Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Got game!- Glorious carnage!

Commands and Colours
Badger was round on Sunday, so we got in another couple of games testing the expanded nationality rules for M44, plus a game of BL.

In M44 we decided we wanted to have another look at the British and German rules, plus try out one of the Scenarios from the Front- ie. a scenario designed by a fan using the online scenario editor DoW provides for purchasers of M44 (and BL too). So we chose #1525U. Operation Charnwood: Phase 1- Drive on Caen, designed by M44 veteran Brummbar.

Badger and I both agreed that the scenario was fairly balanced: challenging to both sides and fun to play. With hindsight, our two 5-3 victories for the British has left me with the feeling that the historical balance might be a bit off. I thought that all these operations around Caen were unsuccessful? Also, Badger and I both liked the idea of having AT guns differentiated from artillery. We played Brummbar's variant from the scenario first, then I looked up his more detailed variant rules he'd posted to a thread on the DoW M44 forums. We felt something wasn't right, and we tossed ideas back and forth for some time. In the end we decided that simplest was best: what's the difference between field artillery and AT artillery? The latter need LOS. So that was it: AT artillery are identical to regular artillery except that they need LOS to the target. We found that this worked just fine.

Then it was off to Uchronia. I had a scenario already in mind following a recent heated controversy over at the DoW BL forums. So we were playing Scenario #12A. Crossing the Rhone, where I was to take on the feared Archpriest, Sir Arnold of Cervolles (banners) with the mercenary army of Seguin of Badefol (pennants).

The battle was long and hard, with a lot of preparatory manoeuvring, but in the end the Archpriest won out 6-3. There is a lot I could say about this game. Enough for now that we both thoroughly enjoyed it, and that I would say the result doesn't show just how close-run the battle was; Badger might demur of course! Also of interest was the fact that the game revived my interest in straight BL, after my recent thoughts about the innate superiority of Epic BL. This was perhaps the most surprising result of the game for me.

2-1 Badger :(

Following on from these titanic tussles, Andy beat me in a game of Fluxx on Monday; and I took a small measure of revenge against Ros last night, beating her 2-1 in our first Carcassone rematch.

Ah well!

And, finally...
More important perhaps than all of that though was that I played my first game of Warhammer 40K in, oh, I don't know how long.

Andy's been patiently bugging me to play 40K patrol for ages now. Casting around for a game to play on his bank holiday Monday visit, he suggested a game. I agreed. I was going to play my very own Penumbra's Talons space marines, naturally enough, while Andy would have a choice from the rest of my collection. He chose Orks. We chose our armies, set out a tabletop, and set to.

Andy had some 50 assorted greenskins in the form of 2 mobs of Ork boyz and 1 mob of Gretchins with a slaver. Facing off against this horde I first toyed with the idea of using a lot of tac-marines and heavy bolters. Then I decided to make one of the heavy bolters mobile by mounting it on an attack bike, and I was off. I ended up going with:
  • 5 scouts: heavy bolter, sniper rifle, bolters
  • 3 marine bikers w/2 flamers and 1 attack bike
  • attack bike
  • 2 landspeeder Tornados, operating independently
Andy's Ork mobz were positioned behind some hills to my northwest, with his gretchin near the centre covering their flank. My bikes and attack bikes were deployed on my centre baseline, hidden from view by some ruins and a large alien bush. The 2 L/S were safely out of sight in the base I'd carefully prepared for them during terrain set-up. My scouts went on my left, positioned to make a quick dash for a forward defence bunker where I hoped they'd sell themselves dearly against the Ork boyz who'd be on top of them in no time at all.

My plan went like a dream: the scouts were wiped out, naturally enough, but they diverted 1 ork mob away from the centre of the action so that my bikes could get to work on the other greenskins. This they did, with the bikes and attack bikes dealing with the gretchin and holding off the advancing ork mob without too much difficulty. My Tornadoes were held in reserve, and in the event I only needed 1 of them to deliver the coup de grace to Andy's 3rd mob hurrying to the scene of the action after they'd dealt with my scouts.

What a great game! The Talons have never really looked so good in action before (as compared, that is, to in my imagination). The Patrol rules also shone: my force would've been illegal under regular army-building rules, so what this showed was how 40K Patrol is a great way to experiment with new formations. As a marine player, I was also pleased to note that the 40K4 tweak to attack bikes (W2/Sv3+ instead of W1/Sv2+) is both logical in itself, and at the same time makes sense in that it allows attack bikes to feature in the patrol game. On top of all that the game played very smoothly, reminding us that the Warhammer 3-dice engine is still a very good tabletop gaming system. I imagine Andy's already working on an Imperial Guard patrol to settle the score!

Grins! ;)


gnome said...

Oh my, you're back! And you won! And got some nice WH40k action too...

JMcL63 said...

Yes, I'm back. And thanks to your good self, it's always a case of 'gone but not forgotten' in any event.

Oh, and your own wee lair is looking amazing these days gnome! It's hard to believe that it too started out as a bare little blog just like this one. ;)

Brummbär said...

Thanks for playing my scenario John. I appreciate the write up and the comments are certainly valid but I would like to address a couple of points.

Historically, Caen was a very difficult objective that was supposed to be taken by the British on we all know that didn't happen. This scenario does focus on the last and obviously successful push on Caen. The Germans by this point were worn down to a nub and overwhelming British and Canadian forces finally pushed in...only to have the Germans sneak away across the river to set up another defensive (thus Charnwood Phase II).

So while the score may have favored the Allies, it really should although perhaps not as much as it does. I would be interested in any suggestions that might make it a little more balanced.

Now to address the AT. I do agree with your assesment of the overly complicated rules I had made, initially I had written some 'Advanced' Memoir '44 rules and decided that I would just include that here. In hindsight, I agree, the rule is out of touch with the simplicity of the rest of the game...but...I'm not entirely sold on it being so simple as to be just line of sight (although admitidely that would be the easiest most stragithforward solution and I had in fact used it exactly that way in an earlier scenario I had written - The Road to Orotona III, Taking Ortona).

I guess my main concern about that is the range. AT wouldn't have the same range as field guns. Firing at a flat trajectory means you would need higher fire as far as field guns you would need a very high velocity indeed! Techincally, AT guns shouldn't be much different in range than Tanks (in essence, same guns).

What would your thoughts be on a 3,3,2,2 range? This would be in keeping with artillery (just dropping the last 1,1) and at the same time be unique to the unit.

Did you still play with the 3 figures as well? Again, I was looking to do something unique but at the same time had to balance that out (thus they are hit on an infantry symbol instead of a grenade).

I have been reconsidering my 'advanced' rules lately and would be interested in your comments. I want to remove complexity, yet introduce uniqueness into the units.

Thanks again for playing, I hope at least that it made for an interesting and somewhat challenging game.

JMcL63 said...

Thanks for taking the time to reply here on my blog Brummbar. It is much appreciated. Now to your fine scenario.

First off: the matter of balance. I was simply mistaken that a July 1944 operation would represent the British getting bogged down around Caen (my history is rusty, and my memory for dates and names was never the best in any case!). My history corrected, I would now say that the balance appears about right.

As for your special rules? M44@DoW veteran that you are, you will know that I share your interest in seeing certain changes in a future 2nd edition of the M44 rules. So Badger and I tried the special rules as printed in the scenario first. Then we tried to develop them in accordance with your more detailed version which appeared in the thread to which I referred my readers. The result was confusion, which is why we decided to test the simplest option: LOS. This may well prove unsatisfactory in the long term, but it got our game going that night.

I don't have the time to analyse the complexities of the issue right now, but I will do so just as soon as I can. Meanwhile, Badger and I were glad to be able to make our small first contribution to the SftF rating project (I still haven't reported the games to the Yahoo group, although I have posted them to the DoW SftF lists). I expect we will play many more of these scenarios as we continue our own work on the expanded nationality rules. So look out for more reports!

Cheers. ;)

Brummbär said...

Thanks again first off to you and Badger for playing...makes it worthwhile putting the time and effort into making them (although, I get to enjoy them as well).

I now see the confussion between the rule as written in the scenario and the card as presented in the thread mentioned. They are not quite the same nor are they as straightforward as I hoped.

But this is what playtesting is all about.

Thanks to your input (and some misgivings of my own) I am looking to simplify the AT guns even further (I've already updated the scenario!)

I do look forward to your further comments when you find the time.


JMcL63 said...

Just for the record Brummbar: there was no confusion between the scenario special rules and the variant rules presented in the thread. What actually happened was this: Badger and I felt unhappy with the scenario special rules for AT- having played them straight from your draft in our first game; so we looked to your more detailed variant rules in the thread in question for ideas for a fix; and then we ultimately decided that the LOS option was the one which would get our game going that night (seriously: we spent at least half-an-hour working through the variations before we decided upon this). I think this is good playtesting, as you say yourself.

All these comments about our work on testing your variant rules aside: Badger and I both enjoyed our games; so I think we can say that your scenario is a good 'un. That said, I hope that Badger can bring his own opinions to this discussion sometime soon.

Cheers again,
John ;)

Brummbär said...

Ahhh...ok, understood...I thought there was a discrepency.

Have you had a look at the recent rule? I've even posted back on the thread cited...I agree with you that the rule as was written didn't quite site well with me either...I think my revision is better but not sure it's there either.

While I agree the simplest thing to do is just make them just seems to lack something for me...can't put my thumb on it.

Glad you enjoyed the scenario despite I guess you felt it worked ok with the way you ended up playing?


JMcL63 said...

I've posted the playtest conclusions to the Expanded Nationality rules thread I started at M44:DoW back in March Brummbar. Yeah, what terrible threadomancy I know, but it's valid for an ongoing discussion like this IMO. Meanwhile, I've had a look at your updated version of the Charnwood variant AT rules. They certainly look clearer, but I can't remember the old rules as a point of comparison. How about you post the original variant rules to the ongoing artillery thread, and I'll take our discussion over there? It may take me a few days, but I'll post a detailed analysis just asap.

Cheers. ;)