At the start of the game, each side gets 200 points to buy tanks and armored cars as well as Bonus Attack cards if the vehicle has a radio (all the Germans have radios, many French vehicles do not). The French are defending and have the ability to deploy at secret positions known only to their side and the GM. The French forces are divided – with half of the battlefield being under the responsibility of cavalry tanks, and half under infantry tanks.
The Germans are exiting wooded areas on two congested roads heading to two bridges over a river. The German mission is to cross the board and exit the other side (and head to the English Channel) – and gain points for doing so. There are also several possible fords over the river that are minor obstacles.
The French player may also spend points to wire either one or both bridges (or none) for demolition. This status is also known only to the French side and the GM. The French side may attempt to blow a bridge at any time, but failing to blow the bridge or allowing any Germans to cross makes subsequent demolition attempts more difficult. If a bridge is blown while a vehicle is on it, that vehicle is destroyed. Any side that destroys a vehicle gets points for that action as well. As GM, I only announce who is ahead at the beginning of the turn, and I do not share the score so as to maintain a fog of war for the players and try to maintain a crew-focused battle.
At this point the game ended, and the French had a solid victory with the score being 158-112. The French also got bonus points for no German being able to traverse the board. The Germans made a couple of unsuccessful Luftwaffe attacks which hindered them as well as the early casualties.The scenario is pretty solid and the gamers made key decisions that affected the game. I did run this scenario and three other games at TotalCon 34. I will share the results of what happened at TotalCon 34 on a future post and things went differently!.
During the Battle of France (May-June 1940), there was an amazing variety of vehicles on both the German and the French sides. At this same time last year, I began putting together a collection of period 15mm/1:100 scale vehicles for this period. These were discussed here. I have previously posted about a couple of games (December 2018 and January 2019) that I ran using the What a Tanker™ rules from the UK’s Too Fat Lardies. I have been hoping to return to this period and add more vehicles to both armies. I am starting this augmentation by adding 3 FCM 36 light tanks to my fleet.
The FCM stands for Société Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, a shipbuilder in Toulon who manufactured this 1936 design – and delivered about 100 to the French Army up through 1938. Cost and industrial manufacturing concerns limited further purchases. They were a little more than 12 tons, with a crew of two. The armor was fairly good – welded, and very sloped for tanks of the day. It also had a diesel engine and reasonable range unlike many other contemporary French tanks. However, like many other French tanks, it was armed with the weak Puteaux SA 18 37mm gun which definitely had challenges fighting German armor. Notably, two battalions of FCM 36’s tried to repel the bridgehead that the Heinz Guderian had established across the Meuse, but they were too little and too late. After the surrender of France, some of the FCM 36 chassis were converted to Marder I’s or self-propelled artillery. Some of these conversions were involved in the Normandy Campaign of 1944. Today, only one FCM 36 survives at Saumur.
I thought these would be a good addition to my French early-war tank collection. In What a Tanker™, these are the cheapest tanks to buy point-wise. The only source I found for these models was Old Glory. They are metal, and quite small of course.
Lastly, I thought I’d share some group and individual shots and a bit about their debut on the tabletop the day after they were completed.
I used a blue diamond, a red heart, and a red club as decals which would also help identify these as different individual tanks on the tabletop. From my research, FCM’s did not seem to have as many markings historically as other French tanks.
On the other side of the table, Mike’s teammate Tom managed to kill Christine’s Panzer 38(t) with a SOMUA S-35. Mike got another FCM 36, and that was killed by Christine’s teammate Chris’s StuG A (in the shot below on the left). Mike replaced his lost tank with an R35. Tom drove his SOMUA around the building but frustratingly could not take a point-blank shot at the Panzer IIIE (as his dice roll failed him). Mike had to leave, and my wife Lynn (no gamer just watching) took over the R35. Lynn drove the tank to the side of Christine’s Panzer IIIE, and rolled three critical hits – and Christine failed to block any. This knocked out the Panzer IIIE!
That ended the game, with the French winning a very narrow victory 32-31. If Lynn had not rolled so well in killing the Panzer IIIE, the Germans would have won. Thanks to the players for a great and fun game!
I have plans for more French and German tanks for this scenario. I hope that you enjoyed this post, and feel free to share your thoughts and feedback with me in the comments section! I have been behind on my blogging efforts and hope that I can share more with you soon! Thanks for taking a look!
This was my second time attending this small convention and my first time as a game master there. For nostalgia alone, I really looked forward to the event as I was stationed at the old Fort Devens before it was closed in the 1990’s. It has since been converted to commercial uses and some US Army Reserve functions. Running a game here was fun.
Both sides started with 150 points/chips to use during the game. The Allies started with a 40 points worth of vehicles. For the UK, they bought a Dingo scout car and a Churchill “TIM” (nicknamed for theimperfectmodeler aka TIM), along with an M5 Stuart, and an M8 Greyhound for the US. The Germans spent slightly less, choosing to buy an SdKfz 231 scout car, a StuG IIIG, and a Panzer IVH for 36 points.
The Germans took up very good ambush positions – especially the Panzer IVH, which was hull-down behind a stone wall. The M5 Stuart successfully reconned it, and the German fired point-blank at the light tank, missing it. The Stuart then prudently backed up behind the hedgerow. The Churchill “TIM” then moved up the road, to be also shot at, and again missed by the Panzer IVH. Amazingly, the Churchill immediately reversed the bad German die rolls, and miraculously hit and knocked out the Panzer IVH for its first kill ring of the day.
The Allies then successfully reconned nine possible German positions at 2 points apiece, adding to their score. They also successfully crossed the tabletop with an M8 Greyhound, gained the points, and respawned as another M8. The Germans spent some points and respawned the destroyed Panzer IVH crew into a Panther D which drove up next to the burning Panzer IVH. The Churchill “TIM” went Panther hunting.
Meanwhile, the Germans tried to put an end to the Allied reconnaissance successes. The StuG IIIG ambushed both the M5 and the Dingo gaining them crucial points, which they used to buy a Marder III. The Allies respawned both losses with similar models.
The Allies spent some chips to respawn the Dingo as a Cromwell IV nicknamed “IRO” aka imperialrebelork. The Germans dropped some obscuring smoke in front of the Cromwell.
“TIM” continued its winning ways and managed a flank shot on the Panther D. Its good dice rolling (and the German bad dice rolling) yielded a second kill ring for “TIM”.
The Germans were aghast at this expensive loss and vowed revenge. The SdKfz 231 managed to call in a rare Luftwaffe air strike on the Churchill, which destroyed “TIM” after it had been so effective.
The StuG IIIG went head-to-head with the Cromwell “IRO”, and took it out. The Jagdpanther caught the Achilles “Per” in the open and made short work of it. In the meantime, the Allies successfully crossed a Dingo and an M8 Greyhound. This resulted in denying the Germans any end of game bonus points for preventing more than two Allied vehicles crossing the table.
To make matters worse for the Germans, the respawned M5 Stuart knocked out a well-hidden Marder III with some help from a supporting infantry assault (see how I use bonus attack cards here) and well-placed 37mm rounds. As the game was winding down, and it was clear the Allies had a commanding edge in the score, The Germans bought a Tiger I and converged all vehicles on the plucky M5.
At games end, the final score was Allies 193, Germans 142. This game yet again delivered a different result. Player choices, and player luck all made this game fun and unique.
This is my 12th post about my development and running of this scenario and the models that went into making it. I started back in May 2019, so it’s been a lot of work, but one project that I really am proud of now.
I wanted to honor the history and the struggle of the Allies in the days after the D-Day landing 75 years ago. I will continue to run the game, and at this point I really only need to add a StuG IV to be really complete vehicle-wise (and I have one to build!). To read about previous games and related posts, see the following:
Last Saturday, September 7th, Scott Howland ran a very fun game of GASLANDS at our September gaming session. We had several new players and some young players with their dads (which was cool in and of itself). We had played this game a few times before, and Scott had some really cool new terrain for the race. His scenario was the “Johnny Cab Invitational” as a nod to the Johnny Cab in the 1990 film Total Recall. Scott plans to run this game at CARNAGE in Killington, Vermont in November.
As I got to play I got to take a few more pictures – the race was a real thrill ride (pun intended).
At this point, I closed for the kill. Nothing remained between Johnny Cab and the race course but Christine’s damaged and burning vehicle. Mike’s cab was far behind. My machine gun missed again – but my third Molotov cocktail hit and unfortunately caused a chain reaction with Christine’s own unused Molotov cocktails. The explosion damaged my Johnny Cab and destroyed it and the VW. At this point, Mike was just getting back to Gate #1 after getting off the wall. As the sole survivor, he won! Amazingly, he won our last GASLANDS game as a survivor as well – enjoy your prize Mike – a free trip to Mars! Your second trip!
The game went very quickly even with many new players. Scott’s vehicles and board were fantastically fun! I lent my new blast markers to the game and I think they worked well (and were very popular with the younger players to be sure). Thanks VERY MUCH to Scott for a well-run and fun game.
Our next session is a road trip to the Fort Devens Game Day on October 19th. Scott will be running a pulp game there, and I will be running my Normandy Breakout game. The November session for the Mass Pikemen will be on either November 2nd or November 9th from 2-7 PM, games TBD.
If you are interested in joining the Mass Pikemen, our Facebook group link is here. Join us!
For this post, I will show some of the photos that tell the story – though simultaneously being a photographer and a GM are not always easy. I appreciate the generosity of both Chris Rett and Ted Salonich helping with some photos – as well as playing of course!
The game scenario is:
After a successful D-Day landing and consolidation, the tanks of the Americans and the British are stymied in the hedgerows of Normandy. German armor has set up effective defensive positions in favorable terrain. However, the Allies do not know the exact locations of the German tanks, and the Germans have limited knowledge of where the Allied armor will be coming from and the direction to which they will try to break out. New rules that allow reconnaissance and the effects of other combat forces will challenge both sides in this action-packed game.
The Germans are in secret positions (basically ambush positions) that they choose in advance of the Allies arrival – which is also secret in terms of the exact vehicles that the Allies choose. Both sides get to secretly select their vehicles (with some restrictions), and poker chips are used for the scoring. The Germans here did stop the Allies from breaking out – though the Allies were able to gain more points by both effectively recon of enough blind positions and knocking out enough valuable German vehicles. The final score was 117-109 in favor of the Allies – with the game score turning on the Allies knocking out a Jagdpanther on the last turn. The casualties were:
Allies – 5 vehicles:
UK – 3 vehicles:
2 Daimler Dingoes
1 M10 Achilles
US – 2 vehicles:
1 M3A1 Stuart
1 M10 Wolverine
Germany – 3 vehicles:
1 Sdkfz 233
1 Panther D
Let’s see what the day looked like!
The Germans effectively used a Bonus Attack card to draw first blood – calling in a rare Luftwaffe attack on a Daimler Dingo.
As the German vehicles are worth, in general, much more points, the loss of their expensive vehicles made a big difference. Both sides played well, but I have to say the Germans were not very lucky with their dice at times.
I will be tweaking the game scenario in a couple of ways:
Adding stopping bonuses for the Germans:
A 20-point bonus for the Germans if no Allied vehicles are able to breakout across the tabletop.
A 10-point bonus for the Germans if only one Allied vehicle is able to breakout across the tabletop. If 2 or more cross, no German bonus.
Award the Germans 2 points for each unreconned point. This will incentivize recon, but force the Allies to choose what is most important. (The Allies already get 2 points for each reconned point.)
Allow a “banked 6” to be used for either an advantage on the next activation (per the rules) or as an automatic “6” on the next activation roll (determined by the player on the turn he banks it). Thanks Ted Salonich!
Thanks again to the all of the players. And for those who follow this blog who wondered if their named vehicle got fried, only one Cromwell (“IRO”) deployed and did not get into action. However, the M10 Achilles “Per” (named for Per from Roll a One) did get knocked out by one of the StuG G’s. Sorry my Swedish friend!
Hope that you enjoyed this – and I will be running this game on Saturday at BARRAGE in Maryland (September 28th) and at the Fort Devens Game Day on October 19th. I may also run it at other upcoming gaming cons if possible. Thanks for looking!
We had a very fun game of Pulp Alley last Saturday at the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club’s April session. Scott Howland did a smashing job at running his scenario. It involved four WWII (well, sort of) allies trying to seize key control points from evil Nazi Scientists and their reanimated zombie troops.
I played on the Allied side along with Jared (running a squad of Russians) and his son Jack (running an eagle-eyed group of Americans – replete with an eagle-headed leader). My squad was a retro-sci-fi group of heavily armed dudes with jet-packs (those of you who have seen my sci-fi games know I love troops with jet-packs!).
We entered the game on four corners – and needed to seize various control points by turn 6. Anything we did not seize would default to the evil side – which in this case was Scott’s son Ethan (controlling the mad scientists in the building) and Mike (controlling the reanimated Germans). The control points were multiple: gaining possession of two alien bodies in a lab; gaining possession of three crates by the UFO; seizing some electronic gear in one of the labs; and accessing and downloading information from a couple of computers in the lab.
Only Ethan had played before, and the game went smoothly. There were cards that you could play to affect action, and you could play them for your allies which was nice.
All in all it was a fun quick game. The final was 6-3 for the Evil Nazi Scientists. I liked the figures and the set up a lot – very cool and thanks to Scott for running such a cool game.
Our next sessions are on May 11th and June 29th – likely some What a Tanker and some Retro-Sci-fi Combat Patrol!
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!