Yesterday was a good day for me! Why? Well I got to play a game of "Where there is Discord : War in the South Atlantic" right through.
It's a solitaire wargame where you control the British task force heading south to retake the Falkland islands in 1982 and the reason I was so happy about playing it is that I dont get it to the table very often at all.
The reason it's a rarity is that it is massive, the sides of the board actually hang over the sides of my table and the game play itself usually takes me about nine hours! I'm not able to leave games set up overnight so reserving the time and table can be a challenge.
Yesterday's was of the usual length, but do not fear, every minute of that game was great fun. I just love the way the game builds in intensity as you play. My wife noted my occasional bellows of "Oh yeah!" and "In your face!". Sadly she also noted my occasional wail of pain. It's that kind of game, it gets to you.
Before I say how it went I want to advise that anyone playing this game grabs a copy of the "Expanded Order of Play" by Board Game Geek user Doug Adams as it can save quite a bit of looking up when you haven't played for a while.
So here's what happened in May 1982...
1st : Had to reduce demands on US resources and send two ships home. I regretted this later.
3rd : Had a terrific offer from the French to train with them that meant I got to bounce all future Mirage and Dagger attacks. This undoubtably saved me a few ships.
4th : A bad day all round, not only did the world hate the interference with the banking system neccesary to stop the Argi's getting more Exocets, but worse still a surface battle group snuk through the screen and managed to sink HMS Yarmouth before getting away.
6th : HMS Avenger had to be sent to Chile rather than sent to the Falklands as a reinforcement. Once again, this came back to bite me later.
7th : Today felt like I was stabbed in the back. After sending the Avenger to Chile yesterday, today they stopped giving me intel because of all things I upped the security at Malta!
8th : Finally the weather started letting me interdict Argi' supplies. HMS Splendid spotted the Argi' Carrier group but couldn't get permission to fire, dang!
9th : Splendid got the permission it needed and sunk the Carrier. Also launched a joint Vulcan/Harrier bombing attack on the Falklands airport which was mildly successful but at the cost of a Harrier.
10th : HMS Sheffield sunk out in the defence zone
11th : HMS Invincible had to withdraw with a couple of escorts for repairs.
12th : Had an opportunity to launch an SAS mission against the Argi' Exocet supply, but cancelled it because of potential international reprecussions.
15th : An Exocet attack took place but the missle missed. Harrier "Red 2" took on four Skyhawks, he got two of them before he was shot down.
16th : HMS Ardent sunk by bombs.
17th : Two destroyers taken from picket duty to escort a "friendly" Russion trawler away from the task force at the worst of times. Immediately after, a raid by Skyhawks sunk the Invincible. I was devastated. Fortunately the remaining Harriers managed to make it off before she went down.
The very next raid meant the loss of HMS Brilliant to an Exocet. I was really cursing the Russians at this point. Then a second Exocet came in and sent HMS Brilliant to the bottom. All in all, a very bad day.
18th : The dreaded Exocet struck again, this time HMS Glamorgan. Revenge was sweet, the next attack in was by a pair of Etendards but a rapidly scrambled Harrier managed to shoot the one carrying the Exocet out of the air. "IN YOUR FACE!" Doubly sweet because intel said it was the last they had.
19th : Harrier lost to bad weather, such a waste.
23rd : After delay 3 Para land in San carlos but HMS Glasgow and HMS Andromada both lost.
24th : Both the Welsh guards and the Gurkhas failed to get a lodgement when landing.
25th : Intrepid lost, 42 Commando lost, vicious counter attacks fought off by the SBS and 8 Commando.
26th : HMS Fearless sunk. The people back home couldn't take any more and the government ordered a withdrawl.
And so the game ended in a complete loss. Looking back over it there were a couple of decisions that I went the wrong way with. I definitely should have gone with the SAS attack on the Exocet supply, those things are just too dangerous to ignore. Why didn't I attack, because of the International Opinion. i think I was being too precious about it. With every other option I had, I ensured Exocets were blocked withheld banned etc but this a big regret.
In San Carlos I should have placed "junk" ships on either side of the ones carryingout the landings, to soak up Skyhawk attacks. Failing to do this cost me a landing ship which subsequently meant I lost a unit on sure beacuse it was at diminished strength
Also I will study my troop loading more carefully next time. I felt I was almost wasting a turn/day sitting in San Carlos not unloading everything I could.
Once again, a Great Game