James and Paul came down to a rather busy Thursday club night to trial their new show game. The game recreates the assault through the murderous tunnels of Fort Vaux where the brave French defenders reversed the setbacks that had befallen them at Fort Douaumont. James had rather lovingly rendered the fort interior in 1/56 and the action was based on the attack of the 2 access tunnels by the German assault troops. A set of random ‘reinforcement’ cards would be placed on each section and would give the Germans extra troops, grenades or the dreaded flamethrower. The defending French also had a deck of cards to boost their defense but they could only use each card once to simulate the attrition of resources. They also has a few ‘blanks’ which did nothing.
The mechanics of the game were that the attack was over the course of 4 days. Each day was broken down into 4 assaults phases. Reinforcement cards were played at the beginning of the day. Each tunnel was sectioned in 10 barracked areas. To succeed the Germans needed to push the French back to the inner barracks area by the end of the 4th day. Any other result would be French victory. Each soldier/figures attacking or defending a barricade would roll a dice. To score a hit the attackers would need a 6, the defenders 5 or 6. Typical the attacking force would be larger. Each hit would remove a casualty and if the attackers won then they would push back the defenders the number of barricades equal the difference in the result. SO, a regular attack would be 10 Germans needing a 6 vs 8 French soldiers needing a 5 or 6. The cards would have some bearing on this.
We payed several games. The first played out at a rather protracted affair with the French slowly giving was until the fort was captured on day 3 or 4.
The second (where I was defending at the French) was a big victory to the French. Down to me throwing fistfuls of 5s and 6s. I don’t even think that Paul made it into the tunnel at tall. James did get in but ultimately came undone when he encountered a machine gun section (event card) lodged in a wider section of the tunnel. The attack was so bad that the we played a day 5 and 6 to see if the Germans could make any headway … but no
The 3rd was again quick and bloody. As the German this time I was initially repulsed by the French at the entrance. But on the 2nd assault, aided by a NCO (giving re-rolls to the dice) AND a flame thrower (each 6 rolled causes 2 hits). A rather lucky roll of 6 sixes out of 10 dice wiped of the defender in a ferocious attack.
All in all a pleasant game. Nothing too stressful, but it is designed for a quick participation show game. So all very jolly… not like the unlucky souls that had to face grenades in confined spaces and flamethrowers erupting everywhere.
Keeping with the WW1 theme. This is a co-operative card game where each player takes the role of a Poilu trying to survive the war through various trials. Neither Paul or James had played it before and I was tired by this time. Whenever we play this at home with the kids its always really hard to complete successfully. But this time the cards seemed to be kind and we must have had a lucky war and despite my player ending with a string of disorders .. at one point I was a phobic, silent, tyrannical leader and one card from losing the game … we succeeded. So much so I had to read the rules again when I got home – as it seemed so easy! But no it was OK we just got lucky.