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Subject: Silence the Guns (third session) rss

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Robert F-C
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Sydney
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Silence The Guns.

This was our third ToI session and the third scenario in the book. This is our favorite scenario so far! It felt the most balanced scenario of the three and therefore really allowed the tension to ratchet up as the game came down to the wire. It was definitely our most satisfying to play.

This scenario involves a good number of the elements - tanks, half tracks, bunkers, flamethrowers, anti-tank infantry (but no artillery yet). The scenario uses 9 out of the 12 map boards. The Germans have a single objective: defend the bunker at the end of the map (which is up on a Level 2 ridge) for 6 turns. They start out with only infantry forces defending against a combined American armor and infantry force (2 tanks, 2 half tracks and lots of infantry).

What I like about this scenario compared to the first and second scenario is that the Germans get a sizeable set of reinforcements at turn 4 (out of 6) - they get a Panzer IV, 2 half tracks and 2 squads. This means that even if the Germans have made a few errors so far ... or just have had a bit of bad luck ... against the larger attacking force then they still have some chance of disrupting the Americans before they can achieve their goal.

This time we had three 3 players and the game took 4 and half hours to play (not including an hour of setup and preliminary banter). The American attackers had two players (including me) and the Germans were played (again) by Dan. This worked fairly well.

Dan placed a double machine gun crew in the bunker which _really_ decimated our infantry early on (their already impressive range is further increased due to their elevation). The double machine gun tactic has advantages and disadvantages - all your eggs are in one basket and once the tanks get up into standard range with combined fire and concussive blasts - the machine guns are in trouble. Unfortunately for Dan, his anti-tank infantry never really managed to have much of an effect in taking care of the tanks. Once the machine guns were down then it was an all out rush for the bunker on the hill.

Early on we found that the half tracks were invaluable for ferrying key units forward (the troops can avoid the deadly machinegun op fire). These squads could then take care of the forward German positions (such as his anti-tank squads).

This game was an excellent scenario for using assaults - both for clearing enemy squads off command point hexes and for clearing the bunker objective hex (got to love those flamethrower squads! ). We used tank overruns for good effect too. The last couple of turns saw counter-assault after assault on the victory hex - it was absolutely nail-biting stuff at the end (even at 2am) - the game was won with just two figures remaining in the victory hex (to the Americans).

One tactical mistake by the Germans was that after their first successful counter-assault they moved in all three assaulting squads into the hex (which seemed the obvious thing to do). However, this meant that they could no longer move in their panzer tank which would have prevented us from performing a counter-counter-assault until the tank was destroyed. Another tip for the Germans: be sure that you have a contingency plan for when yout MGs go down - the game moves very quickly after that.

In this scenario we all felt that we had finally seen Tide of Iron in its full stride. And it is fun!

After three games, my opinion of the game pieces hasn't changed: they might be fiddly but we still aren't overly bothered - the plastic miniatures form much of the appeal of the game for us. Whilst 3 games isn't really a definite test, I still have the feeling that the plastic infantry pieces aren't as breakable as they first feel (due to the plyability of the plastic).

My greatest complaint with the game at the moment is actually lousy scenario selection in the Scenario Book. I've come to the conclusion after playing a great scenario that the first two scenarios suck for learning the game. Also, to me the scenarios in the book all have a slight sameness about them in terms of structure - A attacks B where B is largely dug into static defensive positions. I would like to have seen at least one scenario to mix it up a bit, for instance, where there is scramble for middle ground or something similar.

So I'm really looking forward to seeing what scenarios everyone else comes up with!

One thing that the scenario book does do right is to set a precedent for modifying and building upon the basic rules to tune the scenario. Anyway, we are all still looking forward to the next three scenarios in the book; things should only get more interesting from here on in. [Can't wait for the first scenario where we can start laying down some artillery. ]

Cheers,

--- RFC ---
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Robert F-C
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A couple of questions to FFG:

When the scenario says that the Americans win if they control the bunker at they end of any round. Do they have to control the actual bunker itself (i.e. they must have a squad inside) or just the hex? We played the former for thematic reasons but I'm probably guess it was supposed to be the latter.

We also played that you can't enter a bunker/entrenchment after a successful assault. Is that correct?

 
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Mike zebrowski
United States
Unspecified
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Not FFG, but I know the answers.

WhereAreTheBlackDice wrote:

When the scenario says that the Americans win if they control the bunker at they end of any round. Do they have to control the actual bunker itself (i.e. they must have a squad inside) or just the hex?


Just the hex. As the hexes are not numbered/lettered/uniquely identified, it is just easier to refer to the hex by what is in it.

Quote:
We also played that you can't enter a bunker/entrenchment after a successful assault. Is that correct?


Correct
 
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John Di Ponio
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Lake Orion
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Looking forward to diving into the scenarios this weekend! Great article and I will take that int accont when I play the scenario.....of course...my brother does not have to know where I get my intel!!!!!laugh
 
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Jeremy S

Wisconsin
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This game sounds awesome!!! And with realistic strategy. I hope to get one soon . Nice you had fun too. Im giving you thumbs up
 
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Blorb Plorbst
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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I think we're all bozos on this bus.
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Quote:
The double machine gun tactic has advantages and disadvantages - all your eggs are in one basket and once the tanks get up into standard range with combined fire and concussive blasts - the machine guns are in trouble.


We played this Scenario on Saturday and found this to be a very effective tactic. Since tanks have +3 firepower and +3 range at pillboxes -- this turned into a very quick and brutal end to anyone in the bunker.

One thing that baffled us was the inclusion of so many concealed German Squads. Did you find any significant use for them? In one case, it actually hurt the Germans by allowing my half track to race through their hex instead of having to go around . . .
 
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George Dziuk
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Austin
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We played this scenario today and we were both baffled as to why you have that many US infantry at the start of the game, but you only end up using *maybe* 1/3 of that total force.
 
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Matthew Frederick
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Played this yesterday and the Americans utterly obliterated the Germans. We actually called the game early in round 3 because it was clear that we (the Americans) would absolutely have the pillbox before the reinforcements came in.

There seemed to be a couple of issues.

First, unquestionably, the Germans rolled poorly, again and again, and we rolled pretty well. That's always going to have some effect.

Second, they split up the machine guns, one back in the pillbox and one in the forward bunker. Luckily for us, we took out the forward bunker early, and while the other machine gun crew was quite effective with suppressive fire and sometimes wiping out some infantrymen, but in retrospect a double machine gun crew there would have been a lot more effective, despite the single basket of eggs.

Third, we were able to use the suppressing card at the beginning of the third round to shut down the one machine gun, opening up the route in. We would have lost a few troops to some other op fire, but due to overwhelming numbers and our already quite-forward position, it was fairly trivial at that point to swoop in.

It was the first game for all but one of us (the other American). I quite enjoyed it, but both German players were miserable, and both felt it was far too fiddly compared to their favorite, Memoir '44. Maybe it was the wargames I played as a kid (though not since), but it felt like the perfect amount of detail+flexibility balanced with simplicity. M44 feels far too abstract to satisfy me.
 
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Jason Maxwell
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Arvada
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I was one of the miserable Germans Matthew refered to. I think the biggest problem I had was that the scenario was precariously balanced. If the Germans had anything go wrong, it felt like there was no chance for them to recover and win. We lost our forward machine gun early, and after that it was just a matter of time.

As for the system itself, I can see the appeal of it, its not a bad system. However its not a good system for me, its too much fiddlyness of remembering who attacks what with how many dice at what time at what range and what type of fire. I'll stick with the C&C system.
 
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jason fulford
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We played this one on Friday night and the Germans won, this was the first win for the Germans since we started playing the game, it felt like a well balanced game, towards the end I positioned the panzer in the pillbox hex and it was destroyed, thr Germans troops were assaulted in the pillbox hex and made a successful defence, in the end 1 man and two German halftracks held the pillbox as the game closed on turn 6.
 
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eryn roston
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Played this scenario for the first time today. Germans won but it could have gone either way.

For myself (as the German Defender) I set up one machine gun in the bunker position strong side) and one in the entrenchment on the far side of the hill (weak side).

I sent 2 concealed Panzerschreck squads into the forest on the strong side of the map, and one concealed Panzerschreck squad to the rough terrain by the command objective on the weak side.

These concealed squads manged to destroy a Sherman on the weak side and delay the strong-side Sherman who was very cautious about getting in range of my P-schrecks after loosing his first tank).

the two elevated positions for the machine gunners game me near total coverage, and the early loss of the Sherman (round 2 I think) meant I could grind away at US infantry a long time. The machine gunners survived a sniper attack but were finally over-run by turn 4 or 5 by a couple halftracks (weakside) and a combination of tank attacks and suppression cards on the strong side.

But by that time it was really too late. I was dug in with a panzer on the bunker hex and some reinforcement infantry.

The key was using as a lot of suppression fire. I could foil a lot of move and fires, and a few assaults that way. Plus it slowed the over all advance just enough to survive through 6 rounds.

-E
 
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Nick Aubrey
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It should be stated immediately that the forward bunker on the German left is undependable and it’s a waste to put a machine gunner or anti tank squad in there - a unit of 4 basic infantry to claim the command marker for a couple of turns is the best you can do.

A concealed anti-tank in the rough terrain behind the emplacement isnt likely to work, provided the American sets up properly - he can have LOS to any legal set up position for a unit hoping to move into that terrain.

I prefer the more conservative approach of keeping the anti tank guys behind the hill main German hill and only moving them to a firing position once the tanks or half tracks are within normal range.

Its also important not to put both machine gunners in the pill box (or anywhere else for that matter).

Its vital to split the MGs for two reasons - firstly, the "plateau affect" will render the pill box machine gun less effective against any Americans advancing down on their right hand side. Secondly, the Americans have access to cards that can automatically pin a unit - if both machine guns are in the pill box, the Yanks can get a turn where no MGs are active and they can to do whatever they like.

The Germans should win this scenario 75% of the time, although it would be a different matter without the reinforcements!
 
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eryn roston
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proxynick wrote:

A concealed anti-tank in the rough terrain behind the emplacement isnt likely to work, provided the American sets up properly - he can have LOS to any legal set up position for a unit hoping to move into that terrain.


Interesting. I'd have to check again but I seem to remember there being ample cover for that concealed squad to move into position there.

-E
 
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