The initial brief was simple. I was to run a game using three Modern period rulesets, Combined Arms, our usual set; Team Yankee, a lower level fast paced 'fun' set, and Cold War Commander, back to a similar command level as CA. To make this possible, the scenario was as simple as can be, the briefings designed to make the individual games quite quick and offer an opportunity to put some awfully bad jokes in there as well.
Before I list the briefings, a note on amendments: As Team Yankee does not cover Challengers, we basically used the Chieftain's stats with Stillbrew. Similarly, Warriors were classed as BMP 2's. This didn't make much of a difference overall.
The British Briefing
The Road to Bad'gagh - Bar-Alnnabidh Aleasaria - British Briefing
To: Colonel Richard Bartholomew Copestake
What ho! Dickie!
Sorry to get down to business, old chap, just we have found ourselves in a bit of a squeaky bum situation. As you know, Christmas is nearly here and, like you, I was hoping to get a bit of skiing in with the family at Klosters. Bit of bad luck that the American hope of a quick bish bash bosh and home by Chrimbo seems to have been a tad over-presumptuous.
However, the Greenflies have heard that there is a nice big gap in the Hirraqui lines leading to a rather important town and oil field. More so, the town overlooks the main highway to Bad’gagh, so offers the perfect opportunity to cut off the head whilst giving him a damn good thrashing to the kidneys.
All is not green and pleasant though. Seems the Yanks don’t have the spare tools for the job so want us to make a lightning strike and capture the town and the oil (nothing new there then!). So, your job is to take a scratch Battle Group and sort the buggers out. I don’t have an exact Or-Bat, you’ll find out when you get there. However, I do know that the Green Howards will be your boots on the ground, the Royal Irish Hussars will provide your firepower and recce will be courtesy of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.
I can also give you the basic plan of attack.
Start line is SHAKESPEARE, follow on is objective BARD. From there, you’ll have phase line HORSE, with secondary objective LONG FACE. Finally, there is phase line DICKENS, where you’ll need to decide upon objectives OLIVE or TWIST. And shout up if you need support, you never know, there may actually be some this time. As an aside, you might want to capture OLIVE, just to get in your cousin’s good books. I hear he quite enjoyed his little helicopter escape action a few weeks ago.
Good luck, and God’s speed.
Oh, and one more thing. There is frightfully awful Haboob heading your way. Best be at that town quick smart!
(Brigadier Norris St. Michael Farquhar)
The Hirraqui Briefing
To: Commander Hirraqui Republican Forces, Bar-Alnnabidh Aleasaria
Greetings and Salutations on this pleasant day. I hope all is well as your valiant forces rest after teaching the Infidel the true error of his ways. Although your losses were heavier than I had foretold, I understand that you find the rest and recuperation pleasing, and that material defects to your combined arms forces are being repaired quickly and efficiently.
I am sorry to say that your forces will be required again in the very near future, so please do not delay in training and melding the numerous brave soldiers of the 3rd, 5th, 9th, 31st and 33rd Armoured Divisions into the Sword of Allah I know you are capable of being. I believe that you and the four hundred brothers in arms you lead will be the key to our victory! You should not be disturbed by the Infidel as the 6th, 10th, 14th and 22nd Armoured Divisions are at this moment weathering the sandstone of his pride.
The Great Leader.
As you can see, nothing too specific regarding forces, as the whole point was to playtest the different rules. It pretty much ended up being 6 Challengers, 4 Warriors, and 4 Scimitars versus a dozen or so T72's and 5 BMP 2's. Also, the approaching storm was designed to limit the games to 5 turns apiece so we could fit everything into an afternoon, especially the Beef butties and chips! As for the jokes, well, I'll let you guess at those - there is a common theme.
Game One - Team Yankee
As this was the ruleset that kicked off the idea of the challenge, Team Yankee got first shot. Andy took on the role of the resting and recuperating Hirraqui commander, whilst Jeff and Paul were the British.
First turn was pretty much the British dashing to contact, the second turn slowing to a more tactical pace that ended with an ATGW strike against one of Paul's Challengers without effect. The British reply was a volley against the offending BMP that quickly ended it's participation in the proceedings. A T72 tried it's luck, again without effect and it too ended up dead once the British had replied.
Turn three saw Andy get the bulk of his T72's into line on a ridge to await the British advance. At this point, the British closed again and the real tank engagement began. Three Challengers fired, killing two T72's, the return of which killed a Challenger! I know, shock and horror!!! Paul, on the other flank, targeted three '72's and killed two. Things were not going well for the Hirraqui's!
Turn four saw the British dash their Scimitars through an ambush point towards the town, a point they had to reach to class the encounter as a win. This, it must be said, did not go well. In quick succession, cannon fire destroyed a Warrior and three Scimitars. On Paul's side, a BMP took out a Challenger with flanking cannon fire.Not to be totally outdone, the British claimed two more '72's and a BMP. At this point, the game was declared over by both sides, and I couldn't blame them as the slaughter had been quite horrific.
Now, before we continue, yes, Jeff and Paul were forces to be overly aggressive, so in a full afternoon game, tactics would have played more of a part. However, the original aim of the game was achieved. We had play tested Team Yankee and although, compared to CA, it lacked nuance and seemed to be quite dice driven, it was actually good fun. I would certainly have a go again, and maybe tinker a bit here and there, as is the wont of our Group.
Game Two - Cold War Commander
The second game saw a reversal of players, Andy and the recently arrived Shaun taking the British, and Jeff and Paul turning Hirraqui. I will be honest and say that none of us were au fait with the rules but between myself and (mostly) Andy, we had a bash. Early on, we ditched the five turn rule as the distance to be covered and the scale of movement being too great.
Turns one and two were just the British advance, though it did give us an idea of the initiative system between formation leaders and CO's. And by idea, I mean chucking a lot of dice for not much effect.
Turn three saw Challengers take up a firing position and the British recce fail a command roll, though the CO saved them, so all continued as planned. Still, if I had 10p for every dice rolled so far, I could have bought myself a pint!
Turn four saw the action kick off, Three Challengers against T72's, who remained out-ranged throughout the game. 18(!!!) dice saw 4 hits (bearing in mind, it takes 5 hits in a turn to kill a T72 unit) saw some suppression but as two of the hits were saved, no other effect. Another three Challenger round of firing, another 18 dice, another four hits, but with only one save this time. So, 36 dice(! - another pint there plus change) and five hits. Ok, bad dice rolls but still.
During the mass firing, a pause was held for the as-usual excellent beef butties and chips, before we went back to see what we could salvage from this game. And there was the rub. CWC is an extremely dice driven game and seems aimed at the professional dice roller, rather than what we would call an historical wargamer. Harsh? Maybe, and I have borrowed the ruleset from Andy to have a proper look over but to a man, none of us thought the system was any good. As for the third game, CA, we simply ran out of time, but since we have been playing those rules for several years, we know how they work.
So, where to begin. Well, without a doubt, CA remains the group favourite. However, the surprise of the afternoon was Team Yankee, very playable, not without fault but at the same time, they fill a gap and I can think of making a couple of amends to add a dash of flavour and we'll have at these again. I would, however, avoid the game extras: £16.50 for the artillery template! No thanks, cheaper to find a sailor down the docks!
CWC was the real disappointment. Too faffy, far too dice driven and very much of the "rules say this, you must do this, nothing else is permitted" school of thought. Not my cup of tea and, judging by the other guys (including a couple of former competition players), theirs either. It was still a good afternoon though and that's what it's all about, isn't it?
The basic premise was an Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman walk into a (trendy wine) bar (in arabic, obviously). After that, it was the trio of bar jokes: Shakespeare walks into a bar, Barman says You're barred! A horse walks into a bar, barman asks, why the long face. Finally, Dickens walks into a bar and asks for a martini, barman asks, olive or twist.
I am truly sorry!