Wednesday, 16 October 2019

"Troublesome Troubles"

When I conceived of this scenario, my wife warned me of possible political consequences. I did not ignore her, but I decided to set it up anyway. The Saturday before this, I was able to play two games of WWII skirmish using Nordic Weasel's "5 Men at Kursk" rules. That set of rules is both playable and flexible - just what any gamer might want! Kevin and I discussed setting up games for other 20th Century time periods, such as WWI, interwar conflicts, and the politically sensitive "Tan War" in Ireland. (aka the Irish War of Independence)

I'd been looking for a set of rules that would go for that conflict since I had figures in 15mm for it. The variety of fighting groups lend themselves to a varied game. (Royal Irish Constabulary, Black-and-Tans, Auxiliaries, Army, and IRA) So last Saturday, I set up a game and refereed the table. Kevin and Bear played. We all agreed that it was a game and nothing political would come up. The men were good to their word! (I never doubted it.) Kevin started with a small force of Royal Irish Constabulary "Auxiliaries", historically a rather bloody-handed group. They would be reinforced at a later turn by a force of British Army regulars. Bear ran two sections of IRA fighters. Both sides had missions to fulfill. The "Auxies" were to arrest the parish priest, a known IRA informant, while the IRA were to retrieve some information held in the local pub. Other than that, both sides were to engage the opposite side if possible and if necessary.

Kevin's force of "Auxies" was 6 troopers and an officer in a small truck accompanied by a Rolls-Royce armoured car. Bear had two section of "Volunteers", one almost twice the size of the other. All figures were armed with rifles except the offices and drivers who had pistols and one IRA man with a shotgun. The army's section was ten men in a large truck with the officer in a small truck. The army included a Lewis LMG and the armoured car had an HMG. The rules cover the movement of civilians so I handled them... since there was a wedding going on in the village church!

Ah, the wedding!

The town with the proverbial "pub on the crossroads"
"But there's nothing that's squeezed from the grape or the hop
Like the black liquidation with the froth on the top."

the wooded hill just beyond the village. The IRA began their moves there.
In this photo, Bear has already begun his advance.

Moving too quickly for the camera to catch properly,
the armoured car with the Auxiliary's officer moves toward town
(From the Minifigs WWI Range)

The small truck (a "tender"?) with a token trooper aboard to show it's occupied.
(vehicle and trooper from the Minifigs's WWI range)
The IRA fighters ran by the church and the wedding party scattered, many fleeing into the church, some going to the priest's house, and others - including the town constable - scattering in all directions. The Crown's forces moved cautiously, and the Auxies dismounted near the pub, while the IRA approached from the other side of the building.

The wedding party scatters... including the pub keeper who can be seen in the right foreground.
(Figs by Minifigs, Martian Metals, Essex, and a company I can't remember.)

The armoured car pushes on.

Part of Bear's Flying Column does and end run around the village's houses toward the pub.
The IRA figures are from Minifigs' Boer War and Old West ranges,
Old Glory ACW range, and an SCW range.

"Ye can't shoot at what ye can't see."
The HMG in the armoured car opened up on the IRA group across the field.

The right hand section of the Flying Column takes up a position in the small copse of light woods.
They were soon seen by the armoured car and fired on, causing no casualties but making some nervous.

The Auxiliaries dismount. They are NOT shooting the driver.

"Quietly, boys, lest we attract the attention of that steel beast!"

Using cover with some advantage so they could reach the pub.
When we broke for lunch, Kevin had to run an errand and Ralph took over the Crown forces. The army had arrived before Kevin left and a fire-fight began between the army troops and the IRA men in the copse of trees. The Lewis gun was dismounted from the truck and brought to bear on the guerrilla fighters.

The army's command car - a small gem from Minifigs WWI range

This truck is from a range of early 20th Century model railroading track-side vehicles.
I can't remember the maker but it has just the right look!

The IRA sets up for the firefight.
The rules say terrain blocks LOS, but figures can fire from the edge.

The Lewis Gun team.
When a Lewis Gun is the second most powerful weapon on the table, it IS a low level skirmish game!

The kilted officer dismounts to do command things.

As the truck moved through town, the men aboard took fire and be came "nervous" - hence the "N" chips.
"Nervous" troops may move or fire, but not both.
"Scared" can do nothing but hug dirt or possibly retreat to serious cover.

The Lewis Gun made the "Boyos" nervous... including their officer (third from the left)

Now one of the troops aboard is "scared", so he'd hunker down behind the cover of the truck wall.
They were taking fire from Bear's right hand section in some of the houses.
Ralph drove the armoured car right into the front door of the church to arrest Father Murphy, who when quietly. (I rolled on a "task" chart found in the rules and the cleric surrendered, hoping for the best.) Bear's right hand section found the information in the pub and backed out, taking positions in some of the houses on the street. The officer took the information and ran for it. The Auxies entered the pub and lost discipline. In a turn or two, they drank their fill! So then they moved at half speed and could only fire their weapons for "shock", not able to score any "kills."

The armoured car knocks on the church door.

The army assists in the arrest, deploying the Lewis Gun to fire on the retreating IRA men
with the recovered information. The officer was hit and no one was sure
for a while if he was dead or wounded!
The civilian on the far left -with the club- we all agreed looked like Bear!

With Fr. Murphy packed into the truck, the convoy began to leave the town.
Some of the IRA in the village are violently opposed to having the priest arrested.
The Lewis Gun is now behind the stone wall next to the church.

This is how the now-all-portered-up Auxies saw the world - all a bit blurred.

More goofy stuff. The "Bear" figure stole the small truck and drove it off. He's standing in the back.
In the right foreground, the downed officer is being checked by some of his comrades.
He survived and got the information off to the woods. The black die denotes the info packet.
As it left town, the small truck took fire and the driver was hit. The truck crashed (lightly) in to one
of the houses. The driver was unhurt and the truck was derivable, so they continued on their way
after a short delay. The drunk Auxies were lift to walk home.

"Bear" drives off the small command car - the spoils of war!
Actually both sides achieved their objectives. The IRA took more casualties, but the Crown forces lost a small car to a civilian. The game was fun although it may have been too large, using too may figures on too large a table. It is possible to over-fill a skirmish game; We've found this before. I'll do better next time and I'll know the rules better. Still I think we all enjoyed ourselves.

Monday was Thanksgiving here in Canada. We had our feast on Sunday and had hot turkey sandwiches on Monday (as well as apple pie and pumpkin pie) AND Chicago Mix popcorn during the D&D game Beth DM'd. (Chicago Mix is cheese popcorn and carmel corn together - delicious and addictive!) A good game and a good way to celebrate the holiday with some friends!

the small party - figures for Katie, Nia, Jesse, Robb, and myself.
My character - Dermot the Inevitable... ...but people call him "Tim"
In all the years I've played D&D, this is the FIRST magic user I've ever played
... a sorcerer of wild magic! (Don't know the original maker of the figure.)
I was turned into a potted plant as a result of the wild magic at my first spell cast!
("...but I'm much better now!")

Nia's Dragon-born character (unknown manufacturer)

A werebear Beth used to assist our defeat of the Bullettes
(a Reaper "Bones" figure)

Katie cuddles her younger cat, Maeve, who was moderately interested in the game,
but was quite interested in the Chicago Mix!