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Subject: The Scheldt Campaign Solo AAR, Turns 1-8 rss

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Chris Buhl
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I'm endeavoring to see if I can actually keep a game with a fairly small footprint set up at home with a roaming two year old. So far so good. This is an AAR that will last as long as the game stays "alive." In this section I cover the first 8 turns.

I'm using all optional rules, and really love the option of using a G3 as a reaction to an attack.

It's hard to really get the full experience of this game, more than many others, playing solo, because there is a good deal of bluff, deception, counter measure involved in the game face to face, especially pertaining to the play of the G2 chit. In this AAR, if I say "Won die roll to play," or "Won die roll NOT to play," I'm referring to my method for dealing with that. At some point as the game progressed, I decided that, if the Allies drew 1 or more G2 chits, the Germans would roll a die to see if they respond in kind. I generally make it a 50/50 proposition, but in some cases if I think it's pretty clearly a good idea, I make it a 4/6 or 5/6 chance. Then, if the Allies play a G2 chit and the Germans have one, they again roll to see if they play it. If I think it's a situation where the optimal move is to play it, then if they win the roll they play it. If I think the optimal situation is to save it (or know so, as I know another attack is coming), then if they win the roll they don't play it. The same principals apply to playing G3 or G4 markers in response to allied attacks. In some cases there is no choice, i.e. the Allied attack is the final chit they'll play so no reason to save it. If, at the end of either side's turn, they have a G2 chit that they did not play, then I let them play that as an "auto-win" on the next roll, or for the Allies a negation of a German auto-win. It's a fairly crude system but it adds some uncertainty.

Onward!

Scheldt 1-8

Start



West



East




T1

2 G1 on 2nd Canadian XX

G3 4th attacks scratch battalion across river with G4 - Germans G3 to bring another scratch battalion in
⁃ flooded river bonuses negate all 4 hit

G3 move 4th to attack Biervelet

G3 + G4 for attack, scratch battalion destroyed no advance for 4th



Take G1, G2, 3-G3, 2-G4


German turn

2 G1 recovery 711th

G3 move 719th into woods



Take 2-G1, G2, G3


T2

G1 to add 8th Infantry to 4th XX

G3 move 2nd Canadian north 1 hex

G3, G2, 2-G4 attack 711th
-Germans G2 on die roll (vs G3), do 8 hits / 9 dice -1 for Canadian funnies, Canadians do 9 hits / 23 dice, woods -2 engineers negate 1 of those, take 5 retreat 3 hexes, 2nd C don't advance




G3 to move 3rd Canadian East




Take G1, 3-G3, 3-G4

German turn

G1 245th and on 1020 Infantry Brigade in Woensdrecht

G3 to move 346th into woods




Take 2-G1, G2, G3


Turn 3

G1 to add 6th Infantry brigade to 2nd XX

G3 2nd Canadian attacks scratch battalion
⁃ no other markers played
⁃ Germans 2 hits on 1 die (-1 for Engineers)
⁃ Canadians eliminate scratch




G3 to move 3rd Canadian into position to attack 64th XX

G4 to strategic move 4th Canadian through Biervliet (risking isolation to bring arty to bear)

G3, 2-G4 for that attack
⁃ Germans play G2, score 1 hit / 8 dice
⁃ Canadians score 11 hits / 23 dice, -1 village
⁃ Entire Division wiped out including HQ
⁃ 3rd advances into Schoondijke




Take 2-G1, 2-G2, 2-G3, G4

German turn

G1 to create 344th XX in Watervliet (3 units)




G1 recover 346th

G2 to win die roll for marker selection

G3 move 712th to Woendrecht




Take 2-G1, G2, G3


Turn 4

G1 to bring 51st in to Arnhem

G1 to add 4th Brigade to 51st

G4 to stray move 2nd Canadian NE of Kalmthaut (cutting off possible retreat for 346th)




G3, G2 for 51st to attack 346th
⁃ Germans play G2 (no die roll to win)
⁃ Germans 3 hits/9 dice
⁃ Allies 19 hits/23 dice(!), -2 woods
⁃ 346th and HQ destroyed (even 10 retreats wouldn't have saved them)
⁃ No advance

G2 to negate previous German die roll G2

Take G1, 2-G2, 3-G3, G4


German turn

G1 for 2 scratch battalions near 712th

G1 for recovery 712th

G3 pull 245th back into Rosendaal




Take 2-G1, G2, G3



T5

G1 recovery 2nd Canadian

G3 51st British moves north




G3, G2 51st attacks scratch battalion
⁃ Germans play G3 (won die roll to save G2), bring 1020th Brigade to battle)
⁃ British 5 hits/23 dice (!), -2 polder
⁃ Germans take 2 hits and retreat to Woensdrecht
⁃ Germans 0 hits/2 dice
⁃ Advance

G3, G2 3rd Canadian attacks coastal artillery in Fort Fredrik Hendrik
⁃ Germans play G2, 0 hits
⁃ Artillery eliminated
⁃ No advance

G4 to strat move 4th Canadian to 0707




Take 2-G2, 3-G3, 2-G4

German turn

G1 to add an HG battalion (reinforcement) to 344th XX




G1 to put an HG battalion (reinforcement) in 2305, trying to keep allied forces from moving on Walcheren Island




G2 to auto win next die roll

Take G1, G2, 2-G-4


T6

G3 to move 2nd Canadian to 2405

G3, G2, for 2nd Canadian to attack 2305
⁃ Germans auto-win die roll and use G2, G4
⁃ Germans 2 hits/12 dice (!!!!)
⁃ Allies 7 hits/19 dice, -2 woods, +1 engineers
⁃ Germans take 3 hits to eliminate 2 scratch battalions, 2 hits to retreat to Bergen-op-Zoom (you've gotta love the names for these towns!) and 1 hit on the HQ brigade




G3, G2, 2-G4 for 51st British to attack 712th, et al
⁃ Germans play G4
⁃ British 13 hits/29 dice, -4 (polder, fort, village)
⁃ Germans eliminate 2 units, retreat 5 hexes (couldn't get across the canal) and remainder of hits
⁃ Germans 5 hits/9 dice
⁃ Advance
⁃ Allies should have dropped Paratroops into 2105 to prevent a retreat




Take 2-G1, G2, 3-G3, G4

German turn

G1 to bring both AG reinforcements in, one into 712th XX the other across the canal from it.




Take G1, G2, G3, G4


T7

G1 re-organize units between 51st British & 2nd Canadian

G1 recover 2nd Canadian

G3 move 4th Canadian west




G3 to move 51st British west

G3, G2, G4 51st attacks 712th
⁃ Germans play G2 & G3 to bring AG into fight
⁃ Germans 3 hits/15 dice
⁃ Allies 14 (!) hits/29 dice
⁃ Germans retreat to eastern edge of causeway for 7 hits, eliminate 2 units
⁃ Advance




Take 3-G1, 3-G3, G4

(23 photos all uploaded to drop box)

German turn

G1 to call 2 scratch battalions in 712th operation zone

G3 to move 712th XX across causeway

G4 to strat move 667th AG




Take 2-G1, G3, G4


T8

Time to mop up some of the Breskens pocket while the eastern forces regroup and wait on 52nd XX's arrival.

G1 to shuffle some units between 3rd and 4th Canadian

G1 to recover hits in 2nd Canadian

G1 to recover hits in British 51st

G3 4th Canadian to attack Cadzan
⁃ Germans win die roll NOT to play G4
⁃ Germans 0 hits/1 due
⁃ Allies 5 hits in first 11 dice, unit eliminated.
⁃ No advance

G3 4th Canadian to attack Sluis
⁃ Germans win die roll NOT to play G4
⁃ Germans 0 hits/1dice
⁃ Canadians 8 hits in first 29 dice, eliminated
⁃ Advance




G4 to strat move 3rd Canadian to defend crossing of Uitwaterings Canal




G3 to move 49th British north




Take G1, G2, 3-G3, 2-G4


German turn

2-G1 recovery in 711th XX (different units, both roll 6)

G3 to move 6th FJ to Rosendahl




G4 to strat move 344th XX to 0307 (caught the Canadians off guard there).




Take G1, G2, G3, G4


PLAYER'S THOUGHTS SO FAR:

I didn't really create a comprehensive plan for the Allies, and I think that is showing up. I've also badly mis-used the optional 51st Division. I'll have more extensive thoughts on that in the next update, but they seem best used as a meatgrinder. As long as the Allied player keeps all their component brigades alive (pretty easy to do, I think), they should be forced to endure as many hits as possible, against tough German defenses when the Division is strong, or as mopping up as it gets weaker. I've allowed them (and will continue to allow them, as you'll see in the next update) to sit inactive for too many turns.

So the Allied attack seems to be meandering.

On the German side, I think I've done a poor job (and will continue to do a poor job, as you'll see in the next update) in force preservation. There are already a number of German HQ's in the dead pool, and that is something that a smarter German player should be able to minimize.

I love the optional G3 tactical reaction rule, and would consider it a must use rule in future plays. While I came into the game thinking it would be kind of boring to be the German player (minimal action, just licking your wounds and praying to a chance to make a local counter attack, which I've yet to do), my feeling now is reversed. It would be fun to play either side, but if I get in a face to face game and have my choice, I'd take the Germans. It's a lot of fun trying to think up ways to spoil the allied plans, to manage limited resources, etc.

In my actual game I've played through turn 12, so I hope to get another section of this posted soon. As I said, at any time the "Storm of Death" known as my 2 year old may become "interested" in the "pretty things Daddy has on the table." If that happens, in order to preserve my forces (save the components of the game from ingestion, magic markering or just simple loss under some piece of furniture) I'll have to end the game precipitously. We'll see how that goes...
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Brian Train
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Thanks very much for the detailed AAR and I hope the game survives Typhoon Two, if and when it arrives.

Interesting approach to solitaire play, this will keep games variable and interesting.
I don't know if there is as much bluff and deception going on here than in other games that really do revolve around hidden information, but there is enough to keep one guessing.

A couple of observations, that I hope don't derail your overall impressions:

The German player aid card says the 6FJ and HG parachute regiment reinforcements cannot enter at the 64 and 70 XX HQs.
Similarly the two assault gun brigades.
The intention of this is to not have them magically appear in the Breskens Pocket or on Walcheren Island, when historically there was no way for them to appear there.
You have observed the letter of this rule but subverted its intention by having the 344th XX HQ appear in the pocket, which is legal, and then having the paras appear at that one.
Ditto for the 712 XX, which you withdrew onto the Beveland Isthmus, and then entered the assault gun brigades.
I did not anticipate that, my fault for not writing extensive supply-line-like rules about tracing to eastern and northern map edges free of enemy Operation Zones etc. etc. (you'll notice the game has hardly any supply rules at all) so I award you the Clever-Dick Ribbon with Cheese Clusters.

G-1 cards: reminding you that a Tactical Unit that uses a G-1 card to recover from Hits can't do anything else that turn; also that the German parachute regiments can't recover any Hits. (I didn't see anywhere you violated this rule; but I think these are things that might be easy to forget).

I'm glad you are enjoying the experience of playing the German side!
It's definitely less forgiving than the Allied, but there's the challenge.

Brian
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Chris Buhl
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I was aware of the intent of the HG and AG brigade rules, and in fact meant to post a question about them but forgot. In future plays I will stick to the intent of that rule.

I think that if that intent is adhered to it would make for a more interesting game. It would probably force the Germans to make some attacks, perhaps by forming one super strong division with the fresh units. But they'd be less able to sit back and trade space/losses for time.

In my first 8 turn game I violated the rule about recovering hits and then acting over and over again. I thought I was sticking to that in this game but it seems likely I've fallen into thinking "they just can't attack." I'll look over my work and see about that.

I like the fact that detailed supply line type rules aren't here, although I do keep thinking "wow, I could cut off their supply lines... No wait, it's only isolation that's a problem." I think the way you have it makes for a much better game.
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Brian Train
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Thanks for the vote of confidence!

In the rules both "Breskens Pocket" and "Walcheren Island" are identified in geographic terms. But I chose to define the reinforcement limitations in terms of the division HQs there. Oh well.

The Germans formed one strong unit with the parachute regiments (one or sometimes both) and the assault guns, called "Kampfgruppe Chill" after its commander, though in the game it is the 85 XX, since the division staff was used to organize the KG.
It did a number of counterattacks, hence the optional rule in the game.

Playing a G-1 to recover implies a period of rest and reorganization. Turns are only about 1-2 days, troops need more time than this ideally to recover but that was not the case in this campaign.

Brian
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