Saturday, 23 June 2012

The Bitter Taste of Victory

Okay, it's been a bit quiet on the Menagerie for the last few weeks. Once again, I've hit the above brick wall on the painting front, output has been non-existent with the same figs sitting on the painting table throughout June with no love being applied to them. Since getting to Wappinshaw at the beginning of June, I just haven't had enough focus to concentrate long enough on the brushes. Oh well, I've just got to remember the old saying "A wargames figure is for life, not just for Christmas". So don't despair figs - I'll get back to you (sometime).

However, it hasn't been all doom and gloom on the gaming front with a few more games of Angels 20 being played and of course, that game involves pre-painted models, so that may explain why I've not been pushing on with the painting, I can play this game and the work has already been done for me. It does, however, involve rolling dice.

Alan's son, Josef, should carry a government health warning when it comes to playing games against him which involve dice rolling, the boy is lethal with the cubes. After seeing my warbirds blasted out of the sky in my first game against him (see my "Dakka, Dakka, Dakka" post) we lined up for another game the following week.

First up though was a game against Alan, who being adventurous decided he would use a couple of little Finnish MS.406 "Matimahas" along with an Italian Expeditionary C.200 Saetta. Against this Finn/Italian alliance I decided to deploy some Russkies for the first time and so took the Lend-Lease Tomahawk Mk II and a couple of Yak-1's which were ominously subtitled "Rookie".

However, I needn't have worried to much about the Rookie Yak's, the Tomahawk proved itself to be an absolute beast of a machine and before too long this happened

The tell tale puff of smoke from the tail of a "Matimaha" as it is riddled by the cannon of the Tomahawk. 

By the way "Matimaha is apparently Finnish for "Roe-Belly". Useless fact of the day for you all to bore your friends with.

Alan did manage to get lucky and managed to bring down one of the Yaks

But it was only a brief triumph for the Finn/ Italian alliance. Their planes were proving to be just too fragile having only 2 hits each, and thus the first hit was rendering them crippled and even more vulnerable to the rampaging Russkies. The Saetta was soon blown to smithereens by the Tomahawk (unfortunately I did not capture his demise on camera) and then the last Roe-Belly ended up as cat food too

So having dispatched Alan, in double quick time, it was time to take on Jammy Josef and the Cubes of Doom. Now Josef, is no fool. Having seen the devastation wrecked by the Tomahawk he decides to play the Russkies. Well, I did at least have the gumption not to play the Finns/ Italians so I decided to take the Luftwaffe. Due to the points cost, I could only manage to take one Me109F and the Me109E "Ace", so I was going to be outnumbered 3 to 2, but hey, my planes were being flown by crack pilots, they would make short work of the Red Menace. Yeah, right.

This is the only picture of my Me109e. It was taken just before he was vapourised by the Russkie Tomahawk. 

My iphone had died by this point so I wasn't able to take any more pictures of the slaughter, I mean, the combat. However, Alan decided he would take some pics for posterity. I kept losing the initiative roll which meant my Me109F was always having to move first, which meant it wasn't too difficult for Josef to get a shot at me.  Remember in this case rolling high is good and if you roll a "6" it counts as 2 damage points and if a Friedrich takes 6 damage points in one salvo then the schnitzel hits the fan

Queue the dice roll.

It doesn't look any better from this angle

So, once again, I went home after another good thrashing on the games table by a ten year old. This had to stop. I mean, I had a reputation to uphold, I couldn't let this whippersnapper continue to make a mockery out of my 30+ years of gaming experience. The boy had to be taught the meaning of a crushing defeat. Vengeance would be mine

There is a great line in the original "Conan the Barbarian film" about what is best in life - cue movie clip -

Now at age of 10, I wouldn't expect Josef to have women lamenting his defeat on the wargames table (although his mum and gran might have a bit of sympathy for him) but it was time for him to be crushed and driven from the field and when Alan texted to say his starter set for Angels 20 had at long last arrived, I knew that time had come.

So far in our games, we had only been using single seat fighters. However, with Alan also having his starter set we now had 2 BF110c's to play with, so when I turned up at Alan's house last week, I had already decided that I was going to take these flying tanks. Coupled with the Me110E "Wingman", I prepared to be Josef's nemesis. There would be no mercy shown, none, the boy was going to crash and burn.

Against the might of the Luftwaffe, Josef took the Spitfire Mk I Ace and 2 Hurricane Mk I's. Okay, the Spitfire was going to be a problem but lets not panic yet. Then Alan, as umpire, rolls for the scenario. He rolls a 6, I had lost the advantage roll (no surprises there then) but it meant I had to deploy first at altitude 3 and then Josef deployed his planes 4 hexes in my rear. So I was the hunted and Josef, the hunter. Not what I was anticipating at all!

Now to win the scenario, a player had to score 60 victory points, and for some reason I started the game with 30 victory points already (presumably as a result of shooting up a RAF airfield or something before the real game started). So it meant that if I could shoot the Spitfire down (with his cost of 46 points) then victory would be mine.

But the Brits were behind me and the BF110c has a turn bonus that would make a grown man weep in despair. Okay, it does have an ability in that if it is attacked from it's 6 o'clock angle (that is, directly behind)  then the rear gunner gets a hit on the attacking plane if the gunner rolls a 6. But that would involve me rolling a 6 and Saturn and Jupiter were not due to be in the correct astral conjunction for that to happen for another 47 years. So I would just have to try and turn my guys and hope that I would live long enough to get turned, cos once I could get turned the 110's can unleash a lot of hell with their front firing cannons.

The Brits scream into attack formation with the intention of blowing the tail end Charlie BF110 out of the sky.

The problem for the Brits though, is that while the BF110 is not very manoeuvrable, it is built like the proverbial brick sh1t house and with a vital score of 8, it would take all of Josef's jammy die rolling skills to bring it down in one salvo.

Then the almost unthinkable happens. Josef opens fire with his Spitfire and...........

Unfortunately, you can't see the German pilots cheering wildly at the incompetent shooting of the Spitfire Pilot, but believe me they were!

A vicious dog fight then ensued

The Spitfire pilot  trying to make amends for his earlier miss by flying between the BF110's and then in a desperate manoeuvre tries to fly into the BF110!

Fortunately the Saturn/ Jupiter conjunction did occur unexpectedly and I rolled a 6 to avoid the collision. 

Of course, if the planes had collided then both would have been destroyed and I would have won the game as I would have reached the 60 victory point total. But no, that was not the way I wanted to achieve victory.

The sturdiness of the BF110 was proving it's worth and although both planes were taking damage they were still in good shape. Josef's jammy dice rolling streak seemed to have at least disappeared and I wasn't complaining.

Even the Me109e was getting in on the action

Then, as sometimes happens in our games the "Angels 20 conga" was formed.

One plane behind another, but unfortunately for Josef, his Spitfire was leading the Conga

Bf 110, range 1, 8 dice needing 5's


Looks good from this angle!

And this angle looks good too!

Bye Bye Mr Spitfire pilot!!

VICTORY was mine! 

I had defeated the die rolling machine that is Josef. The Cubes of Doom no longer rocked and the boy, pale faced, defeated and downtrodden went to his bed.

Alan then pipes up - "Josef hasn't been feeling very well all week. He would have gone to his bed before now but wanted to stay up as he had been looking forward to playing."

Crap, I felt like I was the school bully.