Monday, May 30, 2016

Enfilade 2016 Recap Part 2 - My Games

We ran two game for Enfilade 2016, both based on the Channel Dash (AKA Operation Cerberus) where the German battleships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen sailed from Brest to German ports through the English Channel in February 1942. The first game covered the air attack by British aircraft and the second covered the Royal Navy’s daylight MTB/MGB attack.

Note, you can see more pictures from the other events at this blog post.

Channel Dash - Air Attack 
Our first game was run on Saturday morning. The game was full, but we added a couple other players to help with all the British planes.
Initial set up for the German capital ships with the aircraft and escorts standing by
Both sides had some minor choices for the game (Germans had to pick their escort ships and set Flak orders, while the British had to try to coordinate their aircraft entry). The British had Swordfish torpedo planes, Beaufort bombers (two armed with torpedoes), some Whirlwinds armed with light bombs, and some Spitfire Vs as escort. The Germans had a mix of Me-109s and FW-190s. Things started out a little slowly as everyone picked up the rules and tried to get moving.
British planes approaching with the Germans intercepting and flak starting to appear
Due to navigation issues, the British force ended up split into 3 different groups. The northern group had a pair of Swordfish and the Whirlwinds.The center group had two Swordfish, four Beauforts, and six Spitfires (although all the planes did not enter at the same time). The southern group had a pair of Swordfish and a pair of Beauforts. The Germans initially concentrated on the northern two groups (the ones closest to the battleships). But German reinforcements were able to join the battle after the start and go after the southern group.

German fighters and flak took their toll, while the Whirlwinds tried to use their light bombs to suppressed the Flak. Two Swordfish and a Beaufort were able to get into position to launch the torpedoes and a couple other Beauforts were able to drop their bombs.
Swordfish making their way through the flak (these planes ended having to jettison their torpedoes before getting into position to attack)
Beauforts making their way through the flak
A Swordfish launches a torpedo at Scharnhorst
German fighters trying to catch the southern attack group
Beauforts dropping their bombs
Torpedoes launched and a hit on Prinz Eugen
As the battle ended, we added up the hits to the German capital ships. Gneisenau was hit by heavy bombs from the Beaufort bombers, which would keep her in the yards for a few months but didn't slow her down. The torpedo launched at Scharnhorst missed, but the battleship took some minor damage from light bombs from the Whirlwinds. However, the trailing Prinz Eugen was hit by a torpedo from a Swordfish. It was not enough damage to sink the cruiser, but it would keep her out of action for a long time.

Overall I was pretty happy with how this game turned out.Things did start a little slow, but they picked up and I think just about everyone had a good time with the game. It looked pretty nice with all the planes and ships on the board.

Channel Dash - Surface Attack
Next up was the daylight attack by the British MTBs and MGBs. In this game both sides had several options for their forces. The Germans could select their escorts (with the option of taking some fighter) and the British had choices about which ships to take, with the option of getting an old destroyer. This was going to be a tough game for the British and I tried to impress on them that it would be an uphill battle for them, however I didn't expect it to be quite as bad as it turned out to be.

Both sides took a couple fighters for air cover. The Germans took a destroyer, torpedo boat, and pair of S-boats. The British took five MTBs as their main force. The German battleships were planned to enter the board after a few turns, so the German players (who had to set up first) formed a line all along the board to try to cover all the British approaches. The British decided to enter as close to the entry point for the battleships as possible (after the game I realized I should have emphasized that the battleships moved faster than most of the MTBs).
British MTBs moving toward the battleship entry point
The entry point selected by the British put them into contact with the German S-boats, while the destroyer and torpedo boat turned back to help support from a distance.
S-boats (right) turn to bring their guns to bear while the German destroyer takes long-range shots
Without any MTB guns that could reach the German S-boats, the British sent their fighters to strafe the Germans. But the Germans countered with their own fighters.
One Spitfire dives in on the S-boats while the other tries to keep the German fighters away
As soon as the shooting started, I knew things were not going to turn out well for the British. The German destroyer got multiple hits with its 5 inch guns, easily sinking one MTB. The S-boats used their 20mm and 40mm guns to cause heavy damage to two more. The British Spitfires couldn't get any hits, while the Me-109s damaged both Spitfires and forced one to abort.

The next few turns the British did a little better. They shot down one Me-109 and got closer to where the battleships would enter. But the hot German dice continued; three more MTBs were sunk and the remaining boat was damaged.
The S-boats run interference while the German fighters keep the Spitfire busy as the Scharnhorst passes by.
At this point I decided to give the British the optional destroyer that could have been selected at the start of the game (I probably should have allowed them to have it at the start of the game). The last MTB couldn't get into a good position to fire its torpedoes and ended up being sunk by combined fire from the S-boats and fighter.
The British MTB surrounded and in trouble
The British destroyer was able to damage the German destroyer and tried to get into position to fire torpedoes at the oncoming battleship. But a rudder special hit spoiled the torpedo run, forcing the British destroyer to take a desperation launch at the battleship.
British torpedoes moving toward the German ships
One torpedo spread caught the German destroyer (which was trying to run interference for the torpedoes) in the stern causing heavy damage. But the battleships were able to escape without any damage.

At this point we ended the game, but it didn't feel like the British players had much fun with it. I went with historic forces, but knowing how weak the British boats are, I probably should have beefed up the British forces by letting them keep their MGBs (instead of swapping them for the fighters) and giving them the destroyer from the start.

I think the air attack game turned out pretty close to as expected and the players had a good time. The MTB attack did not go very well and I will have to re-evaluate the forces if I pull it out again in the future.

Enfilade 2016 Recap Part 1 - Other People's Games

Another successful Enfilade wrapped up on Sunday. Enfilade 2016 was another well run and attended convention. Reports said that there were a record number of games presented and attendance was close to a record. I saw new younger faces this year, which is a good sign for future conventions. The hotel was finishing up some remodeling this year and the complaints/comments I heard were primarily over issues with that. Overall I would say it was another good year for Enfilade and the staff should be congratulated on great convention.

The theme for 2016 was Against All Odds and there were a good number of games that focused on the theme.

As per my usual Enfilade recap, I’m doing two Enfilade posts; one on the general convention and other people's games and a second covering the games I ran. This post will cover the general convention stuff and games I played in. Note this is a long post with lots of photos.

Friday Games
It seems like people are taking Friday off and showing up earlier to Enfilade. The Friday afternoon was busy and had lots of gamers. I helped out with the Thunderboats game in the afternoon and in the evening played in a Russo-Japanese War naval game. Here are some photos from the first two gaming periods.
A Bridge too Short (big Chain of Command game)
Big Fleets, Small Galaxy
Boudica vs. Romans
First Battle of St. Albans
Irish vs. Constabulary
P-38s and B-25s up against Ju-52 and escorts (CY6! game)
Plan Alpha (Command at Sea) - this was originally being done double-blind, but the blind was removed when I took the photo.
Star Wars Armada
Thunderboats! with a boat on fire
The annual Viking Run raid game
Alligator Creek Bolt Action game using 15mm troops
Kaibokan - Japanese convoy game
Khalkyn Gol - Japanese vs. Russians
Cold War gone hot - Soviets advancing into West Germany
Pancho Villa vs Federales
Prehistoric hunting game
Sharpe Practice in Spain
Thunderboats! pickle-fork hydroplane racers
The Sword and the Flame on the Nile
Attack on Port Arthur pre-Dreadnought battle
My protected cruiser (but not very protected) squadron from the Port Arthur game

Saturday Morning and Afternoon
Saturday morning I was running the Channel Dash – Air Attack game and the afternoon was the Channel Dash – MTB Attack game (which you can read about in this post). I only got a handful of photos from these game periods.
Break the Blockade - ACW naval game
For Parliament or King English Civil War
Games for Kids - Fetterman Massacre
Gaugamela 331 BC
Killing Custer - Cavalry vs. Indians
Lutzen 1632
Battle of Trafalgar using Sails of Glory
Battle of Alesia 52 BC

Saturday Evening
After finishing up my Channel Dash games, my voice was starting to go. So I sat out the evening game period, but helped judge events and got some game photos.
All Quiet on the Martian Front
AWI game using the Sharpe Practice rules
Battle of Borodino
Battle of Hoth using X-Wing Fighter rules
Battlecruisers at Jutland
Doctor Evil's Lair using Black Ops rules
Dragon Rampant
Galactic Knights using Starguard ships
Gutshot western gunfight game
Carrier attack in the Med - 1973 using the Harpoon rules
Martian airship boarding actions
Pride, Zombies & Dr. Who (note the Tardis in the left board edge)
World War 1 gas attack

Sunday Morning
The game I was going to play in on Sunday morning was cancelled, so I spent the morning watching and helping out with the Ironclads attack on Fort Pickens game.
Russians vs. Boxers in Manchuria
Battle of Britain airfield attack (CY6!)
A Frostgrave game
Ironclads - attack on Pensacola
Ironclads - Union monitors take on Confederate ironclads
Viking Raid using Lion Rampant rules
Medieval siege game
Pulp Alley Lost Island game
Greek triremes on a quest
Wings of War night bombing raid over England

That is all the pictures for this year. Enfilade 2016 was a really good convention with lots of interesting and visually appealing games.