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Subject: Campaign game rss

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Myk Deans
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Rotonda West
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This is a detailed photo-session report of the recent game Eric and I played as part of our Two Sides of the Coin blog. I played the Allies, and Eric played the Germans.

Here's the starting position:



(The structure is game turn and any notes I took for that turn, followed by pictures at the end of the German, then Allied turn.)

1. Special rules pretty much force German to attack in middle. His rolls are all either high or low. I struggle to cover everything

German turn





Allied turn





2. Germans continue to press on my left. He pushes on the right, but the rolls go more against him and he loses more steps that I do, but still gains ground. I just scramble to cover gaps.

German turn





Allied turn





3. He missed 1 HQ recovery roll in 9 rolls, I miss another interception. He attacks at 1-1 and rolls 11!!! He's now developed a big gap in my lines on the right, so I decide it's time to fall back from Reims, shortening my lines and using the extra units to try to plug the gap.

German turn





Allied turn





4. He gets all his aircraft, but misses 3 out of 6 HQ rolls. He presses on the left and in the gap on the right. I miss another air interception, and lose a step - I'm now 0 from 3. Eric rolls another 11 on his combat on the right, 8 in the gap. On the left I miss another air intercept but he rolls 3. Against the US unit he rolls 9. I fall back big time, trying to recover some divisions for a possible counter attack.

German turn





Allied turn





5. Misses 2 aircraft and 1 HQ refit, and fortunately for me it's the one on the left. I miss air interception on right (0 from 5) and his combat rolls are 11, 7, and 9. I roll another 4 on my air intercept so my reduced unit dies on the left, he rolls 7, then 8 in the next 2 combats. I actually try a couple of attacks this turn, rolling 11 and 5. Could have been worse. My aircraft missed refit. My line on the left is weaker than a weak thing.

German turn





Allied turn





6. Quite a few of his GQs didn't refit especially on the right. He continues to push forward left and right, looking to hold on the middle. First attack rolls another 11. Then another 11. 5 on the left. And then 10. French units dying everywhere. I miss all my refit rolls and spend more time going backwards. I have one attack, rolling 7 for A2D2.

German turn





Allied turn





7. He misses 3 from 4 air refit and most of the HQs on 7. Combats roll 5, 7, 8 and 6. He dashes a unit forward through Chalons. My big reinforcements arrive, but I screw up and leave an HQ 1 space short, so can't even attack the guy in the back field. On the left I do 3 attacks managing to clear a couple hexes ready for next turn on rolls of 11,9,5.

German turn





Allied turn





8. He manages to recover all 3 HQs on the right on 8.

German turn







Allied turn







9. Doesn't get any aircraft, but gets one HQ on right and one on left. His combat rolls are 10,10,9,3,6,8 He's retreating faster than I can advance on the left. I press against ChateauThiery. Combat rolls are 5,8,4,4,6, pretty sucky, but good enough to get him out of my back field and take Chateau T. I'm going to try to come around his northern flank on the left side. Taking CT means I can threaten to come south over the Marne, attacking onto his rear.

German turn







Allied turn







10. 2 aircraft come back and a reinforcement. On the right he gets the HQ I didn't want but no others. Combat 7,3,7,10. I play catch on the left flank and press through the gap at CT trying to cut off the bridges. I have 2 combats but roll 3 and 5. The former was on an isolated unit and needed a 5 or better to kill him on 1-1. The second was on an HQ at 3-1, and just made it. 1st Cav arrived, but what to do with them? I'm sure Eric will be expecting them to head to the right but they're going to head north of Epernay in an attempt to completely encircle his army on the middle.

German turn







Allied turn







11. He gets 2 aircraft but misses all HQ replenishment rolls. I finally win an intercept! That leaves it at 2-1, but he rolls a 9! Another 9 on the next combat. A 7. A 5. That clears out the right flank a bit! He overruns and rolls 10.
I get my standard 2 aircraft, and pretty much all my HQs. Back to plan A with the cavalry corps as they aim to cross the Marne and head east. The Italians get into the action, trying to force the corner, threatening to link up with the big push from the west. I finally get to grips with his units on the left and go on a combat frenzy. 7, 11 (Italians), 7, 10 (US), 11, 7, 7, 7. Can't argue with that set of rolls, and I have my breakthrough in several places. However, I don't have any exploit capable units to do much with it....

German turn







Allied turn







12. Eric recovers 4 aircraft, but virtually no HQs. Combat 5 5-1, 3 6-1, 9 4-1, 3 2-1. In my turn I keep pressing all over, taking away his corps HQs and his ability to respond, but that will come back to perhaps haunt me in 2 turns. In the meantime I roll almost straight 7s for combat, with only a single 9 to break the trend.

German turn







Allied turn







13. He does another 1-2 overrun and rolls another freakin' 11! Others are 7,5,9,5,7 Nothing to do but press on. I get 1 aircraft out of 4, needing 7 or higher. I miss all but 2 hqs, and get none in my schwerpunkt. Combat sucks as I roll 2,3,7,7,10, and the important ones aren't the high rolls. The game will come down to HQ rolls in the last 2 turns.

German turn







Allied turn







14. Not much on the German turn. Only a couple of overruns that do reasonably and also captures the 3 VP space at 26.01. My turn sees me get none of the HQs on the right, and a couple on the left. On my attacks I roll 7, and 2 for the 4-1 attack at Chassemy, which kills all but one step, and the 'r2' result means it has to retreat back through Braine, a 2VP hex, leaving it vacant. Any result other than that would be an 'r1' and I would still occupy Braine.

German turn







Allied turn







15. Eric occupies the vacant Braine - with no access to an active HQ they wouldn't have been able to attack to take it. Another 1-2 overrun and another 10 roll. No attacks, and he uses his aircraft for CAP. He tries an overrun in his exploitation, but doesn't get the 11 required to kill me and keep a step to advance into the VP hex at 36.01. I don't recover the HQ at Montmirail, so he holds onto the 3VP hex with 1 step. In other places I make 5 attacks, variously requiring a 9 or 10 to cause enough losses/retreat to take the hex, but don't get any of them, so Eric wins 12-11.

German turn







Allied turn







So, the game pretty much came down to that '2' result on turn 14. Any result other than '2' and I would have won 13-12, or even better if the roll had been 9+. Bummer.

To add insult to injury, after we were done I noticed that 1st US HQ could have been moved south and used for an attack on the 3VP hex south of Montmirail. Of course the roll was 11, and that would have been enough to win 11-9. Dang!

A game of wacky dice rolls all over the place. I missed the first 6 CAP air intercept attempts (needing 7+/2d6 on 5 of them, 6+ on the other - air unit with step loss, -1 modifier), only making 1 of the 8 I attempted, losing a full air unit in the process (step loss requires a modified roll of 9). He didn't lose a single air step all game.

Whilst I didn't record all the die results, a quick analysis of the ones I did, and a few I remembered, gave Eric an average roll for combats of ~7.5 and myself ~6.25. For air interceptions my average roll was around 5 and Eric's was 9.

Overall, it was a fun (if frustrating) game, but we didn't feel it was very historical. Trenches appeared too weak of an advantage to the defenders, and it was too easy for the Germans to blow whole divisions out of the line. The StossTruppen are like supermen, and allow a 2-step division to convert to 6 steps, so a 2 step loss on each side means a whole Allied division is lost for an equivalent 1/3 of a division on the German side. It sometimes felt more like blitzkrieg warfare than WW1 (or at least our perception of what WW1 was like), with those StossTruppen running everywhere like panzers.

Of course, the change to the rule on breaking down divisions totally changes the game, preventing the German player from breaking down into StossTruppen, infiltrating using their reduced ZoC movement costs, then recombining and using the same breakdown counters for the next unit. This will slow down the German advance. However, the same will happen for the Allied units, as they need the breakdown units to keep up with any retreating German units, a tactic Eric used heavily, just going back far enough that the French units couldn't quite move adjacent to cause combat.

With so many other games to be played, I can't see this getting back onto the table to try out the changes.
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