1.00 TW&T AAR

The Full 1.00

Yes, the fateful day has arrived. The blog has finally reached the 1.00 mark, signifying that I actually managed to play an historical miniatures wargame of some sort. The game in question was Too Fat Lardies, “Troops, Weapons, and Tactics” and the playing of the game took place way back before Christmas. Which should tell you a lot about how busy I’ve been with other, less interesting, things. Without further delay, here is my first attempt at an after action report for my first game.

The Setup

This intro game is an adaptation of the intro scenario from Two Hour Wargames “Nuts!.” The Nuts! scenario was a zoomed in, four-on-four skirmish action, but I upped the forces to a squad per side to conform to the TW&T rules.

An American infantry squad has been tasked with reconnoitering and taking an isolated farmhouse in the Normandy countryside. They will be passing through dense woods on their approach to the farmstead. Opposing them is a full squad of Heer soldiers, who have taken up defensive positions in the house and a copse of woods, both of which lie south of a single track sunken road.

I took the German side for the first run-through, with my buddy, Brendan, taking the part of the U.S. Army.

The starting disposition.

Cards

Rather than an I go,you go turn system, TW&T uses a card-based turn mechanic. The deck is composed of a series of cards representing various organizational elements (squads, MG sections, armor, etc), big men (NCOs and officers), national characteristics, and random events. There are also tactical initiative cards, which are the currency that big men use as a sort of action point.

The card system makes for a very swingy game with the small forces that we had under command in our game, but I think it would make for a dynamic and exciting game with more squads and leaders in the deck. Exploitation of the ‘right moment’ becomes a big factor with a random turn sequence, and one is forced to make difficult choices with the limited number of tactical initiative cards that come out of the deck in each turn. As important is that the card deck makes for a very exciting game, with moments of extreme tension interlaced with the occasional bit of elation.

The Americans push forward.

The card out on the table in the picture above is an American ‘All Blinds’ card, which, as you might imagine, allows the US commander to move all his blinds.

Movement

TW&T features random movement, which is one of the ways that Too Fat Lardies (TFL) create battlefield “friction.” While troops are on blinds, they move in good order, but once contact with the enemy and exchange  of fire occurs, various squad elements will depend on their leaders to get them moving.

The random movement can be a bit frustrating, but the randomness is somewhat mitigated by an exception which allows an element to move to a particular terrain future, without danger of running over their objective. For instance, if I rolled 9″ of movement, but my goal was to occupy a stone wall 6″ away, then I could stop at the wall. If I rolled 3″ of movement, then that would be all I was able to move, regardless of intent.

Moving onto the sunken road.

Operating by Teams
One of the cooler things about TW&T is that it encourages historical tactics. Unlike most skirmish games, the smallest element in the TFL game is the fire team. An American squad is broken down into a rifle team, a B.A.R. team, and a scout team. The scout team is forced to rejoin the rifle team once hostilities break out, and then the American is left with two teams. One team serves as a base of fire, and the second becomes a maneuver element.

As a new gamer, I really appreciate the ten or twelve pages of the rulebook that are devoted to explaining tactical doctrines of the major combatants of WW2. Not only does it help one play the game, but it’s interesting information in its own right.

A successful spot roll...

In the photo above, one of the American blinds has been spotted by my MG-34 team in the copse of woods. I can’t remember if I successfully rolled to spot, or if they were discovered by automatic spotting rules that come into effect at close range, but in any case, the unit was revealed. If this were a larger game, I would still have to be concerned about the remaining blinds as potential strong forces.

Wounds, Pinning, and Suppression
TW&T uses a d6 based combat resolution mechanic. Firepower is based on weapon type and number of men in the firing element, and superior ability or equipment results in rolling of more dice. The total rolled, minus any ill effects from earlier combat, is compared to a chart and a result is given. The results vary from ‘wounds,’ which really represent a loss of cohesion more than any physical injury, to suppressing an element, to pinning an element, to inflicting actual casualties.

Suppression (in the general sense) works very well. It’s a lot harder to kill a soldier than it is to make a unit duck and refuse to advance. The level of lethality and the difficulty of getting soldiers to advance in the face of fire feels about right to me. TFL rules emphasize leadership, and having a good leader in the right place at the right time is essential.

Units will defend themselves and hold their position, but they will not advance against the enemy without explicit orders from a leader.

Exchanging fire.

The photo above shows that the MG-42 team and American squad have both taken wounds, but no casualties, as yet.

There's a kill...

If you look closely at the picture above, you’ll notice that the ammo bearer on the German side is gone and has been wounded or killed. You can’t make him out, but the German big man, Gefreiter Fritz Lieber, is directing the machine-gun fire. Lieber is beginning to wish he hadn’t deployed his MG in such a forward position.

That didn't take long...

And now we see the results of exchanging fire with a full squad at close range. The German MG team has been wiped out, though Lieber survived. He’s making his escape to the farmhouse, while his counterpart on the opposite side, Sergeant Slaughter, is leading his rifle team east down the road to prepare to assault the farmhouse.

The Germans are going to be at a severe disadvantage with no heavy weapons.

Lieber deploys men from the farmhouse.

The photo above shows Lieber with three rifleman (ignore that Panzerfaust). His card came up (the silhouette with the MP40) along with a tactical initiative card (the card with the corporal stripes). Lieber used his tactical initiative points to order a few men to the stone wall, while leaving half the team in the house to fire from doors and windows. All of the German riflemen have good cover, and all are able to bring their weapons to bear.

A preponderance of fire...

Unfortunately, my opponent is smart. He’s moved his B.A.R. team up through the copse of woods to apply a withering fire from the flank while the rifle team keeps up a suppressing fire from the sunken road. Soon enough, they’ve inflicted another casualty.

We're going to need a bigger graveyard.

The fact that I’m using a d12 to mark ‘wounds’ means that the Americans are pouring the fire to the Germans. Leaders can reduce wounds, but the Americans have caused another casualty, and there’s no way that poor Lieber can keep his men in good order.

Faced with the inevitable, Lieber throws his hands up and surrenders to the Americans, saving the lives of his three remaining men. The astute observer will notice that I caused not a single casualty on the American side! Grrr.

The Near Future

I’m a fan of this set of rules. We did some things wrong, and found some confusing spots in the text, but in the main the game we played was fast-moving, felt ‘realistic,’ and provided us with meaningful and interesting choices.

I think the TW&T rules will really shine on a larger battlefield with more maneuver elements. I’m now preparing for such a game, using the Skirmish Campaigns book, “Heroes of Omaha and Panzer Lehr,” that I’ve written about before. I’m really looking forward to giving the rules set another run.

Technical Notes—–

Adobe Illustrator does weird things to image files.

I apologize for the first few photos that are out of focus. I’d forgotten that autofocus was off on my camera during the first part of the game, and it’s a miracle that any of those early photos are of use!

 

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Comments

  • Brendon  On 01/15/2012 at 10:01 pm

    Hey, Sgt. Slaughter finally gets mentioned in “dispatches” cool !!!

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