This was our first LnL game after a previous run-through of the demo scenario "A Friend in Need..." between myself and Kyle. We played the second scenario "Unexpected Visitors".
We had three people present this time, but since Neil hadn't played before, he decided to team up with Kyle and assist control of the US Army troops. North Vietnamese Army were handled by yours truly. Team USA seemed excited about the number of units they started with (USA 9 Squads + Hero + 3 Light Machine Guns vs. NVA 7 Squads + Hero + 2 LMGs + 12.7mm HMG) but it turned out that quantity would not this game decide.
USA were on the offense in this scenario, trying to fight their way into a village through an NVA force who has had time to prepare for the attack.
NVA started split up with a Leader and a couple Squads with LMGs in the small wooden buildings north of the 2A4-2O4 road. NVA "Master Sniper" Hero and the 12.7mm Weapon Team shared the large wooden building at the center of the northern board (just north of the 2A4-2O4 road fork).
USA started in from the south of the map, with forces split on either side of the middle road. A Leader, Medic, Hero, and a few squads w/ LMGs on the west, and a Leader and the remaining few squads to the east.
USA played it conservative for the first round, only moving up a couple hexes to maintain cover behind the southern jungle and hill. Maybe they played it too conservative.
NVA took advantage of the slow advance by hustling each Leader/Squad/SW south across the road to two wooden buildings north of the eastern tall grass, as well as the small patch of light jungle just south of the road towards the west.
USA didn't take full advantage of its Hero's randomly drawn skill card "Path Finder" and sent their Hero along the western edge of the board where only a few scattered light jungles provided little cover. (The Hero might have fared better on the eastern half of the board where heavy jungle dominates the landscape.)
A couple USA squads on the western side of the road foolishly wandered too close to the road and immediately suffered opportunity fire from the Master Sniper Hero hidden in the wooden building. Shaken by the incoming fire, they dropped and eventually managed to scrape their way back into heavier cover, but only after one squad lost half its men.
NVA basically dug in and watched the action unfold in front of them. The eastern and western tall grasses provided them perfect cover from direct fire, and gave them good firing lanes diagnally across the board. The moving USA units repeatedly gave away their positions and received enough fire to keep them from advancing too much.
Two events activated by the advancing USA units introduced yet another NVA Sniper to the party, and a VC ambush in some bamboo huts. The Sniper applied additional pressure to the fire lanes, while the ambushing VC units overwhelmed the USA units who stumbled upon them and wiped the out completely. Retaliatory fire from nearby USA units eliminated the ambushers.
These would be the only kills the USA would make on this day.
Without a leader, the remaining shaken USA units to the east of the road were sitting ducks. Unfortunately, the USA's remaining Leader, Medic, and Hero were all across the road to the west. The Hero was working his way north, dashing between the scattered jungle terrain but was pinned down by incoming LMG fire from the NVA Leader and his squads.
The Medic made the selfless run across the road but was diving for cover to avoid incoming sniper fire. Shaken and in the open, he was helpless to subsequent HMG fire from the 12.7mm Weapons Team and was eventually wounded and killed.
Each time the USA units edged close enough to be within striking distance for the following round, incoming fire left them shaken and falling back to regroup. Either they weren't keeping their heads down, or they weren't using the terrain to their advantage. Too often they left themselves in a position where they were easily spotted and subject to fire from one or more NVA groups.
The couple remaining Good-Order USA squads to the west finally got up the courage to work their way north to the tall grass, low-crawling into it to avoid giving away their position.
NVA repeatedly attempted to locate them, but the boys in green had their heads down and waited it out. Finally they were able to fire upon a group on NVA who had given away their position in a wooden building by firing on another USA unit. The hiding USA squads attacked, managing to shake a couple squads, but the NVA leader quickly rallied one back next round. In the meantime, the USA units were located due to their fire and were all shaken. Due to their quick advance, the now-shaken USA units the the tall grass were within NVA striking distance and a leader led his squads in a charge against their position and they were eliminated in melee.
A USA leader was finally able to worm his way across the road to rally the shaken troops on the eastern side.. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late.
With NVA squads rapidly approaching from all sides, they could only attempt one last valiant melee stab, which due to 1:2 odds, wasn't meant to be.
It was a complete NVA victory.
A combination of lack of experience on half of the USA player's side, an ineffective starting position, and a hesitant first round movement, left the USA team struggling against a well dug-in (and twice reinforced) NVA opponent.
With all their eggs in one basket, the loss of the single USA leader on the eastern flank left almost half of their squads virtually helpless. The USA Hero really wasn't put in a position where he could make good use of his skill. An eastern deployment would have given him the ability to be on top of the NVA (with a few squads in toe!) in a couple short rounds.
I'm sure with more play-time (hey, this was only our second game) everyone should be more comfortable with when to double-time it to a good position, and when to keep your head down! Chalk one up to experience!
A good game was had by all, and we can't wait to play again!
Being one of our first times playing, we forgot completely about laying Smoke for cover. The USA units would have definitely had an easier time regrouping their forces if we had remembered how adept (comparatively) USA was at the use of Smoke.
Despite our slight fudge of the rules, thus making an already challenging US assault even more difficult, we still had a great time.
Played this one a few times from both sides and with the same outcome, a NVA victory. That 12.7 mm packs some firepower.
Great placement of the NVA units.