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Combat Commander: Europe» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Scenario #2 rss

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Jake Baker
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Fishers
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Combat Commander – Scenario 2.

Combat Commander arrived on Monday, when I was out of state, but it was waiting for me when I got back home. While waiting for the weekend, I eagerly read the rulebook and played through the demo scenario. Then the weekend came and my friend Charles came over for some wargame action.

I gave him the overview of the rules, which are amazingly clear, and then we walked through the demo game. We finished up that game, with the Germans overrunning the Russian position via an advance with smoke grenades into a very lopsided melee.

That done, we knew we wanted more, and so we set up for the second scenario. In this scenario, American troops are advancing on a small French town, which is defended by mostly-conscript German forces. There is artillery in this scenario, unlike the first one, on the American side. The American’s also receive a light mortar and light machine gun. The Germans have two light and two heavy machine guns.

The map has two essential features that were of most importance to the play of this session. First, in the North-West of the map, there is a building just outside of the American deployment zone. Then, more toward the middle of the map, there is a building complex containing two of the five objective hexes. To the west of this building is an orchard surrounded by hedgerows. I shall call this area the Orchard of Death, for reasons which will become apparent shortly.

Setup -

The Americans set up in the first three most westerly hex rows. The Americans have the option to not deploy Lt. Blankenship until after German deployment. They take this option, deploying the rest of their forces in two groups – the first group, led by Cpl. Hubbard, within spitting distance of the North West Building. The second, with both weapons, lines up in and behind the Orchard of Death.

In response, the German player places Sgt. Bierman in the Northwest building along with one of the Volksgrenadier units and a light machine gun. He places one heavy machine gun with a leader on the central building complex. Somewhat back of these two complexes, in a treeline ready to come in as reinforcements, support a retreat, or counterattack, he places a leader, the remaining Volksgrenadier with a heavy machine gun, and a conscript with the last light machine gun. He scatters his remaining Conscripts on the other objective hexes to garrison them.

Finally, Lt. Blankenship is placed on the map into the easternmost hex of the Orchard of Death, acting as a first-turn spotter for artillery fire against the central complex.

[Note that there is no game-term for spaces on the time track. This makes them hard to refer to. So I will call them by the position of the time track marker.]

Time Track 0 -

The Allies do not get the Advance card for an agonizing time, allowing Sgt. Bierman and his light machine gun squad to rain death down on them. But the yanks prove hard to put down, and the allies have a great many Recover cards to soak up their losses.

A hundred meters to south, Lt. Blankenship calls in artillery support on the very first American turn, but the BLEEPing battery crew aim too low and the shell lands smack in the middle of the American forces! Lt. Blankenship breaks, as does Sgt Smith and his elite machine gun squad.

Time Track 1 -

The tide starts turning the Allies’ way. A hero appears with Sgt Smith, rallying him. Cpl Hubbard brings in reinforcements, smoke covering their advance, then advances into the northern building. The US proves its superiority in hand-to-hand combat, with a massive melee total of 26! The defending Nazis are crushed, and Sgt Bierman, the Volksgrenadier and the light machine gun are the first units to visit the casualty track. Because of overstacking, the Allies are forced to loose their Line squad, but consider it a fair exchange.

Then Lucas, the American hero, rounds around the back of the hedgerows, hoping to move swiftly through the uncovered southern edge of the map, to take objective hex 2; the Axis Conscripts in that hex have been broken by sniper fire. Sgt Smith and squad cosy up with Lt. Blankenship, still distressed over his bad artillery call. The Germans take their opportunity fire against this, tossing in Sustained Fire and Crossfire, for a total attack value of 19. This further depresses [i.e., suppresses] Lt. Blankenship, who is not having a very good day. Sgt. Smith breaks.

Time Track 2 -

Ceaseless German fire attacks into the hedgerow eventually eliminate all the allied units in the Orchard of Death, although Sgt Smith gets off a last shot and breaks the German heavy machine gun group [sniper].

Lucas reaches VP hex 2 in a world-record breaking sprint [2 moves in a row]. Cpl. Hubbard decides to press the advantage made by Sgt. Smith’s dying bullet and changes fronts, joining up with the Lt. Mortar weapon team, covering his way with smoke grenades. He gets winged by a German bullet on the way, though.

Time Track 3 -

There is no Time Track 3. The Allies pull Time! twice in a row while making defense rolls!

Time Track 4 -

The broken German heavy machine gun unit swaps out with the conscript unit behind it as the other German HMG squad in the treeline moves into position to fire on Cpl. Hubbard. Which they proceed to do to great effect, killing Cpl Hubbard and breaking the two units with him (although the mortar team quickly recovers). This dramatic victory, killing the last of the American leaders, even causes the German’s elan to improve.

The US is in a bad way now. With no more leaders, the US can only onesey units, and will never again have a significant Fire Team. Despite this, the US player decides to press on, to see if he can snatch victory from the jaw of defeat.

More US troop movements cause the German’s heavy machine gun to malfunction. (“Mein Gott! Die Amerikaner! Es gibt so viel davon! Ich habe nicht genug Gewehrkugeln!”)

Meanwhile, Lucas chases Cpl. Rettenhaus back toward the German side, firing wildly all the way but missing. The defenders in the Hex of Death sustain a lot of German fire, digging into their position. Mortar shells lob at the Germans, getting in several good hits, but never enough to get another kill.

Time Track 5 -

The line squad in the Hex of Death is eliminated. Lucas catches Rettenhaus in a flying tackle him; they land on the ground, stabbing each other to death with their dying breaths.

Time Track 6 -

The American player, demoralized, surrenders.

Thoughts -

The rules to this game are amazingly clear! I can almost always find loopholes or unclear wording in any rules (it's my special skill), but not in this game. The rulebook was well organized, and it was easy to find the answer to any question we had.

The Americans had a bad stroke of luck, being hit with their own artillery on the first turn, an event from which they never recovered. But this is an important lesson: never call down artillery on a hex only two hexes distant from your own forces, as there’s a good chance it will drift into your friendlies.

Also, the Americans learned the important lesson of never clumping leaders in the same hex. Leaders are important, and loosing all of them before the end-game almost guarantees a loss of the game. On the flip side, you should always be on the lookout for opportunities to kill enemy leaders.

Your 2 leaders are like tiny little battlefield gods; they can supervise a large section of the battlefield, and thus bring large fire teams to bear on the enemy. A heavy machine gun squad camped with a ‘2’ leader is a fearsome sight: an 11 attack up to the squad’s range, or a 10 up to range 16!

A good game. Charles and I played the scenario again, but had to call it late at night. The Americans were making better progress in this second game. Can’t wait for next weekend to play it again!
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Robert Wilson
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Nice writeup

cant wait until my copy shows up!
 
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Uh oh ! I was going to buy my friend Tide of Iron. Do I need to buy this game for him too?
 
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Mark Christopher
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In the wonderful game, Bonaparte at Marengo, this is how to get nasty Frenchies out of a village.
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Sexy Amy wrote:
Uh oh ! I was going to buy my friend Tide of Iron. Do I need to buy this game for him too?

Yes. Yes, you do.
 
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Chad Jensen
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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
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Excellent review, Jake. Glad you enjoyed the game!
 
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David Spangler
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My son and I played Scenario 2 with almost opposite results. As the Germans, I set up somewhat similarly to Jake. The game started off well for the Germans. The Americans called down an artillery strike but it missed and landed in their midst, breaking three squads. But from then on, the Germans luck went to zero. A traitor in the High Command must have shuffled the German deck, because for three turns I got nothing but command confusion, recover and rout cards. My son advanced, moved, fired with impunity, taking objective after objective, including the farm complex in the middle of the board. All my carefully prepared lines of fire were useless without any fire cards. Or move cards. Or anything cards.

(BTW, can a pillbox be placed inside a building? I figured it represented hardening the structure and put it there, but in the end it had no effect.)

Also, for the mortar to fire, the weapons team must have los to its target hex, correct?

Anyway, it was four turns before I got my first fire card, and by then artillery strikes, assault fire, and melees had rendered most of my men either dead or broken. What awful conscripts I had! I figured it must have been nighttime and they were sleeping. Or it was daytime and they were sleeping off a nighttime party. Or they were just sleeping! Then they were dead...

One of my sargeants led a counterattack in the large farmhouse which temporarily drove the Americans off, but then they attacked again and killed everyone.

Even the timely arrival of an SS unit couldn't turn the tide. Indeed, they were annihilated by American op fire as they arrived on the scene. When I did get fire cards, I then couldn't get decent rolls for my attacks. My son, on the other hand, never seemed to miss.

Every turn he would play a rout card on me, thus preventing me from playing a recovery card on my turn. When I finally was able to play a recover card to rally my men, I didn't have any. I'd used them all up earlier in the game, discarded them all away in the vain hope of trying to get at least one fire card. soblue

It was ugly! A total German catastrophe. After the first disaster when he landed shells on his own men, every artillery shot he made landed exactly on the target hex, decimating my men.

What a fun game! The bright side was that my son said he enjoyed it so much (who wouldn't?) that he would like to play with me again (normally he likes to play quite different games, like Munchkin and I'm the Boss!).

Revenge will be sweeet!

But first the man who shuffled my cards will be taken out, blindfolded, and shot... devil

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Sean McCormick
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Yes, you can place a pillbox in a building.

Good write-up.
 
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