Thursday, April 23, 2009

Easter extravaganza #2: Limbering up

The Easter holidays brought a visit from 'Uncle' Martin for a WW2 tactical megasession.

Up Front
Beginning in the wee small hours, we opted for a couple of quick games of Up Front. We managed 2 games. Turning to Scenario A. Patrol as ever, random generation pitted my British against Martin's Germans, then I took the Americans in against Martin's Germans.

The details of the games escape me at week and a half's remove, and I wasn't taking notes. What I can remember is that, continuing my setup experiments, I decided to give my Germans a chance to gain a manoeuvre victory with a strong 4-man assault group on my open flank. I managed to pull this off.

I tried something similarly unusual with my Americans, setting up:
  • The 2 ML1 wimps with Cpl. Moores at group A.
  • A 6-man firebase at group B.
  • Sgt. Burnett with Myers and a ML3/Panic 5 rifleman at C.
Sgt. Burnett and his lads got into close combat, and amongst the game's high jinks were:
  • I took a prisoner.
  • Burnett junked a tommy gun (what?!), then picked up the dead Bernhoff's rifle from the German group he was infiltrating.
In the end, Martin's assault group died in a hail on fire and on the points of my bayonets, and I won again.

Aging reservist 0
Combat-ready veteran 2

These games were part of my ongoing consideration of Up Front tactics, naturally enough. Isolated data insufficient for the drawing of conclusions, the results are grist to my mill nonetheless.

Key for the Germans was the decision to keep open the option of the manoeuvre victory with 4 men at range chit 4. Historically authentic for the Germans, this aggressive strategy is also eminently playable with their hand in Up Front. Going with a strong 4-man assault group raises the question of how to build your firebase. I opted to put the ML1 Beck and the ML2/Panic 2 Wollack at group A, and to transfer Wollack into the firebase at the first opportunity:
  • The firebase has to have at least 5 men.
  • ML1 wimps shouldn't be in your firebase.
In addition, I would consider pulling Beck back to range chit -1 to keep him out of range of the enemy. That way, he'd be able to run around for the sake of card cycle without coming under too much fire.

Unlike the Germans, neither the American hand nor their firebase favours the manoeuvre strategy. So I prefer to go with a 3-man assault group whose role is to hold out against their German opposite numbers. The novelty in this game was to put Cpl. Moores with the wimps in group A instead of with the firebase in B:
  • Moore's tommy gun makes him largely superfluous in the firebase.
  • His smoke capacity is likewise mostly redundant.
So, putting Moores in group A with the wimps means that:
  • The wimp group can lay smoke to enhance their own survivability and to increase card cycle.
  • Group A will be more durable because of Moores' higher morale.
These strategies worked against Martin on Easter Monday. Even so, the vivid memory of the utter tankings back in 2007 which refuted my alternative Japanese strategy means that I'm not leaping to any conclusions about these setups, all the more so given my concerns about the scaling of Up Front's firepower engine. Still, I know I'm going to try them both out again the next chance I get. ;)

Easter extravaganza
- #1: The long weekend
- #3: Country-house carnage
- #4: Rumble in the jungle

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