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Sergeants Miniatures Game: Day of Days» Forums » News

Subject: WBC Preliminary Rounds rss

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Jeff Billings
United States
Upperco
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The World Boardgaming Championships is a unique experience in gaming. Held at Lancaster Pennsylvania it is surrounded by the peace loving Amish. What better place for an assembly of pirates, robber barons, evil dictators, titans of industry and school teachers (although I suspect they are escaped nuns given the ferociousness of play) to face off and see who is the best in the world at their favorite game.

We entered Sergeants Miniatures Game as one of the events, dangling an opportunity to win the Medal of Honor, or the Knights Cross with swords and diamonds, as the grand prize. The preliminary heats concluded last night. All the players had to play Scenario 37 Race to the Bridge using both Germans and Americans. Sixteen players have clawed their way into the semi-finals which starts in two hours. I thought all of you would be interested in the scenario since no one has seen it before.

I invite the players to post here about their experiences. Two of them turned me to road kill when I set in and played them to round out the field.

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Kelly Krieble
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Bethlehem
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Cool....first reply.

First off, thanks to Jeff and Rob for running a great event - they had pre-made squads so you could just show up open a box and play (glad I knew the rules somewhat!). Got to play against some great opponents, so thanks to them as well - everyone was very accommodating to me.

Yeah, I ended up playing in the final preliminary heat which was the bridge scenario. My american squad did very well, and I ended up on the objective quite easily thanks to some hard terrain requirements for the germans. Ended up getting one of my leaders killed because of some aggressive play on my part - mostly melee kills as my guys seemingly could not hit the broad side of a barn while standing inside it! On the flip game my germans actually got to use a panzerfaust! Blew up one guy with it but missed the other guy standing right next to him. Ended up with a decent german score and high american score to advance as an american. The scenario was hard for the germans to win. An interesting ewvent happene when I played germans was that cards ended up being peeled off the story deck making it effectively a 6 turn game (as opposed to 12 turns) - also in BOTH games turn one we did not get any move cards, so we just went to turn two.

In the semis I actually had to play german because few germans actually showed up! The terrain was BRUTAL and included some of the new expansion tiles we got for playing in the prelims. it was 2 v 2 as opposed to the 1 v 1 of the prelims, and the terrian forced us to bunch up a lot. my objective was to get to a landmark across the board through a funnel and marsh - i got half way. killed 23 pts of troops (after my partner had sftened them up for me, then just exited the table to keep the points after my partner was killed to the man. Interestingly, at the beginning of this game we ended up drawing the card peeling event not once but TWICE (what are the odds?), which would have made my objective impossible - so Jeff interved and made an executive decision and restarted us! Missed qualifying for the final my one spot.

Was going to watch the final later that night but they apparently moved it somewhare I couldn't find.

A great event
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Rob Belli
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dr_divot wrote:
Was going to watch the final later that night but they apparently moved it somewhare I couldn't find.

A great event


We ended up moving to Ballroom B which had air conditioning. The Lampeter room (where most of the big game finals were) was just absolutely miserable, no A/C and humid.
 
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Rob Belli
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I thought the Prelim rounds worked out really great. We initially were only going to allow people who brought their own soldiers to participate but at the last minute decided to make 24 prebuilt tournament kits (36VP of both US and German forces in one box) which ended up working out really good.

The scenario "Race to the Bridge" was literally just that. Gaining position early was key as both forces would clash quickly over the bridge and into the Manor. With the bottleneck at the bridge, Germans had a slightly more difficult time but shooting into the Manor was brutal. Landmark tile (2sq) with a -4 Shoot mod did make difference in some cases. Setting up of LMGs and BARs was essential.

We had 24 players participate and 12 players moved on to the semifinals. (3 were no show and 1 missed the start time by 15mins). Congratulations to all those who played in the Prelims. You earned yourselves Assault badges for one of your soldiers.

Jeff will post later the Semifinal scenario and the Final scenario.
 
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Sgt. Hulka
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rbelli wrote:

Jeff will post later the Semifinal scenario and the Final scenario.


Can't wait.
 
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Jason Fisher
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Cary
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All three scenarios were fun and distinct. As mentioned previously, the first was all about positioning, with some difficult terrain to traverse in places. In the semi-finals it was hardcore close range combat, with only two map squares between the starting zones. A number of troops were killed in hand-to-hand combat on my board (with one killed by friendly fire into the melee!).

The final was a totally different beast. The map was very long with each faction set up on-board at opposite ends. It was bisected by a river with just one bridge across and was almost all swamp terrain on the U.S. side. That one was all about long-range combat.

The variety of the scenarios was great and it was fun not knowing the maps ahead of time.
 
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Greg
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Lowell
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Wow! That's a cool looking map cool Look at the new Landmarks, up to 10 now! Love the river and bridge for sure. Can't wait to see more.
 
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Michael Bowker
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Sounds great. Wanted to be there so badly but couldn't get off from work. I am sure I would have been eliminated in about ten minutes but it would have been fun.
 
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Kevin Duke
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Wynne
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How about some WBC Sessions?
Folks,

I tried to start a Sessions thread to ask those lucky people who got to play at WBC to post some AARs, pix, impressions, or just tell us what it was like.

The BGG admin doesn't like that idea, so if you post an ACTUAL session, that ought to work.
 
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Jason Fisher
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Cary
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I'll try to put something together along those lines this weekend. I'll probably take notes at my next convention to have better references.
 
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Jeff Billings
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Three scenarios were all that separated the participants at the WBC tournament from the top medals for their soldiers. I thought I would take a moment and explain the scenarios and describe why they were chosen, along with a brief description of what happened in the contests.
The first scenario is a skirmish scenario. The setup appears to favor the Airborne over the Luftlande; however the orders are the equalizer. The Germans primary orders are very difficult – Capture La Feire Manor, but the secondary orders are the key to victory – Half VP for surviving Soldiers. Most players charged across the bridge into the enemy position – because their primary orders said to capture it – and almost all of them lost the scenario because of that choice. A few German players spent the first 6 turns skirmishing – for some it went well and those German players won big. The rest that skirmished were close losses. I witnessed the best squad selection and technical play of the convention by Scott. He had selected soldiers with a low Kill count in his deck, spent heavily on quality senior leaders and played the use of their Hold Cards to reduce the chance of being killed. This is the equivalent of senior NCOs yelling “Keep your heads down…” continuously. I had to try my hand against him and he mopped the floor with me, great squad selection and great application of play with the squad. From that moment I was sure he would win the tournament, but SMG had other ideas.


The second scenario was a 2 player versus 2 player action where the first player from each team was attempting a recovery and the second player was conducting a supporting attack. Rob, my assistant GM, was really nervous about this one since it was a close contact action in the heavy woods, joined together with a debauchee through a choke point and race to the prize by the teammate. The scenario proved to be a nasty problem for all and was balanced with the Paratroopers the Luftlande each succeeding on the race to the goal a third of the time and both failing to make it the other third. One of the Paratrooper players included two rifle grenadiers in his squad and used them to devastating effect. The fighting was fierce and was won by the side that got the upper hand in the first four turns.

Of the six finalists, two players that had bought the game at Historicon two weeks before made the cut. The field for the finals included two newbies, one owner that had limited experience, and three serious players with well planned, capable squads. The surprise was yet to come, I have had SMG do this before and I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t.


The third scenario was a general attack over open ground without possibility of retreat. The six player game was a bit slower than usual because the new players and the note taking by me for the WBC write up held up play a bit. However the large format firepower and rallying requirement stretched the squads/players to demonstrate three distinct capabilities sets – skirmish and close in the qualifying rounds, fire and maneuver in the semifinals, and endurance and firepower in the finals. In the end it was the two new guys who won top honors on each side. Both of them are Army combat vets that simply followed their training and accomplished their missions while bring home their guys. I have seen vets play SMG on repeated occasions. They have a natural affinity for the game and innate effectiveness in the choices they make. It is not that they are better at the game mechanics; they just make good choices given the situation they find themselves in. The winner on the German side had a superior MG42 team with long open fields of fire. He deployed the squad to skirmish and pounded the Airborne whenever they attempted to move on the bridge. The MG42 broke up concentrated firing lines and pinned advancing groups. The top American player had his squad forward deployed in a swamp. He settled in used Hide actions to force the enemy to acquire his soldiers repeatedly and rallied the PINs off his soldiers to keep up effective fire. When the fight ended the Germans were in control of the bridge with a narrow overall victory. Scott played a bit off his game and came in second overall and second on the German side.

A designers comment here. If you want to play SMG well start by understanding squad tactics. Then add to that base of understanding a master of game mechanics. SMG was built to reward good squad level decisions. And it has proven to be very friendly to people that do that first. As the designer all I can say is sometimes a design succeeds beyond your expectations.
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Jerry Tresman
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The fact that these two vets did so well , congratulations, highlights what for me was always the most important aspect of the design, it rewards good infantry tactics over game knowledge. That is why I keep saying don't over analyse the stats and the deck building just put together the squad for the mission and play, you will learn more and then analyse the mission to hone your skills.

It works as a game and a simulation and regardless of all the debate over realism and terrain abstraction and desire for chrome , IMO Jeff nailed what he set out to achieve. Oh and lets not forget as well as challenging its FUN to play.

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Jeff Billings
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Thanks Jerry,

The Red Devils are boarding the planes as we speak...
 
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Tom Boyd
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Yup, that's me. By John Kovalic.
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Jeff Billings wrote:
The Red Devils are boarding the planes as we speak...


surprise
 
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