Recommend
44 
 Thumb up
 Hide
6 Posts

Combat Commander: Europe» Forums » Sessions

Subject: In which I teach my wife how to play the Russians . . . rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
darin haydock
United States
Turlock
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My wife and I recently played our second game of Combat Commander: Europe and while my initial reaction to the outcome was to burn the game in my backyard, when I settled down, I realized the very reason I was angry was also precisely why I enjoy the game so much. What follows is a session report with some review elements, or perhaps a review with some session report elements.

I our first game, scenario one, I played the Germans and my wife played the Russians. We drew the requisite three objective chits which resulted in area three being worth four points while area four was worth two. My wife set up her Russians and advanced slowly and methodically on the two physical objectives in two separate groups. I decided from the outset that my four German rifle squads would be stretched to thin to attempt holding both objectives, so I focused the main part of my force (three rifle teams and the two leaders) on establishing a defensible position around objective three. My wife cautiously moved her Russians while I dashed for the best ground. She seized objective four with a force of three rifle teams, a leader and a medium machine gun, while I maintained a single rifle squad at K5 to guard the forest path.

Meanwhile, by the time her units had made it through the large wheat field in columns A-D, my Germans had established themselves securely in the building at objective five and the forest hex at objective three. From the building, I had a fine view of her slow moving units as they attempted to come across the open ground to the safety of the building at Hex E8. By the time her first unit had reached the safety of that building, I had broken and suppressed three of her four units and was proceeding to route the broken ones back to Moscow. The game ultimately ended by sudden death on turn nine with the Germans winning by six points on the victory tack and the German positions around objective three never seriously threatened.

Delighted with my victory I proceeded to lecture her on the finer points of playing the Russians – the need to attack in strength, a willingness to take casualties, the importance of playing to the Russian strength so that the Germans could not set the tone of the game.

“I didn’t know” she said, somewhat irritated.

“That’s alright” I said magnanimously. “You have to remember,” I assured her in a fatherly way, “that I was commanding waves of under equipped cardboard Russians when you going to high school dances and showing animals in 4H. My experience gives me an edge.”

She was now thoroughly annoyed. “Do you want to play again?” She asked without smiling.

“Sure,” I replied generously. “But let me play the Russians this time. Pay attention to how I deploy and attack” I instructed.

We agreed that we would keep the same objectives and simply flip the board. I divided my forces into two roughly equal groups around A2 and O1 and proceeded to advance rapidly toward the center of the board with both forces. I believed in the previous game that my wife had paid too much attention to the building at N5, using far too many units to hold it when it was not significant in terms of the overall distribution of victory points. I ran four Russian Rifle squads, a leader and a medium machine gun down the road in column O during the first turn hoping that she would take the bait and commit more than one of her four German rifle squads to contesting the building with me. Jackpot! She moved three squads and a leader along the edge of the forest in row N. Hahahah, I thought. Now I will outnumber her lone Rifle squad heading toward F3 by a factor of 4-1, and more once my feint was revealed. The center board will again be mine!

On the next two turns, my wife wondered aloud why my four squads were not moving to take objective four at N5, but instead cutting through the orchard and making for the path at K5. As she established a strong perimeter in and around the building at N5, I ran all but one of my squads and the leader accompanying them down the path toward the center of the board and objective three. I did leave a squad and a medium machine gun at K5 just in case she thought about using my trick as well.

Meanwhile, as my men were emerging onto the road at H5, I was happily calculating the odds of my chances of taking objective three. My wife’s lone rifle squad had left the road beginning at N10 for the comparative safety of the forest in K10 once I occupied the building at F6. With the luck of successive move orders, I was able to move the leader who had come through the forest path down to the objective at H8 where he was met by a medium machine gun equipped squad coming from the short road at F7. For additional support of this position, I placed two squads at F8 to assist with any flanking attack coming up from the German edge of the board.

The victory point track now stood at three mark of the Russian side. The turn marker stood at 6. Having achieved my objectives, I sat tight and waited for the game to end by sudden death. The next Time! Marker occurred shortly thereafter. My superior strategy would be vindicated! I remained confident despite the fact that the sudden death roll failed to end the game.

Meanwhile my wife had figured out that she would not need three squads to hold objective 4 at N5, and began to move them toward objective three by crossing the road at L9 and moving toward objective three through the woods on the German edge of the board.

I ignored these reinforcements as I was confident of a win on the next time advance.

Meanwhile, the first of my wife’s rifle squads (with a leader) managed to make it to H9. Here began a long multi-turn firefight as my squad/leader and medium machine gun in H8 battled with the enemy units in the adjacent hex. It was a fairly even fight, with multiple suppressions on both sides. I smiled as the next Time! Result was rolled. Surely now I would win a richly deserved victory . . . but no. The sudden death roll failed to end the game and the fight continued.

By this time the first of the German units coming down from objective four arrived to reinforce their beleaguered comrades. My wife established a squad and a leader in hex I9 and proceeded to open up from a second direction on my now outnumbered units at objective three. I wasn’t worried however. Glancing at her draw deck, I realized that she would re-shuffle within two turns, and that meant another sudden death roll. The odds were with me.

On the next turn her deck was indeed depleted . . . finally I would be able to explain where my wife’s strategy had been flawed. But it wasn’t to happen. The third sudden death roll failed to end the game and to make things worse, her attacks this round managed to break and then kill one of the two squads I had providing flanking fire in F9 and break my leader at objective three. I was still up by one on the victory track, however, and with my deck nearly depleted, victory was all but certain.

On her next turn however, my wife killed the leader at objective three. He was a 2 leader which netted her three victory points, putting her up by two.

Desperate to achieve a kill and move the marker back to the Russian side of the scoring track, I used two fire orders activating the units in F9 and H8. And sure enough, I drew the last card in my deck.

The turn marker now stood at 10. The sudden death roll was 6. Game over.

Now I was furious. I made my plan, stuck with it, achieved my goal and . . . lost!

“This wouldn’t have happened in Squad Leader!” I moped.

“Hmmm” my wife said picking up the box top “This isn’t Squad Leader.”

***
In retrospect, my frustration at the game ending and the “luck” involved, made me think again of Squad Leader. In the scenarios of SL and ASL that I have played, the games invariably had a fixed number of turns, at the end of which, victory conditions would be assessed. This system is neat and predictable. And this was the system I had played for in this game of CC:E. I achieved my objectives and simply waited for the game to end. In Squad Leader I remember many occasions where, in anticipation of the last turn, my opponent or I would move our units or take actions in ways that made no logical sense OUTSIDE OF THE FACT THAT WE KNEW THE GAME WAS IMMINENTLY GOING TO END. I remember games where lone units would move into an objective where they certainly would have been eliminated . . . if their move was not made during the last turn of the game.

It strikes me that the particular strength of Combat Commander lays precisely with this degree of uncertainty. No turn (unless you get all the way to a sudden death roll at turn 12) can be played with the certain knowledge that it will be the last. This uncertainty forces players to make decisions based on the current situation on the battlefield and not on the omniscient knowledge of some arbitrary and certain endpoint.

After two plays, Combat Commander is fast becoming one of our favorite games!
33 
 Thumb up
2.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Aasted
United States
flag msg tools
designer
Yes, I spend Geek Gold on useless things like this.
badge
Gloria: [to Robot] I'm just scared I'll come home one day and find you screwing a toaster.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
“Hmmm” my wife said picking up the box top “This isn’t Squad Leader.”


I like this for several reasons. First it seems that many people always compare one game to another, and for some reason expect it to play the same way. Second, your wife played CC:E and played it well, she won.laugh And third, not only do you have a spouse that plays games with you but she also politely rubbed it in. Sounds as if you have a very good wife.

So now the score stands at 1 to 1. I'm interested to hear who wins the next game, best 2 out of 3 eh?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chad Jensen
United States
SANTA ROSA
CA
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great report, Darin! Thanks for sharing your and your wife's experience.

I, too, have found myself falling flat on my face when trying to port "experience" from game X into new game Y....
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Bishop
United Kingdom
Lytham St. Annes
Lancashire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
kerrhaydock wrote:

“This wouldn’t have happened in Squad Leader!” I moped.

“Hmmm” my wife said picking up the box top “This isn’t Squad Leader.”



Classic thumbsup
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Australia
Sebastopol (Ballarat)
Victoria
flag msg tools
That's Karl on the left. Eternity on the right.
badge
I love Melissa, but don't tell her. It's a secret if she can find this. Shhhhh....
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Can we trade wives?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justin Heimburger
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great report, and well written. I saw the hubris a mile away, but it was no less satisfying for its predictability. Thumbs up!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.