Continuing my Great War day with nephew Tom (see Back to the table for the first instalment), we set up a French Army scenario: No 41, Verdun (Bois des Caures). This was also our first experience with the new special personnel introduced with this expansion - the German forces include a flamethrower and elite units while the French have an officer and one of their choice.
The scenario set-up had an impressive array of German troops right across the board with a few left over, waiting in their trench to attack the much sparser French spread across three lines of trenches. The Germans are "racing against time" (the French can take a victory medal when they play a 'Recon 1' card) but also gain medals for exiting units off the French side of the board and for capturing the French bunkers in the trench network.
The photo below shows the starting positions from the French side with the blue French pieces surprisingly bright. The bunkers are the leftmost (containing a machine-gun) and rightmost positions plus one in the centre towards the bottom of the picture (where the French officer is lurking).
Tom took the Germans to start with, meaning I got an extra Special and chose to bolster my mortar unit. Tom used "Infantry Assault" cards to attack in the centre initially, quickly getting a foothold in the French trenches - as shown below.
With the French units spread around, I couldn't counter-attack in any strength. My machine-gun in the bunker took out a couple of German units, but couldn't stop Tom's next attack on my left, taking said bunker. I'd played a couple of 'Recon 1' cards that kept the scores level at 5:5, but Tom got the next medal to win 6:5.
Switching sides, tbe battlefield looked very different, as usual. Tom's choice of Special personnel was the extra figure for the machine-gun unit in the bunker.
My starting hand included a "Whistles & Bugle Calls" card. This says "...issue an order to a group of battlefield units in adjacent, linked and contiguous hexes". Hmm, how big is a group? All the German units are in adjacent, linked and contiguous hexes... Of course, the result of this was to leave most of the German forces standing in no man's land, which would have been catastrophic if the first French trench had been more fully defended.
My next trick was to use a "Short Supply" Combat card to remove the souped-up French machine gun from the bunker so that I could just walk in. Tom was not happy as German troops swarmed into the French trenches.
Fighting in the tranches went back and forth, but I was able to swap out damaged units for full strength ones. That kept Tom down to two medals as I reached six for the win. It's an entertaining scenario, though I think the odds are with the Germans. They certainly won both times in our case and the aggregate score was 11:8 to me.
This was the title of my board games column in Flagship magazine, so I thought I'd resurrect it, 8 years after Flagship's demise. The idea is to get down my musings in a more contemporaneous way - expect things to appear later in To Win Just Once (www.pevans.co.uk/TWJO) in a more considered form. Now, can I manage a less formal style?
- [+] Dice rolls