Monday, 25 November 2019

Gentlemen do ungentlemanly things in the jungle

Last weekend, some unspeakable things happened on several islands in the Pacific. All but one of the perpetrators are pictured below. Kieron P. escaped having his photo taken, though he can be seen ducking out of shot in one of the scene of crime pictures. 

Left to right: James R.; Andy N.; Peter N.; Charles S.G.; Dale S.;

Graham P.; Chris H.; Peter Mc.; Steve R.; Kevin C.
Last Saturday several of the League of Gentlemen Wargamers gathered in sleepy Kirriemuir for one of our (three times a year) weekend war game bashes. The theme for this particular gathering was a new one - The War in the Pacific. 

Several players brought stuff along for the game (even I brought along 30 newly painted, still drying Japanese troops). But, the bulk of the troops, and at least half of the terrain, was brought along by Peter N. who has spent the last two years preparing the scenarios, troops and terrain for this particular weekend's fun and frolics; including, the commissioning of a marvellous one off island terrain mat which has to be seen to be believed: Well done, Peter! Your efforts were much appreciated by all.

Players were designated Japanese, American or Australian for the weekend - which side we were on is evident from the mug shot above. Yep, the Japanese are all wearing glasses, and the Australian is furthest away. 

Saturday encompassed the playing of several theatre specific scenarios, all loosely based around historical actions. 

I can't comment on their historical authenticity because my knowledge of this part of World War 2 is mostly based on distant memories of The World at War documentaries and the more recent TV series The Pacific. However, all the games were great fun and Peter really knows his stuff. 

All but one of the games were played using Warlord's Bolt Action rules. The odd one out was a tank Vs tank game using the TWOFATLardie's What a Tanker! 

I like Bolt action and they work very well for this kind of game. I'm not sure about their value for non-infantry battles, or games using small figures but, for platoon level infantry games using 28s, they are a great set of rules.

There were six scenarios in all.

They were played in rotation; between teams of one or two players a side; players swapped opponents for each game; players mostly managed five games in the day's play. 

I can't remember the names of the games and I didn't manage to play one of them.

This one, involved the Japanese trying to get captured American Airmen (who had bombed Japan?) off of an island before they could be rescued by U.S. Marines. In this game, the Americans were awarded points for rescue and lost points for casualties. The Japanese got points for either getting the prisoners away to the harbour or executing them (historically several were murdered), and for G.I.s killed. 

This was the last game I played on Saturday and I was now fully aware of the value of the Japanese being able to charge regardless of pins. Banzai!

Obviously, getting fully into character, my plan was to wipe out the Marines so I could walk my captives to the harbour and away; as insurance, I began executing airmen (one per turn) for points from turn one. My plan nearly succeeded. Time called a halt with only 4 G.I.s left, and not too many more captured airmen. Two more turns would have seen a total Japanese victory - sometimes night comes too soon. It was the only game I lost and scored points on - which is not to say I only lost this game!

Note Kieron, escaping the camera in double-quick time.

This scenario involved the taking of two small islands, one with a radar station. 

The game had a particularly interesting scenario format. The forces were not fixed. The Japanese would score more points for achieving victory with less troops than were available. 

The force, once chosen, could not be altered and I took the absolute minimum to achieve maximum points and paid the price. 

My Japanese paratroops took one island, and brought up an empty landing craft to convey them to the other. However, they were too few in number to beat off the Australians who arrived by boat to retake it. Boy, those Australians are 'Tough' under Bolt Action rules.

I lost this scenario and I scored, in my best Japanese voice, 'Zero!' points.

This game was a simple ambush scenario, photographed here before Steve's road was added on Saturday morning. It zig-zagged through the jungle.

With lunge mines and a couple of banzai charges, the American Stuart tanks, M3 halftracks or the troops they were carrying, didn't make it around the first bend.

This was a particularly hard battle for the Americans, I thought, and I scored heavily.
This is the scenario I didn't play. 

I'm afraid I haven't much of a clue what it was all about.
This was a What A Tanker game. I will not say scenario.

Generally, I think it involved two Japanese tanks versus a Sherman. 

I had not played What a Tanker before. The rules have an interesting game mechanic and, for a game, I suppose they work well enough. My gripe with the rules is that they are for playing a game and, IMHO, bear no resemblance to tank warfare. 

Fun enough but, I will not be buying these rules.

Game lost - zero points.

I think this game was an Iwo Jima scenario and it was the first game I fought. 

My objectives could be met by holding my bunkers and killing G.I.s. 

My secret weapon was the ability to use an underground network of tunnels to bring out reinforcements, which I managed to do quite successfully.

The luck was with me all the way on this scenario. I rolled well; every time the Americans issued a 'Run' order they hit a booby-trap for D3 casualties; I held both M.M.G bunkers. 

I scored so heavily in this game - (from memory) 57 points, and everyone else scored so very many less in their first games, that umpire Peter N. deducted 17 points for being "cocky". Banzai, Ha!

Points for achieving objectives were added up at the end of each scenario played and the top twoo scoring players on each side were promoted. I came in second for the Japanese and promotion in the service of my Emperor was achieved.

Sunday's Big Game - and I'm not using capitals for nothing - as photographed after it was set up on Friday evening. Just look at this beauty! Fought on an island 24' x 6'; I don't think I've ever seen as much jungle. Just look at that game mat!

I was so impressed, the next day, I brought my iPad to take a short videos of it all. I apologise in advance for their wobbly nature - this was all a video-tech first for me and somewhere along the way I lost a similar video of the other side of the table. If it ever turns up I'll edit it into this post.

The scenario was simple enough. A combined American and Australian force was tasked with seizing a Japanese held Island.

All Hell broke loose on the beaches and in the jungle beyond. The Japanese were holding well as the game drew to a close and were declared the day's victors. In the long run though, I feel the Allies, with unlimited resources would have prevailed - I certainly had very few troops left a the end of that grizzly day.
It was a fantastic game. A very enjoyable day's play all round. 

The weekend, largely due to the efforts of Peter N., was another stunning success as a gaming weekend and, as usual for The League, played in the best spirit.

Thanks to all, and a special mention to Steve R. who put me up for the weekend and wined and dined me on the Friday night before the games began. Thanks, Steve.

So, there you have it. I'll just add some photos of the game in progress - for the record.

FOR SALE NOTICE: The 30 Japanese I took to this game are currently listed on ebay at this: Link.


Der Alte Fritz said...

One word, WOW, says it all.


David said...

What a wonderful spectacle and a great advert for our hobby.

warpaintjj said...

The BIG game looks spectacular - as you say "look at that mat"!
Great idea for a weekend, looks like a splendid time was had by all.
Best wishes,

Doug said...

Very nice indeed. Bolt Action isn't my preferred set, but works well enough for big multi-player games like this one. And a lovely mat indeed. Now you can cut it into 6' sections for normal tables ;)

(Kym) + Warburton + (Classic40K) said...

Very impressive indeed.

Bill5549 said...

All looks good and the big game terrain is just amazing. Well done Peter. So sad I missed the weekend. See you in 2020.


Hello Bill,

bumps in the road often throw one off course.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year,

See you in 2020.