|Three missiles fired from the China Cats in the background rush toward the LCS Freedom.|
Today was the day of the Staits of Hormuz playtest. Daveshoe and I hauled our ships out to Game Matrix and met son Casey and new friend Charlie Berlemann to try out our game.
I called the scenario Tripwire, not sure it works, but Dave developed a fine scenario based on the closing of the straits by mines. The Iranian player has to defend the minefield, while the American mission is to clear the minefield, seize any potential mine layer and fight off any Iranian attacks.
Any Dave Schueler scenario requires the players to make choices, and this was no different. Charlie was the American player and chose a Freedom class Littoral Combat Ship and a six vessel battle group including two U.S. Cyclone class patrol boats and four United Arab Emirates missile boats and gunboats.
Casey and I were the Iranians and chose four battle groups. We settled on two groups of three China Cat missile boats, a group of one Zaraf class rocket boat and four Boghammer class patrol boats, and a group of four Tir class torpedo boats that would enter the game later.
Two of the Iranian groups began the game escorting vessels through the minefield. I took the Boghammer group escorting a trawler through the mines. Casey had one of the China Cat groups and escorted a minelaying auxiliary masquerading as a freighter.
|One of the escorting Boghammers in the foreground trains its 75mm recoilless rifle on an advancing group of American and United Arab Emirates vessels.|
|The hands of Charlie Berlemann moves more US and UAE vessels. Soon he'll move his MH-60 helicopter to the trawler in the foreground and the die will be cast.|
Of course Charlie acted aggressively against the minelayer, and attacked my fishing trawler. He dispatched his helicopter and fired shots across its bows to get it to stop. Boghammer crews filmed the whole thing for YouTube and Al Jazeera and shouted insults at the American pilot. I immediately turned my speedy little boats around to give attention to the passel of American and UAE vessels.
|Freedom launches a mine hunting MH-60, as it moves to the middle of the board.|
|After one turn of fire a Boghammer is sunk and another is badly damaged, the trawler is sinking. However the striped Cyclone is also crippled.|
In the next turn a UAE gunboat fired into the engine room of the trawler and badly damaged it. Given all the diplomatic cover I needed, I opened fire on my larger adversaries with recoilless guns and rpgs. The opening salvo badly damaged one of the Cyclones, and wrecked one of the UAE gunboats. Fire from Zaraf's multiple rocket launcher damaged an additional UAE gunboat. Machine gunners on the Boghammers shot down the offending helicopter.
Round one to the Boghammers, but retribution was coming. Fire from the larger ships sank one of the little patrol boats, and wrecked two more.
However the turn was not over. The Freedom plunged into the mine field and detected one of the mine locations. Her helicopter flew off trying to find more. Unfortunately, with all the the commotion to the north, Casey decided the time was ripe to unleash his TV guided C-701 missiles from his China Cats.
|Two hits by C-701 TV guided missiles strike Freedom, leading to her demise. Game over.|
With three missiles in the air, Freedom maneuvered to unmask his RAM short range missiles. Unfortunately it only brought down one of the missiles and the surviving pair slammed into the LCS. Freedom sank and brought an end to the scenario.
We debriefed considerably. There was a lot to like about the scenario. I loved running the Boghammers, but it's always challenging to the game master to know how other players will run their commands. Dave is talking about some tweaks, but nothing major is required. It was a great game. We use David Manley's awesome Bulldogs Away!! rules. I find them to have the right balance of modern technology and ease of play.