“Fear Naught” is a Flames of War campaign weekend originally set in what has to be the best possible venue; Bovington’s Tank Museum. The second event this year sees us using another excellent and somewhat more accessible for our Northern friends, Triple Helix Wargames.
In 2010, 22 keen FoW players got together on the 8th and 9th of May to relive a few days of the fighting around Anzio in early 1944. The result of this event was that the Axis were awarded a minor overall victory, the Allies had made some gains but overall the Germans held firm in most areas.
In 2011 20 plyers gathered to recreate some of the fighting in the Falaise Gap during mid August 1944.
From the outset the weekend had been planned to be somewhat different from the norm. Crucially, the whole weekend was be played at ‘company’ level. That is, over two days fighting either side would be very content to have gained perhaps a village or a crucial junction or railway siding.
All the games were linked closely, what happened in one game frequently had a direct effect on what happened or what would happen in another.
The weekend kicked off with 5 big battles, which had all been prepared by Lee, these were designed to set the stage for the rest of the weekend’s fighting. Crucially, as the ultimate aim of the weekend was that everyone had fun, although some battles were or at least appeared to be one sided, they were pretty even overall.
Although we wanted to keep it as historically accurate as possible it is only a game and we certainly abused our powers as organisers .
We stressed from the off that there will be a lot of flexibility asked of the players for the weekend and they absolutely delivered.
Keeping with the historical theme, the players’ forces were pretty damn close to what was available at the time.
One thing that struck me while doing my own background reading is how restricted the use of tanks was and the damage that was inflicted upon them, this on top of the less than favourable terrain in which to use them. In view of this , we did restrict fully armoured forces a tad. All my doom mongering before the event clearly paid off and the forces ultimately brought to the table were a very fair reflection of what we were hoping for, i.e lots of infantry supported by tanks and not swathes of tanks with a few foot sloggers in support.
One other aspect that we intended to really be adventurous with was artillery. Once more, background reading clearly shows how devastating this was (on both sides) but also there was no indication that either side had their artillery had their batteries assaulted directly by troops on the ground. This discounts later in the year when the Axis positions were overrun. During the period we were basing the event opon the allies were relatively comfortable beyond the beachhead and the Germans equally comfortable in the mountains. In the end Lee and I plumped for a card based system, we actually plumped for it around two days before the event and I had a very late printing stuff out the day before. The system simply boiled down to a card base system in which every player had a set of cards each turn and a new set each game over the weekend. These cards were randomly drawn and featured some very powerful cards and some relatively lame weak ones. In keeping with the weekend the allies could call upon some Naval support whereas the Germans had Anzio Annie to help out.
While the system was not perfect, overall I think it worked pretty well, in some games including one where I stepped in for a couple of hours it was devastating. I was at fault for not explaining some elements of the system well enough.
In addition to the Artillery cards we also used some bonus cards. These ranged were:
- Hasty Reserves – ONE USE ONLY. “Urgent Reserves are being rushed to the front”. Reveal this card before rolling for your reserves. For that phase, any dice rolls of 3+ will be successful in bringing on a reserve platoon.
- Extra Reserves – ONE USE ONLY. “Radio command for assistance.” Reveal this card at any time. Ask command (i.e. Alex) who will assess the situation, and may either add troops to bring on in reserve - or turn you down!
- Move it Out! – ONE USE ONLY. Reveal this card during your movement phase. Any one platoon may make an immediate extra full move, but this extra move may not be used to move the platoon closer to any enemy units.
- “Insane Courage” – ONE USE ONLY. Reveal this card before making any one motivation check. For that one check, +2 is added to the dice roll.
- Super Charge – ONE USE ONLY. “Fresh legs or a burst of motivation helps them get that little further”. Reveal this card before launching an assault, or making a stormtrooper move. The selected platoon is able to move 5″ instead of the normal 4″.
All in all both Lee and I were very satisfied the way the event turned out helped in no small part to the attendees who really did make our job one hell of a lot easier.