We decided to do a rather different playtest of Force-on-Force tonight... We set the game during the Irish War of Independance!
The local West Clare Flying Coloumn has just taken delivery of an arms shipment brought into the harbour at Lehinch in County Clare. The local Doctor and Farmer Fitzgerald have just finished moving the crates of rifles when dawn breaks. Soon the IRA men begin to arrive and break open some crates and hand out the rifles. Just then the morning quiet is broken by the sound of a motor engine... As the IRA look-out comes running down the road, the IRA commander Dara O'Hooligan, sends his men to their defensive positions. Soon a Rolls-Royce armoured car appears on the road and then without warning a large group of Black and Tans with British regulars appear from the opposite direction.
The Doctor and Mr. Fitzgerald await the IRA men at the Church
The IRA men are caught in a trap... But they have the advantage of numbers!
The objectives for both sides is to be in control of the Church by the end of turn 8. The Crown forces, though outnumbered are bolster by the armoured car. Both sides had units that were designated regulars and others that we counted as irregular troops. This allowed the Crown player slightly more freedom of movement and somewhat hinder the IRA who had larger numbers of irregular troops.
The deployment of Crown troops so near the Church threw the IRA into confusion from the start and they rapidly redeployed to face the two pronged attack. With a few desultory shots both sides took positions on either side of the road at the end of the first turn. Now the Crown player played his Fog of War cards... He had already recieved a Lewis Gun team as one of his cards and he now played his other two. One was 'gossip' which raised the Crown regular units morale by a dice type after they heard that a popular young officer had been brutally murdered by the IRA the day before. His second card was Praise the Lord, pass the ammunition which meant that the IRA were low on ammo and would reduce their firepower dice.
With these cards played, the IRA player played one of his and struck the armoured car with a mine. This exploded causing minor damage that slowed the vehicle to half speed. For a while the armoured car would prove less of a threat than we thought, though it caused most of the IRA units to quickly fall back to the Church.
As the game continued the IRA units fell back to the Church with both sides suffering casualties but neither side taking any serious losses. As turn six began, the Crown forces made a bid for the Churchyard after eliminating the IRA Lewis Gun team. The turn ended with the IRA holding one end of the church, and the Crown forces holding the other.
O'Hooligan goes down... shot through the heart
Meanwhile the Doctor starts treating the IRA wounded at the rear of the Church as casualties mount
The IRA now tried to launch a brave counter-attack, somewhat hindered by the death of O'Hooligan who was shot down by a round from a Black and Tan. It was at this point that the Crown forces suddenly remembered how to hit targets... By the end of the turn, 12 IRA men lay dead or wounded in the Churchyard with the armoured car having cut down four of them with one burst from its vickers, after surviving a second IRA mine!
After this bloody turn the Crown forces mopped up the remaining resistance and the IRA fled from the battlefield to regroup and plot their revenge...
British forces roundup the IRA wounded and take the Doctor prisoner as the cavalry arrive to continue the pursuit...
The rules worked perfectly for this type of game. It flowed really well and felt perfect. As usual Skip, leading the IRA, suffered from his usual poor dice and his failure to knock-out the armoured car sealed his fate.
Great game... Figures and vehicles from Brian's (Flyer115) collection, church by Skip.