Tuesday, 20 February 2018


Spring Big Game 2018
"The Great Wigmore Cattle Rustle akaThe Fall of the House of Mortimer?"

The Story so Far......

It was an opportunity too good to miss. Even as the Communist forces of Comrade Commissar Winter (now "incommunicado", but that's a different story) enjoyed their moment of triumph at the Siege Lines of KINGTON, gladly accepting the change of allegiance of Captain "True Traitor" Morgan (now definitely deceased) and putting the few (very few) remaining Government besiegers to flight (see the earlier Autumn Big Game 2017 posts), Party HQ was planning their next strategic move - a direct assault upon the rich agricultural lands of historic MORTIMER COUNTRY.

A general advance was declared from the Communist/Welsh Nationalist strongholds along the County border - KNIGHTON, PRESTEIGNE and KINGTON. Forward the Revolution! Onward to Wigmore! Let's rustle some bourgeois cattle in the name of the oppressed working class!

General situation map. Mortimer Country and the Communist border
strongholds are clearly identified to the North and West of the County..

The Gallant Defenders......

Notwithstanding the general tumult of the early VBCW, Mortimer Country has so far remained virtually undisturbed. The wise leadership of Lady Deirdre Patchpole (nee Faines-Muir, the last true descendant, even if on the distaff side, of England's famous Mortimer family), chatelaine of Wigmore Hall and Lady of the Manor, ensured that it's rich agricultural lands remained free of the pestilence of conflict. Her recent marriage to a neighbouring LDV Leader (and all round gentleman, if somewhat choleric in the mornings), namely Sir Barrington Patchpole QC, was thought to have strengthened the position of "Mortimer Country" as an independent force within the County, paying lip service to HM Government (and the Anglican Church) and maintaining good tenant relations as a bulwark against dangerous "Socialistic" ideas. Just another few months of relative peace, and Lady Patchpole might even have found a suitable match for her beautiful niece, Miss Nemone Mortimer-Wagstaffe.....(1).
Sir Barrington Patchpole QC, Lady Deirdre & Miss Nemone
The Leaders of Mortimer LDV Resistance

...and The Other Factions

Smarting from the desertion of the faithless Captain Morgan (deceased) and the rout of their remaining troops from the Siege Lines of KINGTON, HM Government cannot allow MORTIMER COUNTRY to fall into Communist hands. Not only would a yet further victory be of immense propaganda value to the Communists, the whole balance of power in North West Herefordshire would be fundamentally altered...Lord de Braose, HM Governor of the Marches, consulted hastily with his field commander, Storm Commander Giles.

"Bugger the balance of power!" stormed Giles. "With the collapse of the Bank of England, my men aren't even getting fed these days! Nobody will take our worthless banknotes! I'm thinking steaks, and liver, and perhaps a nice bacon sandwich in the morning....." He smacked his lips. "We're not leaving all those specially fattened farm animals to the Commies...."

A closer look at Mortimer Country in context. As before, the Communist strongholds
of Knighton, Presteigne and Kington appear to the west. HM Government Forces, having
retreated eastward from Kington, are grouped within the area Pembridge/Shobdon, blocking a
Communist advance towards Leominster, but also ready to strike northward toward
 Wigmore and into Mortimer Country. Anglican Ludlow lies to the north and east. 
The Ecclesiastical Intelligence Service immediately intercepted Storm Commander Giles' assault orders.

By blind luck (or God's good grace, dependent upon your point of view), an Anglican Command Conference was even then being hosted by the Bishop of Ludlow. Captain - General Jermingham, the charismatic Anglican Commander in Chief, had travelled all the way from Ross to address his loyal lieutenants:

"Splendid!" Captain - General Jermingham's luxuriant moustaches revolved in different directions with suppressed excitement. "You've been chasing Mortimer for an alliance for too long, my dear Bishop! And they've played hard to get - and I don't just mean Miss Nemone! Now's the time! Assaulted from the east by the Communists, from the south by the Fascists : well, it's time that we took our message of Christian love and peace (through superior firepower) into Mortimer Country itself! The whole balance of power could be altered at a stroke!"

The gathered Anglican commanders - the Bishops of Ludlow and of Lichfield, the Blessed Lady Rita - murmured in agreement. One could never have enough steak, after all....

Advance Player Notes for the Spring 2018 Big Game

In no particular order (and perhaps with varying elements of veracity) here are some advance "Player Notes" for the Spring 2018 Big Game:

(1). Upon first hearing of the Communist approach towards Mortimer Country, Sir Barrington Patchpole QC (JP!) immediately implemented "THE MORTIMER ALL ROUND DEFENCE PLAN"

(2). "THE MORTIMER ALL ROUND DEFENCE PLAN" is centred upon the most important building in Mortimer Country, namely Wigmore Hall itself (situated on a special "Central Table"). The historic home of his new bride, Lady Deirdre, while the Mortimer standard flies proudly above the Hall, Mortimer will remain undefeated. Mortimer Hall has its own special defenders - the Herefordshire Hunt Hussars, the Hall's loyal Staff and Gardeners, and the Mortimer Foot Beagles. It may also have some antique artillery pieces....

(3). "THE MORTIMER ALL ROUND DEFENCE PLAN" acknowledges that there are three "Strategic Objectives" likely to be of interest to any invader : "Mortimer Free Radio" (a broadcasting and transmission station), the "Mortimer Brewery" (source of much good cheer for Mortimer's residents), and the Mortimer Cricket Club. These lie to the south, east and west of Wigmore Hall itself (one on each of the three flank tables), and each must be defended to the end...

(4). Sir Barrington Patchpole QC has gathered into the substantial garages of Wigmore Hall all the heavy weaponry of the Wigmore LDVs (Tanks, Armoured Cars, Big Guns etc., as per Platoon Rosters). These will be released for action at regular intervals during "The Big Game" (at Sir Barrington's discretion - and onto any table) in order to re-inforce the most hard pressed defending LDVs. This central strategic reserve is a core tenet of - you guessed it - "THE MORTIMER ALL ROUND DEFENCE PLAN"

(5). Speaking of which, Sir Barrington has also organised considerable fixed defences around Mortimer Country. These include (most obviously) re-inforced bunkers, minefields, pipe bombs, roadside bombs, barbed wire coils, etc. etc. Sir Barrington has taken great pains to deny intelligence of Mortimer's fixed defences to any of the assaulting parties (Commies, Anglicans, HM Government), and the precise location of the same is somewhat of a mystery (JP to organise at his discretion before start of Big Game)...

(6). All of Sir Barrington's fixed defences are heavily improvised, home made weapons. Whether any of them will actually work is equally a mystery (including to Sir Barrington).

(7). Mortimer LDVs start the Big Game on the flank table edge closest to the relevant "Strategic Objective" (see (2) above). Assaulting Platoons start from the opposite end of the relevant flank table. On each of the flank tables, in addition to the "Strategic Objective", there are two further buildings - Farpoint Farm (closest to the Assaulting Platoons) and Mid Table Manor. The flank tables are otherwise scattered with woods, hedges, hills, etc in a bucolic/agricultural manner. There is at least one road on each flank table leading to the vicinity of Wigmore Hall on the central table.

(8). In addition to their fighting troops, the flank table Mortimer LDV Commanders control a party of farmers/farmer wives/innocent civilians who start the Big Game at Farpoint Farm (figures provided by umpires). They are tasked with gathering in the grazing animals (pigs/cows/poultry/sheep/horses etc -figures provided by umpires) and leading them to safety (i.e. well away from the assaulting Platoons). There are lots of grazing animals on each flank table, and thus a lot of work for the farmers to do. They may move as a section, or they may move as individuals. They are armed (or unarmed) as per their respective figures. They operate just like irregular/untrained infantry according to the rules. Farmers always move/act first in any turn or phase, and are not dependent upon cards for priority of movement.

(9). Farmers may be shot/run over/blown up/captured etc by the assaulting Platoons as per the normal rules.

(10). Grazing animals (scattered randomly across the flank tables by the umpires at the start of the Big Game) do not move until a player establishes base to base contact between one of their figures (whether farmer, ordinary infantryman/cavalryman etc.) and the animal AND states the magic words, i.e. if a farmer or defender : "I'M SAVING THIS (COW/HORSE/PIG etc)" or if an assaulting figure "I'M RUSTLING THIS (COW/HORSE/PIG etc).". Base to base contact means base to base, not "close". Failure to state the magic formula results in the animal being removed from play without benefit to the relevant player. Once base to base contact has been established and the magic words said, the animal will move in contact with and precisely as desired by its new keeper without any penalty.

(11). If the "keeper" is killed, the relevant animal remains static until another figure renews base to base contact.

(12). The Mortimer LDVs have the benefit of the Farmers. However, the Assaulting Platoons can have the benefit of a party of 3 Engineers (if the relevant figures are produced by the Platoon Commander). Engineers always move as a combined party and may not take individual action. Engineers may approach any item of the "Fixed Defences" and may attempt to defuse/clear away the item for one turn without it "going off". If the Engineers fail on the first turn, further attempts to defuse/clear away the item may be made on second and succeeding turns, but the Mortimer LDVs may seek to blow/explode/set on fire etc. the relevant fixed defensive item on each such turn.

(13). Engineers in the VBCW also double as Sappers, Miners and general Gofers. Accordingly, figures carrying spades, buckets, pickaxes, coils of wire, etc. make good "Engineers". In cases of lack of inspiration, any figure with a helmet clearly marked "E" counts as an Engineer. 

(14). Engineers are unarmed and move/act according to the card priority of  the relevant Platoon HQ. Engineers may be shot/run over/blown up/captured etc by the defending Mortimer LDVs as per the normal rules.

(15). There is no ban on negotiations of whatsoever nature between any of the competing factions and/or Sir Barrington. However, the competing factions cannot fight each other (if they so desire) until they are able to move off their respective flank tables and onto the Central Table. This will place them perilously close to Wigmore Hall itself.....

(16). Defending figures/items of equipment on the flank tables cannot be withdrawn to the Central Table without umpires' permission. The usual orders for such units are to defend their own Strategic Objective to the end
"Not a step backward" - Mortimer LDV "High Command"

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