AAR: Raid On St. Nazaire – Turn 1


“The lights came on in the harbor as the small flotilla approached. Leading signalman Pike had been trained for this job, and he now flashed the codenames of several German torpedo boats. For the next few minutes, the ruse seemed to work as the searchlights went off and the British force narrowed the gap to its objective.

Then a shot from shore rang out across the bow of the lead ship. Pike flashed back frantically. The German fire paused, but a real German force would have slowed. This flotilla gained speed. The bluff was wearing thin!

The searchlights came up again and Beattie on the Campbeltown gave the order to fire, as the German ensign was struck and the Union Jack hoisted up. It was 1:28 AM, March 28, 1942. The raid on St. Nazaire had begun.”


I am playing AH’s Raid on St. Nazaire using Vassal’s module, version 0.97b. Eventually, I plan to make a series of playthrough videos incorporating historical commentary and photos. For this AAR, I will use the historical objectives and will briefly narrate what happened. Don’t expect anything like the U-27 Schwertfish short story.


In game terms, the historic mission accumulated 53 game points. The game requires you to accumulate 70 points to be victorious.

The simulation commences with the Campbletown and the 17 motor launches already in the approach zone and with the harbor defense emplacements on alert. Ground units start waking up and becoming alert slowly. Since the Wehrmacht was in the town itself, the commandoes faced mostly dock workers and guards until several hours into the raid.

The game pieces include the name of each captain the was in charge of each boat and the name of the commando that lead each unit. That may be the reason why it feels more personal and stressful when you start taking casualties.

TURN 1: 01:28 AM

The turn starts with the Naval Attack Phase, where harbor defense guns fire on the boats in the approach zone (Harbor Defense). The flotilla gets to fire back (Covering Fire) and the dockside guns that have targets in their respective zones fire again (Dockside Defense). The boats that can, get to do Naval Movement (the Campbeltown is technically a ship but will be referred as a boat anyway). Commandos then unload/load followed by the random spawning of Strosstuppen, the number and unit quality of which increases every turn. You then have the Land Combat phase followed by the Demolition Phase and the End Phase, where remnant Strosstuppen can merge together to form more cohesive and stronger units.

The Naval Attack and Dockside Defense Phases proved horrendously deadly for the commandos this turn, who did not hit even one target during their Covering Fire phase.

The Campbeltown’s mission is to ram the Southern Casson in the Normandie Dock and explode, thus ensuring that the Tirpitz will never sail the Atlantic. It carries six commando teams that will disembark at the Southern Casson and proceed to their respective targets. This turn, it successfully moved into the East Jetty on its way to the Normandie Dock. However, it was promptly trapped under the beam of the searchlight in the West Jetty. Now an easy target, it suffered heavy casualties, losing almost half of its crew and one third of its guns. The Purdon demolition team inside the Campbeltown also suffered minor casualties.

Motor Gun Boat (“MGB”) 314, captained by Ryder, lost part of its movement factor (“MF”) as it attempted to evade enemy fire. It managed to move into the Old Mole and unload the Newman assault team. However, it lost half its crew and commandos in the process.

Torpedo Motor Launch (“TML”) 270, captained by Irwin, moved into the East Jetty and fired a torpedo at Sperrbrecher 137. The torpedo was ineffective.

Motor Launch (“ML”) 447, under the command of Capt. Platt, received so much damage that it is currently on fire. Heroically, Platt managed to reach the Old Mole suffering heavy casualties in the process. ML 447 unloaded the Byrne assault team. However, the casualties are such that one hit will sink ML 447 and one hit will pretty much wipe out the Byrne commandos as an effective unit.

ML 446/Falconar lost half of its MF in evasive maneuvers and still suffered heavy casualties. It entered the East Jetty but already lost half its crew and half of the Hodgson assault team that it carries.

ML 457/Collier was under such intense harbor defense fire that it was forced to turn away and could not enter St. Nazaire Harbor with the flotilla. In the process, it lost one third of its crew and one of its two guns. The Walton demolition team it carries has yet to suffer any casualties.

ML 307/Wallis was sunk by the harbor defense. All life was lost, including the Bradley demolition team.

ML 443/Horlock was sunk by the harbor defense. All life was lost, including the Wilson demolition team.

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ML 306/Henderson and the Swayne demolition team made it intact to the Old Mole. The Swayne demolition team is currently on its way to its primary target, the swing bridge that connects Old Town to the northern part of the harbor (Area 321).

TML 160/Boyd burst aflame under the intense harbor defense fire, suffering a small number of casualties. It made it to the East Jetty, where it fired a torpedo at Sperrberecher 137. It damaged the aft part of the boat enough to destroy one of the two 20mm guns emplaced in that boat. Being on fire makes it a lot easier to be hit. I will try to withdraw them back to England but I doubt that they will make it.

ML 192/Stevens was sunk by the harbor defense. All life was lost, including the Burn assault team.

ML 262/Burt and the Woodcock demolition team made it intact to the Old Mole. The Woodcock team unloaded without issues and is on its way to its primary target, the swing bridge that connects Old Town to the Normandie Dock (Area 211).

ML 267/Beart was forced to turn away by the intense harbor defense fire and could not enter St. Nazaire Harbor with the flotilla. In the process, it suffered minor casualties and lost one of its two guns. The Moss assault team it carries has yet to suffer any casualties.

ML 268/Tillie and the Pennington demolition team made it safe to the Old Mole. The Pennington team is on its way to its primary target, the swing bridge that connects the Normandie Docks to the U-Boat Pens (Area 261).

TML 156/Fenton entered the East Jetty and fired a torpedo at Sperrbrecher 137. The damage was minor but still enough to disrupt the remaining 20mm gun. However, if the German team manning the gun acts diligently enough, it could be ready to fire as soon as the next turn begins.

TML 177/Rodier was sunk by the dockside defense fire. All life was lost, including most of the Haines assault team. No boat stopped to pick up the survivors of the Haines team. This means they will be swept away into the Atlantic, where they will drown.

ML 298/Nock made it safely to the Old Mole. If I had been a better commander, I would have realized that Nock had no commandos to unload and could have picked the Haines assault team survivors instead of speeding into the Old Mole. I feel a court martial on its way.

MTB 74/Wynn was sunk in the approach zone. All life was lost.

On the ground, the Swayne, Woodcock and Pennington demolition teams are intact and on their way to their historical targets. The Byrne assault team fired on the 37mm gun protecting the Old Mole and rendered it out of action. However, return fire killed the remaining commandos in the Byrne team. The Newman assault team, also heavily wounded, will try to reach the 37mm gun to destroy it with a grenade attack in the next turn.

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German Strosstuppen are starting to appear from the Northern Reinforcement Area/2 Works Company and the Northern Reinforcement Area/4 Works Company.

Note: After Turn 1 was over, I realized I made a mistake with some of the boats. When the boats first enter from the Approach Zone, they have one less MF (besides whatever MFs they may have lost during Evades). I did not subtract that MF from some of the boats. This means that at least two of the boats that made it to the Old Mole and unloaded commandos should still be in the East Jetty with their commandos onboard. This mistake will not be made when we make the video series.

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Rogue One Characters Join Star Wars: Destiny

650x650_e5758f505f473b707f5245875baf126cf92d3c358ef9f30100a1d9d5Fantasy Flight Games’ collectible card and dice game Star Wars: Destiny will see its first expansion in the form of the Spirit of Rebellion booster pack.

Spirit of Rebellion will include dice designed to offer more predictable results so that players can develop more focused strategies. To this effect, Spirit of Rebellion will focus on characters from Rogue One, such as Jyn Erso, Mon Mothma, Director Krennic, and the Emperor Palpatine himself, but will also include characters from all the Star Wars films.

1500x1500_f5de06592f3c077c2318577dec275b467559776afffec75e82baa267The full set of Spirit of Rebellion will have 160 new cards for the game, packaged in five-card booster packs, with three common, one uncommon, and one rare or legendary card in each pack.  Each pack will also have one premium die matching the rare or legendary card.  Booster packs are sold in 36-piece display cases.  MSRP is $2.99 per booster.

In Puerto Rico, Star Wars: Destiny should be available at The Gaming Pit at the end of January 2017.


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WizKids Revamps Star Trek Attack Wing


WizKids has announced numerous new initiatives to update their Star Trek Attack Wing game.

First, WizKids will be releasing a digital version of the revised rulebook. The digital version will contain refreshed rules that incorporate rulings and FAQs released online, providing an up-to-date comprehensive rulebook. No need to worry – all previously released STAW product will be compatible; no products will become obsolete in conjunction with this update.

Second, WizKids will release a new configuration of STAW products. These products will have a lower price point and contain new content, but will not include ship models. While the new configurations won’t include ship models, they will note the previously-released ships customers need to purchase. The new configuration will offer a more cost-effective option for players who already have many copies of an existing ship sculpt. In addition to a lower price point, these packs will include a selection of updated content to support updated rules for ship models of the same type.

Third, WizKids will be introducing faction packs. These faction packs will also benefit from the improved discount structure. These packs will provide a ready-to-play fleet of ships from the same faction that will allow new players to field a team while providing a lower priced value (per ship) to new and veteran customers.

Fourth, WizKids will continue to increase their paint quality across the line. They promise that their ships have never looked better.

Last but certainly not least, WizKids has been exploring a process that will allow fans to submit their very own content ideas to WizKids. There may be limitations to this endeavor, but WizKids believes the STAW community can provide many exciting ideas. There are many details that will need to be worked out before they can announce anything more specific about the submission process.

Please note it will take some time to bring all these products to the market but WizKids hopes to roll most of these products out in 2017.

Live long and prosper.

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Via Nebula: Asmodee’s New Game

via-nebula-boxThe Nebula Valley is emerging from a sinister era of monstrous creatures and darkness. A thick fog lingers, covering much of the landscape, concealing treasures and opportunities untold. You are a brave adventurer, and it is your job to return Nebula Valley to its former greatness. Travel forests and meadows, unveil new resources, and build up society so the people of Nebula can live in peace and prosperity once again.

Via Nebula is a strategic board game in which two to four players compete to rebuild Nebula as it recovers from a dark and fearsome age. Venture out into the fog in search of resources so that you may build up the commerce, government, and faith of a disheartened people. Develop what they need before your opponents and you will be rewarded with glory, prestige, and riches. Whoever has most successfully restored the towns and buildings of the region at the end of the game wins!

Contracts and their Requirements

The needs of Nebula are communicated to you through both neutral and private contracts, set forth by the region’s citizens. At the beginning of the game, you will be given two private contracts to fulfill individually, while neutral contracts will be displayed openly on the board. Both types of contracts may require any number of the five resources: wood, food, stone, clay, and wheat. Because neutral contracts are available to everyone, it pays to complete them quickly, or the contract you have your eye on may be fulfilled before you get to it. 


In order for resources to fulfill a contract, they must be discovered and transported to a building site. You have a limited number of craftsmen that you can send to exploit resources, allowing you—and your opponents—to access them. Your craftsman must stay to oversee exploitation until supply of the resource is depleted, however, so you will need to carefully consider which resources you need most, and which ones you can use quickly.

Once you have resources available on the board, you must ensure safe travel to transport them. Exploring will allow you to clear a path through the landscape by covering fog spaces with clear meadow tiles from the guild board in front of you. The more meadow tiles you place on the game board, the more explorers you will reveal on your guild board for points. Petrified forests can also be explored, but at twice the action cost; it will take time to clear both the mist and branches, after all! 

Now that a path is clear, you may then transport resources to your building site. Keep an eye on the other players before you begin collecting, though, because resources may only be moved once, and extras will cost you points at the end of the game.

Building in Nebula

Before you can actually develop and fulfill your contracts, you will need to arrange a space to store resources and ultimately build. Placing building sites on ruins both reserves the space for you and provides a place to transport resources. Each player only has three building sites, so you will need to finish and relocate your original building sites if you intend to construct all five of your buildings.


As soon as you have a building site with the required resources, you may choose to erect a building from either the contracts in your hand or the contracts face-up on the board. You will place your building, take the contract card, and immediately use the powers at the bottom of the card. The powers may grant you extra actions, free resources, points, and more. If you have any unused resources remaining after fulfilling the contract, you must move them onto your guild board to be be scored against you at the end of the game.

The Hero of Nebula

Whoever constructs all five of their buildings first receives the end-of-game card, and all other players are able to take one more turn. Then you and your opponents will score your victory points from exploitation tokens, fulfilled contracts, explorers, and the end-of-game card, subtracting a point for each resource in your storage area. The player with the most victory points wins the game and claims the title Hero of Nebula!


Nebula’s citizens are thrilled to be out of the dark, but they need a hero to save them—they need you. So throw on a raincoat and venture out into the mist. Uncover the bounty of the valley’s meadows and revitalize the lives of these people of the clouds!

 Watch The Dice Tower’s video review of Via Nebula here!

MSRP:  $59.99

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DC Reveals Suicide Squad #6 Backup Story Details

susq_6_57b3597c6645e7-27464196Suicide Squad #6 is expected to hit your local comic shop on November 16 and now DC reveals the backup story for this issue of the red-hot series!

In this latest “Personnel File” tale, pioneering Batman: Arkham Asylum designer Carlos D’Anda joins writer Rob Williams for a tale that looks into the painful past of the Squad’s most enigmatic member Killer Croc, as we learn that not all monsters are born — some are made.

And in the lead story, written by Rob Williams with art by Jim Lee and Scott Williams, “The Black Vault” continues! With the secret of the Black Vault revealed, Rick Flag and Amanda Waller come to blows over what to actually do with it-assuming they can even control it! Can “The Wall” give up the deadliest weapon in the world-maybe in the galaxy? And what effect is the Vault having on everyone in Belle Reve?

This issue features a cover by Jim Lee and Scott Williams and an open to order variant cover by Lee Bermejo.

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