Last Saturday Jared Burns ran a very fun game of GASLANDS at the February meeting of the Mass Pikemen gaming club. For those of you not familiar with the game, it involves an apocalyptic race/gladiatorial battle using Matchbox cars. The cars are armed with different weapons such as rams, machine guns, and armor, and in the scenario they were racing through three gates with the first car to finish all three as the winning car.
Each of us had two cars. Jared brought his car collection which he had very effectively weathered. Also, Scott Howland brought his cool GASLANDS cars, so we had a nice selection. Jared had also made some very nice dashboards which made play much easier.
We all started at gate one, with no firing weapons to be active until we crossed the first gate. Several cars, including my cab, never made it through that first gate. My rusty car did, and turned back to attack Jared’s similarly-armed orange car. I rolled well, and Jared did not, with the result being I destroyed his car. Unfortunately, his ammo sympathetically detonated and both of my cars took damage from that blast.
At the same time, Mike Morgan had been sidelined due to a starting box collision that left one of his cars just getting going. His other car was speeding dangerously towards the stadium wall (the edge of the tabletop), so he was not being engaged. Scott and Jared were both heading to the second gate and taking shots at each other along the way. Scott’s other car was in front of my rusty one, so I shot at it, and the dice were with me again. Boom.
Unfortunately, the act of shooting Scott’s car also caused an explosion that wrecked my rusty car, leaving me with only the cab.
This left Mike with two cars, and Jared, Scott and I with one, and mine could only ram. I saw them headed for gate two, so I headed there.
I did damage to Scott’s silver car, causing it to flip and hit the post, and explode. Both my cab and Jared’s blue car were caught in the explosion. This action took all three out of the game, leaving Mike with the only remaining cars and victory!
The game ended and I think we all had a blast (pun unintentional) even though I inadvertently succeeded in destroying my own cars. Thanks to Jared for running a great game.
Our next session is on March 2nd at 2 PM during which we will be playing What a Tanker in North Africa!
Poker chips were used for accounting and for tallying the score. Points/chips were awarded for tank kills, and for having your tank at the end of the game on the enemy side of the river. If your tank was knocked out, you re-spawned as a tank of the same value on the next turn, and the side of the player who killed you got chips equal to the value of the destroyed tank. These chips could be used in several ways. The team with the most chips would win, and chips could be used to purchase another tank, a tanker card, or upgrade an existing or re-spawning tank. Alternatively, you could keep the chips towards your victory points.
On one flank, a shootout occurred between a Panzer IIC and an R35 over a bridge on the French left flank. Initiative and the dice rolls went to the French R35, with the Panzer IIC taking temporary damage and being pushed back to its starting point, without damaging the R35. The German light tank barely managed to survive, exited the board, and re-spawned on the opposite flank to join the battle there. The little R35, a slow tank, had a long drive to rejoin the fray there.
On the other flank, the other French R35 took up position at base of the other bridge. Eventually, it got a few flank shots on the opposing Panzer IV, causing damage, and pushing it back. The R35, smelling blood, advanced over the bridge, and took up a protected position by the farmhouse. The Panzer IV had lost most of its command dice, and was heavily damaged. Eventually, the R35 knocked it out. At this time the newly-re-spawned Panzer II from the other flank deployed nearby, as did the StuG. The Panzer IV was also re-spawned here, and the R35 was in deep trouble. The new French player got his SOMUA S35 and hurried to relieve the R35. The battle eventually became one of both sides driving around the farmhouse and trying to get advantageous shots.
The Panzer IV got first activation, and missed the SOMUA! The SOMUA then drove like a bat out of hell, taking up position behind the Panzer II that was menacing the R35.
The Panzer II got activation next, and decided to avenge its comrade. A flank shot destroyed the R35. The next turn arrived with the SOMUA getting activation first, and lit up the Panzer II. The Panzer II re-spawned on the other side of the board, hoping to get some victory points by driving to the other side of the river. However, the R35 player re-spawned as well, and decided to use some of the French poker chips to get an upgrade, a heavy tank – the Char B1 bis – to confront this action.
The Panzer II crossed the river at a ford by the bridge, and turned to face the Char B1, who had crossed the bridge. As you see below, the Panzer II rolled a “10” for activation, while the Char B1 rolled a “7”, so it activated first.
(A side note here – in the rules, D6 are used for activation, but I have found that this leads to way to many “dice-offs” and slows play. Instead, I use D12’s, and if a player banks a command die “6” for the next turn’s activation, he/she gets to add two to the roll, so the math works out the same as the original game).
Back to the standoff between the German David and French Goliath…the Panzer II hits the Char B1 with a double -six roll, allowing it to get two extra strike dice – great news for the Panzer II. Unfortunately for him, the Char B1 is very heavily armored, and the hit fails to do any damage (well, maybe the paint).
The Char B1 returned fire, and you can guess the results…
The surviving R35 finally made it to the other side of the board and took up position behind the StuG, who was more concerned with the SOMUA. The R35 rolled well, the StuG did not, and the German assault gun brewed up into a ball of flame and smoke. This left the Germans with only a Panzer IVD, and even with re-spawning, the game had gone too far in the French team’s favor. The final score, with all the points for being on the other side of the river, kills, and purchase debits, was 58-14 in favor of the French. I think the scenario is still balanced, but in the end maneuver and use of terrain both really matter in this game, and the French did better job of both in this game. They also got some bad luck for sure. I may add some points to the German side the next time I run this scenario.
Hope that you enjoyed this post! Please let me know your feedback in the comments section!
The next Mass Pikemen game will be on February 16th at 2 PM at the East Brookfield MA Senior Center (110 Pleasant Street), East Brookfield, MA. We will be having a GASLANDS game run by Jared Burns.
The Germans moved on first – and one of the T-26’s was able to early on get a couple of shots in on one of the Panzer IVd’s, with the second one knocking it out. This was a fun event for 7-year old Jack Burns who was playing in his first war game ever. He was so excited to knock out the German tank.
The Soviets KV-1a was slow to move forward, and the T-26’s outran it. The Panzer 38(t) moved up to the ruined factory and took aim at one of the T-26’s in the open. It fired, and missed the Soviet. Returning fire, the T-26 hit and knocked out the Panzer 38 (t). Two down for the Axis! Shortly after this, the other Panzer IVd peeked out from behind its brother, only to suffer the same fate from the plucky T-26. Three down now!
Let me add a side note here on my rules modifications for this scenario. What a Tanker does not have rules for either armored cars or trucks. I modified them here for the armored cars, which I made Fast (easier to always move), and Small (tougher to hit). For their Armor, I only gave them a 1, which meant that any hit from a tank gun would very likely be enough to kill the BA-64. As the BA-64 only had a machine gun, I gave them 2 modified Strike dice. The modifications were twofold. First, their range was 24″ (half that of the tanks). Secondly, the BA-64’s would hit on a 6, but the only likely result of such a hit would be to force the target to button up if it was not already. If the BA-64 player rolled double-6’s, I would allow 2 strike dice. So the BA-64’s were harassers at best. I had the Gaz trucks move last, with 2 D6 of movement (no command dice). If they were hit, they were destroyed.
Back to the battle!
At this low point, they got reinforcements in consecutive turns. First, the Panzer IIIN came on in turn 2. In turn 4, the Axis got the Hetzer and the M13/41. The tide of battle was turning.
The Panzer IIIN moved up to the hill, awaiting the T-26 and a truck. The German successively took both out, leaving the Soviets only with one T-26, one truck, the KV-1a, and the BA-64’s. The M13/41 rolled badly, and hid behind the Panzer IVd wrecks for better dice rolls, even taking humiliating fire from the BA-64’s that caused it to have to button up.
The Hetzer moves fast, and tried to move around to the rear of the KV-1a. It succeeded, and missed with its initial rear shot. The KV-1a immediately turned the tables, turning 180°, and rotating its massive turret towards the diminutive tank destroyer. The Soviet again got initiative, firing not once, not twice, but three times – and unbelievably missing on all three attempts! The saving grace for the Hetzer was its Small characteristic, which meant the KV-1a needed a “7” instead of a “6” to hit.
The Hetzer then got initiative and rolled its Command Dice well enough to fire but not to maneuver towards the Soviet behemoth’s vulnerable rear. It decided to take a chancy shot at the frontal armor of the KV-1a. It got 5 hits on 7 dice (needed a “5” or “6” to hit). The Soviet player got zero saves, and the KV-1a was knocked out.
The BA-64 ramming attack did nothing to the Hetzer, which dispatched the armored car with one shot. Meanwhile, the Italian M13/41 took out the last truck. The surviving BA-64 was destroyed by the Italian, leaving the Panzer IIIN and a damaged T-26 in a showdown. With the loss of the trucks and the KV-1a, the game was called an Axis victory.
The game was a fun one for winners and losers, with highs and lows for both. Next time, I will probably give the Soviets a second KV-1a.
The next Mass Pikemen’s gaming session will be on Saturday, December 1st from 2-8 PM, at 110 Pleasant Street in East Brookfield, MA. This is a change from our previous 3-9 PM time slot. We will be playing What a Tanker again!
Please join us, and share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below!
Last Saturday, May 19th, the Mass Pikemen held a gaming session in East Brookfield, MA. We were fortunate to have a fun game using the Combat Patrol™ card-based rules system – which I have adapted for use in retro sci-fi games using fun Old School miniatures. The ones here were from Archive Miniatures and Team Frog. The scenario involved an attack by the Mark III Warbots (two squads) on the peace-loving amphibian F.R.O.G. Commandos, who were once again defending their sacred pond from enemy desecration. This time, the Warbots brought along two new troop additions. One was another Archive Miniatures Juggerbot to act as the Warbot’s Platoon Sergeant. This improved command and control in support of the previously existing Juggerbot platoon leader. Secondly, this marked the first deployment for the death-dealing, flame-throwing giant robot known as Roberker.
The F.R.O.G. Commandos defended their pond’s enclosure with a couple of squads and the heavy weapons section, including the Dread FROGBOT.
In addition to our experienced players, we had a couple of new players, Mike Morgan and Chris Comeau, who quickly picked up on the Combat Patrol™ system.
The Frogs quickly moved to counter the Warbot’s movements. The Dread FROGBOT with its short cannon and two chain guns arrived at the defensive outer wall, and was able to get off a couple of bursts, damaging several Warbots. However, the Warbots effectively closed and used a devastating plasma breaching weapon against the FROGBOT. Even though the fire was off center slightly, the FROGBOT’s left side was basically vaporized. Undaunted, the Frogs kept up their spirited defense with their assault rifles, holding the line.
A little to the Frog’s left, Roberker advanced and took fire, but not before spraying flaming death from its two nozzle arms. Several Frogs were fricasseed, but Roberker took several hits as he advanced.
Then the Frogs made a bold jet pack assault focusing on the golden Juggerbot platoon leader. They managed to damage the leader, however they actually killed two of their own in the crossfire as shown below. However, this proved to be a critical move on the Frog’s part.
One of the modifications that I make to the Combat Patrol™ rules in retro sci-fi games is to have robots use the South Pacific Japanese decks, which have different morale results. The golden Juggerbot platoon leader, having been wounded, now had to make a morale check. Amazingly (and against all odds) he pulled the card that said the leader was shamed – and commits hari kiri – is destroyed, and is removed from the game. This pinned all of the attackers, reducing their advance significantly. Some of the Warbots, like the purple squad on the other side of the tabletop (played by Ellen Morin) did manage to rally, but it was a big turning point in the game.
Another interesting action at the end was the brave individual attack on Roberker by the F.R.O.G. leader, Captain Frog, armed with only a Frog Blade and a pistol. Captain Frog jet packed into hand-to-hand combat with Roberker, and despite the stiff odds, beat the giant robot. As Roberker was already severely damaged from the previous assault rifle fire of the Frogs, Captain Frog’s actions took out Roberker.
(This proved again the Buck Surdu theory that the first time a figure gets on the tabletop that it gets whacked!)
On the other end of the table, the purple Warbot squad made significant advances away from the other carnage, and were able to use their plasma ball breacher (in this case a ball of high energy plasma) to fire at the defenders. Even though the fire was slightly errant, as shown below, one Frog was vaporized, and the fence breached.
At this point, the game was called. Clearly, I believe the Warbots were going to make it to the pond, but the F.R.O.G. Commandos defense was truly spirited and exemplary!
We are looking forward to the next Mass Pikemen Gaming Club session on June 23rd!
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Last Thursday Night we had our monthly gaming night for the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club. Turnout was light but we were able to have a couple of games. We had a brief card game from 1983 – Flying Buffalo’s “Nuclear War” in honor of our nights game master Jared Burns. Why? Well the game has a B-70 Bomber card which was a semi-prototype of the B-1, which Jared served on in the US Air Force.
The second game was an X-Wing demo game run by Jared.
Our next gaming night is September 28th at the East Brookfield Senior Center hall. We should have a sci-fi skirmish game (retro sci-fi) and more. The pics below tell the tale of the night – overall my daughter Ellen Morin was the night’s big winner!