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No Retreat! The North African Front» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Running Away in the Desert rss

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Philip Jelley
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After playing a few of the scenarios, the Allies winning Compass and El Alamiem and the Axis Sunflower and Crusader, we set up the full campaign game. The Axis drew Heeresgruppe Afrika on the first turn, seized the initiative and the Italian army ran away before the British could get past their minefields. Realising that they had a winning strategy here the Italians also ran away on Map 3 (Tobruk) and Map 2 (Benghazi), leaving a couple of 2-2 speed bumps to hold back the Allies while the remainder moved off the opposite edge of the board.

They were therefore in fine fettle when uncle Erwin showed up, with three armoured/mech divisions and six corps of infantry. With most of their army lost in Greece the British copied the excellent Italian strategy and fled Map 2, leaving a free build tank to cover their rear. They made a stand at Tobruk, the British and NZ Infantry and some armour remaining for the siege while the rest sat in the strategic reserve. However, Rommel had maximum supplies and was able to reduce the fortress to 0 strength and take it.

With Allied units returning from Greece, the rest built up with increased supplies, 3 minefields and 3 boxes the first proper fight of the game took place on Map 4 (Mersa Matruh). The Axis arrived south of the coast road escarpment, so the minefields were placed opposite them and the 5 divisions guarding the road were brought south to help. No headway was made against the Allied mines and the extra tank corps (2nd Armoured and Combe) allowed them to encircle the Axis forces in the south at the same time that the infantry did the same in the north. The Axis gave up the offensive as a bad job and withdrew back to Map 3.

The Axis still had many Italian units and formed them in a defensive line from Hellfire Pass (two Italian divisions and a minefield) then southwest until two hexes from the southern edge (due to deployment restrictions) with the DAK refusing the southern flank, but had no other mines/boxes as they spend their supplies rebuilding units. Ignoring the coast road and Hellfire Pass the Allied infantry advanced on the Italians while the three tanks corps (1st, 2nd and 7th Armoured, 4th and 22nd Brigades, Combe and Guards Mech) swept round the flank, pinned down the DAK and initiated a battle of attrition. The Italians tried to counterattack, but failed against the Matildas and crumpled. The DAK managed to fight its way out and was pursued by the British tanks almost to Tobruk. The two divisions at Hellfire were surrounded and surrendered when the turn ended due to the lack of Allied supplies.

Restarting the Map 3 offensive the following turn the Australian and NZ infantry invested a heavily mined Tobruk to the south and southeast while the DAK boxes fought off the British Armour to the southwest. The 22nd Tank Bde ran round the desert flank and cut off supplies while the DAK was surrounded again. The 15 and 21 Panzers were destroyed, but the 90 Light fought its way out, leaving the Italian defenders of Tobruk to their fate. Against all expectations they held out, the final step surviving to the end of the turn despite the extra supplies obtained by the Allies from taking Bardia and card play.

With the DAK a mere shadow the defences of Tobruk were revitalised to give them some breathing space, but they did not hold against continuous assault from six divisions. The Allies entered Map 2 the next Turn (Turn 11) to find their way blocked by two minefields, one defended by the DAK and the other by the Italians. Once again they were swamped as Allied units worked their around the flanks and the Axis gave up the game as a bad job, withdrawing from Africa altogether.

I was surprised how much difference keeping the one step/no replacement 2nd Armoured and Combe units made to the game. By stacking them with two step units to take losses this gave the Allies three mobile Armoured stacks instead of two, which time and again outflanked the German Panzers, tied them down with ZOCs, put them out of supply and ground them down, even with the German AT guns robbing the Allies of their armour bonus. The Italians survived into 1942, which I thought made the Axis pretty strong, but they fell apart once they had to take serious casualties. Put not your faith in stacks of Italian infantry and 2-4 one step mechs as they are sooooo brittle.
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Carl Paradis
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Philip Jelley wrote:
The Axis drew Heeresgruppe Afrika on the first turn, seized the initiative and the Italian army ran away before the British could get past their minefields.


Well, no.

This card could not be played this way! It has a "Malta" icon on the top right corner of it's Axis event part.

Page 7 of the rules:

[5.3.4] Malta Events: Regular Card Events (not the Alternate Events) marked with a Malta island graphic cannot be played “for effect” until and unless the Malta marker is in the Malta Status box (i.e., starting on Game Turn 4 and subject to a Malta Invasion). You must still obey the red “Must Play” instructions: just discard the card without any event text taking effect.
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Philip Jelley
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The Italians simply use any excuse to run away whistle
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Carl Paradis
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Philip Jelley wrote:
The Italians simply use any excuse to run away whistle


What? Running away?

Non si Ritirano!
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Mike Szarka
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When it is your turn to send a VASSAL move, the wait is excruciating. When it's my turn, well, I've been busy.
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This game has sat unpunched on my shelf since it arrived as a P500 pre-order. Two nights ago I decided it was my next "solo project" to while away some of my vacation time, especially as most of my VASSAL opponents have slowed to a crawl. Nice to see this AAR adding fuel to my desire to try this game!
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Philip Jelley
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licinius wrote:
Philip Jelley wrote:
The Italians simply use any excuse to run away whistle


What? Running away?

Non si Ritirano!


Si, si, Ritirano presto! cry
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Carl Paradis
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mcszarka wrote:
This game has sat unpunched on my shelf since it arrived as a P500 pre-order. Two nights ago I decided it was my next "solo project" to while away some of my vacation time, especially as most of my VASSAL opponents have slowed to a crawl. Nice to see this AAR adding fuel to my desire to try this game!


Cool!

I have to do an extensive AAR on this game. When the rulebook for No Retreat! Italian Front: 1943-45 perhaps? meeple
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Philip Jelley wrote:
licinius wrote:
Philip Jelley wrote:
The Italians simply use any excuse to run away whistle


What? Running away?

Non si Ritirano!


Si, si, Ritirano presto! cry


Well, we can't blame us.
It was PASTA TIME!!
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Kyle E
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My opponent and I quickly came to the conclusion that there is no reason for the Italians not to flee on every board so that they can link up with Rommels boys on turn 4. The downside to fleeing is that you lose half your supply, but you can save most of the Italian units. How can the Britsh stop the Italians from fleeing on board 2 where they were historically destroyed at Beda Fomm? Should the Italians be forced to stand and fight on board 2, maybe allow a British tank to deploy forward to block the escape?
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Carl Paradis
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oneway76 wrote:
My opponent and I quickly came to the conclusion that there is no reason for the Italians not to flee on every board so that they can link up with Rommels boys on turn 4. The downside to fleeing is that you lose half your supply, but you can save most of the Italian units. How can the Britsh stop the Italians from fleeing on board 2 where they were historically destroyed at Beda Fomm? Should the Italians be forced to stand and fight on board 2, maybe allow a British tank to deploy forward to block the escape?


Describe the way you would "Flee" in the game on any of the boards. They certainly cannot flee on Board 4 as the British pounce on them first. They might save one unit (as historically happened). As for Board 2, since the British would deploy almost as far as your units would flight anyway, how would it stop their demise anyway? The trick here is to cost them as much supplies as possible.

On the Tobruk board I would stand and fight, as there is a fair chance of slowing their onslaught given competent play, but if not, how would you do it exactly?

Just fleeing away will earn the British a lot of Extra Supply Points, you know. Points that they would have to spend destroying your forces. But, of course, quite a few of the Italians are irreplaceable...

BTW the initial game scenario was put there mostly as a learning aid anyway, as the Italian collapse was hard to fully simulate without a slew of extra rules (I do think the game still does a good job there) I , but if you don't like the end result, do start with scenario two. meeple
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Kyle E
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Thanks for the response Carl. I posted this because my opponent was miffed that I was able to move the Italians off on maps 3 and 2. After the British attacked the rearguard of the Italian column and got a DR result, the rest of the 10th army withdrew on their next movement using the road on both maps. I think next time we will start the game at scenario 2.
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Mike Szarka
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oneway76 wrote:
Thanks for the response Carl. I posted this because my opponent was miffed that I was able to move the Italians off on maps 3 and 2. After the British attacked the rearguard of the Italian column and got a DR result, the rest of the 10th army withdrew on their next movement using the road on both maps. I think next time we will start the game at scenario 2.


I think the same is true of another venerable design, Afrika (second edition). It's better to start the game when Rommel shows up. A game like Beda Fomm pulls it off (the Italian rout) because that is the entire focus.
 
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Carl Paradis
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oneway76 wrote:
Thanks for the response Carl. I posted this because my opponent was miffed that I was able to move the Italians off on maps 3 and 2. After the British attacked the rearguard of the Italian column and got a DR result, the rest of the 10th army withdrew on their next movement using the road on both maps. I think next time we will start the game at scenario 2.


Well, you are paying an awfully expensive cost for those withdrawn Italian units...

Rule 12.5 states...

[12.5] exiting the Map
Similarly, units may exit the map during a friendly Movement
Phase through a friendly-colored map edge. It costs
that unit 1 MP to exit the map. Such exited units are placed
in the Shattered Units box.


So those "Irreplaceable" Italian units (most of the 10th Army) are gone to the Shattered units box.

If you look at the Actual Shattered unit box text it states:

Shattered Units
Costs 0 Supply Points to replace on
current side or place in the Strategic
Reserve. Irreplaceable units (•) are
placed in the Surrendered Units box.


Thus these units will cost you 2SP for each to replace, on their reduced sides as they end up in the Surrendered units box...

Surrendered Units
Costs 2 Supply Points to replace on
reduced-strength side only


Plus the British will spend next to no supply to control maps #2 and #3, and gets the supply for the captured ports and loses no steps...

But you have to balance this against the cost of defending the maps.

Anyway it's not a "clear cut@ decision. Do you fight as the Italians or run? I would prefer to fight, but then I like playing the underdog...




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Carl Paradis
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mcszarka wrote:
oneway76 wrote:
Thanks for the response Carl. I posted this because my opponent was miffed that I was able to move the Italians off on maps 3 and 2. After the British attacked the rearguard of the Italian column and got a DR result, the rest of the 10th army withdrew on their next movement using the road on both maps. I think next time we will start the game at scenario 2.


I think the same is true of another venerable design, Afrika (second edition). It's better to start the game when Rommel shows up. A game like Beda Fomm pulls it off (the Italian rout) because that is the entire focus.


Right!

Read my answer above: it's not all that clear-cut. But I agree that it's not easy to simulate such a "debacle" in a game system that goes on to 1943...
You can do it with precision, but the gamers will then complain that the game is way too complicated... soblue
 
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Tim K
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licinius wrote:
Thus these units will cost you 2SP for each to replace, on their reduced sides as they end up in the Surrendered units box...


I believe this is mistaken, and it led me astray for a while. So I think it's valuable to correct this old thread.

Dotted units can neither be Built Up nor Rebuilt. Since they go to the Surrendered box when shattered they are consequently removed from the game, unless there's some card that let's you bring them back from The Surrendered box, but that doesn't appear to be Carl's intention. I believe Carl's intention is that dotted units that run out of steps or are shattered, destroyed, or surrender in any manner are removed from play.
 
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Carl Paradis
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htjester wrote:
licinius wrote:
Thus these units will cost you 2SP for each to replace, on their reduced sides as they end up in the Surrendered units box...


I believe this is mistaken, and it led me astray for a while. So I think it's valuable to correct this old thread.

Dotted units can neither be Built Up nor Rebuilt. Since they go to the Surrendered box when shattered they are consequently removed from the game, unless there's some card that let's you bring them back from The Surrendered box, but that doesn't appear to be Carl's intention. I believe Carl's intention is that dotted units that run out of steps or are shattered, destroyed, or surrender in any manner are removed from play.


This is incorrect.

Ok, this concept is not well explained in the game. Let me explain it fully again.

Check the latest ruleset of June 2015.

http://www.gmtgames.com/noretreat2/NR2_LivingRules_5-15.pdf

[13.6.3] Destroyed Units: Place a square destroyed unit
in the Destroyed Units box or—if it had a round Supply
(either Low or No Supply) marker on it when eliminated—it
is instead placed in the Surrendered Units box
(Exceptions: Counters with an irreplaceable unit dot on
their 1-step side are removed from play instead
; Boxes
and minefields are always placed in the Destroyed Units
box, never in the Surrendered Units box).


So ONLY dotted counters that are DESTROYED by combat losses, being unable to retreat, or by being out of supply, are Removed from the Game.

Otherwise they can be rebuilt (partially, see below).

When Shattered (by moving out of the map by regular movement, or by a combat result without being DESTROYED) they go to the Surrendered box (as explained in the Shattered box text). And can be put back on the map (on their reverse sides)at a cost of 2SP. Nothing prevents this in the rules.

So the main effect is that Dotted units can never be flipped back to their front side, ever, as stated in 8.2 (they cannot be "Build up"):

[8.2.3] Irreplaceable Unit: A unit with a black
Irreplaceable unit dot ( ) next to its unit type
symbol cannot be Built Up with SPs in this
manner.
Important: These black-dotted units are also placed in
the Surrendered Units box when they are Shattered by a
combat result (i.e., they’ve “quit”).


And check the corrected rule 8.3 too.



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Tim K
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Got it, Carl, thanks. I know something about product development. Games are just like electronics. Quality is all in the details.
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What about those Italian units that are irreplaceable and have no reduced side? Are they eliminated?

If they are, then leaving the map would eliminate them?
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Carl Paradis
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thegreat2 wrote:
What about those Italian units that are irreplaceable and have no reduced side? Are they eliminated?

If they are, then leaving the map would eliminate them?


If they leave the map they are put in the Surrendered box, as was explained above. And can be rebuilt (at a cost).

If they are eliminated by combat, or by the optional rule 18.6 they cannot be rebuilt.
 
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And having no reduced side, I assume they could be rebuilt on their face up side for the 2 SPs?

I am thinking of the units from the first phase of the campaign game, mostly.

So basically one shouldn't attempt to save most of those units - because of the cost, they are better to stand and die, basically?
 
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Carl Paradis
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thegreat2 wrote:
And having no reduced side, I assume they could be rebuilt on their face up side for the 2 SPs?


Yes this is correct.

thegreat2 wrote:

I am thinking of the units from the first phase of the campaign game, mostly.

So basically one shouldn't attempt to save most of those units - because of the cost, they are better to stand and die, basically?


Depends on your strategy, really. Usually I try to slow up the British a bit, making them spend resources. You never know you could end up lucky and keep part of Map 3 for a few turns.

If I can save a couple of Italian units, I'm happy. Mind you, they will most probably die eventually during the rest of the campaign anyway.
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Ville Mankinen
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The rules as written are still a bit unclear on this, Carl, as the part you quoted still says: "black-dotted units are also placed in the Surrendered Units box when they are Shattered by a combat result" - this leads one to think they are NOT put there when Shattered by moving off the map (and I'm pretty sure this was your old ruling as well, as can be seen in this thread: Different Ways of Leaving the Map).

So, to make it all clear, what happens to the Italian 21 Corpo unit as it leaves Map 4 on Game Turn 1: Does it go to the Shattered Units box (and from there to the Axis Force Pool for free on the next Organization Phase), or does it go to the Surrendered Units box?

-Ville Mankinen
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Carl Paradis
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Villain wrote:
The rules as written are still a bit unclear on this, Carl, as the part you quoted still says: "black-dotted units are also placed in the Surrendered Units box when they are Shattered by a combat result" - this leads one to think they are NOT put there when Shattered by moving off the map (and I'm pretty sure this was your old ruling as well, as can be seen in this thread: Different Ways of Leaving the Map).

So, to make it all clear, what happens to the Italian 21 Corpo unit as it leaves Map 4 on Game Turn 1: Does it go to the Shattered Units box (and from there to the Axis Force Pool for free on the next Organization Phase), or does it go to the Surrendered Units box?

-Ville Mankinen


The SHATTERED units box if it left the map voluntarily by movement )not combat retreat).
 
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Ville Mankinen
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licinius wrote:
Villain wrote:
The rules as written are still a bit unclear on this, Carl, as the part you quoted still says: "black-dotted units are also placed in the Surrendered Units box when they are Shattered by a combat result" - this leads one to think they are NOT put there when Shattered by moving off the map (and I'm pretty sure this was your old ruling as well, as can be seen in this thread: Different Ways of Leaving the Map).

So, to make it all clear, what happens to the Italian 21 Corpo unit as it leaves Map 4 on Game Turn 1: Does it go to the Shattered Units box (and from there to the Axis Force Pool for free on the next Organization Phase), or does it go to the Surrendered Units box?

-Ville Mankinen


The SHATTERED units box if it left the map voluntarily by movement )not combat retreat).


Okay, that makes it clear - and that's the way we have played it. I just got a bit confused by the discussion above. Thanks for the quick clarification, Carl!

-Ville Mankinen
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