I spent a very pleasant Saturday hanging around the gaming area (new this year) at Reenactor Fest…well now known as “Military History Fest” held at the Westin Hotel in Wheeling, Illinois – a town just northwest of Chicago.
Here is a link to the event:
Ambush Alley Games was sponsored by Osprey Publishing to run some of their games there. Some other local gaming folk also ran some games.
Skip Petersen of Legends in Time set up an amazing looking table to run “Battle of Britain” aircraft battles.
Skip’s minis were very well painted and his table just really drew you in.
I didn’t get a chance to play in this game because I was drawn to this game instead:
Jim Roots and his son had set up an amazing looking Middle East board, representing an outlying urban sprawl like that in areas of Iraq. I didn’t get there in time to join in this game but I observed and took pictures and spent a very pleasant time talking with some US veterans of our conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. One was playing in the game, taking the Iraqi insurgent forces side and another was just observing and hanging around.
This picture shows a US Marine sniper team overlooking a target rich environment. The Marines in this game were supposed to push a convoy through the town but got bogged down by the Insurgent forces. One of the “Fog of War” cards drawn by the insurgent forces provided the Marines with some sniper cover.
The Marines were supposed to get their column through here. You can see several mobs of insurgents in various spots, waiting for a chance to attack and hoping to not get shot by the snipers who were picking off RPG-armed insurgents. In Force-on-Force a sniper can target specific, individual members of enemy squads.
In the afternoon I did get to join in a game. This time, using the Force-on-Force rules we played out combat in the jungle between the Japanese and the US Marines on Guadalcanal during WWII.
While the Iraqi conflict table was set at 15mm scale, the battle on Guadalcanal was set at 28mm scale. Jim Roots and his son had an amazing setup here too. The minis for the Japanese soldiers were breathtaking!
I joined a couple of players in controlling the Japanese side, while some new players were trying out the Ambush Alley Force-on-Force rules while controlling the US Marines. The game balance favored the Japanese forces in this scenario. Dice rolling at first was also amazingly good for the Japanese side.
The US Marine forces (on the right of the picture) used the heavy cover of the jungle to line up along the canal edge and prepare to cross it. Their mission was to disable “hot spots” where Japanese reenforcements could join the battle and then escape the area to the left. The Japanese forces had the mission of stopping them.
The Japanese squads with the yellow rings by them are hidden and could not be targeted.
In this game the strength of the Japanese forces was in their charge and close quarters combat. The rifles they were issued were inferior weapons and was reflected in the game by lowering their “troop quality” dice when shooting from a D8 to a D6. They got a D8 troop quality die when engaged in close combat and got extra attacks as well. So the whole Japanese strategy centered around setting up a charge.
This picture shows the remaining Japanese soldiers after their squad successfully charged and eliminated a 4-man US Marine fireteam. This was a mixed blessing for the Japanese squad, since they now were taken under fire by two US Marine fire teams, a sniper unit AND a machine gun unit. The Japanese survivors did NOT survive that…
The shooting from the US Marine side was very effective. In this picture you can see a couple of different Japanese squads with blue markers by them, indicating the squads were “pinned” by the fire from the Marines. This result happened because the Japanese soldiers had to make a morale roll every time they were taken under fire. These squads were pinned when they failed their morale rolls. Some reallly bad dice rolling…
The middle lower part of the picture shows the Marine squads that made it across the canal with one squad starting to advance.
To get past the large amount of covering fire from the Marines the Japanese forces had to stage one charge after another, with the leading charges soaking up the Marine firepower so the later charges could make it in.The numbers were against the Marines in this instance.
It took three charges by the Japanese units and the cost of over 20 Japanese soldiers to take down six US Marines and capture the remaining two wounded survivors. The players on the US Marine side did very well considering the scenario was balanced against them. Discussions with the game referee were that in the future, the number of Japanese soldiers per squad would be reduced, making it easier to take down a squad. We thought that might make enough of a difference.
I enjoyed meeting Shawn and Peggy of Ambush Alley Games and got to drool over some advanced copies of Osprey Publishing’s “Force-on-Force” and its companion “The Road to Baghdad”. The gaming was fun and I got to meet some really cool and impressive veterans. A very good day indeed!