Wednesday, September 28, 2016


This past weekend was ToonCon 2016 - our local game convention. It’s really become mostly a board game convention, but I try to roll out with a miniatures game every year. This year I planned an event I called REGINA TRENCH! (you can read more about the whys and wherefores are the link).

The game focused on the First Canadian Division's actions at the Battle of Theipval Ridge which commenced on 26 September 1916 – 100 years ago this week.

Four players would each command one of the assault battalions or the two brigades of the division that were involved – each of the brigades also had a supporting battalion that was to follow up and help hold the trenches taken against counter attacks.

Preceding the Canadian advance was a creeping barrage that would first hit “no man’s land’ (to try and cut the wire) and then successively hit the three lines of trenches – mostly to keep the Germans heads down and get the Canadians onto their objectives without being shot to bits by rifles and machine-gun fire.

Facing them were three battalions of Germans. there was supposed to be a fourth in reserve that I could counter attack with should any of them make it to Regina Trench – the third trench line – but I forgot to bring it at home… I guess if it cane to it I could have reconstituted “dead” Germans from the front lines…

Because there has to be a “winner” for each event at ToonCon – to whom prizes are awarded – but this was essentially a co-operative game, I came up with a simple victory point system. Basically however many men each player had left of their original battalion multiplied by how many trench lines the successfully captured was how many “victory points” they’d have and whoever had the most would “win”! Firstest with the mostest, I guess.

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

I had the most fabulous participants for the game – they really got into it!

On the right of the picture is Roch (in the Service Dress Cap) who commanded the 8th Battalion (90th Winnipeg Rifles) (which was on the extreme left of the line). Next to him was Brennan (in the helmet – I know, I know… it’s a WW2 helmet…) who commanded the  5th Battalion (Western Cavalry) the other assault battalion from the 2nd Infantry Brigade. Together they sort of shared command of the 10th Battalion - the supporting battalion for the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade – and the 2nd Canadian Machine-gun Company.

Over on the left of the picture is Bob (in the balmoral – who actually drove up all the way up from Regina to play the game!) who commanded the 14th Battalion (“Royal Montreal Regiment”) and next to him is John (in the 48th Glengarry) who commanded the 15th Battalion (48th Highlanders). both of them shared command of the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish) - the supporting battalion for the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade – and the 3rd Canadian Machine-gun company

There was a LOT of other people that wandered by the table to see what was going on.


The barrage commences – hoping to cut some of that wire in “no man’s land”.

Once the barrage lifted to the trench line the Canadians began their advance!

The Germans did have their own Artillery batteries on call – but their barrages were intermittent and a bit random (due to communication breakdowns once the Canadian barrage came down and started cutting telephone wires and such)

Bob’s 14th Battalion got hit particularly hard – on 15 dice I hit on 5+ which, statistically should have carried off 5 of his lads – I managed to roll EIGHT fives and sixes instantly dropping him to half strength! OUCH! The brave lads from Montreal pressed on, however!

This would have been turn five as the barrage lifted to the second line and the Canadians fell on the defenders of the First trench line.

This looks like some of John’s 15th Battalion (48th Highlanders) falling in on the Germans in the front line trenches!

The 5th and 8th Battalions of the 2nd Infantry Brigade hit the frontline trenches!

Casualties started mounting as the Germans desperately tried to hold onto Zollern Graben – the first trench line!

Canadian barrage continuing to pound the second line – but all too soon it would lift and get away from them!

The Remnants of the 14th clear out the last of the German resistance in Zollern Graben – the first line of trenches was completely captured!

Looks like the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish) are moving up to support the depleted 14th.

The 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade again – with their supporting battalion (the 10th) moving up to help consolidate the trench the assaulting battalions are just capturing.

With Zollern Graben captured the Canadians are moving on to their second objective Hessian and Sudbury Trenches – but with their barrage had lifted ot the third trench line and they would be and the mercy of the German Machine-guns in the second line…

…Or.. in some cases, not so much… The 2nd Canadian Machine-gun Company must have been recruited from the Divisional Track and field team because they sprinted across “no man’s land” and past the first trench, set up their guns while taking fire from the German machine guns – who were shooting like Imperial Stormtroopers ( I just could not hit them!) and then massacred the German Machine-gunners with some insanely precision machine-gunning!? I think someone really wanted to bring a Victoria Cross home to show their sweetheart!

With the machine-guns cleared on the 2nd Brigades axis of advance, Hessian Trench was all but clear for the taking!

John striking a martial pose!

The remnants of the 14th and 15th Battalions capture Sudbury Trench – the second trench line on the 3rd Brigades line of advance. But they could go no further – both were down to about ¼ strength.

Remember that Machine-gun/sniper/track and field team I mentioned earlier… yeah, AFTER storming across “no man’s land”, setting up their guns in the open under fire and wiping out the Germans machine team in their trenches, they picked up again and sprinted up and over the hill and set up just beyond the second line of trenches and started machine-gunning the Germans in Regina Trench!


Eventually their luck would run out and they were cut to ribbons by the Germans holding Regina Trench.

The 3rd Brigade Assault battalions exchange (mostly) ineffective fire with the Germans still holding Kenora Trench.

The 2nd Brigade captured Hessian Trench and might have advanced further if time had allowed – but their ranks were getting pretty thinned as well!

As all battalions captured the second line trenches – their main objective for the day – it came down to who had the most troops left. I think the 8th, 14th and 15th battalions had been whittled down to 3-4 figures (of their initial 15) – but Brennan’s 5th Battalion (Western Cavalry) - hearty prairie boys from Saskatchewan! – had 7 left – so he was declared the winner!

The lot of us – from left to right; me (in the pickelhaube - I actually had to wear the chinstrap throughout the game because otherwise it would have fallen off my head onto the table with disastrous results!), John, Bob, Roch, and Brennan. Hopefully I'll be able to get all these guys out for the Vimy game in April! 

Big thanks to these four guys and their enthusiasm with made this the highlight of the weekend for me and made all the work seem worthwhile (if you haven’t checked out the post on how I made all the trenchworks, see the previous post: REGINA TRENCH: The Terrain!)

Also I have to say thanks again to all the organizers and volunteers at ToonCon for hosting my game and putting together another fantastic convention! You can see my report of the rest of the convention here: ToonCon 2016

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Well.. if I learned anything from the last week, it’s that I need to get working on the Vimy Terrain NOW!

Of course The Men Who Would be Kings arrived in the mail this afternoon… so… I might just have to try that out!! I have a fair few British and Zulus ready to go – shouldn’t have to paint up anything new… 


  1. Well done! A cooperative game was a good idea.

    1. Thanks!

      I like running co-op games at cons because you just never know who's going to show up and if you get some guy who is just determined to WIN! at all costs - it can ruin it for everyone. Co-op takes that all away - they have to sort of work together and I don't care if I as the "Game Master" get beat - in fact I generally PLAN to get beaten (though I like to make it feel like a bit of a challenge).

      In this case I had nothing to worry about - all the participants were great!

  2. My great-uncle served with the 20th Canadian Battalion, and was killed a few days before this action.

    1. 15 September 1916 - that would have been the battle of Fleurs-Courcelette - where tanks were first used in combat. Sadly, he wasn't the only one.

      My great uncle served with the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles (despite the name, they were purely infantry). His very first experience of the front was the assault on Vimy Ridge (9 April 1916). It was also his last. I've been on again, off again working on a book about his experience (a graphic novel, actually) and have been trying to get motivated to get it finished by the 100th anniversary of the battle, but keep getting distracted... I don't think it's going to be done by then, but it'd be nice to have it well underway by then!

  3. Absolutely splendid, I shall peruse the pics in detail later when I have more time. Like how you calculated victory points, I may well steal that idea.

    1. Thanks Phil!

      Steal Away! Co-op systems with victory points work really well for conventions (I've also done similar in the past) - and just playing amongst friends. It allows some very friendly competition!

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, man! I'm refurbishing the old 4th Division terrain for Vimy to look the same and the rest of the ridge is going to look like this (except with a bit more verticality - and SANDBAG PARAPETS!) - save the date: Sunday, 9 April 2017 - it'll be a much better drive than in February!

  5. A lovely looking game- It would be a pleasure to play on that table. Great too see that the game went so well on the day too.



  6. Excellent table & AAR Tim, would have been great to attend, but September has become insane for me with every weekend having something going on.... & its not done yet. Fallcon!

    1. Thanks Terry!

      If you keep the weekend of 9 April 2017 open, you may yet get to play on one of my table o'trenches!

  7. Looks like a great game over brilliant scenery with great figures in a nice atmosphere, what could be better?
    Best Iain

    1. If there is something better, I don't know what it is!

      Thanks Iain!

  8. Great game and an AMAZING terrain piece!

  9. I was really looking forward to this and was not disappointed!

    Also, cheers for linking to terrain post I've missed in the past weeks!

    1. Thanks, Mathyoo! I glad to not disappoint!

  10. Hey there Tim,

    Had a great time playing through the Regina Trench at ToonCon. I'm looking forward to Vimy later on down the road. Is there a good way to keep in touch?



    1. Thanks Brennan! It was great to have you play and I do hope you can make it out to the Vimy game in April!

      Email is probably the best way to get ahold of me, but I don't like posting email addresses anywhere on the internet. I have comment moderation on for this blog, so if you post a comment on here with your email address I will get it and can send you a message with mine and then delete the comment without publishing it for all the world (and web-crawling-spambots) to see!

      One of these days I'll get around to figuring out Google+ and link my blog to that account and then, I think, people should be able to contact me through that... but I am lazy (and not the most technically adept)... and it may take a while...

  11. Great stuff. What a game.
    Well done with that board!

  12. Well, its pretty well all been said but looks great, sounds like it was fun to play, what more is there? Very promising for April.