Gaming Serendipity?

About 3 weeks ago I was searching the internet for an old boardgame: Brittania, which I played once, many years ago. The game covers the early years of the foundation of Britain, from the Roman invasion to the Norman conquest (and beyond?)

At the time it seemed somewhat complex for my taste, and was a pure “cardboard counter” game.

Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to get a copy of the game.

Suddenly, a couple of days later I received an e-mail to the effect that PSC Games were re-releasing the game, with 3d playing pieces and the addition of a 2 player version.

Then the Kickstarter invitation arrived. I subscribed. The project was funded within 5 hours.

We shall see what develops.

Positives and negatives

It would seem that the veteran model railway company Hornby, that has since taken over rival companies such as Triang, Airfix and Scalextric, may have decided to support the modelling community in preference to the toy sector.

In a recent BBC interview the new chairman said to the effect of : “We have to look at our target market. For example: ‘How does the Harry Potter train set fit into my layout of Torquay in the 1960s'”

He also referred to keeping the Scalextric* motor racing models relevant. But also that the Airfix range will include everything from a simple clip-together kit to a super-detailed model that will take up to 3 months to assemble.

——————–
*It is unfortunate that he replaced the ‘x’ in Scalextric with a ‘c’. A common mistake, but not ecpected (sic) from the chairman of the company.

But that in turn reminded me of a business meeting in the 1980’s at Zanussi; about to launch their ‘Nexus’ range of washing machines.
(Paraphrased from memory)
Marketing Director: “Our market research company tells us that anything with an x in the middle has positive connotations.”
Managing Director: “Like ‘toxic’ or ‘noxious’ for example?”
Methinks that somebody had been briefed before the meeting.

D-Day and beyond. Part 6

Being a narrative story of a continuing wargame.

When I had the idea of this project I thought that I would very quickly fall behind the timeline of 75 years to the day.  I was right!  Even without taking into account the restricted weekend gaming time, I cannot afford to spend the requisite amount of time staring at a game board, making decisions and rolling dice.

Anyway, here is the next part of Captain Copley’s report.

8th June 1944.

This morning we began to receive reinforcements.  First to arrive, around 10:00, was a platoon from C Company.

As they arrived, the remains of A Company launched an attack on the Germans who were trying to cut us off from the beach.

One of Lt. Smythe’s PIAT teams moved up into the woods, stalking the SP gun which gave us some bother yesterday.  They successfully put it out of action. They were accompanied by a rifle squad which attacked enemy infantry on the road.  The enemy ran back into the woods, but then the squad came under rifle fire themselves.  To add to their problems they then suffered artillery fire.  None apparently survived.  The PIAT team was also wiped out in this bombardment.

On the left flank Sgt. MacGregor’s platoon began to move southwest towards the main road, and I moved my HQ southwards to keep in contact with the company’s advance.

The Churchill tank moved cautiously up the road and took position in a defile between two cliffs.

I ordered Sgt. MacGregor to try to get his light mortars to a position from which they could attack the enemy artillery, which was believed to be behind the far hill (point 538 on my map).  He acknowledged the order and I observed his platoon moving over the hill crest towards the southwest.  I continued to move my own HQ up to remain in touch with the company.

I ordered Lt. Smythe to keep moving forward.  For the time being I took command of the newly-arrived platoon from C Company, who advanced along the road.  I also instructed the commander of the Yeomanry’s single Churchill to continue along the road, reporting any sighting of the enemy.  After a few minutes he reported that he had found the enemy’s artillery and destroyed one of the guns.  He was intending to pullback behind the cover of the woods.

Around 10:30 I suffered W/T problems and lost touch with both my own platoon commanders, but urged the reinforcing platoon to  push on up the road.

Next to land was a troop of 25pr guns.  They were a sight for sore eyes!  I suggested to the Troop Commander that he should move to point 621 and deploy behind the crest.  He agreed and advised that the whole regiment (16 guns) would shortly be landing.

I could not raise the Yeomanry tank commander and feared the worst.

I heard shooting to the south and looking around from my vantage point on one of the bluffs I was able to make out a column of enemy infantry moving up the road on our left flank.  They  were already engaged With our infantry on the left.  I immediately called up Sgt. MacGregor, who told me he was already taking action to redeploy his platoon to meet the new threat.

Lt. Smythe reported that he had cleared the immediate threat from the west and was turning to assault the hill to his left flank.

A few minutes later Sgt. MacGregor reported that he was in a spot of bother on the southern flank.   One of his Bren teams had “bottled it”, disturbing the chaps behind them as they ran.  I ordered him to hold as well as he could while I attempted to reinforce his position.  On the right I ordered Lt. Smythe to push on up the hill as he had planned.  I had no response from third platoon commander.

As the first 25pr troop began to set up their positions a second troop arrived, followed by another infantry platoon from C Coy.

Sgt. MacGregor established a defensive line against the enemy infantry arriving from the south.  Lt. Smythe pushed on up the hill, encountering some disorganised infantry in the woods.

The first artillery section took position and their observer moved forwards and established an OP in the woods on the forward slope.

I looked at my watch.  11:00.  Had all of this happened within only one hour?

…to be continued…

 

D-Day and Beyond, Part 4

6th June 1944

Report from Capt. Copley, 2 I/c A Company.

It appears that the Major was correct to worry about the German guns.
Although our bombing and naval gunfire had pretty much wrecked the shoreline defences, we ran into several minefields behind the beach area and the Jerrys sent forward three SP anti-tank guns. We managed to knock all three out but not before they had accounted for all 6 of the Yeomanry’s Churchills.

We landed at 07:30 and by 09:00 most of the remains of the company was still pinned down near the shore line and in the ruined houses on the left flank.
Some of our chaps never got ashore until later because the beach was too congested to move.
We did not get the Vickers platoon or the 3” mortars ashore.

Two rifle squads succeeded in punching through on the left flank and took the high ground, capturing one German howitzer and killing both the crew and the OP team, but the road junction objective is still in enemy hands.

We are now digging in within 100 yards of the shoreline against enemy counter-attack and hoping for reinforcements. We have a forward post at Point 621 at our front centre.

Casualty report:
Major Read (Company C.O.), C.S.M Gane,
Lieut. Flitcroft, 1 Platoon
Lieut. Davies, 2 Platoon
Lieut. Cork, 4 Platoon
55 NCOs and Other Ranks.

Fit for duty.
Captain Copley, Lieutenant Smythe, 100 NCOs and ORs.
Equipment Return.
4 PIATs, 4 x 2” Mortar, 6 Bren guns, Rifles and other small arms.

In addition 6 Churchill tanks from the Yeomanry destroyed.

Capt. Copley, Officer Commanding A Company.

D-Day and Beyond, Part 3

Continuing the story of a wargame.

5th June 1944

And so we begin our embarkation.  I am still very worried about those guns just over the hill from the beach we are to assault tomorrow.  I pray that the bombing raids and naval bombardment will help to take them out of the picture before we have to go in.

One of my chaps came to me today requesting compassionate leave.  When asked why, he replied “Death in the family Sir.”  When I asked who, he replied:  “Nobody yet Sir, but there bloody soon will be and I want to go home and console my parents before it happens.”

A new old book for my collection

Today I finally got my hands on my own copy of “Sea Battle Games” by P. Dunn, published by MAP in 1970, reprinted 1974.

This means that I can throw away the 88 photocopied sheets from a library copy that I have had for the last 15-20 years as a substitute.  (Yes, I know it was not legal, but in those days it was very difficult to hunt down an out of print book.)

Amazingly the price I paid for a copy in good condition with a protective plastic cover over the dust cover was only four times the cover price 45 years ago!  Even with postage added I paid only about 7 times the original price, which in my opinion is not bad.

When it was published the book cost about 3.5% of my net monthly salary.  Today, even with postage added, it cost only about .075% of my net monthly pension.

I have always had a whim to play Chapter 9: “The Hypothetical World War Game”.  Sadly I already have too many gaming projects to start this at present, but it might be tied in with my plan to refight on the wargame table the whole of World War Two, which started five years ago and has so far reached 4th September 1939!!!

Anyway, this evening I will commence reading the book.

Arnhem Rail Bridge part 2

18th September 1944, 12:00

Situation:  3rd Polish Parachute Battalion (3 PP) and 7th Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers (7KOSB) had joined forces across the rail bridge west of Arnhem.  Two companies of 3rd Panzer Grenadier Battalion, 9th SS Panzer Division (3/9SS) were still holding out in bunkers at each end of the bridge.  A flight of German fighters was threatening the allied troops.

General Urquhart sent his congratulations and ordered that the remaining enemy troops in the bunkers be eliminated.

Forces.  7KOSB.  3 companies, 10 platoons.  3PP. 4 companies, 14 platoons, including 2 mortars and 1 HQ.  3/9SS. 2 companies, 7 platoons.

Turn 1. 12:00

7KOSBs – Move Out (4 infantry units)  The three companies moved to positions to close assault the northern pill box.  A. 2 infantry. 2 hits  B. 1 infantry, 1 star. 1 hit. Unit eliminated and pill box captured.

3/9SS – Behind Enemy Lines.  Fighters left the table with no appropriate command card.  The company in the south bunker made a break-out.  Moved 1hex,  attacked a Polish rifle company in a defended position. 1 flag, so Poles retreat.  Moved 3 +1 for the road and exited the board, so a successful break-out was acheived.

Casualties.  Germans: 2 of 14=14%.  Allies: none.