Our game set up was a "Meeting Engagement" with two forces composed of infantry and tanks approaching the battlefield from opposite corners of the table. The set up has four objectives identified which, possession of, determines victory and impacts the overall morale of the side that does not have control of them.
The initial set also takes into account the amount of recon assets each side possess to determine the how far on the two sides can advance their lead units. The German force having a platoon of armoured cars and recon infantry in half tracks dominated the recon of the position allowing the Germans to occupy three of the objectives at the start of the game.
The German recon victory had immediate consequences for the Russians as the three objectives now occupied plus their loss of the recon move meant they had to draw four chits. These chits generally have a number on them from 1 - 5 plus a few with special events such as air attacks, vehicle breakdowns etc. The number on the chits indicate that number of morale points lost to that side. These chits are also drawn when units are destroyed, when unpinning friendly units or when an objective is lost to the enemy. Thus the end of battle is predicated by the events of battle and the Russians having just lost 14 points were off to a bad start.
|The Battlefield - Komsomolets State Farm and the workers settlements|
|German Recon occupy the front line - the SdKfz 231s burn in the background as German artillery falls on the Russian tanks|
|Ambush position on the main road|
|Enter the Tigers|
|Urra - The Russian Horde closes|
|The Tigers are welcomed by the "God of War"|
|Panzer Grenadiers in the wheat|
|The artillery fire rained down in the forward area|
|The Grenadiers move in to consolidate the position|
|Panzer IV's and a Flamm Panzer approach the Farm Complex|
|Panzer Grenadier Kompanie HQ with AA protection|
This attack resembled the tanks rolling into the buildings occupied by Sgt Steiner's men in that classic Russian Front movie "Cross of Iron". The fighting was close up and personal, but this time the Germans held. Throwing in dice and chits to unpin their supporting units, the Germans were able to throw back the Russian infantry following up their tanks.
The Panzer Grenadiers who had come up with the Tigers launched a counterattack on the Russian infantry throwing them out of some workers houses, before they themselves were thrown back by more assaulting Russian infantry.
|"Where the Iron Crosses Grow"|
My impressions of the rules and game:
I really enjoyed the flow of the game. These rules played faster as we got our head round the mechanisms and, with the chit draws, give a lot of the "unexpected" that many "IgoUgo" games seem to lack. As signed up members of the Too Fat Lardies IABSM club, the unexpected has now become the expected, and so these rules ticked a box. There is an element of the old school systems of recording ammo amounts for individual vehicles and ticking off usage that is slightly cumbersome, but I stress slightly. This is counterbalanced by the author including the use of replenishment vehicles and rear area support units such as medical teams and wire laying groups that can add "spice" to any scenario.
I suppose my only quibble having sat back and thought about these rules is the orbats themselves. The use of three tank platoons particularly for the Germans and 5 man sections with one light machine gun nags at my historical simulation gene. I understand these are mechanics to make the game system playable, particularly with the German machine guns. Apparently two of these weapons in a section are not workable in the rules.
Would these be my turn to set of WWII rules? Definitely not. I'm afraid IABSM still hold that position.
Would I happiliy play this game system again? Definitely Yes. The rules give a fun game that seems to capture that movie element to WWII and I will get a copy of my own to play. I think for the Russian front these rules have some distinct advantages particularly when there are numorous units on the table.
I will certainly be awaiting the launch of the Normandy module (which is more my own personal interest area) with great interest.
Great game, good fun. Thanks to Andy, Jason Nathan and Gus for a fun day