Friday, 24 January 2020

The Chronicles of Kermit the Hermit - 'The Relief of Adhogg' scenario


This is a scenario for the Crusades using To the Strongest rules. It's been a while since figures from my (possibly) best painted collection saw action - here goes!


The Chroncles of Kermit the Hermit detail many lesser known military encounters in the Holy Land during the First Crusade and early years of The Kingdom of Jerusalem. One such entry relates to the Seljuk siege of Adhogg and its proposed relief by the Franks; the relevant part of the chronicle is as follows:

“….In the Year of Our Lord 1108 the Seljuk dehquan Toohdix laid siege to the Town of Adhogg. This place boasts impregnable fortifications which can only be overcome by a very long blockade or deception; the latter being how it fell to us in 1105.

The Franks felt secure behind their walls and trusted that the Seljuks would, as was their want, go home when winter arrived. The Seljuk Toohdix, by force of his will, kept the blockade intact through the winter and, with victuals running desperately short, the Franks were forced to call for succour. Oxo de Bouillon answered the call. He collected men and supplies together with great speed and set off on the road to Adhogg.

Toohdix, learning of the approach of Oxo, and leaving a trusted lieutenant in charge of the siege, detached himself with the best of his cavalry and set forth to intercept the relief column before it got near. He met the Franks, from ambush, at The Fork of Bisto…..”


So, our scene is set. The Franks are seeking to relieve the siege; the Seljuks will seek to ambush the Franks, where the road to Adhogg forks to go around Mount Bisto, and prevent them from reaching the town.

Terrain: 


The terrain is pictured on the map above. The To The Strongest grid is 12 x 9 boxes. The table is 8' x 6'. Hills are yellow, rough ground is green. Roads and villages are brown. Red and blue lines show the limit of each side's initial deployment zones (see below).
  • Hills are low and gentle; they are high enough to overlook scrubby woodland and the three villages but, not other hills. 
  • Woody scrubland is difficult terrain and blocks LoS. 
  • Villages are difficult terrain to infantry and impassable to cavalry, they block LoS.
  • The road to Adhogg forks here to go around Mount Bisto (a little off table). The roads to Adhogg are equally long and easy to traverse so the Franks can choose to use either road or cut across country to reach the opposite table edge (see Victory Conditions). Units following a road do not need to activate to change face when they enter a box containing a bend providing they turn immediately to show their new direction – they are simply following the road. The roads provide the easiest routes for the Frank’s supply wagons to successfully egress the table. Supply wagons treat all off-road movement as one level more difficult than usual – they are heavily laden and the ground is generally unsuitable for them.

Otherwise all terrain is as described in To the Strongest rules.


Deployment Areas: The Franks can deploy in any boxes enclosed by the blue line; the Frank's three supply wagons units must deploy in the three road boxes as shown; the baggage guards must deploy with one of the supply wagons. 

The Seljuks can deploy in any of the boxes behind the red line (bottom two rows plus the two outermost side columns). Several of these boxes provide ambush positions (see below).

Ambush Boxes: The Seljuks can secretly deploy troops in any box marked ‘A’ by marking their position on the map (see codes as detailed in OOB below). They can remain concealed (in ambush position) until they move, shoot, or the enemy enters an adjacent box. Troops not in boxes marked ‘A’ deploy normally.

Order of Battle:


Franks: 
  • Oxo de Bouillon, senior, heroic, attached general with a unit of veteran knights (Knights lance).
  • Two heroic, attached generals, each with a unit of knights (Knights, lance).
  • Three heroes.
  • Three units of veteran foot sergeants (Shieldwall spearmen, crossbow).
  • Three units of foot sergeants (Shieldwall spearmen, bow).
  • One unit of baggage guards (Shieldwall spearmen).
  • Two units of Turcopoles (Light cavalry, lance, bow).
  • Three supply wagons units with 4 extra missile chits each (Mob, raw).
The Franks have '28 VPs' of troops.


Seljuks:
  • Toohdix, senior, heroic, attached general with a unit of veteran Ghulams (Cavalry lance, bow) - ambush code TG.
  • Two heroic, attached generals, each with a unit of Ghulams (Cavalry lance, bow) - ambush code G.
  • Five heroes - ambush code H.
  • Three units of Seljuk veteran cavalry (Cavalry, bow) - ambush code S.
  • Nine units of Turcomans (Light cavalry, bow) - ambush code T.
  • Two supply camel units with 12 extra missile chits each (Mob, raw) - ambush code C.
The Seljuks have '25 VPs' of troops.





Victory Conditions: To obtain a victory, the Franks must exit the Seljuk's baseline with a supply wagon and 50% of their VPs. Exiting with 50% of their VPs will give them a draw. Anything else is a Seljuk victory. (Note: At present this scenario is untested and these conditions may change).

Due to the nature of the conflict, the break point for both armies is 50% of its 'VPs' rather than the usual 33%.

Scenario Special Rules: Apart from the road and ambush rules, detailed above, two special rules are in effect:
  • Supply wagon protection: Where a unit of soldiers is in the same box as a supply wagon the Franks can declare the soldiers as the recipient of any attacks regardless of the direction of attack. This represents them defending the wagons.
  • Extra missile chits: Extra missile chits can only be obtained if the activating unit is in the same box, or orthogonally adjacent box, to the supply element (friendly wagons or camels). However, success indicates that the unit may be replenished up to its maximum level of supply.

Historical outcome (From the Chronicle of Kermit the Hermit):


“….Toohdix met the Franks with unspeakable ferocity. Many Franks did not even know from what direction the enemy came. Almost all the Franks were butchered, Oxo de Bouillon among them. When the few that survived the slaughter reached Adhogg, the Franks there decided to sue for terms and give up the place. This they did, and the terms were honourably met by both sides. Toohdix entered the city to great rejoicing and there followed feasting that lasted fifteen days. Word of his success, and the celebration feast, spread far and wide: It was commonly heard in the market places of Damascus and Cairo that ‘Nothing can be as happy as Adhogg with Toohdix’….”


Note: For those unfamiliar with 'The Chronicles of Kermit the Hermit', Kermit is, of course, about as factual as Biggles and the Boogeyman.

Friday, 17 January 2020

Sidi Rezegh using BKC 4 leads to questions of scale and spectacle

Carrier Platoons of the Motor Companies shelter in a wadi, Sidi Rezegh.
Two carriers to carry a 'platoon' looks far better than one, though they only count as one for hits, etc.

As you know, I'm very lucky in that I have a war games room with a permanent table. This means I can leave games set up between weekly gaming sessions enabling big battles to be fought out over two or three weeks. All well and good but, sometimes I wonder if this arrangement leads me to be a little over ambitious to the detriment of some of my games.


II Battalion 104th Schutzen with engineers in tow (red edged bases) attack the Second Escarpment, Sidi Rezegh. 

Getting down to cases: Battles in the desert in late 1941 tended to be 'Brigade Group' affairs, or larger. Sometimes several hundred tanks could be operating in what might be regarded as my war gaming table space; to a degree, to my mind, I have to think 'Big Battle'. The battle at Sidi Rezegh on the 22nd November 1941, for example, involved four 'battle groups' (200 tanks) operating on a battlefield measuring about two miles by three. We are currently playing that scenario using Blitzkrieg Commander 4 rules and the game looks great but, so far, we have played just 5 turns in about 5 hours. My scenario has 112 Blitzkrieg Commander combat units fighting it out, and that is a lot of units for a one player a side game.


22nd Armoured Brigade (depleted) begins to arrive, Sidi Rezegh.

The mechanics of BKC 4 can handle games this size, for sure, but the dice rolling on multiple activation takes a lot of time to get through without the help of many hands. We have had several dozen units activating three or four times each turn - a single battalion rolling 100+ dice in a turn has happened at least four times: A big, two player, BKC game equals a slow turn game, and there is no getting around that fact. I like the level of detail and easy game mechanics in BKC 4 but, twenty units a player would be much better than fifty plus.


A13 command stand representing Brigadier Davy, 7th Armoured Brigade, Sidi Rezegh

The problem is, I don't want to play tiny bits of actions - which is certainly doable - because I want to see how one bit of the battle interacts with the other bits. I've never quite got on with scenarios which have narratives that go something like "...and there is a massive tank battle going on just off table to the west but, don't worry about it, it will not affect this action...."; though, inevitably, that kind of scenario is sometimes the only way to do an action. 


A15 Crusader in racing to the rescue, Sidi-Rezegh.
Those red and white Operation Crusader stripes will give the Germans something to aim at!

As I said in the first paragraph of this post, sometimes I think my ambitions are to the detriment of the game. The answer is easy, just hard for me to swallow.


German command stand representing Major General Ravenstein, Sidi Rezegh 

Having recently reassessed how I'm going to tackle the 'Peninsular War' project going forward by 'downsizing' the size of my divisions, I'm now pondering a scale reassessment for my Operation Crusader 1941 non-project (it's not a proper project, it's a 'now and then' sideline). 


25 pdr in action, Sidi Rezegh.

Currently, I'm playing my WW2 games at a figure scale of about 1:5 with about ten model tanks to a tank battalion and a dozen or so infantry stands to an infantry battalion. Now, I'm wondering, if big battles are my intention, should I halve my numbers and go for a figure scale of 1:10? Are five strong tank battalions big enough? Five or six 'units' are normally big enough for a 'command' but, are five or six stands?


Looking north east, Sidi Rezegh. End of turn 5.

The downside is obvious. Can I bear the loss of aesthetic spectacle? As a game, I think it would work much better if the game involved less stuff. Can I square my circle?


PzKpfw IV D, Sidi Rezegh. 

More upsides to downsizing: 

  • Downsizing would mean I have enough tanks to field the whole of 7th Armoured Division, representing about five hundred tanks and its supporting units, including the hundred or so 25 pounder field guns, at the same time (there would be no room to manoeuvre, even on a 12' x 6' table, but I could do it). 
  • It would mean I could field the best part of a British infantry division when required to do so. It would also mean I could field two Panzer Divisions (15th and 21st) instead of only one, which would be quite useful for some scenarios. 
  • It would mean I could probably afford to add the Italians to the collection, at divisional strength, at some point in the future - I probably couldn't afford the painting time or money otherwise. 
  • It would mean a more open battlefield, my desert (table) would start looking much bigger and more open, like a desert. 
  • It would mean I have surplus stuff (some of which is already painted) which I could sell to buy Italian stuff - now, that's a definite upside!

But, the loss of spectacle.


Brigadier 'Jock' Campbell's HQ, and officer commanding 4th Field Artillery, Sidi Rezegh.
Do I keep things as they are but keep the option to go half scale when required, or do I plumb for 1:10 and go for it, full steam ahead? 

Oh, the loss of spectacle.


10.5 cm L28 howitzer. Something meaty for close support, Sidi Rezegh.
Strokes beard. A lot to ponder. At 1:5, the spectacle is 'ambitious'.


On parade, the teeth of 15th Panzer Division at 1:5 (approx).

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

RAC Weapon Training Pamphlet 34: Fire Tactics (1940)

ROYAL ARMOURED CORPS
Weapon Training

MILITARY TRAINING PAMPHLET
No.34

PART 4:  FIRE TACTICS FOR TANK 
COMMANDERS AND TROOP LEADERS

1940

Some years ago I bought this on ebay. As it was available for general sale and it's probably been declassified I'm going to risk breaking regulations by publishing photos of it, in full, here. If MOD wish me to take it down I will, but until then, or there's a knock at the door....

It makes for quite an interesting read. How much of it was followed and how much went by the board after first contact is hard to say. From a BKC player's point of view, it might lead to house rules on fire concentration.

All photos will enlarge if you click on them.









Blitzkrieg Commander 4, and 'Artillery Drift'

Set up to go, QRF, counters, artillery zone templates and festive clock
Over the Christmas break I set up and played my usual solo Christmas game. This time I chose to re-fight the Second Day at Sidi Rezegh (22nd November 1941) scenario I set up as a demo game for Fiasco 2013. I will not bore you with the details except to say that the Germans won comfortably. However, I will dot this post with photos of the game.


Turn one - yummy!
I decided to play it using Blitzkrieg Commander 4 available from Pendarken Miniatures. Leon kindly discounted me a copy last year at Fiasco and I promised to post a review, so here was my perfect opportunity to test the rules at my leisure.


The initial set up
Firstly, let me say that I was always a big fan of BKC because they are set at just the right level of command, level of detail for the kind of games I play and, most of all because, the command and control mechanism neatly covers a multitude of sins (training levels, fog of war, etc.) in a very simple, play friendly, way.


The MMG battalion of Group Knabe, with heavy artillery support from Belhamed, going up against 1st Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps.
The multi-functional command mechanism basically allows for units to act once, more than once, or sometimes not at all. To activate an 'order group' of units you roll two, factor modified, dice: If you score your command value or lower you can act with the unit, or units, under command once, then you can try to get them to act again, and each time the score required decreases making it harder. This means that better troops with better command generally get to do more each turn than those with lesser abilities. 

My first ever game with BKC was a 1941 German versus Russian game and I just loved how this simple mechanism so wonderfully reflected the difference in the tactical ability of the troops involved - I was sold.


Gotta love, or is that Gotha love, 88s! This one is modelled firing without fully deploying off its wheels; it's a great little model (by Battlefront FoW).  
In that first game we used BKC 1, later we played the second edition which improved on the basic game. Some years later BKC 3 came out and the less said about that edition the better; except to say that Leon pulled out all of the stops to redeem the situation with refunds and the publication of BKC 4 -  well done Leon. 

My first impression of BKC 4 was a good one. They are clearly written and well laid out. As far as I can see, most of the wrinkles that were in BKC 2 have been ironed out and I don't have a real quibble about anything in the rules except for the artillery rules but, this is nothing new. I have a problem with nearly all WW2 artillery rules.


4th Field Artillery Regiment - it's HQ in the background plotting solutions.
My problem with the artillery rules is this. For as long as I can remember, most WW2 artillery rules have comprised the following three concepts.
  • You call for (request) artillery support, usually via a FOO / FAO. This usually involves a dice roll.
  • Then, you dice for how far the artillery rounds fall away from the target point, most usually by moving a barrage zone template a 'dice rolled distance' in a randomly determined direction. What I call, 'Artillery drift'.
  • Then, you dice for damage inflicted on targets in the zone.
I have no problem with the first and third concepts. They make perfect sense to me. However, 'artillery drift' is simply a load of tosh and does not represent how artillery works in any meaningful way. Why 'artillery drift' rules have become so fashionable is a mystery to me because it's a total load of (excuse me) bollocks! Artillery lands where it is called, it basically lands on target! Let me clarify that bold statement with an explanation.

My understanding is this. In WW2 an FAO would call up for artillery barrages and concentrations. He would give the co-ordinates for the strike to the battery. A firing solution would be worked out. All of the guns would set to that solution but only the lead gun would fire. The FAO would watch for, and then correct, the fall of shot. The battery would re-calibrate its solution, all guns would re-set, then the lead gun would fire again. If the shot was still off target the lead gun would fire until its shot landed on (near) target, with all the other guns adjusting their firing solutions to match the lead gun (but, importantly, not firing). When the lead gun ranging shot fell on or near the target, and only when it did, would the FAO call "Fire for effect", at which point the all of the battery would open fire, laying down a concentration of shells (25 pdr batteries usually fired 5 shots each in quick succession without correction) then cease firing. As the guns in the battery were all the same, all had the same firing solution, all were firing the same ammunition and all were fairly close by one another, the shots all landed in the prescribed barrage zone. From memory, of the shots fired into a zone only about 7% went wild and fell out of it. Such was the accuracy of modern artillery. Barrage zones certainly didn't land all over the place, missing the targeted zone completely! Note I said targeted zone, not target point.

If we look at the three basic rule concepts again:
  • Calling for fire is the request and the ranging in, which could take quite some time, especially if more than one battery was being directed at the same time: The Germans suffered from this more than the British, the latter tried to bring fire down quickly with a wider spread whereas the Germans tried to bring theirs down in a pin point concentration; in BKC this is nicely dealt with by having different templates for 'barrage' and 'concentration'. Failure doesn't mean that nothing happened, it just means that the batteries are not ready to 'fire for effect'. 
  • Artillery drift is a load of rubbish. My solution is this. Place a marker (I use a blast marker based on a two pence piece) on the target point. Roll the request dice and note if any successful roll was odd (1,3,5), or even (2,6,8). If the result is even you place the template, if it's odd your opponent does. It always basically lands on target, near enough and is, IMHO, a more elegant way of doing things.
  • Dicing for damage is the important factor in determining the effect of artillery. Not everything in the artillery zone will be hit and damaged and this is where that test takes place - it should not be done using some random rule to make it miss the point of aim completely. 
The German player has placed his 'ranging shot' blast marker before rolling for the request. The German FAO successfully requests his artillery support and makes an even roll. The German player (rolling even) places the concentration zone template (6" wide circlet of piano wire - barrage templates are square): Two guns, two transports and an A15 are in zone (see below) - dice for hits and damage! If they had failed to request artillery the ranging marker would remain in effect - I make artillery easier to acquire on second request at the same point.
Now, if you are going to go down my route, you will need a 'blunder' mechanism. Lo and behold, a perfect one already exists in the standard BKC 4 artillery support rules. This is how artillery lands where it is not supposed to: Blue on Blue is rarely a product of bad mathematics and poor ranging shots; Blue on Blue is more readily explained by target misidentification - it lands on target, but the wrong target.

Rant over. 

It's not really a dig at BKC as such because BKC simply follows what has become de rigueur for a lot of WW2 artillery rules. I don't get annoyed any more, I just sigh and change them.

To recommend certain things about BKC's approach to artillery: I like the differentiation between artillery barrages and concentrations, and the request / blunder mechanism is basically sound and fit for purpose.


21st Panzer arrives
Will I make more changes to BKC 4? Yes, but not so you would notice much in game play. 

For instance, I play in 15mm and I have a large table so, I've increased all centimetre measurements by 50% and converted to directly to inches (E.g. 20 cm in the rules becomes 30 cm; 30 cm is 12"). 

I've reduced the artillery zone templates down to 6" (150 mm across) but count everything touched as in. With the way I do the artillery now this makes sense. The standard rules count something as in an artillery zone if at least half its base is in; I don't particularly like adjudicating if half a base is in; I prefer adjudicating if the template touches a base: if it does it's in. 

Now that the template no longer drifts, careful measurement of 'drift' distance and direction is no longer needed: the players simply place the template over the blast marker as desired and there can be no argument as to what's in or not (see the pic with artillery concentration template and blast marker 2 pics above).

I've changed or added a line or two here and there in Quick Reference Sheets (which I've re-done and got onto 2 pages rather than 4) to better suit my personal views on warfare in the Western Desert - I don't game anything else set WW2, except as a guest gamer, so my changes are quite specifically for Western Desert November 41 - mid 42 (at the latest). 

7th Armoured Brigade - old cruisers and A15s. On day one (at Sidi Rezegh) they started the battle with over 150 tanks - on day two they had just 28 runners left! I've decided not to do smoke: Caualties will be removed henceforth as I found I was arguing with myself over LOS and cover provided by burning hulks! (Plus, white smoke doesn't look right).

I've re-set this game to be played by The Lads over the next couple of Wednesdays. Hopefully, I will manage a full report on the action so you can see how BKC 4 handles over 50 units a side with ease.



So, apart from changes to the artillery rules, would I recommend Blitzkrieg Commander 4? 


Yes, in a heart beat! 

Blitzkrieg Commander 4 are great set of rules for large action, combined arms, WW2.



Saturday, 4 January 2020

X-Wing Scenario: A TINDER MOMENT


As a Birthday treat I went to see the latest Star Wars film. Of course, I loved it and, as usual, it immediately led me to drool into my X-Wing cupboard. Indeed, it also led to some new purchases - the arrival of which are eagerly anticipated - including a well priced Tantive IV. In all likelihood, I'll never get to play with most of my X-Wing stuff as interest among 'The Lads' isn't that strong, and I'll be left to examine my X-Wing miniatures (about 80 of them) alone, muttering "The Force is with me; I am with the Force."

I also remembered a scenario I'd written, largely based it must be said on one already done by Fantasy Games, back in April 2019 which wasn't played or posted here. It was planned to be a trilogy. However it's been so long since I started it I can't exactly remember the original story arc. Perhaps I'll get round to writing two more episodes later.

As I haven't posted much recently, here it is, even though it's possibly out of trilogy sequence (no Star Wars surprise there, then). Not my usual fare or interest, but I love a bit of Star Wars every now and again.  

BTW: Happy New Year, everyone!

Home made debri, escape pod and asteriod - all essential aesthetic additions for this scenario and partly why I wrote it.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away……..

………Rebel agent Tinder Caress switches frequencies before she tries the comms once more. “Come in Esege, do you read me? Come in Esege, are you out there?”

Sitting at the back of the escape pod, hands tied behind his back, Moff Diver scowls, and snarls between his teeth “Not going exactly as planned, is it, Tinder? You’ll never get me out of here, my men will find us first and then you’ll pay dearly for this.”

“I hear you Tinder. This is Esege and we have you on long range scanners. Tinder, do you have our prize?” splutters from the comms.

“At last! Yes, I have him but there’s a problem. The escape pod is not responding to the helm. We’re adrift! And the ion radiation gauge has gone off the scale.”

“That follows.” Esege replies “You’re adrift in the Tandoori Asteroid Belt. It’s been a dumping ground for toxic waste for years and it’s spicy in there to say the least; we’ve seen it before and we have a solution. Hold tight Tinder, help is on the way. Keep your prisoner safe, he has information that makes him too valuable to lose.”

“Well, we’ll be here. We’re not going anywhere.”

An hour or so later, Moff Diver asks “May I stretch my legs?” 

Tinder nods, reminding him she is not to be trifled with by raising the muzzle of her blaster. He stands and moves towards a small viewport. As he does so the comms crackle into life once again.

“Tinder, we are almost with you. But damn it, Tinder, we are picking up enemy ships on our scanners. Man the helm, kid. We’ll give you engine power as quickly as we can. It will be sporadic, so stand by. Tandoori here we come: It’s squeaky bum time!”

At that moment Tinder and her captive see a green streak of imperial laser fire flash by the viewport. Moff Diver turns to her “Your mine now, scum.”

Tinder brings her foot up hard into his groin, sending him cringing to the floor. As she moves to the helm controls she adds with a curt smile “I’m just wondering how disposable an asset you are to your friends. Are they here to recue you, or kill you?” Moff Diver’s jaw drops slightly - that possibility hadn’t occurred to him……

Star Wars Fact: Moffs: In the fifth year of Emperor Palpatine’s reign, twenty Moffs were appointed as Sector Governors of the First Galactic Empire, answerable only to the Imperial Ruling Council. The Emperor’s favourite, Wilhuff Tarkin [see Peter Cushing] was appointed Grand Moff in the same year and was given command of the Death Star. Moff Diver is a fictional creation of my own.

Victory Conditions

If the rebels get the escape pod off the ‘exit to safety’ table edge (see deployment picture) before the Imperials have managed to destroy all of the rebel ships, the rebels win the game. Otherwise, the Imperials win.

Neither side may attack the escape pod carrying Tinder Caress and Moff Diver.

The Escape Pod


Tinder’s escape pod’s systems have been badly effected by ionising radiation emanating from toxic waste dumped in the Tandoori Asteroid Belt. The solution is to override the systems in the pod with the systems in the rebel ships.

To do this, a pilot must perform the Action TARGET LOCK on the pod. The pilot may attempt to override the pods systems, as part of the same or future Action, by expending his TARGET LOCK token whenever he is within range band 3 or less.

To check success, roll two ATTACK DICE. For each FOCUS result the pod receives a SCANNER Token. The pod can have a maximum of three tokens at any time.

At the start of the ACTIVATION phase (Tinder is pilot skill 0), if the pod has tokens, Tinder must expend one token to move either forward 1 or 2, or turn (not bank) 1. Tinder will always steer to avoid asteroids and debris clouds.

In the event of unforeseen damage being taken by the pod, it has 3 hull tokens.

The Tandoori Asteroid Belt and Ionising Debris Clouds

More home made debri - I posted about this when it was made, see the X-Wing label in the sidebar

The shape, size and position of obstacles (asteroids and debris) is defined, as per standard rules, by their token. The models of asteroids, debris clouds and their bases are purely aesthetic additions.

Asteroids are defined and treated as per the core rules.

Debris clouds are treated as asteroids with the following exceptions. On collision with a debris field the pilot immediately receives a STRESS token. One ATTACK DICE is rolled to determine damage: on a damage­ result the pilot receives one ion token; on a critical damage result the pilot receives one damage and one ion token.



Imperial Reinforcements
Keeping it nice and simple, especially for 'reserve elements', is often best.

The Imperials always have the benefit of almost limitless resources to throw at any problem and this one is no different.

When an Imperial ship has been lost by either imperial player he will roll a single ATTACK DICE for reinforcements in the END phase of each turn. On a FOCUS result a reinforcing ship will arrive immediately. Reinforcements arrive within a range 3 radius of any playing space corner; they arrive facing toward the centre of the playing space.

There are a maximum of six reinforcement TIE fighters (flown by Obsidian Squadron pilots @13 points each) and a single Lambda Class Shuttle (flown by an Omicron Group pilot @21 points) that are close enough to reach the battle area in the time available. No ships have upgrades. To determine a random order of arrival the pilot cards for these ships should be shuffled and the deck placed face down; as a ship arrives its pilot card should be taken from the top of the deck.

Set-up, Initial Deployment Zones & Squadrons
I really did do all of this and then not play it. I even set it all up and take photos of it!

The playing surface for this game is 4’ x 4’. Eight large asteroids (using 18 tokens) and three large debris fields (using 5 tokens) have been deployed in this area.

Tinder’s escape pod has been deployed centrally and approximately 60 cm from the ‘exit to safety’ table edge but without a clear run to it - the rudimentary turns permitted to the pod will make the journey much longer.

Each side will begin in corners of the playing surface that face each other diagonally, one player’s ships in each corner. Ships must be initially deployed within a range 3 radius of their assigned table corner (the picture shows all ships deployed to their maximum radius).

The Imperial players have Sabre Squadron which comprises four of the best fighter pilots at the Empire’s disposal, flying well-armed, very fast and nimble TIE Interceptors. Black / Onyx Squadron is a combined task force of two lightly armed but nimble TIE Fighters and two more heavily armed TIE Aggressor escort ships mounting twin laser turrets (360 arc of fire) and missiles.

The Rebel Alliance players have Blue Squadron, led by Ten Numb, comprising three very well-armed and strongly built and shielded B-Wings; whilst all have proton torpedoes, Ten Numb’s ship is also fitted with a Flechette cannon. Esege Tuketu’s K-Wing strike force combines a K-Wing and two X-Wing escorts. The X-Wings are fitted with the usual proton torpedoes and carry R2 D2  astromechs for in flight repairs (Note: R2D2's abilities are not unique for this scenario). Esege’s K-Wing is armed to the teeth with an assortment of weaponry and specialist crew, including bombs, mines, torpedoes and its standard armament of turret mounted lasers.

The picture above shows the layout for this scenario.
·       Tinder’s escape pod can be seen in the centre of the battle area.
·       The edge allowing Tinder’s escape pod to exit to safety is marked with a red line.
·       The four squadrons have been deployed out to their maximum radius. Deployment formation can be changed prior to play providing the radius is maintained.

Other Notes

It covers most things except the specific rules for bombs and missiles. Bombs are dropped immediately after the ships move dial is revealed. Connor Nets are dropped as an ACTION. 

Missiles and torpedoes are fired in the COMBAT phase. The effect of special weaponry is detailed on the squadron reference sheets below.

Two ACTIONS not covered in the rules or, except by their symbol in the ship’s action bar on the squadron sheets, are SLAM (available to the K-Wing), and BOOST (available to TIE Interceptors.
  • SLAM ACTION: (Sub Light Acceleration Motor). To SLAM, choose and execute a manoeuvre on the ships dial. The chosen manoeuvre must be the same speed as the one executed this round. Then assign the ship with a weapons disabled token which is removed in the END phase.
  • BOOST ACTION: To BOOST, choose and execute a forward 1; or bank 1; or turn 1 manoeuvre.

If you want a more detailed breakdown of the fleets, I have them as MS Word docs from the Squadron Builder site. Let me know (drop me an email - address in side bar) but, the points totals were as follows:

Sabre Squadron: 79
Onyx / Black Squadron: 50

Blue Squadron: 71 pts
Esege Tuketu’s K-Wing strike force: 71 pts