Friday, August 06, 2010

Summer Skirmish-Retreat to Bilbao

Last Saturday we held a NHMGS summer gig at the Metro Seattle Gamers clubhouse in the Interbay district.  Chuck Monson arranged the get together for us and we began planning around July 1st.  There was space for four games in morning session and four more in an afternoon session, with all the sessions spoken for.

I immediately volunteered to run a Spanish Civil War game.  It's a period and rules set that everyone seems to enjoy, and I certainly like to have an excuse to pull the figures out.  I chose a rearguard scenario in the retreat through the Basque territory in early 1937.  I read Dave Boling's excellent novel Guernica in June, really enjoyed it and thought there was the nut of a game there. 

The set up allowed for a brigade of entrenched Basque militia with a brigade of Republicans retreating on to the board.  Both would be attacked by Fascist forces in larger numbers.  There was also the likelihood the Republicans would be under air attack throughout most of the day. 

A couple of things went sideways quickly.  I planned for a 5-6 player game and instead had 9.  Not the end of the world, but crowded.  I also planned for a six food wide table, and instead had more than eight feet.  Nothing to fuss about, but I stretched out the distance the Republicans had to travel by two feet and that caused major problems for them.  They were immediately attacked by advancing Fascists-part of the plan-but it also kept them much farther from their Basque support, which was bad.  I'm always making little mistakes like this and it makes me crazy.

The first action came from the Italian brigade run jointly by Mike Snively and Arthur Brooking.  The supporting CV-33 company was picked apart by artillery fire and the accompanying infantry advanced across the open into the teeth of fire by Basques in entrenchments and the town. The Republicans sprinted up the road toward the town, but not fast enough to avoid Falangist militia advancing on their heels or a Carlist brigade coming on in reinforcement of the Italians.

The Italians eventually made their way into the town to contest the Basques, grimly holding on, but the Republican brigade, just short of surrounded by Falangists and Carlists, thought  better of things, were broken and forced from the field.

An interesting game despite my several game master errors.


DeanM said...


I hope your mom-in-law is okay. Sorry you had to miss the game today. It was just great - there is genius in Bruce's simplicity in rules. Dean

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