Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Number of That Truck

I got together with JRV last weekend to play WO5 Astride Hell's Highway.  Despite our relative proximity, JR and I don't play each other very often. Playing JR is a double edged knife: I always learn something (good) / I rarely win (bad).  I had intended to do the full AAR, but I forgot my camera, and anyway, it's just too painful. This one was a very one sided affair.

Astride Hell's Highway is a very interesting, complicated scenario. The Germans have two ways to win, and fifty ways to lose. (I'm not sure what I mean by 'fifty ways to lose', but it seemed like a nice turn of phrase. I'm keeping it. ) The Germans (my side) start out attacking American paratroopers in a village, but the Americans get big reinforcement groups on turns three and four, turning the tables on the Germans.

Now, as previously stated, JR is a decidedly better player then me. When he also has hot dice, it can be a bit overwhelming. Late in the game, around turn five or six, an American half squad was eliminated on a double break. To my horror, JR sheepishly announced it was "the first American casualties of the game."

So, I've decided to focus on the positive. There are two important lessons of this game I will endeavor not to forget.

1:  Effective SMOKE usage.

    The Germans have to cross some open ground to get into the village, and are equipped with two Smoke Monster StuGs to help. Sure, I smoked in his MG team in the steeple, and his bazooka crew, but that ground was still open to other units. The lesson here is that you don't necessarily have to fire the smoke into the enemy hexes, but into a location where it will it hinder LOS. In this case, simply firing Smoke IN/ADJACENT to the open ground hex that needs to be crossed would effectively hinder LOS from all American units.

2: Setting up a defense. 

   The Germans in this one must set up in a fairly limited area. Knowing that the biggest wave of American reinforcements would be coming in from the north, I set up a defense to around my 88s and MGs to get ready for an attack from that direction.
   As JR pointed out after the game, that was too limiting. The American reinforcement group does not come on until turn three. You don't have to be in position at the start of the game.The Germans have two turns to move out of their setup area and into better position to cover open ground, etc. Seems so obvious, and yet never occurred to me.

So, given the way this went, it's hard for me to say whether the scenario is good, bad or indifferent. It certainly is complicated and interesting, and that's probably reason enough to recommend it.

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