Stig Morten
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This will be an account of the week I spent with the 101st as they fought to liberate Europe in WWII.
I had done some training the week before with the training scenario and two scenarios played solo by playing both sides as best I could. Now it was time to try it as the Americans.

I printed, cut and sleeved the AI Defense Deck and was ready to enroll in the ranks of the Screaming Eagles.

My first battle was to be Scenario 2: So few led by so many.

I set up the Germans in the hedgerows and my Americans started advancing. I didn't take long for me to learn that rushing a unsupressed position isn't a good idea.
Took too long to clear the house on the German right flank, but after getting some favourable suppression rolls, melee cleared the building and I could start my advance through hedgerow territory.
Laying down unsuccessful suppression fire and getting hit with OP Fire everytime I put my head throug the hedgerow meant I was running out of time. Had to rush, and barely survived with enough units to threaten the German squad in the back of the hedgerow area.
Got him Fully Suppressed and my own Fully Suppressed unit somehow survived the Rout check while the German didn't. Even the reroll couldn't save him and he Routed of the board to give me my victory.

End of the line.

As you can see in the image I made a small aid to remember the various rerolls the AI gets every turn. I found that useful.

After this initial success I just continued on and set up

Scenario 3: Easy Peasy

Setup the Germans in the building and gung-hoed the frontline. Not a good idea. Rethinking my strategy I focused on the German right flank and decimated that with Suppression fire and advances into Melee. After that I went for the German Left flank while making sure the germans in the middle of the village was under Suppression.
After advancing my units and establishing myself in the buildings, I took out the Germans house by house and in the end I was approaching the last of the Germans in the corner of the village with time running out.
And then the Artillery became available to the Germans.

My forces could hear the artillery but it didn't hit them, as the AI fails the proficiency check. The German in Melee on the edge of the board(you can see the Fully Suppressed marker)was destroyed after another unit joined the Melee. My units rushed forward to get a shot at assaulting the last German unit on the last turn.
Some units fired and got the German Suppressed. I figured that was a good idea, before storming the position with my full strength,good squads. Yeah, no, not a good idea.
Artillery was called in on my densely packed squads and passed prof, passed accurasy and hit big time.

yes, I admit, the untis are too densely packed here and ripe for the picking by the German arty. The resulting 2 wrecked havoc on my squads.

My, by now decimated, squads couldn't muster much of a morale strength and hid it out in the houses and shellholes.
The weaponteams rushed in to try and Rout the unit, but alas, he stood his ground and the Germans took the win.

a heavily suppressed neighbourhood.

Very cool to have the AI defense deck and these two scenarios worked well with this deck.
Artillery hurts alot when it hits.

Scenario 5: If this is combat...[/i]
Hmm, 88's. I have heard about those and in movies they appear dangerous. Let's see what they do in this game.

Man, those 88's are a pain in the ass. I tried to lay down suppression on them, but they didn't budge. I tried to rush them, but that, asevery other time I have tried it, was a REALLY bad idea.
By the end of turn 3, I had some suppression on a few and could crawl into open ground to try and lay down more suppression, before my TUrn 4 reinforcements arrived from the north of the board.
My turn 4 reinforcements managed to suppress some of the Germans in the buildings and got some another 88 suppressed.
Suppression worked on turn 5 too and one of my units managed to take the bridge and survive it's Rout(since it had its' full morale) to secure a victory for the Americans.

This scenario was a partial success with the AI defense deck. THe 88's and the German's south of the canal defended well, but the germans in the building north of the canal became too static and lost some LOS to the fighting. A human player might have tried to move closer to the fighint around the 88's and to try an block of the bridge.

88's are dangerous with their high FP. Rushing at an 88 in open ground is a sure way to lose units.

[i]Scenario 6: Eindhoven

This scenario looked cool when I set it up and it looked dangerous for my Eagles. Two 88's, and artillery available 9 times. Scary.
I set up the two 88's in good firing positions in hexes near the intersections on theeast and west edges of board 3. The rest went in the cup to be placed as they were spotted/Suppressed.
American reinforcement would come in from the West on turn 7.

Advance in this one was slow for me and the 4 Germans on board 1 held me at bay for a long time.
Artillery fire was attempted by the Germans on every turn but Prof was passed only 3 times. One was a miss. The second drifted and took out 1 unit instead of 4. the third time prof was passed was late in the battle and it only affected 2 units. With more artillery fire early on it could have been a different tale.
After getting onto Board 3, I had to avoid the firing lines of the 88's and WT's. Not easy, and my advance stalled a bit untill reinforcements arrived and decimated the left flank 88's by rushing it from the adjacent house.
House to house fighting melee's broke out and after the last 88 fell it was all decided in the Melee phase of the last turn. Rolling just what was needed ensured the Americans relieved Eindhoven.

This was an excellent scenario that has various phases. First it's establishing the American bridgehead in theless populated board 1, then the transition onto more densely populated board 3, before it all ends in house to house fighting.
88's made sure I had to go on the flanks and in the houses. The streets would be a death sentence for anyone that ventured into them.

Infantry rainig scenario: Capture the bridge
Having tried this scenario as my first play, but getting the Operations range wrong meant I had to try again. Yes, I found it as the first question in the Battle Manual FAQ. The Battle Manual is in itself a very good designers note document. Highly recommended reading during a lull in the artillery bombardment.
The training scenario was not much of a challenge this time around. Suppression fire from across he canal and then rushing in to take out the suppressed units nad occupy the victory hex building. The Germans couldn't muster a comback and I waltzed onto the bridge for the win.
This scenario teaches the importance of suppression, because that bridge ain't pleasant with good morale Germans overlooking it.
And the WT is just made for suppression. yes, if you din't know this already, I do think that was what it was used for in WWII. But do try to supress the opposing WT's before walking onto a bridge in open ground.

Having fought for 4 days I was given a leave to go visit Euro-land.
Games played while on leave from the 101st.
7 Wonders Duel Much better than the original. And has military cards. Almost won a military victory.
Perspective of Mirrors Brilliant little game about cold war spies coming soon-ish.
Uluru: Neuer Tumult am Ayers Rockx3 Yeah, not good at this one.
Blueprints Better at this one. Won a couple of tiebreakers which is war-ish.

Being eager to get back into the thick of it with my Band of brothers I set up Scenario 16: To die on Christmas early in the morning.
Having tried this one before without the AI defense deck I was eager to try it.
Set up the Germans, and in contrast to last time when I set up the Americans on the edge of the board and had them cross the streets to get at teh Germans, this time i took full advantage of the setup rules and set up adjacent and on the same side of the streets as much as I could.
This made it easy for the Americans to overcome the Germans in Melee, after some initial Final Op Fire losses, and this affair was oer by turn 3.
I think if playing with the Ai Defense deck it shouldn't be allowed for the Americans ot setup adjacent to the Germans.

Midday on Saturday, I had latrine duty and cleaned the bathrooms in the house. Happy wife, happy life.

I set up Scenario 7: Corporal to Sergeant in the evening and got ready for to assault the German positions.

Spread out my WT's to lay down suppression for my squads. More WT's on my right flank as that was where the victory hexes were.

Advanced all over and managed to get a foothold on the edge of the town on my right flank, but then Artillery hit and suppressed me a great deal. That slowed me down there.

Shifting some forces towards the middle took care of the middle and after I overcame the Artillery suppression I took the victory hexes in quick succesion. By that time only the German far left flank was left and here the AI defense deck failed. This is not a fault in the AI defense deck, but rather a trait. It is designed as a static defense and it had no way to cope with the isolated and targetless left flank. here I took over and tried to move the Germans into a position where he could call in effective artillery on the main American forces around the Victory hexes. My remaining forces moved in to take out those squads to protect themselves against artillery fire.
They succeeded in this.

The Germans should have been setup with a tighter perimeter around the victory hexes with just a few units to channel the Americans into firelines. As it was the far left german flank couldn't be properly utilized by the AI.
And mortars are very cool.

The morning was spent brushing up on rules with a couple of Harsh rules videos. THey do a fine job of teaching the game and showed me I had done Assault fire wrong. No more assault firing after moving into a hex with a German defender.

Set up Scenario 15: Let's hubba-hubba and actually took some photos this day too.

The red road is Open ground in this scenario. All other hexes are Orchard.
I set up the two WT's to have LOS down the open ground. All other units and Decoys went into the cup.
My Americans entered from the bottom edge.
I advanced forward, but the WT that had a fireline down the open ground halted most of my advance on the left flank, and I knew reinforcements would arrive on that edge later on so I shifted my focus to the right where I made steady progress under fire. Lots of squads were elliminated, reduced or suppressed, but I gained ground.

Finally managed to get that blasted WT reduced and Fully Suppressed only to find out I had very little units on that side to take him out. Main focus there was to keep him fully suppressed until reinforcements could arrive. It was a success, but he retreated when the area got hot with reinforcements.

As you can also see I had managed to flank the germans on the right side.
Very cool that this game actually has you flank because it is the best strategy. Having the defenders worry about 2 or even 3 flanks makes them strain to keep the attacker at bay. Cool thing.

After the right flank and the reinforcements from the left came together in a pincer move the germans didn't have enough left to remain in control.
This lone very surrounded German unit survived the Rout phase of turn 9 and had 2 hits in melee, but it was the last thing the Germans did in this scenario.

this scenario worked very well with the AI defense deck, especially with the spread out setup of the Germans. I had fun playing this one.

And thus ends my week in the 101st with another win for the Americans.
A very cool week and I have enjoyed it alot.

What did I learn?
Open ground and Unsuppressed Germans are not a good idea.
88's are lethal.
Artillery are more lethal.
Weapon teams are great for suppression, but not so great to be up against.
I like how the game plays out with the Conceal marker and the fact that Suppression goes away. In the last scenario the Fully Suppressed WT that managed to Retreat got back up to good morale, but by that point the Americans were to close to him for him to survive long.

The AI defense deck works well for these scenarios, if you use some common sense at times.

And I can't wait to see how Jim solves his promised solitaire rules for Band of Brothers. get to it, Jim.

Thanks to Jim for a great game. Thanks to Kevin and Kyle for the very fun AI Defense Deck.

What's next?

Today is Halloween, so what better to do than enroll in Band of Brothers: Ghost Panzer
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