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"I seem to be allergic to "Lard" in my rules..." Topic

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Major General Stanley04 Aug 2019 10:51 a.m. PST

Obviously Two Fat Lardies rules seem to be incredibly popular. I cant stand them! they don't make sense to me, they don't seem historical to me and many their mechanics seem to be counter-intuitive. Am I the only one?

magical monstrous steve04 Aug 2019 11:19 a.m. PST

Have you tried playing any of their games? I've often found that rules which seem unintelligible in print are very understandable on the table.

Major General Stanley04 Aug 2019 11:27 a.m. PST

I've now played them three times. To be fair I actually haven't read them. I'm trying to figure out just how many many people don't like them. Obviously a lot of very smart people are passionately in love with them. I just don't see why. I suppose,as somebody else put it: The rules don't sucky You think they do.

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP04 Aug 2019 11:47 a.m. PST

Major, I am another who does not like them. Too many cutesy mechanics for my taste.

JimDuncanUK04 Aug 2019 11:47 a.m. PST

I've been told, 'don't play the rules, play the period'.


PiersBrand04 Aug 2019 12:06 p.m. PST

What does that mean?

Texas Jack04 Aug 2019 12:09 p.m. PST

Playing them without reading them might have something to do with your antipathy. Which rules by the way?

I usually like their rules, not all but most. Sharp Practice didnīt do it for me, but Iīm not one for Napoleonic skirmishing, however Bag the Hun are my all time favorite rules from any genre. To each his own.

Timmo uk04 Aug 2019 12:20 p.m. PST

I have to admit to being a big fan of TFL rules. They put the enjoyment back into table-top gaming for me. I've found many other rules just far too predictable in their game play and outcomes and thus 'not historical'. However, there are lots of other game systems out there and the hobby is all the richer for the variety.

I do think you ought the read the rules before totally discounting them though. There are lots of people out there who will help if things don't make sense at first.

95th Division Supporting Member of TMP04 Aug 2019 12:33 p.m. PST

I"m a big fan too. Especially Sharp Practice which I use for AWI games. I really like the focus on leadership and the many ways you (as leader) can utilize the command cards. Do you use 2 to activate a unit or hold out for 3 or 4. Also, how do you manage shock on your units. Then there are the little things you can add to enhance the narrative of your game. I think they are quite inventive, quite nice for scenario development, and really fun to play.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP04 Aug 2019 12:50 p.m. PST

I, too, have not found any games the Lardies do to my taste, with the big exception of What a Tanker!

jdginaz04 Aug 2019 1:09 p.m. PST

Too many cutesy mechanics for my taste.

I'm curious which mechanics do you consider "cutesy"?

jdginaz04 Aug 2019 1:13 p.m. PST

What does that mean?

If you can't figure that out yourself, TFL rules aren't for you.

Major General Stanley04 Aug 2019 1:29 p.m. PST

Well in answer to Texas Jack's question I have played Chain of Command and Pickett's Charge: Ones all Lard and one has a lot of Lard in it. In Chain of Command I was told, afterwards, That you have to concentrate your fire on one unit, destroy and move on to the next: doesn't seem historical to me. Why would you have to tell an anti-tank gun to fire at a tank, that's just what they do!

As Well Pickett's Charge. Someone explain to me and give an historical example of staff officer bestowing magic powers on units. Or marching across an open field and then gunning down a waiting defender because you have the initiative. And, while I'm in full rant mode, shouldn't the single most important factors in determining initiative be troop and leader quality, not staff officers sprinkling bags of magic fairy dust

Tony S04 Aug 2019 1:40 p.m. PST

Sharp Practice didnīt do it for me, but Iīm not one for Napoleonic skirmishing, however Bag the Hun are my all time favorite rules from any genre. To each his own.

That last sentence is especially apropos! I really like most of the TFL rules, especially Sharpe Practice, but I find Bag The Hun tedious at best. I used to really like BTH, as it modeled real WW2 air tactics like no other ruleset. In BTH, a rotte is much more effective than a vic, wingmen are useful, height is important – all the things that mattered in air combat.

Unfortunately, after awhile, I noticed there was absolutely no skill involved for the player. No decisions were needed. When your card came up, there was almost always a single "no brainer" move to make. And then hope desperately that your fire card comes up before the enemy move card comes up and he dances out of the way. Just dumb luck really.

Shame. The design is clever and clean (although the 2nd edition maneuver rules get a bit ugly) and models air combat like no other ruleset. But when I beat my opponent, or get beaten (a more likely outcome) I like to point to good decisions on my or my opponent's part, rather than dumb luck.

That said, except for that one particular ruleset, I quite like the historical flavour and strong friction that TFL rules provide. A few of their earlier rules are a bit "hand wavy" 'tis true. I wish they would be a bit more precise sometimes.

Tony S04 Aug 2019 1:50 p.m. PST

Or marching across an open field and then gunning down a waiting defender because you have the initiative.

Ha! Sadly, that situation is not unique to TFL. I was just complaining about that very thing for Black Powder – that you can march across half the table, deploy into line and fire at the enemy while they stand quietly watching you do so.

Some players dislike the "Big Man" theory of most of TFL rules, and don't like the command friction. Look at CoC vs Bolt Action. Two totally different design philosophies for the same period and scale, and both systems have their players and adherents who are very happy to play their systems.

As Timmo said, "the hobby is all the richer for the variety". Remember when if you didn't like WRG 6th edition, you (mostly) didn't play ancients?

Axebreaker04 Aug 2019 2:08 p.m. PST

@Major General Stanley

FYI Chain of Command is a TFL rule set, but Pickets Charge is not although sold by them.

I love Chain of Command, but if it doesn't work for you then try something else.

It's ok to like or not like rule sets.


Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Aug 2019 2:22 p.m. PST

Me too. I've read and played several, they don't grab my fancy. But then I don't like pistachio ice cream either.

Not every rule set is for everyone. My SciFi rules are far to detailed for some.

PiersBrand04 Aug 2019 2:51 p.m. PST

At the end of the day, if the rules ain't for you, dont waste time trying to make them fit you. Lots of others out there.

All rules have their fans and their fan boys. But no rules are perfect or appeal to everyone.

So just move on to something else. Don't waste your hobby time doing something you don't like.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP04 Aug 2019 2:55 p.m. PST

I've read that it really boils down to taste. Some people like them, and others despise them.

The lack of control, like in BTH really bugs some people, especially when you are in position to fire your guns, but have to "wait" for the "shoot" card to come up. Seems like perhaps you could "house rule" that issue away, easily.

Good to hear about the positive aspect of BTH, which I was previously unaware of.

Some have the same concerns over What a Tanker, though many/most seem to be able to deal with that a bit better, for some reason.

Player skill should be more important than dumb luck, though I'm okay with at least a little of that too, in games.

Training and leadership, rather than "fairy dust" should be most important.

von Schwartz04 Aug 2019 4:53 p.m. PST

HEY!!!! is someone in here being…INTOLERANT?!

WELL… I just won't stand FOR IT!!!!!

jdginaz04 Aug 2019 7:13 p.m. PST

In Chain of Command I was told, afterwards, That you have to concentrate your fire on one unit, destroy and move on to the next: doesn't seem historical to me.

It's not historical, and not a particularly good tactic to use in CoC either. Using fire & movement works much better in CoC.

Northern Monkey04 Aug 2019 8:07 p.m. PST

I don't like lots of rules, but I don't go around shouting about it. If I understand this correctly, the OP has played, but never read, one of the dozen or so rule sets that the Lardies produce. He played that game once. From that he draws the conclusion that he hates ALL of their rules. He then decides to post his conclusions here, some of which seem to be highly dubious. This does seem to be a peculiarly odd thing to do.

On the specific point he mentions about Chain of Command, he was told "that you have to concentrate your fire on one unit, destroy and move on to the next". This is utter nonsense. In fact Chain of Command doesn't allow you to concentrate your fire in that manner, unless your opponent has only put one units out to face you, in which case brining superior firepower to bear is perfectly legitimate. In fact the rules encourage you to manoeuvre against your enemy using a combination of covering fire, tactical manoeuvre, smoke and all the panoply of options that a WWII platoon would have had.

Regarding Pickett's Charge. It's not a Lardy rule set. It's written by Dave Brown and published by Reisswitz Press. That company are owned by Richard Clarke but he has no input into the rules at all.

So, this brings me back to my original point. Why, after playing one game of just one set of rules out of an extensive catalogue, would you make sweeping statements like the ones being made here?

nsolomon9904 Aug 2019 8:15 p.m. PST

So … Major General, to prove to us you're not just a troll why don't you tell us which rules sets you do like and why? Lets hear what positive things you can tell us about your favourite rules?

Texas Jack04 Aug 2019 9:52 p.m. PST

I donīt really think heīs trolling, and even if he were, for the most part the responses have been quite civil. And besides, I am always happy to discuss all things Lard.

With Pickettīs Charge, Iīve not played it but I am not a big fan of Dave Brownīs rules, regardless of how well received they have been. Just not my cup of tea. Once again, to each his own.

What a Tanker is simply fun. Itīs a great dice management game using tanks (what could possibly be wrong with that?) and I can play it with my 12 year old daughter, which is a thing beyond compare.

But a lot of people donīt like the disorderly aspect to Lardie games and thatīs fine. Thereīs lots to choose from out there and itīs all good, at least to someone. :)

Sharpe5204 Aug 2019 9:53 p.m. PST

I am one of those who like TFL rules, however IMHO I think this is not the kind of rules to be played after a swift glance at the rules.
Among the pro's there is the lost of full control of your troops and among the con's the need of a thorough preparation of the game (including games aids, counters and the like). This doen't help to play the classical "evening at the club" games.
Chain of Command in my opinion is really fun while I found IABSM too complicated even if far more accurate then other games around on these days.

Texas Jack04 Aug 2019 9:55 p.m. PST

Marco thatīs really funny because I found CoC too tedious and love IABSM. At least thereīs something for everyone. :)

toofatlardies04 Aug 2019 10:51 p.m. PST

Major General Stanley. You certainly don't seem to be allergic to drawing conclusions based on limited evidence.

As stated above, Pickett's Charge is not a Lardy rule set, it is published by Reisswitz Press and nobody on the Lardv team had any involvement in the game's development. Yes, we do stock it and sell it via our web site, as do numerous other outlets.

So, to clarify, you have never bought or even read a set of our rules. You have played one game in which you seem to have been given some incorrect advice and from that you have concluded that you dislike everything that we have produced over the past twenty years.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have never said that our rules are better than any other rules. In fact if you look through my very occasional replies to posts on this site you will see that I have always encouraged people to play the game that they enjoy. Life is too short to play things you don't like.

That said, I think that basing your conclusions on a wider sample of games played before making statements like "I cant stand them!" and 'they don't make sense to me' which, by the use of the words 'them' and 'they' does suggest that you have at least played more than one game and are therefore able to comment based on experience rather than what? One game you didn't enjoy? Did you feel that one game was sufficient to really understand ALL of our rule sets? I'd question whether one game would be sufficient to really get a grip on a single game system, let alone an entire catalogue spanning nearly twenty years.

As I say, by all means feel free not to enjoy a single game that we have designed. Lots of people love them, some people don't, but to declare that you "can't stand them" based on one game does seem a bit unfair. Especially when you don't actually tell us what you don't like in terms that would allow anyone to attempt to enlighten you.

Indeed, this whole thread seems unlikely to do anything other than cause an unpleasant argument. That's a shame when it's unintended, but in this case I cannot see what other outcome could be expected. Ho hum.



parrskool05 Aug 2019 1:43 a.m. PST

Well, for what it's worth…. i have all these sets by TFL and I
have tried over many years to use them, but i don't seem to be able to "get my head" round the rules. It must be me…….

tinned fruit Supporting Member of TMP05 Aug 2019 2:02 a.m. PST

There's some really good footage on youtube, Lard TV and Beasts of War for both Sharpe Practice and Chain of Command that really helps to get a feel for the rules.

Wargamer Blue05 Aug 2019 2:16 a.m. PST

I'm a 75/25 lard man. Love IABSM, hate Chain of Command and Sharpe Practice. I like a lot of their other rules especially If the Lord Spares Us.

Be careful criticising any lard rules. A jihad will be called and the true believers will be out for blood.

Sharpe5205 Aug 2019 2:19 a.m. PST

Texas Jack you're aboslutely right.thumbs up
That's the reason why there are more rules sets than players laugh
I would add that according to the opponent I am playing with and the my mood in a particular moment my tastes often change.
BTW I play regularly PIckett's Charge and General d'Armee and I have found them really good.
It's true they are not properly TFL made but I'd dare say they are in some way of the same family.

Sharpe5205 Aug 2019 2:33 a.m. PST

As far as IABSM I would add that I have enjoyed playing it especially using the scenario's book TFL sell.
Pheraps not being an expert with all the weapons and vehicles of WWII I found some difficulties in extricating among them all. However the more you play TFL rules the more you can grasp their philosophy.

Texas Jack05 Aug 2019 2:35 a.m. PST

Thatīs it Marco, itīs good to have more flavors than vanilla. :)

Major General Stanley05 Aug 2019 3:01 a.m. PST

Well I have to say I'm not a troll. I do feel better for having had a good rant! If I miss-attributed Pickett's Charge I apologize, although it seems to that i read the Lardies had a lot of input or words to that effect. My intent was discover if the problem was with me or them and it turns out its neither of us.

Stoppage05 Aug 2019 3:49 a.m. PST

@generalmajor Stanley

You are welcome to contribute to the Napoleonic Discussion forum :)

TMP link

Montgomery OTool05 Aug 2019 3:52 a.m. PST

Whatever the merits of the TFL rulesets, this is the most active topic on the front page by a long shot, which goes some way to showing how widely known the rules are.
TFL seem good for traffic on TMP so maybe Bill should run a feature on them and some polls to see just how popular the rules are.

toofatlardies05 Aug 2019 4:18 a.m. PST

Montgommery, Bill did do that in the past with the TMP Awards for wargames rules. In 2008 Sharp Practice won the best historical rules vote. In 2009 Mud & Blood came second behind Black Powder. In 2010 Charlie Don't Surf came first. In 2011 I Ain't Been Shot Mum came first. I'm not sure why but Bill stopped running the awards.

Fortunately Wargames Illustrated now do Awards. In 2017 we won first place for best historical rules with Chain of Command. In 2018 Chain of Command won that same award again but we also won the best new historical rules with What a Tanker.

What is great is that both the TMP Awards and the Wargames Illustrated Awards are done by popular vote, so we think it's great that people keep voting for rules that we produce and enjoy the games we create.

That is why it seems such a shame when someone decides that they hate all that we produce based on one game and never having bought or read any of our rule sets.

I don't often post on TMP as so often I feel like I am just feeding the trolls, but sometimes the posts here are so utterly crazy that it is impossible not to try to present some kind of defence of games that so many people are really enjoying.

Although I do question my sanity getting involved with this pile of steaming ordure.

Rakkasan05 Aug 2019 4:22 a.m. PST

I really like the rules and appreciate the blog, forum, and yahoo group. I do think the rules are a challenge to just pick up and use. I was fortunate to be able to participate in some Lardie games at SALUTE some years ago and enjoy watching the game tutorials on YouTube.
I think they are historical and I do think they provide period feel.

Andy Skinner Supporting Member of TMP05 Aug 2019 4:44 a.m. PST

I know what it is like to try a certain style of rules and just not get it. I think a lot of Ed who does the Two Hour Wargame rules, and I've tried several. They just never made sense to me. Not saying they are bad, as many love them. And it isn't that I don't like loss of control, as I do like friction in games. Just some disconnect.

Another disconnect: I remember reading a game (neither TFL or THW, a sci-fi game, I think) where you randomly roll to see what you have in your force. I understand some of that is historical, as you don't always have everything you want. On the other hand, it just didn't make sense to me as a game. For miniatures, I usually want to bring the thing I just painted!

I've played Chain of Command a good bit, and What a Tanker! once, and think both are a ton of fun. They make sense to me. CoC especially has done a lot to add spice to games so I'm no longer just lining up on both sides. Suspense! Important leaders! A terrific implementation of scouting! I do find there is a lot to remember, but there is a pretty good cheat sheet out there.


HMS Exeter Supporting Member of TMP05 Aug 2019 5:26 a.m. PST

I looked up "lard substitute" on the internet. Perhaps TFL could issue a somewhat less "lardy" line of rules under the nomme de jue "Butter's Battles."

Dagnabbit! I shoulda copywrote that. Woulda shoulda coulda

Legion 405 Aug 2019 5:44 a.m. PST

Rakkasan is a US ARMY senior Officer, an LTC IIRC ? His opinion, IMO should hold some weight. I.e. he is or was a Military professional. Not a just another guy that likes to play with toy soldiers … evil grin I was only an Inf CPT a long time ago. So if nothing else his opinion out ranks mine.

Now I don't know if any of the other posters here are Vets. But regardless I still think I would go with his opinions generally. Even if we came from two different "eras" …

David Brown05 Aug 2019 7:31 a.m. PST


You may have a point.

I've played a few games of Pickett's Charge with a well know UK wargamer who's last rank was I believe Major General.

He understood what Staff Officers in Pickett's Charge and ADCs in General d'Armee represented.

It's a shame that "Major General" Stanley instead of asking a question and seeking greater understanding, simply decided that derision was the way forward.


Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP05 Aug 2019 9:01 a.m. PST

All tastes, as in chocolate, in this, are no problem so long as you don't get compelled to join when you don't share them.

Major General Stanley, perhaps you should read more of the scores of books av&ailable free on the net, that will tell you of a story of mistakes, bad luck, lack of control, and even more, the 2Fl try in a compressed playable way to instill in their games, up to a point, with a subtle melange of player's talent.
War is not Chess.

Of course, there are tricks and mechanism which, taken separately, as in most rules, are not easy to place into perceived (right or wrong) immediate historical context.
Tactics and results are historical.

If you want to play something more related to warfare in a given period, with miniatures (or else) and not fantasy games with probably closely accurate costumes, then 2FL rules rank high into their genre, for what they are made for.
Actually the newish Pickett's charge and General d'armée cousins, ADCs are really a rebranding, repainting, of the old Command points or similar stuff, using possibly minis instead of chits or dice. Rename them and modify a bit if you are (as I am ) annoyed by this young puppy co-opted staff officer coming galloping to tell the old veteran battery commander how to use his ammo.

BrockLanders05 Aug 2019 10:57 a.m. PST

Our group started playing Chain of Command last year and they quickly became the club favorite. We love the uncertainty (friction) and the decisions and challenges you're presented with every phase. There are some other rule sets we tried and didn't care for, but I don't see the point of trashing them just because they weren't our cup of tea. If other people like them, great!

muggins05 Aug 2019 11:20 a.m. PST

To answer the first question – I play a lot of Sharp Practice and What A Tanker, and have read most of the other rulesets they produce. I think they make a lot of sense but are definitely on a different strategic level than a lot of the games I see at cons.

I have only found a few things that are counter-intuitive (firing in SP is add up the number of guys and roll that many dice + some modifiers, close combat is a set amount based on percentage of guys left alive – could be streamlined) but what have you found? Examples help, especially on the internet.

Teppsta05 Aug 2019 4:02 p.m. PST

"Major General" please tell us what rules you like – it would be useful insight -

A) WW2

MarkAMorin Supporting Member of TMP05 Aug 2019 7:18 p.m. PST

Just because I love WaT I will be favorable to trying TFL rules. Of course, unlike MG Stanley, I will read and play them multiple times before passing a judgement.

Patrick R06 Aug 2019 12:59 a.m. PST

TFL are generally not for people who are into competitive play or are highly competitive.

If you like rules that play like chess with clear combat factors and everything is predictable and the battle is pretty much won from the setup, avoid their rules.

If you love to argument about rules and love to find semantic loopholes, please keep away from them.

If it doesn't matter that you are pushing a Greek Phalanx around or a Panzer Division and it's all an exercise in cracking the numbers and moving the playing pieces to the right spot at the right time and get more factors into a fight than your opponent, it's not going to end well.

You should check out TFL rules if you want rules that generally strive to achieve a mix of playability and faithfulness to the period.

The clever thing is that they come up with ideas that simulate complex things in a nifty way.

Chain of Command for example.

I know plenty of people who look at the deployment phase and the moving around of the templates and think it's completely stupid. "What's wrong with deploying 15" from the side ?" They ask, why spend an hour trying to push tome tokens around and then get this really weird system where troops can just teleport into battle ? "What's wrong with hidden deployment ? Suddenly a whole squad pops arbitrarily out of nowhere in the middle of the table ! With hidden deployment I can look at your notes and see you have put a squad on your right flank like you intended at the start of the game and not change it halfway through the game when it's convenient for you !!!"

Remember the Brecourt Manor bit in Band of Brothers ? Where they sneaked right up to the Germans ? Where they used cover to get right up and close so they could run up to the guns and take them out ?

In a traditional game the paratroopers deploy along the edge. Say they lose initiative to the Germans they get to move all their assets into position and start to gun down the paratroopers as soon as they get into view.

To avoid this you can try give the paratroopers the initiative on the first turn and have the player roll for how many turns they have before the Germans can react.

In some rules you can sneak up to the enemy using cover and then reveal yourself, but that means getting a table with enough cover to actually achieve this.

CoC tries to avoid this by saying troops will get a chance to sneak up on the enemy as close as they dare and take the fight from there. It's not as arbitrary as some might think. First of all there is a deployment point so your troops are more or less aware that this is an area where an enemy might pop up. There used to be a similar rule in FOW where you could deploy a reserve force simulating hidden forces opening fire. But they could be deployed almost anywhere in some cases. Deployment points seriously limit the arbitrary nature of dropping troops in the middle of the table.

Generally when playing CoC I get the feeling I'm dealing with WWII troops and not just a bunch of combat factors with a limited range or are handicapped by the inability to move AND ire. The MG is important, suppressing is important, maneuver is critical, flanking is vital.

If you hunker down and hope you can clear away an enemy with pure firepower you usually get an exchange. You may have blown their squad from the table, but your own squad probably lost half its men or more in the exchange.

And this is my main criticism of CoC beginning players who are unfamiliar with WWII tend to bog down into firefights that lead to heavy casualties. It misses that x-factor that would prompt a player to say "Oh, next time I'll try sneaking a bit closer and use grenades and charge in."

And yes the wording is not always unequivocal legalese, but the Lardy philosophy has always been been to have fun above everything else. They inject a bit of realism into their games, they make the mechanisms playable and once you get the hang of it they are generally good fun. And if a conflict arises it's meant to be solved with a decision on the spot or roll a die to determine the outcome for that game because you can always consult with them about the problem you encountered in the rules and they alongside a tight community love to respond to your questions.

I can see why some people are allergic to TFL rules. All I can say is give them a chance with an open mind. If all you see is stupidity and random nonsense and get hives from a bit of silly humor, yeah, better close that rulebook and go back to trying to make Empire work for you …

Legion 406 Aug 2019 6:01 p.m. PST

You may have a point.
Well as I said being a former Inf Officer who served in 4 Inf Bns. In my distant youth old fart, I generally think many Vets probably may have a little bit of a different "take" on wargame rules. Based on training and experiences …

Where they sneaked right up to the Germans ? Where they used cover to get right up and close so they could run up to the guns and take them out ?
That is basically the way we were trained when I was in the 101. But it was not the Germans as it was in the 80s … evil grin

Personal logo Vis Bellica Supporting Member of TMP06 Aug 2019 10:31 p.m. PST

Example of true Lardy gameplay:

Meanwhile, another Char had advanced to the centre of the table right into the advance of the PzII's. One PzII was blown to bits, and the other three scattered into cover. It looked as if this Char was unstopable, especially as it had Lt Epinace on board, even if he was dressed as a nun! [I use one of PP's excellent French nuns as Big Man 4]

Then, however, the drone of Stuka's was heard and the German player nominated Lt Epinace's Char as their target. Deviation dice were rolled – a direct hit would have meant the end of Epinace! – no…a miss…deviation behind Epinace's Char by five inches. Phew! Safe!

Hang on! What's that building that the bombs have landed on? The one that Epinace's Char is using to protect its flank?

Yes, you guessed it: it's my new petrol station!

A quick check of the rules failed to discover effect of Stuka bombs on a petrol station ;) so the German player, Neil, claimed that the kriegspiel approach means that the station should blow up, taking the Char with it! I, however, pointed out that the French Fuel Shortage chip was in the pack, and so there obviously wasn't any fuel to blow up. Neil then pointed out that my Char's ran on diesel, so the station could be full of petrol. This was a fair gendarme, so we decided to compromise and have the Char brew up as the petrol station exploded, but with Epinace emerging from the smoke, untouched but with his Nun's costume blackened and in shreds!

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