Saturday, March 15, 2014

Uprising in Grayrock City

No chores this morning so I got to do a little gaming (and luckily I have a game scheduled for tonight as we'll be testing out my dungeon crawl rules). It's been a while so I think it's time for another incident in the Grayrock Revolution.

A lull had settled in as the Bluderians prepared to force their way into the Maraconi plateau. There were occasional skirmishes but no major actions. Meanwhile, tensions were building in the capital between the native Grayrockians and the Bluderian garrison. These tension finally erupted when the Viceory decided to suspend the Mayor and City Council; initiating direct Bluderian rule. Protesting mobs gathered around the City Hall, trapping a Bluderian infantry company within its grounds. The Viceroy panicked and ordered the garrison to withdraw to the confines of Grayrock Castle. Incensed by the Viceroy's "cowardice," General "Black Bart" Blackwell checked himself out of the military infirmary (still recovering from his wounds at Balderdash Pass), commandeered some Bluderian units, and marched to the rescue of the trapped infantry unit.

Here is an account of the action from the rebels' perspective:

When the Grayrockian patriots saw the Bluderian forces advancing on the City Hall, they withdrew to better defensive positions and hastily erected barricades.
Arrival of the Bluderians.
Black Bart has linked up with the unit at City Hall (top center)
Rebel mobs are the multi-colored units.
 The nefarious Black Bart sent his cavalry forward in hopes of scattering the patriots. Fortunately, we had been well armed with muskets smuggled from Redgrave.

[Game note - I treated the rebel mobs like French Resistance in Memoir '44. They had the same attack dice as regulars (3-2-1) but could only take 3 hits instead of 4. If forced to retreat, they could move back 2 spaces per flag.]
Cavalry routs, leaving its dead on the field.
 Bart then sent an infantry company against the barricades. Once again, we held firm.
No success on the left.
 Black Bart then switched his efforts to the right.
Artillery takes some hits
Bluderian infantry moves through a block of buildings.
 Bart also began advancing in the center.
The rebels take casualties
Black Bart storms over the center barricade.
Artillery clears the right barricade.
 But a unit of former Grayrockian National Guard came to the rescue.
Black Bart's infantry is forced to retreat.
 Black Bart then sent his cavalry to the right. It stormed over the vacated barricades and attacked a group of patriots in the streets.
Cavalry attacks
 But to no avail. In the narrow streets, the patriots swarm around the troopers, pull them from their mounts, and bludgeon them to death.
No more cavalry
 Once more, Bart tried to advance on the left with equally disastrous results.
Moving forward through buildings.
The Bluderians take a lot of hits.
A mob takes out a Bluderian company.
 Black Bart switched to the center once again, but once again the valor of the patriots prevailed.
Black Bart moves forward through the park.
But his infantry unit is cut down.
With his forces seriously depleted, Black Bart was forced to retreat. Victory for the People of Grayrock!

With City Hall in rebel hands, the Viceroy withdrew all Bluderian forces to Grayrock Castle. He soon found himself under siege, with the rebels taking control of the rest of the city. Black Bart and the Viceroy quarreled. The Viceroy blamed Bart for losing 3 infantry companies and a squadron of cavalry. If Bart had obeyed then they would only have lost the 1 company at City Hall. Black Bart responded that if he had obeyed then the rebels would still have seized the city but if the Viceroy had shown a little nerve and given him reinforcements, then Bart could have swept the mobs from the streets!

A few game notes

  • I think I made things a bit too difficult for Black Bart. He was outnumbered and had to attack defensive positions. The mobs' fire was probably unrealistically effective; I think they might need additional penalties than just having 1 less hit. I will have to ponder
  • Note that each mob unit had 6 figures, but they could only take 3 hits. When hit, I would remove 2 figures. I used a bunch of unbased figures of various colors to create a sense of irregularity to the mobs. This contrasted nicely to the neat stands of regulars and National Guard. Unfortunately, they were a pain to move and I kept knocking down individual figures.
  • I created a special battle board to represent the city streets. It was simple and cheap to prepare. I wanted to use some gray craft foam to distinguish blocks with buildings vs. streets, but Michael's was out the last time I finished. I used some cardboard for some of the blocks but did not have enough for all the buildings.
  • I treated the blocks with buildings like buildings in Memoir '44 - reduce attacks by 1 die.
  • Once again, I really like the look of the Village in a Bag buildings. Bob Cordery is doing some neat things with L-shaped buildings which give more room for troops in the squares. Other gamers have followed suit with these experiments. While I really like the idea and think that the prototypes look great, I just don't have time for my own attempts. So for now, Village in a Bag wins out.


  1. Actually I like Village in a Bag, and keep meaning to order one.

    Another excellent report - thank you.

  2. "The mobs' fire was probably unrealistically effective; I think they might need additional penalties than just having 1 less hit. I will have to ponder"

    Make their fire 2-1, so if they're in cover they only get to fight on even terms with Regulars in the open. Or 2-2-1, so the Regulars get an edge in close combat.

    Another possibility is that if they take a hit via crossed swords, they automatically take a retreat as well (but I'd have them retreating one space instead of two to offset this). Or that the first retreat they actually take from a volley also causes a hit as well.

  3. Some good ideas; I'll have to remember to try them out. I especially like the 2-2-1 idea because it gives the regulars an incentive to charge in and give them the bayonet.

    1. In my M44/BC variant I differentiate between close combat and shooting at a range of 1. A unit can declare one or the other. If they declare close combat they get to follow up if their opponent retreats or is destroyed. But if the opponent stands, they fight back with one dice. The mechanism is simple, and allows for some extra bits and pieces to be added for particular troop types - you could have mobs being more likely to flee from close combat, say.