Saturday, 20 October 2012

Battle Report: Nuts to this!

Hi again everybody, and welcome to yet another battle report - that's four so far this year!  I've tried to make this one a bit more picture-heavy and less wordy.



Me and Headologist had one of our all-too-rare crossovers today as we went down to a local club to try out some of our WW2 stuff - all for the alternate history Army of Freedom campaign in which some dastardly Germans spoil the beautiful countryside of north Wales and try to fight off the partisans.

These two games weren't strictly part of the campaign, as me and H hadn't played historicals in a while, and neither of us had ever tried Nuts, so we did these two test games to get us into the swing of things for a while.

The Rules

We used Nuts, available from Two Hour Wargames, for our two missions.  I wouldn't normally include a section on rules, but these were so mould-breaking (to our 40K minds), that I thought it would be good to flesh out some of the mechanics for the uninitiated.

The rules are heavily dependant on an 'action-reaction' system, almost like a card game.  You take an action, your opponent 'blocks' with a reaction.  It reminded me of Magic the Gathering a little bit.  The side with initiative moves and shoots as you would expect in 40K - but as soon as one of the initiative soldiers moves into line of sight (LoS) of a non-initiative model, the non-initiative player can interrupt by firing (pending a successful roll).  It gets a bit frustrating, having all your moves blocked and countered - but as someone who's done it for real I can tell you that the old 'no plan survives contact with the enemy' really counts here.  The enemy won't let you do anything without trying to shoot at you.  And, of course, when the enemy gets the initiative you can sit back and shoot as his blokes try to dash from cover to cover.

That brings up the old 'exchange of fire' system.  If you shoot at someone, you can try to react by shooting back.  Then the first firer can counter-react, then the second can counter-counter react - there's no limit to this, as it carries on until:
  • one of the firers runs out of ammo
  • one of the targets fails his reaction test and ducks back into cover
  • one of the targets is hit
So one turn of shooting can develop into a long running shootout, as your men get distracted into firefights rather than following your master plan!

In short (and without listing the rulebook here), it's all about action-reaction, and it's very unlikely your men will do what you tell them to do for a whole turn.  A very dynamic, flowing and action-based system compared to the clunky you-go-I-go 40K system.  Took a good game and a half to get used to, but by the end of the second game we had the main mechanics committed to memory and were smashing through the turns.

Forces, Battlefield and Mission

We had access to excellent club terrain, and Warlord Miniatures Bolt Action range I painted a while back - check out the WW2 tag for the full story of their construction and painting.  We went for a fairly random deployment of buildings and no clear objective - just a meeting engagement, while we got a feel for the rules.  Seven men a side, mainly rifles with three SMGs a side.  There are lots of pictures, so I'll let them tell the story.  Also, the very fluid and reactive system meant that any note-taking would have been hugely overcomplicated, so I'll just give you a flavour of what happened by annotating the pictures.

Mission 1
Latvians - Colonel Scipio
Partisans - Headologist

The burned sheds provide cover for the partisans in the first mission
The Latvians approach at close range across open ground
A wider shot - the partisan barns are just off to the top of the picture as the
Latvian SS run towards that burned grey building, top-centre.
Before the Latvians can reach cover, a burst of SMG fire
scatters them, forcing them to change their plans!
A few manage to get into cover, as the sergeant tries to get the men back together!
The SS manage to get into firing positions - the two sides are swapping fire over
 an area of open ground between the two ruined buildings.
The partisans in cover.
It's a fairly close-range engagement, with the Latvians managing to gain the upper hand.
One man pinned down, the Latvians still pour lead into the ruined building.
The lieutenant with SMG puts some very accurate fire down and kill some of the partisans.
In the end, the Latvians roll some very lucky dice and tip the scales.
The partisans make a run for it, and get cut to pieces.
Result:  SS Victory

Mission 2
Latvians - Headologist
Partisans - Colonel Scipio

After the 'Alamo' shootout we had, we made the terrain a bit less linear for the second game with some walls.  The partisans deploy bottom left, the Latvians towards the upper right
Learning the value of cover from the last mission, the partisans start behind the farmhouse!
The Latvians moving into position.
The Lativan lieutenant skulking around the side of the farmhouse with some of his goons ...
... while his cronies hide in the burned ruins (no bias in the write-up!)
The American specialists covering round the corner!
A powerful group in Nuts - automatic weapons, led by an officer. 
The partisan commander moves into a commanding position for the Bren gun, overlooking the burned ruins ...
... while some of the Partisans make a dash for the centre!
One man takes a rifle round in the head at close range ...
... forcing the others to take cover behind the farmhouse.
They try to make their way round the other side ...
Arg!  Dastardly Jerry lies in wait and kills two more partisans as they wander round the corner.
The noose tightens - now the Bren group are all that is left (bottom right), pinning down the Latvians in the ruin (top
centre), while the others sneak round to flank (bottom left).
No LoS lets those deadly SMGs sneak right round the edge of the farmhouse.
One of the Americans tries to force an escape route - and gets a
mortal wound from the Latvian sergeant's SMG for his efforts.
That nasty lieutenant just mows down the Bren gun group from a flank like ninepins.
Result:  SS Victory

In both games, that Latvian lieutenant was a lynchpin in both games.  His high Rep value, coupled with the automatic weapon, meant that he could reliably kill off partisans while they could only pin in return.  The partisan officer only had a carbine, which meant that although he often hit he would only wound or stun the opponents.  As for the campaign, I don't think this will count towards the narrative as we we're both not familiar with the rules and the forces probably weren't quite balanced despite our best efforts.  Hopefully the partisans can get their act together for the start of the campaign!

Anyway!  Hope you got a feel for the back-and-forth, cut-and-thrust nature of the games - it was certainly very nice to play a game with painted miniatures and on decent terrain, and a nice change from 40K as well.  Hope you enjoyed, and thanks for reading!

7 comments:

  1. Nice AAR, I find lots of pictures can help tell the story and save your fingers the trouble, but I often forget to take pictures when my blood is up and the dice are rolling. Really looking forward to your future games, see what you two do in deciding the fate of occupied Britain.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great pictures and read, nice one!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have TwoHourWargames' 5150: Star Army rules. They are interesting to say the least. Far more fun than 40K in my opinion, but they take some getting used to.

    I like the Chain Reaction rules quite a bit. They seem a lot more realistic and fluid once you get the hang of them. And I can play solo using them, which is a bonus.

    All those lovely painted figs and great looking scenery made for some really engaging pics mate. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks everyone!

      @Chris: Cheers - I like to type up full reports with arrows and things for 40K games, but they do take about 3 hours of work. And for this style of game, a 'picture-deep' report is all you need to get a feel for the action. And it shows off the models better! Thanks, I'll let you know what's going on as it happens!

      @Ray: Thanks for stopping by! More to follow...

      @Dai: Exactly - we all just have to wean ourselves off 40K and try some of the other games out there, or at least I do. Too much of a sheltered life up to now. Solo play is good - I gave this game a few 'dry runs' solo before the actual battle which helped me grasp the rules much more quickly. Thanks - our first fully painted/terrained game in a long time!

      Delete
  4. It was definitely a superb game, and the mechanics work nicely - definitely captures the feel of combat more than 40k (40k Chain Reaction needed pehaps :P). In my bid to break the Alamo style game in the first battle I decided to run out of cover in a make or break move and swiftly vanished from the table. Looking forward to the next game, as I said in my addendum on my blog, I think we may be implementing a couple of house rules

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really enjoyed that write up. I'm a little bit limited with opponents for new and different games to try so it's cool to get the feel of a game like this from other people. It looked amazing with the board and those mini's are sweet. Great to see them in a game fighting each other!
    Thanks for the write up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Headologist: House rules all the way! Hmmm... 40K reaction rules? Interesting...

      @Col Ackland: Cheers mate - yeah me and Headologist are the only ones who really play anything except 40K so it's a nice change. After all the time spent building them, I'm very glad to finally get them on the board.

      Delete