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Subject: Scenario 4 "The Meatgrinder" [Illustrated, custom High Pressure Planet map] rss

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Playing in order, John and I moved on to the next scenario, #4, The Meatgrinder. This takes place on R'Rac IV, a world with a high pressure atmosphere. Most topographic features have been eroded by the high pressure winds, leaving only the occasional recent mountain chain, and rougher areas on the vast plains. Also, the "soup" makes detection harder, so that combat will generally be limited to shorter ranges.

We played using my High Pressure Planet maps (which are available on the Dwarfstar site).

The setup has four maps placed sideways in a 2x2 pattern, with the Panumanic League forces holding a strong defensive line across the long axis, built around no less than four fortresses of 48 units, although some of the battalions are from the planet's R'Rac Legion militia, with an older generation of equipment. The Lerlim Empire forces have the task to either break through this line to the other side, exiting 25 units (of 46) within ten turns, or need to clear one of the maps completely of the enemy to allow the passage of later reinforcements. For both sides the forces include a small reinforcement detachment, arriving from the rear for the League, and from orbit for the Imperials. The Imperials also have some ortillery, though not as strong as the fort armament. Their main problem in achieving a speedy breakthrough is that a quarter of their force consists of hover-propelled units, which achieve at best half speed over the planet's murky surface.

The Imperials decided to set up in the mountainous terrain to the south of the front, hoping to break through between the first and second forts after overwhelming the defenders in the patch of rough ground in their way.



The attack was spearheaded by the two Imperial tank battalions, but got off to a seriously bad start - five of the six Zeta companies plus the Chi2 Assault vehicles were destroyed immediately when moving out into the open plain so as to get into range, leaving only two heavy Xi tanks and a lot of vulnerable light tanks to carry the fight to the enemy armor and guard the flanks.




At first there had some notion of dropping the reinforcements into the rear to support a breakthrough but now it was clear that a safe zone in the enemy rear would not exist for the time being, so that they were brought in immediately on the second turn in the original setup zone. As the advancing Imperials were keeping to a narrow front, trying to avoid fire from the next fort to the east, this created a humongous traffic jam throughout the battle. That was a dangerous thing given the missile armament of the nearby forts and also meant the reinforcements, which were mostly hover vehicles, would take four or five turns to get to grips with the enemy. In the midst of the traffic jam was the best hope for an Imperial victory, the Silon heavy weapons platforms and a company of the humongous Titan superheavy tanks, the main weapon systems to use against the forts.



After the massive losses on the first turn, the Imperials did not dare to fly their infantry close to the enemy positions, so the personnel carriers were unloaded and the infantry started slogging across the plain. Fortunately, the ortillery and the heavy tank fire did make relatively short work of some of the defenders in the rough patch ahead, enabling the whole force to lurch forward and close to where it might be able to attack Fort Delta, the westernmost fortress, difficult to detect in its mountain position. For the next three turns, they chipped away at the League forces, knocking out a steady three companies every turn, though they a steady stream of League units marching to the battle still kept them from closing with and attacking the fort itself.



Then things started to go south again. The infantry unit trying to defend the approaches to the fort was disrupted several times but managed to survive and eliminate the first Silon siege unit moving adjacent to the fort, at the same time the Siga AFV unit that had bypassed the fort was eliminated by - one of the R'Rac Legion infantry units armed with Gatling lasers! This was the high point of the day for the militia. To make matters worse, two infantry units crossing the plain on the right flank were hit by artillery from Fort Gamma, next in the line, and eliminated.



As the sole bright spot for the Imperials, on turn 6 the Titan superheavy company reached a position in the rough terrain next to Fort Delta, but when it opened fire, the results were disappointing - its fire fails to damage the fort (despite a 64% chance of a hit). This raised the defender's hopes and they enacted a heavy tribute on turn 7, with three more Imperial units lost. At this point, Imperial losses were so heavy that they could not achieve the breakthrough victory condition, and the mobile League units started to retreat out of fire range.



The photos below show the losses for both sides on turns 1-6, arranged by turns with turn 1 at the bottom). As can be seen the core of the Imperial tank forces was slaughtered on Turn 1. The Imperials nonetheless staged a comeback, holding their own or better for about three turns, but then again started suffering more losses than they dished out.




On turn 8 the Titans fire again and again miss Fort Delta. League reinforcements are appearing on the north edge, and heavy Imperial fire only manages to destroy one of them before they reach cover.

On turn 9 the Titans finally manage to damage the fort, but the fort's missiles finally find the range and eliminate the Titan company. At least, with the fort focused on the Titans, the Imperials have in the meantime managed to bring other units up close.



On turn 10 the fort, now surrounded by four vehicle companies and two infantry, is demolished further, but one Imperial Nu light tank is lost.

The fort, at point blank range, still manages to destroy a Silon and an Omi2 on turn 11 though it is finally destroyed by the return fire which reduces its EW value to 0. League Infantry fire destroys an Imperial Siga 3, and the Imperial Xi3 tank sniping away at the NE corner force of Map 6 is destroyed by Fort Gamma. This opens the floodgates for a counterattack by the remaining League reserves from Map 4, who now outrange most of the defenders without being themselves outranged by any. With 14 units left against 24 defenders, the writing for the Imperials is on the wall.



On turns 13 and 14, the Imperials methodically progress westwards, while the League counterattack slowly creeps up close. Each turn sees a couple units lost per side. On turn 16 the Imperials again score a success with three vehicles destroyed, and with an Imperial unit successfully taking up position adjacent to the last League unit in the far west, an infantry company.



However, it takes three turns for that unit to be eliminated, and with the counterattacking League tanks threatening to reenter map 4 from the south, a cordon must be kept in place. The only forces available for attacking the mountain range in the center are two infantry units, accompanied by a single fighter (turn 17.)



After the gruelling march the infantry make it out of the open plain into rough terrain, directing the ortillery to destroy the enemy tanks in the foothills, but the units holding the lines on the mountains opposite have been reinforced with gatling laser equipped vehicles, two personnel carriers and an old militia tank, and there is no way in which two infantry units are going to dig out six enemy units from the mountains. In fact they spend most of their time to the end of the scenario disrupted and in threat of outright destruction from the heavy crossfire. The assault has failed and there is nothing to do for the remaining ten Imperial units except to hunker down and hope for evacuation or relief. The scenario certainly lived up to its name.



Playing time, using the photographic dating method(tm), shows 2 hours 7 minutes between the first and the last photograph. As expected, some degree of familiarity with the rules (this game was played two weeks after the Meeting Engagement scenario reported earlier) meant that we were playing much faster.

(A version of this AAR was first posted in the On the Table topic on Consimworld.)
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M St
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Re: Scenario 2 "The Meatgrinder" [Illustrated, custom High Pressure Planet map]
And I see that I misnumbered the scenario in the subject. shake
Is there a way to get that fixed?
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Robert Wesley
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Re: Scenario 2 "The Meatgrinder" [Illustrated, custom High Pressure Planet map]
USE the EDIT feature there, usually. Nicely 'composed' too. cool

EDIT that may be located either at BOTTOM for the original posting, or above somewhere?
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Brilliant, thanks. I had not connected the edit for 'this' subject with 'that' subject...
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Robert Wesley
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I was wondering if you're familiar with some others such as "OGRE", and how does this compare for them other(s)? It has intrigued me further due to my only playing the aforementioned, while this seemed to take into accounts a few more aspects, of which you brought up, especially for the "atmospheric" indication with its inhibiting their usual movement rate(s). There isn't any such for a consideration either within it, unless you wanted to count 'underwater', for which only the "OGRE" were allowed to conduct. Once we had most of their subsequent additions for it, then we had plenty situations with what you've depicted here, as well for others they'd provided also.
 
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I have Ogre/GEV (I also have Ogre if you know what I mean.)


I like it for its flavour (and the lovely maps for its time). System-wise I vastly prefer Grav Armor, because it feels so much more tactical, despite its much higher scale.

I recognise that Ogre is a child of its age but a 2:3 odds attack against, say, a gun turret just keeps feeling weird to me. (You can see some of that similar design heritage in its fantasy counterpart, Dragon Rage, but better camouflaged.

Conversely, in Grav Armor, you shoot at one thing and it dies or goes to ground (or not). That's how a tactical system should feel IMO.

I also find its unusual sequence of play with interleaved fire and movement very interesting. It may not present the same classic-style optimisation puzzles of working out the best odds that Ogre/GEV have, but then I have not ever read of someone who in the heat of battle optimised combat strengths in terms of odds. Numbers, yes. "Five Shermans against a Tiger." And that's how you think in GA. But not "if I get side shot it's 2:1 instead of 2:3". I can see some potential drawbacks in that sequence of play in how it relates to what I think combat would be like under such circumstances, but I think I'm a few dozen plays away from even wondering about it. I like the way it plays, it's different and yet so simple.

I have actually been idly thinking of converting the scenarios from Hammer's Slammers, and perhaps some of the situations from Chris Moeller's "Iron Empires" graphic novels to the GA system. Obviously the specific technologies and the scale are different but I think the mobility and EW aspects should carry over well, and I know no other system that does it so smoothly. (I'm not a great fan of mech games where you tick off individual hit boxes.)
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James Lowry
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Ogre has some handwaving of the odds system that should be paid attention to. Namely, fire is extremely inaccurate (spoofing technology has outpaced sensors), so you're throwing around tac nukes to get an area of effect big enough to get the target. So, the 'odds' isn't strength vs defense, but throwing enough firepower around to blanket the area and catch the target. SJ once pointed out that howitzers are actually better protected than any of the other conventional units, but it has D1 because it's a sitting duck....

But, it really comes down to making as simple of a game as possible.

Really need to get around to trying Grav Armor someday, thought it looked interesting when it came out.
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Caleb
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I had printed the components for this game years ago but never got around to the actual gluing & cutting. You've rekindled my interest I might have a new project for this upcoming Labor Day weekend.
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John Doe
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Nice to see some of these older games get some play. thumbsup

Also, available for free at http://dwarfstar.brainiac.com/ds_gravarmor.html
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If you look closely, you'll see that the counters are the remastered counters from that site. Also, my variant maps used in these AAR's are available there.
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Robert Wesley
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cool What would become truly "bettered" were the means in which to PRINT LARGER, more easily discernible & distinguished components, up to 5/8ths or 3/4ths-inch etc. counter overall creation. Any can only hope, O-"B" WANT can oh "B" ONE! robot
 
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On pretty much any printer today you can choose any magnification you want. Just choose 125% or 150% scale and print away...
 
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