At the request of Matt Wilson, who was visiting for the holidays, I ran a big ol' battlemat-based Savage Worlds WWII fracas. The players were Matt, John Aegard, Wilhelm Fitzpatrick, and Brandon Amancio (with Tony Dowler subbing in for Brandon for the last 30 minutes).
When I was prepping for the game, the name "Operation Raincoat" came into my head, so I decided to look it up online and see if there was ever a real operation called that. Sure enough, there was. Not only that, the real Operation Raincoat
was in fact a WWII op, and it was perfect for a game scenario.
The men of the First Special Service Force
(a joint US-Canadian commando unit, aka, "The Devil's Brigade") assaulted Mount la Difensa at night with a small force and dislodged a massive group of veteran German soldiers from the peak. Sounds like a gaming scenario to me.
So, with the real-world engagement researched, I got a 5'x8' battlemat (from the fine folks at Noble Knight
), sat down with some markers and drew up the town of Camino (scaled for Savage Worlds, of course). And, being a game designer, I had to write some rules for WWII-style combat: beefing up suppresive fire, adding a tactics mechanic, and generally scaling the game up to account for longer-range shooting combat (1 square = 10 feet).
We played for roughly 9 hours, doing two engagements (the smaller nighttime raid on AA batteries so they could land reinforcements, then the big battle at Camino). There were 4 players, plus me as the GM. We all had a blast.
The system really delivered, giving us several classic war-story moments like:
* The Sergeant yelling encouragement to his men and holding off two German squads singlehandedly -- suddenly getting headshot in the middle of a sentence.
* The recon scout who got caught out in the open and pinned by machinegun fire, while his buddies desperately tried to reach him before it was too late.
* The brave charge against the machinegun nest to toss in a grenade and keep the assault moving.
* The grisly face-to-face bayonet battle inside an abandonded house.
One of the players (Johnzo here on Story Games) took photos while we played and has been kind enough to share a gallery on his website
. I love the image of Lt. LeGault pinned down
in the street (those black beads are suppression tokens). And yes, they did manage to save his life. But not his eye.
Anyway, this post is mainly just my way of recording a fun game experience. If anyone feels inspired to do the giant battlemat game and has any questions about my SW hack, I'll be happy to answer them. I'm also interested in any specific feedback from the players. I know everyone had fun, but I bet a few of you have some thoughts on the system and game play overall. I'll definitely run one of these again, so any suggestions for improvement are welcome.
Here are a couple of the character and squad cards I made for the game:
I'd also like to talk about historical wargaming in general in this thread. For instance, I found the roster of the FSSF and French Resistance and used real-world people as the characters in the scenario. This was my small way of memorializing those incredibly brave men and women. Have you ever done anything like that in your own games? Feel free to share any thoughts you have on wargame/RPG play here.