Friday, April 25, 2014

A Bridge Even More Too Far : A World War Risus Session Report

I was itching to play some World War Risus, both for my own amusement, but also to post an example of play.

So, I used Platoon Forward (hereafter referred to as PF) to generate a scenario. My force, the US, would attack, with the objective was to occupy and hold a bridge. 

I placed that more or less central on the table, randomly generated the terrain using the method outlined in PF and then diced to see which side of the table was mine.

The scenario description recommended using my entire platoon. The remaining support was diced for per the scenario's description.

The Final OOB:
1 Platoon HQ
3 x Rifle Sections
1 x Heavy Weapon team
1 x Sherman

The enemy ended up with 4 Type A blinds and 3 Type C blinds. Blinds can be nothing or something. A is usually infantry, C is armor and such.

I also used the PF guidelines for determining leadership ability and translated those into World War Risus cliche dice.

I decided that the German platoon commander would have a Leadership to match mine, so 4 dice, with the stipulation that any successes the German Commander rolled could be used by any German unit on the board, regardless of LOS (since to start with, the commander wouldn't even be on the table).

The set up:

The brown in the foreground are fields and an orchard. I wasn't keen on using the rubble, but I rolled up 2 buildings for that section, so I had to make do.

I diced for my troop locations (not part of the scenario but a preference I have):

Turn 1
US - 2 Successes to Germans - 1 success.

I decided to distribute both successes, 1 to 1st section (my right) and 1 to 2nd section (my center).  

1st section rolled 1 Leadership success, which gives them 2 total.

With orders to advance to identify possible enemy movement in the woods opposite, they made their way into rifle range.

Here I decided that to spot a blind, they had to roll their CE, and with 1+ success they would succeed. In retrospect, I think I'd prefer to use the Risus target numbers.

In any case, they failed.

2nd Section also rolled one success 1 success (with only 2 cliche dice for Leadership, that was pretty good) + 1from HQ, so they moved up to the bridge. [I SHOULD have had them try to spot the blind, but for some reason didn't]

Meanwhile, the 3rd section, out of sight of HQ, had orders to advance to the edge of the orchard and try to ID any enemy by the house opposite. 

They rolled 1 success and advanced towards edge of field, but didn't quite reach it and were thus still concealed themselves.

The Sherman rolled 2 successes (the crew had a Leadership of 2 cliche dice, so that was awesome), and advanced parallel to 3rd section. The extra point was wasted.

The bazooka team scored 1 success and moved towards the road, using the ruins as cover.

The Type A blind in the woods had a clear shot at S1, and so I decided it would reveal itself. 

I rolled on the table in PF, and it turned out to be an infantry squad. 

I rolled for their Leadership and got 2. They rolled and scored 1 success and opened fire on 1st section with three successes!

1st section rolled and scored 1 success. With 2 less than the Germans, they lost 2 dice from their Combat Effectiveness cliche, and automatically lost 1 from their Morale cliche, before taking the Morale check. They scored one success on the Morale test which meant they were forced back and pinned.

I decided the Type A blind behind the wall would reveal itself as well (if it was anything), to get a shot at my section approaching the bridge:

It too was an infantry squad, although with 3 Leadership cliche dice.

Their Leadership roll scored 2 successes, so they opened fire; 2 successes.

My 2nd section rolled ZERO in response and thus lost 2 CE cliche dice and 1 Morale cliche die. The morale check could have gone worse, I suppose, as they fell back pinned, like 1st section.

At this point, I didn't think any of the other blinds needed to be revealed, since if anything, it might help my cause to know what remained.

At the end of turn 1, I had two sections reduced to Combat Effectiveness of 1 die, with Morale down to 2 dice each. 

This isn't a good way to start.

Turn 2 and 3
My troops made no progress and in fact, lost a bit.

1st section unpinned and began to move for cover behind the farmhouse, but didn't quite make it. 2nd section could not unpin and kept their heads down while the squad leader shouted for them to get up and make a run for cover.

The bright star in an otherwise dark void, 3rd section advanced to the orchard's edge to fire on the German's behind the low stone wall. Unfortunately their shooting was ineffective, while the same could not be said for the German squad, who, on their half of the turn, returned fire, and forced 3rd section to fall back pinned, and lose 1 die from their Morale cliche.

My bazooka team dove for cover behind the ruins, and the Sherman got stuck in a rut in the fields, as it did not change position.

At the end of each of these turns, using the table in PF, similar to Mythic GME, I asked, "Will the Germans reveal any blinds?" and set the possibility to Very Unlikely. I rolled a 4, which meant, no.


Turn 4

I decided I would try to gain contact with 3rd section and the tank (I kind of abandoned hope for 2nd section and I was just trying to preserve the 1st section) and began to move in that direction.

1st section managed to get behind the farm house, finally, but the other two sections were hugging the dirt.

At least the Sherman's crew finally took some initiative and advanced to the edge of the field. With only 1 success scored, that was all they could do.

The squad on the German left scored two successes. So I asked the all knowing table if they would move. I though that was very unlikely, but the dice felt otherwise. 

I asked if they would fall back and got a no, so they advanced towards the bridge (about half-way), which put them in firing range of my 2nd section in the center.

They did no damage, but forced a morale check, which the 2nd section failed, leaving them double pinned at the table's edge.

The squad behind the wall opened fire on the tank (this was more to test that rule a bit, than for a good decision) in hopes of driving it back but failed.

Turn 5
I'll be honest, things were looking bleak.

Section 1 did nothing. Section 2 failed to unpin. Section 3 at least unpinned but had nothing left for any other actions.

The Sherman finally got off a shot at the Germans behind the wall, but, despite rolling 7 dice, scored only 1 success. The Germans handily avoided any damage and even passed their morale test (with 3 successes!).

The squad on the German left finished moving to the bridge.

New German forces arrived in the center (they should have arrived last turn): a squad and a Panzer IV.

At least the new German squad had a Leadership cliche of only 2 and did nothing. The Pz.IV took advantage of the road and advanced to the bridge to support the German squad already there.

Meanwhile, the German squad behind the wall figured it wasn't safe there anymore and abandoned their position, intent on putting the house between it and the Sherman.

Turn 6
Section 1 and Section 2 again did nothing, the bazooka team advanced into the ruins, albeit too late, to try to get close for a shot at the Panzer.

Fortunately, the Sherman opened fire on the Panzer and scored 4 successes to zero! Using the rule the one-shot kill rule for vehicles, I re-rolled those 4 dice and scored a 13 (>=10 was the target) and the Pz.IV was destroyed!

Still, there would be no joy in Mudville.

The Germans by the bridge scored 2 successes.

First, they opened fire yet again on the 2nd section, who had been busy dining on delicious French soil. With only 1 die left in Combat Effectiveness, they were done for the day.

Then, using the 1 success from initiative, plus their remaining 1, the Germans fired a second time (each successive action of the same type in the same turn costs 1 additional success), they opened fire on the 3rd section hanging out near the edge of the orchard.

Outscoring them 2 to 0, Section 3 was destroyed.

The other other German sections moved. I decided for the heck of it to reveal the remaining blind, which mercifully, was nothing.

Down two sections, with the third badly wounded, and the German troops at full strength, save for the Panzer, I ordered my forces to fall back. 

1 German squad is behind the house.

Mission Failed!


  1. While I personally am not interested in these more modern wars, I do wonder how things are progressing (or not) with your 'zine and the Ever-Expanding Dungeon?

    -- Jeff

    1. Hi Jeff,
      The zine is done. I'm bringing it to the copy place tomorrow. You should see your contributor's copy shortly!

      As for the Ever Expanding Dungeon, it's on hiatus (although it has a cameo in the zine) but I hope to get back into it sooner, rather than later. Right now, I'm running two face-to-face games, and I'm on a painting kick for the Great Northern War and WWII. Those things use up much of my remaining hobby time.


  2. I think the problem is you keep referring to the American Squads as sections. And the G.I.s are confused, "Is he talking about us?"

    1. Hi Stu Rat,
      Ha! When I was writing it up, I kept thinking "I should be writing 'squad' not 'section'", but I decided to leave it.

      I think i read too many wargaming books by British authors.