Monday, August 08, 2005

Favorite Scenarios - Jay Harms

I like the big, meaty, corn fed brawls where there are multiple options and paths to victory. In particular are the scenarios where the Victory Conditions give players different options such as building control or casualties / exit points. To me this adds a degree of higher-level strategy into the game. Lady Luck is a fickle mistress, as Tom Gillis would say, so I usually try and go for a larger scenario where one or two lucky rolls don’t automatically put one side out of the game. That being said, and without further ado, here are my top 5 scenarios.

Jungle Citadel – ASL71

This scenario has everything but AFV’s, but just because it isn’t a combined arms battle, don’t let it fool you. This scenario gets an 8 on the Corn Fed Beef O-Meter (CFBOM), but should get a bonus because of all the toys each side gets. The scenario is a brawl between first line defending Japanese with support weapons out the ying-yang and who are holed up behind some nice fortifications. They even get some OBA support. Despite all these positives, the Japanese can be hard pressed as the attacking Chinese are loaded for bear. The Chinese get TWO good OBA’s, plus automatic 3 FB’s with bombs (can you say nalpam?). If that isn’t enough, they outnunber the Japs by 50%, are well lead and are packing 3 FT’s. The extra push that gets this scenario onto my top five is the victory conditions. The Japanese are forced to defend up front as there is a VC option that allows the Chinese to win early if they take a specific hex, otherwise the Chinese have to take a lot of buildings by game end. This VC really opens up possibilities for both sides and enhances the replayability for this scenario.

Blood & Guts – RB2

If you want to experience the feel of Red Barricades without investing time in a CG, this is the scenario for you. I have never won this scenario thanks to MR. Walter Eardley, but I am still itch’en to play this one again. On one side you have a German assault force that is unstoppable with FT’s, DC’s, tanks, 838’s, Mr. 10-3 and a side kick 9-2, not to mention 34 squads!. Plus, the VC’s allow the Germans to pick a secret objective that they have to meet. With all that you would think it would be a walkover…. But…the Russians are made to order for defense with mines, every exterior factory fortified, tunnels, multiple heavy MG’s, and their very own 10-2. Not to be outdone by the German pioneers, they also have an engineer company in reserve. Once again, the high point of the Scenario is the VC’s. The Germans have a choice of secret objectives, while the Russians can win instantly by counterattacking and controlling one of two buildings at the end of any game turn. This forces the Germans to not only attack, but defend enough to keep the Russian player honest. This bad boy scenario rates a 9 on the CFBOM.

Rikusentai – BRT4

I think one of the draws for this scenario is that it is a historical scenario that really gives that close in, no holds barred WWF feel for the Tarawa campaign. I would rate it a 9 on the CFBOM. It has the Marines surrounding a well led elite Jap force, with the requirements of basically crushing the Japs over 6 turns. Replayability for this scenario is high since the Japs are allotted purchase points to purchase whatever support weapons and fortification they want. This forces them to make choices on getting good AFV protection or load up on MG’s etc. Do they want fortified buildings or minefields? Ah, options, choices, strategy, I love it! On the other hand the Marines set up surrounding the Japs and have multiple options on assaulting this little custom made pocket of death. And hey, the Marines are purpose built for the task. 8 morale, well led, OBA, AFV’s, lots of toys, etc… If you are looking for a meaty Jap-Marine scenario that doesn’t involve caves or knowing the PTO rules, this is the one.

With Flame and Shell –DASL 7

Deluxe Scenarios are a blast to play and I can always be talked into playing one. I highly suggest trying them. With Flame and Shell is one of the best of the group. A 9 on the CFBOM only because the Russians have no tanks. I’ve played it twice and am still wanting to play it again. It has some dug in Russians trying to stop an elite force of Germans from amassing 50 victory points by casualties and exiting. What makes it tough on the Germans is that they are penalized by their own casualties. This looks to be a tall order, but the Germans have 3 FT tanks, and 3 assault guns to crack open and crush any point that the Russians try and hold. What makes this scenario so interesting is that the victory conditions allow for a very fluid game where the Russians have to balance losses with giving up territory while the Germans have to constantly re-evaluate either continuing to push forward to exit, or to focus on killing Russians. All in all, it gives both sides toys, options, and many tough choices throughout the scenario. What more can you want from a game.

Hill 621 – ASL E

No self respecting list of favorite scenarios can be complete without Hill 621! This is a solid 10 on the CFBOM. I would call this the Granddaddy of scenarios. This one has stood the test of time, and still shines. Playing this as the Germans gives you a feel of how it must have been during their retreat through Russia. As the Russians you have that feel of constantly pushing the attack yet not quite ever being able to put that last nail the German coffin. A horde of Russians start by attacking a scared group of Germans on the run. With the SSR, chances are some will be broken starting the game out. But just when things look bleak, the Germans get reinforcements dribbled in to make it interesting, and interesting it gets! By halfway through this slugfest, there can be multiple battles and desperate Alamo style holding actions all across the map. The Germans are constantly in fear of being overwhelmed and by the endgame try and cling to the hilltop praying the OBA comes in on target and that Mr. 10-3 stands tall and doesn’t break. With reinforcements entering anywhere along board edges throughout the scenario, it make for each game being played out differently. This one is on my must play card for the Austin get together this year!

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