Sunday, 30 August 2015

Game 31 - 5 Men & 3 Kings

Time, as ever, has eaten into recent weeks, making for a quick game rather than the lavish extravaganzas that we actually had planned!

So a game of 'Five Men in Normandy', the precursor to the 5Core skirmish rules, was in the offing.

The setup was a five man US and German patrol, bumping into each other in a semi built up area.

HIghlights included:

  • There's a real feel for losing control of individuals as they are forced back due to fire.
  • Although there were three 'out of action' results, the amount of cover cut down on kill dice and made shock dice and suppression very important. If you can suppress a sniper position say, and prevent his firing during your next turn with reaction fire, you can move freely (duhh ...obvious I guess)
  • Real world tactics work. If you don't use your assets to the max (Garands withsuppressive fire), you get punished by accurate and timely fire. If your NCO with SMG gets taken out soon in the game, you'll suffer from close range SMG fire when the opponent gets a flank.
  • VERY quick and VERY decisive.
  • Worth taking a look at a larger game with the same mechanisms.

Germans have advantageous position, in the surrounding woods...

...and in the buildings.

 Although the US left threatens to be a game-changer, the loss of the US NCO early changes the emphasis of the subsequent firefight.

It proves difficult to get enough rifles to bear in cover at the hedgerow.

As the US rifleman suffer under the weight of fire and 'bail' twice, taking them off the board.

 ...leaving a solitary soldier.

 ...who will ultimately withdraw himself, as the German NCO's SMG uses spray fire.

So in addition to tinkering with the 5Core rules, I’ve also been playing about with my 1689 / 9Years War forces.
Having recently been reading some of Henry Hyde’s pieces on his imagi-nations campaigns in his wonderful Wargames Compendium, I was intrigued by the idea of how the 1680s troops could fit in.

Then it hit me; Charles II’s death, James II’s accession to the throne. Monmouth’s attempt to take the throne in 1685, and William’s successful attempt in 1688 – with the Irish and European wars that followed.

So, if we compress some of the timeline, and just happen to have one king and two pretenders at the same time – there’s your campaign. All we have to do is reset the British Isles in a quasi-fantasy 1680s war of the kingdoms setting…and so we have ‘Three Kings in Albion’, with Alba (Scotland) and Danu (Ireland) on the sidelines…with ‘Avalon’ as the Albion capital of course. Hmmm, yet another project to think about.

The rebasing is based on 2” x 2” squares - somewhat after ‘Beneath the Lily Banners’ and Clarence Harrison’s excellent Victory Without Quarter.

I’ve split the centre base so that (1) I can have ‘pikes forward’ (2) I can form ‘hedgehog’ easily and (3) I can free up some single figures for playing ‘Donnybrook’ scenarios...with pirates (since everything is better with pirates apparently).

All good, bar the fact that I probably didn’t need another project!?!?

So - room for 18 figures - down from the 20-21 that I previously had.

 The new arrangement allows for pikes forward, and hedgehogs, and frees up some loose miniatures for Donnybrook scenarios. It would of course be an inspired decision, were it not for the fact that it gives me more work to do...

On the horizon:
Definite – Playtesting with the new ‘SabreSquadron’ modern rules – with the old West End Games ‘Fire Team’ boardgame scenarios
Definite – playtesting the Charles Grant WWII rules with Steve’s amendments to turn sequence – with Squad Leader scenarios in mind
Definte - more rules exploration with STEINAHHH!
Probable – AWI with Volley & Bayonet, Maurice and…something else
Likely…ish – ‘Three Kings in Albion’…when I get time. (It’s the latest ‘shiny’ after all).


  1. Your WWII skirmish game looks very interesting and the employment of actual tactics seems to work. Excellent results!

    As for your 3 Kings campaign, that too sounds very interesting. "Need" is such a strong word. If the addition of another project allows wargaming interest to remain high and keeps the paint brush busy then "need" is appropriate terminology.

    Good luck on the new project!

    1. Thanks Jonathan.
      Yes, the 3 Kings project is quite exciting. That period evokes so much flavour (and even remains controversial in some parts of the world). It seems so obvious how an imagi-nations campaign would work well. I'm surprised that I never considered it before, as the real history offers few battles, many sieges, and a general fear of escalation - something which a wargames campaign will never shy away we all know.

      It took sgt. Steiner to remind me that Maurice has a lovely little campaign system which might work beautifully. On top of that there are politics, RPG opportunities and small scale skirmishes which can alter the course of battles - very exciting.

      Of course, writing about it on the blog makes it 'real', so I have to do something about it now i guess.

    2. Darren,
      Thanks for the 5 Men In Normandy review. Yet another reason why the 5Core stuff needs to move to the front of the "rules to try" line!

      Looking forward to seeing what you do with the Charles Grant stuff. I think with that turn sequence it has tremendous potential for bigger games with large forces (The Hedgehog of Piepsk scenario from basic Squad Leader comes immediately to mind).

      Lots of great wargaming plans on the horizon! Love it!

  2. Nice looking game we must try the 5Core stuff during our rules fest :-)