Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Game 5 , Minsk

This was the 5th battle on the Eastern front. This game had more terrain than ever and more troops than ever. I set the battle in Autumn 1941 and called it Minsk. I didn't base it on anything historical, but the name of a key city gave it the correct feel.
For this game the city component had been expanded dramatically, 3 times the size of any other game. I fielded another 200 trees to bring the tree count up to about 1000 and the number of woods to in excess of 50.
The river returned and there were special visibility rules in play. Both sides received a briefing which included OB, starting force choices, variable morale and combat abilities to name some.
In some comments previously, rule availability/development was asked about. The rules as such I would call a "beta-set", printed and in the final stages of development before they are available for general consumption. The largest change has been for me to re-write them using 10mm as the base scale and allow players to factor for other scales. There is a Yahoo group already setup, ready for when the rules go live which I plan for the middle of 2012.
Now back to this game. We had 9 players and used 4 German and 5 Russian. I purposely had the new players  as Russian, using their newness to the rules as their "tactical disadvantage". It was easier than writing even more special rules!
The first two pictures show the battlefield, German start lines to the right and Russian lines to the left.

It still sometimes feels as if there is little terrain but this was the closest terrain to date.  Both sides had secure rear areas but both sides were also allowed to define flank attacks on both flanks, as deep or shallow as they wished. I took these "orders", looked a the forces involved and used a simple d6 system to resolve exactly what arrived where. We ended up with both sides attacking on both flanks, sometimes without a contiguous front/link to the safe rear areas.

The forces were based on a supported Panzer Corps for the Germans and a Russian army of 3 Inf Divs, 2 Tank Divs, 2 Artillery Divs, 2 Army Recce Btns and 2 Independent tank brigades based on KV1s & T34s.
We ended playing the game twice!
The next piccies show general battle along the lines. This game saw most of the 400 square feet of table get utilised and the game was relatively free flowing in some sectors.

Not surprisingly, significant action took place in the city of Minsk itself. The buildings are excellent, the roofs all come off and I removed some interior walls to allow figures to sit neatly. Using my base sizes, its easy to have figures be where they actually can sit. If they can't fit they can't be there. Saves a lot on defining building capacities. But be warned, the big buildings in the following piccies can gobble up Btns at a time.

I think it is also fair to say that we determined the length of time that this type of gaming allows players to play before exhaustion. We played for 6 days and finished the last day playing the battle of the river plate!, just as a form of relaxation.
The last piccy shows the guys that attended this game, including some new faces to the Situation room.

Third from the left, standing at the back is Nick. I think he is leaving his liver at home next time to help protect it! Second from the right, standing, is Phil. If I'm losing I always blame him (no idea why and he never takes any notice!).
In the front row, crouching on the right is Franz, from Vienna (a friend of Herbert). Never leave a bar of chocolate unattended within his reach, as it won't be there when you look back! Next to Franz, seated to the left, is Steve. He drinks wine like pints of beer! Woe betide anyone drinking with him (and casualty rosters do exist to demonstrate the wisdom of the advice).

Whats next. Well, up to the middle of next year it is more of the same. The next game is Moscow and I've been asked to do this as a trilogy of sorts and link 3 battles in some way. Start some time fairly early and finish in front of the gates of Moscow. After that I hope to have more kit allowing me to start Eastern front 1943. There is a lot of work to do this but I am optimistic. I also have both air forces in white metal, just now to getting them painted. They are 10mm scale from True North (sourced through Old Glory). They total 53 aircraft to allow me to play games with proper air components.
Behind this I have enough troops to do early war France 1940 with Brits. I hope to get this going for later in the year.
And not forgotten, the Napoleonics. Although the blog has been quiet on this, the figures, buying, planning etc etc has been ongoing. I hope to get a game going some time in Q3 next year. In fact I want to play the same game twice, first with "In the Grand Manner" and then with my modified/new "In the Grand Manner for 10mm".
So, keep watching for updates!