Tuesday, 18 November 2014

In the Jungle, the Quiet Jungle...

Memo to Self: When wanting to post pictures to the blog, remember that the camera card reader will only be found immediately after you've written it off as lost and ordered its replacement from Amazon.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Lesser Spotted Paradisan Turkey-Vulture has landed.

Or put another way, we have finally fought the inaugural wargame in the San Paradiso imagi-nation setting.  Talking to mi hermano disponible Jonesy during our regular Sunday terrain crafting & mini painting session, it transpired that his regular Monday D&D session would be cancelled.  So I suggested he and any other loose players might come over here for a coffee-table skirmish game to actually use some of the stuff we'd been working on these last few months.

I came up with a scenario that just happened to be the opening shots of the Paradiso farmer's revolt campaign I outlined in the last blog post, and so we settled down to a very enjoyable evening trying to get to grips with the latest iteration of Two Hour Wargames' "Chain Reaction".

I've been a fan of 2HW for years.  In fact back in the day I ran a very successful demo for Amazon Miniatures back when Chain Reaction was branded "Guns & Girls" to tie in with their range of figures inspired by the gun-fetish porn site of the same name.  (For the record, this was not the demo game that got Amazon and MAWS perma-banned from the Partizan wargames show for miniature nudity.  I meticulously greenstuffed little bikinis, crop tops and hot pants onto every figure, much to the bemusement of the AM staff, and ran a scenario with them fighting off against the faceless corporation of "the Man".  My figures may still have been slutty, but by the gods they were Empowered Sluts!)

Anyway Chain Reaction and the 2HW mechanics have gone through several iterations since I last played them so I was looking forward to seeing if they still kept the same back & forth firefight feel as the earlier editions (Spoiler alert: They do).

The terrain was my living room coffee table, which is just a shade smaller than 4ft by 3ft.  Since the urban terrain is still nearing completion on the workbench I decided to use the trees & jungle vegetation scenery that I've been working on in parallel.

The Scenario:

The Free Farmers' Collective have so far been limiting their actions to civil disobedience and peaceful protest.  They have however procured a supply of automatic weapons and other material necessary to escalate their campaign to a full armed revolt.  Word has reached the ear of El Jefe De Policidad in Verdaville that the rebels are picking up a supply drop located at a remote roadside stop up in the heavily forested foothills of Monto Blanko.  El Jefe immediately rushes out with three of his most loyal constables to go and interrupt those naughty rascals.  Despite his utter confidence in his own abilities and the ultimate authority of Law & Order which he represents, El Jefe is persuaded to pause at the local army barracks and bring along some regular army troops in support.

Government Forces
El Jefe - REP 5 Star, Shotgun
Three Constabulos Municipales - REP 3, one with shotgun, two with pistols

Four soldiers - REP 4, Squad leader and rifleman with M16s, grenadier with M203 and gunner with SAW.

Rebel Forces
Rebel Leader El Porco Verde - REP 5 Star, Assault Rifle
Seven rebels - REP 3, One with a SAW, the rest with Assault Rifles.

The terrain was mainly thick vegetation, with a road running roughly diagonally across the table.  At the centre is the roadside stop (maybe a rural bus stop or possibly a roadside food stall?) where the Rebel's truck is being loaded up.  The rebels could setup two figures up to 18 inches away from the truck as sentries, the rest would have to be within 4" in the middle of loading up.

The Government forces had a choice on how they entered - they could drive in hard and fast and pile out of their vehicles guns blazing, or park up some way up the road out of sight and proceed in on foot with a little more stealth.  (in the end, I wound up playing El Jefe, so I wound up dicing for it, resulting in the police skidding to a halt at close range, Sweeney style).

The police car had barely skidded to a halt when one of the alert rebel sentries opened fire on it from the bushes, putting one of the constables out of the fight right away.  A couple more rebels brassed up the car, leaving it rather the worse for wear and suppressing the occupants (i.e. duckback results), while the rest of the rebels scrambled for their weapons and cover.

El Jefe and the Constabulos crawled out of the riddled patrol car on the side away from the rebels and tried returning fire.  El Jefe's shotgun succeeded in taking out one rebel, but the poor constables found themselves totally outgunned by the rebels' AKs.  Meanwhile the fireteam of soldiers moved into the woods and started trying to move up the road to a flanking position.  They came under fire from across the road, and in diving to cover almost stumbled over another rebel hiding in the vegetation, who they gunned down in a vicious close-range fight.

While the army traded shots across the road, El Porco Verde led half his men in an almost mirroring manoeuvre, successfully flanking the police behind the car.  The two constables scurried round the back of the car seeking cover, while El Jefe successfully fended off El Porco Verde while he dived for the nearby bushes.

In the end however, El Porco Verde used his men's fire to pin down El Jefe (duckback) before charging in himself to finish off the Government Pig.  It was a vicious, drag-em-down-in-the-mud fight, but eventually the filfy rebel scum beat the valiant police hero to death with his rifle butt.

(It was actually at this point where we struggled with the rules.  Technically it's debateable whether El Porco would have been able to make a charge, since El Jefe had suffered a Knocked Down result and was presumably out of sight.  However common sense suggested that he ought to be able to, so I handwaved it.  Then we carried out the Charge Into Melee test.  The results were that the defender (El Jefe) could fire and the charger (El Porco) could melee, no reaction tests.  But the rules weren't clear on what that meant or the exact order of events.  We resolved El Jefe's fire and got a Knocked Down result.  Did the "No Reaction Tests" mean that El Porco shouldn't take the usual Recovery Test?  If I'd not scored a hit, would it have meant he didn't take the usual Under Fire test (I'd assume yes to the latter, not sure about the former).  And most importantly, did the fire take place before the melee, and did the Knocked Down result prevent El Porco from getting his planned melee attack?

My assumption was that the fire happened as the charger was moving up, and a result from that should stop the melee from happening.  However my esteemed opponent didn't share that assumption and so we went on to resolve the melee with the egregious results for law and order.

I should point out however that had the charger been a normal figure, El Jefe's shotgun blast would have cut him in half, since El Porco had used the Star Power rules to reduce the damage down from a double-kill to a mere knockdown.  The Star Power rules actually worked very well I felt, much better than I'd expected them to. Both El Jefe and El Porco took otherwise lethal hits prior to the melee and
were able to barter them down with Star Power points.  It struck the right balance of keeping heroic characters alive without them becoming unstoppable killing machines.

So anyway the honours went to the Rebels, and putting my campaign-managers hat back on, I'm going to say that they used their success to take control of the uncontrolled "Goodwill of the People" resource.  The ordinary people of the foothills of Monto Blanko and the Piso valley are buoyed by news of the rebels success, and are beginning to believe they have a chance of success.  In mechanics terms, with 4 resources to the Government's 3, it means any hope the government had of quickly suppressing the revolt is now gone.

The next game can now be anything that follows on logically from the first.  It could be another skirmish like this, or it could be a larger scale battle, maybe fought in 15mm using AK47 rules.  Or if you have a game with suitable air-to-ground rules, you could play out a fairly one-sided game of an airstrike on a rebel stronghold (The government would at most have light attack aircraft like the Super Tucano, the AH-6 Little Bird helicopter or an obsolete MiG, the rebels won't have any aircraft, but could conceivably have some man-portable SAMs just to keep things interesting..  hmm I'm tempted to dig out Mercenary Air Squadron and see if that couldn't handle that scenario as a neat little solitaire game.)

In narrative terms, the fall of the vainglorious El Jefe means that the local Commandante will now take full control of the situation and be prepared to commit regular army forces to the suppression of the farmers revolt which now has to be taken seriously...

The jungle terrain is largely made up of that old familiar standby - aquarium plants, mounted on CDs or irregularly cut MDF bases (bought from Wargames Tournaments).  The smaller, light green trees are actually from a Toys R Us dinosaur bucket.  I've had them for ages, but basing them properly really gave them a new lease of life.  The taller trees are from eBay, from one of the many Chinese importers selling plastic doodads on there (Possibly Everest Models, though I can't be sure).  So far I've used about a quarter of the plants & trees I'd collected over the years, but judging by the way what I've got covered a 3'x4' table, I think just doubling what I've got ought to be enough for most purposes.

 And lastly, a fun piece.  With all those Plasticville buldings I acquired three of the Plasticville cars.  They're very primitive, just a plastic bodyshell and clip-on wheels (like the very cheapest plastic toys) and a shade smaller than the 1/43 scale I use for cars with 28mm.  Since they would not be usable as cars, I copied something I'd seen a couple of times on the internet and turned one into an abandoned, overgrown and rusted wreck.

1 comment: