Friday, July 15, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
That said, Mark and I are committed to ironing out all the details before releasing the full thing, so it'll be several months yet, at least, before the rules booklet is available. We're planning to have all major theaters of WWII worked out, and to really capture the differences, based on historical written accounts - which we're constantly reading anyway. The rules are aimed at re-creating for the players, the same kind of tension & story lines described by combatants who were there.
We began with late-war Western front Europe, worked out armor rules, artillery, flamethrowers, moved on to Pacific jungle fighting (VERY different), and recently began work on desert fighting. Mark came up with new rules for long-range visibility which was a huge factor in the desert. I just finished reading "Brazen Chariots" by Robert Crisp and then played Mark's first desert scenario. Definitely feels right, although it was purely an infantry fight. Can't wait to do armor. I've been developing rules for bicycle troops and cavalry (Philippines saw both in spades). Jerry Frazee and his crew in North Carolina worked out rules for Eastern front, including a Commissar table which is a total blast - always injects a huge dose of Communism into the story line. Good, bad & ugly as it should be.
To answer some recent questions from Jan in Copenhagen, labels are not mandatory, but they're cool to look at, and help narrate the story. You can download PDFs for labels, if you want them, from the "files" folder here:
For bases, you can't beat Gale Force 9. They're inexpensive and super accurate laser-cut:
FbF is intentionally relaxed about basing dimensions. Anything roughly the size of Flames of War units work just fine. You can always use FoW units if you want - easy to get on ebay. Or make your own. The bases in the photos above are 3/4 inch x 1 inch (squads) and 3/4 x 3/4 (leaders & teams). Anything about 15mm x 25mm will work with the labels on those PDF's.
Lastly, your table is certainly big enough. Several scenarios are very small - just 2 x 3 feet (approx 0.66m x 1m).
Thanks for all the interest and encouragement,
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Date: December 22, 1941
At dawn the main Japanese invasion forces began hitting the beaches at five separate sites in Lingayen Gulf. Four of these were completely undefended, allowing the Japanese to race inland and cut the coastal road. Only at Bauang were Filipino troops waiting at the beach. Here the Headquarters Battalion, 12th Infantry (Philippine Army, led by American officers), with one .50-caliber and several .30-caliber machine guns, faced the oncoming Japanese. As the Kamijima Detachment approached the shore, the Filipinos opened fire.
And it was effective fire indeed! The Fil-Am forces had gambled and placed their .50 cal in a patch of scrub well forward - right on the beach - and it paid off. Lt. Col. Kamijima's Daihatsu landing barges were hit before they even reached the beach, and when the troops finally began spilling out, the majority were left cowering in the surf... or floating face down.
Only a handful of troops made it off the boats in good order. Unfortunately for the Filipinos, that's all the Japanese needed. Right away, they launched a Banzai charge against the .50 cal. (designer's note: the Banzai rules are VERY lively and a definite high point. A leader initiates Banzai, and he brings along with him all good-order subordinate troops in contact whether these have already moved or not. So it's extremely dangerous, and the feel of it matches the "suddenness" so often mentioned by defenders in written accounts.) This Banzai charge consisted of two squads and one platoon leader, and it suffered withering fire on the way in which killed the leader. However, both squads pressed onward (perhaps inspired by the late platoon leader's example), and they closed into contact with the Filipinos...
Next, by miraculous luck, the Filipinos prevailed in close combat! (thanks to Adrian Reen-Schuler rolling snake-eyes for his Japanese). What a wild fight!
The Filipinos now sensed blood in the water. Defenders from inland converged onto the landing site and pinned down the IJA with small arms, plus two .30 cal Browning machineguns. With losses mounting, the IJA scrambled to get troops off the beach. In ones & twos, their teams began to make it to a blind zone behind some scrub, hidden from Filipino fire. They gathered there and launched another Banzai charge inland toward one of the Brownings...
Despite more withering fire on the way in, this charge carried the position, wiping out both the Browning and another Fil-Am position immediately behind it. The Japanese were finally on the move. The bulk of the troops back in the surf were finally able to rally & get off the beach, and a battle of manuever developed in the dunes. There were 3 or 4 Banzai charges in total (I can't recall), but ultimately, the Japanese controlled only two of the three victory locations they need to establish the beachhead. Honors went to the Filipinos. Everyone had a blast with this one. The "feel" of the engagement seemed just right, and there were loads of tough tactical choices to be made on both sides.
Historically, Lt. Col. Kamijima suffered terrible losses at Bauang, and he might have been thrown back into the gulf entirely, but the Fil-Am defenders ultimately had to withdraw because other Japanese elements were threatening to cut the coast road behind them. In this scenario, that dynamic is represented through initiative chips. The Fil-Am forces have one permanent chip, but it's lost as soon as a good-order Japanese squad exits the board behind them, toward the coastal road.
We kicked around various refinements to the rules which might make the game better, (seemingly an endless process, but the results are worth it). Next time we play this one, we'll see how it goes.
This is the first of eight scenarios covering the Fall of the Philippines. The next represents the very first tank-on-tank fight for US forces in WWII, when M3 Stuarts of the 192nd Tank Rgt. faced Japanese armor at Agoo. This link has that story:
In a later scenario, Lt. Ramsey's famous charge at Morong (the U.S. Army's final horse-cavalry charge ever) will be represented.
Jonathan Tristram Miller.