Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Enfilade 2017 Recap: Part 2 - My Games

For Enfilade 2017, I was involved in two games. The first game was a Captain’s Edition Harpoon game on Saturday morning and then a Cuban Missile Crisis turns hot game on Sunday morning.

Note, you can see pictures from the other Enfilade 2017 events at this blog post.

Strike North! Captain’s Edition Harpoon 
For a while I’ve been thinking about good ways to cover Cold War era naval battles with US carriers against Soviet surface action groups and air power without bogging down too much and using miniature. I came up with the idea of using Captain’s Edition Harpoon as the basis for the rules and some 1/6000 scale miniatures for the ships. So, I put together an operational level map of the Norwegian Sea (the same area covered by Captain's Edition Harpoon) and went to work on adapting the game.
The GIUK Gap and Norwegian Sea
I added a few ships and aircraft types that weren't in the original game and expanded the number of ships available for each side. I organized the ships into different missions for each side and let the players pick what they wanted to do. NATO chose two US carrier groups and a Royal Navy carrier group with the missions of supporting a reinforcement of Bodo, Norway, blocking any Soviet submarine breakout, and destroying all the major Soviet ships in the area. The Soviets chose a carrier (Admiral Kusnetsov) and two Kirov class battlecruisers. For their missions they decided to bypass Norway, sending an invasion force to Iceland, while also preventing NATO from getting any submarines into the boomer bastion. I used the northwest corner of the map to hold the task forces (since it was out of play due to ice).
Force selections by each side
While each side could see what ships were available, they didn't really know where they were. Each side set up task force markers on the map, with the identity of the ship groups hidden.
NATO Task Force and patrol plane set up
The Soviets move out
The Soviets started off the game with a major air strike, Tu-22M Backfires escorted by SU-27s, on Bodo, Norway. The Norwegians only had a few F-16s and were quickly overwhelmed. The missile strike on the base took out the airfield.
Attack on Bodo
With that, NATO decided they didn't really need to reinforce Bodo and sent their amphibious group to Iceland.

Both sides continued to advance into the Norwegian Sea, with the Soviets getting some early good results as a Tu-142 Bear F Anti-Submarine patrol plane detected and sank an American submarine.
Naval force closing with each other
NATO returned the favor by sinking a Soviet sub with a P-3 Orion from Iceland. Then the Soviets took a risk and flew their patrol planes far south, detecting two NATO anti-submarine task forces (one with the Royal Navy carrier). The detection was followed up by a full regimental air wing attack on the two task forces.
Air Strike Inbound
With only a few Harriers on CAP and no Aegis missile cruisers, the defenses of both task forces couldn't knock down enough missiles. Only one ship from each task force survived (one damage American destroyer and one British frigate).

At this point the Soviets seemed to be feeling pretty good. They had only lost a sub and a few aircraft, while disabling Bodo, sinking an American sub, and sinking a British carrier and escorts.

However, things would start turning around as the American got their carriers into place. Some lucky chit pulls (the order of task force activation was determined by random chit draws) allowed them to detect the main Soviet task forces and launch air attacks on the Soviet battlecruisers. American air power made short work of the battlecruisers and then turned on Admiral Kusnetzov.
Kirov class battlecruiser Kalinin taking hits
With all their major surface units gone, the Soviets made one last attack on the American carriers, launching almost a full regiment of Backfire bombers at the carriers. American CAP and deck-launched interceptors got some of the bombers and missiles, but then it was up to the Aegis cruisers and other ships. The Nimitz battlegroup had some hot die roles and knocked out the last of the missiles before they hit the carrier. But Eisenhower was not so lucky, taking several missile hits. Note that I sort of egged on the Soviets to split their forces to attack both carriers. If they had focused on only one, I'm pretty sure it would have gone down.
Eisenhower on fire
At this point the Soviets decided they weren't going to be able to get their amphibious force to Iceland and threw in the towel. We decided that the Americans had pretty much achieved their victory conditions (although they didn't reinforce Bodo) and were declared the winners.

The game ran pretty smoothly (although I'm sure I messed up a couple rules) and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I'll have to look at doing this again, but maybe in a different or more modern theater. There probably needs to be some ammo limits for the number of long-range missile attacks that aircraft can make during a game, but everything else seemed to go pretty smoothly.

13 Days Goes Hot - Cuban Missile Crisis air game
Sunday morning game Kevin and I ran was an American attack on the Soviet medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) in Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. We used the AirWar C21 rules for the game. The rules are really great for fast-play convention games. Each side was given a number of aircraft from which to choose and the Cuban also had a SA-2 SAM site and some light anti-aircraft guns. The Americans went with a mixed force of A-4 Skyhawks (some armed with bombs and the others with Bullpup missiles), F-8 Crusaders (some armed with Zuni air-to-ground rockets and the others with Sidewinder missiles) and a pair of F-4 Phantoms. The Cubans went with a pair of MiG-19s and four MiG-15 (two flown by good instructor pilots).

A pair of MiG-19s flies over the MRBM base, with the missiles getting ready for launch

Soviet/Cuban SAM site
The Americans enter the board
On the way in, the Bullpup armed Skyhawks took a couple shots at the SAM radar, but were unable to destroy it. The SAM site returned the favor, but missed with its initial shots.
SAMs firing at Skyhawks
The Phantoms tried to engage a pair of MiG-15s, but the slow, low-flying MiGs made tough targets.
Missiles miss MiGs
The Zuni-armed Crusaders zoomed in toward the MRBMs, but couldn't score any hits with their rockets. But they were able to dive low and use their guns to strafe the missiles.
Crusaders on the attack
There was some good dog-fighting action as both sides tried to maneuver into place for good shots. 
Aircraft "Conga Line" as everyone tries to get into position
The SAM managed to shoot down one Skyhawk, but had pretty poor die roles for the rest of the game. The Americans swooped in the the MRBMs, destroying most of the missiles on the ground. The Americans did take pretty heavy casualties though, losing three Skyhawks and a Crusader.
Mass destruction as American Bullpups take out the MRBMs while Sparrow missiles chase a MiG-19
Overall, I thought it was a fun game and it really came down to the end as the Americans had to make some good die rolls with their final weapons to destroy the MRBMs. Both sides had good and bad luck, but I think the players all enjoyed themselves.

Thus ends my Enfilade adventures for another year. Kevin is already working on plans for some games for next year. I'll let you know what he has in mind once we get a chance to talk it over.


  1. Great looking games, Dave. As you may know, I'm more of a land-warfare gamer, particularly at the convention. That said, I'm hoping that someone will be making 1/600th Sengoku era ships/boats soon.

  2. Wonderful games, Dave. Almost made it down for Enfilade this year, but I definitely missed out.