Friday 30 March 2018

Full Thrust: Convoy RX-18


There's a new club in town: the Helensburgh Alternative Hobby Association (HAHA).  I'm very excited about this as it opens up the possibility of getting some regular gaming after a number of years without such a group nearby.  With that in mind, I attended the weekly meeting for my first time yesterday and took along Full Thrust; a couple of members had expressed interest in learning how to play.

So, here's a simple scenario for beginners: a Federation convoy is leaving a planetary system when it is pounced upon by Klingon raiders.  The Federation have some warships, but are outclassed by the attackers.  Will any of the merchantmen make it to the far end of the table, where they are deemed to have reached the hyper limit of the solar system and can escape by engaging their warp drives?

Federation Forces

The defenders have the following resources:

  • USS Los Angeles (light cruiser)
  • USS Endeavour (scout cruiser)
  • USS Oryx and USS Antelope (large destroyers)
  • 5 assorted merchant ships, from the tiny Peregrine (free trader) to the huge Pride of the Orient (bulk carrier).
For the warships, the decision is simple: do they stay with the freighters or advance to meet the Klingons?
  • If they take the former path then the attackers might leave the Federation warships untargeted in favour of the merchantmen, thus allowing them to fight back for longer.
  • On the other hand, if they attack the Klingons first then the smaller Federation vessels won't last long, but they might manage to disable or distract one or more of the attackers and thus buy time for the freighters to escape.

Klingon Forces

The Klingons have a very simple fleet:
  • IKS Asgard (heavy cruiser)
  • IKS Ragnarok (heavy cruiser)
  • IKS Valhalla (heavy cruiser)
They have exactly the opposite decision to the Federation.  Should they target the escorts first and remove them as a threat (but risk the convoy escaping in the meantime), or should they attack the freighters first (and perhaps the Federation warships will be able to fight back unopposed)?

The Game

The convoy accelerated as hard as it could (which wasn't much; merchantmen are typically very sluggish!).  Their only real chance was to build up as much speed as they could and race past the raiders in as short a time as possible.  Even so, at least some of them weren't likely to make it...

Initially, the escorts kept station with the freighters, though when a Klingon warship appeared around the gas giant, Endeavour and Oryx peeled off to face it.

The IKS Valhalla fired everything it had at the light scout cruiser; Endeavour was raked from stem to stern and suffered a triple threshold check (for those readers who don't know Full Thrust, that's a very bad thing.  Each internal system only survives on a d6 roll of '1'!).  By the time the sparks had stopped flying, the only things still working on the Federation vessel were Life Support and the Warp Core.  Could be worse...

In return, the Oryx fired a stupendously accurate torpedo which hit the Valhalla square in the engine room.  This, together with damage accumulated from a long range torpedo the previous turn (Oryx again), caused a warp core breach on the Klingon ship.  Her damage control parties raced to contain the damage, but the reactor went super-critical before they could take any action and the heavy cruiser blew up rather spectacularly!

The other two Klingons were not so easily dispatched.  The Ragnarok curved in to a position behind the convoy, destroying the Lunar Conveyor as it passed.  The Asgard, however, manoeuvred perfectly into the very heart of the merchant fleet and began to fire at all the targets around her!

Asgard's left-hand beams did significant damage to the Marie Celeste, though not enough to be fatal.  At least, not ordinarily - for in a strange quirk of fate the freighter lost her Bridge, Life Support and Warp Core all from this one salvo (each requiring a roll of '6' to be damaged).  With the ship in such a bad way, the remaining crew decided to abandon ship.

Asgard also put some serious hurt onto the large freighter Empress of Orion, though this wasn't enough to stop the civilian ship.

At the rear of the convoy, all three of the Federation warships (discounting the crippled Endeavour) converged on either flank of the Ragnarok...

...while at the same time, the Asgard just about kept pace with the fleeing merchantmen (the convoy was travelling rather faster than the cruiser at this point, but the difference wasn't enough to increase the range significantly.  Worryingly for the Klingon, the burning, drifting hulk of the Marie Celeste was still alongside the Asgard; the freighter could blow up at any moment!

In fact, if the Federation got lucky then both the remaining Klingon cruisers might be crippled or destroyed this turn!

Fate works in strange ways.  The Klingons had the initiative and could therefore choose the first ship to fire.  They decided it would be the Ragnarok, as otherwise - surrounded as she was - she might not have a chance later on.

The Ragnarok split her fire between the two Federation destroyers.  At point-blank range, phasers chopped the Oryx apart.  In Full Thrust, a beam weapon that rolls a '6' to hit does damage (typically 2 points) and is then re-rolled.  The player just kept rolling '6's, one after the other, whilst the rest of us watched on, dumbfounded!  By the time the cascade came to an end, the poor Oryx had taken 15 points of damage; she was completely atomised.

Ragnarok then fired her other wing weapons at the Antelope.  Although the second Federation destroyer survived, she was reduced to a smoking wreck which was abandoned a turn or two later.

Asgard was equally lucky, at least from a Klingon point of view.  The Marie Celeste didn't blow up whilst adjacent to the cruiser, but instead drifted far enough away that the shock wave wouldn't be an issue - and then exploded.  Meanwhile, the Asgard had dispatched the Empress of Orion and was knocking chunks out of the large bulk carrier Pride of the Orient.

Bulk carriers are big and the attacker didn't manage to destroy the freighter before it crossed the edge of the table.  However, the Pride of the Orient wasn't in a good way; she had a lot of damage and (especially significant) a warp core breach.  She had a single damage control party (DCP) so the odds of them saving the ship were not great, but we diced it out anyway:
  • First turn (after leaving the table): DCP failed to control the warp core (they needed to roll a '1'), but it didn't explode (which would have happened on a die roll of '5' or '6').
  • Second turn: DCP failed to control the damage, but it didn't explode.
  • Third turn: DCP managed to eject the core and thus save the ship.  Or at least, what was left of it.  At least they had functioning life support...

There were now just two Klingon heavy cruisers on the table (although the Ragnarok had accumulated quite a lot of damage over the course of the game and now had a lot of weapons knocked out) and only one Federation light cruiser.  That's discounting the crippled Endeavour, which was creeping away quietly on the other side of the planet.

We were playing with my Full Thrust Event Cards, though not much use had been made of them up till this point.  The Federation player belatedly tried a Confused Orders card on the Klingons; if the two big cruisers could be prevented from ganging up on the Los Angeles then she might just have a chance of taking out the more damaged Ragnarok.  It wasn't to be though; the enemy helmsman wasn't fooled for a moment.

In the dying moments of the game, the plucky Los Angeles came face to face with the almost untouched IKS Asgard at very close range.  This time, the Federation had the initiative; Los Angeles' strike was lucky enough to disable most of Asgard's weapons.  She survived the return fire from the enraged pair of Klingon vessels and fled into hyperspace (though not before taking a non-critical hit: her supplies locker was destroyed, flooding decks 2 and 3 with ankle-deep grey paint).


As expected, this was a bloodbath!  The convoy is basically there so that players can get the hang of the Full Thrust orders and movement system - which the Klingon commander seemed to do extremely efficiently.  It certainly helped that my Klingon cruiser designs are very maneuverable and have good, all-round firepower.  Once the Asgard was within the convoy and unopposed, she could just sit there and shoot in all directions.

Oddly, there seemed to be a lot of "extreme" dice rolls.  The Klingon player in particular was afflicted by this; sometimes a full cruiser salvo would produce virtually no hits and sometimes a penetrating hit would explode into a massive cascade.  Still, the Federation had their piece of luck as well: the destroyer Oryx taking out a heavy cruiser (Valhalla) with 2 turns of torpedo and beam damage was stupendous!

Klingon Status:

  • IKS Valhalla: DESTROYED
  • IKS Asgard: Damaged
  • IKS Ragnarok: Heavily damaged

Federation Status

  • USS Los Angeles: Damaged
  • USS Endeavour: Heavily damaged
  • USS Antelope: DESTROYED
  •  Pride of the Orient: Heavily damaged
  • Lunar ConveyorDESTROYED
  • Marie CelesteDESTROYED
  • Empress of OrionDESTROYED
  • PeregrineDESTROYED
We didn't really quantify any victory conditions.  It was stated that "some" of the freighters had to escape, but not how many, or indeed if different levels of victory would apply for different numbers of craft saved.  Both the warship commanders (and me, as umpire & convoy captain) enjoyed the game, so who won?  Does it even matter?  What do you think?

Sunday 25 March 2018

Dreadball: The Nameless


This will be just a short post today, as I only have a few newly-completed models to show.  I'm working on quite a lot of things at the moment, but all the rest of these are only partly completed.

The Nameless

Dreadball has many teams made up from weird aliens, but few are as strange as the "nameless".  For starters, this is an alliance of 3 different alien races rather than just members from a single species, though each form has shared elements that hint at a common origin.  At least, one assumes that they are different races; it's just possible that these are different forms of the same species (for example, juveniles vs mature or male vs female).  That seems unlikely, though!

Whether this is one race or three doesn't really matter, though.  If you're facing them then they present a writhing mass of tentacles, shells and bulging eyes that will give most humanoid species nightmares!

"Sticky" Guards

Unusually, a nameless team has two types of guard.  Firstly there are the "sticky" Undulans.  These have long tentacles that can reach further than most players; once they've got you, it's hard to escape!

The good news (for their opponents) is that Undulans are not especially fast.  But they're probably fast enough to get you all the same...

"Hard" Guards

The other type of nameless guard is the so-called "hard" guard, from the Feromite species.  Imagine a giant crab that has a mass of tentacles instead of legs and you won't be far wrong.

As you might expect from their appearance, Feromites are really tough.  However, the addition of armour around their midriffs suggests that this might be a vulnerable spot.  Good luck with that!


Nameless teams don't have any jacks, so their scoring attempts have to be made by strikers.  These guys ressemble a giant prawn to some extent, but there are too many legs and arms (?) for the similarities to be more than passing - and again with the tentacles!

Despite their nightmarish appearance, nameless strikers are distinctly average on the pitch, though they can scuttle about quite quickly.

Colour Scheme

I decided quite early that I wanted to paint these models in colours similar to those of terran squid (for the soft body parts) and crabs (for the shells and claws).  Consequently, the tentacles are a pale blue and are covered with dark brown spots.  The shells are a greenish off-white on the underside and a vivid red/orange on top.

When it came to the armour, I could have chosen almost any solid colour.  However, I realised that none of my existing Dreadball teams wore white uniforms and so I decided to go for the "Star Wars stormtrooper" look.  I think it works quite well, but I'm interested in other people's opinions as well.

Incidentally, in a few cases it wasn't clear whether a bit of the model was artificial armour or was part of the animal's shell.  This is especially the case for the heads of the "prawns".  Obviously, I chose to interpret these head segments as added armour and painted the panels white, but I think it would have worked equally well the other way around.


So, another Dreadball team, ready for the pitch.  But what should I call them?  These models are sold as the "Kalimarin Ancients", but I'd prefer to have my own name.  What about the "Prawn Kings"?  Too cheesy?  Hmm, you come up with something better...

Sunday 18 March 2018

Dreadball: Teams and Cheerleaders


I'm on something of a Dreadball roll at the moment, trying to finish painting all the models I have.  Still to go are 3 of my 13 (?) teams:
  • Kalimarin Ancients: painting in progress, a few models near completion.
  • Fran-Taar Philosophers: undercoated, but nothing further.
  • Koeputki Kolossals: still in box, not started.
  • 4 spectators: two are complete and the other two are maybe 50% painted.
The end is in sight, at least until/unless I buy more stuff (that commentary-box/event-card-holder looks very nice, though rather pricey).  To give you an idea of my progress, in the last 3 or 4 weeks I have finished two teams and one squad of cheerleaders.  Here they are:

Ukomo Avalanchers

The Ukomo Avalanchers (note: that's Mantic's name for the team, not mine.  I'll give my lot a different name when I can think of one.  So far, my mind is a blank...) are of the Teraton species.  That is to say, they are intelligent, bipedal turtles who can teleport short distances.  Obviously this gives them certain tactical options that other teams do not have!

Teratons are somewhat slow and clumsy, so the team doesn't have any specialised ball handlers ("strikers").  Instead, the team consists of general purpose "jacks" (above)...

...and specialised tacklers ("guards").  I like these models quite a bit, but it is difficult to tell the jacks from the guards.  If you examine the figures carefully and you know what you are looking for then it is possible to distinguish them: the jacks have a ball-launching "Dreadball glove" on their right arms, whereas the guards do not.

However, there's a simpler way that doesn't require an understanding of subtly-different pieces of equipment: the guards are more heavily armoured.  The guards have armoured boots and (most importantly, for recognition purposes) armoured tails, whereas the jacks do not.

In hindsight, I could perhaps have painted more visible marks to distinguish the two classes of player!  However, the effort required to edge all that armour plate was significant and I'm not going to revisit these models with a paintbrush.

The Shining Sentinels

Mantic's earliest robot team was the "Chromium Chargers".  I've decided to name my version differently - and also depart from the "official" colour scheme somewhat.

The Chromium Chargers are robots that can change their role during a game.  Each robot can play as a striker, a jack or a guard, though it takes time to alter from one form to another.  As a consequence of this, all the team models look quite alike.  There are subtle differences if you know what to look for, but having just encountered exactly this problem with my Teratons (above) I decided to use colour to make the roles more obvious.

Consequently, the strikers for the Shining Sentinels have yellow flashes and accents...

...whilst their guards are marked with red.

Finally, the jacks are highlighted with orange.  Presumably, when a robot changes role it has mechanisms to alter the colour of its accents as well as extruding extra armour, forming a ball-handling "glove" or whatever other physical aspects it changes.

I'm quite pleased with the numbering on the robots' backs.  The digital numerals are not exactly high tech, but they were somewhat easier to paint than many of the alternatives might have been.

The Nice Girls

I now have 2 sets of cheerleaders for Dreadball.  This squad of 4 is one I painted up some time ago, but I don't think I've shown it before.  Since I will be describing the other, newly-finished squad below, I thought it would be worth comparing with these.

"The Nice Girls" is my temporary name for this group of four cheerleaders, until I come up with something better.  These plastic/resin models depict four wholesome young women dressed in short shorts and wearing a form of halter top.

Each cheerleader has 2 large "shields", one attached to each arm.  I imagine these to be high tech devices, probably with LED or similar technology that would allow them to change what they display.  The possibilities are enormous; they could spell out words, show fireworks or other patterns, or have "cascades" where a logo or message moves from one shield to the next along the line.

Of course, my imagination is rather greater than my ability to paint any of these concepts, so I coloured them all white and added a simple "star" decal of my own design.

The Punkettes

Mantic produce another set of cheerleaders; these are definitely not the nice "girl next door" sort.  They're dressed in a variety of spikey, probably leather gear and one of them even has a knife down the side of one boot.

These cheerleaders also have devices on each arm to help with their work.  In this case, they look like cast iron ovals, though they're probably make of lightweight composites instead.  In the centre of each oval is a strong, brightly-coloured light.  I guess that these could be strobe lights, thus allowing the Punkettes to produce a form of mini-disco within their routine.

As with the "nice girls", I've decided to use a different base colour for each model.  Obviously, since there are only 3 figures in this set there is no "yellow" variant.


Well, there you have it: more Dreadball figures.  If these aren't your thing then don't worry - I'll be onto something different very soon.  My interests are many and varied...

Sunday 11 March 2018

Paleo Diet: The Hunt Begins


I've run games that pit men against ice age mammals before [for example, here, here and here] and my "go to" set of rules was "Adventures in the Lost Lands" by Two Hour Wargaming.  However, despite the number of times that I've tried this game, it didn't quite work for me.  Either a player's choices were too limited or combat outcomes were too one-sided or something; it just wasn't the game I really wanted to play.

I've never given up hope for a hunting game, though.  Now there is a new kid on the block: "Paleo Diet", from Ganesha Games.  In Paleo Diet, one or more players take control of a small number of hunters.  These humans can be equipped with bows, clubs, fire and/or dogs, though the default weapon is a spear which can be thrown a short distance or used close up to stab at things.

The basic mechanism is that a hunter chooses to roll from 1 to 3 dice each turn, with a "success" granting an action and a "failure" alerting a nearby animal.  A fresh, unwounded hunter has a pool of 2 white dice (success on a 2+) and one coloured dice (success on a 4+); an injured man downgrades one of his/her white dice to a coloured one.

Animals never act on their own, but rather they react to various events such as the proximity of a fire, being attacked or a hunter failing an activation roll.  Different classes of creature (from apex predator to small prey animal) will react differently, but on the whole if you're far enough away they will ignore you and if you're very close then their reaction will be more extreme.  Usually the carnivores and large herbivores (mammoths &c) will defend themselves aggressively whilst smaller herbivores will run away - but different reactions such as roaring/trumpeting or stampedes are also possible!

So far, so good; this sounds very much like the sort of game I'd like to try.  Everything in a hunting game depends on the animal behaviour, though: is it believable?  Let's see...

Trial Game 1: The Mammoths

We had 3 players, so we set up 3 groups of hunters.  One group had 2 neanderthals, whilst the other 2 groups each had a neanderthal and his dog.  So, a total of 4 men and 2 dogs.  Let's go mammoth hunting!

After a short conference on tactics, we decided that we needed to split up the pair of mammoths and concentrate all our efforts on just one of the beasts.  Goodness knows, it would be hard enough to face even a single such creature!

To this end, the hunters crept forwards carefully.  Crug sent his dog on a wide, flanking move.  In hindsight, this wasn't a terribly clever idea: if the dog failed any of its activation rolls in the future then it would probably try to rejoin its master, which would result in it sauntering through the mammoth herd.  That's not really what we intended!

Durc stalked right up to within touching distance of the mammoths, planning to hide and ambush the chosen target later.  Unfortunately, something gave him away and both beasts rounded on him

The hunter wasn't badly wounded, but he was pretty shaken up.  It didn't help that one of the mammoths then trumpeted loudly and the other pursued him for a short distance; Durc fled!  Well, at least we had split up the pair of mammoths; there was now a significant gap between them...

Durc spent much of the rest of the game hiding in some foliage.  The player claimed that he was laying a fresh ambush, but personally I reckon he had soiled himself.

Broud's brown dog then decided to have a go at the nearer animal.  It did manage to bite the pachyderm, but the mammoth squashed the dog in return.

Then, Crug's grey dog had a go.  It rushed in and bit the mammoth on the bottom (so that's 2 wounds inflicted; another two will bring it down).

The mammoth reacted with extreme hostility to this assault on its nether portions; it spun around and flattened the dog.  Hmm, both dogs are now out of the game - but that's OK because they don't count against us when determining victory.

The hunters (apart from Durc) moved in and tried to spear the mammoth.  There followed a long and confused sequence of quick assaults, trumpetting, retaliation and so on [far too complex to describe in detail!].  Any notion of a plan had gone out of the window after the beast's first short charge!

The end result was that 3 of the 4 hunters were injured, but the mammoth had taken a 3rd wound out of the 4 hits it could sustain.  Sadly for the hungry tribe, the mammoth ran off the table before it could be finished off.

One player suggested that we had a go at the other, uninjured mammoth that was still grazing peacefully in the middle of the table.  This suggestion was quickly vetoed by the other bruised and battered hunters!

End Result: mammoths are tough to hunt, especially without ranged weapons and/or fire; expect casualties.  Leave the dogs at home; they might be good enough against a deer or a wolf, but they're really outclassed here!

Trial Game 2: Something Smaller

For our next hunt, we decided to try some smaller prey.  This time, there were 5 neanderthals and only 1 dog; we had a small herd of deer as our target.

The hunters stalked carefully around the edges.  Our plan was to surround the herd and then pick off as many as we could from close range.  We needed to kill 3 of the 6 deer to collect enough meat to feed the tribe, so we really didn't want any to escape if we could help it.

Initially, the plan seemed to be going very well.  All the hunters (and the dog) crept closer and closer...

The first hunter to act was Broud.  His thrown spear hit a young buck and wounded it, but the startled and confused animal then ran straight at the hunter and tried to attack him!  Fortunately for the man, the deer then fled in the opposite direction without injuring him.

The panicking, injured buck fled straight towards Goov, who had no difficulty in felling it at close range.  As he did this, the rest of the herd stampeded, running over the unwary Crug and kicking him in passing.

The hunters scrambled to try to head off the small deer before they fled out of reach; it looked as if their prey was about to elude them.

All their efforts achieved was to scatter the herd; deer ran in all directions.  Brun managed to bring down another buck as it raced past him, but no-one else was so lucky.  Despite a brief stalk of the remnants of the herd, all the other deer eluded the hunters and fled to safety.

End Result: we didn't gather enough meat to feed the tribe and one of our hunters got a broken rib!  Not the ideal result, though at least we weren't totally hopeless.


I think that we all enjoyed these games very much.  The players each had plenty of choices each turn and the animals reacted in what seemed like a realistic manner.  I don't think this will be the main event in one of our gaming days, but it's a very pleasant filler (it would work very well as a participation game at a convention, I think).

Clearly, our hunting tactics leave something to be desired - but that could change with practice.  Perhaps we should set more ambushes and then have a few hunters drive the prey into them by shouting and/or throwing stones?  I'm also quite keen to experiment with that new wonder weapon which Ug keeps talking about: fire!  More figures have been ordered...

Afterthought: even the deer are dangerous; they hurt one of our hunters.  Maybe my stone age men should become rabbit hunters instead.  What could go wrong with that?

Monday 5 March 2018

Congo: The Crocodile River


McCoy expedition at the far side, Glover expedition in the foreground, objectives in the centre

Deep in the jungle of central Africa in the latter part of the 19th century, 2 groups are trying to extend their spheres of influence.  This time it isn't one native tribe against another, or even colonial powers trying to subdue a native village.  Rather, this game is set between two "white men expeditions" to see who can control more territory.  Or maybe there was a disagreement over which group got the last bottle of gin in the closest trader's store, or someone cheated at cards.

Whatever the reason, the "Glover" expedition (led by a rather unscrupulous retired army officer) and the "McCoy" expedition (a much more genteel affair, led by a formidable lady scientist) clashed on the banks of the Lomami river.  This is their story...

The Scenario

This is a fairly simple scenario:
  • There are 3 objectives (territory markers?) in the river that runs along the middle of the table.
  • Points are scored for carrying these objectives off the far side of the board, or at least for having them in enemy territory.
  • The river is deep, muddy and infested with crocodiles!

The Forces

Major Glover's Ruffians

Major Glover's own group of Ruga Ruga are exhausted: they lose a man and panic before the game has even begun!
  • Several (3?) bands of Ruga Ruga: fearsome mercenaries, though rather prone to superstitious terrors.
  • Some ascaris, led by a flag bearer
  • A group of native warriors
  • A group of native archers
  • Several bearers.

Mrs McCoy's Column

  • Several groups (3?) of trained ascaris.
  • 4 rifle-armed, well-trained soldiers
  • A band of native warriors
  • 3 white adventurers (we wondered if this was the 19th century's equivalent of a "gap year" for the aspiring young gentleman).  One of these was lost to exhaustion before the game started.  I wonder if it was malaria, dysentery or a hostile witch doctor who put paid to this chap?  Or maybe syphilis?
  • Several bearers.
  • A journalist.

The Game

Normally, I would advance the action in a game fairly equally along all the points of interest.  However, in this game the forces were distributed between the three objectives and the thick jungle (and limited command & control) meant that there was little interaction between each group.  It will be more instructive to handle each sector in turn from start to finish.

The Left Flank

Blue Ruga Ruga entered the river on the right flank and seized that objective, long before any of the red forces were close.

They were chased out of the river by a crocodile and then charged by the red ascaris, but the Ruga Ruga held their nerve and savaged their attackers.  So far, this was all going swimmingly (if you'll pardon the very bad pun!) and there didn't seem to be much to prevent the blue unit from carrying its trophy off the far edge of the map.

Then, sporadic rifle shots rang out.  With almost every shot, one of the Ruga Ruga fell; the blue group just couldn't figure out what was happening.  Finally it was revealed: the two red adventurers had opened fire from a nearby patch of jungle.  Even though the Ruga Ruga were under cover, the white men shot like champions and almost every bullet was a hit.

Between the murderous rifle fire and frequent terror attacks (playing on the Ruga Ruga's superstitions), the blue unit was severely reduced.  Eventually, the last two men fled back across the river; only one made it to the other bank.  [Technically, this loss was due to a flee action after the unit took too much stress, rather than a crocodile attack.  It is possible that the second man did survive - but decided that he had pressing business elsewhere].

By the end of the game, the blue unit was in a very bad way; it was reduced to a single, highly stressed individual.  However, he did have possession of an objective marker.

Points scored for the left flank

  • Red (McCoy expedition): 0 points.  No enemy units destroyed, no loot discovered, no objective in or taken off the board through enemy territory.
  • Blue (Glover expedition): 0 points.  No enemy units destroyed, no loot discovered, no objective in or taken off the board through enemy territory.

The Centre

The McCoy Expedition's soldiers reached the river first.  They tried to cross, but disturbed a waiting crocodile.  These hardy warriors kept their heads though; the crocodile was driven off without loss.

Blue ascaris (with the blue expedition's flag bearer) took cover behind vegetation along the edge of the river.  However, they weren't in time to prevent Mrs McCoy's ascaris from seizing the objective.  Shots were exchanged between the groups; the blue ascaris all missed, but the better-trained red ascaris hit several of their opponents.

The red soldiers crossed the river to try to enfilade the beleaguered blue ascaris.  However, a thunderous charge by Major Glover's recovered Ruga Ruga threw them back across, leaving several of their dead behind.

In any case, the remaining blue ascaris survived by rallying to the flag and keeping their heads down.  Eventually Mrs McCoy's red ascaris retreated out of the chest-high water when a crocodile took one of their number.

The crocodiles were really active now - or at least, fear of crocodiles was running rampant.  The retreating soldiers panicked...

...and the pursuing blue native auxiliaries (who had finally reached the river right at the end of the game) were also inconvenienced by things real or imaginary moving below the surface.

At the end of the game, neither side had anyone on the enemy's side of the river.  Red did have possession of an objective, but since this was still in their own half, it didn't score anything.

Points scored for the centre

  • Red (McCoy expedition): 0 points.  No enemy units destroyed, no loot discovered, no objective in or taken off the board through enemy territory.
  • Blue (Glover expedition): 0 points.  No enemy units destroyed, no loot discovered, no objective in or taken off the board through enemy territory.
So, could either side do any better on the right flank?  Read on...

The Right Flank

Blue's native archers tried to take an early shortcut through a patch of thick jungle...

...but were severely stressed by some local wildlife.  They did eventually recover their composure and carry on, but it took most of the game before they were anywhere useful.

Maybe the archers wouldn't be needed anyway?  Blue's right-flank Ruga Ruga easily beat the opposition to the river and claimed the objective.  They topped this by firing a murderous volley which stopped the advancing red ascaris dead in their tracks.

Not wanting to risk a crocodile attack, the blue Ruga Ruga climbed the far bank of the river.  A red warrior unit attacked them and was driven off, but the Ruga Ruga were building up quite a lot of stress.

The defeated warriors (encouraged by their attached journalist, no doubt) started to throw assegais instead.  This proved to be much more effective and two blue Ruga Ruga fell.

[Note: in this confrontation I didn't record whether the remnants of the red ascari unit fired as well as - or instead of - the warriors.  It doesn't really matter either way; the result was still the same].

As the end of the game drew near, the blue Ruga Ruga took cover behind some bushes.  Blue archers were approaching, but were too late to offer any assistance beyond the dubious morale benefit of their support.

Points scored for the right flank

  • Red (McCoy expedition): 0 points.  No enemy units destroyed, no loot discovered, no objective in or taken off the board through enemy territory.
  • Blue (Glover expedition): 5 points!  No enemy units destroyed, no loot discovered - but one objective taken into enemy territory (just).


This game was pretty much inconclusive.  Neither side encroached much on the other's territory.  There weren't even that many casualties; not a single unit was wiped out!  Even though the (blue) Glover expedition scored 5 points to the (red) McCoy expedition's 0, that is peanuts compared to what might have been achieved if either side had run off with one or more of the objectives.  At best it's a very marginal victory, though I think it more fair to describe it as a close-fought draw.

From the preceding paragraph, you might think that it was a dull game.  Nothing could be further from the truth: it was an enormously fun morning!  Both sides had chances, but found themselves limited by superstitious terrors, bad aim or hostile fauna.  Red very nearly prevailed on the left, but were possibly a little too slow.  Red also had a good chance in the centre; the blue flag proved invaluable in rallying the faltering defenders.  On the right, blue's early rush paid off: the outnumbered Ruga Ruga managed to hunker down and survive.

Possibly red's scientist could have gone looking for discoveries - and this might have given their journalist something to write about - but there's no certainty that such a plan would have reaped any rewards.

Finally, the crocodiles in the river only cause one (directly attributable) casualty.  Their main effect was to cause a lot of stress, both in game terms (stress counters) and in tension to the players.  There's nothing quite as nerve-wracking as losing a melee on the bank of the river and being forced back into the crocodile-infested waters!