Saturday, 7 March 2015

Zero Hour - Another Playtest

Last Sunday I visited the club (Bristol Big'Uns, Iron Acton) to play another game of Dave Stone's exciting new WW1 rules "Zero Hour". Since our first play test back in January, Dave has made a number of minor modifications to the mechanics based on a series of games with other players in our group. However, it's good to know that the basic structure of the game remains intact - an indication that they're about right!

Our forces for this game represented two slightly depleted late war battalions on the western front - perhaps at the tail end of the German Spring Offensives in 1918. Dave led the Stormtroopers whilst I led the British reinforced with some Kiwis.

Deployment is done by Company, here they are at the start. (The table isn't quite as visually appealing as before, mainly because we both forgot to bring much in the way of terrain!?!)

Dave's Germans
Battalion CO
Stormtrooper Company
 - Company CO
 - 3 Platoons
Infantry Company
 - Company CO
 - 2 Platoons
Light Mortar
HMG Battery
 - 2 MG08's
Off table Artillery Support

My British
Battalion CO
2 x Infantry Company
 - Company CO
 - 3 Platoons
New Zealand Infantry Company
 - Company CO
 - 3 Platoons
Light Mortar
2 Vicker's HMGs
1 'Toffee Apple' Medium mortar
Off table Artillery Support

In order to get things going we opted for a relatively open battlefield (even in the 'open' troops are permitted a basic cover save as it's assumed that they trying not to get shot!)

The battlefield included five key objectives - the side with the most at the end of the game would be the winner. Please note - the poker chips are (for now) used as command tokens, as officers use their 'bonus' the token is removed until the end of your next round of play.

As I had three objectives in front of my right flank I concentrated my forces on this side with a view to using my HMGs to slow any attack on my left. This proved handy as Dave opted to attack through the woods on my left but his attack became somewhat fragmented which meant I was able to deal with his Stormtroopers in manageable chunks. Had he been able to launch a massed attack with these fearsome chaps then I think the British would have been overwhelmed!

An early success for the British was neutralizing the German HMG battery. In one turn I threw everything I could muster at them - and it worked! Otherwise they would have dominated the centre of the field and provided much need support for the Stormtroopers.

The Kiwis race to the craters and the objective beyond.

The Stormtroopers break cover.

After turn two or three.

The Germans lay down some much needed smoke to cover the Stormtroopers attack.

Here they come!

The game flowed really well. Dave's rules for the use of the command tokens (which can also be used in your opponent's turn, e.g. to interrupt enemy movement) really force you to think carefully about how to organise and mobilise your forces.

Some of the Stormtroopers make it to the British lines. Even outnumbered they proved to be very tough!

In the end the fragmented nature of the German attack afforded the British the time to deal with
the Germans and capture three of the objectives before we stopped for the evening.

A superb game :-D ... and the win was a nice bonus too ;o)
Many thanks and a big "Well Done" to Dave for organising things. I look forward to more games!

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