Be seeing you... -Alphonse
Last night at the bi-weekly Toronto Area Boardgamers Society (TABS) game night, I sat down with a fellow TABS members to play our first game of Target Arnhem: Across 6 Bridges. Chris K. played the Allies, and I took on the role of the Germans. In terms of war games, Chris has had a lot more experience than I've had, but since Operation Market Garden was a German win historically, I was crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.
Chris set up his paratrooper drop points as laid out in the historical scenario notes in the rules. Once setup was finished, we kicked things off. The Allies have their first impulse before the Germans, and the first thing Chris did was move his paratroopers in to attack Arnhem directly. Unfortunately for the Germans, Arnhem starts off with a 1-1 infantry unit, so taking that out was easy. With the Allies in Arnhem, I started rallying my forces to try to take it back, but I also had to concentrate on keeping the other cities, as well as holding the road.
The victory conditions for Chris required that he take Arnhem and keep all of my forces off the road. If at the end of the ninth turn, he hasn't accomplished those goals, then the Germans win.
Unfortunately, I didn't take notes for what happened in each turn. In the first turn, my big loss was Arnhem, and the tanks I had nearby moved into position to try to take Arnhem back, but I kept second-guessing myself. I didn't like the odds of attacking the city ... especially with the really awful streak of bad dice rolls I was experiencing. I rolled more sixes than I care to admit, and I think I only made rolls of one only a couple of times.
During the first couple of turns, I built up, had a few skirmishes with Allied troops and then started losing really bad in the south. I think it took until the third turn for Eindhoven to fall, but then Nijmegen fell shortly after.
Chris continued to drop paratroopers into Arnhem when he got such reinforcements, and I made the mistake of being unfocused. My troops that entered in the north were moved to the north end of Arnhem, but I kept shifting my focus. I'd attack the city a bit, and then I'd attack the supply area right outside of Arnhem. In the end, I wasn't able to take either. I really should've focused on one (preferably the supplies, in hindsight), and then I might have been able to do enough damage to re-take that area of the map.
Around the fifth turn, I had lost all of the cities and the Allies were moving north along Hell's Highway with a bulldozer effect. I regrouped some infantry and armour between Veghel and Grave in the hopes of stalling the Allied push, but after a couple more turns, Chris had brought a powerful force to bear on those hold-outs and taken them out. The road and Arnhem was his as of the end of turn six, and I was realizing that the victory would be his. However, we continued to play it out. I was going to take my new infantry reinforcements and try to take the south part of the road, which Chris had abandoned. Seeing what I was going to do, though, Chris spread his forces down the road to stop me.
In turn seven, I also gave up on Arnhem and sent my units up there off the board to try to head south. However, by turn eight, I realized I had made such a move far too late, and there would be no way that I could get them down to where they were needed in time. As Chris flushed out my infantry and whiddled them down, I tried my best to get around his defences.
Finally, during the second impulse of the ninth turn, I conceded defeat. Operation Market Garden was a complete success for the Allies, and the Germans hung their heads in shame.
I quite enjoyed this game. We were able to play out the entire operation in about two hours or so. I'm looking forward to trying the game again. I think I can hone my strategy a bit now that I understand how the game works, and I can hopefully give Chris a better challenge next time. I'd also like to change sides and give it a try from the Allies' point of view.