Squarebashing, canal crossing

For our next game of Squarebashing we thought we’d try a canal crossing, this would allow Ray to use his newly acquired BEF. The canal game differs from the normal game in a couple of keys features. There is no countdown to battle, so that speeded things up a little. The table setup differs only that you put a canal traversing the tables (in-between rows 3 & 4) , it doesn’t occupy a square but acts as a barriers between the 2 rows. The defender gets to place the terrain as normal. The game type is always attack in force but with an extra depletion dice. The objective are different in that they are 3 crossing point on the canal. 1 is where the road crosses, and the other 2 are placed by the defender (each being at least 1 column apart) … AFTER the depletions are made. So the attacker gets to see where the weak point is and then placed the crossings there.

CANAL1

You can just see the BEF deployed above the canal here.Only 4 square of the 8 in the line have any occupancy

The plucky BEF only had 10 units of infantry , and after depletions only 5 were left on table, so the line was looking very thin. The defender also only gets to deploy in row 2 (so needs to move to occupy and defence of the canal crossing). So as always the defending position looked decidedly weak.

The Germans have raced forward to cross the canal quickly

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With the attacker getting the 1st turn the Germans called for – and received – a suppression barrage. In a game of completely ineffectual artillery , which is very unusual, all but one of the suppression squares deviated. The only one that didn’t deviate didn’t have any enemy troops in. However, thinks weren’t so bad. The barrage fell largely short and into the squares adjacent to the canal. This has the benefit of preventing the British from moving into those squares in the British first turn.

The Germans lurked forward and occupied the canal bank, ready to cross in 2 out of 3 crossing point in the next turn. As the British were pinned and unable to move into the defending bank, things were looking rosy.

The British 1st turn was quite catastrophic. The higher command has been hit (during the prior suppression barrage) and an luck would have it failed to save (1 on a d6) and had retired off table to the reinforcement pool. Ray has picked ‘assets’ as his higher command type (which allows re-rolls on the asset attempts so means you can spend less dice to try to get assets). Being off table in the first turn meant that he didn’t get it. SO , to try and stop the Germans crossing the canal the BEF had to use nearly all of the dice pool to try and get their own suppression barrage. 10 dice were rolled needing a 6 ….. the result was no 6’s Suddenly with the BEF pinned back, and no artillery, there wasn’t anything that could prevent the crossing. Perhaps it would all be over for Christmas and there was talk of an early drink in the pub.

This was taken after all the bonus assaulting tokens were taken off. It looked so good to start!

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The Germans second turn started well. They called and received a shock assault asset and rolled for a ‘fighting dice’ higher command. A large assault was massed on the leftmost crossing. This would be decided ‘a la bayonet’. Being that the assault took place one square back from the crossing the BEF didn’t benefit from any of the defended crossing rules. It wasn’t a completely perfect assault as the crossing was a pinch point and stopped other units supporting from the adjacent squares , rear support was also denied as it was on the far side of the canal. However I thought that the assault had a good chance . 3 full units (9 dice), +3 for shock assault , + 2 for fighting dice (-2 for attacking into hasty defences). The defenders had 1 unit (2 dice), 2 artillery (4 dice) and +1 for British firing. For a total of 7 dice. No –one had any supports . 12dice vs 7 dice … With odds like this there could only be 1 outcome. Yes, 2 hits each(after saves) and the British win (defender wins on a draw) .. the attack stalled. Further hits were applied and the BEF awarded the ‘winning the fight’ bonus for subsequent rounds. All of a sudden it would a lot harder to get past here

This was taken in the later turns where the Germans had spread out. However we do have some reservists having to fill in the line here.

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On the central crossing as the Germans has less of an advantage they did not assault and crossed the canal and tried to fan out to establish a ‘beachhead’

At this point luck swung violently against the Kaisers boys. Ray rolled 4 6s for this reinforcements, so the majority of the infantry arrived. It should be said that prior to this Ray had rolled 22 successive d6s in various phases and not getting a single 6 (it was one of those were you count up it was so bad) . He chanced his arm on the central crossing and launched 2 assaults where the odds were even. He won both. The fact that the Germans has their backs to the canal was catastrophic . Being unable retired meant to take another 6 hits. So where we’d lost by 1 in the assault (1 casualty) , then there would be another 3 hits followed by another 6 hits (unable to retire). I’ve never seen so many casualties mount up so quickly. There were squares with 6 or 7 casualties in. Then the subsequent morale check was almost a guaranteed failure , which again because they couldn’t retire generated another 6 hits. In Squarebashing a unit can normally take a lot of punishment. Get caught in a position where you a unable to retreat … Well .. there is a lesson to be learnt!

CANAL2

Don’t get caught with your back to a canal

The rightmost crossing had now been reinforced. With a MG and riflemen in a defended position on the crossing that was shut tight.

The Germans on the left flank failed their single dice morale test – so got a no advance. This halted any further crossing their as the square was full occupancy. Things were looking grim now for the Germans and we could have called it there and gone for that early drink. However we played on.

In subsequent turns the Germans were given some slight chances. On the left they did rally and began to spread out on the far side of the canal and reinforce the crossing. However, were they needed a bit of luck none was forthcoming. All point effect barrage failed and therefore as best all further assaults were even , and nothing really happened.

So we timed out before the countdown clock reached the end. However the result was never in doubt. Not quite a massive victory, but a solid one for the BEF – well done Ray and his Brits (for their first outing)

Ray provided all of the terrain, and it all looks rather splendid I’m sure you agree. The carpet tiles from the 70s suddenly have come back in vogue!

The canal crossing game was good and provided some different challenges. The strange dice results we had were probably not indicative of a normal game would be like. After reading the rules I thought it would be tough as the attacker. But at the beginning I would see a route to victory. Squarebashing has this strange sensation where you think you can do a lot , and then when you make contact with the enemy everything bogs down quite quickly. Which is probably about right.

Batman Miniatures game

Batman is a new game to me. It follows the current zeitgeist of low model skirmish type games. The setting is in the DC universe (as you might expect), but tends to follow TVs Gotham and the Arkham video game series than the comic series, certainly in style. It was brought to my attention as its popular at my FLGS, and as that is a 5 minute walk from where I live, it made sense to put a toe in the water. There was a tournament coming up and I thought I’d enter that – as that is usually a good way to get bloodied in the rule mechanics. So I committed to enter and picked a crew to paint up. I painted up Joker, just for no other reason that he took my fancy and the models were in store. The models are 32mm , and fine in detail. As they have a ‘realistic’ proportional style the details are delicate. The castings are ‘average’ with a bit of work required, and they do require a bit of efforgothamt to paint to make them look good.

 

The game itself it pretty simple, but has solid mechanics with some depth. Its alternate model activation rather than IGOUGO, with a mechanism for first player each round that it not novel but has a reasonable twist. Each turn has a planning phase (make the plan), where each model has action point to plan in to movement , attack , defence or special actions . As each character gets damages their action points go down. So all sensible so far. After the plans have been made then its time to execute them. Each character then spends these points until their activation is complete. Nothing earth shattering here… things like base movement (MC) 10cm, but if you spend a special (SC) then you can sprint double – in a straight line. Combat has either 2 or 3 dice phases to complete. Roll to hit (on opponents defence) , the opponent then can defend (if they have defence counters to spend) , then any hits roll to wound. Damage ie either ‘stun’or ‘lethal’ (blood). A model can take up to their endurance in damage with the sum total of both markers. If they hit their endurance with blood, they are dead. If in stun (or stun /blood combined) then they are KO’d. KO can be recovered from, as can stun damage in a recovery phase.

titan

Each character has a set on individual traits and equipment that gives them flavour. It starts to look a bit like Warmachine as this point where its rules by caveat and exception. But as the model count if just lower its not quite so bad. Each crew is only about 4-12 models. You have a fighting chance of remembering!

mrhammer

The meat of the game, however, is the scenarios. They are objective based, with a few different types, which has some in-game effect and a VP score. So ammo for instance allows you reload your firearms and score you points. The objectives are largely placed on the board where have to plan to move. They are either in or close to your opponents deployment – or in no man’s land. You score objectives each turn (and they score 1-3 each), a KO or Kill scores you 1- 4 points. Given the game is 5-6 turns long there is a possibility of ~12-20 points available to score. To Kill a crew is probably going to net you 12~. You probably need to play for both but you certainly don’t have to concentrate of killing the opposition as the only root to victory.

clowns1

My brief games at the Titan games event

My Crew was –

  • Joker
  • Deathstroke
  • Master of Ceremonies
  • August
  • Sniggering
  • Triston

So 2 firearm armed clowns , 2 axe armed clowns and Joker to control them. My beatstick being Deathstroke (who is nearly ½ of my army in cost)

Game 1 , Steve with League of Shadows

  • Ra’s al Ghul
  • Deadshot
  • some ninjas.

game1

Only my second game ever (the first being a demo in store). We both were cautious as neither of us were greatly familiar with the rules. We both had a similar plan – grab the closest objective and drag it back closer to the baseline. I had rushed Deathstroke up to try to eliminate 2 ninjas. This had a neat effect in game of concentrating the activation in this section of the board. As I had fewer models I could then spend activations elsewhere to some effect. What it meant is that I always got the drop on Deadshot who was lurking at the back. From his rooftop position sniggering with his AK, peppered Deadshot over 2 turns. Luckily I managed 2 hits (Deadshot get several ‘pings’ and dodges) but 2 solid hits (3 blood each) neutralised him. I was later to realise that this was a vital event as Deadshot being the go to guy. All my opponents taking him

game2

On the other flank Deathstroke was having trouble taking down these Ninjas and had attracted the attention of Ra’s (who is another power piece). So I was ended up being outnumbered. Deathstroke being a martial artist doesn’t count the outnumbering rule (which is pretty catastrophic) BUT I fell into the trap of rather than concentrating on 1 opponent ended up attacking on then the other. Deathstoke has put blood on all of opponent (including Ra’s) but now he was taking blood too. He used his soul armour special to remove blood – but his time was up. Rather than go down fighting he used his acrobat ability to escape the combat, and dash toward the rest of the crew (as he was somewhat isolated) . However, Ra’s caught up with him and delivered the coup de grace. However, in my favourite cinematic moment of the day. Joker you had been camping loot in a building near the back stepped around the corner and pulled his one shot gun. The fact that the combat had moved back 24cm meant that Ra’s was now in range – BOOM> the one shot gun did the trick and Ra’s was done for too. However, being immortal he can’t die so I only gained the KO points. But that wrapped up that game. You totted up the points, and it was an exact draw with 28 points each. I was happy with this start a good game

 

Game 2 , Leon with Black Mask

Leon’s crew was a hodgepotch of free agents rather than a glut of gangsters. He has

  • Black Mask
  • Deadshot,
  • Catwoman
  • some Blackmask goons (one with a automatic rifle with night sights)

I enjoyed this game and Leon did a great job of explaining the rules and mechanics (thanks Leon). With 2 powerful shooters both with good vantage points I was a loss on what to go. I send Deathstroke round the long way (as he is fast with advance deployment). Leon was worried about this and moved away from that area. Catwoman grabbed a loot counter and batarang’d to a high rooftop and camped there (its great vignettes of action like this make this game special IMHO) Her special ability allows her to get an extra VP each time she score loot. So on the roof he was going to easily get 10 points just from this action (over 5 turns). I had nothing that could easily climb (not thinking about this). So it was unlikely that I would much from this game.

 

game3

I somewhat sacrificed some clowns running down the road. Deadshot an Mesh(?) with his nightscope has some full tapping those goons. But that did allow Deathstroke to turn the corner , leap a fence (acrobat) and sprint and catch Deadshot in the street. With a snik-swish of katana action Deadshot was somewhat diminished. He staggered back to get away but was low on action (bleeding heavily). 2 Blackmask goons joined the fray. Deadshot was KO’d by Joker (with is remote control teeth?!). But the game timed out. Leon has a solid victory . I did have few points on the board with the Deadshot KO

 game4

Game 3 , Martin with Suicide squad

  • Harley
  • Deadshot (seeing a pattern?)
  • Mr Hammer
  • some Harley and joker goons.

Martin was practicing for a big comp next week so was testing out his tournament build. This was game was painful and I should forget. I was a masterclass on not what to do. My ambush ability meant my opponent had to deploy first and he duly split his force into 2 halves. I thought I’d try a rush with Deathstroke into 1 half. Given his advance deploy , acrobat and going first I reckoned I could make it into combat on the first turn. With a sprint and 2 MS (2d6 extra cm) I needed a 9 , scoring a 5 … so ended up short , right under a lamppost ( light! All of the game are in dark Gotham, the only light sources being lampposts ) . Deadshot from his rooftop advantage stepped up and fired. Harley pulled her semi auto and let fly , after taking a lot of blood she stepped up and battered Deathstoke. He was KO’d… However, he did pace his endurance roll to wake from the KO and when into defence mode. So he tried to use his soul armoured to heal 2 blood. But with the loss of action counters it was never going to be enough. Harleys goods with the chainsaw stepped up and finished him in no uncertain manner. Deadshot shot Sniggering (my AK clown) who had climbed to the rooftop to try gain a good vantage. So in 2 turns my crew had been gutted. The rest of the boys ran up but in a hail of automatic fire followed up with brutal close combat it wasn’t even funny. A violating experience, giving me food for thought!

game5

So in conclusion, was it any good? Well I think it was. The game itself has great flavour and character and that goes a long way. The rules seem solid and have multiple options for victory. I would be little wary of the night scope assassin type. Most people seemed to have something like this in their crew. Given a good vantage point they seemed to be able to assassinate a model each turn. Given they have 3-4 shots (ammo) per game you just can’t walk down the street ! So I’ll have to think about that … Its probably not a deal breaker and if you can feed them goons at least they will be occupied while you win elsewhere. I suspect you want quite a high model count to just do a lot in the game (objective wise). So thumbs up from me. If you are a fan of the DC universe and the recent TV spin offs then I’ve say this is worth a go.

I won the best painted crew prize too so, all good for me!

joker

 

harley deathstroke clowns3 clowns2