Another report that still is about a month old, but at least now I'll be caught up, so that once I come back from PrezCon I can start posting about my time there immediately!
Rob and I played Nations at War's 3rd basic scenario back in January. This scenario depicts a battle after Omaha Beach to take the town of Vierville-sur-Mer. In game, the 507th PIR is defending Ville Sur Le Fleuve against a few German infantry formations- the Schtz.Btl.107 and the Kampfgruppe Beck. This scenario is all infantry, and is pretty light even on the support pieces (a couple of HMGs). It's just about the Germans grinding control of the town against outnumbered American defenders.
I played the Americans, and seeing that the Germans would have to cross at least some open ground to get to me, set up fairly far forward. I kept a unit back so that I had a safe path to move through if I had to abandon one of the positions. The Germans enter from the South board edge on the first turn, so don't start on the board, but automatically get an activation to start the game.
The Schtz.Btl.107 formation gets its free activation, and Rob moved his units on and up.
The river doesn't exist for this scenario, by the way. Having done that, the Schtz.Btl.107 formation chit is put back into the cup, meaning there's a chance that the German formation could move twice in the first turn.
Next chit draw was the 507th PIR. I had nothing in sight, so I just repositioned a little bit, but tried to keep as much un-moved as possible in case I had a chance to Opportunity Fire.
The first End Turn chit was drawn next. As the scenario defender, that's always great news- if the German formations can ever go a turn without being activated, it'll really help my chances! However, it didn't matter in this case, as the Schtz.Btl.107 chit was drawn before the second End Turn chit.
The Germans continued advancing as quickly as possible, and I opened fire on a German unit entering the woods, disrupting it.
We drew the first End Turn chit immediately, much to Rob's unhappiness. Unfortunately, a German-less turn wasn't meant to be yet, and we drew the Schtz.Btl.107 chit immediately after.
The disrupted German unit rallied, and the formation began its work. The HQ and Inf unit opened fire on the nearest of my Para Inf units, getting a single hit which I couldn't save, disrupting it. Rob moved his other German unit into the woods, and prepared to begin the assault. His first unit moved into the open, and I destroyed it by fire from my HQ/Para Inf stack. The second unit moved in to assault my disrupted unit, and succeeds in killing it. The Para Inf who was right behind the just destroyed unit attempted to Op Fire, but to no effect.
Next chit draw was the second End Turn, ending the turn.
On this turn, Rob received some reinforcements- the Kampfgruppe Beck formation is added to the chit cup, and enters on the board from the south to help with the German push.
The first chit draw is the recently added KG Beck formation, which advances onto the board, well out of my line of sight.
My 507th is activated next. I move my non-stacked Para Inf units back, to buy me some time. My HQ and Para Inf stack fires at the Infantry unit in the woods, disrupting it.
It's not a big help, as the Schtz.Btl.107 chit is drawn next, and Rob immediately rallies the disrupted unit. He decides to go after my HQ, and begins by firing his Infantry with an HMG at my HQ/Para Inf stack, dealing 1 hit that I fail to negate- I'm not disrupted and still Ops Complete). Not good. He moves in to assault with 2 of his Infantry units, healing 3 hits to my one, and killing my HQ. Now, since I have no front-line defenders, he moves his other unit into the city uncontested.
Not a good turn for the Americans!
Followed by an amazing turn for the Americans. The first two chits drawn are both End Turn chits!
The Schtz.Btl.107 chit is drawn to start the turn, and they press the advantage, moving their units through the city. When Rob moves his HQ and two infantry units up, I take a shot with one of my Para Inf units, and deal 2 hits, disrupting both of his units. The Para Inf who shot didn't get off easy though, and was assaulted by another two units, dealing 4 hits while receiving 2 in response (disrupting both attackers).
The 507th chit is drawn, and fortunately, I get a few reinforcements this turn as well (2 more Para Inf units). They advance on from my left, and I move them towards the rear of the city, thinking that I might try sending one the long way around to draw off some attackers. My now reduced HQ and a Para Inf unit shoot at an adjacent German stack, and deal 2 hits, with Rob failing to save either of them. More disruption!
Since the turn can't end without KG Beck getting a shot to activate, they do so, and advance up further.
KG Beck gets another shot to activate, and move up. I Opportunity Fire with my Para Inf and the reduced HQ, rolling 3 hits. Rob negates one of them, but I'll still take the disruptions.
Both End of Turn chits are drawn next. Turns like these are really going to help my chances!
The Schtz.Btl.107 formation chit is drawn, and naturally, Rob rallies all of his disrupted units. His nearest Infantry unit shoots at my Para Inf/HQ stack, and disrupts me, but the HQ again dies. He then assaults that unit, dealing 4 hits and receiving none in return. The rest of his formation moves into position and corners me.
Our first End Turn chit is drawn and then the 507th chit is drawn. I decide that I'm not going to be able to loop my guys around, sadly, and just moves everything in to prepare for the final rush.
The second End Turn chit is drawn, ending the turn. Things are looking really bad for me now, but it's not over! Although it'd be better if it was...
This turn is started by KG Beck activating, and moving up to lend the support Rob needed to push through. Their advance is slowed, however, when I Op Fire at their advancing units, and deal 2 hits, disrupting the leading parts of his advance. Rob isn't very concerned, however. Not with that many units floating around.
The 507th activate next. I take a shot at an adjacent stack, and disrupt them. Really powerful stuff here.
The first End Turn chit is drawn. I'm hopeful...
But then crushed when Rob draws the Schtz.Btl.107 formation chit. However, I catch a break when his nearest squads don't rally! He moves the disrupted squads away, and begins sending in the assaulters. The first group jumps in and deals 4 hits, but thankfully takes 4 hits. Critically, since I've tied him, the assaulting units are repulsed, and I'm not pushed out of the hex. I am badly reduced and disrupted, however. Plus, my HQ managed to die again. Rob still has another unit ready though, and he sends him in. He deals a single hit, and I return with a single hit. I'm now down to a single reduced (and disrupted) squad, and I'm staring at a LOT of attacking Germans. Thankfully though, the turn ends.
The first chit drawn is the End Turn chit. That's VERY exciting- the game ending here would give me a win! If any German formation is drawn, however, my chances are very slim.
The second chit drawn... is the other End Turn chit! YES! Victory for the Americans! I managed to win with a single reduced/disrupted Para Inf unit in the town.
With a chit-draw system, a lot of a player's success is dependent on how often his formations get to activate. With the one German formation getting a free activation on the first turn (with a chance for a second) and the second German formation not arriving until turn 3, we can do some quick checking to see what the 'average' number of activations each formation can dream about. For the Germans, the Schtz.Btl.107 would average about 7.7 activations per game (it activated 7 times this game) and the KG Beck would activate 5.2 (4 in the game). That's not a huge difference for the former, but that's a huge loss for that latter formation. Had he gotten that 5th activation, I'm sure Rob would've swept me from the table. The Americans, by the way average 6.7 activations (I activated 5 times). Those two turns without activations (and Turn 6, with just the one KG Beck activation) were critical for me winning.
Obviously, the number of activations doesn't tell the whole story- when formation activate in relation to one another is a big deal as well (being able to activate twice in between an enemy's activation could be key), but it's helpful to keep in mind how things could go, especially for the attacker to consider his pace. Rob played fairly aggressively. Had he known beforehand how many activations he would get, would he have tried something different? I'd guess not, but you never know.
This scenario seems pretty tough on the Americans, but since it's an infantry-only scenario and there really isn't a lot going on, I don't think it's going to get much play regardless. I'm sure I screwed up a little with my play, which probably hurt my poor American's chances as well- I'm guessing I need to be more selective about my shots. It didn't feel like I had many options, however.
This is a game that's going to get played a decent amount of times at PrezCon, including playing some of the advanced scenarios. That should be very exciting.