Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Game 8 : Russian Winter Offensive : Take 2

One of the problems with developing rules is the false sense of security you gain over time when everything is going well. By that I mean balanced games and outcomes that everyone "thinks" is reasonable given the troops, objectives etc.
Well, this game didn't break the rules but nevertheless delivered a cautionary tale in scenario design planning.
This game was a repeat of the previous game with different players. This is always good because different players will nearly always adopt different planes. The irony in this game was that the plans for both sides were as before, except the Germans selected a Panzer Division as their starting forces. Cutting to the chase, a variety of circumstance lead to time being used up on the first day with only 3 moves which meant we changed the schedule of arrivals to, well, none as it turned out. The consequence was that the game revolved around a Russian infantry assault on the main town with no armour support and the Germans freely calling in artillery. The result was as clinical as it was predictable.
After suitable gnashing of teeth and copious amounts of alcohol it was collectively decided that some unbalance had occurred. We played on with some "amendments" to see what could be done, if indeed anything was required.
I'll leave the conclusion to the end and now we can have some piccies of the action.
This is the central section again, I redid the terrain from memory and some piccies from the last game.
The nasty Germans are on the left, Adam seems very happy as if he has already won before we start. I've no idea was I was the only person sitting down!
The German defenders deep in thought. You can see the markers for hidden deployment on the buildings. The system works quite well, we tried a slight variation for this game but I will revert to the original system for our next game as I think it was "cleaner" when deciding what was or wasn't seen.
This shows Russian combined arms trying to advance against German armour. The Russian tanks, KV1s, have far superior armour to the Germans but are rather clumsy with respect to speed and shooting (in this scenario). When they could get to grips, German armour would retire in a controlled fashion. The game was interesting because it showed how armour only could hold up infantry advances for a long time, trading time for ground in a controlled fashion and constantly harassing the infantry with artillery.
This is a piccy of the main Russian assault on the main town. It looks pretty here, but didn't after  a turn of deadly fire!
This is action in my sector where I manged to fight into a town with the help of tank support.
Well, what conclusions did I eventually come too? I had a good old think and what become increasingly clear was that the rules were fine, it was how I had specified special rules for the scenario. The special rules were to do with visibility and how artillery, for both sides, was controlled. I concluded that some of my rules on artillery control (who and how easy) was over generous and the same went for the extended visibility rules for built up areas. This aspect had been commented on before in another totally different game and I was reminded of how I thought it was a glitch in the game, not the scenario per se.
Next time will see some changes to the scenario rules for artillery control and visibility and I'll see how that goes.
Off to put the kettle on now.