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Storm Over Taierzhuang» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Exchanging lives for time and space rss

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Elijah Lau
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I commanded the Japanese forces while Rob and Robin commanded the KMT forces. Rob opted for an unorthodox defence by putting 10 units in each of the northern edge areas. Needless to say, the Japanese broke through easily at Linqiao and pushed on through Jinzhuang and the area east of Jinzhuang. I had concentrated my tank force here, which was probably a mistake as this left my forces at Wanzhuang weak, since they couldn't benefit from the '11' defence of the tank units. Fortunately, the KMT forces attacked piecemeal and were unable to inflict casualties.

By mid-game, the Japanese easily captured Chenzhuang and crossed the Grand Canal, capturing Majiawan, while a huge group of retreating KMT forces fell back to the western part of Taierzhuang town. KMT forces on the right flank of the Japanese advance were eventually winkled out while the rest of the KMT forces on the left flank fell back to the area east of Zhangzhuang. Jiang Gong intervened several times during the battle, most of it bad for the KMT commanders. This led to a running joke that Jiang Gong must have thought Robin and Rob were doing too good a job.

The Japanese occupied Zhangzhuang and forced its way into the area east of Zhangzhuang, thus occupying all three areas of the opposite bank of the Grand Canal. But they were unable to clear the KMT forces from the region, as the KMT forces would just send 1 or 2 units from Taierzhuang town to contest the area. These guys would be wiped out but the KMT would send more. A large Japanese force gathered outside Taierzhuang failed to kill enough KMT units in the town to prevent them from crossing over the Gand Canal.

All hopes of Japanese victory were dashed by two consecutive turns of fuel shortages on April 2 and 3. By April 6, KMT forces still occupied Zhangzhuang and the area east of it.

The game took about 4.5 hours, which allowed the game to be completed in one sitting.

Observations:
1) This is a high-KMT casualty game. By the end of the game, the KMT had lost more than 40 units in exchange for killing 3 Japanese infantry units.

2) Some chits are more useful than others. Overall, I felt that Japanese chits were more useful than the KMT chits. The arty and air support chits were pretty devastating most of the time. The Banzai and Will of the Emperor allowed Japanese units to effectively attack twice. The Banzais were very useful in the first half the game, when the likelihood of the KMT having Resolute Defender to cancel the Banzai was low. The performance of the KMT arty and air support was laughable in our game. And the limited opportunities to attack for the KMT meant that Night Attack and Dare to Die were not useful most of the time. But Li Tsung Jen and Resolute Defender were absolutely critical to the KMT.

3) Do not play with reinforcements. While we did not roll reinforcements, we all agreed that it would pretty much turn the whole game around as long as anyone got reinforcements, and through a ridiculous low-probability event.

4) We played the "every three units, +1 to firing roll" rule. The original rule would produce some pretty wild results.

5) Some random events are worse than others. Getting two fuel shortages events in a row in the late game was pretty devastating for the Japanese. If the event had come up early while the Japanese still had momentum, it wouldn't be so bad. At least, the chance of having Will of the Emperor in hand would be higher. But late game, with only two or three chits, forget it. Conversely, losing chits or gaining chits have some impact but they are not devastating overall like a fuel shortage can do to the Japanese.

Conclusion:
Overall, we had fun but I had more fun playing the Japanese. Yea, it's not that much fun being the KMT, as Rob and Robin report. There's a serious upper limit as to what the KMT can do and after a while, the strategy for the KMT is pretty obvious. This would obviously limit replayability of the game. Also, there's no give-and-take in the game. It's all one side giving and the other taking. Of course, it is historical, but still, the KMT have limited strategic options and after one play of the game, you'll know what those are and it's just a matter of repeating it in subsequent games.


Edit: Jiang Gong refers to Chiang Kai Shek. Chiang has traditionally been referred to as Jiang Gong (Honorable Jiang) or Jiang Zei (Jiang the Thief), depending on your affiliation. Our gaming group uses both terms interchangeably, depending on who we're playing in our wargames.
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Terence Co
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A few comments from the designer:

1. Resolute defender does not cancel Banzai, resolute defender means that you get to fire at units which move into your area.

In the case of Banzai, if the Banzai units are moving then firing, then resolute defender can be used to interrupt the Japanese Banzai but the Banzai still goes through, if the Japanese still have ready units to fire with.

Banzai I think is one of the most important chits in the game, its what drives the Japanese offensives and I found throughout the game that Banzai was quite important.

As for fuel shortage, historically, most of the Japanese vehicles were not destroyed by KMT efforts but were actually left intact on the battlefield since they ran out of fuel. And I do agree fuel shortage can seriously hamper the Japanese offensives but historically the Japanese were suffering from a bad supply situation.

I think Night attack and dare to die are very useful in the game. In fact have you ever tried to bait the Japanese in overextending himself and use night attack and dare to die and counterattack with a lot of KMT units(10 units).

Also units cannot retreat to areas with enemy units, if you cannot retreat you are destroyed.

Use this advice in defeating the Japanese.

I think there is a lot of replayability for both sides.

As for the Generalisimo Chang Kai Shek event, I'm glad you found it humorous, the title was intentional.

Anyways I'm glad you enjoyed the game.





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June Hwang Wah
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I used the 10 unit defence in my solitare game also. Sited in a defence 2 area, that gives a face defence strength of 11. With 10 units, there are a total of 20 steps to lose before needing to lose any units. With such a defence, you need to fear only a stack of 3-4 armour units complemented by infantry units. The Japanese need to be wary of such attacks in the early game, as an attack gone awry (hit by Resolute Defenders, bad attack rolls) will cripple the attacking force as there is no place to retreat to.

The defenders respond by taking losses as much as possible by retreating (2 pts each), and then activating fresh units to advance back into position. Each such unit will then be able to absorb 1 point by retreat (granted, not as good as that of fresh unit, but attackers will not be as strong as well).

Over time, Japanese made some headway, but as long as the KMT as feed 1-2 units into the rear areas, the Japanese cannot progress very far because of the need to keep free spaces for retreat during the inopportune night attack.

Maybe I played too conservatively as the Japanese.
 
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Terence Co
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Keeping 10 units in an area can be a good or bad tactic, depends on your current situation.

Keeping them far forward is not really a good idea as the Japanese will use their powerful tactical chits to targets them, less KMT units, the better the Japanese success will be.

Those 10 units far forward will be excellent targets for Japanese arty, bomber, fighter chits. as well as Banzais.

And while the Japanese may not be able to kill units initially using these high power chits. They are softened up,(turned to spent status) and will be excellent targets for a Banzai which will be the coup de grace.



However, keeping them as a mobile reserve for counterattack purposes is a very good tactic. Let the Japanese overextend themselves then when the KMT action comes up use a Night attack chit supplemented with dare to dies and even with a dose of KMT air force will be quite deadly to the Japanese.

The Japanese has the burden of the attack since he has a time limit 13 turns to win the game and as the game goes longer, the KMT gets stronger( more KMT chits, less Japanese chits).


The Japanese can still move forward even if you feed them 1-2 KMT chits.

I think you are moving incorrectly.

The rule says that you only stop moving when you enter an area under enemy control.

If there are KMT and Japanese units in an area, it is considered contested and not under anyones control.

However, the catch is that you cannot retreat to an area that is inhabited by enemy units.

Here is a summary of movement:

Moving into an area that is contested or under no ones control: 1 movement point.

Moving into an area that is under enemy control: +1 movement point and units stop moving.

Japanese infantry units crossing the Grand Canal not at the rail junction: +1 movement point.(Japanese tank units can only cross the grand canal at the rail junction).

Japanese tank units entering Taierzhuang town: +1 movement point.


 
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Elijah Lau
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gangrel wrote:
The Japanese can still move forward even if you feed them 1-2 KMT chits.

I think you are moving incorrectly.

The rule says that you only stop moving when you enter an area under enemy control.

If there are KMT and Japanese units in an area, it is considered contested and not under anyones control.

However, the catch is that you cannot retreat to an area that is inhabited by enemy units.


We were moving correctly. The Japanese advance was not hampered by the KMT sending one or two units into an area. That was irrelevant in our game. What was highly relevant was the Japanese KMT sending one or two units from Taierzhuang town across the Grand Canal to contest the victory point areas behind the Grand Canal. The Japanese have no choice but to become spent (by end-game, probability of getting Banzai chits are low) to clear these units. But the KMT will just send more. Of course, the Japanese will try to attack the units in Taierzhuang town to make them spent so they can't cross over the Grand Canal but that is very difficult, particularly in the late game when you have few chits.
 
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Terence Co
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The Japanese infantry units can cross the Grand Canal however, this would be impossible, if the KMT had control of the two areas behind the Grand Canal bordering Taierzhuang town.

OK crossing the Grand Canal not at the rail crossing point goes like this.

For the KMT like normal.

For the Japanese:

Japanese tank can only cross the Grand Canal at the rail crossing point.

+1 extra movement point to cross the grand canal not at the rail crossing point only for Japanese non Tank units.

So let's say the Japanese are at Taierzhuang town and wanted to cross the Grand Canal.

Now the area he is crossing to is controlled by the KMT.

So the movement point cost would be:

1: for moving from one area to another + 1 for moving into an area under KMT control and another +1 since it is a Japanese unit crossing the Grand Canal not at the rail junction point.

So the Japanese would have to have 3 Movement points and the Japanese infantry units all only have 2 movement points.

So it is almost impossible for the Japanese to cross the Grand canal not at the Rail Junction point and impossible to cross the Grand Canal from Taierzhuang town as long as the two areas bordering Taiezhuang town behind the grand canal are KMT controlled.

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Elijah Lau
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Sorry for the confusion. I meant to say KMT crossing from Taierzhuang town to the areas opposite the Grand Canal.
 
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