Fast Action Battles: The Bulge – 15/05/2011 (Nick)

Another game we have been promising to play for ages. Nick had taken Bastogne and killed 3 of my large units on turn 4, so it was going to be a draw at best for me, but more likely a marginal German victory as I had bugger all reinforcements coming on in turn 5. I should have stuck both airborne units in Bastogne to stop him taking it, but I was thinking more in the long-term, so used the 82nd to cover some VP areas which were actually out of his reach given the turn limit. As the Allies I didn’t use the special action to reinforce which I probably should have – also, we didn’t use the fuel rule for the Germans, so there were a lot more moves of 3+ areas and breakthrough move-attacks than perhaps there would have been with the limited fuel rule in play. (the Germans start off with 5 fuel assets, but every time a unit “strat moves” (typically to get from the rear areas to the front line) or an armour unit uses more than 3 MPs, then the fuel asset goes back into the draw mix, and may possibly not be drawn again).

Terrain has a big effect on battles, being especially favourable for the defender. The blocks can also change quality through taking step-losses, so an elite unit taking a step-loss may become veteran, except that the order of combat is not determined by quality – green defenders still fire before elite attackers, but with a hefty minus to their dice-roll. Other things which were interesting were the random draw of assets such as artillery and reinforcements which then go back into the draw mix after you’ve used them. Artillery can be committed to important battles, but, of course, as the German, you never have enough of them, and they get less as the game goes on because you have to discard one artillery unit per turn. Events and special command actions are also in the draw mix and the Germans get to draw less as the game progresses, which realistically simulates them running out of ammo, troops and fuel, all in an easy to administer sytem. However, in the tournament scenario, they seemed to have assets enough, so it’s not such an issue in the scenarion we played.

We played 4 turns of the 5 turn original tournament scenario in 4 hours and reached a conclusion. As the Allies, I didn’t get to put one attack in, so the scenario in C3i which starts mid-way through the game might be a better idea next time. As we are unlikely to be able to play a full game due to the usual time constraints, this looks like a better idea.

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