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Subject: First Time rss

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Paul Ripley
United Kingdom
Stevenage
Herts
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This was my first time playing the game and also my first session report so here goes.

Having purchased Tide of Iron this week Paul (not me) invited some of us round to try it out. The previous two days he had spent filing down the pegs on the figures for smoother passage into and out of the holes in the bases.

This opening scenario was one he had found online with the Americans attempting to capture an objective held by the Germans. Only infantry featured in the scenario so the rules would be easier for this first play. Phil took the Americans while I played the Germans and Paul handled the rules explanations.

First off we had to assemble our troops. As the Germans I didn't have much in the way of decisions to make with two mortars, two machine guns and two officers along with a bunch of basic infantry. Having had a look through the rules I had seen that it would be more efficient to pair up the machine guns for opportunity fire so I did that. While being the more efficient option as far as op fire goes it does make them vulnerable to return fire as would be seen. The mortars were also paired up, which was an easy decision as there was an obvious position for them on the hill where they could not be seen from most of the map. This left the infantry and officers to make up the rest of the squads and two engineers markers to assign.

The Americans as the attacker had superior numbers and some elite infantry. They also had a mortar and some machine guns that were spread out among their squads. They also had two medics available to keep them going.

Next came deployment and with the objective located on a hill with three hexes of razor wire in front and three hexes containing an entrenchment around the objective it was obvious that the Germans should concentrate forces there. The mortar pair were placed in the rear entrenchment where they would be out of sight of the Americans, while the machine guns and a squad of infantry occupied the other entrenchments. Two squads of engineers were also placed in the front two hexes where I planned to immediately have them construct entrenchments and occupy them. The other three squads were placed among some buildings on the right where they could distract the Americans' advance.

The Americans had woods hexes on their right flank so set up a number of squads behind these including their mortar, safe from the Germans. Some squads also started on the left with a bridge a short way ahead. The Americans would need to occupy this bridge in order to receive their command points. Now we were ready to begin with the Germans starting with initiative and three actions to be performed at a time.

First off op fire was declared and the two entrenched German squads at the front of the hill were placed in op fire. The Americans also placed a squad containing a machine gun into op fire. The Germans then started and immediately sent suppressing fire from their two mortars at a pair of squads with the result that both squads were disrupted. A good start for the Germans. The two engineering squads then entrenched themselves and it was over to the Americans. Knowing he needed to occupy the bridge Phil sent squads heading in its direction but withering suppression fire from the machine guns prevented any of them from reaching it. The Americans would be without command points from the first round. The rest of the round mostly consisted of movement as two of the German squads pushed forward to the front building and the Americans moved into the woods. The last action was some suppression fire from the American mortar that only managed an irrelevant pinned result. We decided that Phil should be using his mortar at the start of a round when it would be more effective.

As only the Germans had command points it was easy for them to retain initiative. Five German squads were placed into op fire so the German actions would be finished before the Americans started. More mortar fire pounded the Americans with the Germans managing to rout an American squad. With the threat of the machine guns the American advance was still tentative but they did take the bridge giving them their source of valuable command points.

The third turn saw the Americans win initiative and having tired of the German machine guns five of their squads concentrated fire on them with the inevitable result. Bereft of their machine guns the Germans now had to rely on their other squads to slow down the American advance. One American unit charged forward to end up adjacent to the front building holding two German squads.

The fourth round saw initiative back with the Germans but before the two squads in the building could make life unpleasant for the Americans standing next to them Phil brought out a strategy card that allowed him to take an action first. This squad then headed straight forward to a spot allowing them to see the German mortars, German op fire proving ineffective at slowing them down. With this new threat the German mortars promptly turned 90 degrees and dropped their payloads on these interlopers. Fortunately for the Germans the suppression fire was particular effective this round and the American squad promptly routed. Two more American squads with elite infantry had come adjacent to the front German building but suppression fire had successfully pinned the first squad dissuading them from assaulting the building in that round. With only two more rounds remaining the Americans would need to perform decisively if they were to capture the objective.

By now I had a number of strategy cards in play allowing me to take actions to flip fatigue counters to op fire and to remove pinned or disrupted counters. Plus a card I could use to add +2 cover to a unit. Each of these cards could be used three times and I was making full use of them to keep my men going. Phil had a card giving him a bonus command point per round for initiative and I correctly surmised that I would not be winning it again.

The fifth round saw the Americans assaulting the building with the two German squads; with a substantial delay for multiple readings of the assaulting rules to make sure we had them right. The dice favoured Phil and his two squads entered the building hex with only the German officer making it out alive. Two squads also advanced to the razor wire hexes ready for an assault on the objective in the final turn. With only the German mortars left to act they launched a normal attack on one of the squads successfully killing two of the infantry, a good result for the Germans.

The last round saw Phil use all of his command counters for initiative as he had correctly surmised that if he didn't I was certainly going to take it back off him. The result was now going to depend on the next three actions. The first two would be a combination of mortar fire then regular fire from his squads not in contact with objective in an attempt to soften up the two German squads sitting on the objective before the assaulting squads moved in. Alas for the Americans the Germans were just too well dug in. The single suppression hit from the mortar was cancelled by each squad and the other fire also did nothing. With the two German squads undamaged by these attacks the odds were against the Americans taking the objective and this proved to be the case. The Germans easily beat off their assault and with only a single American squad left unfatigued victory lay with the Germans.

This was certainly an enjoyable game and I am looking forward to my next opportunity to play this.
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Alvin Slatton
United States
O'Fallon
Missouri
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Good session report. I played Tide of Iron for the first time yesterday and I must say that I am impressed. This is on my "Must Buy" list.
 
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Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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"Blow up the damned ship, Jean-Luc!"
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Nicely written session report, Paul. I've played this scenario and it was easy to follow your play.
 
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