This weekend, Sam Fuson hosted a gaming day at War Horse farm in Gettysburg, PA. I had a chance to play in a modern skirmish game with Ed Duffy’s modern rules he’s been developing. In the afternoon I ran a slightly modified reprise of my American raid on a Japanese radio site on “some island” in the Pacific.
The game went quite well. A couple of players had played Combat Patrol™, but must had not. They picked up the rules quickly and then concentrated on the fight rather than the rules. The scenario was both ahistorical and anachronistic; the American raiding force was composed of both US paratroopers and US Marines. The Marines had one squad and a bazooka team. The paratroopers had two squads, a platoon leader, and a bazooka team. The Japanese had three squads, a couple of extra light machine-guns, and a Chi-Ha tank.
The Americans ran into the compound. The Marine bazooka team pumped three rounds into a Japanese bunker. Though the rounds penetrated, the Marine player was incredibly unlucky in determining the effects, so the Japanese machine-gun inside was wounded and stunned, but not knocked out.
Though they inflicted a lot of casualties on the Japanese stationed around the perimeter, the paratroopers made it into the compound and were running across to the radio shack when a couple of Japanese mortar shells landed. The paratroopers had gotten bunched up, and the mortar round landed right in the middle of the clump, killing two, wounding five, and stunning a couple of others.
The Marines never really made much progress into the compound, but they tied down a squad and a machine-gun. The paratrooper bazooka team inexplicably charged a couple of Japanese in a foxhole. Despite outnumbering a wounded Japanese soldier in the foxhole, the paratroopers lost the melee, the bazooka man being incapacitated and his assistant falling back. The Japanese soldier then charged at the assistant bazooka man as the result of a morale check. After some back and forth, the paratroopers finally ended up in control of the bazooka again. He fired at the Chi-Ha, hit the wheels, but didn’t mobilize it. The bazooka man never got off a second shot, as he was cut down by a Japanese machine-gun.
After the incredible Japanese mortar fire and the lost of both bazookas, the Americans called a retreat and melted back into the jungle. They never really got very close to the radio shack. If things had broken their way once or twice, they might have gotten it; they were very close at one point.
The people who weren’t regular gamers, but just come to War Horse a couple of times a year, had not trouble catching on, since they have no preconceived notions of how a war-game is supposed to work. The folks who are regular gamers caught on quickly as well. That was good to see. After about two turns, my role became merely answering questions and calling out cards from the Activation Deck. All of the players really enjoyed the scenario.