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Subject: Anzio Strategy by Grant Wylie rss

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grant wylie
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I was a little concerned when I saw some of the reviews initially for Anzio (the campaign game, not the scenario) where people were having a hard time winning as the German, so I went back to play the game again to check viable early German strategies. We had a very balanced playtest of the game when we got the game from Mike Rinella.

Let's take an initial look at historical campaign by reading through Mike Rinella's historical commentary included with the game. In the Anzio - The Landings section Mike talks about the Allied landing being largely unopposed and the Allies pushing recon units to the outskirts of Rome, but not pursuing the aggessive strategy the Allied commander Lucas was content to firm up his beach head by January 26 (which in game terms covers turn 1).

In the game the Allies will steam roll German defenses on turn 1, there is no question on that. The question is, as the German player how to prevent an allied victory on turn 1, because after that the German player gets significant reinforcements and things balance out quickly.

To win as the German player against an aggressive Allied player you have to trade units for time. Eliminated KPG units are returned the IMPULSE after they are eliminated and may come in on any board edge for the German player. Remember, combat is not mandatory, so the German player can place his KPG 1 strength units up against the Allied units and lock them up from moving as you can not move when adjacent to enemy units. An aggressive Allied player will move his 3 landing stacks on board and keep them in a group of at most 3 to 5 stacks which will give him 5-1 to 7-1 attacks each attack in the first turn. Doing that however, his front will be very limited and he (if aggressive, and I think to win he has to be aggressive) will push due north for the victory stars at hex numbers 1200 and 1400. The German player will have too spread several units on the Eastern flank to tie up the roads along that side of the board, but everything else should be placed in front of the allied units, moving next to them but never attacking. Use the rivers to advantage when possible to give a column shift (which will be negated by the Allied player using air and artillery support if using those optional rules).

Don't worry about trying some move to cut the Allied supply lines on turn 1 as the waste of a unit running behind Allied lines for merely a -1 die modified is not worth the effort.

Defense in depth. Position a unit behind your units (immediately behind) to prevent the Allies from using advance after combat to race to Rome. Don't worry about losses, if the Allies only advance 1 hex for each dead German unit then you are doing your job as the KPG is cannon fodder, they'll return the next impulse.

On turn 2 and beyond the German get some heavy duty armor and infantry support and most race it to the Allied spearhead to strike and stop it from going any further. After turn 2 the Allied job gets much harder as it takes them 2 impulses to get units moving on the board. Remember, Allied reinforcements must start placed in the floating reserve, the next impulse they move to a task force hex and must stop, the next impulse they move to a land hex and must stop,,,so from the impulse they enter the game until they make a landing is 2 full impulses, and not until the 3rd impulse can they go inland.

It isn't easy to win as the German, historically they should have lost Rome in the first week of the battle. I think with the strategy outlined above you will find the Germans will win about 50% of the time which should make for an exciting game.

In the series Mike has not hamstrung players limiting them to what did happen, but given them a game that give players to pursue what could and should have happened. You are the general, you are in command, there are no rules that require you to pause and secure the beach head, race to Rome if you can as the Allied player.

Hope this helps,

Happy Gaming!!!

Grant Wylie
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mario p.
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Thanks grant, I'm thinking about getting anzio cassino and I was a little concerned about balance issues risen around here.
What about Mercury/Market Garden: any news?
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Michael Rinella
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I've seen some early map and counter art. I assume the release is on schedule.
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R Oldham
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I have played the game 3 times now with all the options and the Germans have won all 3 games. The germans must use the strategy you suggest.
If you dont use the British OR American move option then the Allies should roll over the Germans. If you have to choose as an allied player which army goes that impulse it is much harder to coordinate attacks. I feel this is a must for balance. I like the game and I am looking forward to getting Crete/Marketgarden.

May you dice always roll sixes!
Ron Oldham
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Ted Spencer
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Thanks Grant.

I was liking everything else about the game except the chronic German losses. Your advice is welcome help.
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Alex N
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LOL, but I thought the rules for Twilight Struggle were easier to interpret than Anzio. Nevertheless, having specifically bought this game because of its production value AND a complexity weight of 1.3 (one of the lowest found for any hex-and-counter ranked war-game on BGG) I dove into this game expecting to invest at least an hour learning the rules.

I'm sure glad we have Forums to resolve rules questions but one area still escaped me entirely.

cartking24 wrote:

On turn 2 and beyond the German get some heavy duty armor and infantry support and most race it to the Allied spearhead to strike and stop it from going any further.
Grant Wylie


Where in the rules for Anzio: The Gamble That Failed does it explain reinforcements other than 8.2 and 8.2.1?? In my first few solo games I kept bringing back only KPG units not realizing that 8.2 was also referring to counters not displayed on the "Anzio Starting Units and Setup". I now see on the counter sheet for Anzio there are additional German counters but I incorrectly assumed that was for the German Attack Scenario. Now, looking more closely, I see some of the counters on the counter sheet have Reinforcement designations like "1-B(E)" and in the rules there are counter illustrations showing "5-D(N)". Nowhere in the RULES is this shorthand ever explained. Now I understand for grognards this is kindergarten material that doesn't need to be explained. But for someone who has only played Strike Force One so far (with a complexity rating on BGG of 1.1 with a VERY WELL written tutorial) I honestly say I was befuddled and thought that the Anzio campaign was seriously unbalanced to the point of being unplayable!

Having said all of that, I now realized with very little effort (duh!) that "5-D(N)" means "introduce unit at the beginning of impulse D, Turn 5, from the North edge of the board.

I understand that Michael Rinella had space limitation on his rule set. Still, if Worthington Games was aiming for the newly recruited war gamers, they should have at the VERY LEAST slipped into the box a one-sheet game tutorial for Turn 1 or an introduction explaining these "simple" concepts. This is one of the reasons I admire Victory Point Games for their Battle Lesson series and how they introduce wargames to the newly initiated.

Seriously, for every new boardgamer that speaks out on the forum for these obvious "instruction" deficiencies, that are 10 other boardgamers who give up in frustration and move back deservingly to Eurogames.

I hope in the next reprinting of this game and in the remaining series, this oversight is corrected for the sake of increasing profitability for the publisher and for the enjoyment of new grognards!

Chiefsachem
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