Monday, June 20, 2016

Assault the Secret Base

As much as I enjoyed my time at "The Weekend" this weekend in Lancaster, upon returning home on Father's Day, certain traditions must be maintained.

This would be the fifth year that I've played a game with the kids to celebrate the Day of Dad.  Here are the last four
2015 - The Lost Shrine of Tu'Lip
2014 - Battle of Hook's Farm
2013 - Attack of the 50-Foot Princess
2012 - Rorke's Drift

2011 - Battle in the Mists  (Father's Day Weekend gaming with friends, no bambinos)

Usually my wife has worked Father's Day, leaving me with the kiddos and a low-key weekend.  This year we got home, unpacked, threw in some laundry, and while my wife went out for groceries and take-out, we set up the board.

With this year's vacation in Lancaster, we had limited time to play, plus, I wanted to use Green Army Men, and try out a scenario "Secret Base" for a board game that had been printed in Game Trade Magazine back in 2014.  We changed some of the figures, added leaders, and changed some names to protect the innocent. 

For rules, I broke out an old stand-by, Burning PlasticBurning Plastic was a rules set I helped write back in 1994 for Green Army Men and little concern for casualty rates.  In the game, each figure represented a robot with each vehicle acting on orders from headquarters (think mini-OGRES).   With the robot angle, there was no compunction using your troops and self-destructing suicide bombers... or, better yet, forcing morale checks on opposing figures, getting a catastrophic result on the roll, and having some robot with a panicked CPU flee backwards and self destruct into a unit of his own guys!   We ran it at local cons in PA and NY for a few years, sold out of our print run of 100 copies or so, but we still pull it out from time to time....

I decided to pull out my copy again and see how it worked without the self-destructions...

After years of plotting, the Great Green Army charged into the lands of the USA.  Fighting was fierce. 

However, on the flanks of the attack progress was much slower.  Years of environmental studies and campaigns to save various species had slowed improvements in the road system.  The deluge of rain didn't help things either.    The Green Army was hoping to reach the next village to rest up and refuel before crossing the bridge over the swollen river and finally reaching the USA border. 

They had heard artillery off in the distance all day, but these two shots sounded awfully close....



The shells ripped through the APCs in the column and the Green Army was in chaos.  A few seconds later, Green Army scouts radioed in to report that USA forces had occupied the town.  How long had they been there?

For Commissar Vladimir Frogovich, the choice was clear.  The village must be retaken in the name of Mother Nature!

The Green Army reaches the outskirts of the village.
Order of Battle
The Green Army (who are all yellow army guys, please note the irony)
Commissar Frogovich  (treat as an extra leader with 12" range)
3 units of infantry (1 regular officer - 4 privates)
2 tanks

#1  Take back the village
#2 Destroy Enemy Howitzers
#3 Prevent destruction of the tanks.

Commissar Vladimir Frogovich leads the Green Army
The Flaming Pegasus, hero of the USA.  (treat as an extra leader with 12" range)
3 units of infantry with 5 bazookas mixed into all units (1 officer - 4 soldiers)
2 Howitzers
#1  Hold the village
#2  Destroy the Tanks
#3 Prevent the destruction of the howitzers
US forces defend the town
 I gave us a six-turn deadline. 
Civilians escape the fight across the bridge.  Some are taking it better than others.
Turn One:  Maja, Commander of the USA, struck early,  breaching the hull of one of the Green Army tanks (the take two shots to destroy) and a firing directly at the Commissar!   Even with a great defense against the howitzer (3d vs 3d) there was no way my measly 5 had a chance against her hot dice. 
The Commissar is taken out on the first shot!
The Green Army advanced on the exposed howitzers, knocking one out, but failing to scratch the other. 
The first howitzer is toast.
Turn Two:   The Green Army slowly moved forward, taking out a bazooka, put still failing to hit the remaining howitzer!   That proved their undoing, as it rotated slightly to hit the breached tank and destroying it!
First tank is taken out...
Turn Three:   The USA began falling back to the cover of the bridge and buildings.   The howitzer blew up a Green Army officer before it was overwhelmed in vicious hand to hand fighting.
... and is used as cover.
The tank breaches the first line of defense.
 TURN FOUR:   The USA seized initiative and the four remaining bazookas fired at the soft underbelly of the tank.  *BLAM-MO!*

The bazookas regroup

Two soldiers emerged from the cover of the bridge and took out one of the Green Army troops.  The rest, including the Fiery Pegasus, continued to fall back.
US forces emerge from under the bridge.

TURN SIX:  The Green Army descended the hill, capturing the soldier....
.... and the Bazookas.
I've spent the last few games with Maja, teaching her how to effectively use cover.  It rarely comes up in our Pulp game, and when it does, she brazenly ignores it. 

With most of my officers out in the open, I asked Maja why she continued to fall back and not fire at them.

Lesson of Maja #20:  "Daddy, you taught me the best thing to do is use cover."

"Yes, sweetie, good job, but you have to fire back!"

With a contested hold on the village, and no tanks for me, Maja and the good ol' USA was awarded a minor victory. 

Enough with fighting, for it was time for the other tradition:  The annual Father's Day tea party of Grape Juice, Tastycakes, and Barbeque Chips.... using the good china.

And the annual Father's Day tea party.... a long standing tradition.


  1. Looks like great fun and priceless to boot.


  2. Is there somewhere you can buy or download Burning Plastic?

    1. One day, after I rewrite and playtest the rules.