Sunday, January 15, 2012

In Harm's Way: Pigboats Playtest Session 12 - The Wolfpack

So the group decided to play the two-player subs version of the wolfpack rules, each player running two characters, troupe style. The Subs were USS Clownfish, CO Cmdr. Chris Jerkin (Wolfpack Commander, Jerkin's Juggernauts) and XO Lt. Nicholas Vanderbilt, ; USS Remora, CO Cmdr. Jason Hunt (Wolfpack Second in Command) and XO Lt. Edward "Red" Howard; USS Seahorse, CO Cmdr. Lamarr Bullock and XO Lt. Joe Lewis; and USS Barracuda, CO Cmdr. Will Montgomery and XO Lt. Tom Wiggins. All subs are Gato Class, with Clownfish and Seahorse carrying 22 Mark 18s and 2 Mark 27s each, and Remora and barracuda carrying 24 Mark 14Cs each. The pack is sailing out of Pearl, with refueling in Saipan. Time is February 1945.

The orders for the pack - from Squadron Captain Leonard Mardukas, are to investigate the Naval/Civilian ports of Yokohama near Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagasaki on Kyushu, and to do as much damage as possible. A week out of Garapan on Saipan, they surfaced at night into the teeth of a mounting gale. Weather checks by Bullock, Jerkin, and Hunt all concurred that it was a taiphoon, and estimated 5 days duration, during which they would be in danger of weather damage from the wind and waves. they stayed off the coast at first, but on the second night, the Clownfish was swacked with a monster wave while surfacing, jamming the bow planes in a hard rise position.

The weather was too dangerous to even attempt a repair, so Jerkin left the pack and tried to find an island to shelter behind. Penetrating the minefield between Shikoku and Honshu, he found Ishima island, where he could get in the lee of the island, protected from the storm. Even there the wind was fierce and the waves rough, so when the Engineer went out to fix the planes, he was swept overboard, and hauled out injured. The Engine Room Chief went out next, succeeding in repairing the bow planes, but on his way back, he was swept off the deck and killed instantly when his head struck the bilge.

Jerkin ordered the rest of the pack to retire behind Ishima, but Seahorse was damaged when a mine went off nearby. LUCKily, she wasn't sunk. The next night, with all four subs on the surface behind Ishima, Red Howard on the Remora - furthest out of the subs - heard diesels in the night. Cmdr. Hunt ordered the Remora down, and radioed the others, who also submerged. It turned out to be a destroyer, nosing around. Jerkin almost fired on her, but luckily decided not to, in case he got a radio message out before sinking. I say luckily because any torpedo in those seas would have exploded prematurely for sure, hitting the face of a wave.

After five days, the storm calmed down, and the Pack laid off Osaka harbor for two days, watching the traffic and charting their route through the minefield. For this attack, Jerkin ordered Barracuda to stay outside the minefield to protect the rear, while the others came in on the surface in a hard, driving rain.

Clownfish stayed near the entrance to the minefield, while Remora went after the civilian harbor, and Seahorse attacked the Naval harbor. Clownfish sent 2 fish at each of three frigates patrolling near the mouth of the harbor, sinking two and damaging the other. Seahorse fired four at a Heavy Cruiser and two at a Light cruiser, sinking the heavy and heavily damaging the light. The five inch gun fired twice and finished him off. Remora fired three fish each at a huge cargo ship and a big troopship. Both were hit with two torpedoes, sinking both.

The damaged frigate got two torpedoes in the water at Clownfish, who shot one with her AA and avoided the other. She then sank the frigate and a corvette with gunfire. Seahorse swung around, heading for the minefield, sending two torpedoes each at a pair of destroyers, sinking both. Meanwhile, her Quad Heavy AA tore two corvettes apart, but the Combat Reload in the front tubes completely failed. Remora likewise swung around and skedaddled, firing two torpedoes at the next biggest cargo ship, which sank, and one each at a small tanker and a troopship. The tanker's fish missed completely, but the troopship exploded in a Lucky Hit. The rear four inch and the Dual Lights raked the tanker, but she stayed afloat, and the rear four inch sank a close by corvette. The front 5 inch deck gun hammered the western harbor gun emplacement with supressive fire. Outside the harbor, Barracuda laid on a perfect suppressive fire on the eastern harbor guns with her five in gun, completely silencing them while the subs exited the harbor.

At the end of the session, everyone really liked the Wolfpack, but felt a bit disenfranchised by the fact that they could not affect the torpedo or gun hits beyond using the subs' traits. We decided to try a three-PC-per-sub next time, with the players playing a Weapons Officer on each sub.


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