Ayton 2015 – Another Superb Wargaming Weekend

The May Bank Holiday weekend has, for the last 4 years, meant a game and beer-fest get-together of LAW forum members at Ayton in Yorkshire. This year’s event was a morphing of some of the events and forces from previous years, resulting in a fictitious late 19th century colonial clash in the deserts of Phetraea (next door to Byzarbia for those who’ve heard of it!)

Most people arrived on the Friday for what was to be a couple of day’s battle, following a lead-up of a couple of months of pre-game campaigning, mis-communication and dastardly deeds between the players, all very well run by Iain.

It was a brilliant weekend, with excellent gaming and great company as always. The result never really matters (good job too this time!), just the taking part and contributing to the culmination-of-the-campaign narrative. Thanks to everyone for making it such a good time, and it was nice to see a couple of unexpected faces who made last minute efforts to get there.

Even more importantly – get well soon Peeler, you were very much missed over the weekend.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s event, and the one after that which we’ve laid tentative plans for too.

I’ll post pictures of day 1 here, and of the other tables, and day 2, on a couple of other posts to keep things manageable.

Day 1 – The Battle of Leptis

We shouldn’t have fought a battle here at all, but I’ll not knock a man when he’s down. Too much. Let’s just say that Lord Peeler must have been several sheets to the wind when he dillied and dallied and thought this was the capital, forcing Iain to divert some of my force to Leptis to help bail him out. Still, we had to fight somewhere. 🙂

Here, then, is the Saturday table. My Medetians attacked alongside Peeler’s troops (ably handled by Phil as an emergency stand-in). Our objectives were the two buildings beside the harbour and the railway respectively, although the enemy (Andy and Gary) began mostly deployed in the town of Leptis which they’d fortified before our arrival.

 

Phil and I agreed a plan, which Peeler and I had discussed the day before, and set out to keep the enemy busy on the left and in the centre with light troops and the odd probing attack, while Phil assaulted at full strength along the railway on the right. We managed to draw out most of the enemy reserves by the end, and I had some sneakiness planned for the left flank for late in the game, by which time hopefully Andy would not be expecting anything…

Needless to say my ‘surprise’ dawn attack was anticipated and interrupted by Andy’s American Indian natives who popped up as we approached the first bit of high ground! At least they didn’t all drop out of a single tree this time.. Undaunted, we charged in, had an inconclusive melee where both sides fell back, and managed to snatch the position when Andy failed the Indian’s control roll.

 

 

The Cossack skirmishers snuck about and hid a lot, but did some fighting before the end.

Al Cekic (‘The Hammer’) lined up on the harbour building and did a bit of damage to the Altfritzenbergers, but it was a tough nut to crack.

After some delay while we sorted ourselves out, the first attack went in, but although the Sepoys did their job and soaked up enemy firepower, they couldn’t break into the building and both they and the regular unit in support were forced to withdraw to avoid being wiped out. This upset timings for a later co-ordinated attack somewhat but at least we were keeping Andy occupied while Phil tried (repeatedly) to storm the railway station and the train parked inconveniently in front of it.

My Jezzails spent the bulk of the day sniping at Andy’s guys, mostly ineffectually at the harbour garrison (although we did whittle them down a bit), but also had some fun winning a long range duel with some artillery and forcing them to re-deploy out of sight.

Finally, with only a couple of turns remaining and completely out of the blue (for Andy, at least) my floating reserve arrived and charged into the harbour. There must have been a haze on the river or no lookout, or perhaps it was just Iain’s sense of mischief! My naval battalion leapt from the boats and assaulted the building while the Byzarbian Queen pounded and gatlinged the nearby enemy artillery.

It was a lot of fun, but despite the worried looks on the defenders’ faces, it was not to be. We couldn’t force our way in and took a lot of casualties charging back in again a second time, and that was that. Unfortunately Phil had been unable to take the train station either, despite many assaults, so the attacks came to nothing in the end.

 

 

 

Fortunately we’d already arranged (in the campaign phase) for both the road and rail bridges to the north to be blown by saboteurs on the enemy’s arrival (although we’d hope it would be after we’d already passed) so we still made it to the capital first, taking the scenic route by boat – although presumably it took a few trips!

This meant we’d at least be defending in the big battle on day 2, but what of our allies on the other table…?

 

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