Monday, November 12, 2007

Running the Slot 1943

It was the last opportunity for the ships to come out to play, and on this occasion - last Wednesday - we had an added feature to try; a set of "sealed mission orders" from one of the regular posters on the War at Sea forum (find them here:

The sealed orders offered 13 sets of orders, and we were each to choose one at random and try to achieve it. I had orders to draw out the enemy bombers, with a fleet of up to 100 points accompanying a convoy; I of course had no idea what Chris' orders were, but when he fielded a fleet of Submarines and dive bombers, I was able to make a guess that he needed to sink my merchant shipping.

As usual we played using my tabletop variant rules, in this case over a 7.5 x 5 foot table (well, over 6 little tables butted together) . Chris was entitled to deploy a couple of extra islands as part of his orders (i.e, he was able to pick where to ambush me). The result was I was forced to sail a narrow slot making it easy for him to hunt, me.

His streams of dive bombers started to attack my merchant men, however I was not afraid. I had elected to play American (having won the roll to do so) and with a limited fleet of 90 points had chosen an air defense force with a mid sized punch in the form of a battle cruiser. He could have ended up with sink the fleet orders and a 125 points of battleships, but it looked like my gamble would pay off. In the end the Baltimore led the fleet without firing a shot.

Chris managed to sink one merchantman, but the USS Atlanta, and it's ability to target multiple aircraft attacks saw him lose a group of dive bombers. Elsewhere my Catalina was busy discovering Japanese submarines.

As the subs became exposed I was able to send my Flecthers to track them down. The merchants reorganised themselves around the Atlanta, and were never seriously threatened by air attacks again. My Wildcats launched from the Princeton were the ultimate screen, protecting the airspace over the fleet.

In time all Chris' submarines launched attacks, and in the process I lost on Destroyer, but that was all; two of his subs and all but one of his bomber wings were destroyed. Soon I was within striking distance of the opposite end of the table.

Chris conceded! His mission was to use subs and bombers to sink either my merchant fleet, or if my force didn't have one, my two largest ships. It proved to be a cagey game, and not truly knowing what the other guy needed to achieve, really made it fun, and feel more like a real historical engagement.

A fine end to War at Sea for now, and my third win in a row!

Elsewhere the club was bristling with games; pick of the bunch being a 15mm American Civil War game using the Fire and Fury Rules. Both players had attractive armies, and made an effort to present appealing scenery.

Another was a board game with high production values:

The main game in terms of players was one of (fairly) modern jet fighter combat. 1:600 scale Mig21; nicely painted, the base needs some work.

Leeds generally has one game anyone can join each week. It's a good thing I guess, but they do tend to limit it to games of low visual impact, and it reduces the tendency of players to join other games, which seem always to be seen as private affairs.

In a year of running games at the club, I've only had a handful of other opponents; which can be a shame, and it certainly (in my view) encourages laziness in the players, who know they needn't invest time and effort in bringing their own model, and arranging their own games. Last Wednesday was great as their were a total of 5 games on. Often there are only two or three.


  1. Hey chum, why is this that last opportunity for WAS? I enjoy all the games you blog about; just wondering why that break (since you mention it twice :).


  2. Well, as it happens I'm working in a Ski resort for the next six months; not being a homeowner, all my stuff has gone into storage.

    I hope to keep the blog ticking over though, a future entry will cover the whys and wherfores more thoroughly. Thanks for the positive feedback though!

  3. Hells bells! I scanned through your blog to see if I'd missed the announcement, but I guess I didn't, looking back. I live in California, but the rest of the family's in Surrey so I enjoy the English gaming blogs very much. Thanks very much for all the great reads, here and on the Axis & Allies WAS forums, and have a great winter season (I grew up on skis, snowboarding's not for me :).

    -James (Asqlep)

  4. ..nice looking game, also like the look of the ACW game. I have the ACW earmarked for my next project - any idea who the maker was for the figures as I'm also thinking 15mm??