Monday, March 5, 2012

Session of revised In Harm's Way scenario

Last turn position

The other day I played a session of my revised In Harm's Way WAS-2 scenario.

I took the Allied fleet, as it seems they have the harder task. The Japanese player was a denizen of the game shop who has played War at Sea before, although he is, like most of the game shop crowd, primarily a Magic: The Gathering player.

As we shall see, he handled the Japanese fleet competently.

A couple of solitaire play throughs while I developed the revised scenario revealed that it was a very poor strategy for the Allies to come in with guns a-blazing as it just freed up the Japanese sooner, so my plan with the USS Houston and the HMAS Perth was to ignore the Japanese pickets and make a beeline for the transports. My analysis of the victory conditions indicated that it was vital to take out all three Transports because they represented a 20-point swing each (8VP for being sunk and 12VP the Japanese DIDN'T get for having the undamaged at the end.)

The Allies got a little luck as the Japanese lost two of the Fubuki-class DD's (proxied by Kagero's) due to the set-up die rolls.

The first turn saw the Allied cruisers slip through a gap in the Japanese line without being within range due to the Night Surprise rule. This couldn't continue, of course, and on the second turn the Japanese got close enough to shoot -- but did no damage. A return shot from the Perth crippled one DD while a maximum range shot by the USS Houston sunk a transport outright.

The loss of 2 ships was more than enough to let the Japanese shock wear off and also brought in the reinforcement group as well -- so the time pressure was on the Allies!

The next turn the Allied cruiser split up, with the Houston taking the more shoreward path while the Perth was towards the center of the channel to draw fire. I wanted to have at least 2 shots on the next turn -- which the Houston's secondary would provide.

The Perth was, of course, buried under a deluge of Japanese fire, but it was mostly ineffective as only one point of damage was caused by gunfire. A long Lance from one of the IJN heavies was all it took, though, to dispatch Perth. The Allied fire was able to damage the Natori, sink another transport and damage the third one, though.

The fourth and final turn saw the Houston continue its "death ride" into the transport area. As it turned out, friendly fire from one of the IJN ships took out the last transport! The Houston, of course, stood little chance of surviving under the IJN fire and was sunk. It's return fire took out one DD.

The final score was 28 VP for the Japanese for the two Allied cruisers (14 VP each) while the Allies earned 30 VP (24 VP for three sunk transports, 2VP for the crippled Natori and 4 VPs for the sunk DD).

The Eversten did not make an appearance as I figured it was very unlikely it would do as much damage as the Japanese would earn for sinking her.

So it ended up being a very close-fought contest. The point total for the Allied force on the revised OB is significantly less than the original scenario (30 VP is all three ships are used instead of 41 VP). The Japanese force is also somewhat reduced in point value but only the cruisers are worth their full VP value for the Allies if sunk. In the original scenario the Allies really have to sink the Natori as well as the three transports while in the revised scenario the transports are enough so long as some damage is also done to the CL/DD covering force.

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