Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bloodying the Nose AAR

I was reading up on Force on Force and decided to give the system a try for a WWII skirmish. Typically I use NUTS from 2 Hour Wargames to play skirmishes but I am trying to get more use out of Force on Force. I decided to run through some sscenarios from the scenario book Peiper at the Gates available from 2 Hour Wargames.I recommend the book if you want to run a skirmish campaign.

The scenario book is a campaign complee with special rules for different troops types and is written for the NUTS rules. Since FOF is also a skirmish rules set I thought the scenarios should transfer easily with little tweaking.

The first scenario is called "Bloodying the Nose"and it takes place on December 17, 1944 near Elsenborn Ridge Belgium. The scenario involves 2 US squads with some support from a Bazooka team and two .30 caliber machine gun teams against a German advance supported by armor. The US sets up by an old farm house and in the woods near the house. The Germans will enter from the board edge with most of the units coming through the woods. The scenario is unbalanced and heavily favors the Germans but it is the first day of the advance. The US is caught by  surprise so the Germans will have the initiative.

US infantry squads are located in the house, the small barn and in the woods. The bazooka team is covering the road and the MG teams are watching the flanks and set up in the woods. The Germans deploy infantry in the woods with armor advancing in a clearing. A squad of Pioneers is in the Hanomag and another assault squad trails behind the armor. Apparantly Peiper's armored columns are jammed up on the narrow roads and units are sent out to find another route. The Germans must exit the board  and the US must slow them down losing as little troops as possible. This is a solo game so I can playtest for balance and improve my understanding of the rules. I am using squads of 8-10 figures instead of smaller teams of 4-5 figures.

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US defensive positions

The US has a squad in the farm house which should be a good defensive position as it give 2 extra defensive dice. The Germans are actually starting off of the board but will enter through the woods. I decided to bring the STUG and Hanomag on the board on trurn 2.

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Germans start at the edge in the woods

The US infantry reacts first to the German move. The .30 cal MG team in the woods also fires but they roll poorly. They only score 1 hit on the German squad. The German morale is a D10 so they have no problem passing the morale check. They return fire with no effect. I now know that using large squads instead of smaller teams may be a mistake. I am rolling 10 dice at a time! As more German infantry arrives they win the combat round and beat the American reaction. They all but destroy the American HQ and .30 cal MG team. This is the effect of rolling lots of dice during attack as smaller teams don't stand much of a chance, even in cover.

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American HQ and gun team take casualties

On the second turn the US infantry in the farm house are holding on. The Germans maintain the initiative and decide to bring in the armor before activating infantry. The tank opens fire and pins the US, even though no casualties occurred the infantry must take a morale check if fired on by an attack greater than 4 dice. The German infantry and MG teams advance and fire on the pinned unit causing more casualties.

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A STUG arrives and pins the infantry

The Germans do lose a panzerscreck team and take another casualty from accurate fire from the house and MG team in the woods. The German infantry advances from the woods.

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The infantry emerges from the woods.

I took away the fast move abaility for infantry and armor. The snow conditions made movement slow and treacherous. Armor could only move 10 inches and infantry 6 inches.

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The open field gives no cover and the US gets an extra FP die as a result

The American bazooka team decided to take a shot. The infantry was taking heavy casualties so the tank had to be dealt with immediately. The Germans failed to react and the shot found its mark. One hit was scored and an 8 result on a D8 meant the STUG was immobilized. The attack is starting to bog down as infantry suppoerting the STUG began to take casualties. Another US squad reacted and gained the firing adavantage.

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Bazooka immobilizes the STUG....very lucky!

The .30 cal MG team was counted as a gun team and gets to roll 5 dice when firing. They received the cover bonus for the woods and remained static through the game.

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MG team gets extra FP dice for being a gun team

The second US squad did start to dish out casualties from the woods. They were a large squad and I think I will use smaller 4-5 man teams in the next game. 10 fire dice is just too much.

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Large unit of US infantry...I may change that to teams.

The Germans were able to neutralize the farmhouse, the shed and the MG team next to the shed. The Bazooka team was also taken out by the Hanomag which also held a squad of Pioneers. The US has to pull back at this point as there was only a squad and part of an MG team left.

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Farmhouse carnage

I did learn a lot about the rules. I typically play assymetric engagements and this is the first time playing regular troops for both sides. I would also use smaller teams insted of large squads. This scenario is unbalanced but it is the opening day of the Battle of the Bulge. I would also like to add armor in the next game I test. I like the rules and think they can be used at a convention. I will probabaly run a game at a future HMGS convention but limit the game to 4 players. I think 6 would be too difficult with all of the reactions.

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