Friday, 19 June 2020

Bug Hunt II

Another Trial....

This time things went seriously awry in the Bug Hunt (I played with a few mechanisms re. encounters). 


Angry hostiles: The path is blocked by a group of locals to the number on the card.

The professor may chose to ignore these and force passage. Throw a dice:

1-2 he turns around and goes back the way he came.
3-4 he stands and argues for 1 move, then tests again.
5-6 he pushes past the locals. These angry locals will then follow the party at a distance of 3" for three moves.

If the professor pushes through the locals then any next two cards required by the Event Test will automatically be from the Spades pack.

 As soon as the number of locals exceeds that of the party throw a 1x6d per move. On a throw of 4-6 they attack (unless an "Attack card" has already been drawn in the meantime).

Hassan (the player) can try to prevent the professor alienating the locals by persuading him not to be an ass (taking 1 from the professor's dice throw). The player declares this BEFORE the professor throws - and he can only do that three times per game.

On the game today the party come face to face with h some diminutive Forest Dwellers... The Prof. wasn't going to be stopped by a couple of titchy locals, so pushed his way through....



Unfortunately the party was unlucky re. the cards. MORE locals turned up...Then an "Attack" card.
Sudden morale checks led to initial confusion among the Bug Hunters. 






There was an exchange of fire.




Surrounded, the group were in trouble. Despite shots from the Party the locals retaliated with darts and arrows. One of the constables, the Major and the Colonel went down - the Major being only wounded and pulled to safety out of the forest by Hassan and one of the constables; the party scattering down different jungle paths...



The Professor and one constable managed to outrun their pursuers and get to the camp (it was decided that the forest folk don't leave the forest to go into the spooky ruins) - but only long legs and luck prevented a general massacre....  




A fun, fast-moving exercise this one.. 


I'm still playing with rules - seeking a way of replicating "Decisions" for "AI players" - and didn't use Activation tokens for the Bug Hunting exercises - just good old IgoUgo..... 


The other year I posted about a card-based "Committee/Council" process I have used from time to time. this worked, and was satisfying; but doesn't really work in a fast-moving game with individual decisions being made.  This time I worked with the old dice-led standby of a (modified) 6D test per man, for the Party and per Group for the locals... Not ideal, but it works well enough. 

Watch this space for more messing about....

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Bug Hunt......


The Quest For The Eagle-Eyed Spotted Blue.....

Corporal Saibu Hassan of the Gold Coast Constabulary has been charged with the kind of job he really, really hates...

The white men he encounters he generally slot into four categories...

1) Those of no consequence, who can be ignored until ordered otherwise...

2) Those whom he grudgingly admires - such as Captain Hamiltini, who is a man's man and a soldier (who, had he not had the misfortune to have been born of the wrong tribe and colour, would have made a fine Captain of any Emir's Guard), Fatha-Mikali, the white priest of the Isisi Country Mission, who speaks many tongues cleverly and who, despite being an infidel and drinker of the forbidden spirits, knows well - and is always happy to discuss - the intricacies of the Holy Quran.... And the enigmatic and rather frightening Commissioner Sanders, "Breaker of Kings"...

3) Those he despises: such as the European criminals who pollute the Territory, and the dirty, drunken and unlearned white soldiers he encounters far too often when his duties take him to the Coast.


4) And finally; those "Touched By God" - such as the clearly mad Lieutenant Bonesi, most of the lonely young men scattered in the Territory as District officers, the other Mission folk of many kinds, with their curious ways and bizarre songs - and the wide variety of lunatics who come into the forests and hills of Sandi's Patch to engage in a range of foolish and utterly baffling errands...


The latest "Wawa" - a Professor Marcus Postcombe, whom the men of the garrison have already nicknamed "Killer of Flies" - is the very worst sort of lunatic in Hassan's book; a genuine mzungu, whose aimless wanderings revolve around the search for, and a desire to capture - and put with his other dead bugs - "A labalaba blue and black; big like man's two hands, with the eye of bird on its wings four times, that live for stones".. Seriously.. You couldn't make this nonsense up....
It is the "Killer-of Flies" and his entourage that Hassan has to steer safely to the City of The Dead in Lulanga territory; the ruins being, in the Professor's opinion, the ideal spot to seek this elusive insect....
Commissioner Sanders has made it clear that Hassan is to keep the Professor and his party safe and prevent him from upsetting local sensibilities. Hassan will have five constables to aid him in this.


Basically this is a Hunting Game... There is the possibility of fighting, but the challenge is to guide the mad professor to his target, then get him home...

Basic rules...

a) Movement and camping.

A camp must be established. The Professor will move randomly until suitable ground is found (throw 6 on 1x6D at end of each move to find a place he deems fit until camp is made. Hassan/player can influence towards safer ground with +1. One policeman must be left to guard the camp.

While hunting the Professor will move randomly 4" + 1x6D until the Target is spotted (dice throw each move for direction. Ground previously covered -1). Hassan/player can influence the professor towards safer ground if he is with him +1. Once target has been seen the professor will follow the target/proceed to last seen location, then move randomly if it does not appear again.

Once spotted the target throws a 1x6D dice each move: 1-3 it stays put unless spooked (see below) 4-6 it moves. It will move 2x6D in a direction using the Movement Spider (AND a 3x6d throw). If the direction chosen is blocked by walls/building above 2" high or heavy bush it will move instead the OPPOSITE direction on the spider. if choices are very limited (e.g. on jungle path) Then just do a simple dice test for direction.


b) Capture of the Labalaba....

If any person approaches the target within 6" throw a 1x6D (all but the Professor modify the dice upwards, adding 1 to the dice throw). On a throw of 5-6 the creature is spooked and moves (randomly) 2x6D.

Any person other than the Professor must be within 1" of the target to attempt a capture. They may capture same on a throw of 5-6, minus 1 from the throw if under fire, minus 1 per wound. On a minus score they accidentally kill the target. 



The Professor may attempt a capture from 2" away. He catches the target on a 1x6D throw of 3-6, minus 2 from the throw if the target is in flight, minus 1 if under fire, minus 1 per wound. Only the professor may attempt a capture in flight (i.e. if it flies/is flying within 2" of him).


Once captured, check the creature;

Professor's capture; (1x6D throw) 2-6: Success!! Tonic Waters all round! Throw of 1: "Dash it!! It's Simpson's False Blue Birdwing... How could I have been so wrong..??! Must be the heat..."

Anyone else's capture; (1x6D throw) 5-6: Success!! Tonic Waters all round! Throw of 1-4: "Good Lord, man.. Nothing like it.."



c) Dangerous Locations.

The Village and Jungle Paths may produce hostile encounters - see the Spade pack. These follow normal "Encounter" protocols. All fighting follows standard rules.



d) Events;

The Standard Deck is a deck of hearts, clubs and diamonds, plus jokers. Throw a 1x6D per move end. Add 1 per 12" from the table edge and per 5 moves expended. On a modified 6 draw a card.

Spades Deck; keep the spades in a separate deck. This is the "Danger" Deck. IF the tester is in the Forest or the Village the tester must throw a 1x6D to see if he draws from the Standard or the Danger Deck: 1-2 Standard. 3-6: Danger.




Possible dangers are wildlife, danger from the ruins, random gun runners, offended locals etc .etc.....

A simple enough set up - taking advantage of the table already mainly set up..

Two goes thus far - with success for the Professor and no serious issues - though Hassan's patience is wearing thin...


The 
Professor, his companions and bearers, plus others who will appear in some soon-to-come adventures kindly donated by Douglas H.  




Thursday, 11 June 2020

Bibbity, Bobbity, Babbage..


My Mister Babbage's Local Variants

Having trawled though my Col. Callwell "Small Wars" (Their Principles and Practice) the last couple of weeks I have come up with the following supplemental conventions for tweaking TMWWBK's Mr. Babbage's methods for:

Bush Wars (fighting in thickly-forested, tropical locations).

Hill Fighting (mainly tussles with the folk of the "Killer of Hindus")

Scuffles with the indigenous folk of wide open spaces of the Sahel, Steppe and Veldt. 

All will need scenario tweaks, but I feel that the following reflect the readings from Col. Callwell well enough... 

a) Battlers in the Bush...





1) We will wait concealed on the friendly sides/flanks of clearings, streams, fords etc. and shoot at close (1-6) to med (5-6) range ONLY. We can always find cover.

2) If no clearings we will wait concealed in close bush and shoot at close range. We can always find cover.

3) We will build and hold stockades across paths at choke points. We will defend with shooters (only) at close range.

4) We will always rush from cover to assault retreating, withdrawing or encumbered enemy.

5) We will shoot at long to short range if on bluffs or other feature out of reach of enemy charges. We can always find cover.

6) We will withdraw before anything indicating that a bayonet charge is imminent, ignoring any Pinned Markers

7) We can withdraw from the battle via any table edge without penalty for doing so. 





8) We will not go into the open if there are enemy cavalry present and in sight.

9) We will push forward and endeavour to flank or get behind enemy at all times whenever cover is to our advantage. Our Hidden shooters (only) can always arrive behind your troops. 

10) We will have evacuated all villages unless forbidden by the scenario.

11) We will withdraw from any enemy on our flank or to our rear, ignoring any Pinned Markers.

12) We will not assault enemy fortifications. We will shoot at the furthest possible range where practicable.

13) If overrunning enemy wounded we will not take prisoners unless they are women and children or seriously awesome Personalities. 

b) Hostiles In The Hills



1) Wherever possible we will seek to take/keep the high ground and keep enemies in med-long range. We can always find cover.

2) We will push forward and endeavour to flank or get behind enemy at all times whenever high ground or cover is to our advantage. Our Hidden shooters (only) can always arrive behind your troops. 

3) If already at a higher level than enemy we will not descend to his level unless he is withdrawing, in retreat or is/has baggage or we are Fanatic counter-attacking.

4) Unless Fanatic we will not voluntarily enter or cross open ground in LoS of enemy cavalry if they are in view and within 600 yards of said ground.

5) If shooters being approached by enemy when we are unseen and in cover we will endeavour to hold fire until 
a) enemy is exposed at any range
b) hold fire till med. range
c) Hold fire until close range
d) Hold fire until close range then evacuate

We will ignore any Pinned Marker effects while so withdrawing. Test on each occasion to decide what we do.

We will NOT engage in a close range firefight with an enemy with magazine rifles, but slip away to medium range, ignoring Pinning.  

6) On the approach of enemy to a village, fort or compound we will either;

a) Have evacuated it totally. If relevant to scenario booby traps can be left.
b) Have left women and children in situ and will not contest it. If relevant to scenario booby traps can be left.
c) Will have left women, children and livestock in situ and will not contest it. No booby traps will be left in any location where livestock is present UNLESS commander is Fanatical.
d) Will have left only shooters in place. 
e) Will have left warriors of any type in place. 




If I am the Active Player this is my decision - unless I am playing a non-local operating in the tribal area, in which case this will be decided for me by the local people. Otherwise this decision is decided by dice throw based on scenario specifics.

7) If enemy withdraws from a village, fort compound or significant sangar/sangar cluster we will attempt to reoccupy it so long as doing so does not expose us to medium range fire or worse from higher level or danger of flanking.

8) If we become aware of visible enemy on higher ground or behind or flanking us within med. range or less we will withdraw to prevent being put at disadvantage, even if this potentially exposes us to fire. We will ignore any Pinned Marker effects while so withdrawing.



9) Unless Fanatic or in fortification we are reluctant to stand to meet a bayonet charge and will withdraw at speed to avoid contact. We will not stand if we have any Shock. We will ignore any Pinned Marker effects while so withdrawing.

10) We will potentially withdraw in the face of any continuous artillery fire (+3 moves of continuous fire throw 1x6D, adding 1 to the throw for each additional move. I withdraw on a modified throw of 5+) at any range and no matter what the effect.

11) We will never attack an enemy on a higher level than ourselves.

12) If withdrawing we will always attempt to leave the table via designated "Lines of Retreat" decided before the battle starts even if this means taking a long way round to avoid any of the above.

13) We will shoot at enemy fortifications at med-long range only and only if we have the advantage of height. We will only close assault them if 1) there is a viable breach/open gate, or we outnumber the enemy by more than four to one or there is a gap between defending units of 6 inches or more. Our shooters (only) can always find cover.

13) We will only normally take important Personalities prisoner. However, the presence of a Named Friendly Commander may mitigate this; extending it to minor personalities and women and children. If overrunning other enemy wounded we will slaughter them all (rather horribly; enemy units who "see their dead" by crossing the ground involved will add or detract from their morale, depending on scenario-led background/experience). 

14) When in doubt go higher, or swiftly or silently vanish away...

b) Savages on Steppe and Sahel (aka Killers on the Kwedlelo) 



1) Wherever possible we will seek to take/keep the high ground and keep enemies in med-long range with our shooters.

2) We will push forward and endeavour to flank or get behind enemy at all times whenever terrain, high ground or cover is to our advantage. If there is any chance of sweeping round the enemy flank without being seen or without being under fire we will take it.

3) If already at a higher level than enemy we will not descend to his level unless we are Fanatic counter-attacking or if he is withdrawing, in retreat or is/has baggage. In the latter three cases, if we are cavalry or fast close combat infantry we will always attack.  

4) If the enemy is scattered, in open order, withdrawing, in retreat or is/has baggage on the same level as us we will always charge to contact.  

5) If shooters being approached by enemy when we are unseen and in cover we will endeavour to hold fire until 

a) Enemy is exposed at any range
b) Hold fire till med. Range
c) Hold fire until close range
d) Hold fire until close range then evacuate

Dice for which.

6) On the approach of enemy to a village, fort, city or compound we will either;

a) Have evacuated it totally. 
b) Have left women and children in situ and will not contest it. 
c) Will have left only shooters in place. 
d Will have left warriors of any type in place. 

If I am the Active Player this is my decision - unless I am playing a non-local operating in the tribal area, in which case this will be decided for me by the local people. Otherwise this decision is decided by dice throw based on scenario specifics.





7) If enemy withdraws from a village, fort compound or significant sangar/sangar cluster we will attempt to reoccupy it so long as doing so does not expose us to med. fire or worse from higher level or danger of flanking.

8) If we become aware of visible enemy on higher ground behind or flanking us within med. range or less we will withdraw to prevent being put at disadvantage, even if this potentially exposes us to fire. We will ignore any Pinned Marker effects while so withdrawing.

9) We will attempt to counter attack any charge on us.

10) We will potentially withdraw in the face of any continuous artillery fire (+3 moves of continuous fire throw 1x6D, adding 1 to the throw for each additional move. I withdraw on a modified throw of 5+) at any range and no matter what the effect.

12) We will assault enemy fortifications.

13) If overrunning enemy wounded we will slaughter all men. We will take as prisoners women and children. We will also take important Personalities prisoner, but only if a Named Friendly Commander is present with the overrunning unit and makes a successful Command Throw at the time. 

14) Our Hidden shooters and Close Combat Troops can always arrive behind your troops. 

15) Our horse want your baggage. Seriously; they REALLY want your baggage. Any opportunity for cavalry (if we have any) to sweep into a weakly defended camp will be taken - even at the potential loss of a battle or target. It will gain double the value of any target/s lost.




d) General European Villains, Smugglers and Ne'er Do wells...



1) We prefer to shoot from cover at short range and avoid melee. We will only shoot at longer ranges when a Target of Significance presents itself. 

2) We will always try to steal away from the table to avoid combat unless outnumbering known enemy by three to one..

3) We will only engage in aggressive close combat action when

a) We have the element of surprise.

b) The enemy have something of great worth or have taken a Target.

c) We are trapped and have no alternative but surrender or being killed/captured (subject to testing). 

4) We will pretend to surrender to civilised forces when no alternative appears present. Then cheat/attempt escape at first opportunity.

5) We will never aid other European groups under attack by locals or lost UNLESS they have something of great worth.

6) We will only take prisoners of value. All other wounded are left. 

7) We will only enter enemy fortifications secretly unless we outnumber them by more than six to one. 

8) Our Hidden shooters (only) can always arrive behind your troops.

9) We will retreat rather than lose our loot.




As always, any comments or thoughts welcome...

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Cards and Fun

A game, and some thoughts..

More painting proceeding (posts re that later), some thoughts re. tweaking Mr. Babbage (ditto) - but first, an experimental battle....

Messin' in The Ruins...

The Eyes and Ears of Sandi have brought to the attention of the Authorities  rumours that the Right Hon. Wallace Morg-Rhys, entrepreneur, demon of the Lagos Stock Exchange and, it is whispered, slave trader By Appointment to the Emirs of the Gulf (aka "Posh Wally"), has slipped over the border from The German Territories with an unauthorised expedition, armed to the teeth, into the lands of the Lulanga......
Rather than place temptation in the way of the good folk of the Lulanga, once one of the more notorious of the slaver tribes in Sandi's Patch but, officially at least, reformed, Captain Hamilton of the Hausas has been dispatched to the mysterious "City of The Dead", where Morg-Rhys is said to be encamped, in order to intercept the errant Right Hon. and invite him, in no uncertain terms, to Headquarters, so that he might explain his actions to Commissioner Sanders face to face..


A platoon of Hausa Police and two Maxims to accompany this little visit...

The plan is simple:
A pre-dawn approach from the south. Maxim One to move furtively round the left flank to cover the exit of the old citadel, where Morg-Rhys is thought to be encamped. Maxim Two and one Section to do the same on the right flank.
A single Section will hold on the south east to cover two sides of the citadel.


 

Hamilton will hold with two Sections for five moves in the buildings at the jumping-off point until he believes that his covering units are in position. He will then move forward and attempt to call out the Right Hon.

There is to be no shooting unless attacked. The element of surprise is paramount. 

Once all the police are in place Morg-Rhys will hopefully see the hopelessness of the situation and agree to discuss this "Misunderstanding" without the need for violence...


Oh, did we tell Hamilton that there is a small Lulanga settlement in the north east corner of the ruins...?

Using my usual "Hidden Enemy" card trick (each unit tests, with modifiers, at the end of each move to see if anything is spotted/they are shot at) the guys move off. Move two Maxim One has to draw a card - but it was a false alarm (Hearts - blinds or blanks... Phew)... The rest of the lads sneak through the ruins without incident until....


 







Ooops: on Hamilton's right there is a call for a card draw - two Lulanga shooters (Spades).... Oh dear....

The ranging throw gives a Nine. Plenty of cover, so no problems finding a place for the shooters...





















No casualties, but the silence of the morning has been shattered..... The Hausa elect to return fire.. Oh great.... The group in the citadel get a rude awakening...

They're not the only ones... A whole bunch of lads wake up in the village and come to investigate (card-driven)... 

They charge the Hausa...


 





With shots shattering the morning Hamilton realises he needs to act swiftly. Luckily the dice are with him - and he hurries his reserve towards Maxim One, which is now in position covering the citadel entrance....





In the citadel Morg-Rhys is unsure what to do - and his men stand idle and he hesitates... THIS is good - he has some 10 rifles at least.. Suddenly another turn of the card and.....

Six more Lulanga shooters spring up - and start loosing at Maxim One...




Hamilton rushes his reserve over to support, and the combined firepower sees the Lulanga off...



Meanwhile, over on the right there is some sharp hand-to hand fighting as the villagers charge home. There is no love lost between these two former slaver peoples (nobody like competition) and the fight is swift but fierce, leaving only three Hausa and the Lulanga chief fit to stand....

















Meanwhile, Hamilton calls out to Morg-Rhys... After all, the police are only there to "protect" him from the naughty locals -  and to clear up any unfortunate "misunderstanding" over border controls..... 










Morg-Rhys loses his bottle, accepts this as a way out, and brings his party down from the citadel - and so to Headquarters; and an awkward conversation with Commissioner Sanders.....





That was a fun little game using SP style tokens for the Leadership draw and a normal playing card deck using three suits with values allocated. 



More posting re. thoughts and painting shortly. As always thoughts and critiques welcome... 





Oh dear....

 No Real excuses... Only.... 1) It's been too hot to think about playing, up in the attic.... 2) I was reading  Pratchett's   "...