6 Years of Solo Games

On January 28 2012 I published my first post on this blog.

solounmondodicarta

It’s six years since then and I thought this could be a good time for some retrospective reflection. I published 185 posts, initially in Italian, then switching to English. I don’t remember which system I used for my first posts: they seem to be pure map-based world building. In these early experiments I already sketched simple drawings of my characters: something I have continued doing with all the different settings and games I have played. Later experiments with this initial fantasy setting (the “Albus” world) included Mythic, John Fiore’s 9Qs and Two Hours Wargames “Chain Reaction”.

I tried a few games of 3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars. While I loved the idea of drawing planet portraits, the game proved too “rail-roaded” for my taste.

In April 2012, I invested 5 Eur in the plastic army men I still use for my games. I must have played a hundred games with a dozen different rule-sets with these guys! These could easily have been the best spent 5 Euros in my life.

There was a long gap in my games lasting until September 2014. When I resumed playing, I was still blogging in Italian, but I had discovered Five Core by Ivan Soresen. My first games with this system were about Italian partisans in ww2.

I then switched to English and to a different setting (cold war fights on Mars: Red Planet 58). The campaign started with Ivan’s Five Core, but I later switched to Pulp Alley.

Red Planet was possibly my most extensive campaign. I also experimented with using a board game (Patrol Lost) to create game maps and that was the subject of my first Lone Wolf Roleplaying G+ post. I got a new set of soldiers (10mm, this time) and started collecting old toy cars I buy at flea markets.

The most ambitious project in 2015 was a solo go at Lady Blackbird: a simple RPG with an amazing setting. I played 10 sessions with the game, but I was bogged down by the relatively high number of PCs. Too many open threads, in the end. The sessions I remember more fondly are those based on Chris Stieha’s RND random zine.

I also played a few Dungeon games with the delightful Dungeon Squad II by Jason Morningstar.

For #SGAM2015, I started the Weirdgate 88 project: a silly setting of soldiers vs robots vs monsters which I mostly used to play with plastic toys and WarStuff, by One Page Rules.

I experimented more with isometric maps with both 3D toy soldiers and paper flats. One of the first applications was to ancient skirmishes with Song of Shadows and Dust by Ganesha Games. “Isometric 2.5D” is a style of play that I greatly enjoy: I think I will revisit it in the future.

In 2017 I made a new ambitious go at solo RPGs, with a campaign based on Planet of Adventure by Jack Vance (Eve of Tschai). It was very free-form, with ample use of paper minis and isometric sketches. I left the campaign in a much better state than Lady Blackbird (having a single protagonist is clearly more manageable for me). I might decide to continue this campaign, some day. The idea of exploring a world that is only partially known is of the greatest appeal. I am particularly proud of the Tschai globe I created at the start of the campaign.

The rest of the year mostly was about skirmish games with Chain Reaction by Two Hour Wargames, the bug-hunting Stay Frosty RPG by Casey G (for SGAM, still in the Weirdgate setting) and, finally, a go at the WW2 hex-based wargame Valor and Victory, with a return to the Italian resistance and scenarios inspired by One Hour Wargames (a book by Neil Thomas).

So what was this all about? Is it possible to see patterns with a few years of perspective?

All in all, I guess there are three recurring themes. In order of increasing “gaming” ambition:

    • War War II (in particular, in Italy). I now realise this is a period I am interested in from a historical point of view. I love books and movies about the subject. In my opinion, that was the last time that Europe went through something really epic. My games, however simple and silly, are a way to get in touch with the terribly meaningful events of those times. Anyway, this theme obviously lends itself to a structured “wargaming” approach, with specific rules and scenarios.
    • While WW2 is history, my games often deviate towards a lighter SF variant (cold war on Mars, or army vs monsters). Rule-wise, this can be the same as WW2, but obviously the underlying story is less constrained, which makes games more challenging from my point of view.
    • The most challenging projects have been those closer to proper role-playing/world building. It was interesting to re-discover that this was the subject of my very first posts. This is the area I am less comfortable with: the total freedom and the need to rely on random oracles instead of “facts” risk to put me off or entrap me in inconsistency and overly complex plots. My most successful attempts in this line have been in the context of solid (however imaginary) settings: Lady Blackbird and Jack Vance.

 

 

In my disorderly way, I cover the whole span from pure wargaming to free-form role-games, I guess that I will often find myself exploring the middle ground: skirmish games with some kind of background story. We will see. At the moment, I have no definite plan, but the near-term one of finishing my Valor and Victory + Ironsworn Sicily ww2 campaign.

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SICILY 1943 SESSION:6 – Mopping up in Caltanissetta

Previous Events: Our heroes are the leaders of an American infantry platoon: Lt.Plutarcus “Pluto” Brown, who wants to write a war novel. Sgt.Antony “Tony” Russo, who hopes to meet his Sicilian relatives. Sgt.Edward “Eddy” O’Dorley, whose ambition is to be promoted to a higher rank. (1) The platoon successfully reaches Sicily, together with large American and British armies. (2) The next day they contribute to stopping an armour counter-attack by the Hermann Goering Panzer division. (3-4) Pluto is wounded in action while fighting near Gela: he must be out of combat for a while. Eddy has been badly shaken by the first fight. Tony and Eddy are now directly under the command of the Company leader CPT Jones. (5) The Army moves North. The platoon attacks a building occupied by a group of Italian fascists: the first assault fails, but the second one, lead by Jones, is a success. Jones derides Eddy’s difficulties with dealing with the stress of battle. Eddy vows to take revenge in due time.

[A Valor&Victory / Ironsworn wargame/RPG mashup. V&V is based on 2D6 rolls; typically, it’s good to roll low numbers. – This is a plastic soldiers game: please don’t expect historical accuracy.]

caltanisetta

18 July 1943: Lt.Pluto’s wound is much better: he can rejoin his platoon. Just in time for the attack to Caltanissetta: an important town at the centre of Sicily. The platoon is order to clear an area occupied by the Germans. [based on the official Valor and Victory scenario H3: Mopping Up]

HEX.jpg

Order of battle:
Americans: 12 Units, including the 3 leaders Pluto (-2 bonus), Tony (-1 bonus) and Eddy (currently without any leadership bonus for his shaken condition). 3 LMGs. 2 Supplies of Grenades. Satchel Charge.

Germans: 9 Units, including a strong (-2) leader and an ordinary (-1) leader. 1 LMG. 1 HMG. 1 Mortar protected by sandbags.

Turn 1: the American advance under heavy fire, but they are lucky enough to avoid serious casualties. Tony and Eddy advance towards the Northern building occupied by the strongest German leader. Pluto and some reserve soldiers advanced at the South.

1a.jpg

Turn 2: The German leader in the Northern building puts his HMG to good use, pushing back both Eddy and Tony even if the Americans used all the grenades at their disposal.

At the South, the Americans take heavy casualties from the German LMG while crossing the road for a close assault. The assaulting squad uses a satchel charge and overcomes the defenders, but also the attackers are completely destroyed.

2a.jpg

Pluto still stands, but he is completely out of support weapons: all LMGs have been destroyed, grenades and and the satchel charge have been used. He decide to retreat and ask for reinforcements.

2b.jpg

All characters lose 1 Momentum. The Platoon loses 1 Supply.

Sicily 1943 Session:5 – Double assault in Pietraperzia

Pluto is still in the hospital in Gela. The Company moves North. Eddy and Tony lead the platoon against a fascist MG nest, but are pushed back. CPT Jones leads the second attack with more support weapons and this time the Italians are defeated.

Previous Events: Our heroes are the leaders of an American infantry platoon: Lt.Plutarcus “Pluto” Brown, who wants to write a war novel. Sgt.Antony “Tony” Russo, who hopes to meet his Sicilian relatives. Sgt.Edward “Eddy” O’Dorley, whose ambition is to be promoted to a higher rank. (1) The platoon successfully reaches Sicily, together with large American and British armies. (2) The next day they contribute to stopping an armour counter-attack by the Hermann Goering Panzer division. (3-4) Maria, a young girl from Gela, asks Tony to kill Tenente Murru, a fascist responsible for the death of Maria’s brother. Pluto is wounded in action and out of combat for a while. Eddy has been badly shaken by the first fight. Finally, under the command of the Company leader CPT Jones, Tenente Murru is killed.

[A Valor&Victory / Ironsworn wargame/RPG mashup. V&V is based on 2D6 rolls; typically, it’s good to roll low numbers.
This is a plastic soldiers game: please don’t expect historical accuracy.]

On 14 July, the regiment begins its Dangerous journey towards the centre of Sicily.
The first two days are uneventful, but for the fact that the Platoon is almost out of supplies.
On 17 July, they are approaching the town of Pietraperzia, when they encounter opposition by Italian soldiers. The fascists have installed a machine gun in cattle-shed protected by stone walls. They are under the fire of an American HMG (southern side of the map), but their cover proves excellent. The platoon is ordered to manoeuvre to the flank and attack from a nearby grove [scenario based on Platoon Forward (Too Fat Lardies) Card C: Flank Attack].

Order of battle:
Americans: 9 Units, including the 2 leaders Tony (-1 bonus) and Eddy (currently without any leadership bonus for his shaken condition). Off-board HMG.
Italians: 9 Units, including a strong (-2) leader and two ordinary leaders. 1 LMG. 1 supply of grenades.

AHEX.jpg

Since the building is basically unaffected by ranged fire, the only options is moving in the open for a close assault. But the Italians are quick to redeploy and their opportunity fire decimates the attackers. Tony tries a close assault, but he is pushed back with heavy losses. Eddy and Tony are the last two standing men and they must retreat.

A2.jpg

They are joined by CPT Jones, with fresh men and support weapons. Time for a second assault against the surviving fascists.

 

Order of battle:
Americans: 9 Units, including the 3 leaders Jones (-2 bonus), Tony (-1 bonus) and Eddy (currently without any leadership bonus for his shaken condition). 2 LMG. 2 supplies of Grenades. Off-board HMG.
Italians: 9 Units, including a strong (-2) leader and two ordinary leaders. 1 LMG. 1 supply of grenades.

BHEX.jpg

The Italians are deployed in three groups, one inside the building, one at the south (led by the strongest leader) of it and a third one protected by the wall at the West of the building.
This time the Americans are more cautious: they use their machine guns to eliminate or pin some of the defenders. Then they move forward. Jones tries a first close assault to the building, but he fails. Tony uses the last Grenades and overcomes the defenders!
The two surviving Italian leaders surrender.

B2.jpg

[Ironsworn intermezzo]

The goods captured from the Fascist HQ in Pietraperzia include hundreds of bottles of good brandy. In the evening, most of the battalion is more or less drunk. Booze makes Eddy feel better and he thinks it’s a good idea to try and make friends with CPT Jones.

Eddy, Forge a Bond – Challenge:2,4 Action:1+1Heart=2 MISS
Jones speaks to Eddy with arrogance and sarcasm. He is not surprised that Pluto has been wounded and he himself is lucky to have survived their mission, having to fight with cowards like Eddy. Other soldiers in the company overhear the conversation and join Jones in laughing at Eddy.

Jones-Eddy

Eddy vows to take revenge on Jones (Dungerous vow).

Pluto is still in a hospital tent in Gela. He is making progress with his war novel and his wound is getting better (Wounded condition cleared).

Current situation:
Lt.Plutarcus “Pluto” Brown [VV -2 Leader]
Pluto was born in Virginia. Before the war, he taught English in high school.
Edge:1 Iron:2 Heart:3 Shadow:1 Wits:2
Vow: write an autobiographic novel about the war (Formidable). Progress: 2
Momentum:+6 Health:0 Spirit:+5 Platoon Supply:+4
________________________
Sgt.Antony “Tony” Russo [VV -1 Leader]
Russo lives in New York. He speaks some Italian, but not enough to be considered an official interpreter.
Edge:2 Iron:1 Heart:2 Shadow:1 Wits:3
Vow: find his Sicilian relatives (Formidable). Progress: 1
Vow: find a way to save civilian lives (Extreme). Progress: 0
Vow: kill Tenente Murru (Dangerous). Completed
Momentum:+6 Health:+2 Spirit:+5
Bond with Maria (a young orphan girl in Gela)
________________________
Sgt.Edward “Eddy” O’Dorley [currently VV leadership=0]
From Boston. He is the owner of a boxing gym.
Edge:3 Iron:2 Heart:1 Shadow:2 Wits:1
Vow: be promoted Lieutenant (Dangerous). Progress: 0
Vow: take revenge on CPT Jones (Dangerous). Progress: 0
Momentum:+2 Health:+5 Spirit:+0
Shaken

Sicily 1943 Session:4 – The end of Tenente Murru

The company eliminates the evil fascist leader Tenente Murru, near Gela. The initial success of our heroes is finalized by the direct intervention of CPT Jones. Eddy is beaten again a close assault: he is completely dispirited. Tony finds that Maria’s mother was accidentally killed by an American shell.

Previous Events: Our heroes are the leaders of an American infantry platoon: Lt.Plutarcus “Pluto” Brown, who wants to write a war novel. Sgt.Antony “Tony” Russo, who hopes to meet his Sicilian relatives. Sgt.Edward “Eddy” O’Dorley, whose ambition is to be promoted to a higher rank. (1) The platoon successfully reaches Sicily, together with large American and British armies. The same day, they attack a farm occupied by the fascist Tenente Murru, but they are defeated. Eddy is badly shaken by the first day of fights.
(2) After their first night in Gela, the platoon is sent to the plain North of the city to help contrast an armoured counter-attack by the Hermann Goering Panzer division. Pluto destroys a German tank. Eddy talks with the Chaplain Father Robinson, but he feels more and more depressed.
(3) The platoon is escorting a supply truck, when they are attacked and defeated by Tenente Murru. Pluto is wounded, and out of combat for a while. Tony speaks with the battalion leader Major Sampson and convinces him of the need to eliminate Murru. Tony confirms to Sampson the rumours about Eddy’s difficulties with battle stress.

Valor&Victory / Ironsworn wargame/RPG mashup. V&V is based on 2D6 rolls; typically, it’s good to roll low numbers.
This is a plastic soldiers game: please don’t expect historical accuracy.

13 July 1943: US intelligence has spotted the location of Murru’s stronghold. The entire battalion is tasked to resolve the problem of this group of fascist fanatics.
[Mission based on One Hour Wargames Scenario 13: Escape]

Order of Battle:
Americans: 6 units (including the two -1 leaders Tony and Eddy). LMG. 1 supply of Grenades.
Italians: 6 units (including the -2 leader Murru and a “regular” -1 leader). 2 LMGs. 1 supply of Grenades.
The goal of the Italians is to exit at least three units from the Western table edge. Initially, a single American unit is deployed. Two reinforcements groups will enter at Turn 2 and 3.

HEX.jpg

Turn 1: the fascists enter the board and take cover in the woods at the South of the road.

2a.jpg

Turn 2: Eddy enters from the Northern table edge. He occupies the higher ground at the North of the road.

3a.jpg

Turn 3: Eddy’s opportunity fire [he rolled a 3] inflicts heavy damage to one of the fascist squads.

Tony enters from the South. Both Tony and Eddy move towards the enemy, ready for close assaults. Tony goes first: he makes use of the single supply of Grenades and [with a roll of 3] destroys Murru’s squad.

3b.jpg

Eddy is not so lucky: the Italian Grenades do the difference, but both the attackers and the defenders are put out of combat.

3c.jpg

[Ironsworn] Tony makes further progress in his goal of killing Murru.

Somehow, the sneaky Tenente manages to escape and to reach his nearby stronghold.
Tony pushes forward and is joined by the Battalion leader Captain Jones.

Order of Battle:
Americans: 6 units (including the two leaders Sgt.Tony [-1] and Cpt.Jones [-2]). Jones has a LMG. 1 supply of Grenades.
Italians: Murru [-2 leader] and a half squad. LMG.

HEX.jpg

The Americans move forward, taking cover among the trees at the two sides of the road.
Murru’s opportunity fire is ineffective [he rolls a 12, the worst possible score, triggering an enemy sniper]. Jones has managed to deploy a sniper in a favourable position.

1a.jpg

When the fascists fire, the sniper spots them and shoots twice, killing the two occupants of the building [a roll of 6 eliminates the leader and the half squad, also with the +3 cover provided by the building]

1b.jpg
But is Murru really dead this time?
[Ironsworn]

Tony makes two more progress ticks on “Killing Murru”. His progress in now 6. I also let him recover a +1 Health.
Fulfil your Vow: Challenge:3,6 : Weak Hit
In the afternoon, Tony visits Maria, the young girl who had asked him to kill Murru and revenge his brother. He finds out that, the previous day, Maria’s mother was accidentally killed during the US Navy artillery bombing aimed at the German tanks. Tony’s bound with Maria is established. Tony has the new extreme goal of limiting the killing of civilians.

Eddy suffers a new -3 Spirit hit [since Sprit was +1, he takes -2 Momentum]
Test Spirit: Challenge:9,10 Action:3+1Heart=4 : Miss
He loses and additional 1 Momentum and takes the “Shaken” condition. I will remove his -1 VV leadership bonus until he recovers.

Current situation:
Lt.Plutarcus “Pluto” Brown [VV -2 Leader]

Pluto was born in Virginia. Before the war, he taught English in high school.
Edge:1 Iron:2 Heart:3 Shadow:1 Wits:2
Vow: write an autobiographic novel about the war (Formidable). Progress: 1
Momentum:+6 Health:0 Spirit:+5 Platoon Supply:+4
Wounded
________________________
Sgt.Antony “Tony” Russo [VV -1 Leader]
Russo lives in New York. He speaks some Italian, but not enough to be considered an official interpreter.
Edge:2 Iron:1 Heart:2 Shadow:1 Wits:3
Vow: find his Sicilian relatives (Formidable). Progress: 1
Vow: save civilian lives
Vow: kill Tenente Murru (Dangerous). Completed
Momentum:+6 Health:+2 Spirit:+5
Bond with Maria (a young orphan girl in Gela)
________________________
Sgt.Edward “Eddy” O’Dorley [currently VV leadership=0]
From Boston. He is the owner of a boxing gym.
Edge:3 Iron:2 Heart:1 Shadow:2 Wits:1
Vow: be promoted Lieutenant (Dangerous). Progress: 0
Momentum:+2 Health:+5 Spirit:+0
Shaken

NPCs
[the traits of Jones and Sanders are from The Regiment]

NPC_1

Captain Jones is the Company Leader. He is organized and experienced, but overconfident.

Father Robertson is the chaplain of the Regiment. [Ironsworn oracles: Cowardly, Rebel against power]. He is secretly contrary to war, a thought he has always successfully hidden but that is slowly gnawing at his soul.

Lieutenant Colonel Sanders is the Battalion Leader. He is Aggressive and Honourable, but also Addicted to Victory.

Sicily 1943 Session:3 – Tenente Murru’s ambush

Valor&Victory / Ironsworn wargame/RPG mashup.
This is a plastic soldiers game: please don’t expect historical accuracy.

Recap: Our heroes are the leaders of an American infantry platoon: Lt.Plutarcus “Pluto” Brown, who dreams of writing a war novel. Sgt.Antony “Tony” Russo, who hopes to meet his Sicilian relatives. Sgt.Edward “Eddy” O’Dorley, whose ambition is to be promoted to a higher rank. The platoon has successfully reached Sicily, together with large American and British armies. The same day, they attack a farm occupied by the fascist Tenente Murru, but they are defeated. Eddy is badly shaken by the first day of fights.
After their first night in Gela, the platoon is sent to the plain North of the city to help contrast an armoured counter-attack by the Hermann Goering Panzer division. Pluto receives one of the rare bazookas available and puts it at good use, destroying a German tank. Eddy talks with the chaplain, but he feels more and more depressed.

12 July 1943: the guys escort a truck with supplies for a company entrenched a few miles North of Gela. Tenente Murru has set up an ambush! He has taken position on a rocky outcrop near the road: when the truck approaches, the fascists roll boulders on the road, stopping the convoy.

HEX.jpg

Order of battle:
Americans: 8 units (including the three leaders, Pluto -2, Eddy and Tony -1). 1 supply of Grenades.
Italians: 7 units (including the -2 leader Murru and a “regular” -1 leader). LMG, Grenades, Satchel charge.

Turn 1: The first Italian squad moves towards the truck. Pluto’s opportunity fire is totally ineffective [12 is the worst possible result]. Moreover, a Italian sniper has taken position among the shrubs at the South of the road: he kills one of Pluto’s men.

1a.jpg

The Italian squad attempts a close assault against the truck, defended by Eddy: they are pushed back. But Murru’s charge is unstoppable [2 is the best possible result]. The truck is immobilized and Eddy is out of combat.

1b.jpg

Turn 2: The first Italian squad fires, putting also Pluto out of combat.

2a.jpg

Only Tony still stands, but he is outnumbered by Murru (Anti-Personal fire power: 8 for the Italians, 3 for Tony’s squad). The attackers need a 9 or less to succeed (considering Murru’s superior leadership) and they roll a 7. The defenders have been completely defeated. The fascists hastily collect weapons and ammo for the truck and disappear, just when American reinforcements arrive.

2b.jpg

[Inter-battle Ironsworn interlude]

As a consequence of the defeat, all characters take -1 Momentum. Also, -1 Supply for the Platoon.

I decided that each American leader will suffer 1D4+1 Health or Spirit harm.

Tony: -4 Heath
Endure Harm: Challenge: 1,9 Action:3+2Health=5 Weak Hit
Tony is just badly bruised. He still operative.

Pluto: -4 Health
Endure Harm: Challenge: 6,9 Action:3+2Iron=5 Miss
Pluto had already been lightly wounded in the previous fight with Murru. Now he has taken a bullet in his left leg. He is wounded and he will be unable to fight for a while. At least, he will have some time to take notes for his book (I mark +1 progress).

Eddy: -2 Spirit
Test Spirit: Challenge: 4,5 Action:4+1Heart=5 Weak Hit
Eddy’s condition is getting worse, but he somehow manages to hide his feelings.

 

Tony has vowed a young girl for Gela that the Americans will kill Tenente Murru. After this second defeat, he feels he has to try something more decisive in pursue of this goal. While visiting Pluto in the hospital tent, Tony meets the Battalion leader Lieutenant Colonel Sanders. He points out to the danger of having Murru around: he could become a hero and an example for other fascist fanatics. Couldn’t the Americans take specific action to eliminate this dangerous enemy?
Compel: Challenge: 6,9 Action:6+2Heart=8 Weak Hit
[LTC Sanders asks something in return]
The Major seems convinced by Tony’s argument. He says that, now that Pluto is out of combat, Tony will have to lead the platoon at least for a few days. He carefully points to Eddy’s poor reaction to the stress of battle and asks Tony his point of view on the subject. Tony can only confirm that Eddy has having a bad time, but he is sure he will soon recover.
Tony scores two progress marks on his Vow of killing Murru.

Does Eddy suspect that Tony has given him away? [50-50 chance] NO

EPT_200

Current situation:
Lt.Plutarcus “Pluto” Brown
Pluto was born in Virginia. Before the war, he taught English in high school.
Edge:1 Iron:2 Heart:3 Shadow:1 Wits:2
Vow: write an autobiographic novel about the war (Formidable). Progress: 1
Momentum:+6 Health:0 Spirit:+5 Platoon Supply:+3
Wounded

________________________
Sgt.Antony “Tony” Russo
Russo lives in New York. He speaks some Italian, but not enough to be considered an official interpreter.
Edge:2 Iron:1 Heart:2 Shadow:1 Wits:3
Vow: find his Sicilian relatives (Formidable). Progress: 1
Vow: kill Tenente Murru (Dangerous). Progress: 2
Momentum:+5 Health:+1 Spirit:+5

________________________
Sgt.Edward “Eddy” O’Dorley
From Boston. He is the owner of a boxing gym.
Edge:3 Iron:2 Heart:1 Shadow:2 Wits:1
Vow: be promoted Lieutenant (Dangerous). Progress: 0
Momentum:+4 Health:+5 Spirit:+1

 

Sicily 1943 Session:2 – 11 July 1943

Valor&Victory / Ironsworn wargame/RPG mashup.
This is a plastic soldiers game: please don’t expect historical accuracy.

Recap: Our heroes are the leaders of an American infantry platoon: Lt.Plutarcus “Pluto” Brown, Sgt.Antony “Tony” Russo and Sgt.Edward “Eddy” O’Dorley. They have successfully reached Sicily, together with large American and British armies. The same day, they unsuccessfully tried to dislodge a group of fascists from a farm.

After their first night in Gela, the platoon is sent to the plain North of the city to help contrast an armoured counter-attack by the Hermann Goering Panzer division. Pluto receives one of the rare bazookas available. They dig their foxholes in an open area. Small wood patches are present at the North of the board.

Order of Battle

Americans: 10 units (including the three leaders, Pluto -2, Eddy and Tony -1). Bazooka. Fox holes.
Germans: 3 infantry units (including a -2 leader). LMG. A Mk IV Tank (12 APFP gun, 4+3 APFT MGs, armour: C/A)

The Americans deploy at the West of the board. The Germans will enter from the East.

HEX.jpg

Turn 1: The German units enter the board. Infantry takes cover in the woods. The tank stops out of the range of fire of the Americans. Our heroes advance. The gun hits Pluto’s squad, killing one of his men. Tony takes cover in the woods. Eddy bravely advances in the open, hoping to close assault the tank.

1a.jpg

Turn 2: The German tanks points to Eddy for an armour overrun, but Pluto uses opportunity fire to shoot his bazooka. He needs an 8 or less to hit: the roll of 9 is modified by Pluto’s -2 leadership. The tank is hit! The rear armour is only A: the tank is automatically destroyed.

2a.jpg

Eddy tries to fire the German infantry e roll a 12, triggering an enemy Sniper. The Germans close assault Pluto, but fail [they roll 7, needing 6 or less].

2b.jpg

Tony and Pluto are ready to assault in their turn. Pluto goes first and eliminates the enemies. Tony sends a guy to clear the Sniper.

2c.jpg

[Ironsworn inter-battle scenes:]

All gain +1 Momentum for their victory

That evening, Eddy visits the Chaplain of the regiment, hoping to find some relief for the distress he feels since the previous day.
Sojourn: Challenge: 7,5 Action:3+Heart1=4 Miss
It is tiring. When the meeting ends, Eddy feels even worse then before. He realises he has lost all his faith. In comparison with the experience of killing men and seeing so many of his comrades die, religion seems only a heap of empty words.
-1 Spirit

Tony is hosted by an Italian family in Gela: the Tamalli.
Sojourn – Challenge 1,5 Action:2+2Heart=4 Weak hit. Plan: +2 Momentum
Tony feels more confident about the possibility to interact with the Italians. He feels he will be able to find his relatives!

Pluto: Gather Information – Challenge:7,3 Action:2+2=4 Weak Hit
Pluto goes around speaking to other soldiers of the Company. He wants to collect as much fresh material as possible for the war book he plans to write.
[Oracle: Coordinate Direction]
Cpt. Jones notices that Pluto seems particularly well connected with the other soldiers. He thinks it will be good to have him take part to the logistic technical meetings to define the best road to move North. For a while, Pluto will not have the spare time he hoped to devote to writing…

Current situation:
Lt.Plutarcus “Pluto” Brown
Pluto was born in Virginia. Before the war, he taught English in high school.
Edge:1 Iron:2 Heart:3 Shadow:1 Wits:2
Vow: write an autobiographic novel about the war (Formidable). Progress: 0
Momentum:+7 Health:+4 Spirit:+5 Platoon Supply:+4

________________________
Sgt.Antony “Tony” Russo
Russo lives in New York. He speaks some Italian, but not enough to be considered an official interpreter.
Edge:2 Iron:1 Heart:2 Shadow:1 Wits:3
Vow: find his Sicilian relatives (Formidable). Progress: 1
Vow: kill Tenente Murru (Dangerous). Progress: 0
Momentum:+6 Health:+5 Spirit:+5

________________________
Sgt.Edward “Eddy” O’Dorley
From Boston. He is the owner of a boxing gym.
Edge:3 Iron:2 Heart:1 Shadow:2 Wits:1
Vow: be promoted Lieutenant (Dangerous, i.e. easier than Formidable. It seems Eddy has already been noticed by higher officers). Progress: 0
Momentum:+5 Health:+5 Spirit:+2

Sicily 1943 Session:1 – 10 July 1943

This is a plastic soldiers game: please don’t expect historical accuracy.

10jul

(Map from The Liberation Trilogy)

First session of my Valor&Victory / Ironsworn wargame/RPG mashup.
Our heroes are the leaders of an American infantry platoon: Lt.Plutarcus “Pluto” Brown, Sgt.Antony “Tony” Russo and Sgt.Edward “Eddy” O’Dorley

ept

h:6 AM: The heroes land on one of the best defended of the beaches involved in Operation Husky. The platoon touches ground in front of a bunker armed with a Heavy Machine Gun fired by a team lead by a strong [-2 bonus] Italian leader. Another dune hosts an Italian Light Machine Gun. Pluto’s objective is to clear the bunker and bring at least half of his units past the dunes.

Order of Battle:
Americans: 12 units (including the three leaders). HMG, LMG, 2 supplies of grenades
Italians: 5 units (including a -2 leader). HMG, LMG, 1 supply of grenades

The yellow pebbles mark positions where mines (red pebbles) could be present. The dark cubes are barbed wire.

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Pluto deploys at the centre, with the LMG. Eddy and a reserve squad are at his right, with the HMG. Tony is on the left.

Turn 1: Eddy and the reserve soldiers find mines! Miraculously, a single unit is lost. Tony and Pluto advance more slowly, trying to avoid enemy fire, yet Tony’s squad is pinned by the Italians.

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Turn 2: Plato’s MG hits hard the Italians on the Northern dune. Tony finds a mine-less passage through the barbed wire. Eddy advances towards the bunker, taking considerable losses.

Turn 3: Plato completes the elimination of the MG team on the Northern dune. Eddy is pinned just below the bunker. What remains of his squad attempts a close assault: the HMG is useless, but they throw a round of grenades. The first attackers are all killed.

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But Tony has also reached the bunker and his attack on the now weakened enemy is a success! The bunker is cleared.

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Six units (including the three leaders) are still active: both objectives have been achieved.

I now switch to Ironsworn to see what happens between battles. All characters get +1 Momentum for their victory.

Pluto: Secure Advantage
Pluto reaches the Company Commander Cpt.Jones (Experienced and Organized but Overconfident) and asks for orders.
Challenge: 3 and 4, Action=3+3Heart=6 : Strong Hit
The Captain was impressed by Pluto’s action on the beach. Clearing that bunker was of vital importance. (Pluto: Momentum +2)
The Captain points to the roof of a farm among the olive trees. The platoon must clear that building too, then they can rest there waiting for orders.

Tony: Forge a bond
While they advance towards the farm, Tony notices an adolescent girl at the side of the road. He speaks to her in Italian.
Challenge: 5 and 9, Action=6+2Heart=8 : Weak Hit
(some action is required to forge the bond)
The girl (Maria) tells Tony that evil Tenente Murru, a fascist fanatic, occupies the farm. Murru killed his brother and she asks Tony to do justice. Tony promises to do so.
I grant Tony 1 advance on his Vow to find his Sicilian family, since he has made contact with the first Sicilian.

I had time for a second battle, so here it is:

Order of Battle:
Americans: 7 units (including the three leaders). HMG, LMG
Italians: 5 units (including the -2 leader Murru). LMG

The green cubes are olive trees.

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h.10 AM – The platoon reaches the farm. There actually are two buildings, among the olive trees. Thanks to Maria’s warning, they advance cautiously.

Turn 1: Eddy, with the HMG, attacks the main building. Murru’s opportunity fire (with a -2 leader bonus and a -2 bonus for a target in the open) is devastating: the whole American squad is out of combat.

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In Valor&Victory, low rolls are good: the fascist MG annihilates Eddy’s squad

Plato attacks the smaller building and is more lucky; but when he tries to assault the fascists, they defend brilliantly [the attackers rolled 11, needing 8 or less]: the Lieutenant is out of combat too. Tony had approached the main building, hoping to contribute to the undoing of Murru, but given the situation he orders retreat.

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The objective has not been reached: all characters take -1 Momentum. They have lost their MGs: -1 supply.
Murru was not killed, so Tony cannot forge his bond with Maria (I will add killing the nasty fascist to Tony’s vows).

Pluto and Eddy went out of combat. I decided to inflict 3 Health Harms to Pluto [Endure Harm move] and 3 Spirit Harms to Eddy [Test your Spirit].

Plato: Endure Harm
Challenge: 1 and 2, Action=5+2Health=7 : Strong Hit
Plato was hit at his left arm. It’s not too serious. He regains +1 Health (now at +3)

Eddy: Test your Spirit
Challenge: 9 and 6, Action=6+2Spirit=8 : Weak Hit
Eddy was badly shaken by the fight, but he carries on (Spirit remains at +2)

 

Cpt.Jones directs what is left of the platoon to a building at the outskirts of Gela. They will pass the night there with the rest of the Company.
Make Camp
Challenge: 4and 2, Action=5+4Supply=9 : Strong Hit
All characters recover 1 point of Momentum, Spirit, Health

Current situation:

Lt.Plutarcus “Pluto” Brown
Pluto was born in Virginia. Before the war, he taught English in high school.
Edge:1 Iron:2 Heart:3 Shadow:1 Wits:2
Vow: write an autobiographic novel about the war (Formidable). Progress: 0
Momentum:+5 Health:+4 Spirit:+5 Platoon Supply:+4

Sgt.Antony “Tony” Russo
Russo lives in New York. He speaks some Italian, but not enough to be considered an official interpreter.
Edge:2 Iron:1 Heart:2 Shadow:1 Wits:3
Vow: find his Sicilian relatives (Formidable). Progress: 1
Vow: kill Tenente Murru (Dangerous). Progress: 0
Momentum:+3 Health:+5 Spirit:+5

Sgt.Edward “Eddy” O’Dorley
From Boston. He is the owner of a boxing gym.
Edge:3 Iron:2 Heart:1 Shadow:2 Wits:1
Vow: be promoted Lieutenant (Dangerous, i.e. easier than Formidable. It seems Eddy has already been noticed by higher officers). Progress: 0
Momentum:+3 Health:+5 Spirit:+3