face to face game design, war, politics, history & science fiction gaming from two player to megagames!
CLWG June 2010 Meeting
What you missed at Sunday’s CLWGÂ June 2010 meeting (unless you were one of those present) were some good conversations and two games:
Come One, Come Eorl – another megagame tryout from Andy Hadley; and
D-Day beach landing – an improvised game by Jim Wallman
We started with a chat as Jim, Mukul & I watched some of the Stalingrad episode of World at War which Jim had on DVD on his laptop. This while we cut out some of the cards for playing Come One Come Eorl. Once John Rutherford, Andrew Hadley & Brian Cameron also arrived we started playing.
Come One Come Eorl
This was another tryout of the streamlined rules using the Welsh part of the game. I found that it was relatively easy to pick up, although there was obviously come benefit to be had from having played in a previous version and understanding who all the characters were and what they were after. In all we had a very civilised approach, rapidly came to a relatively amicable settlement of power and lands and then attacked the English. We sent out two colums, with myself in charge of the Northern one and fought in three battles, being victorious in both the ones I was fighting in (not a coincidence I believe).
Overall I had a positive experience and think that this is probably more or less done from a mechanistic point of view. There needs to be a little more work on fleshing out the briefings, but Andrew already knew that as we were working off the previous set with hand-written amendments. The game pieces were good, and the suggestion there was around making each army easeir to identify by using flags stuck onto foamboard counters.
I look forward to playing the megagame.
D-Day Beach Landing
Seeing as it was 6th June we couldn’t have a meeting and not have a session about the Normandy Landings.
Jim had drawn a map of a typical beach sector on a large piece of squared paper. The Germans were pre-positioned and fired at the closest target they could see. There was also some random artillery/mortar fire using a couple of dice and the map grid to determine where it landed.
The attacking forces were two companies of infantry with some supporting assault pioneers and a mortar. Jim had found some generic ‘jenga’ blocks in a local pound shop and used these to produce a series of section level markers. The system was very simple, each section could take up to five hits (being eliminated on the fifth hit), had to roll 1d6 and score more than the number of hits sustained to leave cover, and moved 1d6 squares each turn. When being shot at hits were scored on a 6, or 5 & 6 if in the open.
I started as a company commander, but managed to get killed as I got off the landing craft. I then moved to being the senior platoon commander as the Company 2ic took over command. I then became the Coy 2ic as well as being a Pl Comd. We took about 40% casualties on the beach but managed to get mortars producing smoke to screen the closest bunkers from effective MG fire. The assault pioneers then blew a hole in the wire and I personally assualted a bunker because I couldn’t make any of the troops come with me. This proved decisive and we were then able to move more freely and outflank the central bunker and deal with it.
The other company didn’t fare quite as well as we did, but it also managed, eventually, to get off the beach. What the game had going for it was the relative simplicity of the mechanisms and the realistic level of control (or rather lack thereof) of the troops. Once casualties had been taken it became harder and harder to make troops do what you wanted. Also the plan was what counted, and how troops landed in the wrong place interpretted it. We had a slightly better time than the other company simply because there was less ambiguity on the bit of beach we landed on, so the chance of misinterpretation was lower. Most of uor company ended up in front of the correct breach point, although a couple of sections went right instead of left.
James has a keen interest in military history, backed with experience as a TA reservist and a 17th century re-enactor. He has designed and run several face to face social games and is the editor of MilMud, the journal of the CLWG game design group. He is currently working on a book on the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution.