Friday, April 9, 2010

Lions Den I - Part III: Game 3

Mission 3: Encounter versus Hugo M’s 21st Panzer Division

For the third game, Tim pairs players based on their total scores from the first two games. Bill W and Matthew J square off at the Main Event table to determine the tournament champion. They are playing on the table behind me. Hugo and I both frown when we see it’s a Blue on Blue game. Hugo really frowns when he sees the Jagdpanthers and Noak’s Panther.

Hugo wins the die roll and chooses a side. The terrain on the table was neutral, offering orchards and hills to both players for concealment and overwatch positions. A special Italy terrain rule called for the orchards offering concealment bonuses, however, any unit in an orchard can see and shoot and can be seen and shot at.

The Battlefield

Hugo deploys a platoon of 5 Pz IVs, another platoon of 3 Pz IVs, a Tiger and then his CiC Pz IV is kampfgruppe with something at the back end of the table.

In Encounter, each side initially deploy half their force. Hugo recommends forming a kampfgruppe so I can get 3 platoons on the table to match his 3 platoons. I was hesitant. My HQ consists of 2 Jagdpanthers, plus Noak. For my two platoons I can place the other two Jagdpanthers and the StuG platoon. I can get all my armor on the table with just two platoons and the HQ. Bill W came over to help me. I didn’t do a good job of explaining my force structure because he recommended the kampfgruppe as well. So I pair the 2iC Jagdpanther with 1 StuG to make a third platoon and then place the 2iC and StuG near the other two StuGs in deployment.

I have the Jagdpanther platoon, CiC and Noak on the left side of the table near a hill. The 2iC and StuGs are on the right, sitting in an orchard.

Deployment Phase and Hugo thinking: "That's a lot of Jagdpanthers"

Hugo wins first turn. His big platoon of Pz IV’s come up over the rise I the Hill. His Tiger goes into the center of the town. Meanwhile, his other Pz IV platoon skirts next to buildings underneath the hills where I have the three Jagdpanthers and Noak waiting. The Tiger shoots at one of the Jagdpanthers, but misses. It stormtroopers behind a building. His big Pz IV platoon sends a volley at the orchard, gets a hit on a StuG, but it bounces thanks to the distance being 16”+ and the StuG having FA 7. The 2iC Jagdpanther moves, bogs and blows up a PzIV, while another PzIV succumbs to the StuG platoon fire.

Burning PzIV's

The Jagdpanthers and Noak maneuver to get shots at the Pz IVs underneath the hill. All shots miss. The Jagdpanther platoon fails to stormtrooper and remains on the Hill. Noak stormtroopers down the hill. I fear the Pz IVs coming up over the hill (skill check only) and keep front armor oriented that way. The Jagdpanther CiC stormtroopers off the hill and points it big gun at the gap between the hill and the edge of the table.

Noak and Jagdpanthers trying to shoot at PzIVs in village.

This is where Hugo could have done damage. On the second turn, two of Pz IVs come around the hill and see Noak’s side armor. He gets two shots and misses both! His other Pz IV platoon again comes up the hill and shoots. Hugo has bad dice, missing and getting a hit on a StuG that I save.

Hugo's PzIVs catch Noak with his pants down

More bad dice with Hugo failing the stormtrooper roll for the Pz IV platoon. The StuG platoon returns fire and kills a Pz IV. The 2iC, still bogged, blows up another Pz IV. Hugo’s surviving Pz IV fails morale and flees the board.

On the left flank, the Jagdpanther platoon rumbles down the hill to shoot at the Pz IVs that tried to snare Noak. Noak maneuvers for a shot and the CiC Jagdpanther stays put. It was crowded firing lanes and I took time to ensure that I had shots at all 3 Pz IV’s. My fire was good and the 3 Pz IV’s go up in smoke.

Reserves don’t start appearing until Turn 3. Hugo has lost two platoons and needs to make a company morale check. Hugo’s bad dice continue one more time and the 21st Panzer flees the table. Game over.

I didn't take pictures of the Turn 2 carnage with the game ended and Hugo picking up his force.

I felt bad for Hugo. It was a poor match up for his army. Daniel at a table behind Hugo asks if I feel bad for Hugo. I say yes and he says don’t. There will be times when I’ll be in an unfavorable match because of terrain or army types or both and I’ll get spanked. It’s the game. Bad match ups happen to everyone and your opponent isn’t going to feel bad when he stomps you to a 6-1 win. Message received.

Result: Win, 6-1

Lessons: The kampfgruppe of the 2iC Jagdpanther with the StuGs wasn’t about getting all the tanks and firepower onto the board. It was about putting 3 platoons on the board for company morale checks. If I lose one platoon, I’m at an instant morale check. It just dawned on me while writing this recap.

Dice: No extraordinary dice rolls to mention.

Sportsmanship: Even though the game was short, I still found Hugo a good opponent who was given a tough nut to crack. He was kind enough to offer the kampfgruppe suggestion so I could have equivalent of three platoons on the board. Hugo received the remaining 2 points I had to distribute for sportsmanship.

Platoon of the Match: 2iC Jagdpanther for killing two Panzer IV’s while bogged.

Next up, Tournament Recap and pics of other armies, The Realm and tables.

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