Sunday, 14 June 2020


Re-reading yesterday's post I find that I may have given the impression that, after setting up the terrain, I followed the official rules for setting up the game. Obviously, and as I think we now all realise, great men of history such as myself are exempt from the sort of petty constraints that are appropriate for lesser beings; in other words, that's not exactly what I did. Instead, having established that the Germans were not only attacking, but were doing so with overwhelming force, I decided to give them some stormtroopers and fiddled the rest of the force around to make the points still even. The rules, which are not always either clear or consistent, say that you have to choose your forces before determining who attacks and who defends, but rather confusingly also say that the Germans can only have stormtroopers if they attack.

On the centenary of the start of the Great War some years ago various figure manufacturers launched WWI ranges on the assumption that there was going to be lots of demand from wargamers inspired by all the commemorations. There wasn't and very few, if any, of those ranges, were ever completed. In the case of the producers of 20mm plastic sets a fair number of them seemed to start with German stormtroopers - presumably because they are exotic - and then they never got round to anything much else. That is why most of my German forces are metal whereas most of the British are plastic. I mention all this because, whilst I have some stormtroopers painted up I wouldn't bother using them for a game at this level where each unit represents a battalion. On my table the units so designated look just the same as the other German infantry.

This is also consistent with the way that Stoßtruppen are handled in 'Square Bashing'. Basically, they are infantry units that are deployed further forwards than everything else and get an extra assault phase right at the beginning of the game, during which they get to throw some extra dice. Given that the attacker moves first this effectively means that they get to attack twice in a row. After that first phase, they stop having any special abilities and count as the highest quality of infantry. They are allowed to deploy last, after the defender has both set out his units and they have been depleted to represent the initial barrage, meaning that they can attack the weakest point in the line if they so choose. I went down a different route, choosing to use them to try to seize the town that is one of the objectives. It didn't work. The British (or, to be more precise, their coin toss) decided to stay and fight and won the fight quite handily. I have clearly not only forgotten the rules, but also what tactics are best employed with them.

The Germans on the left have failed in their assault, losing one figure (half a base in terms of the rules). The casualty marker counts up losses until the next time morale is taken. The British losses were caused during the depletion rather than the assault, but in any case if you win the fight then then any casualties are ignored for morale purposes. Speaking of 'winning the fight', that's what the red token signifies, meaning that they will be able to claim extra dice in the next melee. I bought the tokens from Warbases and they're crap; unreadable in fact. When I gain access to the lasercutter once again I have a plan to make some better ones, also acrylic. The coloured beads indicate the quality of the unit.

The second unit of stormtroopers fared even worse, but my photograph of that turned out to be rather blurred. These others are now sitting in the open with two machine gun units ready to open fire on them. I think that the first German turn proper will need to open with a barrage on the town and hope that it doesn't fall short.

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