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Subject: 80.8 Points. Solid victory. rss

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Eoin Corrigan
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Wexford Town
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This is an after action report for a standard (i.e. no variant) raid which I played over 5 and 6 January. The game took about six and a half hours to conclude.

My last raid was an outstanding success; the final score was in the high 90s. My previous raid was an utter failure, during which I scored a total of 17 VPs. So, I was eager to see how the Gods of the dice triad would treat me in my first raid of 2013.

The first two turns went very well. Harbour defence shots were limited to about six or seven shots, and the close defensive fire was well distributed. The results were lots of evades, turn aways, KOs, MCs and Cs. Perfect; I can afford to lose crews, and am happy to lose some movement, especially as not a single boat was set on fire.

Turn one also saw superb work by Boyd’s torpedo motor launch. One shot, one kill against the Sperrbrecher. Scratch two German guns, score a VP and suddenly Zone A is a much safer place to be for the Royal Navy.
By turn 2 progress was excellent. The Campbeltown had rammed the Southern Caisson at speed 2, and disembarked the 6 commando teams. Elsewhere, Hodgson, Walton, Moss, Pennington and Haines had landed, although the latter assault team was destroyed while tying up the 336 gun, thereby ensuring Walton made it into the Old Town. By Turn three, all other commando teams had landed, very few with casualties. Only Bradley’s team had yet to arrive; it wasn’t until turn 5 when he made it ashore.



Casualties among the boats were also low. My usual strategy is to land commandos as soon as possible, and then exit the board at flank speed. In general, I think waiting to evacuate commando teams is a losing proposition due to the weight of gun fire. In Turn three, Campbeltown was scuttled and her five remaining crew were taken aboard Boyd’s launch. Over the next few turns, 13 boats safely exited St Nazaire and made it home to England, despite two destroyer and two patrol boat encounters in the Open Sea. Just four boats were lost: Ryder (T2), Irwin (T3), Wallis (T7) and Burt (T7), which is an extremely good result. In all, 11.2 VPs were received from returning crew and passengers.



German activations were moderate, and aside from some firefights with the 332 and Southern Caisson area 222 guns, the commando assault teams were generally dispatching German patrols with ease. Smalley, having destroyed his primary target of 216, sought to make sure of the southern caisson and succeeded, banking an additional 12 VPs. Accompanied by Roy, Smalley sought to take out one of the fuel storage tanks, for a further 3VPs, but an ineffective detonation put the charges at risk, and both teams were practically under the German guns, so they retreated. In turns 9 and 10, Smalley, Brett and Roderick successfully made it off board, for a total of 1.6VPs scored.



All of the other commando teams perished, or were isolated with no demolition charges remaining at game end in Turn 14. However, they managed to wreak destruction over the ten turns or so they were on board. The power generator was damaged on Turn six and destroyed on Turn seven. With the exception of Bradley’s target, 331, all primary targets were destroyed., albeit not without some instances of charges being at risk, or ineffective detonations. While the demolition teams did their thing, the assault teams performed heroics, which were often sacrificial. Newman is worthy of particular mention here, having scored a total of 19 steps of German kills (a ratio of over 3:1) before his demise. Birney, eliminated in Turn eleven, accounted for 17 steps. In total the commando teams took out 134 steps of German defenders, which is a reasonable rate of return. The demolition teams accounted for 57 of the 134 step kills, which is notable.

Given the early successes, a two pronged assault on the submarine pens was undertaken, which is usually not a possibility given their strength. It was a gamble, and five commando teams were lost in the process, however 5VPs were scored when Purdon destroyed a submarine. At the same time, Woodcock was damaging some harbour defence boats and the 16 minesweeper flotilla.

The game ended on Turn sixteen. An armoured car had appeared and had eliminated Swayne’s final step. Hooper (1 step) and Woodcock (6 steps) had survived, but were isolated on zone two of the board, with no demolition charges remaining.

In total, 80.8 VPs were scored, a comfortable victory. Mentioned in dispatches are Boyd (sinking of the Sperrbrecher and evacuation of Campbeltown crew), Purdon (destruction of primary target plus a submarine) and Newman (19 enemy steps eliminated).
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Ryan S
United States
Avery
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I have got to find the time to learn & play this.

Real life...yuk

Nice session report. Sounds very exciting.
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Martí Cabré

Terrassa
Catalonia, Spain
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Nice AAR. I'd like to play it yearly but somehow I take much more than 6 hours to play it... I guess it's a matter of memorizing things.
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Chris Stimpson
United States
Westminster
Colorado
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The dice were your friends in this session! Nice AAR - great game, isn't it?
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Eoin Corrigan
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Gentlemen, thanks for the interest. It is indeed a great game, certainly worth pulling out once every 6 months or so. A solitaire classic, in my opinion, which couples excellent production values with a novel and engaging rules set.

The dice were certainly with me during this game. The poor results, from a German perspective, of the harbour and dockside defensive phases were very important - landing all commando teams is as good as it gets.

I think 6-7 hours for a full game is about my average; less when it all goes horribly wrong and the boats are chewed up during the first three turns, perhaps a little more when a very good raid occurs and there are several commando teams rampaging through the port looking for stuff to blow up after turn 10 or so.

Familiarity with the rules helps - because my last raid was in September 2012 I had remembered almost all of the rules. Therefore the first few turns were pretty quick - yes, there's a lot of dice rolling during those turns, but the outcome of the game will be heavily influenced by the first few defensive fire phases so I find it very engaging.
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joe mcgrath
United States
Warrington
Pennsylvania
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Eoin -
Thanks for the terrific AAR, and extra points for your writing style. I learned something, too. I didn't realize until reading your account that demo teams could take out the southern caisson on their own, without waiting/hoping for the Campbelltown to go 'BANG!' (sure enough, right there in the rules is a DRM for detonating charges on the northern or southern caisson).
FWIW, my playing time averages around 6 hours, too.
Cheers!
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Tony Cutcliffe
United Kingdom
Paignton
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Nice AAR, thanks - sounds like you had fun. Always a better feeling to win, innit?

I often try a charge on the Southern Caisson. Even if it doesn't destroy it, there's a decent chance that it will damage it, meaning that if the Campbeltown has rammed and been scuttled, the caisson is a cert with 12VP in the bag for sure.
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