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This is a brief summary of my first play thru of Combat Leader Scenario 1. I played it solo, so per the Designer Notes recommendation did not use Fake counters and all units were revealed. Also stuck with the basic rules for this one. This is a straight VP scenario - 1 VP for each enemy KIA and 2 VP for each last to occupy building (total 5 buildings). The Soviets have 12 men versus the Axis 10 men but the Axis men are a bit better than the Soviets - and they also start as the first player.
My own background story - both squads are moving forward and looking for a place to bed down for the night. The Axis are expecting trouble - the Soviets don't know the Axis are so close.
Soviets must setup in 3-5 hexes in hexrow J/L and the Axis in 2-4 hexes in hexrow A/B. Used the minimum number of hexes for each to maximize concentration. Axis spread out to bag the 2 nearest buildings - same for Soviets to get 2 closest and go for the building in the center of the board with 3rd group.
Here is the setup
Turn 1 is spent activating 1 stack each for movement and moving up to claim buildings. The Soviets bag the center building first. The German's move thru 1 building into the woods and then get a bonus round from the initiative roll and so move the 2nd stack up while splitting Schmidt off to bag the far left building. This potentially leaves him flapping in the breeze for the rest of the game since not likely to waste an activation on him going forward. Time will tell…
Turn 1 end
Turn 2 the Axis start by having Wiltz and his squad (w/LMG) open fire on the Soviets in the center house. Wiltz and the LMG get lucky and kill the Soviet Commander and 1 other man, and pin the other 2 men. Could this be the end already?
The Soviets move up 1 group in the woods opposite the center building to support their comrades (move to the sound of the fire), and then get the bonus round and move the 2nd remaining group to the far building.
Axis 6VPs (2 buildings/2 KIA) - Soviet 6VPs (3 buildings)
Turn 2 end
Turn 3 Wiltz and crew fire on the supporting Soviet group in the woods and succeed in pinning 3 out of 4 men - things continue going the Axis way. Since the majority of the Soviet units in range of the enemy are pinned they can't move or fire. Instead the Soviets move up the 3rd group to get into the battle swirling around the center building (move to the sound of the fire). The Axis get the bonus round this time so move up their 2nd group to join the dance in the center also - while Schmidt finds some grub and takes a break in the far left building.
Turn 3 end
Turn 4 the Axis take advantage of the 2 men in the center building being pinned and rush the building from the group moving up thru the woods. Pinned men are very weak in melee so barring a bad card draw the Axis should kill both and then be ready to take on the 3rd Soviet group coming up from behind.
And the Axis draw a.. 2 - bad card draw! This is an exchange so both Soviets are KIA but the Axis also lose 2 random men. So the Axis take the building but may not be strong enough to resist the follow-on Soviets.
Predictably the follow-on Soviets counter rush the building and with a 1-1 melee draw a… JACK! DR2 means 2 KIA and rest retreat - but only 2 Germans were left. And that fast the tides of war turn.
No bonus round, instead a rally phase and the Soviets succeed in rallying all but 1 of their men. Things are looking up for them.
Axis 6 VPs (2 KIA/2 buildings) - Soviet 8 VPs (2 KIA/3 Buildings)
Turn 4 end
Turn 5 and Wiltz has lost almost half his men at this point - with Schmidt just sitting down for a meal across the board. He keeps his cool though, and fires on the Soviet group in the woods - pinning another. The Soviet response is to move the 2 unpinned men from the woods to the center building concentrating his men in preparation for a possible rush of Wiltz and crew. As we shall see - this was the mistake that lost the game for the Soviets.
The German's get the bonus round and Wiltz quickly stuffs his face and tries an end run behind the Soviets to the building they previously captured - he heard there was better food there.
Turn 5 end
Turn 6 Wiltz responds to the Soviets concentrating in the center building by rushing the 2 pinned Soviet's in the woods - hoping that the card draw is better this time. And it is - both Soviet's KIA. Evening the odds again. In hindsight the Soviets should have concentrated in the woods - protecting their pinned men in the process and hoping for a rally phase. In response the Soviets open fire on Wiltz and crew but fail to cause any harm - probably surprised by Wiltz's maneuver…
The German's again get the bonus round and Schmidt gets to the building and finds a full meal already laid out for him.
Turn 6 end
Turn 7 and Wiltz is getting even more aggressive and charges the Soviets in the woods and wins the melee with a DR1 - 1 Soviet KIA and the Soviets retreat back to an adjacent woods hex. In response the Soviets decide to run away… to the rear building catching Schmidt in the middle of his meal. In the ensuing melee Schmidt is KIA and the Soviet's hunker down for… dinner.
Turn 7 end
Turn 8 and Wiltz turns to his remaining 4 men and asks "do you want to live forever?". They all get up and charge the Soviets in the building. A melee ensues, food flying everywhere and in the end Wiltz draws a KING! All the Soviets are KIA and Wiltz and his remaining 4 men rule the field - and all the pantries.
Overall I was a bit more aggressive than I would normally be - but I wanted to test/push the system. The game play and result still felt "realistic."
The game was great fun, generated a good story, and I am sure as I get more experience with the system and add optional rules (especially hesitation) it will just get better.
That skirmish made me hungry!
Thank you, very easy to follow.