Saturday, 30 March 2013

The Battle for Winterbourne

Not having had the chance to meet up for a game since January, my regular gaming chum Craig and I decided to try and get one in over the Easter holiday period. Having checked with our respective SWMBO and our social calendars, Good Friday was good for both of us. We decided upon another AVBCW game rather than Dux Bellorum, mainly because my warbands were either undercoared at best or still in progress at worst. 

With the AVBCW decided upon, I drafted a scenario following on from our last outing in the period, The Battle for 'Beautiful Bertha'. I sent the draft idea and house rules to Craig, who was happy with them, so everything was set for some nice Bank holiday gaming. 

The AAR of the game, the Battle for Winterbourne, can be found here on our 'Storm Clouds Gather' Google site, along with plenty of other background material as well as other AAR reports etc.

One of the joys of the AVBCW 'period' is the ability to tailor games and background to your local area. This was true whilst deciding upon where to set our game. I know the area reasonably well and the view from Winterbourne and the Marle Hills is lovely and fitted in perfectly as the setting for the counter-attack scenario, as can be seen from the AAR. Craig also mentioned after that his wife had come across mention of the Thornbury Yeomanry, a unit neither of us had hear of, but will surely be making their debut on the wargames table sometime soon.

As most of you will know, I count BKCII as my favourite ruleset and have yet to have a bad game with it. It is also very adaptable, allowing 'house rules' to be used to reflect specific periods, actions, battles and gaming styles etc. Over a period of a few years, my regular gaming chums and I have settled upon most of the following, with some still 'work in progress'. A lot, if not all of these have come about via the BKC forum or optional rules with in the book. So I thought I'd take the opportunity to explain why I use the following 'house rules':

  • Hidden Deployment as per the CWC rules. Now we do not use this in all of our games, as sometimes we don't have the time for it. However when we do get the chance, it really does add another dimension to the game. This was true in the above game, as I had no idea of the dispostion of Craig's forces as he advanced towards my lines, and the same was true for him as to where my troops were deployed along the Marle Hills and in Winterbourne village. The moment of reveal was always interesting, finally knowing what you faced, or not as the case may be. If you have the time, I strongly recommend you give them a go.
  • Hits 'stay on'. I find this just works for me and provides for a much more fluid game. We saw this as the BUF forces finally started to assault the village. Normally troops in BUA are pretty much impervious to incoming fire, as the hits will come off at the end of the turn. However, when they stay on, they slowly build up, changing the game dynamic for the better IMHO. The same is also true of tanks such as the Panzer 1, Vicker MkVI etc. Even though armed with just MGs, these become more effective as their fire can slowly build up hits on units. The same is true of say Shermans facing a Tiger I, the hits slowly build up rather than the Tiger I often just shrugging them off at the end of the turn.
  • CO CV9 and HQs CV8.  As I mentioned in my AAR CSI Russia, having two low CV battlegroups can make for a very stop-start game. So where this is the case, I now up the respective CVs by one, which provides for a more fluid and interesting game.
  • Auto-Suppression. This has become a default for us in games with off-board artillery units and aircraft. However I thought I'd try it for mortars and infantry guns (the latter when using indrect fire). This feels right having read many reports of how mortars were very similar to artillery in the way that they caused infantry to go to ground.
So there you have it. I find these 'house rules' work for me, and many others given the various discussions on the BKC forum. All I can say give them a go and see what you think. If they work for you, great. If not, no problem at all. after all, it is only a game, ableit an excellent one!

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