Friday, July 6, 2012

Eastern Europe, Summer 1944

My friend Matt and I threw down another 28mm WW2 game on the 4th of July - and - this time another friend, John, joined us. We continued to experiment with the SDS/LBSDS engine for WW2 Squad-level actions. This battle did not have a particular plan in so much as the idea was to toss everything out onto the table and experience mayhem and chaos and as many rules as we could.


John (and Buddha)

Before Matt and John arrived, I created a battlefield for us. The table is about 8'x5'. I created two uneven and hopefully interesting deployment zones for the forces. I randomly rated the quality of all of the units in both sides.

Viewed from the Soviet Deployment Zone

We randomly determined sides, via die roll. I ended up with the Germans and Matt and John with the Soviets. We then allowed the Soviet player to place some defenses on the field, anywhere on the field that was not in the German deployment zone. Some wire fences, sandbag positions and four small minefields were placed. When placing a minefield, they had to mark it (secretly) as either "anti-personnel", "anti-tank" or "mixed". We did not use any "dummy" minefields this day.

On the German side were 28 units and on the Soviet side were 26. This gives each army a break point of 14 and 13 respectively. We deployed units somewhat randomly, via a die roll, where the loser would have to place a command on the table. The Soviets ended up with the bulk of their units deployed before the Germans had to place too much, so deployment fell into the German favor.

Then we got down to the fighting. Various things went well for both sides, each of us experienced some joys and some frustrations. A particular frustration for me was that the Panther section was rated at a "2" (poor) and I did not get to involve them as much as I desired. A particular joy for me was the Puma section, out-classed by the T-34/85, managing to get 2 DIS on it! The Puma soon met the presumed fate however, but went down gloriously to some  Soviet infantry (and in the process exposing them to galling fire from supporting German infantry.

I know the Soviet players cheered the destruction of a section of Tiger I's! The Soviets also did a great job with the wire and the minefields, they totally prevented an assault directly into the larger town. Also, the Soviets had an armored car section (armed only with a machine gun) that survived against long odds and totally disrupted the activities of a German infantry platoon.

My panzergrenadiers did pretty well in a last ditch attempt to salvage the battle, but it was tool late, I did not well-handle them and they arrived just after their armored support had already been ravaged. I tried to do too much in too many areas of the field - mediocre everywhere and powerful nowhere.

The Puma Scores!

Later, the Puma is about finished...

The Famous Soviet Armored Car!

PAK-40 Support moves thru the woods

Soviets take the larger town

Panzergrenadiers in a last-ditch effort
We'll continue the experiment further. We really enjoy the reaction mechanic and the uncertainty that SDS delivers. The game play seems to promote infantry-armor cooperation - which we think important. Tanks are not unstoppable behemoths, if you don't support them with infantry, they are vulnerable to enemy infantry and guns.

We played four complete turns, which had the game 90% decided in terms of breakpoints, and then barbequed burgers and brats and relaxed for the remainder of the evening. When we called the game, the Germans had a breakpoint score of 12 (2 away from losing) and the Soviets only a breakpoint score of 2 (the Germans were not lucky at all this day). I don't know how long we actually played - we were consuming delicious beer and we Skyped in my brother so he could say "hey" and see the game and interact with us for a while. I saw on another person's blog that he has played a couple of games via Skype. I wonder if that is worth a shot with Ben?

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