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Subject: Red Horsemen of the Apocalypse? rss

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H, Gua
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I've been enjoying playing the Grunwald Swords very much, but I feel that I might be missing something or doing something wrong. I've played one game with a live opponent (my son) and another half dozen solitaire. In all but one of the games the Allies have won by ordering their front line Polish horsemen (the red wing), and only that wing, towards the Teutonic grays with the primary goal of occupying the German camp. I am playing with a 'historical' setup, as suggested in the rulebook.

In the first game with my son, I just got routed, trying out some obviously non-optimal orders (withdraws and shield walls) just to see how they worked. His primary order was Horses+Bonus, which basically tore my units to shreds. He won on points fairly lopsidedly, something like 38-10.

In the solitaire games, I decided that as the Allies I would only order the red wing and my primary goal would be to occupy the camp. The main order was Horse+Move. The first few times the occupy plan worked quickly and easily, as I did not know how to properly close up holes and use heavy horses to tie up the raiders (the Polish HH can disengage from EZOC from other units during the Horse phase).

But once I figured out how to keep the holes plugged and engage, the Allied player (myself on the other side of the table) would switch commands from Horse+Move to Horse+Bonus and then proceed to eat my gray units for lunch. In the last solitaire game I played, the Allied player, on his final turn, managed to up his kill score to 52 and to occupy one of the camp hexes. As the Teutons, I was able to dispense with the raider in the camp with my dark gray wing, but I still lost 52-37.

One thing I've been trying is to split the Teutonic White wing, dedicating a portion of it to stopping the Red Raiders, while using the remainder to harrass the weaker Lithuainian forces. Typically I spend 2 turns to do this (which may be too many), and I don't net many enemy units.

I'm wondering if I'm missing/forgetting some rules situation, but perhaps I just haven't figured out what needs to be done. I am not an experienced hex-and-counter wargamer, so both things are possible. I certainly think I could foil this more easily if I chose a non-historical setup.

In any case, thanks to Tom Russell for a fun game!
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Tom Russell
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Dearborn
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I don't think you're necessarily missing or misplaying any rules-- though note that per the last sentence of the first paragraph in 10.0, Heavy Horse prevent enemy units, even other Heavy Horse, from leaving their EZOC, so the Polish HH should not be disengaging from EZOC during the Horse Phase so long as you're using Teutonic HH units to freeze them into place.

I have tried the "Red Horsemen of the Apocalypse" strategy (nice name there, btw) and have had it tried against me, but it's usually been unsuccessful.

Diverting a substantial part of the white wing to slow them down is definitely a must. I would stay one or two hexes away rather than becoming adjacent, except in those cases where you can get two or three units to gang up on one Allied Units.

If the Allied Player is spamming red, then his pink and yellow wings are probably twiddling their thumbs, and there's probably a gap between the red and pink wings. If you can get into that gap, you're not only in a good position to pick off some of the pink units, but you're limiting Polish mobility.

That part is key. If they can't move very far, they can't get into the camp. The gray wing is also a part of this.

Now, here's the thing-- you can't just prevent the Poles from getting to the camp, because he might still of course win on casualties, as you've seen. If all he's able to do is protect the camp, then the Teutonic Player is only reacting to what the Allied Player is doing. What he has to do is get the Allied Player in a position where he's reacting to what the Teutonic Player is doing. Putting pressure on the other two cavalry wings - particularly the orange wing, which is most LH units - is key. Make it so that the Allied Player has to activate one of those wings instead, or so that he has to get the Lithuanian wing out of there as soon as possible (thus minimizing the amount of VP he can score that way).

Doing these two things at once with the white wing-- harrassing the red wing and attacking the orange one-- is tricky. You've got a number of strong units, 8 "A" and 6 "B", but how many to delegate to which task is hard to define and is going to depend on your playstyle and your opponents.

So-- I think you're on the right track, and you have a sound grasp of the situation. It's just finding the mix that works. Moving your white wing into a position where they can potentially then be moved to perform either task is also key.
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Allen Butler
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Love the name of the tactic BTW. Right, as Tom says having a decent reserve of Teuton HH is a must for holding the red Poles at bay. I have played this one quite a bit, and found the Teuton along with the reserve, has to move fast and mangle the other polish wings with his left. The gap formed by a Red only assault should allow the Teuton HH to exploit rather easily and get a few group attacks on exposed units. Better odds more deaths i.e. more points.

Just my two cents.

Cheers
AL
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H, Gua
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tomrussell wrote:

Diverting a substantial part of the white wing to slow them down is definitely a must. I would stay one or two hexes away rather than becoming adjacent, except in those cases where you can get two or three units to gang up on one Allied Units.


tomrussell wrote:

If the Allied Player is spamming red, then his pink and yellow wings are probably twiddling their thumbs, and there's probably a gap between the red and pink wings. If you can get into that gap, you're not only in a good position to pick off some of the pink units, but you're limiting Polish mobility.


After meditating on these two points I altered my setup and playing accordingly. the right half of my White Wing broke into two parts, one of which got behind the Polish Reds, the other in front, but not adjacent. The other half of the White Wing charged the Lithuanians. This time the Teutons prevailed 40-22, basically wiping out the Polish Red Wing and a good chunk of Lithuanians. Some fortunate bombard rolls helped, but things felt much more under control.

Thanks for the hints! Looking forward to the next iteration where the Allies don't play so one-dimensionally.
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