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Subject: Operation BATTLEAXE (3D map, new counters) rss

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M St
Australia
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This scenario shows John's and my original inauguration of the new Desert Steel counters and our (then) new 3D map with a play of Operation BATTLEAXE, the second basic scenario. Fired markers substituted with ones taken from TCS 3.1.

The first photo shows the initial setup, the CW force (all Matildas except for the unfortunate MkVI light tank with the HQ squadron) coming from the right. Victory points are for killing tanks (3 points for a Matilda, 2 for most others, 1 for the lights and Pz IIs), and for the British for exiting to the west. That is not easy given that the Matildas are so awfully slow (the scenario lasts 12 turns). That said, their armor value is 7 while anything else on the map is at best a 4. Gun values are pretty even around the map, mostly fives.

We rolled a '1' on the terrain table, giving us the 'Valley' configuration. (As usual, click on images for full size.)



PzIII's on the German left awaiting the attack...



And PzII's and PzIV's on the German right.



Turn 3: the Matildas swarming out across the desert.



Turn 5: A/4 and the HQ squadron battle it out with C/1's PzIIIh's in the centre. B/4 has decided to bypass the PzIIIs of B/1 on the valley rim (who actually are not able to do much damage to the Matildas at this range - the advantage of shooting downhill is counteracted by the fact that the Matildas keep moving and so present a harder target). In the foreground, the short-barrelled PzIVd's of A1 get into a fight with C/4, while the vulnerable PzII's hang back.



Turn 6: C/4 manages to eliminate a platoon of PzIV's, the rest fall back. B/4 in the background stops for an exchange of fire with the PzIII's of A/1 on the slope but neither side does much damage. The Germans of C/1 in the centre fall back and A/4 and HQ/4 push after them.



Turn 9: C/4 has eliminated the remaining PzIV platoon, with the outclassed PzII's falling back before it. In the meantime, B/4 has crossed the valley to the near side of the map and is exchanging shots with C/1 and A/1 but at long range. (The only effect was that one of the Matilda platoons ended up suppressed for a short time.) In the meantime, A/4 has pushed aside the weak screen in the centre and is far enough forward that it will be able to exit a couple of platoons off the map edge. The Germans conceded.



I think the scenario is OK in terms of balance. The Germans should have used their mobility (5 MPs vs the Matilda's 3) to concentrate against the British formations in turn and swamp them. If the British had concentrated, the Germans then should have moved around and outflanked them. Instead they spread out and met them head-on in an even-odds firefight where the Matildas' armor gave the British the advantage.

(This AAR was posted in the Tank Leader series topic on Consimworld in 2009.)
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Andrei Shlepov
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We played Star Fluxx, Star Munchkin, Dixit, and, of course, Bomb Alley.
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Many thanks for posting the AAR!

As I'm now reading EFTL rules, it seems to me that the real drama was probably in formations card play. So who had the edge in command? Who was trumping whom? What were the options in this regard?
 
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M St
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Well, after seven years, my notes don't give me detail as to the specific card actions. :-) But the situation is that the British units (squadrons A/4 to C/4 and HQ/4) are all rated D, but have the C-rated 4th Battalion Command Card. The Germans (companies A/1 to D/1) are all rated C, but have no command card. So basically the British can choose the timing for one squadron plus the HQ squadron. The Germans can get the drop, individually, on everyone else.

However, that is more useful the closer the range. In the photos you can see that the Germans basically tried to sit things out at long to medium range, where in general the impact of the turn order is not so large. The usual point to switch whenever you decide you want to try and make the kill - if you do it at medium range and then don't score, you're in trouble.
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