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Subject: Thoughts on Defensive Set-up rss

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Andrew Laws
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DISCLAIMER: Before I begin it's vitally important that we get this out of the way; Combat Commander is a highly situational game. Everything mentioned below will be the wrong thing to do at some point.

Set-up is the most critical single stage of a game of Combat Commander, especially for the defender. Errors made at this point can sometimes not become apparent until a few turns have elapsed, at which point it’s often way too late. From the moment that map hits the table you should be analyzing your options.

Terrain - Static Vs. Mobile Defence.

The terrain will largely dictate whether you should be aiming for a smaller force with corresponding big VP total to spend on fortifications, or a larger force more closely matched to your opponent’s OB to try and go toe-to-toe with your enemy. A general guideline is as follows:

Open terrain favours a ‘few units/more fortification’ set-up.
Close terrain such as Urban favours a ‘more units/less fortification setup.

Open Terrain

In the case of Open terrain there are few places to position your troops with good cover and the enemy is likely to have to cross open ground to get to you. You want to think about wire and mines to delay that advance and hidey-holes of varying strengths to protect your otherwise exposed units at key points. Buying lots of units to populate an area which has no cover for them to lurk in is not a good idea, especially if your opponents units have superior range. You want a cheaper OB that will leave you a nice VP total for Fortifications.

If terrain is open you should try to pick a rough line to defend that confers the most advantage to you, namely allowing your higher ranged units the longest sighting lines possible. Place higher-cover fortifications with the highest-ranged weapons over-looking the longest sight lines. These will be priority targets for your enemy’s support weapons.

Lower-value fortifications should be used to keep lower-ranged squads safe until you can see the whites of your enemies eyes. These units will not be of as much interest to your opponent as the HMG turning his rifle squads to hamburger – Foxholes and trenches will suffice.

Try and avoid placing units where they can be fired upon without being able to fire back due to a lack of range.

Open terrain that is great for shooting is great for moving too. Most enemy units can cross the board in 3 move orders if it’s open all the way. Invest in wire.

Over-lapping fields of fire from your support weapons are a good idea but must be approached with caution to get the desired result. For maximum effect two weapons should be activated by one fire card, usually by linking them with a leader. This allows you to fire and break a unit with one, and eliminate it with the other. Bear in mind that you cannot use this tactic during Op Fire as: no more than one fire attack may be made by the inactive player per MP expenditure by the active player.

Think for a minute; are you going to be shooting mostly on your opponents turn? You might want to think about covering more of the battlefield rather than creating a brutal, but limited, killzone for fire on your turn.

Luckily, open terrain is more likely to offer you the chance to optimize for both shooting on your turn and your opponents.



• The set-up above shows an idealized version of the above points. Two Machine guns cover almost the entire map with the exception of the red hex and the higher ground behind the ridgelines. These guns are in bunkers as your opponent is likely to prioritise their destruction.
• Trenches in the open area surrounding E3/F4 squads hold lower range line troops to cover troops exiting off the board.
• Mines and Wire will be covered in depth later but briefly:
• The double line of wire is also positioned to slow any exit attempt. It will take four advance/move orders to push through. The lines of wire are set-up pointing towards your opponent’s side of the board with wire in D5 discouraging a run straight down the gap between them.
• Wire is also placed in the I6/J6 building to deny the cover to an enemy weapon and prevent a firegroup forming.
• Mines are placed adjacent to friendly positions in order to discourage an opponent from launching a melee attack from those hexes.
• Finally four line squads are held back as a reserve out of LOS of most enemy positions – only the higher ridgelines can see them and both of these can be jointly targeted by HMG fire. Hopefully these troops will stay intact until the enemy has closed the distance before being deployed as needed to bolster the line.

Reverse Slope Defence in Open(ish) Terrain.

This defensive set-up favours a lower fortification/higher unit mix and largely contradicts the above advice but is dependent heavily on the terrain available to you. To successfully pull this defence off you need to have an area of the map that is completely out of enemy LOS until they reach a certain point, be it a hill, or treeline, or hedge. The defender then heavily fortifies that point and hides a reserve of units behind the fortifications in relative safety.

This defence is ideal as an equaliser if your troops are at a range disadvantage. Remember; try to avoid placing troops where they can be shot at without response.

The diagram below shows a very literal example of a reverse slope defence in open terrain.



• In this case the British guards squads can shoot any Italian squad placed along the red line without reply. Rather than place them on this line to get shot to pieces we place the short range squads on the….wait for it….. reverse slope of the hill. Here they cannot be shot at all until the British troops broach the hill line by which point they will be heavily thinned out by Machine gun fire and ready for a massed melee.
• The green lines in the diagram shows how squads to the side should move to envelope the attacking British forces when they have closed the distance.
• Note that the above example is just to demonstrate the theory, any opponent worth his salt would flank this position, rather than assault head-on.

The ‘slope’ doesn’t have to be a real slope. A barrier that obstructs LOS will do. See below.



• The hedge acts as shield for the Russian SMG squads against the fire from the German squads who can hit the road in the ‘H’ column from their current position.
• The defender should wait until the Germans close the gap and then spring the unharmed SMG squads up to the hedge line and engage.
• In this exact terrain situation shown the river provides a big advantage as it means you cannot be flanked, whereas the road and associated poor cover provides a disadvantage. As with all things in CC: Make the best of it.

Close Terrain

In the case of close terrain such as woods or urban areas support weapons are unlikely to be as effective due to a lack of fire lanes, therefore your opponent may be not prioritise their destruction, or may simply have no LOS due to the dense cover. Cover fortifications (bunkers, trenches etc.) are therefore not required to protect support weapons or other troops to the same degree.

Your opponent is likely to be able to close distance to a static defensive line relatively easily. In melee cover means nothing; on a road or a bunker hex it’s the same fandango; FP carries the day. A shift to a more troops/fewer fortifications OB allows you a greater degree of flexibility with your defence, allowing you to defend in depth and respond to enemy breaches in your line.



• In this example your opponent can move safely through the Red Zone without you being able to offer a shot in return from your fortification hexes.
• The lurid pink zone shows areas you CAN shoot but your opponent has high cover.
• Green lines show lanes through which your opponent can move into a high-cover melee position in only one Move order, usually with only 1-2 OpFire opportunities.
• The rigid nature of your line also makes it easy for your opponent to attack en masse at one point, crack your defence and stream through off the board. Take a look at that trench in C5. It’s going to be a lonely shift out there once the flamethrower team shows up.
• High cover fortifications are EXPENSIVE. The fortifications above cost 10 vp, meaning if you planned to buy them you’d have to buy a cheap company or even a platoon. With so few men your opponent will crack your line like it’s an air hostesses make-up.

Static fortifications are out. Delaying, dividing and depth is in.



• The basic plan of this set-up is to fight early and then retreat, allowing defenders to make use of Move orders that are normally junk when defending a static line. Rather than allow your opponent to waltz up to within 2 hexes of your line and then position himself for melee, the idea is to drastically reduce the amount of safe hexes for his units to occupy and move through.
• An ever-present goal in defence is to keep the cards flowing through your hands to bring about Time marker advacnce; if you haven’t got any opportunities to shoot, then moving is a good way to burn through the deck and keep cards ticking over.
• Once the SMG squads have tossed their satchel charges and hopefully killed a couple of units the plan is to effect a retreat towards a second supported line. The high cover density and short LOS lines make this easily achievable. Doing this in the open against an opponent with a bigger hand would be very bad idea.
• The SMG squads on the left will hopefully un-nerve an opponent who won’t be too keen on setting up units in the red circle hexes where they can be struck by satchel charges from the off.
• However, if the attacker DOESN’T set-up units to face those SMG units they could potentially stream off the board for a huge victory point bonus. Even at set-up the goal should be to force tempo. Running off the board at this stage is extremely rewarding as not only will you grab a huge victory point bonus, but your units will appear at the rear of your positions where you want them anyway.
• The blue lines show the destinations of the retreating units. Note that they are empty. Retreating and having nowhere to go will mean you are forced to remove your own units from the board as you deploy, or your enemy will do it for you with gunfire whilst you wait for another Move order to make room.
• The group on the left will pull back well behind the hedge line (reverse slope anyone?) whilst the group on the right will retreat back into the buildings.
• Wire has been placed to deny forward fire points and try to disrupt fire groups WHILST allowing friendly units to retreat. A couple of hidden wire/mine cards can soon plug those gaps.
• Now your already battered opponent will have to fight at a second line marked approximately by the road, you can even pull further back into the buildings to force your opponent to come to you. Whatever slows them down.

Fortifications

There is a tendency when a beginner to put a little too much faith in fortifications. Bunkers are wonderful to hide in and shoot at distance but don’t forget that you are only a ‘move and smoke’ combo away from having your enemy peering into your dugout.

Consider the cover increase that a fortification will give you. A bunker in open terrain changes the dynamics of the map more than a trench in a building hex.

Concrete can’t move and can’t fire back. In mixed terrain consider a larger OB rather than going for the Maginot Line pt. Deux. Flexibility is better than gift-wrapping fortified objectives. Which brings me neatly to..

Try and avoid fortifying objective hexes. This may seem counter-intuitive. After all a bunker filled with a HMG, squad, team and leader makes that high-value objective 5 look awfully secure, Right? Consider the following:

That bunker could probably do the same job of protecting the approaches to objective 5 in an adjacent hex, and now your opponent has two hexes to think about; first he needs to knock out your bunker, then he needs take the objective. All you are doing by fortifying the objective is presenting your opponent with a strongpoint to sit out the game should he successfully melee attack your bunker. This makes it very difficult to re-take the objective. Particularly since he has likely used his best close-quarter troops to take it in the first place, and you are now attacking with 4 cards and he is defending with 6. If your bunker is approached by a particularly nasty looking group of flamethrower-toting pioneers it is possible to simply retreat to alternative cover that has LOS onto the objective. Your opponent might have your bunker but so what? He still has to go out in the open to get that objective. Whence you can OpFire from your new position. If you leave the objective open you can mount a quick suicide dash by a low-value unit towards the end of the game to snatch the objective back. Then the opponent has to either engage or venture out to seize it again. If your opponent tries the same trick you can have a team hop out of the bunker, snatch the objective, and hop back into safety in a single Move order.

Wire

I can't say enough about Wire. Every defence should have at least one wire purchase to it's name, even if you buy nothing else get some wire.

Stringing wire in a line across the battlefield is often pooh-poohed by veterans as a rookie mistake, but configurations largely depend on the battlefield terrain. When considering wire placement it should be placed in order to achieve one of the following objectives:
• to channel the attackers movements into a ‘killzone’.
• to deny an advanced fire point or cover for a fire group.
• to ensure the maximum possible delay in attacking a strongpoint.



In the diagram above consider:
• Black squares are defended hexes.
• The pink lines show the lines of attack I hope my opponent will take due to the positioning of wire. By using wire in conjunction with a stream I’ve created a super slow zone in N2/J2/K3 forcing his men either side. Hopefully the rest of his forces will be duped by the wire in road and relative safety of the trees in H7-10. His forces will therefore be split into three groups. This reduces Fire Group potential and if I kill a leader could lead to one sector being hamstrung for the rest of the game.
• The red cross hexes indicate cover that is unavailable to be used as a forward fire point by my opponent. Any weapons moved into the J6/K6/K5 treeline are now unusable, fire groups cannot form and any units are subject to more effective counter fire thanks to the -1 penalty to morale conferred by wire.
• If wire was in abundance I would consider placing wire in the G3/G4 building to prevent an HMG team or mortar from setting up shop there rather than deploying squads that could be easily overrun if I was focusing my defence on the black squares shown.
• The blue arrows show the number of move/advance orders required to get troops from J1 to an assaulting position on the house in N3. By placing the wire line further away from the house we have ensured a total of four orders are required to successfully melee the house from a single wire line:

o Into Wire
o Out of Wire
o Into Advance position
o Advance

Remember that Wire costs all movement to move into AND out of. Advanced players advocate a gap of clear terrain between two lines of wire as this will take four move/adv orders to clear. I tend to prefer a single layer of wire as shown above if seeking to delay an assault on a fixed position as you can get similar results, but I will use the ‘barbed wire sandwich’ if seeking to make one flank particularly unattractive (see the open terrain set-up above).

Wire should not be placed in hexes adjacent to a strongpoint. Your opponent is only stopped right next to your position, where he can advance immediately into melee. This is what he would have to do anyway. The wire is utterly wasted.

Let’s go back to our behind the hedge reverse slope diagram above.

From their current position the German squads can close to an ‘Advance’ position within a single Move order. This is highly undesirable as you will need a few turns worth of fire orders to thin them out a bit. Plus, they are currently able to serve up a hell of a fire group. Time to place some wire.



• Again, we’re not going for the ‘Wire Sandwich’ that is often advised. This single line of wire achieves the same objective; it will take 4 Move/Advance Orders to achieve melee, as indicated by the blue arrows.
• Wire is placed on the building to deny an advanced fire position for weapons, see the red ‘x’
• A ‘Slow Zone’ is created in the centre of the wire to entice your opponent to split his forces and take the path of least resistance either side. This has the effect of splitting a massed fire group into two, at least temporarily.
• The two squads marked with red crosshairs should be priority targets, again to break the contiguous line required for firegroups.

Mines

Generally I would advise defenders to place mines in hexes with low cover. Any broken units will have a harder time recovering and are more susceptible to follow-up fire, meaning the attacker will be under greater pressure to move units on to better cover, triggering further mine attacks.

Unlike wire, mines can and should be placed adjacent to strongpoints. Some players like to have a ring of clear hexes but I feel that gives your opponents an opportunity to recover before the big advance into melee. By placing mines right next to your key locations the opponent is attacked by mines as he advances into melee. This can easily tip the FP advantage in your favour. Try and avoid placing mines in single lines, further away from defended positions, as with a single Move/Recover/Move combo your opponent can often run a group of high MP units right through it. Particularly a 6-FP minefield. Mines should be close to you where they are an extra edge the defence of critical hexes, not far away where they can be recovered from and once cleared are effectively out of the game. A caveat to his is that Mines placed in a bunch 2-3 hexes deep will create a 'no-go area' more effectively than wire ever could.

Mines are a psychological weapon to your opponent as much as a real threat to his units. Place your mines so that your opponent has the most time to worry about their effects.

Unlike Wire which can be placed singly to deny the enemy a high-cover hex where he might otherwise place a weapon, mines should be placed in bunches, otherwise your opponent will simply skirt around them. The one exception I can think of is a road hex that passes through two high movement hexes and I wish to slow the enemy down slightly. I would likely only do this if I had mines to spare.

Support Weapons

Machine Guns - Yes and yes. In closed terrain perhaps not as useful but I would still grab one to guard the more open hexes. In open terrain MGs are a must, the more powerful the better, chances are you won't be moving much from your bunker so don't worry about the movement penalty. Defenders can OpFire like a madman until nothing remains of your opponents force but a solitary mortar team in the back. speaking of which..

Mortars - hmmm, mortars. Mortars are like the muesli of the support weapon world; you're kind of glad you have them when there's nothing else but you can't understand why anyone would make it a habit. Attacking with mortars is perhaps more sensible than defending with them, the ability of the German and British mortars to lay smoke is pretty nice, plus they can confer a +2 bonus when attempting to root defenders out of wooded hexes. For a defender they're perhaps less useful; absolute garbage in close terrain as they can't fire CLOSER than 2-3 hexes and, they can't OpFire and they have to be targeted - another step along the way to go wrong. They sometimes have greater range than an MG, but MG's often have greater firepower. Give me a Ratatat any day.

Big Guns - All the factions big guns bar the German Ig18 and anything Italian can fire smoke, but why would a defender want to lay smoke? Why not tie one arm around your back while you're at it. I suppose the range is attractive, being able to cover the entire board from a good position. I think this may be faction-specific; the German and British big guns have a much higher relative increase in firepower to their corresponding HMG. The Americans on the other hand should always be reaching for that .50 cal MG in defence.

Artillery - In close terrain I'd say the 'hidden X' actions on the Artillery Request orders are more valuable, in open terrain, it's a toss-up, if you have it you can at least decide on a card-by-card basis, but the enemy is constantly trying to close the distance making that artillery slightly more risky each turn. That said, calling an Artillery Request on yourself when surrounded is an amusing way to mess with an attacker's mojo, particularly if you are in a bunker and he's not.

Flamethrowers and Satchel Charges - In close terrain at least consider it. Who wants to attack a building with a flamethrower INSIDE it?

Molotov Cocktails - Put that away. You embarrass me and you embarrass yourself.

I hope this helps new and perhaps even intermediate players of CC to at least think about defensive set-up in new ways. As regards advanced players, I look forward to some interesting discussion below. Remember, this is CC, everything above will be wrong at some point, some of it will be wrong often.

DISCLAIMER 2: I know the set-ups above aren't the most optimal or even in some cases realistic. They're designed to illustrate concepts, a bit like how cave paintings don't feature in biology text books.


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Stacey Hager
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Best CC strategy article in the land. First rate sir!
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Chick Lewis
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Wonderful tactical tips article, I agree with nearly everything you propose, and found two new ideas about which to think deeply.
 
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Mark Buetow
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Move! Advance! Fire! Rout! Recover! Artillery Denied! Artillery Request! Command Confusion...say what?!
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HarlemMimeSchool wrote:

Molotov Cocktails - Put that away. You embarrass me and you embarrass yourself.


No way, man! Op Fire with those (in a group even) and rob the units of Cover? Yes, please!

Good stuff overall...until the Partisans show up... devil
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Steve Bishop
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Malacandra wrote:
HarlemMimeSchool wrote:

Molotov Cocktails - Put that away. You embarrass me and you embarrass yourself.


No way, man! Op Fire with those (in a group even) and rob the units of Cover? Yes, please!

Good stuff overall...until the Partisans show up... devil


op-fire and leader bonus no less

ninja

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dustin boggs
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these are my overtexts and
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fantastic read more reasons this is my fav game. Now to get an opponent to the point where we will rsg and that has a reasonable idea of the rules and tactics.
 
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Tim McCarron
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A really good well written article. To be honest, you should seriously consider submitting an in depth article such as this to GMT for their C3I magazine - its that good
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Chadwik
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travillaintim wrote:
A really good well written article. To be honest, you should seriously consider submitting an in depth article such as this to GMT for their C3I magazine - its that good

I second the motion. All in favor?
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Chad Jensen wrote:
travillaintim wrote:
A really good well written article. To be honest, you should seriously consider submitting an in depth article such as this to GMT for their C3I magazine - its that good

I second the motion. All in favor?


+1!
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Mark Buetow
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Chad Jensen wrote:
travillaintim wrote:
A really good well written article. To be honest, you should seriously consider submitting an in depth article such as this to GMT for their C3I magazine - its that good

I second the motion. All in favor?


C3-Aye!
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dustin boggs
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to further my response... when can we see the article on attacking. I have not won as attacker yet.
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Larry Haskell
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Chad Jensen wrote:
travillaintim wrote:
A really good well written article. To be honest, you should seriously consider submitting an in depth article such as this to GMT for their C3I magazine - its that good

I second the motion. All in favor?


goo
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Andrew Laws
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bishuk wrote:
Malacandra wrote:
HarlemMimeSchool wrote:

Molotov Cocktails - Put that away. You embarrass me and you embarrass yourself.


No way, man! Op Fire with those (in a group even) and rob the units of Cover? Yes, please!

Good stuff overall...until the Partisans show up... devil


op-fire and leader bonus no less

ninja



This is what I'm talking about. Dissent.

One of my problems with Molotovs ampulomets is that you can't use them to dislodge an enemy unit from an objective hex for fear that you'll start a blaze and permanently hand the points to your opponent. As for denying them cover? Bah! any cover near you should be wired up already and under MG LOS. Did you learn nothing? . Plus a blaze starting in an open terrain map could disastrously limit the sight lines from your higher range weapons and if it spreads unkindly may effectively give your opponent a corridor to Exit Point Heaven. The potential for sight line disruption is pretty high given the absolute MAX range of molotovs is '3' with a 2 command leader. When you're attacking on the other hand..

Although..

Could you hypothetically target your own objective hexes with molotovs ampulomets in a bid to start a blaze and thus deny it to your opponent for the rest of the game? I don't have the rules to hand but that seems to me to be against the spirit if not the letter.

Wait, It's CC. It's always to the letter.

ramkitty wrote:
fantastic read more reasons this is my fav game. Now to get an opponent to the point where we will rsg and that has a reasonable idea of the rules and tactics.


Well I am coming to Victoria for Gottacon in early feb and would like to try Up Front, and WOAH you DO live in Victoria and wait a sec.. own Up Front. I'm sure a deal can be struck.

travillaintim wrote:
A really good well written article. To be honest, you should seriously consider submitting an in depth article such as this to GMT for their C3I magazine - its that good


I really appreciate the sentiment and a big thanks for all the thumbs everyone but I'm not sure a venerable tome like C3i would be interested in throwaway stuff like:

"With so few men your opponent will crack your line like an air hostesses make-up."

ramkitty wrote:
to further my response... when can we see the article on attacking. I have not won as attacker yet.


The plan was to compose my thoughts on set-up, both defending and attacking and then a post on the actual process of defending in the game, and a similar one on attacking, and then run through the factions, considering them from the point of the RSG.

Thanks for all the kind words so far.

EDIT: confusion about molotovs and molotov launchers.
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John McLintock
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HarlemMimeSchool wrote:
One of my problems with Molotovs is that you can't use them to dislodge an enemy unit from an objective hex for fear that you'll start a blaze and permanently hand the points to your opponent. As for denying them cover? Bah! any cover near you should be wired up already and under MG LOS. Did you learn nothing? . Plus a blaze starting in an open terrain map could disastrously limit the sight lines from your higher range weapons and if it spreads unkindly may effectively give your opponent a corridor to Exit Point Heaven. The potential for sight line disruption is pretty high given the absolute MAX range of molotovs is '3' with a 2 command leader. When you're attacking on the other hand..

Although..

Could you hypothetically target your own objective hexes with molotovs in a bid to start a blaze and thus deny it to your opponent for the rest of the game? I don't have the rules to hand but that seems to me to be against the spirit if not the letter.

Wait, It's CC. It's always to the letter.

I don't understand all this talk about Molotovs and blazes. Is there a rule about this in CC:R? If not, there is nothing I can find which says that Molotovs are liable to set blazes in a manner similar to Ampulomets.
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Stacey Hager
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I believe the info on the Molotov/blaze rules are in the Med playbook.
 
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shager wrote:
I believe the info on the Molotov/blaze rules are in the Med playbook.

No. The only rules in the CC:M Playbook are the new RSG rules. And there isn't a Molotovs special rule about blazes in scenario 20, the lone CC:M scenario in which they feature.
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Richard Pardoe
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Molotov cocktails don't trigger blazes.

I believe the OP has confused MCs with Ampulomets. In the Stalingrad BP, Ampulomets (molotov projectors or bottle launchers) will cause a blaze if doubles is rolled on the targeting roll.
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Andrew Laws
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RPardoe wrote:
Molotov cocktails don't trigger blazes.

I believe the OP has confused MCs with Ampulomets. In the Stalingrad BP, Ampulomets (molotov projectors or bottle launchers) will cause a blaze if doubles is rolled on the targeting roll.


Ugh. Yes indeed I have.

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Russ Williams
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HarlemMimeSchool wrote:
Could you hypothetically target your own objective hexes with molotovs ampulomets in a bid to start a blaze and thus deny it to your opponent for the rest of the game? I don't have the rules to hand but that seems to me to be against the spirit if not the letter.

Wait, It's CC. It's always to the letter.

I was going to say "But an attack has to be done against an enemy unit, not against any arbitrary (even empty) hex, doesn't it?" But then I wasn't sure... it would be interesting if a literal interpretation of the rules permitted attacking an empty hex and you had to interpret with "common sense" to know that you can't attack an empty hex...

But indeed it's explicitly spelled out, hurray:
O20.3 wrote:
And, unless firing Smoke [O20.2.1], there must be at least one enemy unit in a targeted hex for the shot to occur.
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Chadwik
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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
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Quote:
I'm not sure a venerable tome like C3i would be interested in throwaway stuff like:

"With so few men your opponent will crack your line like an air hostesses make-up."

I think they would; if not, Battles magazine surely.
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Reloc 8
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HarlemMimeSchool wrote:

Thoughts?


Supoib !
 
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Tanks Alot
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I shared this on
https://www.facebook.com/HistoricalBoardGames

Thanks for a great article!
 
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This is a great article and as a new player it definitely gets the mind going. I'd love to see more articles like this.
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John DeWolfe
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Fantastic stuff.

On using mortars in defense - there is the small benefit from having to do a targeting roll in that you'll cycle through cards a bit faster when you do fire it. I obviously agree that I'd take any mg over a mortar any day on defense, but if you happen to have one they're not bad candidates for sticking with a team on a secondary objective out of the way just to give the attacker another thing to think about.

Your advice on the value of wire is very well taken - it took me lots of games to figure out how useful it was in channeling, slowing down, and breaking up offensive positions. One thing I've recently started trying is throwing a wire on any objectives I don't otherwise plan to defend very close to where the attacker starts. If that objective is something he needs for points, or if I can bluff him into thinking I need it, it's an astonishingly cheap way to make him waste a move order to get the points.

Finally, here's a little trick I pulled off in the last game I played, which was an RSG where I ended up as a Belgian defender. If you're in a French/Allied Minor/Italian OB and worried about your hand gumming up due to poor discard ability, having a trench line means you can always play your move orders even in a static defense situation just by having a couple of your units swap places inside the trenches, or a unit can dosey doe from one hex to the next and back - you don't have to worry about drawing any op fires from the attacker and your soldiers can do a square dance inside the trench line to your hearts content as you dig for better cards/a specific card or action you need (say recover/ambush/concealment).
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Mark Higginbottom
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As a recent convert to CC:E I really enjoyed this as well as it being helpful and insightful. I am really looking forward to the corresponding "Thoughts on Attacking".
 
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