Sunday, 13 November 2011

It's a long, slow, lazy delivery, but it's the best I can do.

(Yes it's a lyric from the same song.  Any offers yet?)

Binky at the Bat (Part Two)
So if you remember the setup from Part One, the British want to recapture Grasston Grange, but mainly in order to play a game of Cricket on their excellent pitch.  The fiendish Boche merely want to sit in the pub swilling funny foreign lager and making vile continental propositions to our sweet English maidens.  Why yes, I was playing on the British side, now you mention it.  Anyway, on with the entirely fair and unbiased account of the battle.

 So by mutual agreement, the British entered the battlefield on one short table end on Turn One, and could bring troops onto the top 2/3 of one adjacent long table edge on Turn 2.  Because it was such a small table, we were engaged at close range right from the get go.  Mi Hermano del Abogado, Jonesy successfully argued that the Guardsmen could not fire over the man-sized hedge in front of them.  When they obligingly advanced out of cover, he proceded to fire on them from his Jaegers, over an absolutely identical hedge.  But then one must expect such unsporting behaviour from The Hun, so DeadEdd and I let it pass.

 The real danger came from the Ludwig parked at the corner of the wood with a commanding field of fire up and down the lane.  Its heavy machine guns cut the poor guardsmen to pieces, then later in the game took a similar toll on my Infantry as well.  Jonesy didn't hesitate to name it his "Man Of The Match".
Turn 2 saw the rest of the British forces advance onto the field, DeadEdd's other infantry unit, both of mine and my steam tankette.  Note hidden to the top right we have the second unit of Filthy Huns, who roused by the sound of gunfire, dropped their lagar and our womenfolk and piled out of the pub and into the building on the other side of the "high street".  One of the things that came out of this game was that the rules for buildings need a little refining.

One thing I may have forgotten to mention in the Part one was that in addition to our regular troops, we each took  three Main Characters, randomly rolled as Adventurers.  I took a shotgun-wielding  Dr Law and his faithful valet, Buldogg McCann, plus a splendiforously redcoated Sergeant Davis.   DeadEdd took the mandatory Binky Bradshaw, a gentleman adventure with delusions of Indiana Jones-hood and a Jack The Ripper type.  Yes, we all worry a bit about DeadEdd.  Jonesy took three humourless Boche military types with names like Muller, Schmidt or Shaeffer, probably all   criminals  who beat their wives too.  Anyway Binky gets set  upon by one of these fiendish Fritzes in turn one and the two scuffle, Binky fending off his attacker with his trusty bat.  In the next turn, Edd's adventurer character rushes in to join the melee,  which as we interpreted the rules would trigger another round of melee combat with everyone involved (an intepretation that would be significant elsewhere in the game).  Sadly the Hun's sabre caught Binky LBW and he was out for a duck, to be avenged moments later  by the gentleman adventurer.
So DeadEdd sends his other unit of infantry in against the sentries on the edge of Grasston Grange.  Little did we realise that this would become the scene of the most intense melee I have ever seen in a GASLIGHT battle.  After the British action which left a couple dead on either side, the Germans activated, bringing up the rest of the unit from across the road, which of course triggered another round of fighting.  Then Jonesy brought one of his Main Characters into the melee, again triggering another round of combat.  Then another MC.  Then Edd brought up his "Ripper" MC.  All told we had five rounds of Melee combat in a single turn  After which there were only a couple of men standing on each side.

This is the wider scene.  The Borderers and my other infantry advancing towards the road and the cricket pitch.  The Borderers took heavy fire from both the Infantry in the building to their left, but also the Ludwig which after wiping out the Guardsmen brought its guns around to fire west up the road.  There's a saying in wargaming that newly painted favourite units never do well on their first time out and this battle was no exception.  The other infantry unit actually made it to the other side of the road, at least part of it did, spurred on by the redoubtable Sgt Davis.
And here is the endgame in Bloody Lane.  Dr Law held back from joining the melee, hoping to snipe one or two of the Boche MCs with his shotgun.  Sadly he missed his one shot, and was in sequence pounced on by both MCs and was overwhelmed.
The Jaegers had by now been successfully cleared out of the woods.  Edd sent his Gentleman Adventurer into the woods to mop up survivors (ignoring the threat of the Ludwig walker nearby) while I brought my Guntruck round to the edge of the outfield.

 DeadEdd's lanship was dividing its fire between the German Landship, which had now moved out onto the lane, and the Ludwig walker.  Vehicle fire had been mainly inconclusive so far in the game, which apart from the HMG fire from the Ludwig had been an infantry focussed affair.  But all that was about to change...

The Gun Truck scored a Catastrophic Hit on the German Landship, which promptly exploded in a mighty fireball.  Unfortunately that fireball arced out 12" forwards, right into the heart of my so far undamaged infantry platoon.  Sergeant Davis and a couple of the lads had made it into the cricket ground and were protected by cover, but four caught crossing the road were immolated.

At which point Jonesy as the German player admitted he would probably be pulling out of the village, being down to one undamaged infantry unit, two MCs and a walker that was about to be overrun.  The British had all their fighting vehicles intact, and about half a unit at the cricket ground.  Both sides naturally claimed victory.

So there you have a fairly successful GASLIGHT battle on a small 5' by 3' table.  I think I still prefer a larger table with a round or two of movement before the two sides become locked in combat.  If I was doing this game again I'd be tempted to leave vehicles out entirely and make it an all infantry/cavalry/MCs game.  In that case I'll probably include the suggestion of a "End Turn" card for the initiative deck to reintroduce some of the friction and uncertainty that the vehicle Sustain rules currently give.

I'm not happy with the way GASLIGHT treats shotguns - with a spread template but only half the range of even a pistol, it seems to assume they're all sawn-off scatterguns.  I'd like to up the range to match pistols (6/12), lose the spread template but give them an extra firing dice at close range.

Buildings also need a tweak.  Some restrictions on how many figures can fire from a building (after seeing a 10 man volley from a smallish building we decided to limit it to two men firing per facing window or door)  Restrictions on moving in and out and between sections of a building and most importantly, vehicle weapon fire on buildings and the effects on the troops within.  I figure it ought to be possible to target a building and render it inhospitable to any occupants without having to target the occupants directly.  I'm going to have a look at a couple of other rulesets and see if there are any useful ideas I can steal.


  1. Great report! Sounds like it was a fun game and it's good to read comments on how various rules work out.

  2. Good report.
    I must say I like your prose, especially in your earlier intro in Part 1. ;-)

    As for buildings, with skirmish gaming at 1:1, I'd typically go with one shooter per window or door, with a 90 degree fire arc from there.

    Obviously any fire at troops in building and they will get a suitable 'hard cover' bonus, against small arms fire and MGs, though you would have to figure out how damaging heavy weapons (cannons etc)are going to be to the building and troops inside...
    The Warhammer and LOTR &'Legends' series of rules generally have plenty of ideas on handling buildings, with 'toughness' and 'Batter points' etc typically.

    More reports please!

  3. Thanks chaps, glad you enjoyed the report. We've got another GASLIGHT game pencilled in for this coming Sunday.

    @Scott - funny, I was actually thinking about digging out the building rules from Warhammer 2nd Edition, which I always remembered as being particularly good. I recently picked up Warhammer: the Great War, which ought to have good rules for bombardments against buildings. I'll take a look tomorrow.

  4. Always a good read on gaslight games. Splendidly written.