So week 2 rolled round and after a faux pas from me not bring some Taliban figures we kicked off, right from where we left off the previous week.
The Taliban started the game with a few re-enforcements but without two of their RPG’s. This was to have major repercussion later.
When we left the game last week the Brits had 3 men still holding the river, one UGL on the roof of a nearby building, one UGL in stairwell of the same building and one hidden in the rocks next to the river. To say these guys were dug in was a bit of an understatement. They would again weather a full two hours of play without moving.
The new Taliban arrived from the board edge on combat phase 20 and spent their time moving close and entering building to get height advantage. The Brits didn’t activate until phase 16 so the Taliban made good use of their movement phases to get into position, both against the river group and the approaching engines of the off-table vehicles
Phase 16 saw the Brits splash a Taliban on the roof with UGL fire. First blood to the Brits, (second week running). The rest of the fire from the team just helped to keep the T’s head down.
Phase 15 rolled around and all the vehicles activate and arrive on the board. This was the time the game became damnation alley (At least it should of if I had brought the RPG chaps). The first vehicle an unarmed Landrover drove on to the board, straight along the road, the off through a fence into a corn field and its two crew jumped out. This was either the craziest move in the world or something deeply clever (the jury is still out) but it sure made a great distraction.
The next vehicle was the Warrior, this only had crew as it was carry wounded in the back. Now I would have brought that big metal monster on and rock and rolled with the RARDEN cannon but no, Ray stuck to the mission narrative, more power to Ray, and went hell for leather to save his wounded and so began the Warrior’s run. Completely ignoring the road it headed in the straightest line across country to the river crossing. Eating up the first couple of obstacles with ease. While I am sure the wounded weren’t enjoy the cross-country ride it was definitely getting them to MEDEVAC point quicker.
It was at this point a T in a nearby building fires his RPG on snapfire at the huge metallic beast but had a melt down on dice rolls and missed, however he didn’t miss that much and the Warrior took a morale marker.
The final vehicle the WMIK ran the gauntlet of the road and as we knew that out there somewhere was an IED we kept waiting for the bang. A bang I am happy to say never came. (This gave us some ideas for the new Taliban ORBAT)
In the next few phases the Taliban tried to move again up along the berm again and some desultory fire from the middle of table led to one of the Brits being wounded by 1pt most of it soaked up by the body armour, however this did stop the UGL gunner from loading which was annoying.
So far, so good, The T’s had several rounds of moving and firing and basically putting morale markers on the squad holding the ford but not much else.
The only Brit shooting of note was the UGL gunner on the roof performing a mirror image move of his opening shot and dusting another T in exactly the same place as the last one had been. I think this discouraged Craig H from using those stairs for the rest of the game.
With one of the berm T’s finally making it around the building, he decided to race right up to the wall so the nearest Brit had no cover save and let rip with his AK. Never has a man been so lucky, his body armour soaked all the damage but it did knock him to the floor (prone).
On his combat phase the Brit stood up, ran up to maximise the shot, only to be snap fired by the same insane T, who this time missed. The Brit then cut him in half with his armalite, scratch one T.
The warrior meanwhile continued to move across the round terrain and then got stuck crossing a hedge. We had visions of diesel fumes and roaring engines as the tracks just whirled round as the Warrior tried to use its tracks like chainsaws to cut through this hedge.
Again both sides tried fire but not really to much avail and then WMIK instead of crossing the river to safety, turn 1800 degrees at the ford to face the enemy and let fly with his HMG unfortunately it was just tracers in the sky as the T on the roof was just too comfy hunkered down (prone).
Finally the warrior cuts itself free and exits the board and the game effectively ended but we did play on for a few more turns with one Brits crossing the ford only to be shot in the middle of the ford but again saved by body armour. At this point we called it a second win for the Brits.
If the Taliban had there normal amount of RPGs I think the game would have been quite different so I think this may well get another playtest before being released in Despatches No.2.
My thanks to the players, Ray, Chris Craig W and Craig H (who brought along some nicely painted Germans to show), all who played in the spirit of the game and were narrative to the core. A special thanks goes out to Ray for hosting us all yet again at his place.