Gary and I did another play-test tonight to try out a couple tweaks and new ideas we had. As there was just the two of us we just played on the southern half of the table - the action between the 11th Canadian Infantry Brigade and the 261st Reserve Infantry Regiment. (you can see Play-test #1 HERE )
Some of the changes included:
Less Germans in the forward trenches. German forward trenches were lightly defended and served to funnel an attack into the second line with the nasty concrete pillboxes, wire, etc. The battalion defending the front line had only 8 figures, the battalion holding the second line had 12. Hopefully this would mean the front line would be relatively easy to push through, the second a bit harder. Dropping the number in the second line trench to twelve makes them a bit more brittle as they would have a test for morale failure for every two figures killed the first time they take casualties rather than every three (as they would with 13+ figures…)
I moved the MG-bunkers/pill-boxes and had one less. I removed the two pill-boxes from the front line – as, generally, the Germans didn’t have pill-boxes as part of their front line defenses. Also this (along with the reduced number of troops in the forward trench) would make the players think a bit more about whether to use mines or not. I added one MG pill-box to the second line of defense in the center of the table to menace both battalions.
I tried using trench mortars. I won’t use them again in this scenario – they didn’t really add that much to the game other than headaches and another step or two to remember.
There might have been some other changes… but I can’t remember hem right now. It’s a bit late.
Here are some pictures of the action
(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)
Not really an action shot. In the last couple days since the last playtest I made some “krump markers” like my friend Curt in Regina has! This is the beginning of them…
Canucks file into the forward trenches and await Zero Hour.
More of the same.
The German defenses.
Turn One. The barrage begins (marked out by my new “krump markers” rather than some bent up old coat-hangers!) and the Canadians advance up the hill. In the immediate foreground are the men of the 87th Battalion (the Canadian Grenadier Guards). They will lose half their number one this first turn due to their commanding officer requesting that they attillery not hit the german forward trenches on his section of the front!
The 102nd advanced to far into the barrage and lost one of their own men to it. They had some hard fighting against the Germans in the forward trench despite the lighter number of defenders. The 54th advanced quick on their heels and had to wait often as the 102nd stumbled and were held up by close combats.
The 102nd still battling it out in the German forward trench.
Final positions. The remains of the 85th Battalion – the Nova Scotia Higlanders. They are at the third trench line but face a full German reserve battalion that made into the trenches and through the barrage unscathed!
The German reserve battalion in the third trench line. At the top right you can see the remaing two figures from the 75th Battalion. In the top center is Hill 145 behind which you can just make out the bayonets of the 54th Battalion.
Here’s the other side of that hill. The remains of the 54th and 102nd (one is from the 102nd, the other four are the remains of the 54th).
If I hadn’t been so tired it might have been interesting to try play out the Germans counter attack on the hill.
Using the victory points scheme I laid out in a previous post the 87th/75th would have netted a single point (took two trenches, lost one battalion) for a draw. The 102nd/54th would have gained two points (two trenches, no battalions lost – though one was down to the strength of a single platoon – one figure!). However they did take Hill 145 – removed the bunker and two mortar batteries from it – but then retired to the second line trench just to the west of it. Still I guess that would count as having been last in possession of it and they were still nearer to it than any Germans. So, assuming the 12th brigade had been equally successful – with the bonus four points for taking the hill it would have amounted to a major victory for the Division as a whole.
I think I might leave the toys out where they are and play out that counter-attack tomorrow night, just to see it the depleted Canadians could hold their tenuous positions against a full German battalion. We shall see.
Thanks again to Gary who is always full of useful suggestions and insight - and just plain fun to play with!