After reading the rules, clipping the counters, and looking longingly at Nations at War: White Star Rising for several weeks, I finally got around to playing it. Unfortunately, I didn't have an opponent handy, so I ended up playing it solo. This generally isn't a bad thing, especially when I'm first playing a game, because I'm sure I'll need to check the rules multiple times, slowing down a Face-to-Face game.
The first scenario covers a precursor battle to the Siege of Bastogne, in Noville, Belgium. In the battle, a battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) and 4 M18 tank destroyers attacked units of the 2nd Panzer Division who were en route to capture fuel dumps needed for the German offensive. The M18, a notoriously fast vehicle, and the infantry support got to a spot on the highway well before the German objective, and began to attack. The result was a solid victory for the Americans- the M18's strong shooting and mobility caused the Germans to stall on the attack (believing they were going up against a significantly stronger force than they actually did), and the Americans ended in possession of the town.
In the scenario, we have a similar situation. Kampfgruppe Beck, with its 6 tank platoons and infantry support are attacking the town of Ste. Jeanne, defended by infantry of the 507th PIR, as well as tank support from Combat Command Alpha (CCA). An M18 platoon is attached to the 507th.
To make the game more interesting, a portion of the Kampfgruppe Beck formation enters from a randomly determined board edge as a flanking force.
The Americans deployed on both sides of the road, but kept a sizeable amount of forces back with the town, in case the Germans broke through (the tanks would hopefully have to assault the town, which isn't favorable for tanks vs. defending infantry).
The Germans deployed in the town, prepared to advance across the river as soon as possible.
Nations at War: White Star Rising uses a chit-pull system, so there's no guarantee certain formations will activate from turn to turn. This factors into the German plans- they have to move into position fast, because they can't know how many chances they'll have (they will activate a minimum of once every other turn however). They have 8 turns to accomplish their objective.
Very uninteresting turn. The first chit draw was the End of Turn chit. CCA was then drawn, but with no one in sight and no real need to reposition, they passed. The second End of Turn chit was drawn, ending the turn.
Since neither the 507th nor the KG Beck chit was drawn this turn, neither End of Turn chit was returned to the cup. One would be added back to the cup upon each of these formations activating.
The first chit was the 507th, who passed, since they didn't have anything to do.
KG Beck finally activated. The flanking force rolled to see their entrance location, rolling a 3, meaning they were coming in from the south. The tanks on the right moved across the river. The M18 on the hill took the opportunity fire shot at a Panzer IV, and reduced it. The unit of Para Inf with the HQ also Op-fired at another tank, but failed to get any hits.
The units coming from the south (a Tiger, a STUG-III, and a unit of Infantry) advanced into the forest right next to the 507th. The 57mm ATG fired at the Tiger, but had no result, but the mortar hit the STUG-III and disrupted it.
The 2nd End of Turn counter, just added back to the cup, was drawn, ending the turn.
507th start the turn by activating, and with plenty of targets, they unload.
57mm ATG fires at the STUG for no result.
The Para Inf and HQ fired at the Panther nearby, resulting in 3 hits (using 2 Fate Points to enhance the rolls), which kills it. The other Para Inf deployed towards the front retreats some.
The M18 fired at a Panzer IV, disrupting it, then moved back. The 60mm mortar tried adding its fire to the Panzer IV, but did no damage.
Not a terrible round of shooting- losing a tank this early is bad news.
CCA activated next, but did nothing but reposition to prepare for the German advance.
Two consecutive End of Turn chits end the turn, and with the Germans out in the open- they definitely had to be concerned about getting their activation (so they could rally from their disruption) before taking more fire.
End Turn marker is drawn. The second one won't be added until the KG Beck activate, however.
Luckily for them, they get the first activation. Unfortunately, both the STUG III and a PzIV fail to rally (although the PzIV with the HQ does), meaning they would be unable to shoot or move closer to enemies they could see.
The Tiger takes a point blank shot at the ATG, rolling 4 dice and needing 3s to cause hits, he manages to get only a single hit, which disrupts the ATG. The PzIV and the HQ take a shot at the ParaInf (w/HQ) in front of them causing 3 hits and killing it. I have two of the German Infantry units unload from their APCs, and try to have the Panther assault the Mortar, hoping to clear it out of the forest. The Panther, sadly, deals 0 hits, and takes 1 in return, disrupting it. The other transports wait, hoping that next activation the tanks can clear enough of a hole for them to make a move towards the town.
And the second End Turn chit is drawn ending the turn. Halfway through the game, the Germans aren't making very good progress, although the 507th isn't looking very good at the moment.
At the start of this turn, a Chaos Marker is added to the cup. If it's drawn, a random event occurs.
The 507th activated, and with the HQ being moved way back after his death (and his reduced command range), the formation had to start checking for being Out of Command. The ATG and the mortar both failed the test, meaning they wouldn't be allowed to shoot or move, except as Opportunity Fire. The ATG did rally, however. The HQ moved onto the hill, to bring the southern elements back into command.
The Chaos chit was drawn, and the roll resulted in a Comms Breakdown- the next activation to activate would have to roll for being Out of Command, regardless of where their HQ is!
CCA got the pleasure of suffering the effects, and it was pretty painful, with an M4A1, and Armored Infantry, and the M4A3E8 going OOC. A different Sherman with the HQ fired at a Panther, causing a hit, but was negated by the armor.
The 81mm Mortar was more successful, however, firing at the Sd.Kfz.521, causing 2 hits (using 1 Fate Point), reducing and disrupting the half-track.
The first End Turn chit was drawn, bad news for the German...
But again, are lucky to be activated in time. The STUG and Sd.Kfz.521 all rally, starting things off great.
The sHQ and a Tiger assault into the ATG, causing a single hit (and taking none in return), knocking it into the open. The STUG III and the Arm Inf did the same to the 60mm mortar, but caused two hits, reducing it before knocking it into the open.
The reduced half-track overran the mortar, causing a single hit and killing it, but takes 2 hits (and negating one) from the M5A1's OpFire, disrupting it. The other Sd.Kfz.521's infantry disembarks. The HQ and PzIV moved up to the M18, which OpFired, causing 3 hits (using another Fate Point to increase the die roll), only one of which gets negated, reducing and disrupting the PzIV.
The second End Turn chit is drawn, ending the turn.
The first two chit draws were End Turn chits. A VERY quick turn.
Every formation would have to activate this turn, since none activated last turn. The first End Turn chit was drawn immediately, for all that it matters.
The 507th activated first. The ATG in the open failed to rally. The M18 fired at the PzIV next to him, hoping for the kill, and caused a hit, but the armor negated it, and the M18 moved away. The 507th end their activation, since they didn't really have much else to contribute.
Combat Command Alpha activated next, and started by shooting their M4A1 with the HQ at the STUG III, causing 3 hits (with none negated), killing it. The M5 fired at the reduced Sd.Kfz.521 in the open, and gets a hit, but the armor roll negated it. However, the 81mm mortar took a shot at the unit, and caused two hits, killing it.
KG Beck finally activated, and managed to rally everything, but by now they were pretty severely weakened, and needed to get to that town as soon as possible. They advanced up, with the sHQ and Tiger overrunning the ATG, killing it.
Well, it's not looking good for the Germans. They need to take all three town hexes, and don't really have a lot of forces in range. Plus, they needed to actually be activated this turn. Going to be tough!
The 507th was activated first. The HQ and the Para Inf moved up, hoping to assault the Tiger, but the OpFire from the Tiger deals 3 hits (with the terrain negating 1), disrupting and reducing the Infantry.
KG Beck gets their activation, and prepare for the final push. The sHQ and Tiger fire at the CCA HQ w/ the M4A1. They cause 2 hits, and although 1 hit is negated by the armor, it's enough to disrupt the unit, preventing it from shooting.
An Arm Inf moved to Assault the M5 and the reduced Para Inf, and deals 2 hits, taking 2 in return, but manages to kill the 507th HQ, and again, prevents the M5 from shooting.
Finally ready for the push, the KG Beck HQ moves with the PzIV towards the town, and are fired upon by the M18, who causes 3 hits, killing the PzIV and HQ.
Unable to achieve their objectives, the Panther tries to go in anyway, and takes a shot from a Sherman, disrupting it.
Game ends with no hexes of the city under German control. Pretty solid defeat.
This scenario is tough on the Germans, who really have no choice but to go straight at the city, right through the prepared defender's lines of fire. There isn't enough time to go around to either the north or south, though I suppose they could take a shot at going through the southern forest some, to protect against some fire, but I'm not sure it would help tremendously. However, it's a fairly good introduction to the series, and hopefully I'll get some more games in soon!