Wednesday, 9 September 2015

The Scales of Anubis - Episode 3 - The Feather of Truth

Last night saw the return of the Scales of Anubis Campaign to the shed, this was the first game played in over a month so it was good to get some of the guys around and throw some dice.


A quick recap on where we have got to… The Nazi’s Order of the Black Sun have already secured two parts of the Scales of Anubis. From the deserts of Egypt to the jungles of Central America these boys mean business. The latest episode sees the adventure move back across the Atlantic to the quiet County of Dorset in the south west of England.


Like all the episodes I produced a fictitious background based on some of the locales and people of the time. If you haven’t read this you might want to now…

Before I kick off with the report just a few words on the game. In the previous two games we had used the excellent Pulp Alley rules but in this game we returned to the more familiar territory of Bolt Action. This was to be more of a ‘classic wargame’ , although it did have a certain pulpy feel.

Its November 1936 and the Order of the Black Sun (Nazis) have determined through their research and the artefacts gathered so far that another piece of the Scales of Anubis could well be located in the ancient Egyptian collection housed in the English Manor house of Kingston Lacy. Although they had  few clues to go they believed that a quick strike could potentially secure the Feather of Truth. Their mission was simple Find the Feather although it was complicated by the fact that no casualties could be left behind (the prospect of evidence of German Paratroopers on English Soil in 1936 was a prospect that not even the higher echelons of power in the Reichstag could sanction.

Major Gruntz (now newly promoted following his escapades in Egypt and El Salvadore) would lead the elite unit of Fallschirmjager. His number two  - Kapitan Vier (if you recall Einz, Zwei und Drei all died in previous episodes – would Kapitan Funf need to warm up…read on)

The force consisted of the two officers and six squads of six men. Each squad was typically armed with rifles & smgs. A total of 38 Fallschirmjager would parachute into England.


What did this force know…

The Feather or Clues to its location may well be found in the manor house, there could be some evidence on the obelisk in the grounds, or could the feather be buried up on Badbury Rings? With three locations to aim for and little resistance expected, the force dropped into the West Country, in the early hours of a cold November morning.

Kingston Lacy - Starting Points


Back in Dorset….

Unbeknownst to the Nazi planners was that their last minute secret plans had been intercepted and although these came through late in the day PITH Units from Salisbury were on their way to Kingston Lacy. Two squads of heavily armed agents were only minutes from Kingston Lacy when the Germans landed. Additional support would be offered by a unit of Land Defence Volunteers (think Dads Army) on training manuevers on the estate. Finally PITH had contacted the Lord of the Manor Ralph  Bankes (great grandson to the original Banks) and had alerted him to the threat. Supported by his armed gamekeepers this little bit of England was intent on giving Jerry a bloody nose.


But what of the feather…well the current Ralph Bankes knew of its existence. It was buried by his grandfather almost a century ago on the summit of Badbury Rings. Its exact coordinates etched in hieroglyphics on the base plate of the obelisk standing tall in the garden. To interpret these runes would require the use of the old diary kept in the safe at the Manor.


The Game Mechanics


I took a picture of the table and copied this into PowerPoint onto which I marked the various Zones. Given it was night-time and that I did not want each of the teams to see what the opposition had in the way of forces each squad was moved using hidden movement. Only when the teams moved into the same zone would they be revealed. Common sense would determine the location of each unit – for example if they moved into a zone with a building it would be assumed that the unit would take cover inside the building. Should a unit wish to stay still it was automatically assumed to be in Ambush mode.
Zones on the table


Being a relatively small board the hidden movement only lasted a couple of turns and all the forces were on the table. Should point out there were no AFV’s or indirect fire weapons.


I used pins to denote the troops positions

How did it play?


Well sure enough the Germans made a beeline for both the manor house and Badbury Rings.
The Germans in England in 1936  !!!
The latter was quickly climbed and a unit of Fallschirmjager dug in amongst the standing stones.

into the Stone Rings...
Meanwhile the first squad s approached the manor house with caution. They soon saw off Ralph Bankes and his gamekeepers from the obelisk gardens and launched a full frontal assault on the Manor.
Ralph Bankes deciphers the obelisk

Soon to be driven off by advancing Paratroopers

A turn later the Paratroopers had captured the building and soon were rummaging through the contents of the house. The safe was quickly discovered and pried open. With the clues in hand they could radio through the codes to the translators off table. A couple of turns later the Germans knew the Feather was up in the standing stones and its precise location.
Storming the Manor House


However things weren’t going so well for the Fallschirmjager up in the stones. Accurate fire from Pith agents began to drop these elite troops – it was looking like a charnel house. The other squads in the area were just too far back from the action to offer supporting fire. But it was getting lighter (ranges could get longer).

PITH Agents arrive on scene

By now the good Captain of the LDV had got his men up and moving. He decided to dash for the nearest phonebox and call the manor to see what all the fuss was about. (the player controlling the LDV was not briefed on the purpose of the raid and could only surmise that hostiles were in the area – he could only receive a full briefing if he spoke to either Ralph Banks or one of the PITH agents) – he dialled the number and imagine his surprise when the voice answered on the other end ‘Ja’….
by now Ralph and his followers had expedited their way out of the gardens and bumbled into the good LDV captain.
Flight of Bankes and his ground staff


Things were getting worse for the Germans up at the rings – the stones were now being swarmed by MG toting Pith agents and further fire support was coming from the LDV who had taken up position in the pub.

The Pub is a good place to defend...last orders !

Major Gruntz was starting to worry as he began to start collecting up his fallen comrades and dragged them into a captured van.


PITH assault the Rings

Could Kapitan Vier and his forces in the Manor render assistance. Three heavily armed squads began to traverse the table towards the rings.

Advancing from the Manor

This was proving a most fluid game as these forces came under fire from Banks and the LDV hidden in the hedgerows.

Hiding in the hedgerows

German rifle fire and morale proved they pushed forward (albeit with heavy casualties). Corporal Jones section was all that remained of the LDV…these came under fire from. Five of the squad dropped leaving Jones on his own.

Jones squad...

Seized with anger Jones rushed the Nazis with his cold steel…(a bitter hand to hand fight ensued) – Jones only just losing out to five heavily armed Boche.

The taste of cold steel...


These reinforcements soon managed to mop up the Pith agents – the field was clear and the feather in the hand of the Nazis.

Mopping up...

Major Gruntz smiled he’d won yet again. Total Body count – 18 Nazis and 32 British Agents/LDV. Ralph Bankes managed to escape and warn PITH That the Order of the Black Sun now had the third piece of the Scales of Anubis…

The Nazis win again...


Part 4 coming very soon…


  1. Nice! that looks like a fantastic game and your hidden movement system sounds very interesting, does it work well in general?

    1. It really was very simple - each player wrote down which zone they were moving to and I then moved
      the pins on the board. If two opposing pins ended up ion the same zone contact was made.

    2. Cool, I'll have to check if I can convince my regular opponent to try it out.

  2. Particularly good tactics on the part of the Nazi player(s) or is fortune smiling upon the sons of the Reich? I'm becoming slightly concerned that the forces of justice will not prevail. Excellent series of posts, Eric and splendid scenery, as usual. Can hardly wait for the next episode -where will our antagonists end up next? The Arctic? Or in a dockyard, perhaps?
    Regards Jez

  3. Excellent! Trust Jonesy to go in with the cold steel. "They don't like it up 'em! They do not like it up 'em!" ;)

  4. Great stuff, the setting was first class & as for Jones well I hope he didn't panic lol

  5. Great stuff, the setting was first class & as for Jones well I hope he didn't panic lol

  6. Fantastic! We are so happy you are enjoying Pulp Alley.


    Pulp Alley

  7. Looks awesome, Mr Shed! Can't wait to sit down and read through at a more leisurely pace. And does that blue Call Box make odd "whooshing" and "groaning" noises from time to time...? ;-)