Tuesday, March 11, 2014

(Cold Wars) The Siege of Apia Using Gnome Wars

Cold Wars had four different Gnome Wars events.  Two went off without a hitch, one was cancelled but rose again in a new form, and one was invitation only late night silliness.

As I said in my general post about the con, Jim's sudden cancellation worried us all, but its not too selfish to say we were delighted that he showed up on Saturday to cap off a great weekend. 

The loss of the only Gnome Wars event was too much to bear, so Mike Lung put our heads together, and the resulting game was pure genius.

Last year at Cold Wars I ran the fictional Battle of Apaula Heights, which,  if you compare it to my Saturday Second Samoan Civil War game with "real" miniatures, looks surprisingly similar.  I figured I would take a chance and assemble a rough layout of the Siege of Apia.  If the game went well, I could start thinking about what I would need for a "real" version. 

Minor rant time:  I hate hate hate hate HATE the numerous condescending remarks that we hear around the Gnome Wars tables.  They may look silly, they may have bier stein grenades and cheese throwers, but the figures are well done, the boards usually rival the award winning ones (if Jim Stanton doesn't win an award himself), and I see just as many idiotic tactics and actions on the "proper historical" boards.  Hell, if you played in the games I either ran, or helped co-GM, you could have learned about (a) Tanga 1914 (b) Tulgas 1918 (c) Samoa 1899 (d) Saragarhi 1897 (e) Roarke's Drift 1879 and (f) the US Cavalry involvement in Yellowstone Park 1886-1916.   Thank you for your time.

One more thing - this event slot for "The Sikh Stronghold" was for 8 players (plus anyone who brought their own Brigade Games Gnome Wars unit) and slotted for ONLY 2 hours!  We were going to need to move quickly if we were to finish anything.

Backstory in Layman's Terms: 1899. The Western Powers (Britain, Germany, and the United States) have held a shaky agreement regarding commercial interests on the islands of Samoa.  When the King dies, the already volatile process of electing a new king is heavily influenced by these countries.  Germany gleefully transports exiled rebel leader Mata'afa back to Samoa to brew even more dissent.  As the violence grows, members of the government flee the capital of Apia  for the safe haven of their own villages.  Only the Chief Justice of the Samoan Supreme Court remains as a figure of authority.  In an attempt to diffuse the situation, he declares a date for the tribal election of the kings, and rules that all eligible to be considered, with the lone exception of Mata'afa.

This does not go over well...

Historically,the Mata'afan followers show up at the Judge's home for some nefarious purpose.  The Judge catches whiff of this and runs for his life to the safety of the British warship in Apia Harbor.   In our game, things are very similar conceptually, but thing look a bit different.

The Government
The Judge - Objective:  Reach the British or Swiss ships in harbor OR reach the British Consulate without getting captured.  In melee the Judge rolls d8 vs the opponent, and if he wins, he eludes capture and moves an additional three inches.  The Judge may also self-heal himself (5+ on a d8) at the end of the turn, if he is shot.

The Rebels
Mata'afan Rebels (3 units of Eureka frogs) - Objective:  Capture the Judge and control as many buildings as possible.  The frogs move 7 inches and shoot, or run 14.  All rifles have a maximum range of 24 inches. Once a unit is completely annihilated, it may respawn in full back at it's initial starting point.  This ability goes away once the British and Swiss come ashore.

The Confederates (aka German "Advisors") - Objective - Seize the Hotel Tivoli.   Keep the British and Swiss from getting involved.
Apia Harbor, Samoa - I switched the Sikhs to the British Consulate five minutes before game time
The Loyalists
Russians (2 units) one defending the Hotel Tivoli, one defending the Dock Warehouse.  Objective:  Defend and expel the rebels from the town.
The Confederates march alongside the banana plantation

The Western Influence
Sikhs at the British Consulate  - Objective:  Protect the British Consulate

British Marines aboard a warship - Objective:  Clear the town of the rebel scourge.  They may not disembark their vessel until either (a) the Judge reaches it (b) the news of the Consulate falling under attack reaches them.  2d6 per turn after the first shot is fired there, they may leave the ship the turn after their rolls cumulatively reach 20.

Swiss Infantry - aboard a warship - Objective:  Clear the town of the rebel scourge.  They may not disembark their vessel until either (a) the Judge reaches it (b) the news of the Hotel Tivoli falling under attack reaches them.  2d6 per turn after the first shot is fired there, they may leave the ship the turn after their rolls cumulatively reach 20.
The Confederates
Apia (L to R) Judge's home, Hotel Tivoli, Dock Warehouse, British Consulate
Wild Cards
Pirates!!!!!!!   - Not historically accurate, but that is the fun of playing with gnomes.  The pirates are looking to take advantage of any situation within the chaos.

British Highlanders - are there to keep the Pirates in check, as well as defend British interests, whatever they deem them to be.

The Game
The Judge sees the oncoming mob and decides to high-tail it to the Hotel Tivoli, but the frogs are way too fast.  They surround the Judge, but he is slipperier than a greased pig in a July county fair and hides on the hotel's porch (successfully eluding 3 different men... err.. frogs.)    The Russians by the warehouse move up to help the Judge, while the ones inside the Hotel trade horrific fire with the other units marching out of the jungle.

The Judge high tails it out of Apia, but the frogs are fast...

The Judge eludes the rebel frogs, the Russians clean up the mess.

The Judge runs behind the Russians and slowly works his way towards the docks.  The rebel frogs all around the town are gunned down, but the second wave of them charges the Hotel and the British Consulate.   Three waves of frogs climb the stairs to the second floor of the hotel.  The first was cut down to a man by a lone Russian. The second managed to make it onto the floor before getting gunned down.  The third finally evicted the remaining Russians out of the hotel.

The second wave of frogs reaches the second floor

...and the third wave finally takes it.
The British Highlanders and Pirates traded some quick blows, and once the Pirate Captain was killed, the threat quickly dissipated.  The Highlanders, not knowing the political scene, worked a uneasy truce with the Rebels, pushing the Russians out of the town square where the hotel was and toward the British Consulate.

Over at the British Consulate, the Sikh Guards were getting slaughtered left and right, their only saving grace was that the attacking rebel frogs failed a morale check and routed (only to be redeployed 30 inches away).  Four surviving Sikhs did think about leaving the compound, but the arriving Russians lifted their spirits and they defended against one more deadly wave of attacks.   
The rebels decide to attack the British Consulate
 When the smoke cleared, only a handful of Russians had survived, and nary a Sikh, except for the one the was forgotten inside the building. 
The survivors: One Sikh guard and eight Russians
The arrival of the British Marine and Swiss forces into the town was negated by the strong position of the rebels and their new ally, the rogue Highlanders.  The marines were cut down quickly and the Swiss decided it was better to secure the docks. 

Our Judge friend?  He decided to go on a well needed self-imposed exile, I mean, vacation.

"Take me to Tahiti, it's a magical place!"
In all, we had ten players and finished the entire scenario in just under two hours.  I'll need some more building, trees, and a cool judge mini that looks good in Samoan skin tones, but I think this scenario is definitely workable in the "proper" setting.

Many thanks my friend, Mike Lung, for providing the frogs, trees, cool water, and co-GMing duties and pictures.

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