Over the weekend I took advantage of a wet Sunday afternoon to get my Desert Raiders out on the table and practise some aspects of the rules that I wasn't sure about. Although I am using the Flames of War system there are a lot of special rules that apply that I am not familiar with. Rather than playing solo I decided this would be a great opportunity to get my daughter involved. She's not a complete wargame novice (she loves X-Wing for instance) but she did prove to be more tactically astute than your average 10 year old! As well as being a good opportunity to play test my forces and practice umpiring the game this was also a great afternoon just one to one with my little girl.
I let her play the LRDG while I took on the more challenging Italian forces as they arrived. She then set up the terrain and I guided her through laying out an Airfield as her objective. I don't have a proper games table at home so I improvised with the dining table, giving us a playing surface about 5' x 3'3". The game would open as soon as her attacking LRDG raised the alarm and from that point on her task was to raise hell with the Italians, destroying as many aircraft and buildings as possible before making good her escape at the other and of the table. I played the poor beleaguered Italians with just a handful of troops on the airfield at the start of the game. The vast majority of my defence forces would arrive as time delayed reinforcements meaning the LRDG would have the battlefield largely to themselves at the start of the game. The tricky part for the Allied player would be guessing how long they had to achieve maximum damage to the Italians while still allowing time for their escape.
|Emily formulated her own plan, using one troop of LRDG Chevy's as a diversion while another held a reserve position in the nearby town and the third Patrol attacked the airfield itself. Here you can see the diversionary patrol firing across the perimeter fence of the airfield while the main attacking force races for the main gate. |
|First Blood...the LRDG run the gate, quickly destroying the first sentry position before fanning out across the airfield. |
|The LRDG quickly pour MG fire into everything in sight, focusing on the Italian Aircraft but also hitting and destroying the Control tower. |
|Havoc reigns on the airfield as the LRDG race up and down the runway blasting at everything and setting the field ablaze.|
|Meanwhile the first of my reinforcements (a Bersaglieri Company) arrives on the opposite of the end of the table, far from the action or any LRDG units. |
|The LRDG race back towards the entrance of the airfield, with Italian planes and buildings burning all around them. In the distance the rest of the LRDG patrols have already started to head towards the exit point and are preparing to run the gauntlet of Italian troops now converging on their position. |
|The lead vehicle of the escaping LRDG is knocked out forcing the following trucks to slow down. Despite being hit and destroyed the crew of this truck have escaped and are soon picked up by one of the other trucks. |
|Job done the attacking Patrol races out of the airfield and begins their long and hazardous escape. |
|More LRDG Chevy trucks are destroyed but its probably too little too late for the Italians as they can't stop the first allied vehicles steady progress to freedom. |
|Although the tally of LRDG vehicles destroyed would slowing rise as the game concluded the Italians were unable to stop most of the LRDG from escaping off the table.|
Much to my daughters delight we declared this an LRDG win as they had wrought havoc on the Italian airfield and escaped with over half of their force intact. So did I learn anything from this test game (aside from never challenge a 10 year old to a wargame!)?
- Firstly I need to beef up Italian defences to give them a fighting chance of defending themselves. The LRDG run amok almost unchallenged for the first half of the game and did the vast majority of the damage with just one of their three Patrols.
- I applied the night fighting rules during this game but instead of randomly rolling for visibility before every round of shooting I decided that all ranges would be set at 12". This gave the LRDG a huge advantage when attacking the airfield and then unfairly benefited the Italian's during the pursuit stage of the game. Next time I'll stick to the rules as written.
- From an Umpires point of view I need to list all the special rules on a single reference sheet because I'm sure I forgot some during the course of this game.
- Similarly I need a check sheet to keep track of bailed out LRDG teams from destroyed vehicles. If these escape or are picked up by friendly trucks they count towards the allied victory conditions.
- Also when friendly units pick up bailed out crew I think they need a movement penalty to represent them slowing down to allow their comrades to leap on board.
- Lastly I think I need to shorten the delay before Italian reinforcements begin to arrive, again to give them a fighting chance against the raiding LRDG.
We both had a great afternoon and I found this game a very useful practise run for my Desert Raiders. The fact that my daughter thoroughly enjoyed herself at the same time was a clear and welcome bonus. In fact she's already asking when we can play another game. I'm more than happy to indulge, even if I do have to put up with a 10 year old doing a victory dance at the end of the game.
Good game! I just started North Africa and have purchased some LRDG vehicles (Minifigs 10/12mm). I'll be following your progress with great interest!.ReplyDelete
More will follow rest assured.Delete
Better the 10 year old does the dance than Ray.. :o)ReplyDelete
Nice looking game Lee.. more, please!
When Ray does the victory dance the ripples don't stop for a week....shudder!Delete
Nice report and a good way to spend time with your daughter. Mind you, you will have to remember that kids are lucky so you won't win (m)any games against her! :)ReplyDelete
She thoroughly enjoyed the game. It helped that as the LRDG Player her mission involved blowing up pretty much everything in sight.Delete
Excellent time spent with your daughter! Lee, that is an outstnading looking game.ReplyDelete
Thanks. I have a range of scenarios to play about with and more buildings to use when I get on a bigger table.Delete
Great looking terrain setup, it's quite impressive seeing a credible airfield on a game table.ReplyDelete
Where did you get the badland rock things (twisty rocks seen in the last photo)?
I bought them at Salute earlier in the year. I let Emily set up the terrain and she saw them and wanted to use them. As it was these provided much needed cover for the LRDG as they races for freedom at the end of the game.Delete
It all looks good to me. Remember though that even bailed out vehicle crews will be very short of food AND more importantly water on the trip home. So picking up passengers in other vehicles may end up killing them as well. Just a thought. But It may be better to leave them!ReplyDelete
I would not beef the Italians up too much but instead give them many more Victory points for any damages they do manage to inflict. This may mean the LRDG could be better off bugging out earlier rather than staying to destroy everything.
Another option would be to have the Italian played by the reff and each reject just controlling 1 vehicle each (That would be how I would do it!)
One raid that I have read about saw most of the vehicles destroyed at one point or another. Some were picked up by other vehicles in the heat of battle but some took advantage of darkness to escape on foot. Some walked incredible distances to rendezvous points or hid with the local tribesmen (who largely hated the Italian occupiers). Often the stories of their escape and evasion of the Italians is more of an adventure than the raid they took part in.Delete
Cool looking game Lee! Can't wait to have a go myself, and it'll include that victory dance too, if I win!!ReplyDelete
The scenario I have in mind for the Rejects is a bit different (based on an actual raid) and of course will be on a bigger area. This game was more about practising the rules and identifying things I'd missed or needed to work on.Delete
What a great way to spend some time together. Lots of fun and some lessons learnt.ReplyDelete
Nice! Those explosion markers are particularly well done. Are they spray-painted flock clumps?ReplyDelete
Yes. Clump foliage on a wire armature, soaked in PVA to make hard and spray painted.Delete