Ramping up my reviewing.
Happily playing games for many, many years.
Trying to ignore the boxes that contained our latest purchases, all of which took considerably more time (and players) than we had available, Randy and I sat down to play the latest games in our Memoir '44 campaign.
As standard, Randy played the Axis (Germans), and I played the Allies; I expect when we've done every scenario once, we'll start going back through them again. Whenever that is... because there are a lot of scenarios (and Randy keeps getting new expansions to the game!)
This is an interesting scenario. The French Resistance must attack a small group of German infantry. It's infantry-only, and there's a lot of forests and the like for the French to hide in. Only one problem: there's a time limit.
Yes, that's right: when the Command deck runs out, the Germans win. So, I'd have to be more aggressive than usual. To make matters more challenging, the Germans could retreat inside some towns that were just far enough away from the woods that my forces would have to enter the open ground to assault... not exactly the best way for the French to behave.
Randy began the game by attacking two of my resistance units that had begun the game in the open, dealing heavy casualties and reducing both units to just 1 figure, and causing the one of my right wing to retreat. With the victory being only four medals, he was off to a good start.
Fortunately for me, I had Medics and Mechanics in hand, and used it to reinforce one of those damaged units and move it up for a counter attack.
From there, my forces entered the woods and started sniping at Randy's units. Using these tactics, I was able to gain the upper hand, but as Randy's casualties mounted, he pulled back to the town. I now had to assault it, but I didn't do so immediately, instead spending a couple of precious turns bringing my men up to the centre of the board.
At this point, Randy's aggressive nature got the better of him: he left the town and did a big attack, which eliminated a couple of my units, but left him exposed. I responded with an Infantry Assault that almost completely destroyed him... but not quite.
However, the Ambush card I had in hand proved the winner: Randy attacked, but my Ambush eliminated his unit before he could destroy mine.
A close game: Allies: 4, Axis: 3.
The joy of this scenario for me was simple: I had tanks! I also had a lot of troops. This would be fun!
It's odd to go back to playing the U.S. when you have been using the French Resistance: suddenly, all the terrain becomes much more of a hazard. The first interesting manuever of this game was as Randy used an Air Assault to damage my tanks on the right flank. I used a Counterassault to do the same to his SS Panzer tanks. The infantry we both targeted were unaffected - the dice were showing a lot of tanks!
After this initial exchange, I pushed up the centre of the battlefield, reducing and destroying the units that stood in my way. Randy, meanwhile, was having trouble mobilising to stop me, and was forced to adopt better positions on my flanks: one of my infantry units was badly damaged by tank fire, and fled to the doubtful security of a small village. A couple of turns later, it was shelled and eliminated.
My tanks were taking heavy damage, but I managed to demoralise Randy's troops enough so that a full-strength infantry unit could take the centre town-objective (apologies - I don't have the scenario with me, and I can't remember its name). With that success, I was up to four victory points and needed one more for victory. The infantry was supported by two tank squadrons, and Randy's had a couple of badly damaged units in the area.
Unfortunately, at that point my charge bogged down. I began moving forces up on the right flank to reinforce and snipe at Randy's infantry and tanks, but they were badly out of position as all my attention had been on the central push. Randy's Panzers rolled in, along with some of his other tanks, and destroyed one of the supporting tank units.
I moved my tanks from the right flank in and took a shot at the one-strong Panzers that were hiding in the woods - a 1 in 3 chance of victory! It was not to be.
Randy's tanks and infantry then opened on my remaining forces in the town, quickly eliminating them in the cross-fire, and taking the scenario win. Final score: Axis: 5, Allies: 3.
Both games had taken about 30 minutes, both had been very close, and both had been very enjoyable.
It's always fun to have that one counter card to win the game on!