Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Enfilade 2012 Recap: Part 2 - My Games

I ran two games at Enfilade 2012, one on Friday night and the other on Saturday morning. Friday night, Kevin and I ran the "Tripwire" Strait of Hormuz game using David Manley's "Bulldogs Away!" rules. Saturday morning I ran "Action on Lake Ontario" using a slightly modified Sail & Steam Navies rules.

The Friday night game was full with six players, 2 US/Allies and 4 Iranian. The basic premise of the scenario was that western sanctions against Iran has caused the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy (IRGN) to declare that they are closing the Strait of Hormuz and only ships they escort are allowed through. Additionally, the IRGN had secretly mined the strait and a British merchant hit a mine, which caused a stoppage in traffic through the strait. The US Navy has decided to clear the mines and capture the ships that are laying the mines.

The IRGN was tasked with maintaining Iranian sovereignty in the strait and escorting ships that request an escort through the strait. The IRGN players selected two small boat groups (each with four Boghammer patrol boats armed with machine guns, RPGs, and recoilles rifles and a Zafar rocket boat with a salvo rocket launcher) to escort ships through the strait, one torpedo boat group (with four Tir class stealth torpedo boats), and one missile boat group (with three C-14 "China Cat" missile boats). Additionally, the IRGN players had to decide which mine markers on the board were real and which were dummies. The center of the board had mine markers placed about every 12 inches that stretched across the board. The IRGN could basically set up anywhere on the board, but there were some restrictions for the escort groups. The small boat groups were assigned to escort two ships through the strait; a fishing vessel that had requested escort and a merchant that was really an IRGN auxiliary that had been laying mines.
One Boghammer group escorting the fishing vessel
The other Boghammer group escorting the merchant auxiliary
IRGN C-14 "China Cat" missile boats set up near the minefields
The US Navy/Allied side was tasked with clearing a path through the mines and/or capturing one of the ships laying mines. They didn't have to take both missions, but decided to try it. The US Navy/Allied players selected an anti-mine group (an LCS-1 class ship with an anti-mine mission package a Sea Cobra and anti-mine MH-53 helicopter) to clear the mines and a boarding group (with two US Cyclone class patrol boats, two Mk V SEAL boats, and two United Arab Emirates missile boats). The anti-mine group entered from the eastern board edge, while the boarding group was allowed circumvent the mines and enter on the southwest board edge. (An interesting side note, the US Navy/Allied players really wanted to avoid the LCS-2 class ships, even though we had two of them available. I was really hoping to get one of them into the game).

When the LCS-1 moved into radar range, the IRGN players sent several Boghammers to investigate (and harass) the ship.
LCS-1 with the MH-53 anti-mine helicopter and approaching Boghammers in the background
Over on the other side of the board, the boarding group split up with the Cyclone and Mk V boats moving to intercept the merchant, while the UAE missile boats moved north to intercept the fishing vessel (the US players did not know if either of the ships was involved in the mining, but they were supposed to board them to find out). Additionally, there was a small boat, with a big CNN flag, that was filming the whole thing.
US Cyclone and Mk V boats with the CNN news boat nearby
As the IRGN boats closed with the US and UAE ships, they started hearing messages over their radios about maintaining a safe distance from the US/UAE ships. The IRGN players basically pretended they couldn't understand or didn't hear the messages. the US/UAE ships decided a stronger warning was needed and began firing shots across the bows of the IRGN boats. This caused some of the boats to turn away and almost caused an inadvertent collision between an UAE missile boat and IRGN C-14 missile boat.
Near collision in the strait
With CNN on hand, it seemed like both sides were a little reluctant to be the first side to open fire. But this changed as one of the Cyclone boats wandered into the mine zone and found a mine.
Oops! A Cyclone class boat runs into a mine
At this point the commander of the boarding group declared that he was under attack and opened fire on the nearest IRGN boats. This allowed everyone to start shooting. An IRGN Zafar class rocket boat fired off its rockets to finish off the Cyclone that had hit the mine and the C-14 missile boats fired missiles at the other Cyclone class and UAE missile boats. The remaining Cyclone and Mk V boats returned fire with the Hellfire missiles, while the UAE missile boats fired their Exocets. On the other side of the board, the LCS-1 class didn't have any missile and had to rely on her guns and the missiles on the Sea Cobra to attack the IRGN boats. Additionally, the IRGN Tir class torpedo boats made a torpedo run against the UAE ships and began moving toward the LCS-1.
Missiles Away!
When the smoke cleared, both US Cyclones were sinking and one of the Mk V boats was damaged. The IRGN had lost their missile boats and most of their Boghammers. As the game ended, we decided the US/UAE players had lost the propaganda war for firing first (the CNN footage couldn't confirm American claims that they were attacked first), but they controlled the battlefield and still had the capability to sweep the minefields.

Everybody seemed to have a good time and I distributed prize packs from Fight's On to the players (thanks to Rob at Fight's On for sending me the prizes).

The Saturday morning Action on Lake Ontario game didn't provide any order of battle options for the players, but the players did have several options in how the set up (which I hope made up for the lack of OOB options). There were 2 British and 4 American players for this game. In this scenario, the American Lake Ontario squadron has been pursuing the largest British ship on the lake, Royal George, for the past two days and is finally catching up with the ship as it is approaching the British harbor at Kingston.

The British players had 3 ships (Royal George - 20 guns, Prince Regent - 12 guns, and Earl of Moria - 14 guns) and 2 small shore batteries. The American squadron had 7 ships: Oneida - 18 guns, Hamilton - 11 guns, Gov Tompkins - 6 guns, Julia - 3 guns, Pert - 3 guns, Growler - 1 gun, and Conquest - 1 gun.

The British had the advantage of bigger ships, while the Americans had more ships and more long guns. Additionally, with only two players, the British had a little easier command and control challenge than the Americans. The American movement was a bit haphazard and there were a couple times I thought they were going to collide with each other.
Royal George watches the American squadron approach
The Americans took some long range shots, but no major damage was done. The British reinforcements (Prince Regent and Earl of Moria) moved out of Kingston harbor and interposed themselves between Royal George and the Americans.
The American squadron faces the British reinforcements
By this time both sides were starting to take damage and several smaller American ships were forced out of line. 

As the British reinforcements passed by (and before they could turn), the Americans made one last drive to catch Royal George. However, at a key moment the Americans lost movement initiative, which caused a minor collision between Oneida and Royal George. No damage was done in the collision, but the ships did foul each other. Initially, both sides were trying to clear the fouled lines, but then the British decided that this was a good opportunity to take out the largest American ship by grappling and boarding it.
Oneida and Royal George grappled together
Before the boarding action, both sides had one last chance to fire their close range carronades into the enemy, adding damage and crew suppression to both ships. During the boarding action, the Americans failed their morale check (the American captain had been wounded by earlier cannon fire) and surrendered.

With their largest ship captured, another sinking, and a third withdrawing due to a failed morale check, the Americans decided to break off the action giving the British control of the lake.

It seemed like everyone had a good time with the rules and we didn't run into any major issues. While the Sail & Steam Navies rules are really for later ships, I think the modifications made them work well for the smaller Age of Sail actions. I had to add rules for carronades, chain shot, make changes to the critical hits, and a few other items, but the movement rules were straight from the rulebook. You wouldn't want to play Trafalgar with these rules (in fact you probably wouldn't want to play games with ships that have more than 30-40 guns), but seem to work pretty well for the smaller action on the Great Lakes and Chesapeake during the War of 1812.

Overall, I had a good time with the Enfilade games and I hope that all the players enjoyed them too.

Enfilade 2012 Recap: Part 1

Enfilade is done for another year. Overall, the convention went very well with good games and attendance. I had a good time with the games I ran and played in. However, it will be nice to kick back and relax for a little while, without having to worry about completing any projects.

As with last year, I’ve split my recap into two posts; one on the general convention and games I played in and a second covering the games I ran. This post will cover the general convention stuff and games I played in.

I arrived at the hotel early on Friday afternoon, checked in, and moved my stuff to my room. The first game periods started at 2:00 PM, but I had gotten into a few conversations with people around the convention hall and missed signing up for any games. Instead, I grabbed a few pictures and reviewed the information for the game I was running on Friday night.

Here are a few shots from around the game room on Friday afternoon.
Force on Force - African Bush Wars
Viking Run raid game.

Regimental Fire and Fury "Battle of Knapton's Spring"
Friday night, Kevin and I were running our Strait of Hormuz game. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to break away from the game to get of pictures of other games. So, you'll have to depend on some of the Enfilade picture posters to get those pictures.

I was running my second game on Saturday morning, but did manage to be a little better about getting pictures. The first game was covered the Spanish Armada with a homebrew set of rules. I've played this one at another convention and the Spanish are pretty hopeless. But the game is quick and the players swap sides, play again, and total up points with the winners being the group that did best for each side. It is a fun little game and the figures came from some Dollar Store glass ornaments.
The Spanish Armada ready for sailing.
The English in pursuit of the Armada
The guys from Monday Knight Productions ran The Battle of Memphis using the Sail & Steam Navy rules. They also were selling copies of the rules and some ship models from Bay Area Yards. It was a nice looking game.
The Confederate Ram Fleet engages the Union ironclads at Memphis
There was also an ancient galley game using the "Man Your Oars" rules
Ramming speed
The other naval game in the period used Axis & Allies War at Sea ships for a pre-WWII action.
Axis & Allies "Battleship Diplomacy" game
There were a lot of other games happening too and I grabbed a few pictures of those, mostly while they were setting up.
A colorful Aztecs vs. Mayans game
The 1813 Battle of Saalheim
An interesting game with cavemen and dinosaurs
A really nice looking inland D-Day game
A game based on the "Fallout" series of computer games
A game based on the Kalvin of Otherwhen books
The Battle of Arras using Two-Page Tank rules
Saturday afternoon, I was playing in Kevin's Chickasaw Bluffs: Smoke on the Water game, using the "Brother Against Brother" ACW rules (modified for 1798). This was a hypothetical attack by the Americans on the Spanish forces (illegally) located on the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. I was on the American side and our goal was to destroy the Spanish guns at the top of the bluff and take their redoubt. We had three groups of regulars and three groups of militia (two of which were armed with long rifles) to do the job.
American forces ready to move up Chickasaw Bluff
We were faced with a couple groups of Spanish regulars in the redoubt, along with some Spanish militia and cavalry as reinforcements. The cavalry turned out to be lancers, which are pretty nasty in this game.
Spanish redoubt and guns on the bluff
The game started out with the Americans slowly (and I mean slowly) moving up the hill to get to the redoubt.This gave the Spanish time to get one group of regulars out of the redoubt to meet us. After exchanging fire, the Spanish decided it was probably better to fall back to the redoubt to face us. This left the guns open and we were able to capture and spike the them.
Americans firing into the redoubt while spiking the Spanish guns
Just as the Americans got the upper hand and were assaulting the redoubt, the Spanish reinforcements arrived. We fell back from the redoubt (after decimating the Spanish regulars) to wait for the lancer's charge.
Spanish lancers hit the American line
Most of my units survived the lancer attack, taking down quite a few and forcing them back. The long rifles were able to pick off the final lancers at long range. This left the Spanish militia as the only remaining Spanish units. We offered them terms and they accepted, even though the had moved into the redoubt. Basically, we told them we were going to use the long rifles to pick off their men (staying out of the range of their muskets) until the remaining militia troops were few enough to assault and they decided that would probably work, since there was no time limit for the game.
Americans (finally) take the redoubt
I did manage to sneak away to get some photos of other games, including the General Quarters III Empress Augusta Bay game being run by Gregory Kuntz from Old Dominion Gameworks. In this game the Japanese were able to break through the American screening cruisers and attack the transports.
American and Japanese battlelines face off
There was also a really great looking "Boilers and Breach-loaders" game going on. It pitted an ad-hoc group of Germans and British against the junks of a Chinese warlord. I didn't get a battle report, but it looked great.
The Chinese fortress and junks
German and British ships
Another view of some of the German and British ships with a friendly Imperial War Junk
Here are some of the other Saturday afternoon games.
The 1973 Battle of El Al using Cold War Commander
An 'Old West' game using the Desperado rules
Rourke's Drift being set up
A British outpost in the Sudan 1885
German bombers for a Wings of War game
Saturday night didn't have any naval games, but there still some interesting games. Kevin ran the second part of his Chickasaw Bluffs action, when the Americans were taking on the Chickasaw Indians. From what I heard, the Americans did not do as well as they did against the Spanish.
Indians charging the Americans in the creek
Pike and Shotte Battle of Edgehill
There was a big Essling 1809 game using the Black Powder rules that looked great.
Essling 1809: A view from the Austrian left
Essling 1809: Attacking the town
1885 Nile Patrol game
A nice looking Galactic Knights game
Russian force hit "The Gap" in this Cold War Commander game
The view from the Union camp in a Shiloh game
The Turks attack British trenches
Sunday morning we had the annual member meeting (it is always hard to get people up for the game after a long night of gaming and other activities). After the meeting the morning game period started.

I was going to play in the Sail & Steam Navies game, but there were several other players that wanted to get into the game and had not played the rules before; so I just stood by and helped out some of the newer guys with the rules. The game was originally going to be at Charleston, but switched to Mobile Bay. The Union had a river monitor and a bunch of wooden ships (including USS Hartford) to start the game with a double-turret monitor coming in later. The Confederates had two strong and one weak ironclads. The Union ships had a hard time doing much damage to the heavy ironclads, but ended up shooting away the stacks (and paddle boxes) on the Confederate ships, which left them dead in the water and caused them to surrender. This seems to be a common theme in game that involve heavy Confederate ironclads. Here are some pictures from the game.
Confederate ironclads (top to bottom) Baltic, Tennessee II, and Nashville
USS Hartford (top) and Osage (bottom)
The Union wooden gunboats move toward the Nashville
Tennessee II rams the Osage, sinking the smaller river monitor
I grabbed a few pictures of the other Sunday morning games. Including a really nice looking Khyber Pass game where the British were trying to rescue hostages from a mountain fortress.
The Khan's mountain fortress from the Khyber Pass game
The British preparing to advance on the fortress
A Check Your Six Jets game recreating the final battle from the movie "Top Gun"
The traditional Sunday morning bar fight at the Luminous Toad Inn
Getting the beer through in the "Thunder Run" game using the "Charlie Don't Surf" rules
That's all of the pictures I took of other people's games. As you can see it was another good year. I am always impressed by the work people put into their Enfilade games.