World War Risus had its first real outing yesterday.
My prior games have all been played with top-down flats on my desk with rather uninteresting meeting encounters, simply to test mechanics; this time, i broke out the toy soldiers and an honest to goodness scenario. Using the table layout from this Tabletop Teaser from 1978, I decided that my objective was to capture the bridge, not blow it up, which meant dislodging the opposition, with 8 turns to do it.
|I played on my bed and surprisingly, Pumpkin was OK with this.|
At first my intention was to play a fast game using Featherstone's simple WWII rules from his War Games: Battles and Manoeuvres with Model Soldiers, but it seemed like I should give my own rules a chance in a real game.
As I saw the scenario, I had a weak company consisting of a company HQ, two platoons, a heavy weapons section (bazooka) and an MMG section. The enemy would have 1 AFV, 1 scout vehicle w/MG and 1 weak company consisting of 1 company HQ, 1 Wehrmacht rifle platoon and 1 SS rifle platoon
All but the company HQs and the SS platoon were rated 3 dice for all three cliches. The SS platoon had a CE of 4 and a Morale of 4, while the HQs were 4 all the way across.
According to my World War Risus rules, each platoon should have had a separate HQ, and each section should have maneuvered individually.
However, perhaps because I was in Featherstone mode when I set everything up, I continued to think of the platoons as single maneuver elements of 5 figures each, rather than as 3 elements + HQ element.
This sped up the game a bit because it eliminated 3 sets of Leadership rolls per platoon (1 for the HQ and 1 for each section, normally), as well as movement and individual actions for 3 elements per platoon. It also felt and looked "right" to me.
|I just really like my trees.|
What I realized, after I was done playing, is that, mechanically, for those following along at home, I was basically playing a World War Risus platoon HQ with 2 sections, with 2 company support sections.
|A brutal melee handled very close to standard Risus, meaning either side could lose a point of CE each round.|
But the more I think about it, the more I realize, I'm not sure it matters either way. They could have been squads, but I thought of them as platoons without individual platoon leaders represented, but they could have been two companies of a battalion for that matter. Just like Featherstone and other old school rules (as I mentioned here).
I've thought about this and it seems to me that just treating them as units, without worry to organizational level, makes it feel more game-like. It's one of the things about G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. that I like - that sliding-scale zoom (I keep meaning to play a WWII version of G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T., note to self).
This was also the first outing where I worried about movement distances but that was easily resolved using Featherstone's simple WWII rules.
Armor rules, which I had barely thought about yet, were quickly determined using THW's Nuts! 2.0. With the values there for front, back and side armor, I determined that a bazooka was +1 die weapon against armored vehicle, while a StuG got +3 defense dice for attacks from the front, +2 dice on the side, and +1 die for the rear.
The scout car would get +1 defense die because I assumed it was moving quickly unless otherwise noted and that a rifle platoon could attack a scout car by targeting the occupants, whereas the bazooka section could target the car itself or the occupants.
|One of several attempts by the bazooka section to knock out the StuG. Only one hit made it through, although it did reduce the effectiveness of the StuG a bit.|
The StuG also got +2 dice for its gun when attacking (MMG or main gun wasn't relevant to me).
|At this point, I thought, "Hey, I could still win this."|
|I have no idea why I thought that; that LMG team is part of an SS unit firing safely from cover in the village (the rest of the figures fit in the house).|
Using the cliches as I have for infantry, it means it takes 3 hits to knock out an AFV, but I kind of like that (at this scale, assuming a company battle, it's probably a troop of tanks). Still, I may look into the Lucky Shot rule in the Risus Companion (I think it's in there) just to make single shot knockouts a possibility.
|After the StuG unit eliminated the last of my remaining rifle unit on turn 8, the company commander ordered the bazooka section to fall back. The day was lost.|