When I asked him what he fancied playing, he said that in the past he'd enjoyed a set of scenarios based on the German invasion of Crete in 1941. Funnily enough I'd found them and printed them off just before I went on holiday in November, so I dug them out and we gave them a go.
Actually we gave one of them a go - the first one covering the attack on Maleme airfield. Basically we decided that setting a new game up each time was too time-consuming. We didn't even swap sides; Gary played the German in all three games, whilst I played the plucky New Zealanders.
This is the basic setup, with loads of German infantry (all with the Special Forces ability), but with the New Zealanders dug in across the board.
When Gary made his first few moves I wondered how long the New Zealanders would last; the move two hexes and still fight that all of his units has is very useful indeed. But you're only as good as the cards you draw, and the ANZACs have a good defensive position. They also have the Commonwealth Command Rule, which allows them to battle back in close combat. This contributed to whittling down the German forces almost as much as my own actions.
The first game saw Gary attack strongly on his left and capture the airfield, but in attempting to score points elsewhere he lost it, and the game. 6-2 to New Zealand. In the second game I picked up some useful activation cards early on, whilst Gary held back trying to get a decent hand together. When he attacked I was able to hold the line and pick up another 6-2 win. I think this was the game that I advanced the 2-strength armour unit right onto the German baseline.
The final game was a lot closer. Gary attacked the forward hill, and took it fairly quickly, whittled down a few units elsewhere, and ended up rolling for the game - he just needed to hit an artillery unit. He failed, and I used my next turn to pick up my last victory medal instead for a narrow 6-5 victory.
We think the New Zealanders do have an edge in this scenario, but it was an interesting one to play, and we'll move onto the rest another day.
After he went I set up the Gazala scenario from the Terrain pack so I could try out the desert board I'd bought ages ago but not used yet. This is a great scenario for tank fans, consisting entirely of tanks and artillery on a basically open board. The Western Desert rules allow them a bonus overrun move as well, so the action if fast, fluid and deadly.
Despite a superiority in numbers, the British are up against it in this game; the Germans have loads of artillery that can pick off damaged units from afar, whilst the British tanks are limited to a two-hex move. In addition they only have four command cards to the Germans' six.
The Germans won an easy 6-1 victory in the first game (only needing five medals, but picking up the sixth out of spite). The second game was closer after the British left held the initial German attack and then decimated it by swinging reinforcements across from the other flank. A fun feature of this scenario is that both sides start with virtually nothing in the centre, so you are almost fighting two small battles on opposite edges of the board. The Germans won the second game, but it was 5-4.
If you look closely at the first Gazala picture you can see that I fielded a mix of tank models, some of them ahistorical, for sure, but the added to the variety of the game.
Note to self; I need some khaki Commonwealth figures. I either need to pick up the 'proper' set, or get hold of some Airfix or Matchbox 8th army and 3D print some suitable tanks and artillery.
Update: We played the Commonwealth Command Rule from memory. Bad idea. We got it wrong. We allowed any NZ unit that survived a close assault to battle back. In fact it's only a unit reduced to one figure that gets the bonus,