Christopher O
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Playing Nightmarish Crossroads "tourney scenario" 18.1, I'm coming back to the game after playing other things for a while, so some rules are a tiny bit hazy.

Situation: Combat phase, two hex combat vs. German strongpoint in close terrain with two SS platoons and a reduced SS HT. Attacking forces are two British infantry companies plus Centaur plus Firefly in one hex; one British company, MG platoon and Centaur in the other. Target hex has been target of massive artillery barrage, resulting in 2R shift, German artillery ineffective.

Number Crunching/Outcome of Combat: Odds are worked out, dice are rolled. Result is a 0/3. Germans may ignore first loss due to Strongpoint. Germans must satisfy two losses.

Observations and Rule Look-ups: Obviously the Germans don't want to suffer the losses as two step losses and lose both recce platoons (2 VP). The Germans elect to take the losses as a retreat, retreating two hexes.

Now, here's the hazy part (for me... it might be crystal clear for others). The rules specify that if losses are taken as a retreat, "all involved units of the affected hex" must retreat (8.5.2). However, 12.1.1 'AFVs and Losses' indicates that "AFVs ignore all losses (Retreats and step reductions) resulting from the CRT".

If the recce infantry elects to retreat, the non-AFVs units in the hex were not eliminated, so Voluntary Withdrawal is not an option (or is it?). The reduced HT may elect to take a loss as a retreat per this rule: "In a combat or assault, AFVs may choose (but are not required to) take losses as retreats regardless of whether other units in the hex retreat." (12.1.1 again).

Questions: If the recce infantry in this situation retreat, does the HT have to retreat as well? My interpretation is no, it does not have to retreat, and that is how we played it.

The way I'm parsing it is that a the hex elects to take some or all losses as a retreat, all units in the hex must retreat, except AFVs, who may elect to retreat or not because they may ignore the losses taken.

As the British player, who needs to take ground extremely rapidly in this scenario, I really wanted the HT to have to retreat, but I think we played it right by having it remain in place.
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Mark Mokszycki
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Quote:
The way I'm parsing it is that a the hex elects to take some or all losses as a retreat, all units in the hex must retreat, except AFVs, who may elect to retreat or not because they may ignore the losses taken.


You are correct. AFVs have some special rules in 12.1, one of which is their ability to ignore losses (including Retreats) from Combats and Assaults.

When possible, try to pick off any AFVs in the target hex with AT Fire before declaring your Combat or Assault. Sometimes, having the Tactical Advantage is enough since your infantry will pick them off with PIATs before rolling on the CRT. But any AFVs which survive up to that point can indeed ignore any losses and remain in the target hex, preventing the attackers from capturing the hex for that particular attack action.

Half-tracks shouldn't pose much of a problem in 18.1 as the Brits have plenty of Shermans to take them out. If your opponent is using them to guard Strongpoints, he's basically giving you some free VPs. Just destroy them before attempting to take the Strongpoint. It's just a matter of conducting your attacks in the right order. Keep in mind that vehicles don't benefit from Strongpoints so there will be no negative DRM to your AT Fire.

Good luck!
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Christopher O
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Playing through the Normandy Battle Generator from the C3i magazine. Loving it - we've had two really close size 2 quick battles so far.

BUT - I'm finding I'm running into the immobile/non-retreating AFV issue fairly frequently and I wanted to get your feedback on timing and approach.

We were playing a hasty defense size 2 scenario, Germans defending. I'm attacking with a British standard infantry battalion backed up with a Firefly-enhanced squadron, a heavy mortar unit and the 2+2 asset combo.

It's turn 7 and I've battered myself thin to take one objective and put myself within one hex of another (the third is out of reach). I'm stretched, but I've got enough units in position to attack.

He's got one reduced Panzergrenadier company in the hex, but it's backed up by two two-step HTs, basically all he has left in the area to defend. He's not being gamey, he's just trying to hold on.

I have two firefly troops adjacent, plus three reduced infantry battalions, a full strength infantry battalion, and a reduced carrier platoon. The full-strength and half-strength battalions are in a position to move across the bridge if required.

The way I timed it was thus:

During the action phase, I had the two firefly troops conduct AT fire to knock out one step each of the HTs (not terribly hard). Then, during the combat phase, I started with the Firefly troops firing again to successfully take out the remaining two steps of HTs, following it up with a standard multi-hex attack with all of the remaining units, including the carrier platoon.

This effort, combined with heavy support fire, won me the victory hex. The Germans counter-attacked on their turn and threw me back with forces that arrived from elsewhere on the line, but I had inflicted enough losses that the victory point loss was negated.

In this case, I won, but if I had one fewer Sherman troop, I couldn't have possibly inflicted enough step losses on the hex to kill all the HTs and then I wouldn't have been able to push the defenders off the objective, because of the oft-mentioned AFV ignoring step losses and retreats.

My question remains - is objective hex camping with three two-step AFV plus infantry a common "sleaze" tactic, or is it, as you say, easily countered by careful timing of AT fire with assaults and combat?
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Mark Mokszycki
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Sorry, I just noticed this question posted here at BGG. In case anyone else is reading along... Here's my reply to the question when it was posted over at Consimworld:

Quote:
Good to see you back here, Chris.

At it's most extreme, the so-called "non-retreating AFV" defensive tactic would allow four full-strength AFVs to stack in the defending hex. That's a total of 8 steps! I don't think any amount of careful coordination or orchestration of AT Fire attacks is going to wipe out all 8 steps of defending AFVs in a single game turn--save for possibly an all-AFV Assault against the hex with superior AFVs.

In longer scenarios, this isn't much of an issue because it isn't usually necessary to take a given hex in a single game turn. If the defending player insists on holding a hex with multiple AFV steps and issuing a "no retreat," he's going to pay for it through the nose by granting the opponent lots of VPs for all those AFV step reductions.

In terms of game design and scenario balance, I've done my best to keep the VP values of individual objectives low enough that it doesn't make sense for the defender to sacrifice multiple AFV units to hold them. This is also why eliminated AFVs are worth 2 VPs *per step*--so that players won't be enouraged to squander them in an unrealistic or "gamey" manner.

I'm not sure how to answer your question because, again, I've attempted to craft the victory conditions such that planting multiple AFVs on an objective is too costly to be an effective strategy. I'm curious... Do you think it's an issue because of the particular size, length, and force composition of your generated battle, or a problem with all scenarios in general?

And yes, I do believe that careful timing of AT Fire (during both Action Phase and Combat Phase) can be used to great effect to eliminate many defending AFV steps--but not necessarily in a single game turn, and not in a situation where the defender is really committed to holding that hex (i.e., three or four AFV units in the hex). If your opponent is determined to hold that hex for one game turn, he can almost certainly do so. Your job then becomes making it too costly to be a viable strategy.


The following bit, from a later post, is also relevant:

Quote:
The Battle Generator unit costs and victory conditions are all just guidelines and suggestions to help players create their own improvised scenarios. As such, they are meant to be malleable. If you're seeing a gamey use of German half-tracks in the small scenarios, I suggest bumping up the VP reward for transports/cars from 1 VP per step reduction to 2 VPs per step reduction--the same VP value as tanks. That should put a stop to that.

In larger scenarios, this shouldn't be necessary because it will all come out in the wash. Rarely, if ever, will it be worth sacrificing 3 or 4 half-track units just to hold a hex for another turn or two. Apart from the 6-8 VPs granted to the opponent for their destruction, the owning player will feel the loss of transport capability and anti-personnel firepower for the remainder of the game.


The original posts start here: http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?14@@.1dd4856a/1322

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