TITLE: If The Lord Spares Us
AUTHOR: Nick Skinner.
PUBLISHER: TooFatLardies. Available from their website:
PUBLICATION DATE: December 2005
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM: The TooFatLardies Yahoo group http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Toofatlardies/
This group supports all of their games. Your questions will be answered though most of the posts will be about their popular WWII game IABSM or other games in their stable. There are some scenarios in the file section.
PRICE: 13.10 GBP for hardcopy US or 6 GBP for the PDF (2008).
REVIEWED BY: Vincent Tsao
PERIOD COVERED: Great War (WWI) in the Mideast 1914-1918
THE BOOK: 50 pages, most likely spiral bound, color cover, plastic lined cover and back (I have the PDF copy, but TFL rules are all published the same way) 8 ½ X 11 inches.
SCOPE: Each side consists of an Imperial brigade or a Turkish regiment.
ARMY SIZE: 90-150 infantry, cavalry and support weapon crew per side, sometimes an armored car or even a tank. A typical Imperial brigade might have 4 battalions, each with a battalion HQ and 4 companies of 8 figures each. It would also have brigade Headquarters, several signal detachments, perhaps 4 to 6 machine gun sections, a squadron of cavalry and two or three sections of artillery. The guns might be on or off the table. A Turkish regiment defending against them might have three battalions of infantry, each of perhaps 3 or 4 companies of 6-8 figures, each, up to 6 machine gun sections, artillery and signal detachments. The defender (could be either side) will sometimes have trenches and wire entanglements, sometimes shallow scrapes or foxholes.
BASE UNIT: Infantry companies/cavalry squadrons of 6 – 8 figures, combined into battalions of 3-4 companies.
- Ground scale: 1” = 62 ½ yards
- Time scale: not specified: my guess is a turn = 15 minutes or less
- Figure/Base Ratio: 1 figure = 20 men, though figures are not counted so you can use as few or as many as you desire.
- Recommended Figure size: unimportant, designed for 15mm but I use 10mm
- Table Size: not stated, I use 4 X 6 feet with no problem.
- Game Length: Estimated: 2 to 4 hours
BASING SIZES: not critical but they suggest 2 infantry figures per 2 inch wide base, machine guns on same size round bases, artillery on 4 inch wide bases. My 10mm figures are on 1.5 inch wide bases, etc.
TURN SEQUENCE: The game is card-sequenced. One card is turned and acted upon, then another. When and if the Tea Break card is turned, infantry and cavalry that not yet fired and have targets in close range may fire, Machine guns with targets within effective range may fire and artillery may fire. All cards are put back into the deck and shuffled. A new turn begins. Units and headquarters activate when (and if) their card is drawn. Units may not activate more than once per turn. Better Headquarters get more cards, enhancing their chances of doing something during a turn.
GAME MECHANICS: The card activations system means that you can’t be sure when a unit will activate – or if it will at all. If you want to move every unit every turn this will give you fits. If you believe that a combat game should be full of pauses, delays and friction then read on.
Units start the game on blinds – cardboard markers. Some of the blinds may be dummies, representing very small patrols. One must spot the enemy in order to fire on them. Blinds may spot. Once a blind is spotted it must be removed and any real troops represented by it deployed. This enables a simple method of hidden deployment and movement. It is also assumed that any terrain feature that can hide troops may be a blind too. Proper scouting is needed to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Units get damaged in two ways. One is losses, which are permanent. The other is suppression points, which can be rallied off by battalion or higher headquarters. Suppression points degrade the ability of a unit to fight or advance. A unit with lots of suppression points is vulnerable to close assault. With enough of these points a unit will make speed for the rear. There are no morale checks per se, since suppression points handle this in a simple way.
Each battalion has a card. Brigade/regimentals headquarters may use their turns to activate companies within their command radius (which can be extended with signal detachments) or to rally suppression points off them. When headquarters activate they roll a die (modified for commander quality) that yields a number of command points. These points can be used to change battalion orders, rally companies, spot for artillery or to move the headquarters unit itself. (My headquarters are busy, with a staff car, telephone operators, pigeon handlers and motorcycle couriers.) Signal detachments can extend the reach of headquarters, at a cost in command points.
Combat is done by rolling a number of dice per unit. The number rolled is modified by tactical factors, number of suppression points on the firing unit, etc. Weapon range and the cover status of the target determine what numbers on the dice yield suppression points or hits. It’s fairly simple if you have a bunch of dice. Close combat has both sides rolling dice to see who scores more hits. It’s very risky if the enemy isn’t loaded with suppression points first.
ARMY LISTS/SCENARIOS: British Empire, Ottoman Turkish Empire troops, including irregular Arab tribesmen (I decided to call mine Kurds). There is no points system. Information will enable you to put together an Imperial brigade or an Ottoman regiment. Either can be reinforced with extra battalions. My Imperials also have a Rolls-Royce armored car and a Mark IV tank. While there are no lists, it should not take too much work to adopt this for other theatres of the Great War or for the variety of lesser wars spun off by that conflict.
REVIEWER’S COMMENTS: The rules are clearly laid out. The Lardies are not Games Workshop so don’t look for color beyond the cover. The game is played mostly with D6, though average and other dice may be called for to roll command points. The rules include a table of contents and the last page is a quick reference sheet.
PLAYER’S COMMENTS: The game plays quickly, with a fair amount of carnage, as one would expect of a Great War game. Machine guns and artillery are deadly. The armored car proved hard to knock out when it was used, although it was not a wonder weapon either. My Mk IV tank has not yet seen combat, although the rules provide a good chance of mechanical breakdown when it does.
Typical of TooFatLardie games, the card activation system means you can never be sure that a battalion is going to activate during a turn. Long and involved plans are not likely to work. The one thing you can be sure happens each turn is a hail of machine gun and artillery fire.
We have not played this game for a couple years, being deep into black powder gaming at present. But some of the guys have requested further adventures with “If The Lord Spares Us”. We plan on time-traveling to Mesopotamia, Palestine or Gallipoli later this year.
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