Sunday, February 23, 2014

And now...something totally differant: The evolution of The Fellowship of the Ring

I've been going back into my old (very old...say 1973!) fantasy figures and giving them a dust-off. Here are three sets of The Fellowship, LOTR. The first set is circa 1973-74:

Can't even remember the manufacturer, but they are all there; back row (l-r):
Gandalf the Grey, Aragorn, Boromir, Legolas and Gimli
front row (l-r):
Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin

Fast forward to 1978 and the next set is inspired by the Ralph Bakshi film interpretation: 

Now advance to the present and we have the Games Workshop entry:

Closeups of...Gandalf the Grey:

Aragorn son of Arathorn:

Boromir son of Denethor:

Legolas son of Thranduil:

Gimli son of Gloin:

Frodo Baggins:

Samwise Gangee:

Meriadoc 'Merry' Brandybuck: 

and last but not least, Peregrin 'Pippin' Took:

Saturday, February 8, 2014

March or Die: Erfoud

The final installment in my pre-Convention playtesting has arrived. The scene is taken from the 1977 film "March or Die" with Gene Hackman (Major Foster) and Ian Holm (El Krim). The French government has authorized a dig at Erfoud which El Krim opposes. The scenerio commences with the mounted tribesmen making their appearance over a ridge:

The French position:
And the supposed cause for the ruckus; The Lady, already exhumed and being examined by the French archaelogist (von Sedow):
Turn 1:
Foster orders fire brought to bear from the eastern side of their encampment. The 8 hits result in 4 Kills, a Shaken and a Pinned. Good start for the Foriegn Legion! Only bad result was the machine gun failed to register a hit. With a -2 taken from shooting while riding horse/camel, there are no hits on the French behind their sandbags:
Turn 2:
French gain inititiative again and bring more deadly fire onto the charging tribesmen, getting 5 more kills and 2 Shaken! The tribesmen do score their first blood with 2 Kills and a Pinned. The battle is truly joined. Notice the additional tribesmen lurking behind the ridge to the left. The French are as of yet unaware there are more enemies to deal with! Score so far: 10 Tribesmen and 2 FFL

Turn 3:
The tribesmen finally gain their first initiative and gain a Kill, 2 Shaken and 2 Red. FFL fire however scores another 5 Kills, 1 Shaken and 2 Pinned. The initial bluff is costing El Krim many of his men. But he cooly maintains his reserves hidden from view.
Turn 4:
As the FFL regain the initiative, they have a tremendous round. 5 more tribesmen bite the dust along with 2 Reds but the return fire is an absolute shamples...7 remaining tribesmen and not ONE hit! Bring up the new dice!
Turn 5:
Not what the remaining tribesmen needed: they lose the initiative again (they even had a +1 for losing the previous round!) The FFL makes them pay by scoring 4 Kills and 3 Shaken on the remaining 7 tribesmen! They must use their turn simply to recover! Score: 24 Tribesmen, 3 FFL
Turn 6:
The FFL is certainly wondering by now, 'is this the whole threat?' when from the north and west, additional screaming tribesmen crest the ridges. The French can do nothing but hunker down and continue their deadly fire. The Tribesmen get 8 hits but another good defensive roll by the FFL and they only score 2 Shaken and a Pin. One of the French machine gunners is hacked down by one of the remainingg mounted tribesmen but French fire again scores well with 4 Kills inc the last of the mounted Tribesmen, and a Pinned. Score: 31 Tribesmen; 4 FFL
The man himself directing his reserves forward (unfortunately my El Krim figure arrived after I finished the game, so this Pathan chief was filling in):
Turn 7:
The tribesmen keep coming despite their heavly losses. Even though one of the machine guns needs to swing around to firing at a new target, and as a result misses, the French none the less score 10 more Kills and a Shaken. The first group of tribesmen to fire is disappointing yet again with 8 shots resulting in only a single Pin! The second group do a little better and drop one of the machine gunners and get 2 more Shaken. One of the Tribesmen has reached the sandbags!

Turn 8:
French score the initiative once again and west side of the peremter get 4 Kills and a Shaken. But, what's this! More tribesmen to the east! When will this end?! Some of the tribesmen make it through French defensive fire (which get 2 more Kills) and in the ensuing melees 3 French and Tribesmen each become casualites.  Score: 52 Tribesmen and 8 FFL

A closeup of the deadly action:
Turn 9:
Tribesmen get initiative but it starts out disappointing again with only 2 Kills. Melee sees one from both sides drop to the sands.  One Tribesmen's shot just misses Foster, killing his sergeant/bugler standing next to him! It is on the east side that the Tribesmen finally score big! The newly arriving tribesmen gain 7 hits and those result in 5 Kills, 1 Shaken and 1 Pin. 100% target coverage. Happens very rarely. Maybe the tide has turned? The 2 surviving legionaires must have been badly shaken as they both miss!

Turn 10:
The Tribesment need the intiative to overwhelm the remaining legionaires on the eastern position...but they don't get it. (In fact they never get back to back initiative rolls while the FFL gets 2 such results)
French fire makes them pay and scores 9 kills and 3 more Shaken! All the Tribesmen fire misses (new dice...again!!) and the melee gives the Tribesmen 2 more legionaires while they lose 1. Score: 71 Tribesmen and 19 FFL
Turn 11:
Coming down to the wire now and this time the Tribesmen get the initiative. They hold off rather then melee, but score only 2 Shakens. They have to get Foster now if they hope to win. French return fire gets 4 more Kills. Guess the shooting range has really paid off!
 Turn 12:
Naturally the French get the initiative and with their first shots get 2 Kills and a Pin while the first Tribesmen charge into melee. French defensive however Kills 1 and gets another Shaken. The last French fire Kills the opposing Tribesmen. That unfortunately, leaves Krim's forces with one lone Shaken Tribesmen who is then mercilessly bayonetted! The FFL has held! Not quite how the film ended, but another good scrape! Final score: 79 Tribesmen and 19 FFL.

Hope you have enjoyed this series. Remember, if you are in the Denver area this Feb 13-15, I will be putting these games on at the Red Lion Hotel at I225 and Parker Road. Would be glad to exchange thoughts with any who can drop by. Best of luck in all of your gaming adventures! Till next time.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

ThE Wind and the Lion

"...a small village east of Rabat"..."It is good to know where we are going..." It is 1904 and in Morrocco, Mrs. Pedecaris and her two children have been kidnapped by Mulai Ahmed er Rasuli, Lord of the Riffian Berbers. President Roosevelt has despatched a squadron of ships with Marines to rescue her. This is the storyline of the 1975 film of the movie name above, starring Sean Connery as the Rasuli and Candace Bergen as Pedecaris and the basis for my next engagement. Here is the view of the Barbers bent on rescuing their leader; then the village itself and finally a closeup of the Marine detachment led by Captain Jarome and including the already rescued Pedecaris. They demand to see the er Rasuli...

Turn 1:
The German officer refuses to admit the party...a nervious German lets loose with a shot (and misses) and the game begins. The Marines get the initiative and gain two kills. Five Germans open fire and they all miss...good start for the rescuers! von Roerkel (in center next to his bugler) orders assembly!
One gun crew maneuvers their piece through the gateway and opens fire, but it is short. (Yes I know they are Airfix Arabs, not Berbers, but I needed the troops)
Turn 2:
Germans get initiative and they let go with five more shots at the Marines, and again all they get is a Pinned! The gun blasts away and gets the first Berber. The Marines score miss but Pedecaris drops a German. (Bergen did say in the film she had shot grouse and quail in Carolina and Scotland and it was hard to miss with the shotgun!) von Roerkel's men open up with a dealy volley however, scoring 6 kills, while the two guns add another.  Score so far: 0 US; 2 German; 7 Berber

Turn 3:
Marines gain initiative back and storm into the building where the Rasuli is hanging upside down as prisoner. The Morroccan Bashaw (brother to the Rasuli) charges Pedecaris (not a good idea when she is carring a shotgun) and is Shaken by her shot. The Marines get a Kill and a Shanken. The Germans, firing on the charging Berbers, get another 7 kills in additional to a Shaken. One gun opens fire defensively with cannister and drops 2 Berbers as well as a Shaken...ouch! The second gun is pulled back into the village to cover. But the charge strikes home on the first crew and in melee, both gunners are gone. German fire on the Marines again is for naught...where did Roosevelt get these guys?!

Turn 4:
The Marines get the initiative yet again and with it, Pedecaris finishes off the Bashaw (..."you accursed woman!") AND cuts down the Rasuli. The Marines are now safe inside. The German fire drops another 7 Berbers along with another Shaken, but the charge continues. The Berbers dismount for better fire control (and I really wanted to use my REAL Berbers who are on foot!)  The Berber fire gets 2 Shakens and a Pin. (Many of the Germans have cover on the rooftops which gives them a +1 on defense) Score: 0 US; 6 German; 26 Berber

Turn 5:
The Germans regain the initiative, and get 3 more of the Berbers, but the remaining gun fires defensively and misses! The Berbers (inc the Rasuli himself) get both gunners. (Unlike in the film, the Berbers who manhandles the captured gun missed with their one shot). The Germans by the gate add another Berber and a Shaken. Two Marines go on the roof of their position but miss their shots.
Turn 6:
Berbers keep initiative and charge through town towards von Roerkel and his men. Some German defensive fire only gets 1 Kill although in melee, two mounted Berbers fall to two Germans fighting for their lives!  The Berbers score 3 and a Shaken. von Roerkel's men then open their fire
and add another 2 Kill and 1 Shaken to the mix. The turn ends with the Marines despatching the lone German back on the roof. 
The cllimatic moment (as in the film) occurs when the Rasuli charges von Roerkel and engages him in melee! It is over quickly as the Rasuli disables but does not kill. The fight to free the er Rasuli is successful. 

Score: 0 US (they did live a charmed existance in this game!) 16 German and 38 Berber. A great little recreation. Look forward to seeing how it goes next week at Genghis Con. Remember, if you have any questions or comments, please do. May your die always be in your favor! Till the next fight.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Beau Geste: the Fight fot Ft. Zinderneuf

From the 1939 classic, Beau Geste, I'm recreating the climatic battle by the Foreign Legionaires under the sadistic Sergeant Markoff (including Legionaire Geste played by none other than Cary Cooper, who gets hero status...see last post) The view over the attacking Arabs and the garrison itself:

The garrison alerted, Sgt Markov orders the west wall to fire at the oncoming Arab tribesmen at medium range and the French drop 4 enemy! But the return fire is deadly even with the protection of the wall (+2) as 2 Legionares go down! Not a good trade off to start.

Turns 2/3:
The Arab charge is supported by rifles on the far ridge (16 in fact) and they gain another kill on the west wall. Additional Legionaires are ordered up to the West wall, and their fire gets 4 more tribesmen. With the high odds, the French must do better. Markoff screams encouragment from the courtyard (?)
Turn 4:
The French on the West wall score 2 Kills and 1 Shaken with 5 shots, and the men on the south wall and in the Tower add their firepower and get 2 more. But disaster strikes. As the unfortunate Legionaire at the West wall just recovers from his earlier Shaken, he is Shaken yet again. Those shots are too damn close! Then 2 of his compatriots on that wall go down. Even worse...despite a +3 iin the Tower, 1 of the Legionaires goes down with a head shot! 3 Legionaires in one round versus 4 Arabs. At this rate the Fort will fall.
Turn 5:
The support fire from the ridges finally draws blanks as the wall protects the Legionaires from any casualties this round! Viva la France! The tribesment up close however score 1 Kill and an additional Shaken. French return fire (inc Legionaire Geste/Cooper) score the indentical result. Markoff is not pleased! They have their ladders up Sergeant!! *Note, that is Geste to the left of the Frencmen who is Shaken (yellow pin) on the south wall.
Turn 6:
The Legionaires reinforce the West wall again, and French fire accounts for 4 Kills and a Shaken. Things get tense however as the Arabs bring 29 shots on the walls. Amazinly there are no hits! One couregeous tribesmen makes it to the top of the wall and scores a Shaken on the Legionaire next to him. Score so far: 16 Arabs and 7 FFL
Turn 7:
The FFL get 3 Kills (inc Markoff himself taking down the man on the wall. He can be seen in the courtyard, with the red kepi) and a Shaken. The Arab support fire however returns to form as 2 of the men on the West wall are Killed and another is Shaken. The tribesmen begin to pour over the parapet. Fortunately for the garrison, their shots upon reaching the top go wild, and the FFL suffer no additional losses. But the West wall is being overrun!
Turn 8/9/10:
Fighting is hand-hand now on the West Wall and tribesmen are getting over the South wall as well. Rifle fire accounts for 4 Kills (another in the Tower) and 2 Shakens and melee counts for 1 more. Markoff orders the survivors to the Tower. Geste is cut off by a tribesmen he will have to take care of. Total losses are: 30 Arab and 15 FFL
Turns 11:
Geste makes short work of the tribesmen barring his access to the Tower, while Markov and others get two Arabs on the wall. A Legionaire is Killed in Melee but Geste drops him. Shots aimed at Markoff Shake the sergeant. 
Turns 12/13:
Geste and the 2 other Legioaires drop two additional tribesment on round 12 and they move into the tower and slam the heavy doors. Markov recovers and is able to back into the Tower as well. The tribesmen try one turn to take the Tower, but protected fire scores heavily on them and 4 go down. It is too much, and they retire from the fort. Zinderneuf holds...for now. Total casaulties for the fight: 36 out of 61 tribesmen, while 16 Legionaries/21 serve France with their lives. Now Geste will have to deal with Markoff, but as said before...that is another story.