Some Men Just Want To Watch The World Burn

Alright, for this year’s Memorial Day special, we’re going back into Minden Games where I will play Combat Leader, one of their mainstay series next to Battle over Britain. I have got the solitaire rules for it as well, so I can play it right out of the gate solo. However, I’m going to add some roleplaying to the mix.

Each unit I will play as will have some sort of character to them and bonds between each other. I’ll ask narrative heavy questions to the TSS system and only narrative heavy questions to that system, as well as use the Mythic Solo Wargame system to drive up some more narrative.

I’m going to be playing Scenario 1: The Clash of Squads, which I will explain in the narrative below from the perspective of Peter Petrov, leader of the Russian Squad.

My squad of comrades were resting up from our trek across the Ukraine farmland. It was an early July morning as we were ready to head out. That’s when one of our scouts, Osokin, told us that he saw some German forces coming from the farm fields. No doubt they were coming back from one of their daily raids as the smell of sulfur and smoke became an annoying scent in our minds. We readied up. It’ll take a while before the Germans know we’re here.

And thus, we begin the game. The game has a turn order. So first up, we have some Germans. The Solitaire Module tells me that I move two hexes worth of Germans instead of one in the regular rules. To move, I simply activate a hex full of Germans (you can stack up to twelve people in a single hex) and move them up to four spaces.

We saw them move in. One squad of Nazis began to move into a house. We gulped and worried about what would go on in that building. Our fears were confirmed as we soon heard screaming and smashing. I growled… Those bastards won’t get away with this. We had to save those people!

So that’s a new thread: Rescue the buildings (two VP for each building occupied).

Rayt and his squad rushed into a nearby building and entered.

[Q: Do the occupants speak Russian? Odds: Advantaged. A: 6]

They explained the situation and not only did they agree, they allowed us to stay in and protect them for as long as the Germans were in the area. Rayt left Ivanov and Sokolov to guard the house while he went into the forest.

So that ends the first round. Now we do the Initivative round to see if anyone gets a bonus turn.

[Roll: 1]

We conduct a Rally Phase which allows us to unpin our armies… But we don’t have any pinned so we go to the Phase Reversal phase. This is basically just a 1 in 6 chance of whether or not we’d be able to switch who goes first.

[Roll: 4]

Sadly not. Next round. Chaos Factor goes down because we got things under control.

[Scene Roll: 6, no Twist]

Germans go up first.

Those German bastards began to march closer to Rayt and the building our men are at. I can only just sit there and grate my teeth as Rayt figures out what to do.

Now the Russians go.

Suddenly, I heard two pops from the house as two of the soldiers go down. Seems our friends turned the house into a stronghold. I pumped my fist.

And the bonus phase which goes to the Germans.

More gunfire came as I heard from my radio that Rayt was pinned in the forest. DAMN IT! I have to go to him!

Round end, and Chaos goes up.

[Roll: 2]

Ah crap, Scene Interrupt.

  • Event Focus: 20 = NPC Action
  • NPC in Question: 2 = Busch
  • Event Meanings: 95 and 95. Punish Nature

Just then, I smelled more smoke… It was closer… That’s when I realized… Those bastards set the forest that Rayt was in on fire!

That will be one Hex’s turn. The other Hex’s turn will be Muller, one of the German Leaders, heading into the house for some whupping. The odds however are going to be two against one.

The Nazi entered the house. There was a loud scuffle that ended in a shot. We didn’t know who survived until radio chatter confirmed that the soldier died, but Solonov died along with him.

[Q: Can Ivanov save Solonov? A: 5]

Ivanov ran out into the burning forest and dragged Rayt out of the forest back into the house.

Bonus phase.

[Roll: 3]

So now we conduct a rally phase. I tried to rally Rayt out of his pinnedness, but unfortunately, he’s still pinned.

Good news. Rayt’s okay. Bad news, he’s very hurt. Wounded even.

[Q: Are the burns fatal? A: 4!]

If not treated immediately, the burns on him will eventually kill him. We have to act now!

[Twist Die: 4]

We then heard more screaming. And German. Turns out the forest fire’s spreading. We gotta get out before the fire spreads.

And the Phase Reversal Phase hits. I roll a six, so next round will be the Russians turn first. Round ends. Things are getting hectic with the fire.

[Roll: 2]

Another scene interrupt.

  • Event Focus: 52 = Move Away From A Thread
  • Thread: 1 = Clash of Squads
  • Event Meanings: 90 and 100 = Failure of Good.

[Q: Does the fire spread? Odds: Advantaged. A: 5!]

Yes, the fire spreads.

[Twist: 5]

Before we can even move, we could see the fire spreading out to the house and to the other forest. We could hear Rayt’s screams along with everyone else’s. Enough was enough. I had to rush in.

[Q: Does Petrov rescue the group from the fire? A: 3]

The fire was too hot, but we managed to get some of the burning debris out of the way for our comrades to get out.

Nothing to mention for the Initiative or Phase Reversal. Round ends, Fire still bad.

[Roll: 2]

Scene interrupt.

  • Event Focus: 59 = PC Negative
  • PC: 7 = Lebedev
  • Event Meanings: 80 and 21, Trust Messages.

I sent the request for backup, but it had been five minutes… No one has approached me. Now I have to do this on my own!

[Q: Can he get his friends out? Odds: Advantaged. A: 4]

Yes, but it takes up all his movement.

I struggled, but with the allies I had with me, we were able to pull out only one… It turned out that Rayt died in the fire, as did the civilians. {Meaning we lost Victory points for the building as it burned up} As if to make matters worse, a new squad of Germans caught up to us.

What happened is that his radio messaging to his group got intercepted. They didn’t hear the message… but the Germans did. They moved, and then they got a bonus action to fire.

Germans opened fire upon me and I died along with another of my soldiers.

Well crap. Perspective shifts now to Osokin, the only one who survived the firing, but got pinned as a result.

[Roll: 4]

Scene interrupt.

  • Event Focus: 12 = NPC action.
  • NPC: 3 = Bauer
  • Event Focus: Cruelty Nature

Okay, screw the narrative thing because after that, I decided that one of the Germans would make the fire worse and kill almost everyone in the area except for one, Bauer. Bauer walks through the fire like some sort of badass and we need to get this Nazi down. I have one shot to kill him.

[After three shots, he’s down}

So the remaining group shot down the psychopathic Nazi and run out of there before the fire spreads. War truly is hell, as some men just want to watch the world burn.

That was a messed up game of Combat Leader. We lost in the sense that we had the lesser amount of VP, but we won in the sense that we took out the Nazis… But I’m chalking it as a loss because that crap was scarring to them! Hell, it’s sort of scarring to me. I might have nightmares of this battle at some point.

I really liked Combat Leader, though. I had to set up a lot of things for using the map for Roll20, but once I got it to work, I was able to move units over and engage in crazy stuff like the fire thing. Easily one of the best of the Minden Games next to Torpedo Raiders and I wouldn’t mind going another round of it. Well, happy Remembrance Day.

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