tirsdag 13. mars 2012


Last Sunday, I got together with Tor and decided to try out how well scenarios written for Check Your 6! would translate to Bag the Hun. The scenario chosen was "Four-In-A-Day" from the "Over the Channel" scenario book for the Battle of Britain. The scenario recreates a combat from August 18th 1940, where Oberleutnant Gerhard Schopfel's schwarm bounced a formation of Hurricanes of 501. Squadron. Schopfel shot down four of them within five minutes.

In hindsight, the choice was fortunate, as gaming space was limited - my experience is that once fighters have converged in a pure dogfight scenario, our combats have tended to evolve into twisting furballs that revolve slowly across the game mat. The one bomber chase we have done (http://persprojects.blogspot.com/2012/02/tally-ho.html) really stretched the game out.

This was also the first time we tried the altered movement budget that I have been thinking about. This sytem eliminates the last oddly shaped dice from the game, the D4 (the revised damage chart for BtH Lite already removed the D10). This is a subject that I will return to in my next post, as it threatened to de-rail this after action report completely.

Enough chatter, here's the report...

Initial set-up - forgot to take the picture! Schopfel was rated a Top Ace and led Gelb Rotte.

A while ago, I downloaded the free layout program Scribus (http://www.scribus.net/canvas/Scribus), with the intention to use it for redesigning my Bag the Hun Lite cards and tables. This is the first time that I used it for image annotation, and I though it worked very well!

As you can see, I have made the mistake of writing Schwarm in the images rather than Rotte - though that is a mistake I (and you) will have to live with :)

Hurricanes of Blue Section move to spot Gelb Rotte as the Luftwaffe fighters successfully spot all the RAF sections.

As I had managed to forget the bogey markers at home, we used flying stands for bogeys and placed wingmen as the bogeys became spotted. This worked well with our limited formations, and as Tor pointed out the 3D-feel became much better than when using bogey tokens on the game mat. This means I will have to move the new bogey counter project up to the head of the queue...

Sprogs coming through from two o'clock, and Jerry on the six!

The RAF dropped in altitude to get a spotting bonus against the high-flying Emils, a gamble that turned out well as the last bogeys were identified. The Luftwaffe, not having the "Vic" penalty of the RAF, had no problems spotting the English bogeys.
Schopfel now maneuvered in to get on the tail of Red Leader, the RAF's only Veteran Pilot in this scenario. Red Leader pulled a quick reversal to shake the Messerschmitts, yet failed against the massive bonuses of the German Ace Pilot. Both English and German wingmen were on the ball and managed to stay in formation during the difficult maneuver.
Meanwhile, Blue Leader pulled a hard turn to get behind Grün Rotte. The inexperienced wingmen failed to keep up, and moved straight ahead, plowing through Red Section - though no collisions occurred.
Note that there is a mistake on this image that was corrected later - Blue Leader should be 1 ALT up and is not tailing Grün Leader.

Red Leader desperately tries to shake Schopfel, who efforlessly remains on the RAF Veteran's tail. They obviously did not teach tight chandelles in flight school, however, as the Vic breaks up and Red 2 and 3 fail to stay in fomation.

Got you, Engländer!

A fortunate string of activation and bonus cards now came up that allowed the German Ace three rounds of shooting at the RAF fighter before it got to move again. The shooting was not exactly flawless, and the Hurricane's legendary robustness keeps it in the air for the first burst - though on the second and third attempts, the Emil's 20mm cannon made its presence felt. First, a shell smashed the Hurricane's instrumentation - though the RAF pilot barely had time to worry about this before his aircraft was blown out of the sky in the next salvo!

Grün Rotte swings around and latches on the tail of Red 3, who has barely gotten his wings. Easy prey...

Looking to claim his second victory of the day, Schopfel tails Red 2. The Hurricane pilot has other plans though, and the wily bugger exploits a rulebook definition to escape!

What happened was that according to the rules, when two aircraft end the movement in the same hex, a roll for collision is made - then the aircraft that moved last into the hex is moved one step forward. As Schopfel was in the hex immediately behind Red 2, he would have had to roll for collision with Grün Leader, then move forward, roll with Red 2, then move forward--- straight into the Hurri's sights! Needless to say, the Emil remained where it was.

In hindsight, "playing the period, not the rules," we might have moved Schopfel to the no. 3 hex hehind Red 2 and allowed him to stay on the tail, though at the moment we were both to amused at this obvious exploitation of the rules to worry about this!

Auf Wiedersehen! Grün Leader places an accurate burst onto the hapless Sprog, and the 20 mm cannon does the rest.

In my "Lite" version of BtH, I do not really worry about what becomes of an aircraft once it is no longer combat worthy. Finding out whether little Billy manages to crash-land his stricken machine and pop in for a pint at the local pub while waiting for a lift to the airfield is really not the kind of detail I require of my games! Therefore, in the "Lite" rules, the  "Engine Destroyed" for a single engine fighter is counted as a shot down aircraft, and the model is removed from the game mat. It was desicions like this that allowed me to condense the damage table down from six to one column.

Red 2 opens the distance to Grün Rotte. Schopfel moves onto Blue Leader's tail, as Gelb 2 gets on the tail of the last RAF Sprog, Blue 3. At this point, we called the game due to time.

An exciting scrap, although I felt somewhat bad for Tor - at the end of the game, the Hurricane gun ports were still all sealed! After the early demise of the only Veteran RAF pilot, the agile Me109Es flew in circles around their opponents, easily getting on and staying on the tail as required. On the one occasion where an RAF fighter found itself in a position to shoot, the fire card failed to materialize before the Luftwaffe Ace pilot had activated and moved off. While Schopfel's ammo was running low, the Luftwaffe still had plenty of ammunition to spare and the next turn would likely have seen one or more RAF fighters badly damaged or destroyed.

The BtH Lite rules are certainly offering the right balance of speed and detail for my taste, and now another period of consolidation will take place as I attempt to improve on the design and layout of my quick reference sheets using Scribus.

Another pleasant surprise was that the Over the Channel scenario seemed to translate really well to BtH, giving an entertaining game. Skirmish Campaigns offer well-written books, and I would reccomend them to anyone starting to game in a new theater, as they offer a good historical overview, supplies a list of relevant aircraft types and quantities - and detail scenarios that seem to easily translate into good Bag the Hun games.

Skirmish Campaigns:

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