Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The horror....the horror....

I think it's almost compulsory for any Vietnam game to be headed by a quote from Apocalypse Now or Full Metal Jacket, so not wanting to buck the trend I've gone with Mr/Colonel Kurtz depending on your preference for Conrad or Coppola.

This week's game at the club was a Vietnam bash organised by Kevin and with his collection of really excellently painted figures.

We used the Too Fat Lardies rules "Charlie Don't Surf".  I'm a big fan of TFL rules as you'll gather from the posts elsewhere on the blog and CDS are no exception.  Having said that I do struggle more with these rules than some of their others.  As with a few TFL rules I find the layout a bit of a challenge...although it seems to be in a sensible order, when it comes to finding the rule I need at any given point, it disappears into the text somewhere.  Given the additional complexity of Vietnam with rules for armour, air and artillery strikes, asymmetric warfare etc there are a lot of rules to hide in!  I have a feeling that in the heart of CDS is a very good set of rules struggling to break free.

I should post some kind of inspiring Vietnam movie clip here but instead you can be inspired by this...

The scenario pitched a Free World aid station coming under attack from NVA while an under-strength company were on their way to relieve it.  The aid station had the advantage of a Platoon of special forces but were likely to face a heavy assault before the relief force could get there.  There were also some incoming civilians who we wanted to get Intel from.

The US forces to the left of the table, where they spent most of
the game under heavy MG fire from the troops hidden in the
jungle at the top edge.

Andy and I took the US troops and set off across the table.  As with most TFL games we started with our troops hidden on blinds while the NVA had their forces either on blinds or completely hidden.  We also had a PBR slowly making its way up the river which ran along the edge of the table.

The village and aid station...the relief force finally made it up
to the edge of the paddy fields after a long slog across the table

Having adopted the cunning plan of moving quickly (but not quickly enough) across the open gaps between the clumps of jungle, Andy's platoons were hit by a hidden NVA Heavy Weapon section which caused horrendous casualties and kept him pinned down for most of the game.  Luckily my troops were screened by Andy's and I was able to hide most of them in the jungle.  My Company Commander did bravely occasionally pop out of the bush he was hiding in to shout something inspiring to the pinned down troops and remove some points of shock, before taking cover again...I'm sure there was a medal in that selfless act of heroism!

The civilians were also approaching the aid station from the other side of the table and as they came within sight of medics they were revealed to be a cadre of local VC!  The aid station was now in serious trouble as the NVA troops had also closed quickly and the relief force was bogged down thanks to the draw of the cards.

I did manage to successfully call in a mortar strike on the NVA which caused some damage and suppressed the unit meaning it couldn't advance but the NVA and VC then drew the 'Human Wave' card which meant they could ignore the suppression and charge.  Luckily the defenders of the aid station were special forces and somehow managed to repel the assault.

On the next turn my helicopters arrived.  Bizarrely, just as they came on table we had a real helicopter flying over the club building...I'm still not sure if this was a special effect that Kevin had laid on specially!

The Huey flew along the line of assaulting NVA causing heavy casualties in true Hollywood style and making it very unlikely they'd be able to repeat the assault on the village.

Daan, daan da da daan daan (go on... name that tune...)

Unfortunately the VC had sneakily achieved one of their aims by nicking rice supplies from the village while the assault was underway...they had been tasked with obtaining supplies as a precursor to Tet.  The NVA also gained victory points from ambushing (very successfully) our squads...Andy's were pretty decimated and never managed to move after getting hit.  On a plus point we hadn't lost the aid station and had caused some heavy casualties to the NVA.  As one of the opposition said it was a typical Vietnam result...everyone lost!!

A great game with some excellent scenery and figures all kindly supplied by Kevin who did a good job of umpiring and trying to find his way through the rules. He had sensibly produced a summary of the key features for us beforehand which was really helpful.

Like I said earlier, I really do want to like CDS but the rules either need some reorganising or streamlining, or both.  For Vietnam I've also used Force on Force and the Peter Pig Men of Company B rules, both of which are also very good (especially the PP rules) but I'm sure there must be others out there.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Battle of the Pigsty

Now that normal service has been resumed at the Guildford club I was looking forward to playing a game of Imperial Assault, the new game from FFG, that Andrew had acquired.  A couple of days before he realised that he wasn't familiar enough with the game and it's rules and contents to comfortably run the game this week.  Having had a chance to have a look at his set of Imperial Assault I can well understand why!  It's a hefty box of stuff which hopefully we'll get to grips with soon.


A couple of emails later I agreed to come up with a quick alternative and following a quick rummage in the loft came I emerged (somewhat dusty!) with Saga.  I haven't played this in ages so it seemed like a good opportunity to dust it off

Andrew hadn't played Saga before and I have a feeling it may have been a bit too 'gamey' for him but hopefully he enjoyed it.  We played out a straightforward clash between two 5 point armies with Andrew leading the Anglo Danes while I took the Viking army.

The game opened with the Vikings milling about looking suitably mob like while Andrew's Anglo-Danes had very neatly dressed lines  (I think he plays too much Napoleonics!).  The  2 Warlords advanced, targeting the enemies slightly weaker Warrior units (neither of us fielded the frankly rubbish Levy troops and neither had missile armed warriors either...this was a straightforward hack).

The neatly arrange Anglo Danes

I tried to be cunning and swung half my forces out wide to the left to try and force Andrew to react but he pulled back, refusing to be drawn out from the village which he'd quickly ensconced himself in.

The Viking flank attack
The initial clashes came from the Warlords, backed up by Hearthguard, attacking enemy Warrior units and not surprisingly causing devastation.  I managed to completely destroy one unit while Andrew left one with a handful of survivors.  I think he was a bit surprised by the level of destruction a unit can cause and by the lack of morale rules as heavily damaged units continued to bravely fight on.

My Warlord was caught out by an enemy Hearthguard and nearly died but luckily I remembered the rule that allowed my to sacrifice a brave Viking who was standing nearby and gallantly through himself on the enemies swords, allowing his leader to withdraw.  Warlords are very tough to kill....

My flank attack was still proving a bit rubbish but I did manage to wipe out a second enemy unit, reducing Andrew's dice total further.  Andrew continued to pick on my damaged unit eventually reducing 2 of them to 1 man each.  I'd also lost a Warrior unit by this point so was also losing activation dice.

We then realised that both Warlords had got too close to each other and had to engage in combat.  I had a cunning plan to use some of my vital dice to activate the Viking 'Loki' power which would have destroyed one of Andrews units and crucially preventing him using it to soak up some the damage to his Warlord as I had done earlier... I then realised (having committed the dice) that I'd misread the power and it didn't apply to Hearthguard...bugger!  The Warlords clashed and I came off worse, losing my Warlord and at that point conceding the game.  My lone Hirdman from one of the units Andrew had battered continued to hold the high ground however


...and after!

Good fun and an ideal quick 'filler' game for a club evening.