Sunday, August 30, 2009

Two Games in One Week

Two weeks ago was the biggest few days of gaming all summer. In fact the most gaming I've done since Enfilade. In July I offered to host a Spanish Civil War game at our August 15 NHMGS game day. I didn't think much about it until the week before the game and then the spirit of "uh-oh, I'm not ready" overtook me.

I went through the rules, and decided to convert them to InDesign documents (I need the practice for school.) I changed a couple of small things, and clarified a few more, and wrote the scenario. I also started madly painting-adding a unit or two on each side, and got ready for game day.

On the 15th, I threw everything out on the table. The game involved the close investment of a town with a strategic bridge. The town was held by Nationalist forces, but was under fire by Republican forces. The game begins with both sides rushing troops into the battle for the town. It was a very fun game that really turned into a meat grinder. In the end, both sides had a lot of fun and a lot of casualties, and the game ended in a draw. I needed some clarity for town fighting, but that is easily remedied.

Sorry for the clutter in the pictures. At the top we see a Moroccan battalion, one of many Nationalist reinforcements rushing to the defense of the town. In the foreground of the middle picture we see the Tom Mooney machine gun company keeping Nationalist heads down as the Assault Guards prepare to attack. Finally a poor Republican battalion is caught on the wrong side of the river receiving the brunt of the Nationalist counter-attack.

On the 18th I got together with Mark Waddington and Scott Murphy to play a Hundred Years War game. It was an idea I threw together based on The Black Prince's attack on Caen in 1346. The prince lost control of his division of Edward III's army and they hurled themselves at a fortified bridge protecting the prosperous suburb of St. Jean. The French protected the bridge with crossbowmen mounted in boats. Eventually a flanking force crossed the river and forced the covering barbican to surrender.

We tried the same idea, with pretty much the same results. Scott fairly quickly chased off the protecting crossbowmen and I required that he make an assault on the barbican. It didn't work. He also eventually made a river crossing. Mark made the flanking attack and fought it out with the French in St. Jean. Eventually, however, the superior larger English forces wore down the French and the end became clear. It was very fun-a game I would consider running at Enfilade.

In the pictures, Mark and I prepare to fight in St. Jean, while Scott plans his assault on the fortified bridge. It was great to drag out my Miniature Building Authority buildings again.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Spanish Civil War lives again

When I graduated from college way back in '78, I was taken with the Spanish Civil War. There was something romantic about a Republic supported by a melange of political leftists bravely opposing a band of fascists, supported by the Nazis. I've learned just enough to know that there were plenty of mass murders, executions and political orthodoxy on both sides. A war which, in reality, had no good guys.

I was always intrigued with the idea of gaming the period, but alas, for the longest time there were no miniatures. Then, at an Enfilade many years ago Lance Runolfson of Bloodaxe Miniatures in Medford Oregon brought his crude but charming SCW figures and sold them to David Sullivan. As is David's habit, he sat on them until I liberated them from him in one of his frequent fits of closet cleaning.

One of my all time favorite set of rules are those written by Dick Larson for this period-he called them Non Pasaran from the famous words by La Passionaria, the poster girl for the Republican side. Dick wrote the rules for his beautiful 20mm Hotspur (now Bandera) figures, and I have wonderful memories of playing the rules in a variety of different venues. Modified from the old GW Space Marines rules, they were easy to play and very fun, though there needed to be some fairly careful game mastering.

Though my homely Bloodaxe figures were no match for Dick's 20's, I was thrilled when Peter Pig came out with a 15mm range at about the time I started painting my figures. There were lots more figure types than my little Bloodaxe lumpen. Eventually I acquired a fair number of figs, way back in 1994. I played with them once, and they've lived in their box ever since. I decided to drag them out for our August 16th game day. Another report will follow up.