This past week end over five hundred gamers gathered near Chicago for Little Wars 2022. This was the first event I attended post Covid mask and social distancing requirements. It was great to see many familiar faces and roll dice again.
Little wars was held at a new venue, the Sheraton in Lisle, IL. Gamers as well as vendors were out in force. The were over 160 games run over the course of the weekend and a very large vendor area set up in one of the atriums with a huge selection of new as well as used gaming related items.
|My Schedule of events|
Battle of Ulsan-First Iteration
August 14, 1904 As the Japanese lay siege and close in on Port Arthur from the Land the Russian Navy's First Pacific Squadron made an attempt to sortie and escape. Admiral Togo and the Imperial Japanese Navy was waiting for them though. At the same time a Russian Cruiser squadron sortied from the base at Vladivostok to join forces with the First Pacific Squadron. They were intercepted in route. This is your chance to command....can you change history or will it repeat itself?
|Opening shots as the Russians Engage|
|Japanese Gunnery and superior number of guns take their toll|
|After The Rurik succumbs to damage the IJN turned |
their attention and firepower on the Gromboi
The Battle of the Yellow Sea
August 10, 1904 As the Japanese lay siege and close in on Port Arthur from the Land the Russian Navy's First Pacific Squadron makes a daring attempt to sortie and escape. Admiral Togo and the Imperial Japanese Navy are waiting though. This is your chance to command....can you change history or will it repeat itself?
After a quick break and reset the battle of the Yellow Sea commenced. We again had a full table with eight players taking command of the opposing fleets.
|Japanese initial deployment|
|Russian fleet sorties|
|Opposing fleets face off|
|Damage starts to accumulate|
|Russians score some early victories|
|Japanese gunnery proves deadly|
|Like history the Russian fleet is left in disarray|
|Fires rage on the surviving Russian battleships as the game ends|
Once again the Yellow Sea was set ablaze. This time the Russians made a fight of it and accounted for themselves well. Unlike history the Japanese suffered some significant losses. In the end the superior numbers and the firepower of the Imperial Japanese Navy proved decisive. Despite inflicting casualties the Russians were forced to capitulate in the end.
Battle of Ulsan-Second iteration
Saturday morning four new players gathered to refight the battle of Ulsan. The Russian Admiral fully understood the objective and made a determined effort to link up with the fleet at Port Arthur.
|Damage begins to accumulate on both sides|
|Casualties mount on both sides|
This time the Russians proved worthy of the task at hand. The Russian admiral chose wisely to stay on course and speed southward while the IJN maneuvered to close the distance instead of maintain an intercept course. This proved decisive as it eventually put the Russian flagship out of range. Despite being outnumbered in guns the Russian gunners proved worthy as they scored critical hits on the IJN cruisers eventually sinking one and crippling another. The poor Rurik once again succumbed to the IJN firepower and sank. Had the Rurik survived the Russians would have achieved a major victory. As it was they were awarded a tactical victory which is no easy task.
Battle of Tsushima
May 27, 1905 After the crushing defeat at the Battle of The Yellow Sea in August 1904 The Russians have dispatched the 2nd Pacific Squadron to sail from the Baltic to meet up with the 1st Pacific Squadron. After the long harrowing journey, the Japanese are waiting for them near the straights of Tsushima. This is your chance to command....can you change history or will it repeat itself?
|Japanese initial deployment|
|Russian fleet sailing into the gauntlet|
On Saturday afternoon/evening ten players gathered to refight the historic engagement of Tsushima. I have run this scenario several times. Using the historical setup it takes several turns for the main battle lines to get engaged which usually happens just before the time expires. This time I added more time, but also altered the first two turns. Instead of normal movement I told the players that heavy fog bank drifted in between the fleets and told them to plot a double move on the first and second turn and did not allow them to fire until after the second turn move phase when the fog suddenly lifted putting the fleets well within range.
|First salvos reek havoc on the cruiser forces|
The decision to allow two turns of double speed moves was a good one. The alternative was to simply alter the setup and position the fleets closer. This way the players/admirals were able to develop plans and close the distance as they wanted. By the turn two fire phase portions of the fleets were at close range when they were able to open up on each other. This made for more causalities than previous scenarios, but meant that all players were engaged throughout the game.
|Cruiser lines hotly engaged|
|IJN Armored cruisers and Battleship come in range|
|Casualties begin to mount on both sides|
|Magazine explosion lights up the water|
|Russian main lines bring the big guns to bear|
|Main big guns exchange salvos|
|Cruisers caught in the middle go down at a fearful rate|
|Damage continues to accumulate on both sides|
|Russian line presses forward|
|The Russian fleet made a valiant effort, but fell short of victory|
|Michael Bates 11/26/63-5/16/21|