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Subject: Liberation! (second session report) rss

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Robert F-C
Australia
Sydney
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Liberation!

On Thursday night we got to play our second session of Tide Of Iron. This time around we played the second scenario in the book - "Liberation". This scenario is played on a long narrow board where the Germans must hold at least 4 of the 6 buildings at the end of the map. On this occasion we had two players instead of four.

In my first session report ("At the Breaking Point"), I was playing on the American defenders side and Dan was playing on the attacking German side. In this game I was playing the attackers (but still the Americans) and Dan was playing the defending Germans.

Last time it was a long game - 5 and half hours plus an hour of setup (with four players and rules instruction). So I was very interested to see how much shorter it would be with only two players and without rules explanation. Surprisingly, setup still took us nearly an hour to layout the boards and strategy cards, assemble the squads and do our initial placement (due to more units I guess). From then on it was a three hour game.

First off this is another hard scenario! The tables were really turned compared to "At the Breaking Point":- in the first scenario, the attackers had a larger force but not substantially so (and so it was the attackers game to lose). For this game the attacking force is insanely stronger - probably two to three times stronger than the defending force (and so it is definitely the defenders game to lose). The Liberation scenario is all about the defender placing their units very well and ensuring that their units inflict maximal damage for each corresponding loss. There are no reinforcements for the defenders this time.

What makes this scenario really interesting is that whilst the attackers have superior numbers they do not have tanks or mortars (unlike the first scenario). This makes it very difficult to suppress the machine gun nests. The defenders have both mortar and machine gun crews. Additionally the defenders receive more command points for the majority of the game and so the attackers don't always have the initiative. Both sides have at least one half track.

So let me draw you a picture: There are two machine gun crews positioned in buildings (or in forest cover) with lots of open ground that you need to cover before you can even start inflicting substantial damage. Two words: sheer terror.

In my last session report, as the defender I nonchalantly said: "those early brutal losses to the machine gun crew caused the rookie German commanders to lose their nerve ... rather than suppressing 1 or 2 of our remaining 3 machine guns crews (all in Op Fire mode) and then advancing they chose to cower at the edge of the tree line (i.e., in cover) and fire from long range (hits only on 6's)."

Now the boot was firmly on the other foot. Fittingly, I distinctly remember those words echoing through my head as I was racked with indecision about which squad I should next send to their death!

Some tips for the Germans defenders:
- don't bother trying to stop the Americans from taking the bridge - it is unlikely you will suceed and it will just tempt you to put your precious units into harm's way.
- protect your half track - it is the only other unit besides your heavy-weapon crews that has reasonably long range.
- don't forget that the enemy half-tracks can move and then the squads inside can get out and move some more (thereby potentially advancing all the way to the bridge in the first turn).
- don't forget to put a _non-specialised_ squad in the same hex as your machine gunners so you can transfer units into your MG squads if they are reduced.
- don't worry about clustering your troops, the Americans don't have area effect weapons (e.g. mortars or tanks).

As the attacker, supressing the two machine gun crews is probably one of your highest priorities (so that you can move forward). As you don't have mortars, you will probably need to consider getting multiple units into range so that you can use combined fire to accomplish the supression. Your flamethrower units really kick arse once you do get them into an adjacent hex - the trick is of course getting them there alive. Similarly for the defenders, the long range on the half-track guns make them critical units; definitely remember to use their troop transport abilities initially.

Both the first two scenarios are tough and are very unforgiving of tactical (or beginner) mistakes on the German side. As new players there is a very good chance that it will be a whitewash to the Americans both times.

In our game, Dan unfortunately lost his half-track in the first turn because he tried to capture the bridge with it - that really hurt him. I later managed to get a half-track up next to one of his MG crews (at about turn four) and then took it out with some well-timed good rolling on my short range attack. He finally conceded a couple of rounds later when my flamethrowers managed to dispatch two more squads in a fairly critical position.

I've posted an image of our game on BGG - it's a not particularly great image but it should give you an idea of what I'm talking about (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/214603). Yes painting the armbands on the officer worked really well - it's not so garish as to look stupid but just enough that it is easy to see at a glance where your (or their) officers are.

I'm glad to hear that everyone "Up Over" is finally going to get their hands on the game so that you too can experience the moments of glory (mixed with moments of terror!) that we've been having this last week.

Cheers,

--- RFC ---
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Robert F-C
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Question to FFG:

In Liberation, the Americans' have the "Lay Smoke" operation card (and special rules affecting "Lay Smoke") which is kind of strange given that you don't start with any engineers to be able to use it. Yes, there is a Supply Deck card that allows you to place a specialization marker of your choice on a squads (if you ever draw it) but was this actually the intention?

RFC.
 
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John Goodenough
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It appears that the American engineers went AWOL. It’s no wonder since their previous assaults against the town caused more casualties than on Omaha beach. Fortunately, they have a forgiving commander and he decided to pardon them in order to participate in the assault rather than a dishonorable discharge.

The American Division 1 should have two Engineer specialization tokens and the American Division 2 should have one Engineer specialization token.
 
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David desJardins
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WhereAreTheBlackDice wrote:
- don't worry about clustering your troops, the Americans don't have area effect weapons (e.g. mortars or tanks).

Hm? Tanks don't have area effect firepower. Unless you're referring to their overrun ability?
 
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Doug Epperson
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Nice report, Soldier!

Can't wait to get my "meaty sausage hands" around my copy of ToI!

One day, there will be a detailed "Company" or "Regimental" sized game report from the front. It will take a week to play...but just imagine the carnage...
robot

Sounds like you guys "Down Under" are having fun, Oui!!!!

Keep the reports coming...it's like mouth watering for a good steak dinner!
 
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Mike zebrowski
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I don't want to spoil the scenario too much for people, but remember:

Higher elevation gives you +1 to your range value.

The Germans only have to control the Bridge that end of round 4 in order to prevent the Americans from getting their extra units.

Mike Z
 
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Robert F-C
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DaviddesJ wrote:
WhereAreTheBlackDice wrote:
- don't worry about clustering your troops, the Americans don't have area effect weapons (e.g. mortars or tanks).

Hm? Tanks don't have area effect firepower. Unless you're referring to their overrun ability?

I was thinking of a tank's Concussive Firepower ability for units positioned in buildings ... but you are right that is not an area effect attack.
 
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Robert F-C
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Game Geek wrote:
It appears that the American engineers went AWOL. It’s no wonder since their previous assaults against the town caused more casualties than on Omaha beach. Fortunately, they have a forgiving commander and he decided to pardon them in order to participate in the assault rather than a dishonorable discharge.

The American Division 1 should have two Engineer specialization tokens and the American Division 2 should have one Engineer specialization token.

Is that in addition to the listed Flamethrower and Medic specialisations?
 
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Mike zebrowski
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yes
 
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David desJardins
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Game Geek wrote:
The American Division 1 should have two Engineer specialization tokens and the American Division 2 should have one Engineer specialization token.

Can we hope for an errata page on the FFG website, soon?
 
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