Norm's relatively recent post entitled Too Much Stuff had had me thinking quite a bit about wargame rules and my various figure collections. I realized that one of my favorite sets of rules, G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T., by Buck Surdu and Chris Palmer, hasn't been on the table in ages. This is not because I don't like them anymore, I do, but, as part of that whole "modern age" thing, I am spoiled for choice and find myself always chasing the next rule set. It was time to put this game on the table again.
G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. is written for 10-figure infantry units. Morale checks are directly impacted by unit size - however, if you have polyhedral dice, you can have units of a variety of sizes, although technically the math won't be exactly the same/ (A 10-figure unit that loses 1 figure has a 10% chance of failing the morale check, while an 8-figure unit that loses 1 figure has a 12.5% chance. Still, I'm OK with all of that because it makes the game flexible.)
The Italian's have three 6-figure units (5 soldiers and a leader - I tend to treat the soldiers as representing some number of men, while the leader is just one person. I don't know why but I"ve almost always done this with G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. even though, I am now fairly certain that the intent is 1:1 for everyone), while the Austrians have one 7-figure unit and an HMG unit.
The discrepancy in the number of figures relates to the sizes for companies given in H.M.G. (a WWI ruleset). While I did not use the numbers given there exactly, I wanted to reflect the differences in the size of the units just the same. The Austrians to have more men per company than the Bersaglieri (a standard Italian infantry unit would have nearly 1.5x as many men per company as the Austrians).
Finally, I set the shooting value lower than usual (normally for trained regulars I use 8-10, so I went with 5 in the event), in order to give the smaller units a chance to survive a little longer.
In any case, enough rambling!
|The Italians ready in their trenches. There is some concern that there is not much cover on this hillside.|
|Machinegun fire begins to take its toll almost immediately.|
|The Italian center and left go over the top - no doubt spurred forward by the gathering carabinieri|
|The Austrians take fire from the Italians left but they unleash devastation on the Italian right.|
|The unit on the Italian left is almost to the enemy trench!|
|The Italians crash into the waiting Austrians and a viscous hand-to-hand struggle ensues.|
Close combat in G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. can result in neither, one, or both combatants being eliminated.
|The carnage after two rounds of violent man-to-man fighting.|
|Unphased by the chaos to their right, the HMG keeps firing away, chewing up the Italian center and sending the survivors running back down the hill.|
|One of the great things about G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. is the potential for larger-than-life leaders - the Austrian officer prepared to hold his ground against the Italian wave, but the Italians called off the attack. It had been too costly.|
The Italians lost 2/3 of their force but distributed unequally between their three units. Not visible in the pictures, the Austrians had two more figures on the table (they had 3 casualties and 1 desertion) - the two had abandoned the trench on morale failures but were still within 12" of the leader figure. That means they could move to rejoin him on their next card.
I'm not sure if it felt like a WWI game or not. I think it pretty much did. It felt like G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. for sure though ( a little silly, a lot of fun, bloody) and that was good enough for me. They will definitely see more use with my Venus collection, which had always been my intent anyway, but now I see them as a strong candidate for small games set in The Great War.