Monday, January 09, 2006

Back to the gaming table

Finally. A chance to get back to some PanzerGrenadier.

Today I’ll take a quick look at the game preliminaries – map, OOB and what’s going on in general.

Here’s the map setup for Scenario Three: Fontana Alba.

It uses two map sections, which is a fairly compact battlefield. The Romanians deploy on board 4 (the left-hand section). The Soviets set up on board 7, east of the river. Additionally, all Soviet units can begin the game in “Dug In” status, which provides a defensive bonus and gives them the advantage of “first fire” in assault combat.

The town on the eastern board (Fontana Alba) is one of the keys to the victory conditions. To win, the Romanians must occupy all town hexes on board 7. For the Russians to win, they must inflict at least 5 steps of casualties on the Romanians AND clear all territory east of the river of Romanian units.

The game length is 30 turns.

By looking at the relative forces and the victory conditions, the basic situation becomes clear. The Romanian cavalry force has to cross the river and capture the town from the Soviets. In the later stages of the game, they must then be prepared to fend off a Soviet counter-attack.

Here are the forces involved. First the Romanians:

The total force amounts to 10 platoons of cavalry, two heavy machine-gun platoons, a mortar platoon and two units of wagons. The leaders were selected randomly from the ranks designated in the OOB: a Major, a Captain and three Lieutenants. The Romanian leadership draw turns out a mixed bag, so their leadership is going to be nothing particularly great. None of the leaders carry a combat modifier. The Romanians also have the support of several off-board artillery sections (two 12-point concentrations each turn).

The Romanian force must capture Fontana Alba from this Soviet force:

That’s eight infantry platoons, two machinegun platoons, a mortar platoon and a section of 45mm anti-tank guns, along with a couple of wagon units. The Soviet leadership draw is better, but they have considerably fewer leaders in their initial setup.

Soviet reinforcements appear on a successful die roll by the Soviet side, with their first possible appearance on turn 13 (0900 in ‘game time’).

The counter-attacking force is formidable: 12 infantry platoons, 3 machinegun platoons, two mortar platoons and a platoon of T-26 tanks. They get four leaders for this force, with the addition of a kommissar (who can use rather heavy-handed methods to help Demoralized troops recover improved morale). When the reinforcements arrive, the Soviets also receive some support from off-board artillery (three 10-point concentrations each turn).

The Soviets also seem to benefit a bit from slightly better leadership draws. A couple of high-ranking '10' morale leaders (one with both combat and morale bonuses) will probably come in very handy at some point.

A stiff challenge for the Romanians indeed, although the Soviet victory requirement of eliminating all Romanians east of the river is also a bit of challenge.

Next entry: To battle!

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