We had a low turn-out this evening, with just three of us playing. Caesar had brought along his copy of The Great War, so Ralph and I had a go at one of the Loos scenarios whilst he adjudicated. Ralph took the Germans, whilst I was the British.
In this scenario the British must really try and occupy two trench-lines. The first is a fairly easy proposition, but the second is well defended with machine-guns and there are plenty of German reserves waiting to move forward. The Germans also have artillery superiority. The Germans can win by just sitting tight for long enough as well.
I got an excellent run of cards, enabling me to push quickly into the forward trench line on my right. I was then able to reinforce my position with machine-guns, which helped hold off German reinforcements. I suffered a bit from accurate and persistent German artillery before I was able to play a reinforce card to consolidate my position even further, pushing into the second trench line. From then on Ralph was somewhat on the back foot, trying to force my troops out of their advanced position before I could pick up the victory medal for it. Once I had it in the bag I launched a fierce assault on one of his reinforcing units, eliminating it to win the game.
Caesar then took on the British, whilst I had a go at defending with the Germans. He attacked all along the line, but with an emphasis on my centre and a big push on my right. Again, I was lucky with my initial cards, which enabled me to push my reserves into the second trench-line almost from the start. This beefed up the defences of my two machine-gun positions, and a useful set of cards then enabled me to exploit them thoroughly, gaining bonus dice and extra shots on several turns. Caesar took the first trench line with ease, but never really got much further. Any unit which advanced was cut down by concentrated German firepower.A final push against my right was defeated to give me the final medal I needed for victory
The Great War is quite an intense game to play, with two card hands to juggle, plus the management of the command tokens. Terrain has strong defensive benefits, and a lot of the game is about overcoming those defences by either bypassing them or by stacking up enough combat dice that they become irrelevant. I'm not sure it will replace memoir '44 as my favourite game of this type, but it's certainly an interesting way of playing an era generally regarded as difficult to game.
We then switched to Instant Thunder, trying a small China vs Taiwan scenario set in 1958. Caesar took the Capitalist Running Dogs, with a pair of F84s and a pair of F86 Sabres, whilst I took the Heroic People's Air Force in their four MiG 15s. My planes had the edge in performance, as well as cannons against his machine-guns, but he had two planes with rockets and better pilots.
Of course I had played the game before. I explained that you were allowed to dodge when shot at, really I did, but Caesar decided that it wasn't worth it. And thus, on the first turn, his experienced pilot was shot down by a Chinese rookie fresh out of the training academy.
One of the F84s fell to another Hero of the People's Republic.
Turn two saw another F84 downed, as the MiGs showed how formation flying was done.
This left Caesar with one F86 against four Chinese planes, with six turns to go. And at the end of that time he still had one F86 and the Chinese still had four planes; we ducked and dived and dodged and weaved, but we couldn't get him under fire, and neither could he pick off an isolated target. The Chinese won a convincing victory, with two F84s and an F86 downed, including one of Taiwan's top pilots.
Next time we might try using something with missiles.
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