Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Combat in Miss Warburton's Thicket

This was a test of the JTS Ratfight system on a board provided by Shaun.

The scenario is as follows. A Nazi reconnaissance plane has been shot down on a recce over Warmington-on-Sea. They crashland behind the town and the crew escape with the camera film showing key defences on the south coast such as the exact location of captain Mainwearing's HQ in the Novelty Rock Emporium, the siting of the Lewis Gun on the End of the Pier, and the garage in which Mr Jones the butcher keeps his van.

The Luftwaffe crew take cover in some agricultural building in Miss Warburton's Thicket (A). They are spotted by a Home Guard watchman at the telephone Kiosk on the crossroads (B) who phone's HQ.

The Regular Army send a Bren gun Carrier and half section along the Warmington Road (C) in case the Home Guard report is accurate. There has to be a first time.

Meanwhile, Captain Mainwearing, Sgt Wilson and Jones' section (the crack mobile unit of the Warmington-on-Sea Home Guard platoon) race out from the town to investigate (D).

Unknown to the stalwart defenders of England, a Brandenburger unit has landed by submarine to rescue the airmen and their valuable photos (E).

So battle commenced with myself as the noble English and Shaun as the peridious Hun.

The Regulars (A) pile out of the carrier and chase the aircrew out of the buildings. The airman run towards the Brandenburgers (B). The latter form a skirmish line on the hill (B) and infiltrate the woods on their left flank (C).

They ambush Jones' van. He stalls the engine and can't restart it. The Home Guard pile out in a huddle but an infiltrating Brandenburger throws two grenades - knocking out everyone but Jones, Walker and Sponge. I pulled some dreadful cards!

Jones turns out to be a true old soldier (he fought against the fuzzy-wuzzy and the mad mullah with Kitchener). He snipes back at the Brandenburgers with his lee-Enfield, picking them off, one by one.

The Regulars put in a last charge (A). Their sergeant goes down but they knock down more crewmen including the pilot (C). The Bren Gun Carrier crew hide in the trees (B). Jones forces down more Brandenburgers with his sniping skills (E), including the leader.

By the luck of the cards, the end turn comes up when the next action card is turned. Both Shaun and i have to test morale without leader bonuses and with casualties. I make my random card (a Jack), while Shaun pulls a Deuce.

The surviving aircrew surrender and are led away by Corporal Jones on the end of his trusty bayonet, while Walker has a craft fag (A), watched by the surviving Regulars (B). The surviving Brandenburgers fade back into the woods to rendevouz with their U-Boat (C).

Strange to tell, a sinister nun with three-day old stubble on her chin watches the proceedings (D). Could a rescue attempt to lift the photos be on the cards? You bet.


I am really pleased with the Ratfight system which injects the right amount of chaos and lack of centralised control that I believe is more realistic. It is extremely simple so you play the game not the rules. It rewards careful thought. The lack of control requires more skill from a player, not less. Things will go wrong. This is poker rather than chess.

I will definitely write these rules up.