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On the Road to Damascus, 1941


The Second World War, Triumph & Tragedy, 28mm

Note: As I was up in Orkney, Dougie Trail provided the write-up of this game. I wanted to play it too, as Colin Jack’s games are always really fun. Anyway, while Dougie lacks my literary style, he makes up for it in inventiveness. Here’s what he has to say;

Colin Jack wargames the Second World War with style. He invariably finds something nobody else covers – in this case  the Syrian Campaign of 1941. The game therefore pitted the forces of Vichy France versus the  troops of the British Dominions, supported by a handful of British Commandos. It was set in the village of Yafour, on the road to Damascus. I plumbed for the Vichy side, as Colin and his accomplice “Ray” had already claimed the Allied side for themselves. The rules we used were Triumph and Tragedy – an interesting set, but with some real quirks. The sinister ‘Ray’ was seen conversing with Jack before the game and I could tell an evil plot was in its infancy. Planning in a wargame! Have they no sense of honour?img_20171The game was a simple grab the buildings scenario. The more you had the greater your chance of good cards. I did say simple. However, Colin’s games are never as straightforward as capture this or that, and this game was no different. At the end of the game each building was worth one playing card of points, plus each building had a hidden special feature only revealed upon capturing. I hope you are keeping up because I wasn’t. Bill Gilchrist was the senior commander of the Vichy forces. I was to advance on the right with my Moroccan Goums in their splendid striped coats while Bill took the French Foreign Legion up the left. I also had command of the rather splendid looking French armoured halftrack truck tank thing, which really looked look great!img_2030Bill craftily picked the side with four buildings rather than three, to give us a better start. We quickly occupied these while the Dominion forces captured the three in front of them. My armoured half track car thing pushed on through the centre of the middle buildings, and it still looked incredibly mean. Well, appearances can be deceptive. On the first turn of firing I discovered that it was crewed by Mr Leclerc and the rest of the ‘Allo Allo’ crowd. My driver lined up a beautiful enfilading shot on a line of ‘crack’ commandos. Unfortunately the gunner was better at polishing his gun than using it. Things  got worse for my not so fabulous armoured thingy as it pulled up in front of their armoured thingy. It contained some kind of hero, one of the hidden treats in the buildings. Fortunately he couldn’t hit anything either – brave, but a lousy shot.img_2015Things were going better for the Goums, who reached the middle buildings. Unfortunately the commandos were doing the same. Some talked of sharpening knives on cobbles, others buggering the blond haired commandos, but unfortunately it was all talk. The rather sinister ‘Ray’  magically produced some Aussies to occupy the last of the buildings in the middle, who fixed bayonets and charged. Suddenly, things weren’t looking good. A quick look across the field revealed that my armoured thingy could swing round and shoot the Aussies from behind while the Goums kept them busy to their front. Unfortunately, Leclerc – probably a Free French supporter in disguise – failed to act. As a result the Goums were skewered by the Aussie bayonets. Meanwhile, Bill had formed up his Legionnaires in a line and was doing some damage to the Commandos in the buildings. These legionnaires had located Rick in one of the buildings and took him hoistage, as he was obviously a patsy of the British.img_2014We had also managed to rustle up some reinforcements in the form of some legionnaires and more Goums, who piled into the fray in the centre of the village. The second batch of Goums charged the Aussies in the building, and avenged their comrades by finishing them off.  Flushed by their success, instead of occupying the building their none too smart commander then launched a bayonet charge on those pesky commandos. The sinister ‘Ray’ picked up his dice and wiped out the Goums to a man. I could have cried if it wasn’t just a wargame…  I was left with the ‘I couldn’t hit a barn door’ armoured thing. Great. Fortunately Colonel Gilchrist had two full-strength units of legionairres left. A firefight developed, and the commandos perished in a hail of fire. The game drew to a close, but those legionaries had been too busy shooting to occupy buildings. It was decision time. The cards came out, and to cut a long story short the French lost. Fortunately they still had their hostage Rick, and as a finale an impromptu firing squad ensured that Sam would never be asked to play it again.

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