Tuesday, 25 October 2011

10mm RJW Solo game using Contemptible Little Armies


A few weeks ago I did an RJW solo game using Battles for Empire. I've now played the same game using Contemptible Little Armies 2nd Edition (CLA).

The scenario is played out on a 2 foot terrain tile with 3 Japanese Battalions assaulting a single entrenched Russian battalion. The Russians also have 2 HMGs and 2 Field guns on a low ridge behind the trench-line so that they can provide overhead fire support until the Japanese get too close

I've never played CLA before - it looks like a very simple set of rules - however I may have misread some of the rules so bear with me. I did send a couple of queries to the CLA yahoo group but did not get any replies as my posting required approval from the moderator (and I obviously didn't get it)

CLA uses individual figure basing with units of 8-18. My battalions are split into 4 companies each of 3 bases of 4 figures. Therefore I had the choice of either keep it the same and have units of 12 figures or use 1 CLA figures = 1 Base. I went for the individual figures option although I will also try the 1 CLA figures = 1 Base at some point.

CLA uses a You-move-a-unit-I-Move-A-Unit sequence followed by 3 fire phases; HMGs, Artillery & Small Arms then Melee and finally Morale. Units that move can not fire.

The ground that the Japanese have to cross is mainly open with a couple of small areas of difficult going that provides cover. Movement, in inches, is either 2 dice in good going or 1 dice in difficult.

Firing in each phase is simultaneous. To Kill requires a 4 or more on a d6 modified by -1 for over half range and soft cover, -2 for trenches

HMGs have a range of 40 inches and roll 6 dice, Artillery have a range of 80 inches and roll 1 dice and if it is a hit then roll a dice for every figure within 2 inches killing over 5+ with no modifiers, rifles have a range of 12 inches and roll 1 dice per figure.

Morale, in the context of the RJW ie no tanks, flamethrowers or gas, is based on 1 morale test per every 2 casualties received in a turn. If troops are ferocious (Japanese) or stubborn (Russians) then 1 morale test can be ignored.

A morale test involves rolling equal or under your morale value. However as both sides had a morale of 5 then only a 6 was a failure.

As the Russians are sitting in trenches they leave all of the movement to the Japanese. The Japanese have moved up through Kaoliang fields and are ready to assault.

As an aside the Kaoliang fields are made from 17mm Coir matting available on ebay. It is sold in multiples of 1 metre by 5cm  at £1.79 per unit post free. Not cheap if you want to carpet your living room but a bargain for edges of Kaoliang fields. The seller asked me if I realised that I was only buying a 5cm strip - I told him I was a wargamer.

As with the first game there isn't much of an AAR - the Japanese boldly advance and the Russians shoot them down.

These rules are very bloody - in the first turn a company of the 1st Battalion lost 8 figures whilst turn 2 and 3 saw Japanese companies disappearing under a hail of MG, Artillery and Rifle fire.

By Turn 4 on the Japanese side only 2 companies of the 12 companies managed to reach the Russian trenches, one was wiped out in the melee and the other had lost 2/3rds of it's strength at the end of the turn. Of the 48 figures in each Battalion the 1st had lost 45, the 2nd 37 and the 3rd 21. The Russians had lost 3 figures out of 48

This game was quite a bit different from the Battles For Empire where all of the Japanese had not only reached the trenches but pushed the Russians out. CLA would have required at least another 3 battalions to be thrown into the attack and even then success would not have been certain.

There were several areas of CLA that I didn't use - off-table artillery and the attacker requiring a plan that involves 1st and 2nd waves plus reserves.

To be honest when I first read these rules I wasn't keen on them for three reasons.

Firstly the book layout makes it challenging to find bits of the rules -  thank you to the kind person who put a QRS on the yahoo group I would not have used them without it.

Secondly the conversion from 1 figure to 4 figures on a base didn't work well as I had to keep track of overall casualties  and those caused this turn

Thirdly they didn't seem to have much period flavour given the simplistic nature of the rules.

Having played them then the first and second reasons still stands but flavour is in the eye of the beholder and I actually felt a certain amount of helplessness as the Japanese attack floundered and then disintegrated in front of the Russian trenches.

I think they do have a good feel for the period and I will certainly try them again with the 1 figure = 1 base conversion.

Other photos of the game can be viewed here photobucket.com/rjw111025

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