Fighting Formations 20/11/2011 (Nick)

Oddly, the scenarios in the Fighting Formations playbook are not presented in the order that a player learning the game should advance through them. According to Chad Jensen (the designer) on BGG, the order a beginner should play them is 0, 9, 8, 4, 7, 6, 5, 3, 1, 10 & 2 – apparently scenario 2 would take most of a long weekend for experienced players to play – best avoid that one then!

So, following Chad’s advice, we progressed to scenario 9 which looks interesting. As with scenario 0, it’s all about controlling locations, though the Russians are very much on the defensive with no tanks, but 3 with AT guns. The Germans are slightly weaker in infantry but have 2 platoons of StuGs at the start, and some mechanised infantry arriving on turn 2 and the likelyhood is that the game will end after 4 turns due to the “sudden death” roll needing to be less than 13 on 2 D10. Also in this scenario, we get to use the sighting markers for the first time to deploy the Russian forces, a form of blinds to add a bit of fog of war.

We rolled for sides and I got the Germans again – the Germans have to capture all 3 objective spaces to win, so it’s a tough proposition. I did think of barrelling straight up the road with the tanks followed by the mechanised infantry on turn 2, (and given the lack of game turns this may not have been too bad an approach), but in the end I went for an attack on both flanks which I didn’t have enough initiative or time to develop – oh well, we’re still learning. The crunch came when my mechanised infantry unit tried to assault the Soviet MMG unit in a building (after surrounding themselves in a smoke screen  to protect their flanks from the 76mm anti tank gun), but the ATG managed to thread all 3 opportunity shots through the smoke and decimated the platoon, leaving them to be finished off by the MMG. For the rest of the game, I got bogged down trying to rally off hit markers in-between trying to suppress Soviet units and only drawing pinned markers (only stops them moving but allows them to fire), so never got anywhere near the objectives before the game ended on the first sudden-death roll.

I’ve already got some ideas about how to play this scenario better as the Germans, and we will try it again, but next week we are going to give scenario 8 a try – an 88mm ATG against T34s, both sides having limited infantry support.

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