Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Our bayonets were fixed

Saturday was another great Fix Bayonet! game day at Historic Fort Steilacoom. Lawrence Bateman and Damond Crump have been running this event for ages now. There were several games played and a good crowd of gamers. I got there, I thought early, only to find a pile of people already there.

Kevin Smyth and I ran a game of Song of Drums and Tomahawks with 6 players in the first period.  In the same period, Dean Motoyama ran a Black Powder Napoleonics game with his excellent minis.

Mitch Berdinka ran a Sharp Practice game of American Revolution.

There were three games in the second period: Dale Mickel ran a game of All Quiet on the Martian Front and Scott Murphy ran a game of Star Wars Armada, but I only got pictures of the game I played in, which was What a Tanker! run by Lawrence and Damond (see below).

Round 1: Death in the thickets

The game Kevin and I hosted was a replay of the game we played earlier at Meeples Games in West Seattle: A force of Dutch colonialist oppressors and their Iroquois allies are trying to make it across the table, but their way is blocked by a lot of vengeful Hurons.

The Dutch/Iroquois were Scott Murphy, Mark Serafin, and Chester [?]. The Hurons were Kevin, Mark Waddington, and Gary Greiss. The Dutch/Iroquois started just at a small river ford. The Hurons diced for arrival and wound up coming in separately from 3 sides.

Dutch and Iroquois cross the ford
Mark Serafin was in the lead with a force of 8 Iroquois. He made a rapid dash for the opposite table edge, but was intercepted by Kevin's and Mark Waddington's Hurons. Mark S. dashed for cover into a small thicket of heavy woods. Wargamers tend to use modern-era fire & movement tactics whatever period they're playing.

A shot rings out, a Iroquois falls, Mark takes cover
Mark W. plowed right into the thicket after him and a lively scrape ensued. Meanwhile Kevin kept a lively amount of bow and musket fire against Mark S. I though Mark S. was done for, but the combined efforts of Kevin and Mark W. failed to destroy him. He did lose his leader, but his hero stayed alive. I don't think he ever got down to half-strength.

Mark and Kevin surrounding the thicket
Chester (commanding the 8 Dutchmen) and Gary sparred a bit just past the ford. There were a few kills back and forth, but the fighting was mostly desultory.

Dutch and Hurons skirmish
Scott pushed his force of 8 Iroquois into the melee at the thicket, which contributed greatly to Mark W's discomfiture. After a while Mark W. was reduced to 2 figures left and heading away from the fight.

The thicket of death
Kevin's losses weren't too bad, but it looked as if there was nothing to stop the Iroquois from getting off the board. The Dutchmen may have been a different matter. They were less than half-way across the board and still had Gary's Hurons hounding them, plus Kevin's not insignificant force. The Iroquois players didn't seem to mind that the Dutch were doomed.

General mayhem at game's end
Song of Drums and Tomahawks is a fun set of rules. They're easy to learn and take some experience to master. Things can turn quickly and managing your activations is everything. Even then, best-laid plans can go awry.  Mark W. is considering Song of Drums and Shakos, the predecessor of Song of Drums and Tomahawks, for some Napoleonic gaming. The whole family of rules from Ganesha games is the most fun you can have with a handful of minis.

Round 2: Dave und Panzer

I dithered on whether I wanted to stay for round 2, but the lure of playing What a Tanker! again was too strong. I brought my fancy-schmanzty tanker dashboard (the only one I've finished so far), and my nifty 14mm Flames of War German dice that fit the squares.

The situation was Americans v. Germans in Normandy '44. The terrain was well broken up by hedgerows, walls, woods, and buildings. There was also a river than ran across the board separating the two sides. I think the Americans had objectives, but I don't know what they were. In any case, they didn't get across the river, so I assume they didn't achieve them.

Das Schlachtfeld bei Normandie
On the American side there were some standard Shermans, and Easy-Eight, and an M-36 Jackson, which mounted the best gun in the game. The Germans had a StuG IIIG, two Panzer IVFs, and a Tiger I.

I leaped to play the lone Tiger tank. It's nice to have such power, though it turned out to be a paper tiger. Being naturally aggressive, I did a Wittmann and impetuously ran my Tiger across the river hunting Shermans.

Meine Tiger
I came under fire immediately from one of Lawrence's Shermans. Lawrence rolled amazingly well all game. The rest of us, not so much. He managed a number of hits, but I bounced them all off my "10" armor. George Kettler came on with a second Sherman and for a while I was engaging both—to little effect.

I was cursed with bad dice rolling. Both my command dice and combat dice were painful. I took several shots at George's Sherman, but missed every shot. Every. Single. Shot. One shot resulted in snake-eyes, which ended my turn immediately and lost me the aim and acquisition I had.

Intimidating, but not deadly
Meanwhile, Will to my left with a Pz IVF was engaging Lawrence's Sherman. Will got many hits and Lawrence took a lot of damage, but stayed in the game. There were only two kills in the game. Ted Henkle blew up the StuG, but then got his M-36 blown up in turn by the replacement StuG that came on afterwards.

Mein Panzerkamerad Willi
George eventually gave up the line of advance that would have brought him up close and personal with my Tiger. He had to leave and left his Sherman to Damond.

The George's eye view of the Tiger situation
On my last turn of the game, I got the right command dice to get right up to the Sherman. I used my "3" aim die, but converted a "6" wild-card die into an aim die to get a +1 to my to-hit roll. I'd been failing to hit consistently throughout the game and I wanted every chance I could get. Turns out I didn't need it as I rolled "10"—my first and only hit of the game. But then I rolled 11 strike dice and got a single hit. Damond's armor roll provided just one block.

Closing in for the non-kill
The kicker is that if I hadn't converted that "6" to a "3" for the +1 to-hit, I could have converted it to a "4" and taken a second shot. Maybe taking the Tiger was too much for me.


  1. Great post capturing the nice games going on that day. Great to see all of the usual suspects Yours and Kevin's game being top-flight - I regret not taking close-ups of your game, but Bruce M. had me answering a multitude of game questions on my table. P.S. The AWI Sharp Practice game was run by Mitch B. Again, good to see you all and looking forward to the next big gameday - MoF, I think.

  2. Sounds like a great day, apart from the big cat misfortunes of course! Lovely tables, too.

  3. Looks like a terrific game day. Nice looking games too!

  4. I read the rules a couple weeks ago. I'm glad I got a chance to play this game--even though my M-36 got shot-out from under me. :) Lawrance's die rolls were phenomenal!