After Action Report on gaming at “Recruits” Gaming convention in Lee’s Summit, Missouri

Greetings everyone!

I am back home, relatively rested and have transferred the pictures off my Droid.  Time to write up how things went at “Recruits”.

It was great!

Okay, maybe a wee bit more detail is required… 😉

We (my son Thomas and I) made the 9 hour drive to Lee’s Summit from Elkhorn, Wisconsin.  The drive was blessedly uneventful.  We met up with Shawn, Peggy and Jim of Ambush Alley Games and followed them over to the event site, Lee’s Summit High School.  There Thomas and I helped them haul stuff in so they could get set up.  Peggy had the amazing timing to have us haul the stuff in during a strong rain shower that stopped moments after we got the last load inside.

Shawn and Peggy of Ambush Alley Games hard at work getting their tables organized

My slightly damp son Thomas, after hauling stuff in the rain.

Of course there was method to my madness! The sooner the AAG folks got set up the sooner I could buy my copy of “Tomorrow’s War” from them.  Hee-hee, it worked!

A very happy Walworth County Wargamer. Got my copy of "tomorrow's War" and a set of "Tomorrow's War" Fog-of-War cards.

Later on that evening I spent time and money by “Combat Wombat’s” table buying 15mm scale sci-fi vehicles.  Now I have some future projects.
Saturday came bright and early and we had a frustrating time trying to get to the darned high school.  There was a marathon being run and the police had blocked off all the routes we knew to get to the site.  Geez, wouldn’t the marathoners get much better times if they were running away from cars?  Oops, that was not my “inside voice“… 😉  Anyway, we finally made it and I got my game set up.

My "Tomorrow's War" game layout for Saturday at "Recruits"

The “Tomorrow’s War” scenario I was running was one of my own design, based on material from David Drake’s book “Paying the Piper”.  It is one of his many books about “Hammer’s Slammers”,  a future mercenary armored regiment.

The book is available as an e-book for free from the Baen Free Library:

http://www.webscription.net/p-316-paying-the-piper.aspx

To keep it simple, the scenario involves a platoon of Hammer’s Slammers heavy hovertanks, known as “blowers” and a short platoon of Hammer’s Slammers “Combat Cars” all trying to make it to a river crossing.  The blowers may be air-cushion vehicles but they are too heavy to cross the river anywhere except a ford.  The combat cars are light enough to cross the river directly or go over the river bridge.  Sounds simple, right?

The opposing forces are locally-manufactured armored vehicles in the service of the city-state of Solace on the planet called “Plattner’s World”.  These vehicles are built by slapping an armored frame on top of a mining crawler chassis and mounting guns and/or turrets to them.  They have one gunner/commander and an Artificial Intelligence unit to drive the vehicle.  Though mounting fairly strong guns they still epitomize the concept of “a hammer, protected by an eggshell”.

River Crossing Scenario

Hammer’s Slammers Forces – Tech Level 2 – Troop Quality: D8/ Morale: D10

3X Blower Heavy Hover Tank armed with a 20cm Energy Gun

Heavy Energy Tank Gun – AP:4/AT:6 (Heavy) (Slow) (Heavy Hitter) – Turret
Mounted

Against Armor: Roll 6D8 plus 1D8 for Heavy Hitter plus 1D8 for Tech Level
Shift, Ignores 2D of Defender’s Armor (Defender rolls 2D less on defense roll)

Against Troops: Roll 4D8 plus 1D8 for Heavy Hitter plus 1D8 for Tech Level
Shift

Slow Firing – Loses 2D8 each time it fires after 1st time – 8D8, 6D8, 4D8, 2D8

Front Armor: 4D12 Side Armor: 3D12 Rear Armor: 3D10

6X Combat Car, 4 armed and 2 “Trucks” hauling infantry

Three 2cm Rotary Energy Guns, Combined Firepower AP:4/AT:4 (Medium)

Against Armor or Troops: Roll 4D8 plus 1D8 for Tech Level Shift

Front Armor: 3D8 Side Armor: 3D8 Rear Armor: 3D6 (Open-Topped vehicle)

Troops: TL2, Hard Body Armor (+2D), TQ/Morale: D8/D10

Slammers Fireteam Alpha

3X Rifleman, 2cm Powergun (TL:2, AP:+1) Ignore 1D of armor or cover

Gunner,  2cm SAW Powergun (TL:2, Ap:+2) Ignore 1D of armor or cover

Slammers Fireteam Beta

3X Rifleman, 2cm Powergun (TL:2, AP:+1) Ignore 1D of armor or cover

Gunner,  2cm SAW Powergun (TL:2, Ap:+2) Ignore 1D of armor or cover

Combat Drones assigned to the Slammers (TL:2): (not in the novel)

2 Hover Drones, Troop Quality D8, “Dumb” Bots (-1 Reaction Roll)

Cautious move 8”/Fast move 16”  Hard Armor: +2D

Armed with Advanced SAW and Grenade Launcher: AP: 4D8, AT: 2D8

All Bots survive on a 4+ of a 1D6 roll.

————-

Solace Government Forces – TL1 – Troop Quality: D8 / Morale: D8 Troops/D10 Vehicles

6X “Trencher” Light Tracked Tank (Medium Vehicle) armed with a Medium Gauss Cannon

Medium Gauss Cannon – AP:2/AT:5 (Gauss) – Turret Mounted

Against Armor: Roll 5D8,  Ignores 1D of Defender’s Armor (Defender rolls 1D less on defense roll)

Against Troops: Roll 2D8

Front Armor: 4D10  Side Armor: 3D10  Rear Armor: 3D8

Also armed with 3 Gauss SAW Machine Guns: AP:2/AT:0 (Gauss)

Against Troops: Roll 2D8, Ignores 1D of Defender’s Armor (Defender rolls 1D less on defense roll)

2X “Stalker” Tracked Tank Destroyer armed with fixed mount Heavy Gauss Cannon

Heavy Gauss Cannon – AP:4/AT:6 (Gauss) – Fixed Mount

Fixed Mount requires successful Troop Quality roll for every shot after the first. Front Arc Only.

Against Armor: Roll 6D8, Ignores 1D of Defender’s Armor (Defender rolls 1D
less on defense roll)

Against Troops: Roll 4D8

Front Armor: 3D10  Side Armor: 3D8  Rear Armor: 3D8

1X Stalker with an “Ultra-Class” Heavy Gauss Cannon

Ultra Class Heavy Gauss Cannon – AP:4/AT:6 (Gauss) (Slow Firing) (Heavy
Hitter)

Against Armor: Roll 6D8 plus 1D8 for Heavy Hitter, Ignores 1D of Defender’s
Armor (Defender rolls 1D less on defense roll)

Slow Firing – Loses 2D8 each time it fires after 1st time – 7D8, 5D8, 3D8, 1D8

Solace Troops

Troops: TL1, Soft Body Armor (+1D), TQ/Morale: D8/D8

Solace Fireteam One

3X Rifleman, ACR (TL:1, AP:+1)

1X Rifleman, Buzz-Bomb Rocket (TL:1, AP:2/AT:2)

Solace Fireteam Two

3X Rifleman, ACR (TL:1, AP:+1)

1X Rifleman, Buzz-Bomb Rocket (TL:1, AP:2/AT:2)

Solace Combat Drones (TL:2) (Off-Planet Purchase): (Not in the novel)

3 Walker Drones, Quadruped

Troop Quality D8, “Smart” Bots Cautious 6”/Fast 12” Hard Armor: +2D

Armed with Gauss Squad Support Weapon: AP: 3D8, Ignores 1D of Opponent cover

Also armed with RPG: AP:2D8/AT:2D8

All Bots survive on a 4+ of a 1D6 roll.

———–

Those are specs provided for the gamers to use.  The “Hammer’s Slammers” vehicles are from Old Crow Models in the UK.  http://www.oldcrowmodels.co.uk/

The Solace vehicles are from Proxy Models.  http://proxiemodels.com/

The infantry is all from Khurasan.  http://khurasanminiatures.tripod.com/

The combat drones for both sides were modified from WizKids “Mechwarrior: Age of Destruction” miniatures.

The Slammers forces

The Solace forces

One may notice that there are COWS in with the Solace forces?  What’s up with that?  Are we playing “To-moo-row’s War”? In the words of Inigo Montoya “Let me asplain…no, that will take too long.  Let me sum up.”

I wanted to try a different mechanic for “hidden forces”.  In most miniatures wargames each side sees all the other forces already on the board and can react to their presence by how they deploy and move.  I wanted to present one side with a different tactical problem: you know something is there but you aren’t sure what it is.  It could be a tank, a squad of infantry, a tractor or just nothing.  So the Solace forces deployed numbered markers on the game board.  Their minis were placed behind a wall on boxes that were numbered matching the counters.

The Markers for the Solace Forces are placed on the battlefield

The Solace minis were placed on the sheets with the numbered boxes.  Cow miniatures were used as “nulls”.  We decided the cows were wandering around with small radio transmitters on collars around their necks.

The Solace minis are hidden from the view of the Slammer's players

For the markers to be “hidden” they had to be placed out of line-of-sight of the opposing force, either behind a building or hill or more than 3 inches inside of the forested areas.  The trees placed on the gameboard outlined forested areas in the battlefield.  These areas limit visibility and provide cover.

In order for a Slammer’s player to “reveal” one of the hidden markers they had to move a unit to within 8 inches of the marker and then make a successful troop quality roll.  Alternately, they could simply move into line-of-sight of the marker.

To keep the markers from “revealing” themselves the Solace player could move them no more than 3 inches.  The markers would also be revealed if they moved into line of sight or performed any combat activity, like shooting.

So, some markers would be revealed as combat units and others would be revealed as cows.

The four players, 2 on each side, figured out their strategies and the game started.

The Slammers forces enter the battlefield

The Slammers forces entered the map and made a right to check out the woods.

The Slammers forces enter the forest and uncover a cow.

The Slammers uncovered their first “blip” only to reveal a cow.  They had a beef with that.  They considered it a cheesey maneuver.  Some of the infantry deployed, either to sweep the woods or to milk the cow…

A Solace tank reveals itself to try and get a jump on a Slammers combat car

A solace tank popped out of the woods to take a shot at a Slammers combat car.  They exchanged fire…

The exchange of fire goes poorly for the combat car

The Slammers combat car receives a “Destroyed” result when hit by the gauss round from the tank.  It did knock the tank down to 1/2 firepower in the process.

The deployed Slammers infantry gets the jump on some Solace infantry advancing up the hill

A nasty firefight flared up in the woods on the forested hill when the deployed unit of Slammers infantry intercepted the Solace infantry that was advancing up the hill.  The Solace forces got the worst of that deal.

A Solace tank destroyer crests the hillside to get a shot at the oncoming Slammers armor

The Solace player brought forward another unit and crested the hillside with his one tank destroyer that mounted an Ultra-Class Gauss Cannon. He was trying to take the armor column in the front to disrupt it.

A Combat Car gets brewed up by the Tank Destroyer

Disruption achieved.  A Slammers combat car gets brewed up by a shot from the Tank Destroyer.

Another solace tank comes around the hill. The tank gets hit for a mobility hit and being suppressed - but it survived 2 shots from 2 Slammers blowers

Another Solace tank came zipping around the hill to exchange fire with a Slammers blower.  In a 2-for-1 deal it got to be shot at by 2 Slammers blowers.  Miraculously it survived 2 hits. It was suppressed and hit for half mobility, but it was not blown up.

Much carnage - leading to the Slammers deciding to withdraw

After much battlefield carnage, the kicker comes for the Slammers when, during a simultaneous fire exchange between a blower and the Solace tank destroyer, the Slammers tank lost its main gun.  The Solace tank destroyer was brewed up.  This was on top of more battlefield losses of combat cars and made the Slammers player decide to withdraw.

The "knife-fight-in-a-phone-booth" battle of tanks in the forest

The small wooded section developed a nasty little battle between two Solace tanks, a tank destroyer and a Slammers combat car.  The Slammers combat car was destroyed as was one of the Solace tanks.  The Solace tank destroyer was gun damaged – 1/2 firepower.

The Slammers infantry overruns the Solace infantry

The deployed Slammers infantry overran the Solace infantry but had to redeploy when the Slammers pulled out.

A reasonable victory for the Solace forces.  Painful, but reasonable.  They couldn’t afford to win like that again.

The afternoon gaming session was lively.  I had 4 teenagers, 2 boys and two girls, who sat down and wanted to play.  They had not played this kind of game before but they were sincere about wanting to try and played very enthusiastically.  I didn’t get any gameplay pictures; the players needed more of my attentions.  The end result was a marginal victory for the Solace forces.  The kids seemed to have a lot of fun playing.  In know I got a real kick out of two giggly teenage girls controlling the “Hammer’s Slammers” hardened mercenaries.

The aftermath of the second game - the Slammers got caught in an infantry crossfire

The kids seemed to get a real kick out of revealing the cows!  They found them udderly hilarious.

The “hidden unit” mechanic I used seemed to work pretty well.  The players did not have a problem using it and it didn’t appear to slow things down much.  In the first session the Slammers players commented favorably on the “tactical surprise” element the mechanic generated.  I will have to try it again.

I did more shopping in the evening, buying some 15mm scale alien miniatures so I can put together a very different kind of force.  I will show y’all when I am ready with it. 😉

“Recruits” was great fun, I am glad my son and I went and I am thankful for the folks who ran it.  I had a great time and want to go again.  I want to thank Shawn and Peggy and Jim for their hospitality as well.  They are very cool people!

Thanks for reading this and I hope to see some of y’all soon.  Have fun gaming!

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2 Responses to After Action Report on gaming at “Recruits” Gaming convention in Lee’s Summit, Missouri

  1. Mike says:

    Playing as part of the Solace team in the first game was great fun! The addition of the cows was a really cool idea. I thought it added a lot to the “fog of war”, even though both sides knew there were extra blips out there, you couldn’t discount them until they were revealed. Great extra piece. Thanks again for the game Mark!

    Mike

  2. SARockhill says:

    Was a very interesting AAR showed me more of what I have been missing over the years. Thanks for sharing!

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