Battle Report: Trench Raiders

I had a chance to play Trench Raiders today, my WW1 skirmish wargame I wrote a few weeks back.  Popped over to my brother's house and had a quick game - it was supposed to be a full wargame when it was conceived, but a combination of the fast play, emphasis on simplicity and popup terrain make it very portable and quick to play.

So we got started, Ollie taking control of the German Sturmtruppen and me as the Russian defenders (Western Front opponents coming soon!).  We rolled for objectives and got the Map Trenches result.  The German officer had to map the enemy defences in preparation for a larger attach by entering every quarter of the board.

We rolled a six for selecting support, which meant that Ollie could pick any level from a stealthy scout raid to a full Fuerwaltz barrage.  Opting for the middle ground the Battalion-Level Bombardment was picked.  This would give a nice mix: light enough so as not to kick the hornets' nest, but heavy enough to suppress the defenders.

With the Germans reinforced by some freshly-painted minis, their raiding team looked very nasty indeed.  In the opening moments of the game grenades rolled into the trenches - my Russians were alert, however, and one ducked back into cover, the other leaping off the parapet at two bayonet-men who were feet away from the lip of the trench.  The Russian's long Mosin rifles come into their own in bayonet charges and the first raider was dead!

The Germans were thrown off-balance by this rapid counterattack and it took a few turns for them to actually get into the trench.  This gave me three vital turns of accruing initiative dice, before they entered the front line trench and stopped that.  The officer, with his Mauser pistol, cleared the way and started moving along the trench to 'roll it up', but was charged by a Russian with fixed bayonet and skewered!  Oh no!

The assault begins with a grenade
rolled in.  The top defender spotted
the attackers and leapt to attack!
With that the primary objective couldn't be fulfilled, but the Germans could still win on points.  With one man crawling round the front of the MG nest, a quick grenade posted through the firing-slit ended that threat.  The Germans dominated No Man's Land at this stage - all the Russians were pouring out the communication trench but none could stay up on the parapet for long.  This meant the bombing team could stay in No Man's Land, stand on the edge of the trench and make the best use of the long-handled stick grenades, throwing them almost halfway across the board.  One lucky shot rolled into the trench just as the Russian commander rounded a corner, and he didn't notice it ... boom!

I'd given up on holding the front line trench now, so I had two men covering the main lateral communication trench on overwatch while re-enforcements started to pour in.  But every time I tried to get someone up on the parapet a watchful German stormtrooper would send him back into cover with a rifle shot.  We seemed to be at a stalemate - the Russians had defended the second-line trenches but couldn't push the defenders back either.  Ollie broke off the attack, and it looked like this one was down to points:

German Victory Points:

  • One trench-quarter mapped (2 VPs)
  • Russian officer killed (2 VPs)
  • Seven defenders killed (7 VPs)
  • Dugout destroyed (2 VPs)
  • Total:  13 VPs
Russian Victory Points:
  • German officer killed (2 VPs)
  • Four attackers killed (4 VPs)
  • Total:  6 VPs
Trench Raiders in a nutshell!  The length of the Russian
rifles was a disadvantage, unless they got the charge in.
Looks a bit more decisive like that!  I'd forgotten that one quarter had been mapped and the dugout gone as well, that made it more of a complete victory.  It was a tough game where the attackers managed to really successfully pin the Russians in the trenches with a steady flow of grenades and accurate rifle fire, meaning the pace of the assault never slacked and the Germans maintained their full pool of six initiative dice all the way through - no mean feat.  The Russians' famous bayonets accounted for more than one attacker but in the end I was totally over-matched and had to give up the front line trench.

We were happy with the way the game, where the rules seemed to be settling down with only one or two minor tweaks as we went along.  Despite the mission itself being abrupt and a little bit of a non-starter (probably less than a minute in real time), the game was a great back-and-forth, cut-and-thrust assault that made for a great afternoon.

This was just as the stalemate developed - the Russian aiming his rifle at the top successfully coved the
comms trench, and was far enough away from the 'junction' to make grenade-throwing impossible.

Thanks for reading, everyone - hope you enjoyed!

Until next time,



  1. I like the sound of it, nice one.

  2. Got yo love those fast and dynamic games.

    1. Was a bit worried at first that it was too fast - "I move 2", you move 2", I move 2" ..." as opposed to single moves, but once you get into the swing of it things settle down and get nice and tactical.

  3. Those Russians need some fire support !

    1. They do, the Maxim is of course no good, since wherever I put it the Germans avoid it (representing their attacking a well-reconnoitred section of the line). A Masden would be nice but at the moment the victory ratio is pretty even. The Germans are great with the grenades and in assault, but the Russian long rifles are deadly if they get into a long stretch of trench and can get the charge in. Of course if Musketeer did such a model it would be out the window with balance, I'd just have to have it...

    2. Balance be damned! No one ever said war was fair. LOL

  4. Sounds like a nifty piece of gaming you have written up there Col.

    The pictures helped bring your report to life - great read mate.

    1. This seems to be the happy medium between too much information and too little. Enough for people to read and enjoy, getting a feel for the game, without drowning them in detail.


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