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Subject: RE campaign session report, turn 1-2 rss

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Antonello Salvatucci
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As a long-time fan and collector of OCS games, I was really really looking forward to a playable, fast-paced OCS campaign that could be used to lure other gamers into this system. And now there is one: Reluctant Enemies! Yay!
(Yeah yeah, I know. Most OCS games come with small scenarios. Fair enough, and I'd play those any time. But a one-mapper campaign just feels different. Better. Grander.)

Anyway. After the game arrived I played three solitaire campaign three times in a week (yes, it's that fast), and then I made arrangements to play via Vassal+SkyPe with my usual accomplice and fellow OCS nuts

Paolo De Francesco
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I took the Commonwealth, therefore I will be doing most of the attacking. However, Vichy has plenty of stuff they can use to bite back, and I know Paolo has a very aggressive play style, so I should be careful.

Here's the situation after setup:



(and please disregard the two CW reserve markers parked in the sea)
As you can see, there are three main advance direction:

1. Via the coastal road on the west
2. Via Merdjayoun, through the hills in the center of the map that eventually lead to the Bekaa valley
3. Through the eastern flank, along the desert railroad + road leading to Damascus.

Each approach has its pros and cons. The coastal road is easy and can count on help from the commandos and the naval artillery barrage -- but it provides Vichy with excellent defense lines along the rivers. The central approach has to pass through difficult terrain, while the desert attack has to cover the greatest distance and must deal with the Vichy units threatening the CW flank around Souedia (although those units will be force to live off SPs once I seize the Damascus road+railroad at Ezraa).

This is my plan for the first couple of turns:



As you can see, I have decided to probe all three approaches in a fairly historical way in order to stretch Vichy's defenses and wear them out -- every turn I am getting on average 1 SP more than he does, and in the long run this should tip the balance in my favor. The commandos will land as farther north as possible in order to cause some supply problems and prevent Vichy from reinforcing the Litani defense line.

TURN 1 - June 8th

This is the position at the end of CW's turn 1:



On the coast, everything went as planned and at the end of the exploitation phase I am positioned on the southern shore of the Litani river. The commando landing was fairly successful and didn't have to fight any opposition.
In the middle, I eliminated two of the infantry units defending Merdjayoun (first in an overrun and then in an attack to the city that resulted in a Ao1Do1). The town is now only defended by a lone arty unit.
In the East, things are not going so smooth. The overrun east of the Sea of Galilee went badly (defender surprise) and I lost a cavalry in the process. A Vichy air barrage in the reaction phase DGed the Punjabi battallion of the 5th brigade, and I had to cancel the planned attack as a result. But all in all I am quite pleased with the situation.

Notice that, in the reaction phase, Paolo moved the Vichy units he had in reserve down south towards Ezraa. He apparently wants to defend the Damascus road. That surprised me a little, as I had anticipated that he would either flee those units up north, or stay nearby the lava terrain to threaten my flank.

In the subsequent Vichy's move, not much happens. Paolo sends in some troops to help defend Merdjayoun and to defend the Litani line. He also manages to kill off one of the commando units. This is the position at the end of game turn 1:



TURN 2 - June 10th

In Turn 2, I win the initiative and decide to go first, because I want to bring in the free french as soon as possible, and also because I see an opportunity to grab Merdjayoun and perhaps pass the Litani before Vichy can firther reinforce those two important positions. Things turn out pretty good, and I can manage to accomplish both tasks. In the East, Le Gentilhomme's Free French entered and helped dispatching the Vichy unit at Deraa, and are marching towards Ezraa.

This is how the situation looks like at the end of CW's turn:



(there's a CW inf batallion in Merjayoun, beneath that supply).

In the subsequent Vichy's turn not much happens. Paolo is forming a defense line east of Merdjayoun (in the center) and around Ezraa in the south-east. This is how the situation looks like at the end of game turn 2 -- which is also the end of our first session:



Before calling it a day we rolled for initiative on turn three and Vichy won. Paolo decided to go first: I suppose he will want to launch a counterattack, also taking advantage of the air superiority he's going to have for a few turns thanks to the air reinforcements he just got.

We'll see how it goes -- the situation looks interesting and very open, and Vichy can be very dangerous.

To be continued here.


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Subatomic Birdicle
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Antonello wrote:

This is the position at the end of CW's turn 1:


It looks like you have a CW brigade split up and not all tracing to the same supply source. Did you pay on-map supply to keep them alive?

I found keeping the CW brigades all tracing to the same source every turn to be a real pain in the butt in this game.
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Antonello Salvatucci
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chuft wrote:

It looks like you have a CW brigade split up and not all tracing to the same supply source. Did you pay on-map supply to keep them alive?


I suppose you refer to the infantry btn that starts the game near the sea of Galilee, detached from the rest of the 5th brigade. Neither of us is a big fan of that rule, so I might have forgotten. I'll double-check and rectify if that's the case. Thanks for the heads-up.

Generally I try to keep multiunit formations together, but in this game it is not always easy, since some units start the campaign quite far apart from their parent formation.
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Antonello Salvatucci
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BTW, I forgot to mention that the commandos have put a lot of Vichy units out of trace supply (all those on the coast, south of the commandos landing hex), forcing Paolo to feed them from SPs.
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Paolo De Francesco
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A very good job, Antonello!
My strategy is enough to speculate that the CW, but on the contrary.
However, as he said antonello, I am very aggressive even if the initiative (in terms of objectives) is up to the opponent. This is because I think it is more "profitable" to give more concern to the opponent and make him lose time and, above all, I enjoy it more . Btw, I am not a kamikaze. The real problem in this campaign is that they are 21 turns and the units are not many. I have to be thrifty...
10 points for a marginal victory, must be taken on at least two lines of attack, excluding sudden death victory, so the best defense is a good offense!

P.S. I can not write here my true strategic idea for this campaign, the enemy hears...
P.P.S. If you can not understand what I wrote, it is the fault of the translator Mac
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Antonello Salvatucci
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The AAR continues here.
 
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