David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occasional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Double Header

After a period of life when games seemed almost as rare as hen's teeth, along came today with not one, but two games played! Phil was over for the day today, rather than the usual afternoon game we tend to have, due to a change in personal transport options! The result was that we were able to play one game before lunch and a second after. The morning game was another Late Roman Civil War game, which I'll return to in a dedicated post later in the week, while the afternoon session saw us returning to the Vietnam War for the first time this year I think!

My 20mm collection is quite small really and I can't see me adding to it, unless I light on some cheap painted fugues on eBay or on a Bring and Buy somewhere. I have a number of tanks and helicopters, mostly in 15mm scale as prepainted Die Casts, but they do for us. One such figures in today's scenario, requiring the American player, one Lt Robinson, to rescue the crew of a downed helicopter before the local VC, lead by the cunning Major Ho Bic Li can carry off the drew for interrogation! The table is laid out with a village on the edge of the table. A road crosses the river and exits the table through the village. The American convoy enters from table left, while the Vietcong are distributed randomly by markers {50% of which are dummy blanks} as you can see in the following picture ~

The villagers of Pah-Doc are strictly neutral and can move 1x D6 when their movement card is drawn, their movement chosen by the player whose card was drawn immediately previously. A close up of the village shows the main distribution of these extras ~

The Americans enter from table left in a motorized convoy and must locate and rescue the crew of the downed helicopter. Each element moves individually on its card being drawn each turn while the Vietcong are activated by any American element passing within 6" of a marker, the net drawn Vietcong card determining which element is deployed. {Note: there are fewer Vietcong markers than elements, so the Vietcong player does not know the composition or distribution of his rapidly assembled force.}

Obviously, the American player will get a number of moves before any Vietcong can be activated when he has crossed the river and met the first of the encounter markers. First up was an encounter between the Vietcong HQ of Major Ho Bic Li and one of the M113's. One American is killed by enemy fire from the ambush, but in return two VC are killed and one suppressed!

Sergeant Paddock's squad debuses quickly from their M113 to deal with a second VC squad barring their advance on the village. These heroes were to absorb a tremendous amount of enemy fire from two VC squads as well as devastating mortar fire as the game progressed, but lets not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet ~

Despite there being three encounter markers just beyond their crash site, the downed chopper crew decide to try to move towards their rescuers. The markers are subsequently activated: one is a blank but two are the real thing. The card draw produces two VC rifle armed squads! In a melee one crewman is taken prisoner by one enemy squad and two escape the VC's clutches! The VC who capture the crewman must now try to get him into the village an off the table. They move at 1 x D6 each turn, while he can escape on a 20% chance each turn. The second VC squad is free to pursue the escaping crewmen in the next round of the game. Meanwhile, another VC rifle squad is engaging Paddock's men and holding up the rescue attempt ~

Casualties are steadily mounting for the Americans on the hill overlooking the village from a combination of VC rifle squads and the mortar fire from beyond the village. The Medic is the busiest man in the HQ squad at this stage!

As you can see in the picture above two crew men have made it to safety, their escape covered by the heroes of the hill! The third crewman is loose in the village, being hunted by another VC squad, while the captured crewman is being very slowly escorted from the area ~

The second US squad, under Sergeant Moore, have rapidly advanced up the road and risked activating other VC markers, which all turn out to be blanks! Where are the VC RPG squads I am wondering at this stage? Under the cover of US fire, the captured crewman rolls 19% and escapes the clutches of his VC captors! He makes a dash for the friendly faces of the US grunts, despite picking up two wounds in the fire fight with his captors!

Its all up for major Ho Bic Li as his forces are scattered and the four crewmen are rescued! He is left to rue the draw of the cards and the random distribution of his forces.

The final body count shows five Americans killed and several wounded, but most patched up by the Medic in the course of several turns under heavy enemy fire! The VC suffered twelve dead and fifteen suppressed, so a comfortable US victory in the end to add to the rescue of the four crewmen. I was mainly undone by the failure of my two RPG squads to materialize on the table, but that was the chance element built into the game. Neither player knows what or where the VC will appear, so its a case of throwing caution to the winds to rescue the men or of a steady and coordinated attack to determine the disposition and strength of the enemy. Phil began with the latter option, then absorbed casualties until his second squad were in position to make a dash for the village and effect the last rescue. My VC put up a stiff fight but were out gunned when no machine-gun or RPG squads turned up in my force. But still, the game lasted about 12 turns and was very tense for both of us right up to the end. If only my prisoner escort squad had not found the rice paddy such heavy going I might have claimed a minor victory point!
For those who like to know such things, the figures are mainly SHQ and Britannia, with others from several sources including one long gone company whose name I just can't recall but who I wish I had bought more from years ago at a SELWG show I attended while staying with Matt in London! The buildings I've no idea who made, but I know I bought them from Shaun of The Bunker fame at one Partizan show! The wound counters I made up from a £1.00 bag of novelty buttons bought in Hobbycraft! The helicopter is a Corgi die cast pre-paint job while the vegetation is a mixture of The Last Valley and home made stuff using aquarium plants! Make sure to pop back later in the week to see how the Ancient game in the morning session panned out!


  1. Great pictures- I've a bit of SHQ Nam stuff too. Really taken with your collection of civillian though.



    1. Thanks for dropping by,Pete,glad you liked what you saw too!

  2. Grand account of a rather splendid game, all very intense stuff right up to the end.

    1. Grand game,I agree,only spoilt by the result...

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks for that,Gordon! Glad you dropped by again.

  4. Great looking Vietnam game David! One doesn't see to many of those so it was nice for change.


    1. Thanks very much,Christopher! Glad you liked what you saw and took the trouble to say so;much appreciated.

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