Saturday 19 February 2022

Connections UK 2019 Fire-Move Game 1

The Connections UK 2019 Conference allowed me the opportunity to run two games of Fire Move, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The morning game had one defender and two attacking players, all of which had never played the game before. Interestingly this meant that a few new wrinkles came to light as the players discovered important aspects of the rules, which as we all know is an invaluable and the critical part of playing the game in the first place (see below, we are several turns into the game - the German player has elected to keep a platoon in reserve off table [a sound tactic], but he has "stacked heavy" [concentrated] in the centre in order to try and dominate the centre and the German right flank. However the terrain to the German also left disrupts "his line of sight" which has isolated his far left platoon. In the centre a single British platoon firing can hit two German platoons simultaneously, so note the positioning of the Vickers HMG platoon allows the British a good chance to suppress two German platoons each turn):  

The problem on the German left is an awkward hill that lies three rows in from the British side, which means the German cannot set up on it. Three waves of British infantry are now in the process of assaulting the German left flank [8:3 in the British favour ], so the German player hastily calls forth his platoon out of reserve and ponders the use of his valuable mortar ammunition (see below, the yellow "sun" marker is the landing point for the British 3" mortar, note also the British players have pounced on this avenue of attack, to the almost the point of ignoring attacking the German right flank. remember the black cocktail sticks denote movement - the blue coffee stirrer denotes firing): 

The British player starts to crowd and concentrate multiple platoons into single hexes [a potentially dangerous tactic if in clear LOS to an enemy "fresh/active" platoon or if the German player can conduct a mortar attack on the hex in question - however it could pay off in close assault and allows a better chance of supporting fire by clearing LOS hexes]. The key thing here is to suppress the Germans in the British "fire phase" so they cannot return fire in their "fire turn" - it is all a balance of risk and probabilities (see below, suppression and poor LOS are very frustrating to the German player):  

The British "Yellow Company" conducts a classic and very successful close combat that destroys a German platoon, note "close assault" being the only way in the rules an entrenched infantry platoon can take damage (all other hits simply supress and is a design feature of the rules). The platoon in question takes six hits and is removed from play - excess hits would not carry over to other platoon, they are simply lost (see below, the risk in this case payed off with handsome rewards - the barn door is now swinging open, the deployed reserve platoon is looking very vulnerable in the "open"): 

The Fire/Move battlefield looks very good from a British point of view, fifty percent of the German forces are effectively "out of play" because they cannot interfere with the streams of British infantry flanking to their left threatening to roll up the German baseline. The Vickers HMG is causing extra pain by consistently pinning them in place to stop the German platoons reinforcing the German left (see below, the British have performed a very good attack exploiting the weaknesses of the German set-up): 

Despite the outstanding success the British players were hit by the "cunningly clever" logistics rule of Fire-Move, again a purposely designed subsystem in the game which means that after a certain amount of firing [set IIRC at eight or nine fires - note this is a factor that can be calibrated as a game parameter] the British have a "depleted ammunition platoon removal". No victory points awarded to the Germans but there is one less manoeuvre element for the British Battalion Commander to use (see below, if you look closely there are now only two not three "yellow company" British infantry platoons - and note to fulfil this logistics requirement you have to take a platoon off that has been actively firing that turn [cheesy play is always possible - which platoon you take, but the temperament of the players is arbitrated by the umpire's oversight (or overrule - aka final word) to be "simulation" and not "competition" play (aka avoid unrealism's)]): 

The German reserve platoon (in the open) was mercilessly gunned down. The Germans had suffered 50% casualties and could not stop the British advance. The game was called as a comprehensive British victory, well played to the two young players from DSTL who had not played a wargame before! The German player took away some valuable lessons learned. 

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