Bringing the new game game out into the full glare of the sun.
Despite having created my own random terrain, it made a heck of a lot of sense walking through the example in Philip Sabin's Simulating War book (see pages 215 to 220) to get a feel for the rules (as we all know rules read are quite a different thing to rules played in albeit 'friendly anger' down at the club, see pages 208 to 214 of the book). In setting up the terrain I suddenly realised that I had not quite the requisite number of "farm complexes" created, so I substituted in some blank dark brown hexes instead. I silently cursed myself for not building first the example set-up as per the book. By the time we had played through the example two player turns it seemed pointless to "set-up" again to my randomly generated terrain, so we simply carried on (see below, as per the book ready for the German turn to start):
To Note: The 'red' poker chip denotes the position of the British mortar attack (moving the mortar around suffers a -1 to hit modifier simulating the delay in ranging in as opposed to poring on a continuous barrage of shells. The 'white' poker counters underneath the troops denote the "spent" status. The glass beads denote casualties inflicted that turn. Finally the the little white markers on or near the British infantry denote the different companies within the battalion. The Germans are defending the bottom three hex rows above, being particularly well fortified on the right hand side "farm complex and wood crescent" salient. The attacking British have massed for an attack into the heart of this defence and are "waiting" for the oncoming fire from an unsuppressed German infantry platoon to hit them.
The Germans pour as much fire as possible onto the advancing British infantry (PBI), inflicting a bloody three casualty hits from a German counter attack close assault from the central farm complex (see below, top middle). Long range German fire brings another two casualties on the left hand side too (see below, top left):
The British player (I was German) has now taken over six hits (five from that round and a couple of accumulated hits from the last were "still in the bag2) so he chooses to remove a unit from his right (but the German left) electing to hold onto the unit that took three casualties because of its advanced position, despite it still being spent for the upcoming round. The German player eagerly removes his spent markers leaving all six German platoon "fresh" and giving the British player the headache of trying to suppress them (as in making them "spent" status ) so they cannot fire the next go (see below):
The British player tries the rather risky tactic of "pushing troops" forwards in the face of unsuppressed German infantry, if he is not careful this could be a replay of the Somme (see below, top right for the cluster of massed British infantry targets):
The British HMG (on the ridge, see top middle below) and mortar keep firing and suppressing two of the central German platoons, causing casualties which eventually causes the removal of a German platoon from the "farm complex crescent" (see below):
An interesting feature of the game system is that the British player (the attacker) is hampered by the fact that the act of "shooting" and "expending ammunition" will cause him causalities (very sixth shot removes a British stand through the notion of ammunition exhaustion) so he must choose his targets carefully. The defender has no such concerns/fire restrictions as they are firing from prepared positions (bombed up for defence). It is assumed that the British troops have already traversed half a kilometre from their start line, whereas the Germans are still on theirs.
The above situation represents some two hundred British infantry men are exposed in the open before the "farm complex crescent". The Germans are rushing their reserve platoons in from their right hand side and hoping to hang on in the middle (a process of 'dying hard'). The British have suffered two ammunition and one combat casualties so far (three in total, so that means nine active infantry platoons remaining) and the Germans have lost one platoon with five remaining. Therefore the scenario is hanging in the balance but with a slight advantage to the Germans thanks to the defensive terrain still in their possession and their dug in status.
Next: The "central attack" goes in