Thursday, April 16, 2020

Playing "Wars of Ozz" via FaceTime: A Battle Report

     Last Saturday, the author of the "Wars of Ozz" rules, Buck Surdu, and I  linked up through FaceTime to try a "social distancing" game using the "Wars of Ozz" rules and figures.  Buck set up the table, terrain, and figures in his home; then, using his cellphone on a tripod,  live-streamed the tabletop to me on my laptop, so I could view all the units and terrain.  I then could instruct him how I wanted to move my troops when one of my units activated, and he would conduct the actual movement on the table.  I rolled dice as necessary and reported the results of the rolls to him.
     Please note, the rules, point values, modifiers etc., are still being tinkered with, so all of those that you see mentioned here might not be exactly what's used in the final version. The general mechanics of game play should however remain the same.
     The rules can be played one on one, or with teams of multiple players on each side.  In general, each player commands a Brigade consisting of 25 points worth of troops.  Brigades are usually comprised of troops from one of the four main factions: Munckins, Winkies, Gillikins, or Quadlings, and these can be supplemented with an assortment of allied troop types.
A view of the set up.  Note the cellphone on the tripod in the foreground.  You can see my face on the screen. 
     Since I had recently played a couple games, and written reports for them, using my collection of Munchkins and Winkies, we decided to use Gillikins and Quadlings for this game.  I took control of the Gilliken force, and Buck commanded the Quadlings.     
     We did the Meeting Engagement scenario from the rulebook again, and adopted the random set up system I used for my game  week ago,  Another Ozz Battle Report,  where each side rolls a d6 for each unit and that determines the order of set up numerically, in line, working left to right, low numbers to high,  along the table edge.   Like my last report, the table layout was created by us both randomly rolling from the 20 map halves presented in the rulebook, and each selecting which of the long edges of our half we wished to enter on.

Gillikin Brigade

1) Brigade Commander, generic  0 point
2) 1st Regiment                           5 points
3) 2nd Regiment                          5 points
4) 3rd Regiment                           5 points
5) 4th Regiment                           5 points
6) Medium Artillery                    5 points

                      Total:                  25 points

Quadling Brigade

1) Brigade Commander, generic  0 points
2) South. Prov. Regiment             5 points
3) Cent. Prov. Regiment               5 points
4) North. Prov. Regiment             6 points
5) Light Cavalry                        5 points    (Note: We used a Munchkin unit for this, as Buck didn't                                                                 have a Quadling one, but we used the Quadling stats for it.) 
7) Light Artillery                         4 points    (Note: We used a Winkie model for this, as Buck didn't                                                                   have a Quadling one, but we used the Quadling stats for it.)   
  Total:                                       25 points
My view from my laptop.  With my Gilliken player reference sheet at hand.
     We rolled for our set up locations, and I ended up with my Gilliken Regiments spread out, with two on each side of the road that subdivided the battlefield, and my artillery on the far left.   Buck ended up with his Quadling units all clumped together, and a couple stacked up behind each other, on one side of the road.  I hoped that would hinder his shaking out in a line and perhaps gain me a small advantage.  His artillery ended up on his right flank.  We both started our units in column to get a jump on claiming a maneuver advantage as we raced for the benefits offered by the limited cover on the field.  
      Briefly, activation is handled in the following way: each Brigade Commander has a pool of d6 dice, one for each unit in his command. At the beginning of the turn these are rolled and placed by the leader in a dice pool for each unit within his command radius.  Each unit that is out of command radius rolls its d6 individually and places it by the unit's leader.  A deck containing cards numbered 1-6 in red and 1-6 in black is then shuffled and placed on the table face down. Play begins with flipping cards one at a time.  As the card numbers are revealed, if the commander has a die with that number, he can assign it to one of his units, and that unit can activate.  In cases where both sides have units with the same number in close proximity, each side should be assigned a color (red or black) at the beginning of the game, and what ever color the card is is the side that goes first.  (For my game I assigned Red to the Winkies and Black to the Munchkins.)  Movement is a set amount, plus the amount of the highest of a 2d10 dice roll.
     Like my previous reports, Buck took photos of the table at the halfway point (after 6 activation cards were drawn) and the end of each turn.
(Click any photo to view larger)
Beginning set up positions. 
 In the photo above, you can see my Gillikens in the foreground, and Buck's Quadling force in the distance.  My plan was to send the bulk of my force to anchor in and around the woods and hill on the left, while sending one regiment into the woods and hill on the right to act as a nuisance and draw off enemy units or threaten a flank or rear of his force.  As we will see, part of this plan worked great, and the other part quickly fell apart.
End of Turn 1, Part 1
     At the end of the first half of Turn 1, my plan was going well.    The 2nd Regiment was making good progression occupying the woods on my right, and the 4th and 1st Regiments, along with the Artillery were taking up position on the hill and woods on my left.    The 3rd Regiment was sluggish to move (having not received any cards yet).  Buck was having a little difficulty getting his Central Province Regiment and Northern Province Regiment going, but his Southern Province Regiment, and his Artillery, had raced forward to threaten my units maneuvering on the left.  I hoped the early isolation of these enemy units might give me an opportunity.  Meanwhile, his cavalry advanced cautiously, looking for where it might strike most effectively.
End of Turn 1, Part 2
    In the second half of the turn, seeing there was nothing to block the path of the approaching enemy Light Cavalry, I pushed the 3rd Regiment in the center forward instead of sending it off to the left like I had planned.  My Artillery quickly ascended the hill on the left and unlimbered; and over on my right, the 2nd Regiment continued moving off into the woods, and Buck sent the Quadling Northern Regiment to pursue them.
End of Turn 2, Part 1
     In the first half of Turn 2, fire from my Artillery, sent the Quadling Southern Province Regiment reeling back 4" in Disorder.  They were still relatively isolated, so sensing an opportunity I sent the Gilliken 1st Regiment out to try and push the initiative, and I sent the 3rd Regiment forward on their right to support them.  Unfortunately, a poorly positioned rocky outcropping blocked the 3rd's progress and line of sight, putting them in a less than optimal position.  And my 4th Regiment on the far left, was dragging its feet.  I hoped it could move up quickly to secure my left.
     Over on my far right, the 2nd Regiment performed their mission excellently.  The Quadlings attempted a charge, but were unable to close; and after exchanging a few rounds of ineffective musketry, both sides fell back.
End of Turn 2, Part 2
     Things began to unravel for me now in the second half of Turn 2.   A charge from the Quadling Light Cavalry sent my 3rd Regiment into flight; and fire from the Quadling Southern Regiment and Artillery, had my 1st Regiment falling back in Disorder.  The 4th Regiment was still taking its time getting into position.
     Over on the right, however, things were working beautifully,  and Buck committed the Central Province Regiment to join in the pursuit of the elusive 2nd Gilliken Regiment.  Through a fluke of unlucky dice rolling, neither enemy Regiment was able to come to grips with my Gillikens, though musketry was exchanged through the trees on a couple occasions.
Turn 3, Part 1
     At he halfway point of Turn 3 I could see the Gilliken 3rd was shattered.  Its Rally test left it still Routing, and down a base from gradual disintegration.  The 1st Regiment was able to make it back to the safety of the woods, as the enemy cavalry now roamed unopposed.  Finally the 4th Regiment arrived, only to find itself the only target for the enemy Artillery and Southern Regiment.  And over on my right, the wonderful game of cat and mouse continued; though the reality was the attrition of all the firefighting had brought me down to just 3 bases of troops.  The end there was inevitable, but my unit had drawn two of the enemy regiments far from the battle.
Turn 3, Part 2
     With the end of the turn, the end was here for me as well; as my 4th Regiment broke and ran after a volley from the enemy Artillery and the Southern Regiment.   The Quadling Cavalry was sweeping around into my rear, and the 3rd Regiment continued to head for home.
        With the situation as it was, I conceded defeat.    With only one good Regiment left on the field along with my Artillery, and the enemy Cavalry ranging free, there was little hope for victory.  It was a fun game, and I think if I had held my position instead of charging out after the tempting target of the isolated Southern Regiment, I could have stood a better chance.
    The FaceTime hook-up worked great, and other than not being able to move the troops myself, was just like playing a face to face game with an opponent.  I look forward to a chance for a rematch!

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