Monday, 21 January 2013

And they're off...

We've done all the map movement and now its down to the tabletops:

  • Setting out 6 to 8 gaming tables, varying from 12 x 6 up to 24 x 6, 
  • laying out road networks, forests, hills, rivers, settlements, 
  • Unpacking the forces and cross checking what's in the box with the OOBs
  • issuing rule-packs, national doctrine and table briefing notes to the players, delineating front lines

We've played 6 games for the opening stages of the campaign - the games themselves last two real days and cover three days (and two nights) of campaign time, and the situation, when viewed from either HQ, is fluid.

Wargamers in action! - note the rulebooks being studied, heads being scratched, lips pursed... this is tense stuff
Although the games are all separate there are links between them, so a breakthrough on one table does not result in troops heading off into the void but, rather, reappearing (with a little adjudication from the Umpire team) on a game somewhere else in the room.

Thrusting German Panzer Commanders (Gordon and Andy) consider the  route to Bastogne
Here at Houffalize, it seems to be in American hands, though perhaps not for long.  US troops face attack from at least two directions, and are unable to stop the Germans using the road to Bastogne.

American troops in Houffalize face Fallschirmjager and StuGs (entering stage left)

German Panzers (the greyhounds of 116 Panzer) have cleared a path to Bastogne

This demonstrates the links between the tables, the 116 will leave the area of Houffalize and, after a suitable interval, appear on the Bastogne table.  The American defenders will have some idea of its approach, as they've posted OPs on the approach roads, but for the moment the guys there seem quite relaxed - those nearest the camera are commanding the German assault on Bastogne, those furthest away are its defenders.

Fallschirmjager attempt to divert the Americans' attention from approach of 116 Panzer.
Players assume the major command functions, CinC, Army  and Corp Commanders, making key decisions and briefing/ inspiring the other players.  However that's only part of their job, they also get to run troops on the tabletop. In this case, somewhere near Elsenborn.

German CinC (left) takes an active part in the tabletop game too.
Though, as force commander, one is also occasionally invited to consult with the Umpires as the situation updates itself.  This one seems to be going quite well...

German CinC meets an Umpire for a friendly chat about the war plans.

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