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Target Arnhem: Across 6 Bridges» Forums » Sessions

Subject: First Time Hex & Counter Wargame Experience rss

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Jeb Adams
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I had ordered Target Arnhem a couple of days prior and posted a Hot Deals thread about it that generated some buzz--including the notice of a player local to me that already had it. He motivated me to get over to the weekly boardgame group in the area and have a go at this hex and counter game.

I'd never played a serious wargame previously--my wargaming was limited to Shogun, Risk, and Axis & Allies, and my hex experience is limited to setting up Catan. I'd heard plenty about them, of course, but the fear factor associated with them always put me off. Target Arnhem presented me a game that was small, simple (as these go), and came with a coach to help me through the session. Also, I'd just finished watching A Bridge Too Far, so I actually knew some of the history associated with the scenario--this helps a lot, by the way. Here's a brief synopsis: D-Day was about 100 days earlier, the Germans are retreating (and retrenching) back across a few fronts. They hold the Netherlands, which is tough for the Allies to take because of its canals and rivers. The Allies are stalled by supply line issues. Montgomery comes up with a plan to drop paratroopers all over the place, secure three critical bridges, roll a huge group up the one damn road (the so-called "Hell's Highway") that can handle them, and sweep into the Ruhr Valley and knock out the German industrial heart. It got all cocked up, the reinforcements didn't make it in time to help the paratroopers, and the Netherlands starved for almost another year before the Canadians liberated them.

I played the Allies and made a mistake pretty much right off the bat. My paratroops get plopped in at three spots and two of the eight are allowed to immediately do something interesting like move or fight someone. The default action according to my opponent is to take Arnhem, guaranteed, with the two British paratroop counters. Now, it's possible to take it with one--the matchup is 4-1, halved (2-1), and you need two hits because the Nazis are fortified. I had a 50:50 shot--and blew it. He used his impulse to camp out there and fend me off until XXX Corps could arrive.

It wasn't totally crazy to do this, however, as I used my other paratroop action to send some 82nd Airborne south towards Eindhoven. This put them in range of some small German divisions a full turn earlier than my opponent had previously seen and with a couple of decent rolls, I had Eindhoven and basically everything south of Best and Son by the end of the first day. This, he was most impressed by, as one of his leading strategies in previous games was to bog down XXX Corps at Eindhoven while his reinforcements came online and then mess with the supply line provided by Hell's Highway.

Here's a map that summarizes my movements and my opponent's fortifications.


The 101st was in a tight spot and ended up not being able to hold Grave. This ended up being a HUGE deal. With Grave and Nijmegen--as well as the advantage of road movement from Arnhem, the Germans were able to constantly keep their 9th and 10th SS units fresh and keep my effective forces at half strength because I was fighting across bridges. Even so, I should be able to chip away and break through--but I rolled a 6 three times out of five at Grave at 1.5 to 1 on the Combat Results table--I was losing 2 endurance to his 0 each of those times and just could not take it. I resigned the campaign at the 2nd Impulse of Day 7.

I'd also rather clumsily lost the supply drop for the 1st British Paratroopers, figuring they were safer in the woods Big mistake, as being "out of supply" is a huge hindrance, and one I won't be repeating. I dropped the free Polish Paratroopers behind enemy lines at Nijmegen to stall the road movement and help break up the grip between the Maas and Waal Rivers, but the 107th Panzers made pretty short work of them and sewed the road back up.

Credit to my opponent, he had an excellent command of his supply points, and his reinforcements were an enormous pain to fend off along the highway. He also made very few attacks, not willing to risk any bad rolls where unnecessary, though the temptation to whale on the First British Para was nigh overwhelming.

The game is a great introduction to wargaming, and at free, it should be an automatic addition to anyone's collection if they feel there's even a chance at liking it.
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Ryan Powers
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Thanks for the writeup. I'm still waiting for the copies I ordered to show up. I got one for myself, and am having one sent straight to a friend.
 
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John O'Haver PhoDOGrapher
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I've misplaced my copy somewhere. You have interested in this again.
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Michael Taylor
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Aurora
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Welcome to hex and counter wargaming. Be prepared for a lifetime of excitement from here on in.

Mike
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Tim P.
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Great write up of a tense game.

I am still smarting from the ease in which you cleared out Eindhoven angry

Rest assured my motivational speech to my troops meant that they performed better in the later battles. The ability to roll a 6 for supply and then a 1 for combat helped me a few times laugh

For a first timer you did well and will do even better next time.

If you want a rematch, let me know.
 
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