Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Rapido Fire! An Update to Rapid Fire!

In a previous post I mentioned that Dean had rewritten the Rapid Fire! firing rules. We found that the firing chart slowed down the game, which is otherwise excellent. So Dean took the table's algorithm and broke it down to basics then rebuilt it. The following is his version of the firing rules and replaces all small arms, high explosive and vehicle machine gun (and similar) rules. It uses lots of dice, rather than the single die in the original rules but proves to be a very quick way of achieving results!

Note: a maximum of five firing groups are allowed from any single unit (Battalion, etc.).

Step 1: Determine the number of Firepower dice to be rolled

a) Small Arms: number of figures firing (maximum group size is 8)
b) HE fire and other individual weapons with a firing value: Use the point value from the appropriate rules.

Step 2: Determine the Table Number depending on the cover the target is in

Open Cover: Table 3
Soft Cover: Table 2
Hard Cover: Table 1

Then add the range value to the table value to calculate the final table number:

Short Range: +2
Medium Range: +1
Long Range: +0

Step 3: Gather dice equal to Firepower points as above

If a CO or similar 'personality' figure (Artillery Observer, etc. etc.) take another coloured dice to differentiate hits against these men from the rest. 

Step 4: Roll to hit

Roll the amount of firing dice as calculated above, then check against the quality of the firing troops and based on the minimum score required to hit, each score over this minimum number is counted as a hit.

Elite Quality 4+
Average Quality 5+
Poor Quality 6

Step 5: Determine the maximum casualties caused by the firing group

Table Number      1        2         3         4         5
Small Arms          1        2         2         3         4
HE Fire                 2       3         4         5         6

If the target is in Hard Cover reduce the amount of casualties by 1 if using HE.
The number in the table is the maximum amount of casualties caused by the firing, ignore any hits above this number.

Example: 6 Average Germans fire at 4 British soldiers in soft cover at medium range (6 dice and table 3: Soft Cover = (Table) 2 +1 (Medium Range) = Table 3).
The German player takes six dice, and rolls: 5,3,2,6,6,1 = 3 hits (Average Quality = 5+ to hit). Checking this against the table gives a maximum casualties of 2, so 2 British figures are removed as casualties and one hit is completely ignored.


These rules changes make tactical thinking more imperative in the game as you are only allowed a maximum of five firing groups in a unit. This means you have to decide whether you use more smaller firing groups which may cause more casualties overall, but with less chance of hitting, or fewer but larger groups giving more chance of hits, but causing less casualties overall. For example, in the above situation, the Germans could split their fire into two groups of 3 with a chance of causing a  maximum of 4 casualties, but with less chance of hitting. 

Try them out and let us know how you get on with them, we think they really speed things up. So far there are no rules for things like grenades, but they will be added in future. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Battle of Nibeiwa 9 December 1940 AAR

For the past few years, Dean has been slowly working on putting together the forces for the early Desert War between the British and Italians in World War Two and he has been the butt of continual jokes from me about the amount of time it is taking him to paint the figures. However. last Sunday, after the Joy of Six show, Dean, Ninjasaurus and myself refought the Battle of Nibeiwa, the first battle in the campaign of Operation Compass. Dean acted as umpire and handed us both our briefings.


I took the attacking British whilst Ninjasaurus defended with the plucky Italians, commanded by General Pietto Maletti, here in his HQ objective:


The Italian forces consisted of a lot of artillery, some native troops and six M11/39 tanks. However, at the beginning of the game the crews of these tanks were asleep in the fort.They had to reach the tanks for them to move, each turn a D6 was rolled to see how many woke up to start towards their vehicles.


The Italians also had minefields and barbed wire to protect the approach to the fort. Some of the minefields were dummies, I had no idea which was which though...


The main artillery line of the Italian defenders looked like a formidable barrier that I had to cross.


The Italian defence was set up thus:


I thought the best way to get my forces across the open ground was to use the tanks of the 7th RTR as protection for the small amount of troops until we were able to close for small arms fire. This would also keep my engineers alive before they reached the minefields.


That's a lot of open ground between me and my objective...


Turn one saw some of the sleeping Italian tank crews wake up and make a dash for their vehicles. Only three had been woken up by the advancing Matildas of 7th RTR.


As the British tanks advanced, they opened fire with their machine guns. Unfortunately I only had armour piercing rounds for the main guns, which would be useless against infantry. However, I started causing casualties on the Italian machine gun crews.


The Matildas ran at a slow speed in order to allow the infantry to use them as cover and the Italian artillery was useless at this range against the armour. However, on my right flank I pushed the tanks forward to close quicker, which in turn left the infantry vulnerable to artillery fire.


Meanwhile, more Italian tank crew rose from slumber, another six joined the mad rush to get to their tanks!


As I drew closer, Italian guns opened up on my flanks and caused a few casualties amongst my infantry. Regardless, I continued the assault and poured fire onto the machine gun nests.


I was having some great success, two of the nests were silenced.


The Italian native troops were looking for any target that presented itself, unfortunately for them, none did!


My Matildas began nosing their way through the minefield, if anything went within an inch of the field, it would set it off and reveal if it was real or a dummy. The minefields did their job by slowing my advance and splitting my forces.


Although my attack was being slightly blunted the hapless Italian gun crews were failing to score hits on my force as it advanced over the open ground.


Just as the artillery came in range of my tank machine guns, the Italian tank crews reached the first three tanks and started the engines.


Meanwhile, a few lucky shots had battered the Indian infantry in my centre.


One unlucky Matilda also got stuck on a live minefield, fortunately no damage was caused, but it did halt my advance.


On the right flank I was having better luck, three of the artillery pieces had been destroyed and I had destroyed an Italian tank before it got up and running. The Matildas were short on ammo, each only had five shots (indicated by the dice), so I was happy to have brewed up an enemy tank with one shot.


Disaster struck as the tanks were advancing through the centre minefields, most of which appeared to be live, and I lost a tank to an explosion.


My right flank was currently under threat from the two remaining M11/39s who came charging in with guns blazing. They quickly discovered that their guns were useless against the Matilda's armour!


The threat didn't last long though, one of the tanks was destroyed and the other lightly damaged, putting paid to any breakthrough by the Italians.


Not only were the Italian tanks suffering but the artillery had now been wiped out by the Matilda's machine guns.


Things were starting to look desperate for the Italian defenders, the tanks on the left flank had been destroyed and the ones on the left flank had been destroyed and another heavily damaged. It was a full scale assault by 7th RTR.


General Pietto Malletti failed his morale roll and retreated from the field of battle but at least he had survived. The Native troops in the fort fell back and the game was over. The British had broken through the lines and captured the fort.


Then we revealed which of the minefields were live, they were concentrated on the right Italian flank and the centre.


Just as the British won the real battle this result was no different. However, my casualties were much higher than in 1940, where no tanks were lost and there were only 56  casualties amongst the British infantry. In Rapid Fire! terms I had lost five tanks and a couple of hundred men.It was still a great start to the British campaign!

This game was also a chance for us to try out Dean's Rapido Fire! home brew rules, based on Rapid Fire! where the firing chart is done away with and replaced with handfuls of dice instead. We found that cross checking during a firefight slows down the game somewhat, but Dean had broken down the algorithm in the chart to produce a version where you calculate the amount of dice you roll depending on the amount of firing points you have calculated from  individuals firing. You then roll the dice and depending on the quality of troop (Elite, Regular, Poor) you need a base score to hit (4+, 5+, 6). The result of the hits are then capped depending on the cover and range to give you a maximum amount of casualties from the firing. It worked a treat and really speeded the game up no end. It also makes tactical choices more apparent: do you shoot everything at a target with a greater chance of hitting but causing limited casualties or split your fire with a lesser chance of hitting but greater casualties. I will detail the updates to the rules in a future post so you can try them out for yourselves.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 20 July 2015

The Joy of Six 2015

Last Sunday in Sheffield was the annual and growing The Joy of Six show, hosted by Baccus and the Wargames Emporium, both based in Sheffield. It was held at the Hallam University campus and was a real step up from last year's venue. The bigger size of venue also showed from the amount that was on display. This really is a growing convention!

The entry price reflected the size of the figures, being only £2, a real bargain. First through the door was this excellent Great War Spearhead game of the 1915 British attack on Neuve Chapelle.


My favourite game by far was this immense Waterloo board.


It had taken four years of painting and building to recreate the battle and the work really showed!


I was told that during play testing the French lost, largely due to their attack on Hougamont sucking in battalion after battalion.


The bulk of the French army (and the Guard):


Even the little Ogre was in attendance. Unfortunately, I failed to locate Nosey, he must have been off inspecting his troops somewhere.


Next door was a 1944 Operation Bagration game.


With a couple of Tigers skulking in the woods.


Swedes and Danes slugged it out at Gadebuch in 1712, on a lovely wintery board.


And another battle from the 100 Days Campaign was the massive Ligny game:


6mm really does justice to Napoleonic gaming:


An ancients game of what looked like Romans versus Ancient British had some lovely scenery:


And the Cold War Commanders recreated Bjerkvik 1985, which I am assuming was a fictional Soviet attack on Norway.


What was surprising about Gorodetschna 1812 was that the figures were largely MDF laser cut figures! Until you got in close and inspected them, you wouldn't have known they weren't lead at all!


Again, the epic size of 6mm figures was really apparent with the DBMM game of Romans versus Carthaginians:


And from massive boards to tiny ones was this participation First World War game Old Puttees.


And finally Spartacus was spotted playing the Battle of Plassey 1757.


I also used the chance to pick up some more 6mm figures for my new Napoleonic project and an MDF La Haye Sainte from Commission Figurines.


In other news, I based the Napoleonic British that I have been painting as a tester unit. I think the grass has really softened the harsh lines of the Blucher base:


And I painted one of the British 18lbers from the Great War game:



That's all for now, so thanks for reading!
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