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Archive for the ‘Participation Games’ Category

Salute NtTii 01

In addition to my duties with the Society of Ancients, WD, The Battlefields Trust, the Art Gallery and my local battlefields at Naseby and Northampton, I am an occasional member of the Ad Hoc wargames group.

Mostly I’ve been involved in the ancient and medieval ones, but this year, for Salute, we revived Nick the Tsar … a rescue romp in revolutionary Russia …

Salute NtTii 02

54mm with custom components.  We played to a full house all day (6 games) … so here’s how it goes …

Salute NtTii 03

There are four players … Russians, foreign agents, men of mystery etc. each with a little team and maybe a vehicle entering Yekaterinburg … and you have to get down the road to the Ipatiev House and rescue the Tsar and his family from special captivity … the future of the Romanovs is in your hands.

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The house is defended, and there are a number of other problems you might encounter.

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… and your exit route is the train that will leave the station at the end of the game (you do not have unlimited time) …

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The ‘search’ mechanism involves grabbing and opening up the ‘Faberge’ eggs (each of which contains the name of one of the Romanovs – so is random as you have very little time to effect the rescue) …

And lots of other nuances to entertain (we hope) both players and audience …

… and they’re off …

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(if you’re really lucky you might get an armoured car)

Salute NtTii 06b

(movement by sickle)

… and you have to fight your way in …

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… Hopefully, if you haven’t already lost your marbles (you’ll have to play the game to get that reference I’m afraid), lots of very important persons will be found …

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By this stage the Reds may well have called up some reinforcements …

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… so you will have to get back to the train pretty quick!

Our game was interrupted by several attempts to rescue the Tsar on another table … but all of them came to a sticky end …

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Tintin and Captain Haddock fail to rescue the Tsar at Salute 2017 …

They failed, you will have to nick the Tsar!

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Apologies to everyone who has been missing their regular dose of P.B.Eye candy.  It has been a very busy spring for me … Everything from working on the big ECW reenactment event at Naseby in the Summer (Naseby 370) to running my Harfleur game at Salute (SoA at Salute) …

But I have been taking an interest, and here are some splendid 20th Century exhibits from the big show …

Salute 2015 16(Salute: the Battle of St Vith)

Salute 2015 17(Paul T running a Bolt Action Pegasus Bridge game)

Salute 2015 18(Rob running the new PBI game ‘PBI Company Commander’)

Salute 2015 19(detail)

Salute 2015 20(20mm action from Batlegroup Blitzkrieg)

Salute 2015 21(Peterborough’s elaborate Dambusters challenge)

Salute 2015 22(Great War: the Turkish lines at Gaza)

I also saw this eye-catching use of screens at Hammerhead

Hammerhead 15 01

And an intriguing historical scenario from the Great War featuring an impromptu attack on an airfield by a scouting cavalry patrol …

Hammerhead 15 02(1914: French cavalry behind the lines at the Battle of the Marne)

Some good ideas, there …

Things to come?  We’ll be back with Operational games on squares shortly, and I’m giving a talk on war art later this month.  At CoW my simple naval rules will get a run out using some components of the Battle of the Denmark Strait.

Meanwhile, out of period perhaps, but don’t forget you are invited to the Naseby 370 event on 13/14 June.

2014-15 Yearbook 75

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Being a Cold War seasonal entertainment staged for the MondayNight group …

BGD ISCF 01

The game combined some elements of the celebrated Operation Cold Feet and some real and fictional mayhem from Ice Station Zebra.    The rules were AK-47 classic with a few scenario tweaks  (plus a personal EDNA die roll which was set too easy so allowed a fair degree of role play to direct the narratives*).

AK-47, of course, is designed for Post War semi-historical African Warlord battles … but in its earlier format (sometimes referred to as classic) has a simple and swashbuckling style that translated comfortably from the savannah to ice flow.   3 of the 4 players were new to it but picked it pretty quickly.

BGD ISCF 05(Ice Station Cold Feet)

Briefly, something has fallen out of the sky somewhere on the ice flow, and a Soviet Ice Station has gone off line.   Nato has sent a mission to find out what is going on – and maybe gather some goodies.

ice station zebra poster

The Nato mission is … parachute in – find and check out the Ice Station – skyhook out any sensitive gear** – RV with the submarine for extraction …

There is a Soviet mission which is after the same materials and is charged with denying the Nato mission.

BGD ISCF 04(the Nato troops dropped successfully close to the station and only lost one member on the ice)

BGD ISCF 06

BGD ISCF 07(Nato operatives secure the Ice Station and search for clues)

Soviets at Zebra

There then followed a preposterous aside where they find a dead Soviet astronaut who has crawled in for shelter … In the ‘real’ narrative, it is a spy satellite, but Ian, on his departure, passed me some old Airfix astronauts which he not found a use for for years, so I painted one up and got him straight into a game (however circuitously).

BGD ISCF 08

(Space debris found at Ice Station Cold Feet)

By this stage the Russians were aware they were coming second in the race and had begun to mortar the Station and called up reinforcements …

BGD ISCF 09(the Soviet team were quickly reinforced by a 1940s style detachment of ski troops and aerosans)

And everyone was surprised when some light tanks turned up to support the Nato contingent.   A miniature battle on the ice broke out and a couple of airstrikes caused havoc (the professional Soviet special force had few heavy weapons, but proved good at rolling the ‘Double Four’ with their small arms fire – which in AK-47 wins then an airstrike special effect: very handy when you have some tanks to quieten down!***)

BGD ISCF 10

(Cold War: battle on the ice)

By this stage the Nato force was having problems … the skyhook mission had been aborted due to the presence of enemy Ground Attack fighters over the RV so everything would have to go out by submarine …

BGD ISCF 12(Cold War getting hotter … Flogger strike coming in on the Nato tank support)

But, thinly disguised as Soviet, the extraction team shows up in the nick of time (and the random roll put it very nearly adjacent to the the Nato team which was all but pushed off the end of the ice) …

BGD ISCF 11a

I won’t include full details of the debrief (as we may run the game again, so reserve the right to recycle some of the twists) but we ended up with a clear outcome for the mission and a thumbs up from the players who seemed to have got into the swing of things.

Of course both sides subsequently denied everything and such is the nature of the pack ice that eventually it will all have disappeared without a trace …

BGD ISCF 13(Ice Station Cold Feet: a last man seen leaving the chaos)

AK-47 ‘classic’ seemed to work very well for this freewheeling evening game … and has a ‘cope with anything’ simplicity that enables the game to bundle along …

*******

*purely to avoid those catastrophes where players get killed early on, everyone was allowed a ‘get out of jail’ argument plus an edna roll – as nobody failed the rolls, that aspect morphed harmlessly into a more ‘matrix’ style mechanism and allowed players a little role play.

** the Fulton Skyhook … it was real but had to be aborted due to the crowded skies ..

***basically we played all the bits of AK’s main rules bar we ignored the ‘choice’ morale test (so as to keep the small number of units we were using all in the game – for a good while at least) …

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54mm Afrika Korps vehicles left smoking in our wake: ‘1942 to Benghazi’

In honour of Sarge’s forthcoming nuptial transition we had a local ‘boys’ games day’ featuring some classics from the Ad Hoc stable.

In addition to ‘Six of the Best’ and a clanking romp in Carpathia (the details of which are thankfully shrouded in mystery …) … it was a joy to see ‘Nick the Tsar’ and ’19:42 to Benghazi’ set out in all their splendour.

They were part of a legendary series of Salute participation games from the noughties, both in 54mm scale and full of wacky detail and quirky humour.

Here are a few shots …

Nick the Tsar: rescue teams moving up on the Ipatiev house …

‘Nick the Tsar’

To rescue the family, the players have to get up to the house, overwhelm the guards and break in …

Nick the Tsar: close up of the firefight at the door …

‘Nick the Tsar’ set the players up as Whites and foreign agents desperately attempting to free the Tsar’s family from captivity and spirit them away to safety.

Just for old time’s sake: the ‘ostriches’ gag …

Once in, any blue marbles can become saved members of the Imperial entourage (blue marbles? … I’ll explain some other time – the combat saves were Russian roulette … the shots were resolved in little glasses …  you get the picture): anyway, for each marble you get to crack open a faberge egg and find out who you saved …

The youngsters help us identify who’s been rescued

’19:42 to Benghazi’

… and the fourth game of the session was the LRDG caper blowing up everything in sight raiding an axis airfield in North Africa.

Equally rich in elegant mechanism and deplorable humour it is just a grandiose ‘drive by‘ in out of control vehicles.  And the environment is splendidly rich in targets …  Dawn is breaking and …

That big Chevvy just blasted past us and left us covered in sand …

… it took out the canteen, spilling the pasta and up-ending the Gulashkanone

… would you like some sand with that? …

… while all attempts to avoid the latrines were beyond the controls available to one of the jeeps …

… ooops! …

… of course all that noise and destruction does wake up the Germans …

… ooops! indeed – time to get the hell out of Dodge …

… well wadi ya know … Achtung Panzer! and all that – it’s off at the perimeter for us and into the desert …

Actually, we took out a watch tower, set the train ablaze, destroyed 2 fuel caches, 4 planes, half a dozen trucks and half tracks plus a Panzer II.   We shot Mussolini’s double and trashed the limo … and lived to tell the tale (well as far as the debrief endgame anyway) …

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