Or How I Was Abandoned By the Dice Gods…
|The laughing maw of the Dice Gods (or a barn door)|
I managed to get a day’s gaming in last week, and so it was off to Giles’ for my VBCW fix. Giles’ gaming room (which apparently also doubles up as a kitchen) is currently at the mercy of the builders, so we took refuge in gaming room #2 (also known as the lounge). This meant playing on a smaller, 4’x4’ table – the perfect size for some Brink of Battle skirmishing!
The last game we played saw the remains of Giles’ BUF trapped in a barn. We decided to swap roles and continue this narrative by having these chaps now held prisoner and being guarded by a small force of Anglican League militia. While they waited for some transport, a party of Blackshorts was dispatched to rescue their Fascist chums.
|'Trouncer' Trudd and his gang.|
Having not had any time to knock up a new team with fresh traits, I used the Blackshort force I had used in the last lot of Brink ofBattle games, while Giles tweaked a previous list for his Anglicans. Thus my leader, ‘Trouncer’ Trudd, complete with cricket bat, led his troops, including an SMG armed veteran with the ‘hunter’ trait and a sniper with a scope and the ‘marksman’ trait, against an unknown enemy.
|My force composition|
As the Anglicans took up defensive positions in and around the barn, my plan was to deal with those guarding the entrance with the sniper and SMG, accompanied by a rifleman, while the rest of the squad took advantage of the tall hedges, which blocked the Anglicans’ line of sight, to move around to their flank and get in close.
|Blackshort sniper, SMG and chum advance.|
The plan started off well, with the Blackshort sniper drawing first blood, but alas this was probably the best result I had all day. The Anglicans returned fire and, with me making some truly woeful dice rolls, the SMG veteran and sniper were quickly silenced, leaving the flanking party to advance unsupported.
|Trudd's team get going|
The Anglicans poured out of the barn to face this threat and, with the Dice Gods continually mocking me, began to drop my Blackshorts when they came within sight.
Trudd and his flanking party pressed on, taking advantage of the cover, but were unable to properly get to grips with the defending Anglicans, who were proving to be the better shots. The ‘stubborn’ trait that I had given the Blackshorts meant that they did not flee too far as their comrades fell, but eventually my casualties were such that sooner or later I would fail a rout test.
Soon Trudd himself caught a bullet as the emboldened Anglicans edged forward to counter-attack. With him and his high command rating gone, failing the rout test was a certainty. The Anglicans had seen off the Fascists and were able to cart off their prisoners.
|"Bagsy the chap with the cricket bat..."|
|Trudd goes thud!|
For Giles' side of things, read here.
Time then for another game!
Time then for another game!
A while back I had knocked up some different Brink of Battle force compositions, including a small elite force of Welsh Nationalist hill fighters. Keen to use these I re-laid the table to represent a street going through a small village (christened ‘Longstreet’ by Giles).
|'Elite' hill fighters|
This scenario saw the Welsh raiders making an incursion across the border, only to be met at Longstreet by Giles’ BUF. My ‘elite’ force (pah, ‘elite’ my foot!) all had the ‘ranger’ trait, allowing them to pass through difficult terrain unhindered. The leader had the ‘sharpshooter’ trait, which negated his target’s concealment, while the two veterans enjoyed the ‘marksman’ trait, giving their rifles some extra oomph.
|A long shot drops a Fascist|
My small team advanced, trying to make use of cover, whilst one of the marksmen downed a BUF trooper who had strayed out in the open. His Fascist comrades took the hint and took cover behind a stone wall, while another pair made for the church, using the hedges and trees to block my line of sight.
I too split my force, perhaps rather unwisely considering I was at a numerical disadvantage. One group moved up through scrubland, using it to gain concealment. However one trooper strayed into the BUF’s line of sight and paid for his foolishness. My dicing was again abysmal, and the Welsh snipers failed to make their mark.
|Failing to find cover|
Meanwhile after some vacillating the two remaining Welshmen took off towards the church. Once again I left one of them exposed due to my poor use of the action tokens, although despite the BUF peppering him with shots, he somehow survived.
|Exposing himself on the road|
A general firefight ensued, with the BUF using the stone walls and church as cover while the Welsh skulked among the greenery. Again the Dice Gods forsook me, as did the gods of tactical thinking, for while I was happy with how I played the first game, this second bash saw me commit too many tactical mistakes (splitting up my small force, not concentrating fire, making poor use of cover etc.)
|BUF firing line|
With men dropping like Welsh flies, I conceded defeat, leaving the village of Longstreet to the BUF. Giles' take on the action is here.
So we had two fun games (despite my increasingly loud sighs of exasperation whenever a d10 was rolled) and it was great to try our hand at Brink of Battle again - fast becoming our go-to ruleset for skirmish gaming. It was interesting to try out new traits and force compositions and while we again made mistakes with the rules, they flowed quite well and little time was wasted in consulting the rulebook.
Being a multi-period set of rules with an interesting initiative mechanism and infinite scope for designing your forces, Brink of Battle is definitely worth a look!