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Jon Darlington
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This weekend Tom and I returned to our chronological play-through of Tide of Iron’s Eastern front, which consists of the scenarios listed HERE. After a summer off we’re resuming by retracing our steps and playing scenarios we missed the first time around. This weekend it’s WINTER WAR by Ray Trochim, set during the Soviet/Finnish war of 1939/1940.

This post is just Round 1 of our game, which we had to pause and will resume tomorrow. (Long story, but... we were missing a few components, as you might glimpse in the photos.)



The Soviets enter at the top-right corner of a large board and have two routes to victory. They win right away if they accomplish either of these before the end of round 7:

- Exit one or two trucks from the bottom left of the map (one truck for a minor victory, two for a major victory).

- Control the fortified objective building at the top left of the map
The Finn player sets up first, and the Soviet player moves first.

However, the trucks are modified for this scenario: they don't get the "Effective Road Movement" rules that would normally let them move three Road hexes with each Movement Point. Instead, it costs them a full MP to move one road hex. As a result, they must creep along the road at no more than for hexes per round (three hexes per round if they're lightly damaged). If they are ever forced off the road (say, when retreating from an Assault) they they are permanently immobilized.

This slow speed for the trucks puts them on a strict clock if they are going to reach the exit hex by the end of the scenario.



Soviets get some pretty standard infantry, supported by two heavy KV-1 tanks. Four trucks are included (but cannot carry passengers). The Soviets are hampered by the Operations card "Soviet Command Restrictions", which means that pinned Soviet squads cannot recover unless an Officer is present, or Tom spends a Command point to remove the Pin marker. As the Finnish player, I REALLY want to pin those squads and make Tom waste Command points un-pinning them.

Finns get a good mix of support weapons and capable troops. Enough to stop the Soviets if they act together; but if the Finns are split up, the Soviets have plenty of forces to overcome either half of the Finnish army. The Finns also benefit from the "Merciless Assault" Operations card; my squads gain +2 Firepower in Assaults.

FINNISH SETUP



For my own Finnish setup, I knew I wanted to have a flexible initial setup that could adapt depending on which path Tom seemed to be taking. I wanted to present enough of a threat on the road that he would have to allocate significant forces to clear a path that way; and yet I wanted to comment enough to the defense of the center so that if he looked like he was trying the capture route, I could withstand his assault. Some troops had to be deployed centrally so that they could redeploy once I saw Tom’s setup.

I also didn’t want to give Tom a first-turn target for his two heavy tanks. Tom could set up anywhere in the top-right corner board, including half-hexes shared with other boards. If I set up in the leading edge of the woods, he could set up in range and pound spotting units with his tanks.

But I still wanted to observe the Soviet movements to direct mortar fire; and the concealment counters helped there. Concealed squads can't be seen or attacked by the opponent. They lose their concealment if they attack, or move in the open in enemy LOS. If an enemy unit is adjacent to them, they lose their Conealment -- but only at the end of the Status phase (so, the very end of the Round). The enemy can't move adjacent to reveal them, and then immediately attack. This also means that if a Concealed squad has an enemy adjacent, and hasn't acted yet, it can withdraw and will retain Concealment as long as no enemies are adjacent at the end of the Round. I want to retain Concealment for my spotters as long as I can, and use them to throw a wrench into Tom's advance.

I ended up deploying in strength both in and behind the central woods. Two units with Concealment counters acted as spotters from the leading hexes of the roadway woods; one was a machine gun that would be able to shoot at the trucks if they moved forward early, and the other was an AT squad that would discourage either tank from investigating too closely.

One machine gun in the rear was camped in the objective building; the other, with the third Concealment counter, was on the other objective to claim it during setup and would move into a nearby building during Round 1.

I expected Tom to deploy on the leading hexes of his deployment zone, and advance to put pressure on my squads in those woods (and threaten the fortified building) while a strong Soviet detachment escorted the trucks along the road.

SOVIET SETUP



I had expected Tom to set up at the perimeter of his board; but instead, he set up in a tight group on the roadway. I think this served two purposes:

a) moving along the road meant he wasn’t slowed

b) because I had neglected to put a spotter at the front of the main woods, he would be able to stay out of line of sight of my spotters; my mortars would nearly useless on the first turn!

Now I would have to shuffle my defense to focus primarily on the road.

Overall starting positions at the start of the game:



Strategy Cards
Tom drew both of his starting Strategy cards from the Soviet Reinforcement deck:

- Reinforcements
- Specialized Reinforcements

The Soviets start with four Command; but since all of the Reinforcement cards are invoked in the Command Phase, neither of these could be activated until the end of the Round.

I drew all three cards of my Strategy cards from the Morale deck (partly because it had cards I wanted; and partly in a bid to deny Tom the Rally Cry card from that deck, which could virtually negate the effect of Soviet Command Restraints). I drew:

- All or Nothing
- Take Down the Beast
- Preparations

ROUND 1



Round 1 was fairly uneventful; Tom's forces crept forward along the road and Tom carefully kept everything he could out of LOS of my spotters so they'd be safe from mortar fire. This is where I paid the price for failing to put a concealed spotting squad in the main woods.

Since it was clear Tom wasn't headed for the objective building, I began shifting forces over toward the roadway. The mortar in the Balka dashed forward and joined its fellow crew behind the trees in the center of the map, to be in range of the mass of Soviet troops next Round.

The spotters guarding the roadway waited patiently; there were no targets at normal range, and the these units would become valuable spotters next turn and possibly help to slow down Tom's advance.

I did move one squad forward to the treeline to spot for my mortars next turn, and Tom moved his second KV-1 off the road and toward the trees to deal with them next Round.

There was only one unit in the Soviet mass that I could see with my (unexhausted) spotters; a leading infantry unit containing a Soviet Officer in the woods near the tip of the Soviet advance. A Suppression attack would be wasted here; the squad would shrug off the marker before the start of the next Round; so instead that mortar shot for damage. It rolled two dice for 5s, and scored one hit; Tom's cover dice came up empty. One Soviet figure died -- first blood!. But not the suppression results I should have achieved for the Finns with those mortars.

By the end of the first Round Tom's entire force was moving forward in a snaking advance along the road, and my forces were in the process of shifting to new positions to deal with them.

Command phase
Tom held one Command hex and gained one Command to add to his pool of four.

I held two Command hexes, and gained three.

Tom had Initiative and spent Command first. He put just one on Initiative; he spent three on Specialized Reinforcements card he drew at the start of the game, and kept on Command in reserve.

I put one Command on Initiative to tie Tom, and as a result gained the Initiative for Round 2. I spent one Command to activate my Take Down the Beast card, and kept one Command in reserve.

Status phase
I drew from the Morale deck again, and got the second Take Down the Beast card.

Tom switched to the Morale deck as well (the odds were getting pretty good to draw Rally Cry) and drew Go to Ground (+), followed by Desperation.

STILL no Rally Cry card... and just four cards left in the Morale deck.

MIDDLEMATH
Not an Aftermath, but time for a few comments about the current situation.

Naturally I smacked my own forehead when I realized I hadn't placed a spotting unit to watch over the road. This virtually wasted the forward mortar this turn; I really, really want to start pinning Soviet squads to take advantage of the Soviet Command Restrictions. And since Tom wasn't bothering to send anything toward the building objective, the mortar squad in the Balka had to dash forward so that it would be in range of the Soviets next turn.

I do have Intitiative for the next round, and I think things should start to get a little bloody. It will be tricky to position in a way to deal with Tom's entire force working down the roadway; if I'm not careful Tom will be in a position to deal with small segments of my forces at a time, using all of his.

Then again, this is a time game; if Tom's trucks don't keep up a steady pace, they won't have enough movement to escape the board. If I can bottleneck Tom's forces with harassing attacks that he has to pause and deal with, that could force the trucks further ahead than Tom would like. Those trucks need to keep moving forward; there are about 20 hexes of road to cover, an undamaged truck move a maximum of four hexes per Round, and there are now just six Rounds left.

And that's where we left it for now. We should play the rest of the game tomorrow afternoon... updates once it's all over!
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These pictures of live action are always fun to watch
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Jon Darlington
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A little later than planned, Tom and I got together and finished WINTER WAR.

Our first order of business was recovering our setup from the violent rampages of Tom's cats during our interlude:

!!KATZ!!


This is where having a picture posted on the web comes in very handy!

In short order we had things back in order, and we proceeded with Round 2. The Finns had Initiative.

Partway through Round 2


At this point Tom looked entirely committed to an exit victory: he was attacking straight down the road, clearing a path for the four trucks. If one exited the other end of the road before the end of Round 7, he had a minor victory; exit two trucks, and it was an outright major victory.

This would be tricky because there were only six Rounds left. With their movement of four, the trucks could make it with a turn or two to spare; but any hold-ups by the Soviet infantry could expose the trucks, forced to adhere to a steady advance down the road if they were going to exit before the game ended, to Finnish attacks.

As a result, the game appeared to be entirely about those four trucks; almost no other Soviet unit really mattered.

For that reason, my first two actions on Round 3 were to fire the mortars at the trucks (A), grouped two to a hex just at the limit of the mortars' normal range. I chose the rearmost trucks first because they needed to move 19 hexes to leave the board; if I lightly damaged either of those trucks, they would be reduced to 3 movement each round, and couldn't exit in the six remaining rounds. I got lucky, and rolling two dice for 5+ managed to lightly damage both of them (one hit on one truck; two on the other). Those two trucks were essentially eliminated, and Tom's exit victory now depended entirely on the front two trucks.

I then attacked the front two trucks with my second mortar (there was no need to try to destroy the rear trucks), but rolled no hits on them.

The middle of the Round was occupied with Tom and I moving our forces around; Tom advanced up the road with other infantry (trying to lure my MG into losing its Concealment by taking opportunity shots, which I declined for the moment while that KV-1 was parked nearby). He also moved one squad up next to my AT squad in order to reveal it for the next round (B); but I retreated the squad one hex, preserving my Concealment. For the moment, I wanted to keep those units concealed to throw a wrench into Tom's plans.

Tom also knew that the Machine Gun guarding the road was a significant threat to his trucks and had to be dealt with. To break it concealment, he dashed a unit with an Officer its maximum distance to end adjacent to the MG nest. When this squad moved adjacent to the MG, I took the Opportunity Fire shot. (C)

I knew the tank would fire on the MG as Tom's next action, and didn't think I'd survive; and this was one of only two Soviet officers on the board, particularly critical because of the Soviet Command Restrictions rule in effect for this scenario. Because the payoff for killing this officer would be huge, I chose to fire not just with the MG, but the accompanying Regular figures too. This would give me five Firepower (3 for the Finnish, not German, MG; and 2 for the Regulars) for 4+ at close range. I rolled the five dice... and scored three hits, killing the squad outright. That's where we took our mid-Round picture.
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Jon Darlington
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Remainder of Round 2


Naturally, Tom immediately took his hard-earned shot against the revealed Machine Gun (A). He made a regular (not suppressive) attack, and his six dice scored three hits; but my two cover dice both came up successes, and I removed just a single figure from the MG squad.

When my action turn came, I decided to threaten the Soviet rear; I moved a squad containing an Officer five hexes, leaving the woods and hiding in the Balka entrance. (B) (I would have liked to wait later to do this, but I had run out of activations.) This squad was now in position to sprint out next turn and seize the 1-point Command hex in the Soviet setup area. Tom would have to deal with this squad, or suffer a crippling loss of Command points in future rounds.

In response, Tom moved his KV-1 three hexes over, stopping next to the Balka entrance and putting a stop to the Finnish shenanigans. (Units in Balka or Balka Entrance are only visible from an adjacent hex, or a straight line along Balka itself; so Tom couldn't fire at the Finnish squad.) A Soviet MG squad followed the tank to help press that attack, and prevent any Finnish dash past the tank and toward the Soviet objective.

Other than that, Tom advanced the remainder of his force along the road, in position to flush out the Finns next turn and clear the path for the supply trucks.

Command Phase
Both the Finns and Soviets scored three Command points.

I put all three, plus the one Command I had in reserve, into Initiative (for a total of 5).

Tom did the same; his three earned plus one in reserve went to Soviet initiative, for a tie at 5 apiece. Initiative switched from the Finns to the Soviets.

Status Phase
We both wanted that Rally Cry card from the Morale Strategy deck; Tom to overcome the Soviet Command Restrictions, and me to stop him from doing so. Tom drew from the Morale deck and got Go to Ground (+) and Take Cover. I drew from they same deck and drew... Rally Cry.

We moved onto Round 3.
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Jon Darlington
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Middle of Round 3


Tom wasted no time putting the Soviet Initiative to good use. His two tanks had clear targets; and Tom opened the Round by using one to destroy the Finnish Machine Gun nests guarding the road (A). The other (B) decimated the sneaky Finnish squad in the Balka squad, firing at close range and killing three figures. Only the Officer himself survived.

My mortars at last had Soviet squads in the open, and Tom was reduced to just a single Officer able to help them recover from pinning. I fired at two of the exposed squads (C), Pinning one and Disrupting another. Thanks to the Soviet Command Restrictions, neither of these could ever recover without an officer present in the hex, or if Tom spent a precious Command point to remove the Pin marker.

Tom moved a couple of squads, one of them (his Flamethrower squad he had obtained as reinforcements at the end of Round 1) supporting the units gathering at the Balka entrance.

And then I saw an opening.
 
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Jon Darlington
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I saw that there was an open route for two of my squads (both with officers for +1 movement) to the two lead trucks. And with Tom's infantry mostly grouped in the bottom right corner, I still judged the trucks the only units that really mattered on the board.



So I first used a Move and Fire action to dash out of the woods and up the road (D), in the thick of the Soviet infantry (using four movement points), stopping adjacent to the trucks. There the squad fired at close range. Even at half firepower, I scored two hits on one of the trucks.

Then I activated the second squad with an Assault action (E); it moved into the same hex, and Assaulted the hex with the trucks, supported by the first squad.

The two squads generated a ridiculous number of dice in Assault; the AT squad itself contributed 10 dice (Elite and three Regulars for 5; AT specialization for +3; Merciless Assault for +2) and the supporting squad four more (half its normal Firepower) for 14 dice total. Rolling for 4+, they easily destroyed both of the trucks and eliminated the Soviet hopes for an exit victory.

Now, at this point, the Soviet had the option to pivot and pursue their only other option for victory: seizing the fortified building. The two Finnish squads that had just destroyed the trucks were doomed; and though it would occupy those Soviet infantry in the corner with them to do it, they were probably going to die this turn.

But... we judged that with just four rounds left, and the Finnish infantry now free to ignore the road and shift entirely to a defense of that objective, and the mortars free to continue pinning Soviet squads... that wasn't a reasonable expectation. We decided to call the game.

Here's the final board position (though those two lead trucks, still on the board here, have been destroyed).



Tomorrow: AFTERMATH, where we ponder other Soviet approaches to this puzzle, and Tom expresses an interest in trying this one again once we've finished our play-through.
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Very nice story. I enjoyed it.


-Mortars versus trucks is a good thing. You only need one hit to lightly damage one. Also, assaulting trucks is possible, so that makes it nice.
Looks like a fun scenario.


But I have a few questions.
It's so easy to overlook rules, and some of them may
1: Doesn't sovjet command restriction allow one to spend one command to unpin? And doesn't elites do the same for free? But yes, with only two officers, it still is preatty bad.

2: Did you remember that trucks have the 'fast on roads' ability? Even with 3 movement, they could move 9 squars in a single action as long as they only move on roads? And the road is almost clear.


3:
Quote:
The two squads generated a ridiculous number of dice; the AT squad contributed nine dice (Elite and three Regulars for 5; AT specialization for +3; Merciless Assault for +2) and the supporting squad added four more for 13 dice total. Rolling for 4+, they easily destroyed both of the trucks and eliminated the Soviet hopes for an exit victory.


I don't thinkt the AT specialization gives +3 versus assaults, even if assaulting a truck. It only gives +3 versus. Or am I mistaken?

Still, an assualt with merciless assault is bad, and Tom Probably learned to defend his trucks. And not to put two of them in the same hex

---

At first glance, this scenario seems like the Finns have the upper hand from the gecko. The Russians have two tanks, but the Finns have more infantry, specializations, mortars and concealment, and not any command restrictions.

But the Russians have one nice thing. They have 4 trucks, and the Finns need to stop them all from exciting the map. That probably forces the Finns to target the trucks instead of the infantry.

And the Russian may opt to pursue one of two victroy conditions. The Finns needs to take care of both. And due to fast on roads (unless it's removed for this scenario) the Russians still have both options available.

Sounds interesting. Maybe I should give it a go.
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Jon Darlington
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Thanks! I'll expand on some of this later but:

1) Yes, you're right; Tom could pay one Command to remove Pinned markers during the Status phase. We knew this but considered this Command expenditure to be Very Bad, likely costing the Soviets the Initiative for the rest of the game and depriving him of Strategy cards he needed. So, yes, those squads could come back but each one would be costly.

2) This scenario specifically removes the Fast on Road ability for trucks; I should have mentioned that in the first post (I'll update this later).

3) I looked at this before the game and the rules say that the AT squad gets +3 "in all attacks against a vehicle". Maybe an Assault isn't formally an Attack; I'll have to check.

4) Overall, I think the Soviet player has to go for the building in force, but also move the trucks a long the road as a distraction that the Finnish player can't afford to ignore. Then the game becomes about allocating the right balance of forces to each prong of the attack/defense. If the Soviet player gives up either prong at the start (as Tom did), it gives the Finnish player too much freedom to strip one side of the map and reallocate his forces to a single defense.

We liked the scenario and would try it again; I think Tom needed to set up his trucks at the very front of the column, and his other forces at the forward edge of the deployment board, and keep pressure on the Finns at the outset.

I think the "Soviet Command Restrictions" Operations card might be too heavy a burden in this scenario, where the Soviet player doesn't have THAT many forces and can't afford to spend Command to un-pin squads. 'd certainly be curious to see how others fared.

More thoughts later.
 
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1) Agree.

2) Ohh... that changes a lot for this scenario.

3) Sadly, what an 'attack' is, isn't well defined. I agree that assaults should be an attack. I always thought that AT squads gain +3 firepower versus vehicles, and assaults uses firepower versus infantry. And thus a fire & movement would use 4 firepower versus a vehicle. What do other people think?


4) Agree & agree.

I think that Soviet Command Restrictions is a fun card when used correctly.

I really enjoy the looks of this scenario as it gives some interesting choices. One out of two. However it may seem like the Russians have a slight too heavy burden, especially with the 'fast roads' ability not in place. It makes one of the victory condition really though.

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Jon Darlington
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Grand Stone wrote:
However it may seem like the Russians have a slight too heavy burden, especially with the 'fast roads' ability not in place. It makes one of the victory condition really though.


I agree that the Russians have the heavier burden in this scenario.

I can see why the designer wouldn't want the trucks to have complete freedom to dash the full distance in just two or three Rounds. But as it is now, it feels like the trucks are on TOO tight a schedule, and that puts significant pressure on the Soviet player to clear their way quickly. I'd support increasing the movement of trucks to, say, 6 hexes. That way the Soviets would have more freedom in how they conduct the road attack, able to pause the trucks out of sight for a bit while the infantry and maybe a tank do their work.

The Soviet Command restrictions is an interesting card; I like it. But in this scenario where the Finns have two mortar squads and the Soviets have to spend some time in the open, I think it might be too much.

Finally, the fact that the Finns have so much cover between them and the Soviet deployment zone perhaps makes it too easy to run forces across the board to respond to the Soviet deployment. It might be more interesting if there was more risk, or it was simply slower, to change the original Finnish deployment and shuffle troops about.

BUT... all of these are tentative thoughts. We would need to play the scenario as-is a couple more times before I'd say any changes are truly necessary. Once both players have some experience, and we've seen how (say) the attack on the building actually unfolds, we'd have a better grasp of the scenario's objective merits.


EDIT: Oh! Looking back I do think we did that Assault wrong. The Elites should have counted for only one Firepower each in that attack, because they were assaulting vehicles. Elites are only 2FP vs. infantry. But that would have just knocked three dice off that 14-dice attack; since I needed only four hits at 4+, I think the trucks were still doomed.
 
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Ray
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Jon, good AAR. I enjoyed reading it. I hope you and Tom enjoyed playing the scenario.

Early versions of the scenario favored the Soviets, but after some fine tuning and adjustments, the final product was said to be fiarly balanced. However, I think the Finns have a slight advantage if you ask me, but some say the Soviets can easily win this scenario if played right.

Also which Strategy Cards come into play can have a influential part in the outcome as you noticed, but that pretty much applies to almost all of the TOI scenarios. The Strategy Cards are a neat little twist to the TOI game, and they are also what give the TOI scenarios some replay value.

P.S.
Tom should have only got one Command Point instead of two for the first turn, but later when you described how he spent the Command Points, it came out right.
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Jon Darlington
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Hi Ray:

Thanks very much. I think Tom was less enthused once the game went a couple of rounds. But we both agreed we should try the scenario again now that we both understand the "clock", the mechanics of Concealment, and the importance of pressing at least somewhat on both fronts and not just one.

I *really* like the way the scenario presents the Soviets with two prongs of attack, and both players have to decide how to allocate their forces between them. As the Finnish player I know I struggled with how to best set up so that I could quickly respond to the Soviet deployment. The Soviets setting up second but going first adds to that pressure.

The terrain is interesting too. The Balka offers a concealed approach to the building objective, and demands an unconventional defense. There are lots of creative ways the Soviets can use that to their advantage.

As you say, the strategy cards can really affect the course of the game, and there's a reasonable supply of Command points available. It would be interesting to see how that affected a replay.

So I'd say that this is definitely among those we'd try again; I think it would go very differently, and at least be a lot closer if we did -- even without any changes.

And with that, I've pretty much written everything I had planned for my AFTERMATH, just spread over several posts.

EDIT: OH, and you're right, just one Command for the Soviets in the first Round. I'll fix that in the original post.
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JDarlington wrote:
Grand Stone wrote:
However it may seem like the Russians have a slight too heavy burden, especially with the 'fast roads' ability not in place. It makes one of the victory condition really though.


I agree that the Russians have the heavier burden in this scenario.


EDIT: Oh! Looking back I do think we did that Assault wrong. The Elites should have counted for only one Firepower each in that attack, because they were assaulting vehicles. Elites are only 2FP vs. infantry. But that would have just knocked three dice off that 14-dice attack; since I needed only four hits at 4+, I think the trucks were still doomed.


Hmmm. If I'm not mistaken assaulting light vehicles uses firepower versus infantry! Not vehicles. That's why I don't think you should get +3 for AT specialization.


Sometimes, there is also far easier for one side to make huge mistakes compared to the other side. Thus a perfectly balanced scenario may seem very one sided at first glance if one fall into one of the mistakes.

Here it definitively seems like an even attack, and being slightly more careful with the trucks may be much better option.
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Jon Darlington
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Grand Stone wrote:
Hmmm. If I'm not mistaken assaulting light vehicles uses firepower versus infantry! Not vehicles. That's why I don't think you should get +3 for AT specialization.

Ah, yes, you're right. Rulebook page 33, part of Assaults:

"The attacker's strength is equal to the firepower against infantry (even if the target contains a light vehicle)...

Interesting. Now I suspect that you are right, and the +3 Firepower from the AT specialization does not apply during an Assault. But.. I'm not certain.
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Marcus A
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JDarlington wrote:
Grand Stone wrote:
Hmmm. If I'm not mistaken assaulting light vehicles uses firepower versus infantry! Not vehicles. That's why I don't think you should get +3 for AT specialization.

Ah, yes, you're right. Rulebook page 33, part of Assaults:

"The attacker's strength is equal to the firepower against infantry (even if the target contains a light vehicle)...

Interesting. Now I suspect that you are right, and the +3 Firepower from the AT specialization does not apply during an Assault. But.. I'm not certain.

That’s a good point. We have two rules that seem to contradict each other—one of which you cited above.
Below are the two rules next to each other.

Tide of Iron NW, Rules of Play: Resolving an Assault Attack:, Pg 33 wrote:
The attacker’s strength is equal to the firepower against infantry (even if the target hex contains a light vehicle) of the active squad, plus half the firepower of any squads supporting the assault.

Tide of Iron NW, Tools of War: Armor-Piercing Weaponry:, Pg 14 wrote:
In all attacks against a vehicle (even when supporting an attack) a squad with anti-tank specialization has a base range value of 3 and +3 firepower.

In my opinion, the first rule trumps the second one. The first rule is stipulating a procedure for an area attack, which could involve a variety of defending targets. And that rule is intended to keep Assaults as simple as possible while offering the dynamic intended.

Thus, if you buy my reasoning, then Assault actions take away the AT squad’s special capability against vehicles. Conversely, Assaults permit elite infantry their +2 firepower even against defending vehicles; a higher firepower normally restricted to infantry targets. These two consequences are a rules nod to simplicity for an Assault procedure that is a little "busy".

In any case, the Assault rules, in my view, offer a brilliant mechanic working within the larger TOI rule set making TOI so much more dynamic and fluid than would otherwise be the case.

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Matt G
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I think trucks get the worse of each rule. They are soft targets so can be assaulted as infantry but are also a vehicle that can be targeted as with an AT weapon. Consider the halftrack: it would use the vehicle dice if an elite assaulted (1 hex/1 die) but also be targeted with the AT weapon (+3). Trucks shouldn't be better at avoiding AT attacks.
 
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Grand Stone wrote:

Hmmm. If I'm not mistaken assaulting light vehicles uses firepower versus infantry! Not vehicles. That's why I don't think you should get +3 for AT specialization.


No, you are not mistaken.
Attacks against light vehicles use firepower versus vehicles, but assault attacks are a bit different as outline in the rule book. The attacker's strength is equal to the firepower against infantry even if the target hex contains light vehicles.

JDarlington wrote:

Ah, yes, you're right. Rulebook page 33, part of Assaults:

"The attacker's strength is equal to the firepower against infantry (even if the target contains a light vehicle)...

Interesting. Now I suspect that you are right, and the +3 Firepower from the AT specialization does not apply during an Assault. But.. I'm not certain.


The AT specialization does say, "In all attacks against a vehicle" so one can argue that this would apply to Assault Attacks as well. The icon shows a bazooka, but the anti-tank specialization represents anti-tank training as well as all sorts of anti-tank equipment such as sticky bombs, anti-tank grenades, gammon bombs, anti-tank rifles, and so on, and not just bazookas, panzerchrecks, panzerfausts the unit will have.

But I agree with RomanLegions...

RomanLegions wrote:

In my opinion, the first rule trumps the second one. The first rule is stipulating a procedure for an area attack, which could involve a variety of defending targets. And that rule is intended to keep Assaults as simple as possible while offering the dynamic intended.


Even though I can no longer make official rulings - 1Agames lost Tide of Iron control to FFG - I would keep things simple and say the AT specialization cannot be applied to Assault Attacks.

The AT special should really say:

"Armor-Piercing Weaponry: In normal attacks against a vehicle..."
 
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RayGuns wrote:
[q="Grand Stone"]


"Armor-Piercing Weaponry: In normal attacks against a vehicle..."


Agree!

Or even simpler:

Armor-Piercing Weaponry: The unit gains +3 firepower and range 3 versus vehicles

Edit:
But ofcourse, in this case, the Finns have tons of assault firepower anyway and it would not make a lot of difference.



 
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Marcus A
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RayGuns wrote:
Even though I can no longer make official rulings - 1Agames lost Tide of Iron control to FFG - I would keep things simple and say the AT specialization cannot be applied to Assault Attacks.

Ray, I found a rule that confirms our view that area attacks, such as Assaults, do trump (are an exception to) the standard TOI targeting rules, which the Anti-Tank specialization is usually subject to. Namely…

Tide of Iron NW, Rules of Play: Targeting Infantry or Vehicles, Pg 21 wrote:
In TOI, an attack targets a single squad or vehicle. If a hex contains multiple squads or vehicles, the firing player must indicate which exact squad or vehicle within that hex is to be the target of the attack. (Area attacks and assaults are exceptions to this rule; see page 31 and pages 31–34 in this section.)

It so happens that pages 31-34 are where Assaults are described in detail.

Thus, as regarding the specific question at hand, the only conclusion we can make here is that, by rule, an Anti-Tank specialization has no effect during an Assault—vehicles or no vehicles.


RayGuns wrote:
The AT special should really say:

"Armor-Piercing Weaponry: In normal attacks against a vehicle..."

As I see it, when describing attacks we need to be careful using the term “normal,” as the rules adopted that term to distinguish destructive firing, if you will, from suppressive fire. For example, potential confusion might spring from an Anti-Tank squad firing on an M-10 tank destroyer, as the latter is subject to suppressive fire. But I don’t want to deal with those issues here.

I suggest the Anti-Tank specialization should continue to read as it does, but have the exception (cited above) repeated immediately following it. This would alleviate the burden on the player of keeping various implicit exceptions in mind and needing to apply them appropriately. Hence, the rule could explicitly read as follows.

Armor-Piercing Weaponry: In all attacks against a vehicle (even when supporting an attack) a squad with anti-tank specialization has a base range value of 3 and +3 firepower. (Area attacks and assaults are exceptions to this rule; see page 31 and pages 31–34 in this section.)

 
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RomanLegions wrote:

Armor-Piercing Weaponry: In all attacks against a vehicle (even when supporting an attack) a squad with anti-tank specialization has a base range value of 3 and +3 firepower. (Area attacks and assaults are exceptions to this rule; see page 31 and pages 31–34 in this section.)


Agreed. Also the intent of the AT specialization was against individual vehicles and not the whole hex (area attack), so this makes it clear that the AT specialization cannot be applied to assault attacks.


EDIT:
This would be a good one to add to the RCD:NW, so I'm going to start a new thread in the TOI:NW game link asking for any other questions/situations from the Next Wave rules that should have some clarification.

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Jon Darlington
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Hey, this is great guys -- thanks, it's been a fascinating read.

Tom and I have agreed that we're going to replay this scenario for our next game, because we both like a lot of things about the scenario and we want to give it another chance to shine.

It might be a few weeks before we get to it because our schedules are getting cluttered. But these rules discussions, and other comments about the scenario in this thread which we'll both take into account, should make for an interesting game.
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Jon Darlington
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Well, Tom and I were able to take our second stab at Winter War sooner than we expected. We played the scenario again yesterday, and I submitted the session report this morning.

Should appear in this forum in a few hours, I hope, depending on the speed of the moderators.
 
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