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Subject: Winning by having my butt kicked. (MIssion 19) rss

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Jesse Hughes
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Serious spoilers ahead. Do not read if you haven't played this mission. I give it all away.

Short and simple summary: I do not do stealth.

The squad and outfitting
==================

The squad's mission is to enter Map F + G in canoes, towing four divers, with the aim of destroying a supply depot. The top of the map is west. This was my first time on this mission.

My squad consists to two IN 4 NCOs, Amos and Big Bill, four IN 3 PFCs, Carlos, Dusty, Erskine and Gallagher, all good shots aside from Erskine, who is average. Ford is IN 2, but his WS has improved from -2 to 0. Hugo is the worthless IN 0 guy, but just you wait and see what he does.

I chose Big Bill to lead the diving squad, with Carlos, Erskine and Gallagher filling it out. All of the divers carried explosives, pistols, knives and two grenades. The rest of the squad came with SMGs and grenades, with Hugo carrying a spare carbine and two clips. I thought about a bazooka, but chose against it. A mistake.

Don't take long to go tits up
==================

As soon as the divers (Carlos and Gallagher) hanging onto the first canoe (Amos and Dusty's) reached the drop-off point, they entered the bay together. And immediately discovered the first underwater boobytrap together. And both failed the PC check. Boom! Carlos was incapacitated and Gallagher wounded.

Now, I'm not one to complain, but this is the third mission in a row in which the first casualty was Carlos. In fact, he was wounded prior to beginning Mission 18. He was once my go-to guy, but you know, luck matters in life and I just don't trust him any more.

Anyway, probably no one noticed the big boom and I can continue my stealthy approach. I mean, you'd think so, but I guess not. Two guard boats rowed out to their waiting position, joined by a diver, before I could do anything at all. The visibility is only three, however, so I could row the canoes to their dropoff point and move Amos's squad into positions in the boulders and take care of these two threats one at a time. I let the divers hold in position for a while. This was probably more caution than I needed, since an underwater diver cannot be seen farther than one hex away.

The image below is a bit off. I had placed the fourth barge in the wrong hex. Let's say it drifted out to sea for a moment.



Ford wasted a turn sitting in his canoe with Hugo, within command radius of Amos, in order to keep Hugo from panic and get him to cover. Of course, Hugo (IN 0) has a 20% chance to panic no matter what, perhaps at the sight of an unexpected hummingbird or something, so he panicked anyway. I had things to do, so Ford moved out the following round. We'll return to Hugo later. Much later.

Dusty and Ford headed to the end of the boulder-strewn peninsula, to fire on the southernmost boat, with Amos following.

By this time, another German, Peppi, had appeared in the building in hex P5, forcing Ford back to an intercept position if Peppi turned west. The image below is also off a bit. I forgot to move my beached canoes into the appropriate hexes, but at least the wind had blown the barge back to the coast.



As Peppi boarded the nearest barge, Dusty moved forward and snapped at the rowboat captained by Ulmer. His shot missed, but his next shot (aimed) took out two crew members while his third hit the boat. Those three shots took three clips. That's not right. At his first opportunity, he'd replace those clips with three of the four that Amos carried. Next round, the remaining crew member returned fire, missing, and Dusty finished him off. All of this was from hex H3, out of sight from the other Germans.

With the first boat out of the way, Ford once again ran back to the canoe while Amos was nearby to help Hugo stay in command for once. It was at this point that I noticed my failure to put the canoes on land, where they go, when Amos discovered a minefield that should have been discovered a long time ago. Oops. Anyway, Hugo panicked despite Ford's patient attempts to talk him down. To heck with Hugo. We have more on our plate. As Erskine and Big Bill swam towards the nearest barge, another diver appeared quite close to Erskine. Big Bill had to evade by swimming further south. We'd let that guy go to his wait hex for now, and deal with him later. Much, much later, it would turn out.



The tits go further up
==================

As Ford returned his attention to the remaining guard boat and Dusty met Amos to pick up much needed ammo, a truck full of Germans entered the scene, headed straight for our canoes where Hugo still lay, all aquiver with strong emotion. Ford's first attempts to take out the Good Ship Lederhosen were ineffective. He face six, count 'em six, snap shots while he was prone in the boulders and all six missed! Lucky bugger. He managed to take out the crew the following turn.



At that same time, Hugo, in a rare moment of clarity, shook himself awake and ran for cover, but it was too late. Or right on time. I don't know which. But for the second round in a row, Hugo maintained his composure. The truck moved into the hex adjacent to him. He faced a big choice.

He could use a turn granted by Amos to enter the hex and toss a grenade inside, disabling the truck and almost certainly causing serious harm to the six Germans inside. Dusty and Ford were close enough to charge assault into the hex and the three of them could pop open a tallboy can of whupass. Otherwise, I expected the Germans to enter the village and protect the remaining three barges (the first would go boom at the end of this turn). Or Dusty and Ford could stay where they were, but then Hugo would be toast (I could live with that) and a number of Germans would escape to threaten the demolition team's efforts.

Or, of course, Hugo could flee to the safety of the boulders and live. This was, I can tell you, his druthers. But I couldn't stand to let this chance to protect the demo team.



Hugo leaped forward and tossed the grenade into the cab, disabling the truck, killing the driver and... nothing else. One casualty. Six guys in the truck and one guy got hit. The others, rolling on Grenade Inside while Prone, got nothing worse than panic. There's only a six in 32 chance of an outcome involving one or fewer casualties, roughly 19%. That's not unbelievably bad luck, but it's fairly bad luck.

Still, the Germans had lost their turns, so I thought that having Dusty and Ford charge assault was the way to go. It has better odds than moving into the hex and using snap fire, since the Germans were prone in cover (vehicle in hex). Nonetheless, two attacks to capture the Captain resulted in a panic (effectively no effect) and a miss, ending the round as the first barge exploded.

The result was a bloodbath, and not in a good sense. I thought my luck had turned when the only Germans to get two turns with advantage both chose to stay prone. Hugo snap fired at Rudy, wounding him and missing at another Nazi. And then the Germans all got a turn. Vid wounded Hugo in an assault, Wagner shot and killed (killed!) Dusty and Xavier (yes, that name again) wounded Ford.

The following round, Wagner incapacitated Ford. Hugo managed to hit the Captain with aimed fire from his SMG. Pretty good, right? Panic. He panicked him. And then, Vid finished off Hugo, incapacitating him, though he would later die from his wounds.

I have to confess that, while Hugo was still standing, alone in that hex with five Germans, Amos had to face a difficult question. Go in there and help save Hugo or give him up as a goner? Okay, really not that difficult. In Hugo's time of need, Amos made tracks back up to the end of the peninsula.

At the end of the round, the second barge went "Kablooie!"

The Germans make gains
==================

The demo squad consists of Gallagher, who's wounded and hanging as far back as he can while remaining within command radius, Big Bill in the middle and Erskine taking lead. Erskine has blown the first two barges. He used his explosives and then fetched Bill's. Gallagher dropped his explosives when he was wounded, but the rules do not explicitly say that an incapacitated man drops a port box, so Carlos was evidently still carrying. Gallagher had fetched those and transferred them to Bill, who gave them to Erskine to blow the third barge. With some luck, he'd take out Peppi, still sitting on a barge.

Maybe I was being ridiculous in reading the rule as saying that a wounded man drops one port box but an incapacitated man does not. But the rules really do explicitly say that a wounded man loses one port box and a killed man loses all equipment but nothing about an incap guy. Anyway, that third explosive won't matter.

Amos's fear was realized. The remarkably healthy Germans from the truck headed straight south on the peninsula. Amos had made it to the end, but Wagner quickly closed. At this point, we had a condition change and the Germans got more aggressive. (Note that the second barge is still on the map below. I just forgot to remove it. It was blowed before.)



Wagner, in self-preservation mode adjacent to Amos, got two turns after which Amos would receive one. The dice smiled on Amos, with Wagner missing two shots. Amos would leap into the water to escape.

Meanwhile, Big Bill, Gallagher and Erskine were all two hexes away from Tabor, the diver holding in hex F4. In Condition 1, no problem, but in Condition 2, the fact that the divers were out of LOS doesn't matter. A German diver will swim towards a US diver within two hexes even though he hasn't LOS. Tabor was fair about it, and Gallagher was Eeny, Erskine Meeny and Big Bill the unlucky Moe. Tabor swam into Bill's hex. Fortunately, this gave Bill the advantage and he assaulted and incapacitated Tabor, who later died.



It strikes me now that I was inconsistent in my application of the rules. I normally have a German go into self-preservation mid-move if he moves adjacent to a Yank. Thus, Tabor should have moved adjacent to Bill and gone into self-preservation. I didn't do that (nor did I do it for the other diver later in the mission). I just plumb forgot because the instruction was explicitly to move toward Bill rather than along a path. But no matter. I just now took the time to look up the self-preservation paragraph for Tabor and the result would have been the same.

Yohan now got into the act. Again, although my divers were out of LOS, he was ordered to throw a grenade (since they were within three hexes). I think that both Big Bill and Erskine were within range at this point. In any case, Yohan lobbed a grenade at Erskine, who failed his PC roll and was flat out killed, taking the last explosive with him down to the bottom of the bay. Dagnabit! Yohan also took a shot at Bill, who was still on the surface after his tussle with Tabor, but missed.

Okay, now it was clear what I would have to do. Bill would have to get to land, staying out of LOS from all of the Germans (LOS was still only five hexes, but I didn't know whether it would further increase), head north and then west. Take out Peppi and then find a way to take out the five (five!) Germans on the peninsula without letting them attack. Since they were staying put, I could either lob grenades or take repeated snap shots, retreating out of sight each turn.

Amos was almost on the southern coast, where he could find a whole new rockpile to hide in. His old rockpile had become really touristy and not really a good class of tourists. Mostly fat German businessmen pretending to be acrobats and forming pyramids and frightening the children. Sadly, the round he was due to reach cover, he and Bill panicked!



Five German shots that round, five misses. Next round, many Germans had two turns and advantage. Amos had one turn. Six more shots came his way! The first five were misses! The sixth one, obviously, was not. Amos was wounded and he would deteriorate to incapacitated due to random event the following round.

The tedium, oh God, the tedium
==================

At this point, we are left with a wounded Gallagher and a hale Big Bill. Five Germans on the peninsula, one in the water and one on the barge in N6. I can still do this, even without Amos's help. At this point, I had misread the victory conditions and thought that I'd need two guys in a canoe (Bill and Gallagher) in order to save one of the three incapped guys (Amos, Carlos and Ford). In fact, all I had to do was kill all the Germans and the incapped guys would survive.



We can ask how Amos, without any diving gear and incapacitated in a water hex, will manage to survive this mission, but I'd just as soon not. The rules is the rules and are not to be questioned when they are in my favor.

Bill managed to get to the building in hex P7, where he found grenades, weapons and a satchel charge. From there, he was able to incapacitate Peppi. He grabbed a bunch of grenades and headed to the peninsula. Prior to reaching the attack position, I realized that snap shots would be better than grenades, since I couldn't safely be within two hexes and toss a grenade. So Bill grabbed an SMG and a bunch of ammo and began a very tedious strategy: Sit in hex K3. As soon as Bill has a turn and at least one of the four Germans in H2 and H3 (Rudy had degraded to incap) was kneeling, rush forward one hex, snap and rush back. Rinse and repeat. And repeat.

I do not care to tell you how long it took to knock out the four soldiers on the peninsula. Bill had to fetch ammo more than once, despite the fact that he got pretty good rolls for his ammo usage. I don't care if this dumbass strategy is an abuse of the rules, because the Germans would not just sit there under fire (actually, one guy did lob a grenade at Bill, out of LOS, but I took him out and the others didn't ever reach that paragraph). I wanted to save my guys and this was how I could do it. And so, I kept rolling and rolling.

Now, honestly, I could've just written a script to tell me what happened (when would I use the last clip and have to find more ammo? What were the results of each shot? Etc.). In all honesty, writing a simple script like that would've taken less time than rolling the dice for round after round after round, while the Germans did nothing. But if I'm going to take such a yellowbelly, unprincipled strategy, I should at least suffer the consequence of rolling the dice. And so I did. And after roughly forty or so turns, I finally incapacitated the Captain, the last German left on shore. I had been hoping to capture him but never saw the right moment.

That left Yohan in the water in F2. I took a couple snaps at him, but was low on ammo and I thought the whole thing with Tabor had worked out pretty well, so Bill swam out into hex H1 when he had two turns. Yohan came paddling over to H1 like a puppy and Bill put him down (like a maleficent vet?). The Germans were kaput.

Took the satchel and destroyed one barge. Threw seven grenades before I sunk the other barge, but I have demonstrated my willingness to throw dice. Then I met the end conditions, resulting in 25 VPs (only twenty to win).

The aftermath
==================

So, Mission 18 was a loss that felt like a win. This is a win that feels like a loss. Three dead guys, only two active men by mission end, but I won. Twenty points to distribute.

Carlos got one, for so quickly discovering and disposing of that first boobytrap, at no cost aside from his own incapacitation and Gallagher's wounds. Gallagher got two, for more or less the same reason, but at least he delivered an explosive which was later lost at the bottom of the bay. Amos recieved five, for giving turns to his squad when they needed them. Big Bill got six, of course, and so did Ford for taking out a guard boat singlehandedly.

Amos increased WS to 0 and Bill increased WS to 1. Carlos increase PC to 5 and Ford's PC went to 6.

It was a cheap victory, totally without honor, but I made it through. If this weren't an ongoing campaign, I wouldn't have gone through the tedium of this strategy, but I wanted some veterans for the next mission.

But now I've gone through nineteen missions in a month and a half. I do believe it's time for a break from Ambush. I'll return to this game some time later, with session reports to come.
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El Pinios
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phiwum wrote:
But now I've gone through nineteen missions in a month and a half. I do believe it's time for a break from Ambush. I'll return to this game some time later, with session reports to come.


Unbelievable cool
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Jesse Hughes
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pinios wrote:
phiwum wrote:
But now I've gone through nineteen missions in a month and a half. I do believe it's time for a break from Ambush. I'll return to this game some time later, with session reports to come.


Unbelievable cool


Yeah, but not in a totally respectable sense. I seem to have issues with discipline and obsession, but that's between me and my therapist, no matter what my wife says.
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