Two weeks ago I went to my first Lardy Game Day at Herts of Lard 2023. It was absolutely brilliant. Many thanks to @Joe_Wargamer for running it.
If you aren’t familiar, Too Fat Lardies are a company that produce wargames which are mostly historical in setting. Their motto is “Play the period, not the game” which is very much my jam. At a Lardy Game Day volunteers host games by providing a scenario, armies, a table full of terrain, and GM in some fashion. You don’t need to know the rules before playing and you don’t have to bring anything (though a packed lunch and a mug for tea is recommended).
Herts of Lard 2023 took place in Rickmansworth School on the 18th of March. Attendance was great and my first impression on entering the hall was that everyone running a game had put an immense amount of work into their tables. Most games were Chain of Command, but there was also Sharp Practice, I Ain’t Been Shot Mum, and Sidney Roundwood was there showing an early version of When The Last Sword Is Drawn.
My first game was On The Road From Mandalay run by Richard Clarke himself. This was only the third game of CoC I’ve ever played but Richard is an excellent GM and by the end I was pretty much up to speed.
The photo above showcases “Play the period, not the game” perfectly. My teammate an I were playing as the Japanese forces who were tasked with delaying a Commonwealth advance down the road towards Rangoon.
We had failed to bring on any meaningful defence whist our opponents brought on their very fast armoured car and gunned it down the road towards our communication center. Richard had briefed us in secret that we had access to an IED (think bomb & hammer) which we could deploy. The car was one activation away from taking out our comms so we activated the bomb. Unfortunately our poor roll meant that the detonation was late. The car had sailed past by the time it exploded. The following phase we brought on an MG section which managed to apply some shock to the car which forced it to reverse. It reversed far enough to fall into the bomb crater and was immobilised. Now, I don’t think the core CoC core rules cover this situation but having a GM allows for this moment of storytelling. Potentially Rich was also balancing the two forces for a fun fight. We were facing much more experienced players and losing our line of communication so early would have been crushing.
The game continued with a much slower grind as the Commonwealth forces pushed forward but got caught under their own artillery barrage. In the end it was declared a Japanese victory as we’d held our opponents up for long enough (and it was time for lunch).
Game two was Munda Point run by the organiser Joe. This was on a glorious 12’x4’ table. This was a Big Chain of Command variant with essentially twice as many units as normal. The scenario was an American assault on an airfield defended by Japanese forces. My teammate and I were given the defending role as it was supposed to be a little easier (we were both new to CoC, this was my 4th game).
This was a gnarly scramble. The patrol phase completely turned my flank and allowed my opponent to capture an AA gun in their first activation. After that I was bogged down in the jungle at the mercy of overwatch and flamethrowers. The game ended in a Japanese defeat, the last phase saw my force moral drop to 2 heralding the end of my game.
Joe had created a subsystem for representing air strikes. These would happen at the end of turns. I even spent a CoC die to to try to call one in. Unfortunately there was no effect. However Joe had Airfix kits on telescopic bases to add to the vibe.
After the games we helped pack up and headed to the pub. There was great chat, beer, and food. I got talked into doing my next CoC theatre in 15mm.
All in all a lovely day. I’ll be going to a lot more Lardy Game Days in the future and I would recommend you do too.