Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Enfilade 2015 Recap: Part 2 - My Games

At Enfilade 2015 I ran two games - Channel Clash, on Saturday afternoon, and The Raid on St Nazaire, on Sunday morning. Both games had a full roster of players and it seemed like everyone enjoyed the games.
Note, you can see more pictures from the other events at this blog post

Channel Clash
This game was a later WWII coastal forces action. The Germans had a pair of S-boats that were returning from a convoy attack and a pair of M40 minesweepers that were on a mine-laying mission. The British had a group of stragglers (a merchant, tug, and HDML) from the convoy that had passed through the area and two groups of Motor Gun Boats - two Fairmile Ds (no torpedoes) and two BPB MGBs. This was my first time using the Action Stations 4.0 rules (I've been using Action Stations for coastal actions since version 1) and I wanted to use the hidden movement and spotting rules as much as possible for this game.

All the ships started out hidden and even the players on the same side weren't sure which markers were friend and which were foe.
Contact markers with a couple rain squalls
All the players moved their contact markers until the felt like they needed to spot (in the 4.0 rules, only ships that are placed on the board can spot and shoot). So slowly the markers came off and the ships appeared and started spotting each other. There was one interesting result where a British MGB sighted the convoy stragglers, revealing them to everyone.
The Fairmile D MGBs reveal themselves to spot the nearby markers
Once the ships started spotting each other, the guns came to life. The game turned into two separate battles, with the Fairmile D MGBs trying to take on the German M40 minesweepers while the other MGBs and convoy stragglers took on the two S-boats.
Illuminated 'Dog' Boats and Minesweepers blasting away

The MGBs attack the S-boats while the convoy stragglers try to get away
The die rolls for the Fairmile D MGBs started out good and they were able to do some damage to one minesweeper. But then their dice went cold and things went from bad too worse. One 'Dog' boat took a large number of hull hits, then lost steering control, and was rammed by a minesweeper (neither ship could avoid it), which sank the MGB.
A 'Dog' boat becomes a ram boat and then a sinking boat
The other Fairmile D also had bad luck as a fire started onboard and both minesweepers concentrated fire on it. The 'Dog' boat eventually succumbed to the fire losing all its hull boxes and sinking. One German minesweeper was able to continue on with its mission, while the other turned for home after losing 1/3 of its total hull boxes.
Fire bad for 'Dog' boats
In the other engagement, the S-boats were able to line up their torpedoes for a shot on the straggling merchant and score a hit that sent it to the bottom.
Torpedoes loose!
The MGBs pursued the S-boats, but could never strike a decisive blow. Both S-boats were battered, but were able to escape.
MGB and S-boat dueling
All the players seemed to have a good time and the game was rated a German victory. The hidden markers rules worked out pretty well and I'm sure I will use them in future games. The Action Stations 4.0 rules played well and I expect to put my 3.0 version into the old rules box. I think I even talked a couple of the players into buying the newer rules off Wargame Vault.

The Raid on St. Nazaire
This was the game that Kevin and I have been working on for some time. We had the idea to do it years ago, and considering the convention theme of "Raids," it seemed like the right time to do it. If you were following my blog, you saw photos of the work in progress and playtest to get the game to this point. Now it was show time.

In our game, the players were all part of the British forces and the game system ran the Germans. A lot of the game system rules were borrowed from the old Avalon Hill Raid on St Nazaire game, so if you've played that some things will seem familiar. I also used Action Stations 4.0 for the ship movement and most of the gunfire.

Once the terrain was set up, we briefed the players on their boats and targets, along with how to land troops and set demolition charges. With the briefing done, we let the players assign ships, confer on the plan, and make any changes as needed.
A view of the Normandie dry dock and the rest of St Nazaire
A different angle on the set up
With plans made or adjusted, the players were ready to start the game. the first step was the run into the landing zones. 
The British Commando force with some MGBs and HMS Campbeltown leading the way
The players held fire as long as they felt the could safely do so, but the Germans weren't fooled for long, as searchlights came on and the 75mm guns on the other side of the river opened fire. The players sped up to avoid the shells and to get to their targets, but the Germans drew first blood early as an escorting Motor Launch (ML) took a direct hit from a 75mm gun (note: I made the players roll for all the attacks on their ships and troops, so they could only blame themselves for the bad luck).
Ml 160 falls out of line, on fire and sinking
Campbeltown and MGB 314 increased speed and headed for the dry dock. MTB 74 was trailing behind, just in case something happened to Campbeltown before it reached the dry dock. The only MLs were trying to make their way to the landing points and battling it out with the German shore guns.
Campbeltown and MGB 314 pass the Old Mole and head for the dry dock
MLs head for the landing zone near the Old Entrance while others line up near the Old Mole
The British had some luck in knocking out a couple German guns near the Old Mole landing zone, but they were still paying a heavy price.

Meanwhile, Campbeltown successfully rammed the south caisson. The troops on board started the delayed action fuses that would blow up the ship, then jumped off and headed for the land targets. Since Campbeltown had made it to the caisson, MTB 74 decided to fire its delayed action fused torpedoes at the Old Entrance locks (you can see the torpedoes running in the photo below).
Campbeltown rams the caisson
Demo and Assault Teams from Campbeltown head for other targets.
At the Old Mole landing zone, the British were able to land troops, but the remaining German gun emplacement was inflicting heavy casualties on the Commandos as they ran up the mole.
Battle at the Old Mole
The remaining MLs continued to fire their 20mm guns at the gun emplacement. It proved to be a tough target, but would eventually be knocked out.
Heavy fighting at the Old Mole
German infantry reinforcements started showing up shortly after the Commandos began landing. The Assault Teams were able to drive off several German groups, but the numbers were starting to turn against the British.

Over the the Old Port Entrance, the teams were just starting to land. As they hit the shore they took heavy casualties from the gun emplacements on the tops of the pumphouse.
Commandos landing at the Old Port Entrance
The Demo Teams from Campbeltown were able to blow up the dry dock pump house and one of the caisson winding stations before the German infantry could set up the defenses that would hold back the Commandos.

Over at the Old Mole, the Commandos were able to advance into the Old Town and make their way to the Power Station to rig it for demolition. As more and more German infantry appeared, it was becoming clear that going any further would be difficult at best.

Time for the game period was running short, so we checked with the British players to see if they were ready to call it a game. We counted up the damage they had done, estimated what more damage they would do and how many troops they could possibly get out. The amount of damage done was pretty historical. However, the British lost a bunch of ships and Commandos and after adding up the victory points, we rated this as an overall loss, which was essentially the historical results.

The players all seemed to enjoy themselves (even ad they were getting shot up) and they had lots of suggestions for making the game easier for the Commandos. I did take notes on several of the suggestions and will probably add them in as options when we pull the game out again.

The convention game judges also seemed to like the game and awarded us with the Best of Period award for Sunday morning and the overall best theme game for the convention.
Best Theme Game Award for the Raid on St. Nazaire
Overall, it was a lot of work to put the game together. But I was really happy to see everyone have such a good time, even when they were getting shot up.


  1. Congrats on the award - great looking game and scenery!

  2. Well-deserved win on Raid theme with that amazing looking game, Dave. Although I left before the Sunday gaming started, the images make it clear how nice the game was. BTW, your Channel game made me recall the scene in "The Eagles Has Landed" - when the FJ's under Michael Caine were doing that penal duty - I had just watched it on DVD the night before the con! :)

  3. Congrats on the award, very well deserved :)