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Subject: Second non-solo play rss

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Andrew Swan
Australia
Randwick
NSW
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This session report is for my second playing of this title against a live opponent (the first session report is here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/159928).

Setup

We swapped sides from the last game, so Phil set up first as the Allies, after which I set up my Axis (German and Italian) forces.

Phil opted for a fairly short north-south line anchored at El Alamein and extending about halfway to the board edge.

Seeing this, I set up my more mobile units (the Panzer divisions and the German recon brigade) in the southern part of the Axis setup area, around hex H2, with the aim of turning Phil's left flank.

Progress of the Game

My initial moves were aimed at:

setting up a line of infantry opposite Phil's front line, not to assault it, but to defend my own supply and reinforcement hexes in the unlikely event he chose to sally forth from his defensive boxes.

moving my high-MF units around Phil's southern flank to threaten his reinforcement hex, C11 (one of the possible victory conditions).

Phil saw the threat of course and tasked the Desert Air Force with numerous ground attack missions against my southern thrust. Alas Biggles and his RAF buddies were totally ineffective against my armoured columns, establishing a pattern for the rest of the game (I never saw so many 3's rolled).

Phil also tried to plug the gap with his own armour, but unhappily for him I was able to surround and eliminate some of them. Soon I was close to my C11 objective, just in time for Phil's reinforcments to start arriving there. The entering infantry units were forced (by the active ZOC rule) into sometimes suicidal attacks on my tanks, with predictable results. In the meantime, I had started preparing to encircle El Alamein using my as yet unblooded infantry.

Soon however, Phil's fresh Allied units were starting to make progress along the coast road towards the threatened El Alamein. At this point the end of the game was getting close; I realised that the easier of my two victory options would be to instead occupy El Alamein. Accordingly I threw everything I had at that city, from the front and the rear, and was able to fully stack it with two infantry units. The question was now whether those units would be able to withstand the inevitable Allied counter-attack.

This is where it all fell apart for the Axis. When a player is attacked, they have the option of declaring "No Retreat", which makes a small loss less severe (a Retreat One result becomes only a Spent result) but a big loss bigger (a Retreat Two result becomes a Defender Eliminated result). When Phil attacked El Alamein (after some very successful lead-up attacks on my nearby armour), I stupidly chose not to use the No Retreat option, even though remaining in the hex was crucial to victory. Of course Phil rolled an R1 result, which had I chosen the right option would have seen my infantry stay in the victory hex for a win. Instead, they retreated ignominiously to turn the game into a draw. A victory lost (hey, that would be a good game title).

Here's the final board position:



Conclusion

After two playings of this title, we're still finding good replay value, largely because of the highly flexible Allied setup. For me it's still a great hex-and-counter wargame for predominantly Euro gamers like us to play on a weeknight.
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Ashfield
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I am the wasp / that burrows in! I am the shriek / of twilight din!
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My setup in this game was astonishingly dumb... I blame your endless supply of Turkish Delight and o-cha for distracting me.
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