Thursday, February 10, 2011

Battle Report: Frontline General: Spearpoint 1943 (1/8/11)

Yeah, this took me over a month to finally post.  That's pretty terrible.  I'm going to try to get more on the ball with these.

Rob and I played two games of Frontline General: Spearpoint 1943 on one of my few free Saturdays, the 8th.  We decided to start playing some of the Situations (scenarios) that are available to give us some variety in the game.

First up was Situation I: Take Out Those 88's! In this situation, the Germans (played by Rob) had 3 crewed 8.8cm FlaK 36 cards on the rear line, with 2 front lines that must be beaten through before the Americans can finally take them out.  The goal of the game, of course, is the destruction of those 88s, and the Americans have to accomplish this without aircraft.  The Germans aren't allowed to start drawing reinforcements until Turn 3, but they do get 10 free victory points a turn (needing 75 to win).

After choosing our decks (Americans start with 120 points vs the Germans 80), we set up to play.  For my starting hand I chose a M4A1 Sherman, Tank Crew, Rifle Squad, and .30Cal LMG Team.  My hope was to use the Sherman to spearhead my attack (harder for the infantry Rob starts with to kill, and use the infantry to finish the job (the infantry is harder for the 88s to hit, needing a 13 vs an 11 vs the tank).  I didn't write down what my deck consisted of, next time I'll try to include that.  My drawn Command Cards were Withdraw (useful if my tank gets damaged), Reconnaissance (not really helpful for this situation, since Rob doesn't start with units in his hands), and Frontline Priority (great for getting a unit I need into my hand when I need it).  Not a bad start truthfully.

Rob immediately begins the game by playing a Sabotage card, removing one of the Shermans from my deck.  Ugh.

Turn 1:
I commit all 4 units in my hand, hoping to eat through at least one of his frontlines, and putting the pressure on early.

Right after first commitment phase.

Rob begins the Combat phase by playing Fire For Effect, making his artillery a lot deadlier to my poor Sherman (8 intensity vs the Sherman's 5 armor isn't nearly so scary as 12 intensity vs that same 5 armor).  He then proceeds to win initiative.

By the way, it's worth noting here that although the choices of targets for each card is very important in game, it's not a very interesting read, so it's not likely to be mentioned in any report I write.  Usually just the results.

Rob's first shot was an 88 at my Sherman, which missed.  I followed up by having the Sherman (targeted by all three artillery pieces) fire at the German Rifle Squad, discarding the Reconnaissance card for a +1 attack on my 75mm gun.  I missed with all of my attacks, however.

The German Rifle then shot at my Rifle Squad, killing it.  My LMG fires and misses.  With nothing of mine left, Rob goes through his guys- my Sherman dies to an 88, and the German MG-42 Team kills my LMG.

During the draw phase, I draw two units (Tank Crew and a Rifle Squad), and use Frontline Priority to get another Rifle Squad.  My Command Card draw is a Fighter Ace (useless in this situation).

Rob at this point has 34 Victory Points (he needs 75 to win).

Turn 2:
I choose to commit nothing, knowing that I'll just get slaughtered, and needing a few more units so that I can sweep through him.  I'm able to gain a bit of an advantage solely because the Germans aren't allowed to draw Reserves until turn 3.  With no combat, this is a quick turn, and I draw an Artillery Crew, a 57mm Anti-Tank Gun M1, and Commit Reserves (allowing me to play a card from my Reserves deck).

Rob is up to 44 Victory Points.

Turn 3:
Since Rob is going to start getting units this turn, I decide I can't keep waiting.  I commit everything, and use commit reserves for another Sherman (I apparently had 3 in my deck).  With an artillery piece, 2 infantry squads, and a tank, things are looking up for me.

Rob then wins the initiative.  He fires an 88 at my Sherman, damaging it.  The Sherman takes a shot at the Rifle Squad, and manages to deal 6 damage to it.  The German Rifle Squad fires at one of the American Rifle Squads, damaging it.  I draw a 'Shaken' card, retreating my Rifle Squad to the rear line, really hindering my attack. 

My other American Rifle Squad beats on a German Rifle Squad, causing 13 damage (don't remember the damage card), but it turns out not to matter as my ATG finishes it off.  Not a bad turn for me, really, although not great.

Anyway, during the draw phase I again choose two units, and draw an Artillery Crew and a Tank Crew.  I also draw another Fighter Ace.  That's just terrible. 

Up to 54 VPs.

Turn 4:
Well, with a draw like that, you can imagine I had nothing to commit.  Rob did, though.  He put a Scharfschutze (Sniper) in his first front line, and plays a Lay Smoke card on his front line Rifle Squad.  That limits my front line units to attacking his sniper, and means I can't break through his front line this turn.  Ugh!

I once again lost the Initiative.

Rob's first shot is an 88 at my Sherman, but thankfully he misses.  In response, my Sherman kills his Sniper.  Once again, with free reign to shoot, Rob manages to kill my 57mm ATG and retreats another of my Rifle Squads to my rear line.  He's now up to 70VP.  Not looking good.

I again choose to draw 2 units, and draw a Rifle Squad and another 57mm ATG.  I also draw Sabotage, which I use immediately to get rid of the Pz. VI Ausf. E Tiger I from his deck.  Have to take those small victories :).

Turn 5:
With Rob on the cusp of winning, I need to win THIS turn.  Well, I can't.  But that doesn't stop me!  What does stop me, however, is Rob playing a Capture That Unit! card, rolling a 10, and ending the game with 82 victory points.  Oops.

That's a picture of a sad me writing down the results of the current game.  In the immediate foreground is the impenetrable wall of FlaK 88s.

I pretty much did as poorly as possible that game, and I think next time I play, I'll have to be a little smarter about what I do.  Tanks are a bit more vulnerable to his artillery (the 88s were used as anti-tank guns, after all).  Maybe more infantry and a few artillery pieces of my own (so I could return fire with my own long range stuff) would have made this a closer game.

We weren't done here though- we decided to take a shot at Situation II: Beachhead Air Defense.

There are two parts to this situation.  First is an air battle, with 4 planes apiece, fighting to the death.  After this is done, the remaining aircraft are put onto the bottom of the victor's reserve deck, and a land battle begins.

There's one more component to this game, however- a US Landing Ship is making landfall at the beach, and is a vulnerable target for the German aircraft.  In fact, for every point of damage done to the LST prior to the aerial fight being done, the German player gets an extra victory point.  Given that the American aircraft is a bit better than the German ones, that's a key way to make up the difference.

Rob and I screwed this up, badly.  See, we missed the line that the LST was removed once the aerial combat was over.  So we left it out there.  That means his tanks were taking pot shots at it, and doing a ton of damage.  That's pretty game changing.  So although I wrote a bunch of notes, and even took some pictures, I'm not going to be writing a report for it.  It's sufficient to say that Rob one this one, but the game would have been a lot closer had I actually READ THE SCENARIO.  Ah well.  Live and learn.  Sounds like the second situation will be pretty enjoyable now that we'll do it right.

Here are some pictures of our second game anyway.

Ready to begin the game.

The air battle begins to go well for me.

As always, I'm struggling when it comes to the land-based part of the game.

We'll be playing this game from time to time at PrezCon, so I'll have more game reports going up next month, as well as a review, finally, since I'll finally have enough experience to do so (plus, I need practice writing reviews).


  1. Sounds like Rob schooled you twice.

  2. 'Sounds like' doesn't mean 'happened like'. I was doing well in situation 2 until we started playing it wrong!

    I mean, I was schooled once, no doubt there.

  3. Oh School was in session! He got tutored like Henry the VIII!


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