Nick and myself played our third game of Fighting Formations today and as promised, we tried out scenario 8 – I’m really enjoying this game, though this does seem to be to the detriment of our figure gaming. My one worry is that this scenario took us 4 hours and we were only halfway through it (3 turns), and that’s not counting the fact that it could extend if the sudden death roll wasn’t met.
The Soviets have a command range of 4 compared to a German range of 1, but each side only has 2 command markers each – still, the Soviets could take a couple of sniper hits and still be effective. Also any German command on one of the 5 hill hexes has a command range of 8, so the choice the German player has to make is between being in command range of the hill or being a bit farther forward with better arcs of fire. The Germans all start off hidden, while the Soviets have to start off in theie right-hand corner of the map and knock the Germans off the hill hexes on the diagonally opposite corner for an instant win – however, unlike the other scenarios we’ve played, VPs are awarded for killing units (3 for a tank, 2 for a gun and 1 for an infantry squad), so the German’s best chance of winning the game by making it expensive in units lost for the Soviets and delaying them long enough that they run out of time. There are only 10VP on the board for the Soviets so chances are they will have to take the hill to win, especially as the Germans start off with +3 VP – the Germans also start off with a few assigned cards, one of which is a heavy anti-tank rifle…
On the first turn, Nick sent a T34 towards the village which drew out the heavy anti-tank rifle but an appalling roll from me saw it miss badly and revealed the squad who fired it – ooops. They were all able to then concentrate their fire on the revealed squad with predictable results – one dead squad. Nick advanced the rest of his tanks and infantry cautiously, with only the T60 trying to draw out the 88mm. I left him guessing where the 88mm was for as long as possible, but had to reveal it when a column of T34s came bombing through the village, flanking my gun. The first shot (on opportunity fire) hit and I drew an immobilised marker, then I had the initiative, so fired again before Nick could break the platoon down. I was really lucky and drew another immobilised result after a hit, so destroyed 1 T34 and left the other 2 immobilised – result. Then my luck ran out. Nick put a pinned marker on the 88 on Op fire triggered by my last shot, and rather than rally off the marker, I reasoned that I was going to be fired on by 4 or 5 tanks when I lost the initiative after this order, so I fired again at the leading immobilised T34, but missed badly.
I should have sallied out of the house with my grenadier squad then and there and attacked one of the immobilised tanks for 3 VPs, but held back instead, looking to delay the advance to the hill. This worked to a degree, as the Russians then had to assault the Grenadiers in the village to stop them taking out the immobilised tanks and the ensuing melee was still going on when the game ended. However, that outpost was the only unit left away from around the hill, and my access to many more VPs was going to be restricted – the Russians weren’t going to try and roll off the immobilised markers from the 2 T34s as they needed 18 or more on 2D10 and a failure would result in destruction and VPs to me. If the Russians could kill 4 out of the remaining 7 German squads without loss, then they could win without taking the hill – as the Germans had no AT capability left, the Russian tanks could just sit back and do the job with HE. My dummy hidden units had worked really well at slowing down the Russian advance, but the game was probably up at this point, which is just as well as we had run out of time.
We’re talking about playing another game of FF next time, but it might be better to go back and replay some scenarios than press on and play new ones – that’s OK as the nice thing about the scenarios we’ve played is that we could see alternatives to the way we had played them when we discussed them afterwards.