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Subject: Who needs caffeine when you have Combat Commander? rss

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Mark Buetow
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McHenry
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This isn't a super detailed AAR. I'm just writing it to tell you what happened, one of those super-amazing-crazy Combat Commander stories that leaves you jittery and full of dissipating adrenaline when the game finally ends.

Setup

Marc and I did the RSG and here's what we ended up with:

Map A wide. I was the Americans, the 3rd Marine Company. Marc was the Japanese, a Saipan Company. We figured the game would be long and bloody with two companies. He spent down to 0 VPs to give us a Recon vs. Recon game.

Open Objective was 4 worth 2. Exit points were +1 (His secret Obj. turned out to be open). My hidden Objective was 5 worth 5. Pay attention to that. The game came down to that hex!

The Battle
I had two leaders on the right to advance their ways up to Objective 5. Since it was worth so much, I needed to get it, especially since the Japanese started with it.

On the left, I was able to quickly move up and take Objective 4. But the Imperial forces slowly slid that direction, blasted me with lots of fire and took me out. On my right, the same thing was happening. There were a couple of good melees which I won after a few passes with the card. But it was grinding against me.

On my left: leader dead. Objective 4 taken. On my right: leader dead and objective 5 taken. But I got reinforcements and that brought a 2 leader in on the edge of the board. He then had a group of a couple of hexes that could lay down some ineffectual fire.

Now, here's where it get's rough. I totally had Objective 5. But he had a leader, squad and team coming through the brush on his side of the board. They did some damage to my leader, squad and team in Obj. 5 so I advanced them deeper into the jungle. That gave his men a chance to scurry across and come within a couple of hexes of Objective 5.

I needed to hold that objective so I moved my three units back in. The Japanese got close and advanced in. I lose the melee and they gain Objective 5!

At this point, with some good fire attacks, we're about even on the casualty tracks around 13 each! Very bloody. Now get ready for this.

The three Japanese units in 5 worked toward my a couple of hexes and were taking out my men. I sent a team up and he dashed out of the cover of the jungle and was two hexes away from Objective 5 (now empty) with NO move cards! The Time Track was at 7, and Sudden Death was at 8. I was on the plus side of VPs with 1 or 2.

I needed objective 5, because he had control and we were near Sudden Death. I had one card left in my draw pile. I had a reconnoiter which I used. It was a Move card. I put it into my hand and we went to the Time Trigger. When I was ahead in VPs and rolled SD, and then PASSED the bullet, Marc was surprised. We passed it back and forth a few times to KEEP the game going! (He initially wanted to keep going to have a chance to kill me by surrender).

So I use that Move card to get my Team into Obj. 5 and claim it. Then his three units move back next to Obj. 5 and begin shooting. One of my defense rolls is a Time Trigger which he makes me re-roll so it doesn't happen. The Team breaks and is revived the next turn.

Next, he manages to break the Team and eliminate it on his next turn. So he's got three units next to Objective 5, which I control. He has an Advance card in his hand to get his men there. It's my turn.

I notice he has very few cards left. I activate my leader down in the middle who can activate three squads. They each take a shot, ineffectual but forcing him to draw cards. None of the shots hit. But one of my attack rolls brings on an airplane.

Now he's got FOUR cards left in his draw pile. Time Trigger is at 9. I have an Asset Request in my hand. Plane is on the board. I dive bomb the hex next to Objective 5. He's only got three units which means three rolls out of his 4 cards. He's going to get his next turn and retake Objective 5. One of his rolls is his other snakeyes, Time Trigger. Now he knows, obviously that 5 is worth something, so we pass the bullet about five times until the game ends and I have the bullet!

So heres the final score: I had objective 5 under my control (though which no units and completely threatened) and ended up with about 7 points (pulled another open objective earlier which gave me two). My surrender level was 19. I had 18 casualties on the track! He had 14 casualties! Most of those 32 dead units came from melee! What a spectacular, nailbiter finish! It actually took me a few minutes to stand, stretch and wind down some I was so adrenaline pumped. Whew!

Game Comments

The first half of the game was a steady Japanese advance that was doing a lot of damage to my forces. It looked to be an easy victory for the Japanese. But my men got in some good fire attacks and some important melees. But the razor-edge tension of trying to grab 5 and get the game over was absolutely exhausting.

I'm pretty sure I burn more calories playing CC than any other game!


Edit: Minor edits for spelling, etc.
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Jim Haltom
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Great session report Mark! I only have Europe so far, and this makes me want to buy Pacific. I don't even have Med. yet. Arrgghhhh!
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John Foley
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Mark, wow, your account pulled me in and I could feel the intensity. Super stuff!!!!!
 
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Mark Buetow
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grafikchaos wrote:
Great session report Mark! I only have Europe so far, and this makes me want to buy Pacific. I don't even have Med. yet. Arrgghhhh!


Pacific is a very different game, despite the mechanics being very similar. The big difference comes in how the Japanese are treated. They don't surrender and they just about all have boxed firepower which means they're very tough in melee. In fact, most Japanese units have some firepower even when they're broken which makes LOTS of Ambushes necessary to have any effect.

The general view is that the Japanese want to close for melee when possible and the Allies want to stay back and pour ridiculous amounts of firepower into the fortified positions.

Map A is hard because the whole middle is grass which is great for giving a hindrance but doesn't offer cover and takes 2 to move, so it's pretty tough stuff to fire through effectively.

What was interesting was how the game played out on the left and right edges of the board. I suppose that's because Objectives 4 and 5 were on the left and right.

It's been said that Pacific isn't quite as chaotic. I'm not still not sure about that. I had two or three Air Supports and there were several blazes on the map; we had several snipers and a fair amount of other things going on.

We've played through all the published scenarios (of which I won 7-6 with an RSG tiebreaker!) and now use the RSG. The RSG in any of the CC games is just a brilliant and balanced tool.

Get Med and Pacific and anything else you can get your hands on. I look at Combat Commander like this: Someday, people will be begging for reprints and such, like the do with ASL and I'll be glad I've had it all from Day One! laugh
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Bill Powers
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Excellent AAR. Well done.

Combat Commander really is the game that 'aint over till its over'.

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John Foley
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Mark, "right on!"

Hey Bill, long time no see. You and I had one of the most epic contests together at PrezCon with the play test version of Totsugeki! Man - I still remember it well.
 
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Jim Haltom
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As soon as the money frees up, I'm totally in. I love the game, and I'd love to see it have some staying power like ASL does.

Hopefully this Christmas, Santa will be good to me.
 
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Chick Lewis
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Astonishingly cool session report !

Incredibly intense game !


Congrats on your come-from-behind-win, Malacandra !!

Chick

 
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Mark Buetow
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chicklewis wrote:

Congrats on your come-from-behind-win, Malacandra !!

Chick



Thanks, Chick. The emotional swings in CC are rough. You're really got to hang in there and see what happens and fight to the end!
 
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Chip Hundley
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Great report. This is the kind of stuff that makes boardgaming so damned fun.
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Mark Buetow
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misfits859 wrote:
Great report. This is the kind of stuff that makes boardgaming so damned fun.


Exactly!
 
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Lionel Jacques
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Awesome report! The tension really came across in the read through!! I need more CC!
 
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Mark Buetow
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Hey, thanks!

That close victory helps lift my spirits after my dismal performance as the Poles last night. And the Germans. Scenario 14, which I managed to lose as both sides (played back to back, with friend and son, where I switched sides).

So, no Polish jokes, but Mark jokes are perfectly in order!
 
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