Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cangames 2013 Day 3 Sunday May 19th

It’s another late night with beer and pizza and good friends. The sun arrives far too early and with 5 guys sharing one bathroom I decide to forego the morning shower and shave. It’s 8:30 AM and I head over to the convention by myself. I didn't preregistered for anything but I am sure that there will be something available for me. I am torn between the annual Diplomacy Tournament hosted by Ken Murray or trying out a new rule set. The miniature game wins out.

9:00 AM: Recon to the Reichstag by Tod Creasey.

View of the Terrain

This Bolt Action game is designed for 12 players at a beginner level and I always try to play at least one new system at Cangames. It’s a chance for me to check the waters without any outlay. The rules are a collaboration between Osprey Publishing and Warlord Games.  Bolt Action is the name of Warlord Games’ line of 28mm WW2 miniatures. I have a collection of about 150 WW2 Soviet infantry (mostly Westwind Productions and Black Tree Design) in 28mm, along with three T-34 tanks, for use with The Face of Battle, that can be played in a Bolt Action game as is.

Selecting the Trroops

IMO the simplicity of the game lies in its method of activation and actions. Each unit in play is represented by a 6 sided die. The referee pulls one die at a time from an oblique container and announces whether it was Soviet or German. The die is handed to the C-in-C of that side. It is then passed to a sub-commander who announces which unit he/she will activate and then places the die next to the unit with a selected action face up.  The six possible actions are: 1. fire, 2. advance, 3. run, 4. ambush, 5. rally, and 6. down.

I selected 1 Half Track, 1 LMG Team (mounted in Half-Track)and a 6-man SMG Squad on Foot

These actions are all fairly self-explanatory: fire allows the unit to shoot at full effect whilst remaining stationary, advance allows the unit to move and shoot but at reduced rate and effect, run allows the unit to move at maximum speed without shooting, ambush puts the unit into ‘ready mode’ and allows it to shoot later, as opportunity fire, at enemy units that move into sight, rally reduces the number of hit markers on the unit, while down simply gets the unit to take cover, making it harder to hit.

The Soviets I will Face in the Battle
10-man Rifle Squad and a 10-man SMG Squad

Units have to pass a morale roll in order to carry out an order, which can be modified by the presence of officers, the quality of the troops and the number of accumulated hits on the unit. When hits are taken, your opponent rolls to try to convert them to kills, which remove figures from the game. In the shooting phase each figure fires (throws) dice based upon the type of weapon carried. A rifle gives one die, a SMG allows you to throw 2 dice, an LMG team giving 3 dice. Fire is directed unit against unit. The roll is modified by range, cover, movement etc.

The Soviets Advance Quicker than I

My SMG Squad takes Two Hits as I Cross the Road. 

I Go Down and Take Cover

Once the ref has emptied the bag, the turn is over. If a unit is eliminated from play, its die is removed from the pool. I found it to be a simple system that allowed for quick play. Once we understood how the combat tables worked the game ran rather quickly. The main problem laid in getting your commander’s attention to be given the die or dice you need.

I get very lucky. Better yet, the Soviets are very unlucky. They Fail to Destroy my SMG Unit by Fire from their SMG Squad. They then failed in a Close Assault with their Rifle Squad.

Based upon my experience in this game I will be making an outlay at some point in order to purchase these rules.

My Troops are receiving support from a friendly Stug III

My Half-Track and LMG Team have outflanked the Soviets

The Remains of the SMG Squad clear the Position

2:00 PM: Plassey 1757 by Nick Swales.

According to Wikipedia, " The Battle of was a decisive victory of the British East India Company over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies on 23 June 1757. The battle established the Company rule in Bengal which expanded over much of India for the next hundred years. The battle took place at Plassey (anglicised version of Palashi) on the banks of the Bhagirathi River (another name of Hooghly Riverupstream of Calcutta), about 150 km north of Calcutta and south of Murshidabad, then capital of Bengal.

The forces of Siraj-ud-Daulah, Nawab of Bengal

The troops of Mir Jafar awaiting their orders

Siraj-ud-Daulah had a numerically superior force and made his stand at Plassey. The British, worried about being outnumbered, formed a conspiracy with Siraj-ud-Daulah's demoted army chief Mir Jafar, along with others who assembled their troops near the battlefield but made no move to actually join the battle. Siraj-ud-Daulah's army was defeated by roughly 3,000 soldiers of Col. Robert Clive, owing to the flight of Siraj-ud-daulah from the battlefield and the inactivity of the conspirators.”

Lord Clive's Command Stand

This was a six player game using the DBR rules. Nick provided three magnificently painted 15mm armies to take part in the game. There were the soldiers of the Honourable East India Company and the army of Siraj-ud-daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, and standing in the wings the forces under Mir Jafar. Whose side were they on, who knew, or which way was the wind blowing? 

Both Sides Advance. The Bengalis take the Reservoirs.

I played the part of Clive, commanding the troops of the HEIC, with my two  sub commanders. Joseph took command of the right flank and I the left, with Simon in command of the centre. Our forces were fairly evenly divided. Paul took a cavalry command under Siraj-ud-Daulah and was joined by Duncan and Mark.

Clive rushes to join his Troops

Rgts of the East India Company Advance

One thing I like about the rule set is the ability of units outside of tactical range (240 paces) to continue to use additional pips to keep moving. This can allow some grand manoeuvers.
Until the very end I was not sure if we could pull a victory out of the hat or not. 

After the Battle, Lord Clive Meets with Mir Jafar

The forces of Mir Jafa were controlled by the referee and released depending on how the game was going. Some of those troops initially activation joined the native side. Later in the game, others joined up with the company. My greatest fear was of the right flank being smashed by a sudden release of the majority of Mir Jafar’s forces against the Company. Finally, the Bengalis reached their breaking point and victory was ours.

Meanwhile next door to us was another interesting game.

7:00 PM: DBA Tournament  DBA 2.2 ‐ Tod Creasey 

Intermediate ‐ 4 rounds open book DBA tournament with NASAMW clarifications. Players can bring their own armies or borrow one of the loaners provided. Some degree of teaching the rules will be provided but players should be aware this is a tournament. Prize is a painted 15mm army.

I arrived with three armies.  I was going to play using my Seleucids, and I brought two loaners. Paul planned to borrow my Nikaian Byzantine army, but I also had Mongol Conquest Army for the use of any who needed an army to play.

This tournament is what I look forward to the most at Cangames. Normally, it is the only time in the year I get to play DBA. My first match was against a gentleman by the name of Chris. Chris, like Paul used to play WRG years ago, but never played DBA. He borrowed my Mongol Conquest Army from me for duration of the tournament.

I must apologize to Chris if I lost my cool, but we were playing in a competition. Each round is of 45 minutes length and after 20 minutes, he had failed to complete his set-up. The clock was ticking. I don’t mind losing, and I don’t mind teaching the game, but I want to complete my match. Finally we were engaged in close combat when Tod walked by and told us to finish the round. I was fortunate in that I achieved three more kills and was able to walk away not only with a completed match, but a win. I would have been upset if we were halted with a draw.

My second match was against Nick Swales and his Indian Army. It was the second time today I faced his figures, the previous being in the Battle of Plassey game. Due to the shortest of the DBA matches I didn’t take any photos, nor make any but the briefest of notes. I can do no more than announce a 2nd victory in the evening.

My third match of the evening was against Mike Abbott and his Viking Army. It was a close run game but in the end I destroyed four of his element for the loss of two of mine. This was the third year I faced Mike in the tournament and the 2nd time I've defeated him.

My final match of the evening was against Duncan Martelock. We were the only undefeated participates in the tournament and were waiting for the next round of play to begin. So Tod matched us up and said we could start early if we wanted. Duncan fought using a Middle German army, which was very impressive. Along with elements of six knights, he also had two war wagons. It covered a lot of space.

This was an interesting match because I recently painted a Hussite Army with War Wagons, but I had never faced them in game. It was for that reason I decided not to deploy them this year. Next year may be a different matter.

Of the troops I had at my disposal only my elephant offered a real chance to get a kill on the war wagons. It was going to be a difficult match and despite my best attempts I failed to get the upper hand. In the end, Duncan won his second DBA tournament and I walked away for the third time (2006 Welsh Army, 2010 Burgundian Army) in 2nd place. As a consolation prize I received an unpainted 15mm Viking Army to which I have already added a black base coat.

At this time I want to thank all the volunteers and the people who year after year help put on Cangames. I for one am appreciative of your efforts and enjoy the chance to go to Ottawa and game in an atmosphere of friendly mayhem.


  1. Sounds like a successful as well as enjoyable weekend. Congrats!

    1. It was both. Really great to spend some time with the gang and have a weekend of gaming thrown in.