Thursday, June 27, 2013

Random Events for Charlie Don’t Surf


Yeah, I think that counts as a "Random Event"!
As I mention in previous blog entries that I created several decks of cards for Charlie Don’t Surf through ArtsCow.  In one of my decks, (Deck 4) I added several Random Event cards.  They are unofficial, so don’t think that you have to use them.  I created them to add another level of friction based on my personal experiences on field exercises or personal accounts that I had told to me or read by veterans. 


In one of my decks is a card that is called “Random Event”.  That card is shuffled in the regular deck.  When the “Random Event” is pulled, then roll 1d6 or 2d6 depending on how random you want things to be.  Personally, I will roll a 1d6 for night actions and 2d6 for day actions as it is always more chaotic at night.  Regardless, on a roll of one or two ones, something happens and then you draw from the deck of random events that are listed below.  You can tailor your random events to include some or none of the below.  Or maybe add / delete some as the game continues; for example a platoon that having a real hard time crossing a river might mean that the “Relieved of Command” card will be added to the deck.  On the same lines, if the “Relieved of Command” card comes up, instead of it being a random Big Man, the umpire might say that the off board high command decided that the platoon leader that can’t get his men to cross the river will automatically be the one that will be relieved of command.  Since these are not official, tailor them to your scenario.



So let’s go through each of the cards here in no specific order and explain how I will use them to affect the game!



Accidental Discharge:  Someone accidentally discharged their weapon.  Maybe they saw something or someone was just being a ‘Gomer Pyle’, but they gave away your position.  A random hidden unit is now on a blind or a blind is now placed out.



Fragging Attempt:  Instead of rolling a fragmentation grenade into the officers’ latrine, someone decides that he will to try to kill the unpopular man in the field. Roll for the effect of one hit on a random Big Man. If it is 1970 or later, roll for two hits if the Big Man is with the US armed forces.



Friendly Fire:  Due to confusion, poor visibility, or someone didn’t communicate where they were, one squad/team that has not used its action dice will engage another friendly unit.



Minor Accident:  Someone got careless and did something wrong causing minor injuries to some of the other squad/team members.  Roll a D3 for shock to squad/team.



Major Accident:  Someone really screwed up!  The mortar man failed to noticed that the last mortar round did not launch before dropping another round down the tube causing it to explode.  Roll a D6 for the number of hits and then for the affects. Also, if a six is rolled, any weapon or vehicle with the unit is also knocked out.



Booby Trap:  Some old forgotten booby trap detonates on the last squad/team that moved.  It affects either side.



Weather Change:  The effects are pretty much what it says.  In the latest TFL Seasonal Special (Summer 2013) there is a better article on the weather in Vietnam.  I created this random event card before that.



Wind Change:  The smoke from the grenade quit moving and started to go straight up as the wind came to a stop.  The wind either shifts in a different direction, stops, or even increases in speed. 



Visibility Change:  The overcast started to break up and the full moon started to increase the area that the listening post could see.  This could be the light level increasing/decreasing due to weather.  It could also be, if it is raining, showing the rain is letting up or getting worst.



Improved Spotting:  The sun just glinted off the enemy’s rifle barrel just right so the point man was able to spot them.  One spotting attempt gets a +1.



Poor Vision:  Thankfully the shadows were just right that the enemy’s point man was not able to see our hidden machine gun bunker.  One spotting attempt gets a -1.



Squad Lost (No movement):  “Hang on, let’s look at that map again.”  The squad cannot move this turn, but can do other actions.



Squad Lost (Wrong Area): “Damnmit!  We are wrong side of the rice paddy.”  The next squad/team that moves in cover is moved by the opposing player until they come to open terrain.



Squad Lost (Scattered):  “Where in the hell are we?”  The next squad/team that moves in cover rolls a scatter dice and moves the full distance or until they come to the open terrain. 



Lucky Break on Intel:  “Looks like a map which their positions drawn on it!”  One random hidden unit is now placed on a blind or if everything is on blinds, one dummy blind is removed.



Blood Trail:  A blood trail is found and leads off in a trail.  If the VC uses a “Di Di Mau” card to create two blinds, the US discovers which the real blind is and which the phony blind is.  The phony blind is removed.



Sleeping on Duty:  “Zzzz…” Only effects games at night where combat has not started yet.  A random defending platoon/blind cannot do any movement or spotting for the rest of the game until combat breaks out.



US Armor Cavalry Mad Minute:  At their night defensive position, the troop commander received orders to conduct a Mad Minute right now.  A Mad Minute was a tactic in which every gun in the night defensive position would open fire for a period of time at a random set time into the surrounding cover to discourage the VC/PAVN in attempting to assault them at night.  This event would only apply to a game where the VC/PAVN is doing a night attack, has not been spotted (blinds do not count towards being spotted) and no combat has been started. Also, all of the defending units are now placed on the board and are no longer considered to be under a blind for the rest of the game.



Harassment Fire Mission: Random artillery shells start falling in the general area to harass enemy movement towards a friendly defensive position.  This only occurs in night games where VC/NVA has not been spotted, the allies are in a defensive position, and no combat has been started.



“Hurry Up”:  “Double time!  Move! Move!” The next moving squad/time gets one free action die for movement only.



Radio Interference:  “Sir, I can’t get 1st Platoon!”  This turn no communication between friendly players can be done unless they are in command range to the other Big Man and no air/indirect fire can be called in or corrected.



Mission Change:  “Six actual, I want you now to go ahead cease your attack on the village and now assault the bunker complex.”  Higher ups decided to change your mission in the middle of it.  The military victory objectives are now different.



Counter Orders from Higher Up: “Six actual, I am counter commanding your request for artillery.”  A higher level officer decides that you really don’t need the type of support that you requested and cancels it.  Try again later.  (This is especially true if you were with the US 1st Infantry Division in late 1967)



“Up From the Ranks!”  PFC Johnson tightened his grip on his M16 and looking over the leaderless 1st squad, and then yelled, “Follow me!  Let’s go!”  A squad that is not under command now has a Status I Big Man that is permanently attached to that squad for the rest of the game.



Relieved of Command:  “If you can’t get your men across that river, I will find someone that can!”  Remove one random Big Man and replace him with a new NCO Big Man, except for the CO.  If the CO is replaced, one of the Platoon Leaders is now the new CO and a new NCO Big Man becomes that platoon’s leader.  Roll for to determine the new Big Man’s status per the normal rules. 



Random Event A & B:  These are the catch all for something that is not listed above, like artillery priority dropping a level because another company is now even in a bigger firefight and the higher ups decide that they are more important.



I hope that some will find this food for thought for their future gaming experiences.



Look out for Charlie!



Sapper

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Post AAR thoughts about my CDS game


Now that some time has pass since my CDS game and I am not the foul mood I was in that weekend due to all of the various things that went wrong then, I have had time to reflect on some things that occurred in the game that troubled me and how I want to improve on them…besides my lack of combat packing everything to go to a con or a shop. 

First thing was that I finalized a sheet that tracks your hits, shock, action dice, Big Men status, command radius, and general notes for each company.  I actually created it a long time ago and was planning to have them available at the game, but I left them out of town.  I am pretty happy with what I created, but I want to add some more things to it on the backs, sort of a cheat sheet of what you can do with your Big Men and squad’s action dice.  I finished one for each of the different infantry companies, except the US Army mechanized infantry and the USMC, but will eventually later.  Once I finish them, I will see if I can post them to blog or maybe create a Dropbox or something similar for anyone who wants a copy can get one, plus I will add on the outline of how to do a US Army’s operation order (OPORD) for anyone inclined to add that level of realism to their games.  What I will do with the company status sheets is to laminate them and give out wet wipe markers or grease pencils to the various company commanders in a game so they can keep track of their status. 

The second thing was that I was allowing the US players as well as the VC to bunch up and get a full fire effect for squad fire (if you look at my pictures from the blog entry, you will see one stand in front of another).  After thinking about the ground scale, I will not allow that any more.  If the squad is not in a line, then they will only get half the effect for firing (i.e., if you use three action dice to fire, you still roll for the number of chances, but you half that number).  However, I will allow for players to place one infantry stand slightly on top of another infantry stand to show that the player decided to ignore the suggested 3-5 m spacing between men and cram them in like cattle into a small spot so he can get full effect on firing.  Of course, this means that any fire they take will increase one column better for being hit.

This also got me thinking about squads in Indian Files firing forward.  I think only allowing one die max for firing.  The SOP for contact in an Indian File was for the point man to unload his full magazine at the target while the rest of the squad dropped to cover and start moving to form a line or withdraw. 

The third thing is that I allowed the squads to spot and engage in a 360 with full effect.  Well, I am not going to allow that again.  Basically, in the real world you can only view things in front of you and off the sides.  Yes, you can turn around, but only so many men in a squad/section can change their facing to face a new threat without a major repositioning of the squad.  So in the future, a squad can only fire to their front 120 degrees (30 degrees off of their left and right). But I also want to encourage standard tactics for forming a 360 with a squad / platoon for a defensive position.  Because of the way the figures are mounted, you can’t make a circle.  So, if it is a squad, the two bases are placed back to back facing outward and they get 1/3rd (360/120 = 3) of their fire in any direction.  Plus they can spot all around and not be outflanked in melee while in a defensive circle.  Only support weapons would need to be specifically placed for its arcs of coverage.

Anyways, that is sort of what I think that I will add/change for infantry combat in the next game.  We did not do artillery in the last game.  The US players had it available, but never got to use it.  So, I need to play around with that in a game some time.  Eventually I will be doing the second game and I am looking at adding in the vehicle rules next with maybe a M48 or some M113’s.   I might look at also adding some of the random events that I created in my ArtsCow playing cards for CDS.  I will be posting sometime later what the cards mean and where you can order a set yourself (I make no profit on them, I made them available for anyone to print them off.)


Until later, remember to watch your step and never use the same path twice, because Charlie owns the night!

Sapper

Monday, June 24, 2013

Too Fat Lardies – Chain of Command



I know a lot of you are wondering how can I be so quite then slam out a bunch of blog entries!  Well, it has been raining a lot at work and when it is raining, I can't do much of anything.  So, I will type a couple of paragraphs when I can and when I get enough done and have free time to get on my computer, I post them. 

Well, I am looking forward to this new game system to be put out by Too Fat Lardies: Chain of Command.  Chain of Command will have a major change from the other TFL games with the loss of using cards for the sequencing of events in a turn.  There is a six part video on YouTube (see the links for them below - I could not get them to imbed on my blog) where Richard Clarke of TFL gives us a very good review of the game mechanics.  Mr. Clarke also has a nice breakdown demo of a game on the official TFL blog that can be seen by clicking on this link or go a find it on my list of blogs that I follow on the right hand side of this screen.  If you look around also on the TFL blog, you will see some more entries on Chain of Command.  There are several other bloggers on my list to the right that have been involved in play testing the rules, but as there are quite a few, I will refrain from listing all of their blogs here.

The ground scale is 1:120, according to one of the videos and from the TFL’s blog, which means it is between 12mm and 15mm (1:144 and 1:100 respectively).  So using either scale will get you every close to having everything in scale.  But I know some will prefer to use 20mm or 28mm (1:72 & 1:50 respectfully) instead.  I guess if you want to be a scale purist/Nazi, just double the range & movement would work as that would make the ground scale 1:60.  Personally, I don’t think it will matter too much to what scale that you use between the four of them. 

Speaking of ground scale, this will work nicely for the theoretical frontage for a WWII platoon for a gaming table.   Since most gaming tables tend to be 6’x4’; that means the table will represent about 220m x 150m area.  In theory, during WWII, the average area that a platoon was expected to cover in defense in Europe was 200-300m and in rare cases up to 500m.  A platoon attack frontage was normally around 100m with some exceptions (British did reduce it down to 50m in some cases in the desert and the Germans increased it up to 200m according to the US War Dept’s documents).  Also according to the US War Dept’s documents, the typical German frontage for tank platoons was to have an interval of 90-110m between tanks. So as you can see, the 6’ edge fits within the theoretical frontage of an infantry platoon on defense (200m) and up to two platoons on a deliberate attack (2x100m).  Both sides can also field a couple of tanks on the board (2x100m) means you can keep to small number of vehicles needed for most games.  Even if you go with my 4’ table (about 150m), you can scale down the defenders’ platoon to a depleted platoon of two full size squads/sections or three squads at 66% strength vs. platoon attacking, plus one tank each if staying to the ratios for theoretical frontages.  Solid!

Now, Chain of Command is for WWII, but at its core it should work for the early Cold War, Post-Colonial Africa, the First & Second Indochina Wars, and even the Falklands.  It might even work for some current conflicts between Second and Third World armies, but not First World.  I am more looking at it for the Falklands and my ‘Anarchy in the UK’ projects for platoon level actions and a couple of vehicles.  Once I get the rules and have time to digest the fire combat rules, I probably can alter it to cover the various weapons up to the 1980’s for my periods.  Only making vehicles stats might be a problem.  But since I am more looking at light tanks or APC’s vs. main battle tanks, I think I can knock them out without too much of a hassle.

So I am eagerly waiting for this game’s release and looking forward to using it to storm the Top Malo house with the Royal Marines or to have the Paras trying to wrinkle out the Liverpool Collective’s rebels on the outskirts of the city.

Be seeing you

Sapper


 

I just went nuts with my $$$ - Or, what am I buying for gaming


Due to various things, I have not been spending any money towards my ‘Anarchy in the UK’ project lately.  I have been slowly been picking up on other things, but no more!  I got my expense pay check back last weekend (my money that I have to use for company things, but they eventually pay me back for using).  Since I finally got to it, (over a grand!), I sort of went on an uncontrolled splurge on stuff my urban ‘AitUK’ terrain board.  One of the main reasons that I decide to keep my 20mm stuff is that it designed with OO scale (AKA 4mm or 1:76) model railroading kits, which is very popular in the UK.  So there is a lot of stuff that is available.  While HO scale is popular here in the US, it is 1:87th scale.  So while some things work with the 20mm, others are too small. 

Anyways, I really went nuts for scenery to do a scrap yard.  I did this for a few reasons.  First, I like the idea of have a nasty looking area that would create an interesting fighting condition.  Secondly, the first scenario in the Geezers, Shut It! rules takes place in a scrap yard.  And finally, in my upcoming zombie / post- apocalypse games they will make great objectives for scrappers to fight over.  So with this in mind, I ordered the following items:  scrap metal super pile (very large with large items), scrap metal bales pile, tires scrap pile, misc. scrap pile, four stacks of flattened cars, a double portacabin office, and three meters of grey wire mesh fencing!  I think that I will have fairly nice looking scrap yard when it is done.

Now for the suburban / residential & commercial area board, I picked up the following:  a telephone box, four Royal Mail Post boxes, twelve dustbins (US: trash cans), a pile of roadside garbage for pickup day, some fruit & vegetable crates, and some piles of mail bags, plus sixteen stack of sacks, that I am going to paint up for garbage bags to give a feeling for that period of time during the ‘Winter of Discontent’ in the UK.  I also picked up a set of 1970’s framed adverts and 41 piece set of sand brown stone wall fencing. 

I also picked up my final pack of Metcalfe tarmac sheets.  What I am doing is gluing four sheets in a 2x2 sheet pattern on 5mm foam board to make an urban terrain base (56cm x 40cm; 22” x 15.75”).  I will need to cut down the board to have it fit in my 33L Really Useful Box that I store my 20mm Metcalfe buildings (interior dimensions: 24” x 14”).  So with two rows of three sheets will get me a board area of 48” x 42” or close to my ideal 4’x4’ area.  Maybe one day I can find a decent roll-up mat that looks like tarmac and don’t have 28mm shell holes or other silly stuff painted on it.  I want it to be just plain Jane so I can move my buildings around and have various road lanes.  I will eventually make some little park / green templates to place on it too.

Next I picked up some odds and ends, like 20 cheap OO scale cars (modern, but I am not going to worry over that too much), a moonshine still (OK, I had to get one!).  I also picked up a pack of 100 miniature tiny bricks, a pack of larger miniature bricks (250 pieces), and a pack of dark red brick modeling dust.   I plan to make some brick piles for pre-located riot weapons or representing damage markers for damage on buildings.  I went ahead and order both sizes of bricks to see what works better.  The tiny ones measure 3.13mm x 1.45mm x 0.93mm in size or to scaled brick of 23.8cm (9.37“) x 11cm (4.3“) x 7cm (2.75“).  The average US red brick is about 8” × 4” × 2.25” and in the UK, they are about 21.5cm × 10.25cm × 6.5cm. So they are a little bit on the big side and really close enough for a scale purist/Nazi.  The large bricks measure 2.19mm x 4.69mm x 1.4mm, so don’t scale out to my 20mm, but they do scale out towards 28mm figures…hmmm…I think my Dead Rabbits now have piles of Irish confetti for the Crushers.  B’hoys!

Finally, I picked up a couple of vehicles that are also 1:72 or 20mm.  Considering the time frame of my ‘AitUK’ project, I couldn’t pass them up.  Let’s just say that one is a yellow gyrocopter and the other is a silver Aston Martin DB5…cue ‘Spies in the Night’
 

Good Evening, Miss Moneypenny

Sapper