GASLANDS brings Maximum Carnage at Mass Pikemen’s Johnny Cab Invitational

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).

09072019 GASLANDS at Mass Pikemen
The flyer for the game
1 Scott briefs the gamers
Getting ready to play.  Each of us got a different cab-type vehicle for the race.  On the right, new player Steven (sitting) and his dad Steven (in orange hat) joined us for the first time with his daughter in tow. 
2 Scott briefs the gamers
Here you can see the tabletop – we had to cross 5 gates in the race.  The cabs had weapons that were not active until you fully crossed gate #1.
3 and the race begins
The start of the race – you can see the starting gate on the right.  Vehicles were assigned at random – I had the little Johnny Cab in the foreground.  Above me in this photo respectively  were Mike and Leif’s yellow cabs on the edge of the tabletop.  In the starting gate from top to bottom were Christine in a VW truck/cab, Jack/Jared in a tracked cab, and Steven/Steven in a motorized rickshaw.
3 Johnny Cab Open
Johnny Cab!
4 Mike careens into Leif
The wrecked tractor trailer was part of the game terrain.  I’m on the right about to take my first (of many) flip outs.  On the right, Mike attempts to crash into Leif.  This would go (at first glance) badly for Mike as he rolled badly and got turned around back towards the starting gate.  He would end up crashing into the wall behind it and surviving to turn around…eventually.  Note that Scott has two welded dice to denote turn and gear segments – very cool.
5 Trying to cross gate 1
I try to get through the gate after both Christine and Jack crash into me.  I ended up flipped over by the right barrier – safe but damaged.
6 Scott GM's
Scott effectively GM’s!
7 Leif's Car is torched
As I was already through the gate I had to back up to get aligned.  I used a Molotov Cocktail on Leif’s cab and caught it on fire.  It soon exploded and I avenged a past Bolt Action whupping that Leif had put on me earlier!  Jack’s tracked cab was run into a wall at the top, while Steven’s rickshaw was closing for a kill.  Christine’s blue VW also shot at Leif with a machine gun.  Mike was busy out of the picture hitting a wall in 4th gear!
8 Steven's Rickshaw dies
Steven’s attack on Jack’s tracked cab fails.  Jack’s tracked cab returns fire, and destroys the rickshaw.  Christine’s VW tries to go around away from Jack.  I’m just surveying the carnage from the safe rear.  Mike is still back along the wall in the rear of the starting gate. 
9 Jared and Jack plot next moves
Jared and Jack discuss choices with the dice, while Leif looks at his burning cab.
10 Jack wipes out and explodes
Christine turns the corner and shoots up Jack’s cab – knocking it out of the game.  She then dropped caltrops behind her.  This left the VW, my Johnny Cab, and Mike still in the game.
11 I set Chris on fire and move in
Johnny Cab turned on the gas, and attempted to shoot at Christine’s blue VW with a machine gun, missing.  I threw another Molotov cocktail and hit, catching the VW on fire.

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!

12 Mike wins again!
The game ends.  Both cars in the foreground are destroyed – in the right rear one survives – Mike wins!

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!

 

Normandy Breakout Game at Mass Pikemen

Last Saturday (August 24th) we had a very action-packed game of What a Tanker© using my Normandy Breakout scenario at the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.  I have been tweaking the scenario, some rules, and improving the terrain and markers – and I believe the gamers who played really noticed all of the upgrades and changes.  I have been fortunate to get valuable feedback from the gamers which has been invaluable, and this game was no exception.  I have acted as a Game Master for this game a couple of times (discussed here), and this, the third iteration, was another great game that had the players highly engaged.

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 Firefly
      • 1 M10 Achilles
    • US – 2 vehicles:
      • 1 M3A1 Stuart
      • 1 M10 Wolverine
  • Germany – 3 vehicles:
    • 1 Sdkfz 233
    • 1 Panther D
    • 1 Jagdpanther

Let’s see what the day looked like!

4 map at session
The Allies moved on from here.  The British had the far left road, and the Americans had the far right road.  The middle road could be used by both Allies.  The wooden discs are possible German positions to be reconned.
5 map at session
A side view of the tabletop that better shows some of the (blind) possible German positions.
6 map at session
The view from the German side of the board that the Allies needed to cross.
1 Me as GM
Your properly attired GM.  (Photo by Chris Rett)

The Germans effectively used a Bonus Attack card to draw first blood – calling in a rare Luftwaffe attack on a Daimler Dingo.

7 Dingo hit by Luftwaffe
The Daimler Dingo hit by the Luftwaffe – my new blast/knocked out tank markers looked pretty amazing (and I am biased of course).
4 Jagdpanther hunts Stuart
A Jagdpanther prepares to engage an M3A1 Stuart from an excellent ambush position.  The Stuart decided to run around the corner and recon the disc on the left…(Photo by Chris Rett)
5 Surprise!
… and the Stuart “successfully” reconned the position – it went around the bocage to find the Elefant in the room. (Photo by Ted Salonich)
5a Surrprise
The Stuart fired its 37mm at the frontal armor of the Elefant.  No effect.  The Elefant returned fire, and blew away the Stuart.
9 Firefly knocked out by StuG G
A Panther D and a StuG G combine forces to knock out a Firefly near the burning Dingo.
10 Panther D knocked out by Achilles
An M10 Achilles fires at and knocks the Panther D into a ruined building, damaging it.  It gets a second shot, and rolls well enough to torch the Panther.
11 M18 Hellcat moves up to help British
The Americans move up an M18 Hellcat to help the Brits – it ended up moving behind the Jagdpanther and was able to destroy it.
8 Gamers
The gamers ponder their moves.
13 Last shot
The Allies called in a lot of artillery-delivered smoke to protect their vehicles.  It was effective.
6 Panther burns and Tiger I arrives
Here comes the Tiger!  Note the StuG G that ambushed the M10 Wolverine.  The crew of the M10 survived – as denoted by the black smoke versus the fiery smoke.  Also shows the Allied smoke screen in front of the Jagdpanther.

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!

 

 

Evil Nazi Scientists (and Nazi Zombies) battle Allied Commandos at Mass Pikemen Club

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.

1 Pulp Alley
Scott, young Jack, and Mike prepare for the game.  
2 Pulp Alley
A view of the courtyard and the adjacent building.  The three crates were objectives, as was the electronic equipment on the right.
3 my crew at Pulp Alley
My crew – the 27th Rocket Patrol.
3a my crew at Pulp Alley
My data chart for the game for my crew.
4 zombie Nazis at Pulp Alley
Reanimated Nazi Zombies
5 zombie Nazi Scientists at Pulp Alley
Evil Nazi scientists and henchmen
6 Eagle eyed troops at Pulp Alley
Jack’s Eagle-eyed squad,  aptly named.
7 Alien bodies at Pulp Alley
Another of the objective points – alien bodies on slabs.
8 electro room
A better view of the electronics – that were dangerous to approach.
9 moving towards the Nazi Zombies and their objectives
I jet-packed my squad in behind the trucks.
9a moving towards the Nazi Zombies and their objectives
I then dispatched two zombies – and one of my guys was hit but recovered.  Things started off very well for me.
9b moving towards the Nazi Zombies and their objectives
However, Mike was able to counterattack and kill one of my squad and delay my getting to the objective crates.  By the time that I did get there, it was turn 6, and I failed two rolls with two troopers needed to pick up two crates, leaving them in the hands of the German zombies.
10 Russians brawl
On the other side of the game, Jared’s Russians brawled with a couple of zombies before getting into the lab.
11 Scott GM's the fight in the lab
Scott adjudicating combat with Jack’s troops in the building, while Jared and Ethan ponder their next moves.
12 computers fight back
Jack got a couple of his troopers into one of the rooms with a computer terminal.  They tried to download data, but the computer was booby-trapped, and they failed their saving rolls.
13 Mike and Ethan are relievd that the tide of battle has turned
Ethan and Mike on the right are feeling close to victory after a very bad start.
14 young Jack gets the alien body
The only victory point for the Allies came from Jack – who seized one of the alien bodies.  Our poor saving throws at the other objectives doomed the Allies.

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!

GASLANDS Game at Mass Pikemen

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.

1 gaslands feb
The game set up – it was nice as several of us were able to contribute terrain to make a fun tabletop.
2 gaslands feb
Scott Howland made a couple of very cool billboards that were very fun – including this Johnny Cab one from “Total Recall” and…
3 gaslands feb
…this one showing spaceship service to Mars.
4 gaslands feb
These are the two cars that I had in the game. The cab (from Scott) had a ram and a machine gun. The rusty car (from Jared) had a machine gun and a limited ammo mortar.

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.

5 gaslands feb

The first kill – but the ensuing explosion damaged both of my cars.

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.

At the top of this shot you see Scott’s (silver car) and Jared’s (blue car) doing a NASCAR run while heading towards the second gate. Mike’s cars are on the far right and far left trying to get back into the fight.
7 gaslands feb
Jared, Mike and Scott ponder their next moves.

Unfortunately, the act of shooting Scott’s car also caused an explosion that wrecked my rusty car, leaving me with only the cab.

8 gaslands feb
My rusty car, a victim of its own murderous aggressiveness!

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.

9 gaslands feb
My cab goes at the two survivors.

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!

10 gaslands feb
The mashup that took out three cars.

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!

French Chars defeat German Panzers (again!) at Mass Pikemen

The monthly gaming day for the Mass Pikemen featured a rematch between panzers of the German Wehrmacht and tanks of the French Army.  The scenario was one of May-June 1940, where equally-sized forces meet using the What a Tanker© rules and points system.  The players each got 8 points per player to acquire a tank of their own.  They deployed on opposite sides of the river, which also acted as an objective for the game.  The deploying sides were determined at random, and were roughly similar in terrain.

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.

This was a rematch from a previous session as it was new for several of the players.  The French started with two R35’s, and the German’s with a Panzer IIC and a Panzer IVD.  Two late-arriving players also got/purchased two more AFV’s, a French SOMUA S35 and a German Sturmgeschutz Ausf. A.

1 the board
The game tabletop – with some changes (notably roads) from the last run of the scenario.
2 the board
The game table before the battle.

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.

3 this bridge ain't big enough for the two of us
This bridge ain’t big enough for both of us…

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.

4 r35 maneuvers against pz ivd
The R35 takes up position, and would hit the Panzer IV in the side multiple times.  Eventually it would cross the river and take up position by the farmhouse…
5 r35 kills pz ivd
…where it would finish off the Panzer IV.
6 r35 between a rock and a hard place, or a stug and a pz iic
Seeking revenge, a StuG III and a re-spawned Panzer II surround the R35.
7 r35 between a rock and a hard place, or a stug and a pz iic
Things are looking desperate for the R35.
9 somua s35 to the rescue
Here comes the cavalry in the form of the SOMUA S35, a fast cavalry tank.  The StuG is forced to take its aim off of the R35, and joins the re-spawned Panzer IV to face off against the SOMUA.

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.

10 tables turned on the pz iic
The tables turn as the SOMUA gets behind the Panzer II.

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.

11 char b1bis arrives
Here comes the Char B1 bis!

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).

12 a mismatched standoff
The face-off!

The Char B1 returned fire, and you can guess the results…

13 standoff ends
The Panzer II is destroyed by the Char B1 bis.

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.

14 the end
Mike Morgan and Chris Smedile survey the battlefield.

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.

8 the players having fun
Leif Magnuson, Chris Smedile, Chris Comeau, Jared Burns, and Mike Morgan having fun at Mass Pikemen!

CASUALTIES:

  • French:
    • 1 R35
  • German:
    • 2 Panzer IIC’s destroyed
    • 1 Panzer IIC evacuated
    • 1 StuG III Ausf. A
    • 1 Panzer IVD

 

 

“What A Tanker” Eastern Front battle at November Mass Pikemen Session

On November 10, 2018, the Mass Pikemen held their monthly gaming session with a game of What a Tanker set on the Eastern Front in 1942.  The scenario was a 1942/1943 one where a Soviet force consisting of 1 KV-1a heavy tank, 2 T-26 M1939 light tanks, 2 BA-64 armored cars, and a couple of Gaz trucks was surrounded and needed to break out through the Axis lines. It was my first chance to get all of my recently painted tanks on the tabletop.

Initially opposing the Soviets was a German force consisting of  2 Panzer IVd tanks and a 1 Panzer 38(t) tank.  Reinforcements were staggered for the Axis, and they consisted of a 1 Panzer IIIN tank, a Hetzer tank destroyer (Jagdpanzer 38), and an Italian M13/41.  It was imperative for the Soviets to exit the other side of the board with the KV-1 and the two trucks as quickly as possible.

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.

1 Mike's Panzer IV death
The Panzer IIIN moves on the board as a reinforcement.  The second Panzer IVd takes advantage of its burning comrade’s smoky wreck.

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!

2 Chris, Jared, Jack
Chris Smedile, Jared Burns, and Jack Burns advance their vehicles.  The Panzer 38 (t) is behind the wall in the center in a good defensive position, facing the T-26 that was to knock it out.
3 Chris C, Mike, Jared, Jack
Chris Comeau and Mike Morgan (and later myself) played the Axis.  This view shows the length of the board the Soviets needed to cross.  Each fighting vehicle had a magnetic dashboard, and its own colored dice.  Command Dice were always white though.

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.

4 Chris celebrates his kill
Chris celebrates his second kill, while the Panzer 38 (t) burns.  You can see here behind the BA-64’s a D12, which I used for initiative rolls instead of D6’s and re-rolling for ties.  It worked much easier and was much less confusing.

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.

5 Hetzer chases KV-1a
The Hetzer ignores the BA-64 and sets out to hunt the KV-1a.

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.

5 truck death
In the foreground, a Gaz truck burns.  The crew of the Panzer IIIN behind the hill looks at the burning T-26 in front of it.  In the left center, the Panzer 38 (t) burns, as do 2 Panzer IVd’s in the right rear.  On the left, the showdown between the lumbering KV-1a and the Hetzer is about to begin.

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.

6 KV burns and truck faces m13 41
The KV-1a burns on the right, while the Hetzer and the M13/41 hunt the last truck (on the left).  The BA-64 attempted a ramming attack on the Hetzer to give the truck a chance to escape.

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.

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Mike Morgan victoriously surveys the smoky battlefield.

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!

Mass Pikemen Gaming Club: An Action-Packed Combat Patrol session for May 2018

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.

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The F.R.O.G. Commandos deploy. 
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Roberker, the two Juggerbots, a Red Khang Robot, and the Red Warbot Squad move over the bridge.  Roberker, in the rear, being a giant robot, just walked through the river

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.

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The Warbots use a Plasma Beam Breacher, knocking out the FROGBOT.

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.

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The F.R.O.G. heavy weapon section gets a bit roasted by Roberker

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.

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The F.R.O.G. Commandos make a bold assault, damaging the Warbot platoon leader (golden Juggerbot), and unfortunately killing two of their own with friendly fire.

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!)

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The purple Warbot squad advances through a narrow defile.

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.

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The Warbots fire a Plasma Ball Breacher (think flying ball of plasma fired like a rifle grenade, not like a putt!), opening the way to the pond.  We use the card’s bayonet at the top left in Combat Patrol to show the direction of scatter if the target is missed, as was the case here.

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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