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War at Sea (second edition)» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Session Report rss

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Gary Cope

Goose Creek
South Carolina
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Recently I have gained a new FTF opponent. I have not had the time till now to play anything more than solo games or just read rules. Paul, my new war gaming partner, has quite a bit in common with me as far our gaming preferences go. We both are very busy so our gaming sessions are limited to Saturday mornings for now.
Our first session was a game of War At Sea. Paul and I rolled dice for high man to take the Allies and he won. Paul immediately began with a gambit that I have never faced before. He abandoned the Med. Sea right away and concentrated his forces in all the other areas. This is a short version of what happened.

Paul, please forgive me if I do not have it exactly right.

Turn One:
After recovering from the shock of Paul’s initial deployment, I sent the Italian Navy’s best cruisers into the South Atlantic. The Kriegsmarine deployed to the Baltic, Norwegian, South Atlantic (U-Boats), and North Sea.

After combat was finished everything balanced out points wise and the South Atlantic was contested by the U-boat that remained.

Results: 0 points for anyone.

Turns Two, Three, Four and Five:
The next four turns saw the Allies gain a single point for controlling the Baltic Sea area on turn three. Meanwhile I managed to contest the South Atlantic one more time. Both sides suffered moderate ship losses, although this was a rate the Axis powers could ill afford.

Results: Allies 1 – Axis 0

Turn Six:

The Allies move a heavily escorted convoy into the Norwegian Sea which is bound for Murmansk. The Kreigsmarine goes all out with everything they can to stop it from reaching its destination. After a huge fight in which the Germans lost the Scharnhorst and the Hipper sunk and damage to three other ships including the Bismarck, the Allies are turned back after losing the Warspite, Hood, and Two cruisers. The convoy puts in at England for another point. On a side note still another cruiser was lost to U-Boats in the South Atlantic. In the North Sea the Luftwaffe scores a blow by sinking the Ark Royal.

Results Allies 2 – Axis 0









Turn Seven:

The Allies now try to bring the United Sates Navy into the fray as best as they can. Unfortunately for the Royal Navy, only the cruiser Tuscaloosa can make a showing this turn. The Russians stay in port and the Kreigsmarine successfully defends the Baltic by sinking a cruiser and damaging a battleship with no loss to the Gniesenau and its two escorts. In the Norwegian Sea two Battleships fail there rolls and leave a very weak escort with two Aircraft Carriers. After trading air attacks with the Graf Zeppelin and the Luftwaffe, the Royal Navy is left with only a single battleship (Malaya) and a cruiser (Dorsetshire) facing everything that could sally from Germany. This consisted of the following ships. Bismarck (3 hits), Tirpitz (0), Gniesenau, Graf Spee, Lutzow, and the Prinz Eugen. When it was over both the escorts had been sent home along with a damaged carrier. The other carrier was sunk by Prinz Eugen. U-boats contest the North Atlantic for the first time so the Axis gains a total of six points.

Results: Allies – 0, Axis 4

Turn Eight :

With the severe losses the Allies suffered last turn they are spread very thin against an Axis navy that can dispose of five U-boats and a hand full of still very powerful surface ships. But they put to sea anyway. The Allies navy deploys to cover the maximum coverage without giving any areas with out a fight. When the Kreigsmarine deploys it finds the Baltic empty. The Norwegian Sea is to be a battleground again. The remnants of the Kreigsmarine put to sea one more time. A damaged Bismarck (6 hits), damaged Gniesenau (4 hits), Graf Spee, and the Prinz Eugen. In the South Atlantic two Italian cruisers break out and face the Royal Navy with two U boats. After the fighting is finished the Kriegsmarine consists of the Prinz Eugen and two U boats. But the Axis controls the Baltic, Norwegian, Mediterranean Sea, and contests the North and South Atlantic. This adds four points.

Results Allies-0, Axis 8

The Allies concede the game.

Conclusions:

We both agreed the game could have gone either way. I felt contesting the South Atlantic as much as possible with my U boat force along with the Med giving me two free points each turn paid off. The Baltic freebie on turn eight did not hurt either. That was a mistake I feel sure Paul will not make again. Paul felt the dice favored me a little more than him this game in certain situations and I tend to agree. In one instance I had two cruisers


facing two British Battleships and a cruiser. When the round was over one battleship was sunk and the other was sent home while I still had two cruisers waiting on a third round with his remaining cruiser if it stuck around. It did not!!!!

Just a side note. We had some time left so we played a scenario of Flight Leader were I had my rear end handed to me by very experienced player . All in all a great time was had by all.


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Jim Marshall
United Kingdom
York
North Yorkshire
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Nice to see an overlooked classic (IMHO) hit the table again! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
 
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Crazy Fella
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Great Session Report.

I've only heard of the Germans winning one other time, and it was in a solo game. I still can't believe I lost it, but I digress.

Sounds like the British player shot himself in the foot when he didn't contest the Med. Sea.
 
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Ronster Zero
United States
California
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I just got this classic in an auction and can't wait to give it a try. Looks like a fun game my son and I can get into.
 
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Jim Marshall
United Kingdom
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Curious, this game went the opposite way of most I remember. (I played this 15-20 times in the late eighties-early nineties). From memory, the Axis player has an initial advantage, having his full strength early in the game, moving second (so he can make his moves knowing where the Allies' units will be and hence being able to pick his battles) and being able to move where he wants in the early game. This gave the Axis the opportunity to build up a victory point lead.

The second part of the game saw the Allies tightening the noose around the Axis by controlling the areas around Germany/France/Norway, thus restricting the Germans' ability to reach out into and contest control of the farther Atlantic areas. This allowed the Allied player to start to haul back the Axis VP lead, especially if he can get a convoy or two into Russia. (Because of this, the Germans need to be very mindful of ceding control of the seas around Norway).

In one game as the Allies I tried giving up the Med to allow concentration elsewhere, but I don't recall it really working. You're giving away a lot of points to the Italians, and you're also foregoing the opportunity to take over the Italian fleet in the last turn, which can give you control of the Med (and the game win) on that last turn. I preferred to keep a force roughly equivalent to the Italians in the Med, recognising that after a battering you may need to lick your wounds in Malta for a turn and cede Med control to the Italians for the odd turn.

Tip for the Germans: don't fritter your subs in small attacks, they should be committed in force, especially later in the game when you need to clear a way out into the Atlantic for the Kriegsmarine surface ships.

Sounds like I've just written the basis of a strategy article - and it may be re-posted as such later on, after a bit of a polish!
 
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Mattias Fall
Sweden
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Great report. The only allied ships that may enter the Baltic are the Russians, so if the Russians don´t sail that turn (decided by die rolls) the Allied player has no choice but to leave the Baltic empty.
 
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Gary Cope

Goose Creek
South Carolina
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Thanks to everyone for their kind words about the session report posted above.It is the first time for me and it was alot of fun. I will definitly be posting more of them in the future.

One rules observation, one of the previous posters noted that no Allied ships are allowed to enter the Baltic except the Russians and after checking myself he is correct. Thanks.

One question I have for you BGG veterans. Is there a way to post different sessions for different games in one place for all to see and enjoy??? Thanks in advance for any information you can give.
 
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Rob Flowers

Odenton
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The Allies abandoning the Med is actually a quite common and effective strategy. If you can force the Germans to fight, and cause enough attrition, you should get enough points (with help of convoys) to overcome the 2 per turn that the Axis will get with the Med.
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Charles Stampley
United States
Austin
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Nice report. It brought back fond memories of when I played this 20 years ago. I keep wanting to pick up a copy on Ebay, but I am anxiously awaiting L2's reprint.
 
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Michael Novak
United States
Charleston
South Carolina
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Hey Gary. Thanks for the report.

Paul and I have played this 3-4 times this past year, and we disagree about the Allied strategy: I think it is a good idea to contest the Med, while Paul prefers the "Abandon" strategy (For me, its just hard to concede 2 VP every turn). If you decide to go in though, it does seem like you are spread thin, so I think you have to try the blockade strategy in conjunction with this. One other advantage to going in is that if you can win the area, you prevent the Italian cruisers from sneaking out and causing mischief.

 
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