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Chris Buhl
United States
Pittsfield
Massachusetts
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Finally, a victory after two defeats at Brad's hands (in the first two games he ever played)! And what a victory!

Scenario C, I had Germans defending the pillbox from Brad's Americans. I set up in two groups. Brad used three. I had the LMG in the pillbox with my ASL (SMG) and a rifleman, crewed by the SMG until Brad got closer. Brad's group C had rifleman and the Demo Charge. His B group had the BAR and SL. His A group had the dreaded flamethrower.

Early on it was as you'd expect. The Americans advanced cautiously, the BAR and DC moving up slowly. I advanced my A group 1 and got into -3 buildings as soon as they were allowed, figuring I'd keep the FT off the pillbox a little bit. Brad got his DC man infiltrated and tossed it in, but only pinned one of my guys. By now I'd swapped crew to the LMG and SMG could fire at close range. I eliminated his BAR man, but he recovered it. I pinged his B group down some though, and they were not very effective vs. the pillbox anymore. His C group without DC was down to two rifleman, and he advanced past me, then retreated to flanking position, but it was still minimally effective vs. the pillbox.

As deck 3 came out, it was all about the flamethrower! Brad moved up to range 4 (so RR 5 from my A group, still not able to flame the pillbox). As you can imagine, he started roasting Germans! I was lucky, and had a hand full of rally cards when he got close, so they stayed alive longer than expected. Eventually I ran out of rallies, and he didn't run out of good fire cards. BUT, I was able to bring the LMG and SMG from the pillbox to bear on his A group as well. We traded pins and eventually KIA's / Routs.

About halfway through deck 3, I was one KIA from breaking, and my SL was the last survivor in my A group, pinned in the buildings. He survived a FT attack while pinned, then rallied on a turn where Brad (finally) had no fire cards. Earlier I'd sent one rifleman into infiltrator status against Brad's group A, but he'd been pinned and then killed. I knew now my only hope was to infiltrate Stahler and pray for good CC numbers. My pillbox pinned two of Brad's group A men, only the FT was unpinned. Stahler made his morale check and infiltrated! And again Brad didn't have a fire card that he could use (he had a 14/5, I think, but only had the FT unpinned). So Stahler again made his morale check and entered CC. Would he draw the FT in the RPC? NO! He attacked and killed a pinned rifleman. Again Brad had no fire cards! Stahler passed another MC and drew the FT! It was an easy kill for an experienced German soldier against a man so encumbered by a massive tank of fuel!

Now each side was one KIA away from breaking! Stahler remained an infiltrator! Brad rallied his ASL! Stahler passed his MC! CCV 7 for Stahler, 6 for Cpl. Moores. Brad played a -1 concealed, so it was even up, 6 to 6! The card draw now would decide the game. Every one of my RNCs in CC so far had been red, so I was due. And fortune favored the bold! I drew a black 3! Brad drew a red 2, and was killed. German victory for broken squad!

This game demonstrated just about everything I love about Up Front. The narrative it created was so compelling:

The Americans, in typical, methodical fashion, advanced in force against the Germans, getting their firepower into position for maximum effectiveness. The Germans were cagey and set a couple of traps, but eventually were worn down by numbers and weaponry. Only when a lone German Sergeant, left alone while his fire team was burned out of their position, took the initiative to disrupt the greatest American threat could one side declare "victory." And yes, the German bunker complex remained intact and able to interdict future advances up the road it defended, but at what cost? Half of the veteran squad that manned it (which was already depleted by months of unrelenting combat) was killed. Where would future replacements come from? Somewhere, hopefully, because there can never be any doubt that more Americans will be coming down that road.

The game had several large momentum swings. Long periods of inactivity or lousy card draws cycled back and forth between us, as is usually the case. When I thought I had Brad pinned up enough to keep him at bay, he put a nice sequence of fire and movement together to close with me. When it looked as if his flamethrower would simply incinerate my entire group A, I pulled a string of "rallies out of the hat." And really, can any game be closer than this one? ONE card pull, even up, to decide the entire game. And it wasn't some gamey thing either, it was real and, again, compelling. The German SL faces off against the American ASL, SMG to SMG (so no bayonets), just knives, entrenching tools, rocks and sticks, whatever. Hand-to-hand, no quarter asked, none given. That's a war game ending for you!

Strategy wise, I'd say Brad made one error and one only. He did not pay attention to the morale of his men when he set his groups up. So when he got close to me, I was able to pin men pretty regularly, even with relatively weak fire cards. This, I think, slowed him down just enough, and bled him just enough, to let me eke out a victory. I think, although in this game you can never be certain, that if his "move to contact" fire teams had been manned with stouter soldiers, he'd likely have won, albeit in a very close game.

On the German side, I think the strategy is pretty basic. Three guys in the pillbox, including the LMG. I tend to like fewer bigger groups, so with only five other men I used one group of 5. I could see a group of 2 and of three, that could help keep two American groups away from RR5 for longer, but would (I think), inflict fewer casualties and possibly lead to more (if two groups had men pinned at once, rally cards would become very precious).

All that being said, I think of myself as a below average Up Front player, and I would love feedback about other approaches either of us could have taken.

Thanks for reading!
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Australia
Sebastopol (Ballarat)
Victoria
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That's Karl on the left. Eternity on the right.
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Nice. I'm also a below average Up Front player, so no advice here!
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Roar Stensrud
Norway
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Chris, is this the continuation of the VASSAL-game I peeked in on a few weekends ago? I saved the logfile and solo'ed it afterewards. That ended with an American victory. So, the outcome of a game of Up Front is never set.

I'd be happy to join you for a scenario on VASSAL some time.

R.
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Jim F
United Kingdom
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Ashwin messing about on the iPad
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Sublime.
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Chris Buhl
United States
Pittsfield
Massachusetts
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Hi Roar,

Yes, it's the same game! I normally play Sunday mornings with Brad, at 9am US Eastern Standard Time. This week he's away, if you're free at that time I'd love to get a game in. GM me if you're intersted.

Chris
 
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Edward Kendrick
United Kingdom
Redditch
Worcestershire
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Did the Germans get to use the minefields? This is often a killer at the right time (or actually, any time) in this scenario!

And it sounds like the FT guy was lucky (well, right up to the point where Stahler offed him) - my speciality is getting the FT into firing position and drawing a red 5 as the first burst ...
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Chris Buhl
United States
Pittsfield
Massachusetts
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Barbarossa wrote:
Did the Germans get to use the minefields? This is often a killer at the right time (or actually, any time) in this scenario!

And it sounds like the FT guy was lucky (well, right up to the point where Stahler offed him) - my speciality is getting the FT into firing position and drawing a red 5 as the first burst ...


Nice! I laid one minefield on him, in the first deck. The other one he drew first deck (the stronger one). I can't remember if I got him with the minefield after that, but I think not (I tend to remember things like successful demo charge attacks, FT attacks, and minefields, which for some reason make me feel very warm and happy inside).
 
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