British Cromwell hunts Whittman!

British Cromwell hunts Whittman!
A pic from a Fireball game at Fall In 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cold Wars

I ran three 'official' and three 'pick-up' games of Fireball Forward at Cold Wars last week. All of them were received very well and a good time was had by all. It was great to see a group of ten people who had never played before sit down at the largest scenario I have written and within five minutes they were all playing and totally hooked.

All of the games I ran are from my Panzer Lehr at St. Lo scenario book.

The first official game I ran was 'Darkness Before the Dawn' which sees ten Panthers and a Panzer Grenadier Company trying to take a farm and/or exit the board. They are opposed by six M10s and two and half platoons of infantry. The Germans plowed straight up the main road and the tank-riding Grenadiers assaulted a barn near the road. A huge close combat erupted at the barn which eventually drew in an entire platoon from each side. When the smoke finally cleared the Americans held the barn and twenty Germans were dead. The Panthers were then able to bring fire on the barn and drive out the GIs. They then pushed through the hedgerows in an attempt to by-pass the US defense and exit the board...only to run into some M10 Tank Destroyers. The lead Panther was destroyed and the Germans realized they should try a different tactic. They shifted their advance to the other side of the board and moved tanks and infantry to assault the farm area. The US was caught with most of their anti-tank units out of position. It looked like Panzer Lehr was rolling to victory but the Americans were able to hold on by the skin of their teeth and claim victory. The new armor rules seemed to work great. No complaints by the gamers.

The second game was 'Holding On' which features an German asault on a town. This scenario was great as the Germans looked to have it sown up by they got so focused on a firefight that they neglected to complete their brilliant flanking move. This allowed the US player to react and block the Germans on the last turn. A great game in which everyone had fun. Again the new armor rules were liked by all.

The third game was 'Watch the Flank' which is a meeting engagement. The US has numbers but the Germans have the edge in heavy weapons. It started out looking like the US would roll to victory...that is until they tried to cross an orchard to occupy the farm area. The Germans had a 20mm auto-cannon covering the orchard and it just hammered the dogfaces. The GIs kept trying to cross and kept getting turned back...and then 81mm mortars started falling on them. That's when one of the US players said, "Wait...the 20mm is killing us and now we are getting pummeled by mortars in this hedgerow...we need to change tactics." They did and should have won except for a team of German infantry that won the Iron Cross for heroics on the final turn. It was a draw. The best part about the game for me was that the US players felt their tactics were not working and came up with new ones to get them moving in the right direction. They had never played the rules before but just used basic infantry tactics to solve the problem. As a game designer I was very happy to see that.

Basically, all of the Fireball games went well and I am very pleased with the new armor rules. Jonathan even ran a Russian Front scenario based on the old Cross of Iron scenario 'Paw of the TIger'. It went great and played just like the scenario should. More on that later.

I also am working the artillery rules so that we can have them modelled in all possible siuations.

More later.


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