Friday, October 16, 2009

RM5.2 conclusion

Despite being let down by Rasmus, 'Beach Assault' was quite a success, though no actual beach assault took place, unless you count Goeg's heroic effort to bring his HMG closer. Both sides had moments of glory and bloodshed and in the end, the result was satisfactory.

The players, sans Rasmus who never turned up

The game began with the Germans scrambling to get into position whilst the good guys, who were dubbed 'the pirates' for convenience, brought their two ships boats into position. Both sides used their long range weapons to engage, but found rifles to be at a distinct disadvantage and smaller weapons were useless. The range from the bunker to the ships bow was exactly 72 inches, and a rifle has an effective range of 36 inches in our rules.

Rocketman took one look at the Heinkel and decided to grab it. He flew off table to avoid being an airborne target (Which he is allowed to do, given the nature of his rocket pack) then flew back on to land on the jetty. The Germans immediately opened fire and suppressed him, but he was about to cut the tethers any way due to being crouched on the seaplane's pontoons. Meanwhile Oleg brought his ships boat, loaded with pirates closer in order to tow the Heinkel away and thus win the game. I have to admit, I didn't see this possibility. For a long time this game was designed as a straight up battle and the winning criteria were very different. I changed the nature of the game to save time (as we only have four hours or so) and because the plot cannot depend on one side winning. A consequence of this was I hadn't given too much thought to the jetty which suddenly became a dangerous bottle neck. Ah well, c'est la guerre.

Le Mollusc under fire.

Whilst Oleg was performing small miracle's, Goeg was still learning. Having lined up his pirates on Le Mollusc's superstructure (see image above), he had the most perfect firing squad I've ever seen. Unfortunately he was out of range, so his men were firing with a -3 and -4 penalty for the whole game). Given that my Germans were chemically enhanced (thanks to mad Dr Meztger), and out of range, the best he could hope for was to keep them pinned down. Goeg also had his African MG crew, with their Vickers Maxim. A dangerous weapon, but old and some what unreliable. In our rule system, its classed as a Machine Gun (as opposed to a Heavy Machine Gun like a .50) which means it has a 36 inch range equivalent to a rifle, or an LMG. It does however do slightly more damage if it hits.

Goeg stuck his Vickers Maxim gun in the second ships boat and used the boat like a sort of seaborne 'technical', chugging closer in an attempt to do more damage. Unfortunately what happened was he became a priority target and spent most of his time suppressed (the MG gunners cowering for cover on a wooden boat). What Goeg, and Oleg didn't know, is that the Germans had some secrets up their sleeves. Palle had a second Heinkel, returning from patrol and able to attack with twin MG-17's and six 10 kilo bombs, and I had a sniper with an anti-materiel rifle; a 13.2mm M1918 Mauser.

Once Rocketman had secured the biplane, the game was nearing its end, but it hadn't ended yet. I couldn't see how the Germans could grab the plane back unless the German pilots risked a dash to grab the speed boat (which can be seen moored to the jetty in the image below). A risky move, but better than not doing anything. Palle however had other idea's. The second Heinkel came down from the north and hardly any one noticed it until it was strafing Le Mollusc's deck, clearing away pirates like a broom. At the same time, I used my sniper against Geog's commanding officer (Iron Fist Chung) and he then stopped commanding. I also used my grenade launcher (A non historical weapon developed exlusively by the Schattentroppen's gunsmith) to put Goeg's seaborne MG out of commission.

The Field of Mars.
In the foreground the Germans, watch in disbelief as Rocketman and his allies steal the Heinkel

For a moment, I thought we might have a chance, especially as the next round would see the second Heinkel deploy its bombs. Alas, I had counted my velociraptors before they were hatched, and Oleg put Rocketman into the air and used his rocket plumes (and 4 hero points) as a flame thrower to set fire to the speedng fighter as it passed below him (hence the title image). The burning aircraft hurtled over head and crashed behind the German line, probably landing on their camp.

Oleg was definately 'Man of the Match'. He was forced to contend with twice as many elements as usual, and they were all named characters (meaning a set of individual stats for about forty elements), he played Rocketman to perfection, bringing down the second Heinkel and he won the game by using Rocketman to quickly secure the first Heinkel whilst a boat chugged out to tow it away. A well deserved win.

Faced with such unbelievable heroism, the Germans fell back to better positions, and to salvage what they could from their burning camp.


Oleg said...

Actually, in terms of taking casualties, the Pirates / Good Guys were getting thrashed.

Those chemically enhanced German troops were tough. They also stayed in cover. They also (IMHO) made no attempt to win the game.

... and that second 'plane was *nasty*.

I like the photoshopped post header, btw.

Jaron said...

This is great. I love reading your stories and the games that follow! Can't wait for the next one. To go back to a discussion from a post or two back, I would be in favor of a book release too! Too bad I'm in Virginia or I'd want to see you guys in action!

moif said...

Our plan was feeble I admit, if indeed you could call it a plan. The idea being, I think, was to cripple the two ships boats and take out/suppress the 75mm and then our pilots could move forward, preferably under cover.

moif said...

Hello Jaron.

Thank you very much.

moif said...

Just a thought, it may be of interest to any one unaware, the Rocketman archive blog contains all the previous games and some additional info, including note son future games

Jaron said...

thanks for the link! Question about the last game, how pinned down were the Germans? With the firing penalties on the pirates were they likely to hit any advancing Germans?

moif said...

I was fighting the second group of Germans, which meant I had to come on to the table, sporadically, after the shooting had started. I had no pilots and the distance between my adopted firing positions and the jetty were very exposed.

Palle on the other hand, had two pilots and all his fighting elements, already on the table when the game began. He also knew about the approaching second aricraft.

Neither of us made any attempt to move forward. I perceived my role to be fire support and Palle chose caution rather than heroics.

The pirates had a 75mm gun which had enough range to engage anything else on the table, but it had trajectory limitations with regards to elements hiding behind the bunker.

The twin .50 AA battery also had enough range to engage anything on the table, and could support the 75mm.

Apart from these two weapons, the rest of the pirates were all firing at a range disadvantage, but still able to put down covering fire at 72+ inches. There were about 60 pirates in all, about half of whom had rifles or machine guns.

Most of my elements were suppressed by the heavy weapons during the game, only some lucky sixes at the right moments saved me from greater casualties.

Palle "Nybyggeren" said...

Well, pilots are not as tough as Rocketman, so I had no wish to move them to the plane under fire.

Especially as my first four soldiers actually moving out were quickly reduced to one by the 75 mm and the "parked" plane was in range (or only at -1) for Goeg's firing squad. Being attacked with +10, at -3 will kill even Shattentruppen (let alone pilots) fast as max I can roll is 7 while min they can roll is 11... bad odds and the twin .50 was almost as bad.

I had no intension of moving out until that ship was suppressed, especially the heavy weapons. It would be suicide and the game faster over.

I sneaked a half-squad forwards on the breakwater as their weapons did not have the reach to do any damage (starting 32" away with range 8" and moving 2" required them to move for 11 rounds in open ground before able to engage effectively at -1), they had to sneak or die to the heavy weapons. Had they assulted the bridge/plane/RM they would have perished under shellfire.

Without suppressing those heavies, we could not make an effective winning move. So my tactic was to suppress them and sweep the boats clean. Unfortunately there were too many priority targets and I could do none of them effectively, especially as Oleg used Rocketman as he was intended, and did exactly what I imagined he would, towing the plane away (and would myself have- though not flying off-table as I did not know that was allowed), cudos for doing the smart thing and keeping track of all those named fellows (I figure Rasmus owes Oleg a lot of beer).

Effectively this was a game we had a very small chance of winning, though in contrast to our last three games in various campaign we DID actually have a chance, albeit a small one.

However, wreaking havoc with the heavy weapons was fun and my long-term plan was to attrit the enemy as much as possible so as to win later games, this worked quite well. But alas... named characters cannot die.

It was a good and fun game though, new weapons, props, terrain, task... it was all good. I definately look forwards to the next one- especially as I know what is ahead this time.

Jan said...

The named characters can die in all the next games.

Palle "Nybyggeren" said...

You certain of this? As you pointed out to me in our post-game talk we risk the good guys loosing everythimng? Now I think it is a good idea and will force to cautious play (realistic) and only superheroes or madmen like Dan Mansfield or Mad Dog Mitchell performing heroics, and I intend to use it in the Turbator Germania skirmishes, but...

I assume RM and MDM cannot die, but that all but RM can be taken out by injuries for a game or two?

Jan said...

All the mercs can be killed if they roll a 1-3 on their damage rolls, from this point onwards. RM's friends can also be downed, but not RM himself

Palle "Nybyggeren" said...

BTW, think of the carnage had it been a true beach assault...

Jaron said...

I'm not familiar with the exact rules (are they on the Rocketman compendium link?). Can RM be wounded and marginalized in a game? Apparently he can't be killed, along with some companions, but can he be incapacitated during a game?

Palle "Nybyggeren" said...

Jaron, everybody can be "Downed" and after the game Downed characters rolls for damage 1 is good, 6 bad AFAIR.

However, it has always been such that RM and friends could not die, they would be out for the rest of the game if Downed (Mad Dog knows this well), whether we would then roll for damage to them or just have them back in peak condition next game has varied. Prof Summers was out for one in the first RM series, but usually the main characters continue.

Named characters has also always been immortal so to speak (in contrast to what we call "Redshirts") as they are often central to the games. However, less central named characters has been injured for more than one game I think. But perhaps that was just me planning to run it that way in Turbator germania. In any case, we face a different situation now to what we used to.

Often, even in Robin Hood, we have only had 1-3 named characters to each player, but now in RM, and to a lesser extent in 1-2 sessions of Turbator Germanium, each player will have many. But we need to find our way in handling that. Just as we need to deal with the heavier weapons that we avoided till last RM campaign where they began to emerge. We are pushing the limits of the Skirmish rules, I for example would love to do a WWII campaign, but the rules were not designed for Acht-Acht's etc. As it is, we are nearing the limit. Armourgeddon will probably be max the rules can contain.

Oh well... hope my elaborate elaboration and musings helped clarify a bit.

Palle "Nybyggeren" said...

Oh... 1 is bad, 6 is good.

Now for an evening beer, some Europa barbarorum and then bed ;-)

Palle "Nybyggeren" said...

BTW Oleg, the second plane was my gamble to win the game when I saw how heavy you guys were, it could have strafed and bombed Les Mollusc enough to kill 2/3rds of you, thus winning the game.

moif said...


There are no copies of the rules available online at this time, but Oleg is muttering about putting them online in the near future. He's probably working on it in his spare time. The games can probably be adapted to other skirmish rule systems which deal with the mid tentieth century, and I'd point you to some if I had knowledge of any. Alas we've played by our rules for years now and I haven't tried any other rules in five years or more. At least not that I can recall.

Rocketman cannot be killed because he is the hero, and a fine tale it would be if the hero died. Likewise his friends and arch enemies (whats the good of an arch enemy who dies?)

During a single game, Rocketman can be downed, as Palle says, this usually entails an embarressing flesh wound or leaking fuel tank, but the idea is he is recovered enough to carry on the campaign in the next game. Downing Rocketman is usually a game winner by technical knock out, but not always. Sometimes Rocketman has a walk on part, other times he is the central character.

Each campaign is meant to be played as though it were a book. I also like to mix things around so we do a lot of experimentation, pushing the rules as far as they can go, looking at alternative set ups, imbalance of forces, etc. The first two campaigns were pure testing and the games only really took off with RM3

RM7 by the way will be a regular role playing campaign revolving around three distinct scenario's. I'm not sure how that will work, but it should be fun.