Friday, 31 August 2012

Cold City RPG - (P#8) Scene #4 - St Joseph's Hospital Morgue

Cold City RPG
(P#8) Scene #4 - St Joseph's Hospital Morgue (#1, #2, #3, #5)
St Joseph's is a large complex with several hospital wings feeding from a central administration building. During the war years it lost many of it's satellite buildings, but had remained relatively intact itself. The once landscaped grounds now hold a series of temporary wards allowing the hospital to be slowly refurbished.

Dr. Lutzow
Dr. Juliet Bloom (PC and RPA agent), through an old "social" acquaintance, had arranged ID to freely access the hospital. Once there she made her way into it's basement level morgue to meet with a Dr. Horst Lutzow. 

The stairwell leading down to the basement is damp and in a poor state of repair, paint peeling from the walls. Reaching the basement level Dr. Bloom could hear the muffled hum of a generator in the distance. The corridor was cold and poorly lit, but ahead she could see a sign for the Leichenschauhaus (morgue) and followed it.

St Joseph's Hospital, Berlin
Approaching the morgue itself, she passed six or seven trolleys that lined the walls. Each trolley was occupied with a corpse and covered with an off-white sheet and she could almost taste the smell of death in the air, a sickening mix of disinfectant and decaying flesh.

A trolley in the morgue corridor
Pushing through the swinging wooden doors Dr. Bloom entered the morgue, a wide room with a small adjoining office space. Dr. Lutzow was working on the corpse of a young man, but turned to face her as the doors swung shut. "Ja? Wer bist du?

Juliet introduced herself and shook Dr. Lutzow's cool damp hand. She wanted to understand the reason behind Pvt Grey's death, but Dr. Lutzow visibly closed-up as she brought this up and described his death as a "drowning, death by misadventure." Backing this up he confirmed that the others who had visited him earlier could confirm his findings.

Juliet got to look at the autopsy report, but it didn't make sense. Lutzow was frightened and hiding something...

Outside agent Renoir leaned against their Jeep smoking his strong French cigarettes. Juliet shared her concerns about Dr Lutzow with him prompting Renoir to take a look for himself. 

Agent Renoir
Borrowing a white coat, Renoir went down to the morgue and found Dr Lutzow scribbling on some paperwork, the Pvt Grey autopsy report. Dr Lutzow had two copies, one that he'd showed to Juliet and one other. Renoir distracted the doctor and used his pickpocket skills to steal the two copies. Dr Lutzow had been concealing something around Pvt Grey's death, but why? Who had put pressure on him?

The real autopsy report indicated that Pvt Grey had died, not from drowning, but from damage to his occipital lobe. In particular the Brodman Area 17, the primary visual cortex at the back of the head and the optical nerve, without any apparent external trauma. Toxicology revealed no signs of alcohol or drug abuse an cause of death remained inconclusive. Dr. Bloom could confirm now that the deaths of Pvt Grey and Gunter Roth were linked.

Somewhere across the dark streets of Berlin, Gavril was helping his colleague Wheeler to walk out of a out of a Freidrichstraβe back-alley.

Cold City RPG - (P#8) Scene #3 - Der Regenbogen

Cold City RPG
(P#8) Scene #3 - Der Regenbogen (#1, #2, #4, #5)
Whilst Dr. Bloom and Renoir searched for more information on Pvt Grey at St. Joseph's Hospital morgue, Gavril and Wheeler decided to pay a visit to Der Regenbogen (The Rainbow), a jazz club off Freidrichstraβe.
Jazz at Der Regenbogen

Their plan was simple, split up and find out as much information as they could about Pavel and his whereabouts. The club was a bit of a long-shot for sure, but Pavel was known to come here a few times a week, so it was worth a look, even if only to tie up the loose ends.

Based in the Russian sector, Gavril had been to Der Regenbogen before, although only once or twice. The club is popular with the young as some good music can be heard there, but generally the place is run-down and viewed as seedy by the locals. "A place to be avoided unless looking for something from the black market." - Hans Glebb, a local business owner.

Lucky Strikes
Gavril entered first, a few minutes ahead of Wheeler, who stood across the street smoking his Lucky Strikes and shuffling nervously. Der Regenbogen was busy this evening, a droll version of Baby, It's Cold Outside playing on-stage. He made his way to the long bar and ordered a drink before sitting back and considering the scene around him. No sign of Pavel yet, but someone here will know him...

Wheeler steps into the club and noticing Gavril at the bar heads through the dimly lit tables to have a look for the boy. The Russian sector is in "brown-out" so small candles and oil lamps provide what little light is available in the smokey club. With no sign of Pavel, Wheeler passes on a chance to score some drugs and heads to the far end of the bar, engaging the barman in conversation... "I'm looking for a boy..."

The barman is suspicious, but continues to listen to Wheeler, especially interested in some photos that he claims to have. (these were the erotic pictures that Wheeler recovered from Gunter Roth's attic room). Eventually the barman concedes that he "may be able to help" A short time later Wheeler is being led upstairs to see "The Fat Man". Asking too many questions around a black market bar can be dangerous...

The "Fat Man"
The Fat Man runs the local black market from a plush set of rooms above Der Regenbogen. Speaking with a broad Russian accent he asks Wheeler why he is here and what he is looking for. The hapless agent stumbles through his reasons and The Fat Man orders his men to search Wheeler and "get rid of him". Wheeler panics and considers leaving through the second floor window. Luckily he stumbles and just takes a beating before being unceremoniously dumped with the trash at the back of the club, his photos and money gone.

Gavril too is having little luck in conversations with the other barman and decides to intimidate the man into telling him what he know about Pavel. As Gavril moves inside the bar, the man pulls a shotgun and threatens to put him down. The imposing size of the Russian agent (and some good dice rolling!) force the barman to reconsider. He puts the shotgun down and confirms that Pavel hasn't been here for a few days now.

Wisely Gavril takes this as his cue to exit.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

KoffeeKlub Evening 2nd of September

Twilight Struggle
KoffeeKlub is back on track this weekend and will host Twilight Struggle, by GMT Games as our main game. As usual we'll be at Whitehead Primary School this Sunday from 7-11pm.

The game simulates the 45-year Cold War struggle between the USA and USSR. So, Yanks or Ruskies Mr Bingers?

"If you were my husband, Winston, I'd poison your coffee." - Lady Astor 
"If I were your husband, madam, I would drink it." - Winston Churchill

Monday, 27 August 2012

Cold City RPG - (P#8) Scene #2 - Smuts Barracks

Cold City RPG
(P#8) Scene #2 - Smuts Barracks (#1, #3, #4, #5)
1018hrs Wednesday 1st February 1950, Kammergericht Building (RPA Headquarters). Dr Juliet Bloom, having cleaned up following Gunter Roth's autopsy, agrees somewhat hesitantly to contact the Smuts Barracks to lure Cpl Davey out.  

They are clearly suspicious of Cpl Davey's involvement and come up with a slightly convoluted way to get him back to HQ for questioning about the photographs found at the crime scene on Freidrichstraβe. 

Dr Bloom contacts that Barracks directly and requests that Cpl Davey be made available later this morning to get some blood test results. Arrangements are made for Cpl Davey to be picked up from the Smuts Barracks (some 10km outside of Berlin) later that morning by Renoir and Wheeler posing as the crew of a medical vehicle.

Wheeler, posing as a medic to collect Cpl Davey
A short time later, having collected Cpl Davey, Wheeler is driving them back towards Berlin and the relative security of their HQ. All isn't going quite to plan as Davey (getting a little suspicious at the responses to some of the questions) draws his service weapon and demands that they stop and let him out of the vehicle.

A flurry of action follows as Cpl Davey is restrained and choked into unconsciousness by a cool-headed Renoir. A short time later they have the Corporal tied to a chair of an interview room in the bowels of the Kammergericht.

Cpl Davey was initially unresponsive, but following hours of interrogation and drugging, he confirmed the following:
  • That the photographs were taken by a Pvt Grey and not by him.
  • He points out that he is in a few of the pictures along with other members of their unit who share responsibility with the other allied forces to garrison Spandau Prison.
  • Their platoon have just finished their month of guard duty at Spandau. 
  • Rumours of an 8th Prisoner being held at Spandau - guarded by prison officers wearing dark goggles.

Spandau guard goggles
On July 18, 1947 seven Nazi war criminals were brought to the Spandau Prison having been sentenced at the Nürnberg Trials. Rudolf Hess, Walther Funk, and Erich Raeder faced life sentences. Albert Speer and Baldur von Schirach faced a 20 year sentence while Konstantin von Neurath had to serve 15 and Karl Dönitz 10 years in the prison.

The four Allied powers took turns in guarding the prison. Despite the tensions between the Western Allies and the Soviets the guard duty at the Spandau Prison was never interrupted. The guarding platoon, made up by 37 soldiers and one officer, changed monthly with a change of the guard ceremony in front of the prison.

Changing of the guard at Spandau Prison
Rota for guard duty -

Britain JAN / MAY / SEPT
France FEB / JUN / OCT
Soviets MAR / JUL / NOV

The sentries were manning six towers around the prison, but not guarding the prisoners themselves.

Cpl Davey also confirms that:
  • The burnt picture would have been taken illegally, as no photographs of Spandau were permitted. (The burnt picture was taken looking down onto a courtyard. The legs of 2/3 figures are in the picture are guards with a prisoner in the exercise yard. The barrel of a British sten gun is also in shot).
  • These are recent pictures (from the past week or so). 
British Berlin Infantry
It is established that Pvt Grey drowned this week, his body having been found floating in the Havel River yesterday morning when he failed to turn up for role-call. Cpl Davey described Grey as a good soldier, but that he'd not been himself over the past week, complaining about headaches and strange dreams.

Pvt Grey had even visited with his priest in recent days just before he died. His body is being held at St. Joseph's Hospital morgue and has been treated like a suicide.

The line of questioning had eased slightly by this stage as had tensions between the players and Cpl Davey, who was beginning to suspect that Pvt Grey's death may not have been a simple suicide after all. Cpl Davey mentioned that some military police had been poking around following Grey's death and had taken away some of his possessions. Although he couldn't explain why, Cpl Davey had held back some of Grey's personal effects - his camera, some private letters and some photographs. He agreed to let the team have these items if it would help their investigation.

The RPA investigation would now turn to Pvt Grey's body at St. Joseph's Hospital and following up on one of the few leads they had to find Pavel - "Der Regenbogen" (The Rainbow) a local Jazz club off Freidrichstraβe...

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Thing - A Print & Play Cardgame

"It fell from the sky and lay buried in ice for a 100,000 years. Soon it will be free.."

Sample Card
It's been many years since I tried any sort of Print & Play game, but I'm a huge fan of John Carpenter's 1982 movie, so this one has really caught my eye.

You can find full details for the game on BGG and access the card and rules pdfs here.

P&P does take a little bit of effort so perhaps this could end up as a Kickstarter if not picked up by a publisher first.

Kudos to designer Mark Chaplin and artist Viktor Csete for pulling this one together.

"I know you gentlemen have been through a lot, but when you find the time, I'd rather not spend the rest of this winter TIED TO THIS FUCKING COUCH!" - Garry

Cold City RPG - (P#8) Introduction / Scene #1 - Murder on Freidrichstraβe

In a bit of a step change from our usual blog posts, I invite you to step back in time with us to the year 1950 and a divided Berlin...

Cold City RPG
Cold City RPG 
Set in a slightly alternate history to our own with the raging Cold War as it's backdrop, Cold City focuses on the underground war in Berlin, 1950. 

In this divided city a multinational mix of player characters from Russia, Britain, France, America and possibly beyond form a Reserve Police Agency (RPA) field team. They are tasked to fight this secret war by hunting down the monsters left over from sinister experiments and twisted Nazi technology. 

The odds are stacked against the RPA from the beginning... ...national agendas, personal agendas, enemies everywhere... ...who will you trust?...

Das Brandenburger Tor
The Player Characters
Louis Renoir (French) played by GaryB

Former Occupation - French Spy
Current Occupation - RPA Field Agent

National Agenda - Root out corruption within the RPA. The Agency needs to function properly for the good of France.
Personal Agenda - Find out what they've done with my family.

Louis returned to his hometown after the war and years of secret service to his country. He found that his family had been branded traitors and been either murdered or taken. He will find out what happened and avenge them...

Gavril (Russian) played by TrevorH

Former Occupation - Russian Soldier
Current Occupation - RPA Field Agent

National Agenda - Report back to his "Uncle" Vasili on the activities of the British and Americans within the RPA.
Personal Agenda - Recover evidence concerning the monsters they fight in Berlin.

Gavril, superstitious from and early age, has always believed that monsters existed in some form or another. He was one of the first to enter Berlin at the end of the war and some of the things that he has found here have served only to strengthen his beliefs.

Holly Wright / Juliet Bloom (British) played by PaulineH

Former Occupation - Military Doctor
Current Occupation - RPA Field Agent

National Agenda - Recover ST technology for Britain.
Personal Agenda - Recognition from her father, a member of the RPA DC.

Being forced into marriage at the end of the war, Holly fled and created a new identity for herself in Berlin. She now works as and RPA field agent right under her father's unknowing nose.

Frank Wheeler (American) played by AndyA

Former Occupation - Redactor for US intelligence during the war
Current Occupation - RPA Field Agent

National Agenda - Recover a live specimen and arrange delivery to the Americans
Personal Agenda - They tried to kill me, but why? What did I see?

During the war Frank redacted many documents on behalf of his government, but he saw something that he shouldn't have and someone tried to have him killed for it. He knows more about the technology the Germans used during the war than most. It's all just words though... What happens when it becomes real?

(P#8) Scene #1 - Murder on Freidrichstraβe (#2, #3, #4, #5a, #5b)
Ordered to attend a 2:37am briefing below the Kammergericht Building, the field team soon found themselves in the dark snowy streets of Freidrichstraβe to investigate an unusual murder reported to the RPA by the VoPos. Wheeler engaged the two police officers outside by their Trabi and established that a Frau Gissen had reported a disturbance at the Roth & Son photography shop. On arrival the officers had found the body of Gunter Roth, but no sign of his son Pavel.

It was a cold night and both officers were wrapped up in heavy coats and smelling of alcohol. One officer in particular was nervous and the team later established that some money was missing from the shop's till. 

Sector crossing point in Berlin.
Inside Wheeler searches the shop and finds a few things of interest:
  • Blood at the front step.
  • "Shop" - Cash register open and empty.
  • "Shop" - A framed photo on the wall of Gunter (father, mid forties) and Pavel (son, 15/16) Roth.
  • "Shop" - Various pictures (previous satisfied customers?), photography equipment etc.
  • "Shop" - Open Ledger highlighting sales and films left for processing. Cpl Davey, ticket #7221 is recorded there and is due to collect photos in a few days time. It had been left in on Saturday 28th of January.
Meanwhile, Gavril and Bloom worked the crime scene finding the mutilated body of Gunter Roth in the darkroom towards the back of the building.
  • The body of Gunter Roth
    • Eyes gone, look to have exploded from sockets.
    • Time of death - midnight?
  • Bloody floor and a UK size "7" footprint.
  • Burnt photo on floor beside body
    • Depicts a courtyard scene.
    • Taken from a height looking down.
    • Two or three figures in courtyard. Legs only as this part is burnt badly.
    • Strange burning effect on photo.
    • Barrel of a British Sten gun is partial in shot from wall that photo has been taken from.
    • Early morning photo.
  • Other photos from this batch #7221 (registered to Cpl Davey)
    • Pictures of soldiers on parade and in barracks
      • Barracks identified as "Smuts Barracks" near Spandau Prison
      • Courtyard later identified by Arkady as within Spandau Prison.
      • Cpl Davey is in a number of the shots, which means that if the photos are indeed from his camera that he didn't take all of them.
Berlin Flak Tower.
Wheeler concludes his search by moving upstairs. The bedrooms are pretty much as expected and hold no further clues, but he does find a hidden attic studio setup to take more "private" photos. Wheeler recovers a number of pornographic images, clearly Mr Roth had some sort of sideline here...

Outside, Renoir followed tracks in the snow which led to the entrance of the Unter Den Linten station. The station itself was locked up for the night, so clearly who ever had fled this way had climbed the fence and disappeared into the U-Bahn system. Glancing back towards the photography shop he pauses for a moment before climbing the gate himself. Wheeler would later join him in the U-Bahn, but they find no sign of Pavel or anyone else except the night guard on duty.

Next door Frau Gissen confirms some details shared earlier by the Vopos officers:
  • She heard a scream, shouting and then another scream.
  • Saw a figure (Pavel?) leaving the Photography Shop
  • A little before midnight
  • Father & Son got on well together. Mother is dead. Good neighbours.
  • Son sometimes hangs out at Der Regenbogen (The Rainbow) Jazz Club.

The team later arrange for Gunter's body to be taken back for an autopsy and establish that:
  • Confirmed time of death as being between 11pm and Midnight
  • Heat/Light source cause of internal damage to frontal lobes and eyes?
A preliminary report is submitted to RPA DC member Col Arkady who reveals that the courtyard pictured is of Spandau Prison. Arkady also warns them not to take the investigation there, but to instead keep their focus on finding the boy Pavel.

 The trail in the U-Bahn is cold for now, so they elect to follow-up with Cpl Davey at the Smuts Barracks.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

AAR - FAB Sicily 19-Aug-12

FAB Sicily
Sunday was our second run at the 5-turn tournament scenario covering July 10, 1943 through to July 19, 1943. I took on the Axis forces against the combined efforts of GaryB (US forces) and AndyA (British forces).

Axis Setup

I knew that I'd be handing the Axis defence this week and read-up a little on some play-testing set-ups conscious that the Allies may elect to try the Alternate Landings instead of the Historical Landings used in Game #1. Unfortunately I was running late on the night and much of what I'd read was forgotten in my rush to get the game started. :)

There was however some method in my madness as I expected the British to deploy in the B2 through B6 landing areas (line A) to put pressure on the Port at Syracuse and the Port at Catania through Lentini, so I left Modica (point E) unpopulated. Elsewhere I constructed my own "Maginot line" (point I) as a strong fallback position should the Allies go for the Historical Landings.

(1) Axis Setup
Otherwise the random untried Italians were on coastal defence (to gain Field Works markers) and fairly spread out along some of line B as well as lines C and D. Looking back, I can see some clear weaknesses, especially around the Port of Palermo from points G and H, but the Allies didn't choose to exploit those in their set-up.

I also didn't consider placing any units around Messina (red area F in the picture). There are a lot of potential victory points here for the Allied player, but I felt that I could route the more mobile armoured units there if I needed to.

Allied Setup

Having considered my Axis setup the Allies chose the Alternate Landings option and placed their British forces in A4 and B1 through B4, with their US forces in D10 through D13 as pictured below.

(2) Allied Invasion Setup
From an Axis point-of-view I was quite pleased with their choices and felt that I could manage my forces well enough to cope. Turn one would be a bit of a wake-up call for this early optimism.

Turn #1

The Allied landings were an almost complete success and only one untried Italian unit survived the beach assaults vs. the US 1st Infantry in Monti Sicani (point A below). The Allies claimed an undamaged Port Syracuse and claimed their first Fading Italian Morale chit for the draw bag.

View after Allied turn #1
My untried units mostly failed their morale checks and generally rolled poorly against the mighty invasion forces, in fact my only success was to eliminate the US 82nd Airborne who dropped straight into combat with the two Livorno Mobile Infantry units at Canicatti (point B above). This airborne unit was worth 1VP to the Axis.

During the Admin Phase of my Axis turn I damaged the Port at Catania (point A below), blew bridges on the Simeto River (point B below) and built defensive field works in Val Di Catania, Vizzini and Caltanissetta (orange dots below). Meanwhile the Allies were using the British 3rd Commando asset to perform a flanking invasion at Lentini (point C below). These commandos survived and would remain awaiting Allied reinforcements.

View after Axis turn #1
A Panzer IV
During movement I brought the HG Armoured Panzer Division forward to Sortino to try and halt the Allied advance (movement D above).

The beleaguered green Italian unit in Monti Sicani was also reinforced by a strong Assietta Mountain Infantry unit (movement E above) and I reserve moved the Elite 15th Panzer Grenadier to the centre of the island in order to support the VP in Caltanissetta (movement F above). +7 NET VPs to Axis

Turn #2

Could the Allies exploit a gap in the Axis lines?
As we entered turn #2 I was sure that I'd made a mistake and opened the door for the Allies by leaving a gap in my lines at Mussomeli. To protect the VP at Caltanissetta I blew bridges across the Platani and Salso Rivers.

Allied infantry did indeed move through the Mussomeli Gap (movements A and B below) and re-engaged the strengthened Italians at Monti Sicani (point D below). These advances and assaults would prove a devastating failure for the US forces.

A critical passage of play.
Firstly their assault at Monti Sicani met with stiff resistance from the Assietta Mountain Infantry and the US 1st Infantry sustain heavy losses with both units reducing down to one strength each.

Worse was to come however as their drive to exploit the gap in the Axis lines had created one in their own between Canicatti and Agrigento (Axis movement D in the picture to the left). My Livorno Mobile Infantry units moved in picking up 2 VPs from the unprotected beachheads.

I felt pretty bad for not warning them during their Movement Phase, but it was something that we'd covered in our first game. This is WAR after all! :)

Victory Points by turn.
These turn #2 losses, combined with another lost airborne unit saw the Axis forces move into a +10 NET VP lead moving into turn #3. A sudden death victory could be called after 4 turns if the Allies were on +2 NET VPs or the Axis were on +8 NET VPs, so my position was beginning to look almost comfortable.

Turn #3

Stung by the events of Turn #2, the Allies had to respond choosing to complete their breakthrough on the Axis lines and threaten both Termini Imerese (point B) and halving the distance to Messina itself (point C) with the Elite 45th Infantry.

The Allied Fightback
The US also withdrew two units back to the coast and assaulted the brave Livorno Mobile Infantry cutting off the Axis supply line in to them in the process (point A).

Meanwhile the British forces were struggling to make huge progress, but still threatening to capture the airfield at Niscemi. Generally the Allied battles were more successful in Turn #3, but they didn't manage to capture either Termini Imerese or Cattolica Eraclea despite significant Axis losses.

Allied 45th caught and destroyed at Nicosea

In the responding Axis turn I reinforced Termini Imerese (point B below) and sent an elite PG armoured division to deal with the breakaway US 45th Infantry unit at Nicosea, en route to Messina (point A below and in right-hand picture).

Axis Clean-up.
Our evening was drawing to a close and Turn #3 ended with the Allies losing their breakaway unit to give the Axis a +11 NET VP total. The Allies conceded defeat at this point.

Final Thoughts

Tonight's game really brought the game to life for me and although we are still getting the odd rule wrong, our pace has picked up considerably and we better understand the general flow of play. I was a little fortunate this evening, turning a genuine mistake into an opportunity to score two VPs from the US beachhead markers, but generally I was happy with how I handled the Axis forces.

I'd like to give the original fast action battles game "FAB Bulge" a try now and hope to pick-up FAB: Golan '73 when it comes out.

Next up is the full 9 turn campaign game via VASSAL.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

KoffeeKlub Evening 19th of August

Kicking In The Door
A FAB Sicily reboot to recover our lost session from last Sunday. GaryB, AndyA and myself will be hosting a KoffeeKlub evening from Whitehead Primary School this Sunday from 7-11pm.

The likely line-up will see me taking on the roll of the Germans/Italians vs. GaryB's and AndyA's Allies.

"I like my coffee strong, not lethal!" - M*A*S*H

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

GamesReport 12-Aug-12: Memoir '44

Memoir '44
KoffeeKlub this evening had a couple of extra faces so we put FAB: Sicily on the back-burner and went for a slightly more accessible Memoir '44, through one of their Overlord scenarios "Sword of Stalingrad".

Memoir '44 has been one of my favourites for many years now, but hasn't had much table time over the past few years as I turned my attention to more meaty wargames. That being said it's fairly straight-forward to teach and almost immediately accessible for the new player.

Tonight, given that we had 4-players, I brought along the "Sword of Stalingrad" double-sized map/scenario covering the harrowing battle for Stalingrad between the Germans (TrevH and Neil) and the Russians (AndyA and myself).

Sword of Stalingrad

By the end of August 1942, German troops had reached the Volga, north of Stalingrad. In a matter of days, 4th Panzer Army, headed for the river south of the city, effectively trapping many of the men and women of the Soviet 62nd Army. Stalin's order of July 27 - "Not a step back!" - was no longer just an obligation but a necessity, and its slogan "There is no land behind the Volga!" the harsh reality that now faced all of the city's inhabitants.
Having witnessed first-hand on the Russian steppe the devastating effectiveness of German Blitzkrieg tactics, Lt. General Chuikov turned the carpet-bombing of the city to his advantage. Anchoring his defense lines in bombed-out buildings that overlooked strategically important streets and squares, he ordered Soviet troops to "hug the enemy". Always keeping the front lines as close to the Germans as physically possible, often a mere floor or door frame away, he successfully negated much of the Germans' firepower and combined arms superiority.

Sword of Stalingrad Map

Order #227 - Not A Step Back!

Russian forces fight to hold the centre
Early German pressure came through the centre as both Axis players pushed to take victory points be claiming the Mamiev Koragan hills. Russian resistance was fierce and turn after turn the Germans were depleted in the area with the Allies taking only a few significant hits.

Devastation from the Luftwaffe
Army Group South were having more success along the Russian right flank, decimating the Red Army with brutal attacks from the Luftwaffe, reinforcing their gains with armoured units and a drive towards the Red Barricades Factory.

By mid-game however the Axis centre had almost broken completely, the losses there outweighing their gains on the Russian right in terms of victory points. Further Luftwaffe successes were not enough to save the battle and the Russians ran out winners by 17 medals to 12 medals.

Final Thoughts

Memoir is heavily luck driven and in my opinion works best with short 2-player scenarios and not in the Overlord format we tried this evening. Whilst a lot of fun tonight, the shear volume of troops to move and medals to win left us with a 2-3hr game which had in the end outstayed it's welcome.

Stick to the shorter scenarios and if you need a meatier experience try one (or both) of the fine campaign books available.

An enjoyable evening and great to meet Neil who was visiting Trevor from the U.S. Thanks go out to TrevorH for hosting our gaming evening and to AndyA for some great pictures. 

GaryG and AndyA are awarded 5 beans each for the win.


Ponte Del Diavolo
Our final board position
Other other game this evening was Ponte Del Diavolo, by Hans Im Gluck games. This is a neat little tile laying/area control strategy game. 

Each turn players play two of their tiles or one bridging piece, the goal is to score points by creating and linking sets of four tiles (islands) without "sand-banking" (coming too close to) your other islands. 

GaryG is awarded 2 beans for the win.  

Thursday, 9 August 2012

KoffeeKlub Evening 12th of August

The Hasty P's in Sicily
Week two in the Med as AndyA and I do battle for the control of Sicily. We're back at Whitehead Primary School this week from 7-11pm.

Why not join us for a Cup o' Joe?

FAB: Golan - Coming to a P500 near you?

FAB: Golan
We've already covered FAB: Sicily with a few recent blog articles, A First Look At FAB - Sicily and AAR - FAB Sicily 05-Aug-12, so taking a look into the future it appears that the Fast Action Battles system will have some more interesting releases.

 First-up is likely to be FAB: Golan, covering the 1973 conflict between Syria and Israel, so keep an eye open for it's appearance on GMT's P500 list soon.

FAB: Golan Playtest Map
FAB: Golan is a co-design from Michael Gustavsson and Rick Young who believes that it suits the FAB system due to one side beginning as heavily favoured (Syrians), and then the other side later counterattacking (Israelis).

Beyond that they are considering Kharkov '42, Market-Garden, Suez '73, and Korea for FAB consideration. For now it's great to see that this fine series has a healthy future ahead of it.