We had planned a Flames of War game day this past Saturday but the turnout was light. Good thing that Garrett had also planned a introductory game of "I Ain't Been Shot Mum!" that same day. IABSM is another WWII miniatures game using the same size and bases as Flames of War.
For this game, Garrett laid out a beautiful map based on an actual location in northern France. One of the features of IABSM is the map uses a 'true' scale with 15mm figs. If a figure or squad has line of sight to a target then they can hit that target assuming they have standard rifles or better.
Actions were determined by flipping the top card of the deck. Each card had a platoon's name or a leader's name on it. So, when a card is flipped, that platoon or leader could take action. There were two 'Tea Break' cards in the deck and once both of these cards have been pulled, the turn ends. This is a different system than the IGO-UGO routine in FoW and that created some tactical challenges. It could be very possible for one side to have many more actions before the other could fire or move. Furthermore, the turn could end with one side taking no action at all!
Units were broken into five man stands and each squad had two stands. There were specialized units like heavy MGs and light mortars. And there were designated 'Big Men' which represented the leaders. They could rally troops and provide extra actions when needed.
We had Charlie running the Germans, while Ian and I handled a force of Canadian brits. The Canadian objective was to secure a large house on a hill which made a perfect observation post and/or secure the crossroads. Charlie secretly deployed his German units on the map first. Ian and I entered the map, one unit at a time on the road but did not reveal the specific type of unit. That would remain hidden until discovered by the Germans. A specific marching order was determined before the game started.
In addition, we tracked 'moral points' with each side getting 10 points to start. If a side was reduced to zero points, they would be routed and the game would end.
On the first turn, I brought out '1' platoon with a light mortar team and investigated the nearby stand of trees. I thought Charlie would be hiding in there for sure but no one was there. The platoon occupied the woods and scouted across a small field to the next line of hedges. We discovered a platoon of Germans with a HMG hiding just on the far side of a field. The HMG laid down a hail of bullets, killing several men from '1' platoon. We responded with the light mortar responded by dropping a cloud of smoke in front of the Germans MGs.
On the following turn, we brought in the decoy platoon. This unit was successful in revealing a second German platoon in the orchard next to a farm house. '1' platoon continued the firefight across the field.
The next turn, we brought in our own HMG platoon with a pair of quality 'Big Men'. Ian commanded this group. He tried to flank the German machine guns but was caught out in the open and had to go to ground. The German MGs pinned down Ian's group.
Charlie couldn't stay to finish the game so I took over the Germans at this point and Ian commanded the entire Canadian force.
'2' platoon came on to the board but the Germans had such a good position that Ian lost all but one moral point. And none of the allied troops were anywhere near the objectives. All appeared lost for the saddened Canadians.
The final turn started and I expected a quick and merciful end but, the Canadians rallied. They killed two of the German 'Big Men' and that denied the ability to motivate pinned squads. '3' platoon arrived and brought extra firepower causing several moral checks. This was enough to completely drain all the German moral points. There was a third German platoon hiding in the farmhouse but it was never activated.
Victory went to the Canadians even though they never took the objectives.