Monday, November 10, 2008

Monsters, indeed. (Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear!)

Kozure and I got together again for some wargaming.

We played the "Monsters" scenario from Conflict of Heroes, Awakening the Bear! I was the attacking Germans, Kozure was the defending Russians.

This scenario introduces vehicle combat to players, and as such features a large number of tanks, trucks and APCs. A large hill separates the germans from two smaller hills that they are trying to take... and of course that's where the Russians are waiting and hoping to make the most of their elevation advantage.

I was at first a little overwhelmed by the number of units I had under my control, and intimidated by the task of waltzing into a well defended area. Thankfully, Kozure advised me on a couple of things and helped me clear up what I should try to do. I split up a few small teams to circle the hill in two directions while my main force crashed into the waiting Russians.

After the first turn, I had accomplished little. I hadn't taken any of the minor checkpoints in the first hill, and was nowhere near getting to the major objectives.

In the second turn, I organized a fire group in the middle and started laying down smoke to make the approach a little less deadly (thanks again to the selfless Kozure, who realized that the strategic importance of smoke was lost on me). It worked pretty well... I was climbing onto the hill and gaining ground. The Russians had a positional advantage, but as they were much slower and less effective units it was only a question of time before I would take the hill. By the end of the second turn, I had reached one of the two intermediate checkpoints and the russians were on the run from the hill.

I believe until now we were losing units at roughly the same rate. It felt (to me) that we were losing a lot of units, and watching our CAPS dwindle permanently was getting a little scary, but at least it was happening to both of us.

By now, Kozure's reinforcements were entering the board. These were massive tanks, heavily armed and armoured. I'm not 100% sure that these are the "monsters" from the title, but that's the way it felt to me. He spread them to block the two routes around the hill and effectively made life very difficult. A couple of hidden units which sprung up in those areas didn't help either.

Unfortunately for Kozure, he chose to load up his truck with a couple of his units on the edge of a forest that was within firing range of my tanks and movement range of one of another of my tanks. After firing and damaging a couple of units, I played a card which allowed me two moves without possible reaction and engaged him in close combat. He was out of CAPS, and they were used, so he was powerless to stop me. All units were destroyed. Kozure seemed sleepy around this point, and although he noticeably perked up afterwards a lot of damage had been done.

Kozure suggested that I try to make a break for one of the objectives on the last turn of the game. I had a number of units within range so I decided to give it a try (besides, attacking the monster tanks was NOT likely to work). It meant having to run the units through well defended terrain one at a time in order to sap the defense. In the end, the numbers game worked in my favour and I was *just* able to make it.

I won the game, but it was a squeaker. Obviously, Kozure helped me a lot with his advice, so I can't really claim a real victory.

Don't get too comfortable, Kozure: soon, the master will become the apprentice.

The game was a lot of fun to play, and the flexible yet simple system continues to impress me. I really look forward to playing some more.

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