Monday, June 15, 2009

Couldn't catch a break

The Tide of Iron Designer's book includes a couple of bonus scenarios that were previously unpublished "demo" scenarios used during the prepublication marketing. They were designed to be simultaneously playable using one base set of the game, which made them attractive choices when I invited the redoubtable Mark K. over for a game day because it allowed me to have two games all set up before he arrived.

We played "Breaking the Line" first, in which a large American force attempts to seize a defended point atop a fortified hill from a smaller German force. Neither side receives any reinforcements and there are no vehicles involved.

I played the Americans first. My initial plan was to use Division 2 as a base of fire to cover Division 1 moving onto the flank. Division 1 would then become the base of fire and cover the final assault by Division 2.

This neat plan broke down under fire and my advance degenerated into a series of "Indian rushes" instead. I was able to get several squads into position for the final rush onto the objective, but all were cut down before they could launch actual assaults.

In retrospect I think I overindulged in "suppressive" attacks. While useful in covering maneuvering, it left too many live enemies for the end game. Failed or moderately successful suppression leaves most of the enemy in place. In contrast, Mark's Germans generally used "normal" (or as we took to calling them, "killing" ) attacks, so the American forces were taking heavy casualties -- helped by some good die rolls. Particularly annoying was a German double-mortar squad, which did a lot of damage until I got a lucky shot at it which killed off one crew. The survivors pulled back into deep cover. They played a lesser role after that, but they'd already done a lot of damage. Even "suppressive fire" can be deadly when there's 8 dice of it.

Still, despite everything, I felt that I had a shot at winning and it went to the last turn with the issue still in doubt, although a betting man would have probably laid in odds against me by turn 4 of the 6.

The switch game wasn't as close. Mark again concentrated on normal attacks. I made a stab on the right flank at threatening to deny him the 3 command points he'd normally get for occupying the "3" marker but a suppressive fire that could have pinned his unit tasked with capturing that key point missed. The two German squads on that side slowed his advance a bit, but ultimately vainly, as his barrage of fire gunned down all the hill's defenders despite their entrenchments. With the hill empty of defenders and none of the surviving Germans able to prevent it, Mark scooted a squad up onto the hill using the "Critical Objective" card (and its 2 movement point bonus) on Turn 5, for a clear and decisive win.
As we were both still getting used to the game (he'd only played it solitaire, and I had played it a couple of times) it took a long time to play, especially the first game, but as the evening wore on we sped up a lot. Mark was definitely the TOI Master after two games, but I was about to have my revenge in our next set "Chain of Command," which I'll report on tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the kind words Seth. Obviously, you are a formidable opponent also as will become apparent in your next couple of Blog posts!

    I feel the need for a rematch in the "Chain of Command" and perhaps also in Ticonderoga.