With winter winding down, I made the trek in to Ron's yesterday for our first game of the year. We had yet to try the WWII Advanced Portable Wargame so we decided to give it a go.
When I arrived the scene was set for France 1940 using the Two Sides of A River scenario from CS Grant's Programmed Scenarios.
|About 4 turns in, its pretty clear to me that I am not equipped to halt the Blitzkrieg in this open country. Ron however, was still worried about how to get past the woods to my rear.|
Boiling down the scenario forces and translating them into SP's I ended up with roughly a reinforced infantry battalion with 4 infantry, and 1 each MG, Mortar, light ATG and Carrier (Scout Car) units backed by 2 25lb Field Guns and a pair of French Char B tanks. Ron had a gazillion Pzr II, 35T and Pzr III tanks backed by some infantry in halftracks and a Stuka.
It was rapidly evident that we had a complete mismatch between our expectations, the scenario layout and what the rules are designed for.
Our first clue was when I discovered that the 5 mile range of the 25 pdrs translated to a mere 8 hexes and rather than being able to cover most of the board as I was used to in past games, they could barely fire across the river. That meant I had to move them, a 3 turn process to move even 2 hexes. I think I manged to fire twice all game. If I had checked that before deploying I would have deployed one on either side not that it would have helped much.
The second issue was when we tried to figure out how to classify the tanks. The Char B was obviously heavy and the PZRII light so we made the 35T's and PzrIII Medium. All well and good but since the rules don't cater for varying levels of armour protection, only range, it was soon clear that the 20mm guns on the PzrII's were able to shoot up the supposedly near impermeable armour of the Char B at their maximum range of 3 hexes. Since heavy tanks can't fire and move, it was easy for the enemy to close and shoot the Char B's to pieces with them hardly getting a shot off. We really missed having separation between offensive and defensive capabilities for tanks. Using Elite and Poor attributes might have helped if I'd thought of it before the game but I'd have been happier using the house modification that I adopted when testing the rules last year (See portable-wargame-review
We also got a bit confused once the Stuka started to fire its machine guns which led Ron to want to fire the machine guns on his tanks at my infantry rather than using their small calibre anti-tank guns. This seemed reasonable, though not covered, but when Ron pointed out that the rules said the airplane got 3 dice per MG he wanted the same for his tanks but I flatly drew the line there. (More on the air rules below
The whole level of the game is at a higher level than we are used to and we hadn't made nearly enough mental adjustments or adapted the scenario properly to fit the rules.
Anyway, it was still an enjoyable game and far from one sided though it was over in about 8 out of 15 turns when my forces became exhausted and he had a clear path around my flank.
We turned our hand to a quick air to air game. It was fast and fun but was almost Reallllly
fast. Luckily, just as we were starting I noticed that while the air rules state that planes roll 3 dice per MG, the examples show them rolling 1 per MG. I suspect that the 3 dice rule was an error and we followed the example instead. This was lucky for his Stuka as I was only rolled 4 dice per attack not 12 when my fighter got his Stuka in his sights. Even I couldn't have avoided hitting him with that many dice.
|The sun was in my eyes, that's my story.|
Anyway, a fun day out. Now back to the Great War.