain you will find a synopsis of the posts here on the Blog. This was the 1st and so far last time I've used the buildings on the table!!! There is another game to be played - Argonor's Revenge, but its a long time coming.

The scenario grew from wanting to make the bee hives as an unusual piece of scenery something that I hadn’t seen on a wargaming table before and so I built the hives, which it turns out have been done more than once. The bees led to honey which led to mead, and that made me think about some comments Argonor a member of the LAF had made and that led to this game.

As Argonor was the unwitting inspiration I felt he had to take part in name at least. However as they say “no resemblance to actual events or characters is portrayed in the making of this game”.


The game was pretty much a draw as Rolf scored 47 points - left 3 men behind injured but 23 got away with loot even though 4 of these were wounded.

Argonor retained 51 points, he lost 1 man dead and 5 hurt and in the end had 19 men un-injured on the table. He held the field of battle and of course gained renown as a lucky leader.

My parcel from the States still hasn't arrived so I'm still in the UK waiting for it, but the sun is out and there are worse places to be. I hope it arrives today because I want to leave tomorrow and catch the ferry on Monday, that's looking very unlikely :(

Well if you are still here - thanks for reading and any comments or thoughts you make are warmly welcome.
Cheers