Friday Night: Tripwire- The Straits of Hormuz
Dave and I had six willing participants for the game. Let's face it, modern naval combat is fairly unique at a game convention. Andrew, Steve, John and Brian chose the Iranians and Andy and Chris managed the Americans. It was different than our playtest in some ways, but very similar in others. The Americans, again, chose the LCS 1 and the bunch of American and UAE gunboats and missile boats. The Iranians went a bit different direction with two groups of Boghammars, and one each of China Cats and the Tir torpedo boats in reserve. What we wanted was the tension of when to start fighting, and we got it. Lots of bluster and warning until Andy Doty's Cyclone stepped on a mine. Then it was missiles galore. The Iranians game out on the short end of this fight, with many losses, but they clearly won the propaganda fight with the Americans starting the shooting.
|An American Cyclone gunboat tripped over a mine and began the entire incident|
|Captured live on CNN, Exocet missiles streak toward and IRGN Thondar class missile boat, and a fishing trawler (??!!) Hmm, Charles Taylor just got 50 years. Andy Doty?|
This was the only period I didn't have anything going on. I didn't sleep much the night before so I wandered the Bring and Buy and dealer areas, helped out Jim Denberger totaling receipts. Just kind of tried to wake up.
|American troops emerge from their water transport and mass for their advance against the Spanish positions.|
As the morning game period came to a close, I shifted into full fretting mode. I never playtested the scenario, though I walked through things in my mind many times. Most troubling was that the board was fairly busy and I was concerned the board area wouldn't quite work out. Thankfully, Mark Waddington gave me a hand setting up and it was fine.
Dave Schueler and Lloyd Bowler ran the American assault on Spanish prepared positions controlling the Mississippi. The Spanish, controlled by Thomas Moore and Francis Munroe deployed their Spanish regulars into the redoubt, and waited sleepily for the fun to start. By turn three, the Americans climbed the steep hill from their boats to the hilltop and were beginning to form for battle, when the Spanish gave the alarm to their camp. Thomas moved one of his infantry squads out of the redoubt, to receive the attack, but retreated back in a hail of gunfire. As the Americans spiked the Spanish guns, they began to close in on three sides of the redoubt. Just as things began to look hopeless for the defenders, reinforcments arrived from the camp. Choosing to mount one of their militia units, Francis hurled the cuera lancers at the Americans, and really did do nasty stuff, but there were enough Americans to drive them off. Though the Spanish were able to hold on to the redoubt, the Americans with their long range riflemen were sufficient to inflict unanswered damage, and they surrendered.
|An American infantry squad masses in formation|
|Spaniards of the Louisiana Regiment awake to find the Americans ready for a fight.|
|Yikes, lots more Americans than they counted on.|
It was actually a nice game of back and forth. All played well and it was fun.
Saturday Night-Chickasaw Bluffs Part Two: Just a big Indian Fight
This is the game I did playtest and it went badly sideways. Sam, Mark and Tim played the Indians while Doug, Brian and Scott ran the Americans. The playtesters suggested the Americans be allowed to set on to the table two feet rather than the 18" I allowed. It was a disaster. On the first turn, the Americans, getting ready to cross the little creek were blasted by Indians. The militia was routed and the regulars were mauled. Though the Chickasaw units were also weakened, they had plenty of reserves, and when I called the game, were in danger of surrounding the advancing regular units. Yecchhh.
Sunday Morning-Atlantic Blockading Squadron, in the Gulf
|Three ironclads looking for something wooden to ram.|
|A glimpse down the barrels of a pair of 7" Brooke rifles.|
|The Hartford, ready to let fly with a broadside.|
In the weeks before the convention, Mark, Doug and I agreed we'd try out a War of 1812 battle, Crysler's Farm. Fought in 1813 near Montreal, it's one of those tried and true American disasters. The heart was willing but the brain was petrified, so the attack failed. We agreed to play using Regimental Fire and Fury, but it's a challenge for scenario designers because the British are so badly outnumbered. The Americans, rated as trained, advanced against the Brits and just sort of ran them over. Unfortunately, in the actual battle the American commanders, that slimy bastard James Wilkinson, was quite ill, and his sub-commanders lacked talent. The Brits pretty much held them off all day. We definitely need to do some fiddling as I expect we'll host this game next year on the 200th anniversary.