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Nuklear Winter '68» Forums » Rules

Subject: Prodigal Sons and Mines questions rss

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Christian Sperling
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I have some problems with the first scenario Prodigal Sons. I simply can't win it with the Germans, maybe I get a draw result just barely ... but that's it.

The Black Hand can easily defend Brenken. Here's the situation:
Usually in one Brenken hex (P17,e.g.) are:
2 Zealots units
1 Minefield
1 Sandbags
1 Wreck

Now, the DV value of those units if assaulted is:
13 first Zealot unit
+2 urban terrain
+1 sandbags
+1 wreck
+1 assisting Zealot unit
Total of 18 DV.
Btw: The Zealots have enough time to build these defences.
Shooting isn't an option either as they constantly laying smoke in their hex(es).

The best AV the Germans can come up with is:
The 2/130 Formation:
5 Infantry
+2 APC support
+2 Assault bonus
+2 CO bonus
Total of 11 AV.

The other option with the 1/130 Formation is
5 Tank
+2 Recon
+2 Assault bonus
+2 CO bonus
Also a total of 11 AV.

Now, to destroy the defenders with an assault, a minimum dice roll of 10 (AV 21) is needed. This doesn't take into account that the APC/Recon will be destroyed by the mines more likely than not, if not worse.
Without the APC/Recon support a roll of 12 is needed.

I've thought, maybe I play something wrong with the mines.
Therefore some questions:
If a group of 2 units move into a minefield both are attacked with the appropriate firepower. Correct?

In which order? I think the player who moves the units in chooses the order in which minefield attacks are resolved.

In the RB under Minefields it reads:
After resolving each Minefield attack roll 1D6 to check for depletion.
So, if 2 units move into a minefield and I resolve the attack for the first unit, I also check for depletion right after.
Then I resolve the attack for the 2nd unit and check for depletion again?

The minefields seem to be overpowered anyways. Well, maybe not the minefields but the unlimited amount. I think there should be some restrictions. Especially the case that Infantry can place mines in their own hex. A very though matter for enemies who want to assault.

But even if there aren't any mines, to win with the Germans in this scenario seems pretty hard. The Black Hand just moves their Zealots as soon and fast as possible to Brenken and start building defences...
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Try this in Scenario 2. All those Zealot units left alone in Geseke, can build a veritable Maginot line in no time at all. On my second go at this one, I decided to restrict mine placement to a maximum of 1 per side per activation. There was still 3 hexes with mines for the Nato forces to penetrate by the end of turn 5.
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Ryan
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Hey Christian, I've played this scenario three times and the Germans have been easily rebuffed each time. Like you said, the Black Hand have time to get 3 Zealots to Brenken and mine nearly every adjacent space as well as construct sandbags in their hexes. Then there's the smoke, as well. The APCs are easily destroyed by the mines, leaving the infantry, if they survive unshaken and unscathed from the mines themselves, seriously unprepared for an assault.

I've only played the first scenario, and that only 3 times. Some houseruling thoughts:

1 Limit the number of mines infantry units can deploy during a scenario. Maybe 2 minefields per infantry unit.

2 Or increase the number of turns needed to successfully deploy minefields to 2 turns per minefield.

3 Maybe give the Drittes Reich extra units or remove some Black Hand units. They have 2 infantry, 2 APCs, 1 recon, and 1 tank unit. The Black Hand have 4 infantry, 2 APCs, and 1 tank. The comparable units are fairly equivalent, with the Pest being of sub-par quality than the German APC units. That's a hard position for an attacker to be in: fewer units to take a multihex position from a dug in defender in a limited time frame. In addition, the defenders have good odds to disrupt/reduce the attacker with the use OP FIRE all over the battlefield. Then there's the supply point the BH get every turn for most of the scenario.

I haven't played any other scenarios yet, and I know I don't have enough experience with the game to develop game specific tactics yet. My initial reaction is similar to yours though. This scenario seems very tough for the Drittes Reich.

To keep things in thematic perspective, the Germans did just come up to the surface after a 20 year burial underground. Not only do they have no idea what their former country is like or what awaits them, perhaps many of the German soldiers grew up underground without having ever stepped foot on the surface. Maybe we should expect things to be very tough for them.

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Andy Cowen
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Scenario one seems almost impossible for the Germans, using the mine rules. The Hand just has to rush a couple of Zealots there on turn one and start laying mines. The mines alone will probably stop the Reich. Mines are overpowered; I don't play with them.
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B Schneider
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I've played this scenario four times now, and the best I've received is a draw for the Germans.

I'll move on to other scenarios, maybe this was the intent for this scenario - German Recon running into unexpected opposition..
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Christian Sperling
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Ryanmobile wrote:
Hey Christian, I've played this scenario three times and the Germans have been easily rebuffed each time. Like you said, the Black Hand have time to get 3 Zealots to Brenken and mine nearly every adjacent space as well as construct sandbags in their hexes. Then there's the smoke, as well. The APCs are easily destroyed by the mines, leaving the infantry, if they survive unshaken and unscathed from the mines themselves, seriously unprepared for an assault.

Correct.
I think the main problem are the mines in the hex you want assault, because this way you'll probably lose the accompined APC (as you say, they are easily destroyed by mines). And you'll need every support you can get to have at least a slim chance to take a well defended hex.
Like stated earlier, a defended Zealot hex has following DV bonuses:
+2 urban terrain
+1 sandbags
+1 wreck
+1 assisting Zealot unit
The end DV is 18.
Even without mines it's hard to destroy the defenders.

The wreck comes from the Pest APC. I place mines in the hex where the Zealots are and move the Pest into this hex. He is attacked by the mines and with a high probability will be destroyed. Using the Pest as an additional defender would be a bad idea, because now the assaulting units can attack them with their AP FP. So, except for transporting the Zealots to Brenken they haven't any use for me in this scenario. Besides voluntary destroying them with mines to raise the DV in the Brenken hexes through wreck markers. It's only +1 DV, but well, this can make the difference.

Ryanmobile wrote:

To keep things in thematic perspective, the Germans did just come up to the surface after a 20 year burial underground. Not only do they have no idea what their former country is like or what awaits them, perhaps many of the German soldiers grew up underground without having ever stepped foot on the surface. Maybe we should expect things to be very tough for them.

From a fluff point, this is a good explanation.

aeneas2467 wrote:
Scenario one seems almost impossible for the Germans, using the mine rules. The Hand just has to rush a couple of Zealots there on turn one and start laying mines. The mines alone will probably stop the Reich. Mines are overpowered; I don't play with them.

I really like the high destructive power of Minefields. This seems to be very realistical. As a Minefield is a really dangerous affair for Land units. Like said earlier the main problem is the amount, but the biggest problem are the mines in a defenders hex. Maybe I play this wrong and assaulting units don't trigger mines...

von wildensee wrote:
I've played this scenario four times now, and the best I've received is a draw for the Germans.

This is my result also. Out of 3-4 games, 1 draw.

The houseruling suggestions are really good. But I've tried the approach that Infantry can't place mines in their own hexes only in adjacent ones. If for any reason a unit remains in a mine hex, they are directly attacked on their next activation. With this houserule it was possible for me to capture at least 2 Brenken hexes.
In addition, I'm toying with the idea that Infantry can clear Minefields if they are adjacent to them. To do so, they must roll under their HE FP value with 2 dice.
In this manner, I'll try another option that Infantry can only place mines if they roll under their HE FP value or only on a roll of 1-3. Something like a task check. I'll test these options and see how it goes...

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Petre Tutunea
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konsum24 wrote:
If a group of 2 units move into a minefield both are attacked with the appropriate firepower. Correct?


That is correct.

konsum24 wrote:
In which order? I think the player who moves the units in chooses the order in which minefield attacks are resolved.


That is correct, the active player decides the minefield attacks' order.

konsum24 wrote:
So, if 2 units move into a minefield and I resolve the attack for the first unit, I also check for depletion right after.
Then I resolve the attack for the 2nd unit and check for depletion again?


That is correct. If an A/B group enters a minefield hex, unit A is attacked by the mines and then, following the attack resolution, roll to check for minefield depletion. If the minefield is not depleted, repeat the process for unit B.
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Ryan
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konsum24 wrote:
The wreck comes from the Pest APC. I place mines in the hex where the Zealots are and move the Pest into this hex. He is attacked by the mines and with a high probability will be destroyed. Using the Pest as an additional defender would be a bad idea, because now the assaulting units can attack them with their AP FP. So, except for transporting the Zealots to Brenken they haven't any use for me in this scenario. Besides voluntary destroying them with mines to raise the DV in the Brenken hexes through wreck markers. It's only +1 DV, but well, this can make the difference.


I agree with everything you said in this paragraph. I have used this strategy myself. It is terribly hard on the attackers to survive entering the outer perimeter (attacked by OP FIRE and then the minefield) and then rolling for a second minefield attack in the assault hex before even assaulting with their limited odds of success.

I really like the idea of minefields in this game, but I feel like the ease of deploying mines is not commensurate with the power they give the defender. I am leaning toward modifying the way they are deployed.

1 Right now I am leaning toward limiting the number of mines that can be deployed per infantry unit.

2 I also think I might rule that an infantry unit deploy minefields only in hexes it currently occupies. This would slow down the deployment. At most, an infantry unit could deploy 1 mine per two activations with this rule. Plus, it would expose the deploying unit to OP FIRE as they moved from hex to hex, instead of being able to "toss" mines out safely from their well defended hex. This concept "feels" more realistic to me. I'll have to see how it plays out.

konsum24 wrote:
And you'll need every support you can get to have at least a slim chance to take a well defended hex.
Like stated earlier, a defended Zealot hex has following DV bonuses:
+2 urban terrain
+1 sandbags
+1 wreck
+1 assisting Zealot unit
The end DV is 18.
Even without mines it's hard to destroy the defenders.


It is tough to take an urban hex defended by a dug in infantry unit, I agree. But in my young career as a NW 68 CO, I think it should be hard. If the Attacker has the maximum AV of 11 as you mentioned above, that gives the attacker a 17% chance of outright destroying the defender. There are other tactics that might be available depending on the situation, such as blocking all the potential retreat hexes and followup assaults by a second group that will give the attacker a better chance of success.

I'm going to withhold judgement on whether or not it's too hard to uproot dug in defending infantry until I have more experience with the game and I've explored some possibilities to reduce the power or frequency of mines.
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B Schneider
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Ryanmobile wrote:
I'm going to withhold judgement on whether or not it's too hard to uproot dug in defending infantry until I have more experience with the game and I've explored some possibilities to reduce the power or frequency of mines.


This.

I just view this interesting take on laying minefields as a tactic that requires me to figure out a counter-tactic.

As for a well defended Urban hex, my (limited) experience is one needs to first have enough units to assist by using direct fire to attempt to weaken the defender, then assault.

Seems basic, but don't charge headlong into a defended Urban hex without first trying to suppress/weaken the defenders!

VW
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Ryan
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von wildensee wrote:
As for a well defended Urban hex, my (limited) experience is one needs to first have enough units to assist by using direct fire to attempt to weaken the defender, then assault.

Seems basic, but don't charge headlong into a defended Urban hex without first trying to suppress/weaken the defenders!

VW


I agree with you that it should be hard to take a well defended urban hex.

I think the roles of artillery, aircraft, SPA, etc. will make it easier to take urban hexes in later scenarios, and may/will likely address some of the concerns about taking dug in infantry mentioned in this thread. Now it seems particularly hard since none of those resources are available in this scenario. The power of the minefields exacerbates this difficulty but that should be looked at as a separate issue. Fortunately it seems like everyone participating in this thread thus far agrees.

I'm definitely enjoying my time with this game some more. I hope to get in a couple more games this week.
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David van Damme
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So, hoping not to derail the thread in any way, when playing solo, do you do your best for both sides in this (the 1st) scenario? You are clearly not following the suggested red hand auto-play rules where they gravitate towards the nearest enemy.
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Vance Strickland
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DavidvD wrote:
So, hoping not to derail the thread in any way, when playing solo, do you do your best for both sides in this (the 1st) scenario? You are clearly not following the suggested red hand auto-play rules where they gravitate towards the nearest enemy.


Oh.... that's a very good point!! Maybe we should be playing it that way?!?
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Ken Warren
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I've played this scenario a couple times and the Reich never won. I didn't even use minefields. The Black Hand generally stayed put waiting for the Reich to come to them. The Megrim was able to destroy the Reich's armor quickly (good rolls by the BH helped).

From just a background perspective, I didn't see the BH units running back towards the objective and mining the crap out of the area. Either way though, I think this is a hard mission for the Reich.

From the mines perspsective, they do seem pretty powerful and maybe some limits should be place on them. I don't have a strong opinion either way yet.
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Ryan
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BarthHeart wrote:
Oh.... that's a very good point!! Maybe we should be playing it that way?!?
DavidvD wrote:
So, hoping not to derail the thread in any way, when playing solo, do you do your best for both sides in this (the 1st) scenario? You are clearly not following the suggested red hand auto-play rules where they gravitate towards the nearest enemy.


The masterless Black Hand rules you are referring to are for when the Black Hand units are generated via random events when there is no Black Hand player present. They are there to ensure that when NATO and the Drittes Reich are fighting a 2 player scenario, neither side gets the advantage of controlling the BH. Both players know exactly how the BH will behave. That's a unique thing about this game. It's really a 2-3 player game, but sometimes events will temporarily call for a 3rd player when only 2 are initially required.

If an event during a 3 player scenario spawns BH units, those units would then be controlled by the BH player.

In a solo game (keep in mind there are no formal solitaire rules) you are playing every side to the best of your abilities (at least that's what I do). There would be no point to play the BH units with their "masterless" behavior. When playing a Drittes Reich vs. NATO scenario, which would you call masterless, and would you get any satisfaction from that?

I'm sure I could have worded that better. Hopefully it was concise and not overly verbose.
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Ryan
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eke_warren wrote:
From just a background perspective, I didn't see the BH units running back towards the objective and mining the crap out of the area. Either way though, I think this is a hard mission for the Reich.


That's exactly what I would do in a face to face 2 player game. Use OP FIRE with the Meagrim, pull the infantry and APCs back to Brenken, and dig in. NATO goes after the tank on the center hill (where I would place it), those units will get delayed and won't be available as early to assault Brenken. Bypass any BH units on the hill and race to Brenken and a couple are likely to get delayed, reduced, or destroyed by careful OP FIRE from the Meagrim.
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David van Damme
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Ryanmobile wrote:
I'm sure I could have worded that better. Hopefully it was concise and not overly verbose.


Ah, I misinterpreted the way the Red Hand is to be played. Up to now I've only read the rules, hoping to start playing later this week! Thank you for clearing that up.
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Ryan
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DavidvD wrote:
Ryanmobile wrote:
I'm sure I could have worded that better. Hopefully it was concise and not overly verbose.


Ah, I misinterpreted the way the Red Hand is to be played. Up to now I've only read the rules, hoping to start playing later this week! Thank you for clearing that up.


You're welcome!
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It could be that these early scenario's are hard on the attacker, as this will cause the campaign game to be shorter when the initial scenario is a draw or loss. Once experience is gained in the specifics of both game and scenario a win may be gained in Prodigal Sons by the Dritte Reich and a chance of campaigning more scenarios and gaining more vp's.

In saying this the mines or so prolific. Playing scenario 2 last night, I abandoned the game by the end of turn 2 due to the loss of Ranger forces to a rampant Blighter, and the fact that the objective (Geseke) was packed full of sandbags mines and slavering Zealots!

On a second attempt, I restricted mine placement to 1 per side per activation max. Even so by the end of the game 5 hexes of Geseke had been mined, with all the hexes sandbagged. At the end of turn 7 the Rangers had 2 of the Geseke objective hexes in possession, despite the mines (as an aside a counter attacking Zealot was forced back onto his own mine field after his assault failed). With only two Zealots left for turn 8, and a strong 1st Rangers in the town, the Nato side could all but guarentee a draw. But to test it all out I played them for the win. The M60a1 was repulsed out of the town into an open hex. An assaulting Ranger foot platoon was eliminated in the mines. The last remaining Zealot waltzed into the emplty Ranger controlled objective hexes for the win.

As a caveat, the Rangers gained a High Morale status for there M60a1 platoon which also had the formation leader. This allowed this unit to clean up (it removed the Blighter, Megrim and Ravager). A tough scenario but not unwinable, even with plenty of mines though somewhat restricted. I do like Ryan's suggestion of only allowing mine placement in the infantry platoons hex. Think I'll try this one.

A question though, does terrain and sandbags modify mine attacks? I played it that they do. I assume smoke doesn't. I haven't found a ruling that speaks to the contrary on this.
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Petre Tutunea
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mark heywood wrote:
A question though, does terrain and sandbags modify mine attacks? I played it that they do. I assume smoke doesn't. I haven't found a ruling that speaks to the contrary on this.


You've played it right, sandbags do, while smoke doesn't alter the minefield's attacks. Once placed, sandbags become part of the terrain as mine-safe, protective areas usable by the advancing force (provided they're not already occupied by the enemy, of course).



edit: On how to play solo: you may either play the best move for each side as it activates (i.e. as if playing chess), or, you can take control of one side only and move the other(s) using the basic AI as described on page 13.

The first option is heavier on the thinking and might lead to over-analyzing (that's what usually happens to me) and generally longer playing time. Use the AI for lighter, shorter but equally fun sessions :)
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Much appreciate your prompt reply. Am enjoying the product Petre, keep up the good work.
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Christian Sperling
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Thanks for all the suggestions and tips.
But many thanks to Mark for asking the question if terrain and sandbags modify mine attacks. I would have never ever payed attention to that. In addition, this significantly increases the chances for the assaulters to survive. Now back to NW68...
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