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    Howard Whitehouse

    My ongoing series of wacky wargamers’ tales. Comedy gold.

    I am always looking for more of these stories of tabletop incompetence, over-confidence, or failure on a massive scale. Feel free to share.




    I do all my own stunts.


    A bridge too short!!! Stealing this!!!

    Jemima Fawr

    Many years ago, at ‘Salute’ when it was still in Kensington Town Hall, two friends and I decided to have a go at a South London Warlords participation game based on the TV series ‘UFO’.  We would be interceptor pilots, attempting to stop UFOs in space before they reached Earth.  Any that reached Earth would then land on the next game and deliver reinforcements/provide air support to the linked ground-based game (a great idea!).

    Anyway, we plotted our moves and launched from SID (Earth’s orbital defence platform)… And immediately crashed into each other, causing critical damage…

    As the UFOs approached, we launched our big mahoosive missiles that had to be set on a time delay… My wingmen missed completely, while I was more successful in timing my missile detonation… I shot down one of my wingmen…

    Closing to engage with guns, my surviving wingman pushed his throttle to the max… Completely overshooting the UFO and burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere…

    In desperation, I too hit my throttle to catch up with the fast-descending UFOs… Only to overcook my engine, causing a complete engine failure and a ballistic flight straight into SID…

    SID, our last remaining hope of stopping the UFO assault, now suffered a reactor overload and detonated in a blinding flash…

    Now completely unopposed, the squadron of UFOs landed on our neighbouring table and disembarked a huge tidal wave of aliens that completely overwhelmed the defenders, who were completely incredulous that Earth’s flyboys could be so incompetent…

    The umpires were melting into a completely helpless puddle of mirth and recommended that we should never consider a career in the RAF…


    We didn’t quite know how to tell them that the three of us were RAF officers… One fast jet pilot, one fast jet navigator and a fighter controller…


    My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/


    A Bridge too Short will take some beating…!


    Some years back our group was gaming a Great Powers intervention a la ’55Days in Peking’ etc. This one was set in a strife torn Mexico, Western hostages held by rebellious army units and bandits……..a joint expedition was planned, British,Americans,French and German marines would land on open beaches and attack the port from the downward side!

    The table was set , lightly defended beaches were taken and the Great Powers marched towards the bridge and ‘fordable in places’ river behind the town………except the French who decided to ignore all co-operation and attempt a landing at the river mouth and the mud flats…………the French marines spent 3 hours struggling across the mud, dragging our only field piece, coming under increasing fire as they closed the range and as the rest of us forced more bandits and rebels back into the town…………at games end, we liberated our citizens and were well on the way back to our boats on the beaches when the surviving French manager to reach terra firma…………the player concerned was reminded of the mudflat jaunt for years after.

    Another,picture the scene, the pirate/rebel Starfleet is scattered, their remaining ships attempt to navigate thru’ an asteroid belt cautiously only to emerge to be ambushed by an enormous vessel that swings into view, targeting everybody ………….bridge alarms sound, crews rush to battlestations……the enemy flagship promptly steers into the nearest and biggest asteroid on the table and is utterly destroyed….!

    That was my mistake of giving to directional orders from the other table edge and forgetting to transpose ‘right & left’ ….! Or was it sabotage?



    "Even dry tree bark is not bitter to the hungry squirrel"

    Jemima Fawr


    That reminds me of a game of ‘Check Your Six’ I once played, where I had two flights of Me-110s.  I intended to split left and right, which they did… Except that the left-hand flight turned right, the right-hand flight turned left and they all crashed into each other…  The survivors then confused ‘Immelmann’ for ‘Split-S’ and Immelmann’d above the max ceiling and out of the game… 🙁

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by Jemima Fawr.

    My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/

    Darkest Star Games

    Oooooh boy do I have a couple of these….

    One very infamous CY6 game I had my whole squadron of 4 planes destroyed in one turn… by my teamate!  Though we began the turn with our 2 groups 3 hexes apart and he was ahead, he managed to have each one of his planes turn and collide with mine.  Result was all of mine crashing and all of his with some damage (he may have lost 1, don’t recall).  He then proceeded to crash 2 of his planes into enemy bombers.  This was BoB, not even Kamikazis…


    Played a sci-fi game at a convention.  My side had this BFG that had a limited range and so had to be maneuvered with care.  Spent 2 hours clearing the way for the beastie, doing incredible feats of daring and bravery against the odds and surprisingly being successful.  Finally get the SOB into position to fire on the fortress gates, spend a turn charging it up, only to fire and find that the range was 1.25″ short, and the damn thing overloaded and blew up, incinerating half our side.


    One of my favs:  another convention game I played in.  US side was seeking a Taliban bigwig in this really hilly/cliffy town.  We had limited time as a major force of badies was enroute and weather was too bad for air support.  As soon as we get into the vil we get bogged in a firefight and have a couple of injuries, further slowing us down.  We had a pair of MAT-V in support, but their player positioned them badly.  The target ends up legging it out the back of the vil before we can seal it off (partly the vehicles job) and as he is scooting towards the table edge he ends up right below a MAT-v, which was perched at the top of a cliff.  As there was no way to depress the .50 on top, instead of getting his crew out to shoot with their rifles the dude decides to just drive off the cliff so he can crush the bad guy below.  Ref gives him a ridiculous target number to beat, and he does.  CRASH!  Dead Tali-boss splattered under a wrecked MAT-V.  This was our ride out.  None of our guys managed to get off the table alive…


    This on was totally on me:  I was playing in a Vietnam game being run by a friend.  I had written the rules for THW and everyone there had played before too.  Was kind of nice playing a same side game instead of having to run the game for once.  Anyhow, 2 of our platoons were in heavy contact and mine was maneuvering from behind to push through 1st platoons position so they could break contact and evac their wounded.  My bright idea was to fire a battery of 155s and another of 105s in a heavy concentration on a known location to give 1st platoon a breather while we traded spaces, no marking rounds as we knew exactly where the enemy was.  So, I send the girds and the barrage is fired and it lands exactly on target!  A perfect bracket and hammering… of our line!  Yup, I dropped it right on us.  I had written down my coordinates, then written the enemy coordinates above them and managed to flip the 2.  Normally I use blue ink pen for friendlies and red ink pen for baddies, but all I had was a pencil.  Ended up causing 30% casualties to our Company, including killing myself and the Company Commander.  I doubt I’ve lived that one down yet!


    In another Vietnam game I had a player setup a ToT barrage (Time On Target) for a certain turn, then he forgot about it and moved his troops right into that area and pummeled himself much like I did!


    Ahhhh…. good times!

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    Darkest Star Games

    Almost forgot:  Was playing a WW2 coastal game defending a convoy moving at night.  Had a German destroyer between one of my boats and the convoy, and had him dead to rights!  Fired off a torpedo and managed to sink one of my own tankers.  DOH!

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."


    Playing in one of Howard’s games at Cold Wars or Fall-in that was a Temperance/Roaring Twenties with gangsters, Bertie Wooster & Jeeves, Cops, G-men and assorted riff raff involving rum running, one of the younger players controlling Bertie fell in love with a decrepit meant for scenery only truck near the lake where the bootleg liquor was landing and proceeded to ditch Bertie’s nifty roadster and any Bertie victory conditions in favor of said truck. As I recall, Howard was most kind but attempts by both father and Howard as GM to bring Bertie and Jeeves back into play were thwarted by the NPC Truck to the mostly-subtle amusements of the other participants.

    The tree of Life is self pruning.

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