January 6, 2018 by Lee
Well this was certainly a novelty for us…. a Christmas game that we hadn’t planned, built or run. I have to say, we had mixed emotions over this. The relaxing fact of not having the pressure of the task vs our nervous controlling nature….umm……tough call as to which side won this battle !!!
I think this year was a learning curve for us all. For us, the frustration of not knowing what we were doing and for Richard & Josh, the pressure of the work involved in hosting what is this highlight of the gaming calendar.
And so here we were..the day of the game. We got to Richard’s at 11am as planned, more through luck having driven through floods and past an RTA. After a much needed cup of tea, we found out what the game was to be…..The Somme ! We were playing the British side, crossing a vast open ground with crater areas in an attempt to storm the German trenches…OMG. Regan and Richard were playing the Germans while Josh was running the rules, Crush the Kaiser.
To start the game, Lee was assigned the role of British Commander. His role was to plan our deployment and issue initial orders. Any further orders would have to be sent across the battlefield via runners.
Mel was controlling the central battalion. This consisted of 3 companies and a support company with mortars. Her role was to advance through the centre whilst firing smoke from the mortars for the first 2 turns to cover the advance.
Jamie had the same except instead of mortars, his support was a Mark IV Male tank. His orders were to advance on the centre left. He was to utilise the tank to draw the fire allowing his infantry to push forward.
Lee controlled the reserve battalion along with a unit of Machine guns. I deployed the machine guns on the centre right to start putting pressure on the German Artillery and machine guns.
The first couple of turns were spent with the British advancing across the battlefield. Mel had managed to lay smoke with the mortars, when I say she laid smoke, I mean there was way too much smoke but hey, she had followed the orders on her card 😄.
The Germans were keen from the outset and started raining fire as quick as possible. Eagerness is a good thing sometimes however in this instance it gave away their positions allowing the British to focus firing their support weapons on the key German artillery and MG positions.
The German had a successful round where they managed to immobilise the British tank and dropped Gas in the surrounding area. This killed off the tank crew and quite a few of the surrounding infantry.
At this point we stopped for a very nice buffet lunch after which Jamie taught Josh and Regan to play their new game of Star Wars Destiny.
As an army marches on their stomachs, it was time to return to the battle….. With smoke and gas all over the battlefield, Lee decided to send runners out to change the orders I had given to Mel and Jamie. This wasn’t as easy as it seems as the runners only move at the same rate as the troops and so it ended up being a game of cat and mouse.
Without the change of orders arriving, the British continued their advance. The Germans kept up their fire as much as possible but were limited without their artillery and machine gun nests (earlier destroyed).
Lee reserve infantry arrived on either flank to support the central advance. These were only ever going to be in reserve though as the initial forces had advanced to charge range of the trenches. A bloody mess was inevitable. Both Mel and Jamie charged forward at the same time which meant the Germans were in trouble. The German reserves were a little too late and couldn’t fight off the British attack. The game ended with the British successfully storming the German trenchline.
We found that the Crush the Kaiser rules worked in a very similar fashion to Rapid Fire and having been a fan of Rapid Fire for many years, it was interesting to see a different take on the game system.
A massive Thank you to the Downing clan for hosting a fantastic Christmas Game this year. We all thoroughly enjoyed it. Being its our turn in 2018, we have already started planning the game for next Christmas !!!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post about our Christmas Game, please feel free to click the like, comment and follow us as we continue on our journey in this hobby….