Monday, May 03, 2010

AAR: AP60 Nishne, Nyet!

Jeff Toreki, Zeb Doyle

I managed to squeak out a win on the German CVP cap VC, but I felt like I was pretty much getting my ass kicked the whole time. Zeb was crushing me from two sides in a vice grip, and then I got a bit lucky when he parked a few vehicles in LOS of a 57LL, and killed 23 CVP in one turn. There are also instant VC of the Germans winning at the end of turn 4 if no GO Russian vehicles or infantry are within a village area – to keep the game from ending there, I had to sprint a Stuart back into the village through a hail of German fire and survive. I also had to survive my own major ‘duh’ moment of the game (one of several) when I moved a T-34 into the LOS of a halftrack that was a sitting duck for the 57LL (and represented the last 5 CVP I needed), allowing him an automatic motion attempt to escape. Luckily for me, the t-34 managed to kill a PzIIIN with a malfed MA for the win. By the way, the PzIII needed a 5 or less to go into motion, and rolled a 6.

The best analogy I can think of is fighting Mike Tyson and taking a beating, then taking one lucky swing and cutting his eye, so the ref calls it on a TKO. It doesn’t really feel like a ‘win’, so much as being saved by the ref stopping the fight. Thanks again for the game Zeb.



Yep, Jeff did a great job to get the win in a scenario that seems tough on the Russians. The scenario has a very powerful German force smashing into a decent Russian force, and the Russian defense is further complicated by the instant win provisions. Jeff really had to try and master a steep learning curve of deciding how to design a very precise fall-back defense, while I just had to drive on and try to avoid a CVP cap...easy, right?

Things went well for me for most of the game with pretty average luck on both sides IMO, with Jeff only avoiding the instant win VC on turn four by having a Stuart survive three TH attempts needing a 5, a 6, and another 6.

On turn five, things swung back the other way: I lost a Tiger/9-2 AL to a HIP MOL-P unit that needed a 6TK and got it. Jeff then malfed a 57LL which really opened things up, giving me the opportunity to take out a motion T-34 from the rear with a PzIII, and eliminate three broken squads and the malfed 57LL with just two half-tracks and two squads. Unfortunately, I got stupid and greedy and parked all those units, along with a Tiger, where another 57LL could see it all. I just didn't think Jeff would put both 57LLs in such close proximity...very well played.

Anyway, the 57LL killed everything but one HT, put me 5 CVP away from the cap, and left me in a position where I couldn't do much to stop the final HT from getting nuked for the win. Then...Jeff got a little greedy himself and drove a T-34 past the HT and into position to challenge another PzIII. That let me get the HT into motion and gave it a path to safety and gave me a 5/6 chance to motion the PzIII. I failed the roll. Next turn I did everything I could go save the PzIII, but Jeff ended up with a 7TH, 7TK, and got them both. I failed the 5CS number and that was the game. Really stupid play on my part to try and bring the hammer down in the way I did. Obviously, the risk I ran if the second 57LL WAS in the area was just too high.

Final thoughts: The Russian set-up could have been better, which you would expect given the Russians have the steeper learning curve and I have the benefit of a full game under my belt unlike Jeff. I think the Russians can make the turn 4 instant win VC a very remote possibility without compromising the overall defense, and so any turn 4 frantic deathride like we had should be uncommon. Having said all that, I still like the Germans in this one even against a Russian defense that has the benefit of a prior playing. Even after all my stupid play, as we were picking up the pieces at the end, both Jeff and I thought the German force was still strong enough to win the game if the CVP cap were disregarded. Overall, it just felt like the Russians need a really good set-up and either a really dumb move like mine or some luck to be in it at the end...or perhaps a bit of both. If Jeff rolls a 7+ on his MOL TK, I'd be writing right now about what a tactical genius I am instead of whining. Anyway, I don't recall the ABS balance provisions off the top of my head, but I would certainly use them if I played it again.

Enough about the balance. Wrapping up, I'll just quickly mention the fun factor: it was neat to use the new boards, and I thought the railroad and AT ditch SSRs were fun and changed the feel of the game in a good way. The multiple VC were interesting and add to the complexity of the defense, but didn't work as well as I was hoping. If the Russians put a few more troops around the first VC area, the Germans won't be able to completely drive them out in the three turns they have to do it. After that, both the other VC require capturing a big Factory in the heart of the Russian defense, something that realistically will never happen by turn six. So, if the Russians can survive the turn four hurdle, the feel of the game really switches to that of a standard 8 turn game. Finally, the scenario was fun to play, but has a little too much of the 'big force smashing little force. Little force can't do anything but hang on and hope that time and terrain save the day' feel for a repeat playing. So, fun, good scenario aside from potential balance issues, but not a classic IMO.

Hope there aren't too many sour grapes in there, and congrats to Jeff again on the win!


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