Monday, May 26, 2014

Gaming with Curt...a Chain of Command AAR

Two weeks ago we had the pleasure of having globetrotter Curt, world famous for his annual painting challenge, and his lovely wife Sarah come visit us for an evening out and of course a good day of gaming. Curt himself did a writeup of his time in Holland here so I'll try to add some more pictures and details of the game. Browsing through the pictures though I realize we did not take phase by phase shots so let's see if I can make something out of it.
In preparation for the game we asked Curt which period he would like to play on the day and it became clear a game of Chain of Command was one of his preferences. Maybe this has something to do with his visit to Sidney and Lard HQ a week earlier? Anyway we were thrilled as CoC has rapidly has become one of our favourite rulesets.
We quickly created a scenario Attaque sur le pont des Pêcheurs which involved 2 German platoons needing to recapture a vital bridge to secure the advance for an armoured division nearby. So all was cool until I laid out terrain the night before and found out the river was too wide and would take too much space to accommodate a game for four platoons. Fortunately CoC has six ready to go scenarios in the book so we decided to pick scenario 6, attack on an objective, and have the Germans attack from two sides effectively creating two separate games. Easy. In a combined effort the Germans had to capture the centre of the village and hold it until the American Paratroopers had to withdraw from the table.
As we had four platoons we used the 'Bigging it up' rules from the book and it worked perfectly fine. I see a lot of discussion and suggestions at the Lardie forums these days but I personally don't see a need to change anything. Might there be an issue, which we did not experience, we just use some common sense (or a dice roll if things start to heat up) as in any other odd situation with whatever rules.

The game itself was divided in 2 sections with Curt playing the Fallschirmjager against Jacco's Paratroopers on the left and Rob playing a regular late war German platoon against my Paratroopers on the right side of the table. And two different games it turned out to be! While Curt cautiously advanced his FJ, set up a base of fire in a barn and slowly moved his observer in a good position Rob on the other end saw an opportunity from the first minute and immediately moved his first German section in the open in an attempt to outflank the Paratroopers. It was a misjudgment with huge consequences. The section was caught in the open by a quick deploying Paratrooper squad and from that point the German Heer platoon had to go all in in order to save the poor men and put pressure on other areas forcing the outnumbered Paratroopers to make choices.

The outflanking manoeuvre. if you take a good look you can see the silhouette  of a Para behind the hedgerow. He carries a .30 LMG :-)

While this may be Rob's specialty it did not work out this time. He was ambushed by deploying Paratroopers once more and when he went in for his final blow he was completely surprised to see another Paratrooper squad deploy shooting up another of his sections. Apparently the platoon was reinforced and more men emerged in the village than expected. Force rating was dropping quickly now (once this starts it tends to go fast) and Rob tried a last assault using the Stormtrooper trait but failed miserably losing another squad and more force morale which was close to zero now. His final attempt was to bring in the big guns when he drove a Panzer IV towards the outskirts of the village. It was too late though, when it arrived on the scene the only thing the crew saw were fleeing Germans. Time for the commander to throw his Panzer into reverse and save what can be saved.

Curt moving his troops forward carefully watched by Rob's rubber duck from the Challenge
I have to say Rob did some very bad dice rolling but with this game a minor mistake can have big consequences and Rob was forced into an attack he was not prepared for. Maybe he should have gotten his scary Panzer to the village sooner. Lucky me.
Meanwhile on the other side of the village the fighting was very close with Curt's FJ making slow progress into the village taking the first two houses while most of the Paratroopers lay down pinned due to a clever mortar barrage. I'm not sure what else exactly happened as I was having fun shooting up Rob's Germans but I remember well Jacco telling me Curt being a very smart player making good use of terrain and available options.  Just when the FJ were about to take the second house on the left side  of the village the regular Germans broke and all that was left of the Platoon fled off the board to safety
Now one platoon from the victorious Paratroopers secured the area while two almost full squads turned to the FJ to help out their friends. That would would be too much for the remaining FJ so we called it a game and opened another bottle or two to celebrate the day.

Third squad Paratroopers deploying behind the roadblock ambushing the advancing Germans
Curt preparing his advance by briefing his men in the barn
Jacco organising his defense
Jacco organising his defense II
A very effective FJ mortar team
FJ advancing into the village
Scary faces at the roadblock? the Panzer IV arrives
and another overview
One more
Last one
Finally the groupshot, taken early to avoid red eyes

Many more pictures of the game van be found on Photobucket

We all had a great day and though I struggle  at times to maintain the blog and to regularly visit others a visit like this makes me happy I started a blog in the first place.