Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Charlie Company: Game Report and First Impressions

Today's game report is about my first game ever of Charlie Company. As such, it is fitting for me to write this article as a game report while detailing my initial impressions of the system.  

Charlie Company is by RAFM Miniatures and runs about $12 Canadian.
I have seen this game played at multiple conventions but have never actually played it myself. At all these conventions, the excitement and commotion caused by this game is great. When I saw it on the games list for Lords of the North's Games Day, I had to give it a try.

Right away, the game was described to me as a game about the Campaign System and the missions are to be strung together. Being a demo game at a convention though, we only saw how a single engagement played. To start, we were each assigned a miniature. That miniature represents us. If that mini dies, you lose. It doesn't matter if the mission was successful or not. This element added a neat aspect to the game. In a campaign, that character has to complete a one year tour of duty. A tour of duty is 12 games, or more specifically a year represented by one game highlighting each month's deadliest conflict. The conflicts themselves are fully pre-scripted by the Game Master. As such, it is the players versus a story (like a game of Dungeons and Dragons) rather than the GM versus the players (like a typical war game). I understand that the outcome of each mission affects the later games, but I am unsure how this is done. Needless to say, it is a very cool concept and lately I have really been enjoying games with a campaign system.

The guy on the far right is the Lieutenant and represents me on the field.
Our Game Master was Graeme (a Playtester working on tweaking the rules for a future edition) and his help for the game was Dave (one of the game's original illustrators). It was absolutely awesome to be introduced to the game by two people that know it so well that they were involved in the game's creation. Graeme talked about how the company plans to streamline the game in future releases, but as the game stands now, it was a blast. Our figures were revealed. Mine was the lieutenant and the other player's character was a squad commander. Our goal was to get from one side of the board and exit on a specific spot on the opposite side of the table.

Our objective was simple. Pass from the left side of the table and exit our force where the road exits on the far bottom right.
We started by spreading our forces out wide and advancing them forward.

You don't know what to expect because the enemy models are not yet on the table. Instead, their locations are scripted and they are not revealed until they fire on you or you search them out. My guys spotted movement in the line of trees in front of them. They opened fire and moved forward at a "Combat" pace. Combat pace is slower than other movement speeds, but allows the player to roll more attack dice. 

One of our guys stepped on a landmine that went off and severely wounded him. The medic rushed in to help and we called in a medevac helicopter to take him home. His tour was done.  The helicopter was successfully contacted but it would be six turns before it would arrive. The location of the landmine was scripted and it went off when a figure walked over that location.

The enemies in the woods are revealed and the firefight continues. Figuring out combat dice was easy. It is simple math, doubling and halving the number of dice to roll until the correct number is reached accounting for movement, speed and cover.

Our forces focused on the enemies in the woods and never thought to check the bushes to their side.

Turns out there were enemies on the side and we got flanked. That blue chip is to show that one of my guys got suppressed. 

A closer shot of the enemies that we did not expect. To counter this ambush, we called an artillery barrage. A spotter round came in close enough to the group, so we called the guns to fire for effect in the next round.
At this time, we were getting our other forces close to the two villages on the board.

We haven't yet searched to determine whether they are occupied by civilians, enemies, traps or nobody.

Closer inspection reveals that the villages are full of enemy troops.

A close up shot of some of the troops in the village.

Even more close ups.

Carl's team took some hits, resulting in casualties. We learned then that the casualties are assigned randomly and we held our breath while who would take the deaths was rolled. The figure representing Carl was in this group. Fortunately, he was safe.

The artillary bombardment came in and would continue for a few turns before ceasing. This group on our flank was no longer an issue. 

The other village was fighting back fiercely and has not yet suffered many casualties, so my guys call in an air strike from an attack copter. 

The attack copter is now inbound with instruction to obliterate the villages.

The Medevac Helicopter draws near.

While the attack copter gives the villages hell, the medevac copter lands and picks up the wounded. 

The wounded are loaded up to be taken to safety.
Using the combined force of infantry, artillery and an attack copter, the Americans were able to push the Viet Cong past their breaking point. The resistance is broken and the Americans continue on their way safely. Both players' characters survived with no injuries. The Game Master said that our casualties were higher than they would be in a normal demo game. Good dice rolls on the GM's part were blamed. In total, we took 4 deaths and 2 wounded.

Overall, I had a great time playing this game. It was really awesome to have one of the play testers host the game and chat with one of the illustrators. The game was published in 1986 but in this demo game, it held up well to today's competition. Whether that was because our Game Master just knew the rules really well or the game is just simple to understand, I could not discern. There are a fair number of charts in the game to refer to while playing. Our GM knew most of those charts by heart.

It was interesting to note that the GM mentioned that they were testing ways to streamline the rules, but if you want to buy into a fun Vietnam game, this one is quite affordable. The rules themselves are only $12 Canadian. Blister packs are $8.95 to $9.95 and the two available boxed sets are $42.95 for the American USMC platoon or $26.95 for the NVA platoon. These miniatures are all in 20mm.

Would I play this game again? Absolutely! It was a ton of fun and I would really like to see how the campaign system strings together. Will I be buying into the system? Probably not. There are other games that I want to get into and other collections that I would like to finish first. RAFM sponsored this table and was kind enough to give everyone that played the game a Blister Pack of Soldiers. I took one of the NVA blisters and am grateful for the swag. It is really nice of them to give out miniatures at this event.

This game would be right for anyone that would be interested in the Vietnam War and wants a campaign system to play through a "tour of duty." I believe it would be great in a club enviroment where you play the same people repeatedly and I found it a lot of fun as a convention game. At just $12 for the rule book, it would also be worth while for any collector that likes to read miniature rule books for the sake of reading them. I myself often fall into that category.

I hope that you enjoyed this battle report. If you did, please head over to my Facebook page and give it a Like.


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