Immediately following our successful experiment on Ambush scenarios for the Portuguese Colonial War, Jamie Wish and I tried another type of scenario. The goal of our second game was to defend a water party, which is an idea from FNG of Two Hour Wargames. Of course, our version of the scenario was for Crossfire and my Fogo Cruzado variant.
As a scenario design experiment, this one failed in a pretty spectacular fashion. But maybe I’m biased because Jamie won, and very quickly. 😉 Anyway, the good news is that we learnt a few things.
As we had just finished our Ambush game we used the same table. I just added a stream down one side.
Jamie got six Sneakers for concealed deployment and hidden movement. He secretly assigned troops to these and placed them on table. See if you can spot them in the photo.
My goal was to escort a water carrier team to the stream, let them fill up the water cans, and escort them back. We had more or less equal forces.
Jamie had covered most of the table but I saw a chance to make big advances quickly on the left flank. My first team advanced half way across the table. This brought it within sight of Jamie’s Sneaker on the base edge. He revealed and pinned my team. But I kept initiative.
So I piled everybody in. The entire Combat Group and the water party, with only a squad as flank protection. I did this all with only single move actions per stand. We had agreed that, until contact, all movement would be restricted to a single move action per initiative. After contact, all bets were off. Because we hadn’t discussed what happens if contact is in the middle of an initiative, I gave Jamie the benefit of the doubt and constrained my movement until the initiative passed.
Jamie was under no such movement restrictions in his initiative and the Sneakers started closing in on me.
I pushed my flank guard forward to give me more space to manoeuvre and keep Jamie away from my main body.
Unfortunately, my flank guard went No Fire as the first opportunity.
Jamie massed for assault (he’s learning fast).
Jamie took out half my flank guard in close combat. One Portuguese G3 Team killed.
Then he revealed some more boys nearer then river.
Finally Jamie took out my other flank guard G3 team.
This left me surrounded with no where to go. I conceded.
Observations and conclusions
Okay, I screwed up. I got myself trapped with no chance to bring massed fire power or to break out. I played it poorly and I lost. Nuff said.
However the game did illustrate a few points to bear in mind for the future.
A water party! Really?
It seemed a good idea at the time, but in hindsight I think the premise of the scenario is flawed. At least with the Portuguese escorting a water party. This doesn’t quite fit with my reading of the Portuguese Colonial War. The Portuguese generally had well supplied camps and supply vehicles. So relying on men on foot to collect water after travelling through hostile territory just doesn’t seem right.
So I don’t think I’ll refight the “Water Party Scenario”. None-the-less there are other things to consider about this scenario that might be applicable to scenarios I’m likely to play.
I gave Jamie six Sneakers for concealed deployment and hidden movement. It had a good feel because I had to try to guess where his troops were. However, with more or less equal forces, the uncertainly provided by the Sneakers tipped the balance of the game in Jamie’s favour.
One of the great things about hidden deployment is that the defender has painful choices to make. Reveal his stands to take a shot or keep them hidden and wait for a better opportunity. And this is within the context of having less troops than the attacker. I assign hidden troops a 50% point increase to reflect the advantage of being hidden.
Having Sneakers is an advantage too, so should come with a point cost. They are semi-visible, but create uncertainty, yet can move. What is that worth? Not sure. Maybe the same 50% of being hidden. Maybe a bit less.
However, I’m not convinced this game needed Sneakers at all. Perhaps just have hidden defenders.
Mass against the target
One of the problems with StuG Smuggling scenario is there is no reason for the defenders to defend the line. As soon as they see the the StuG, all of the defenders leave their positions and go StuG hunting.
I saw an echo of that in the game above. Jamie rightly massed all his troops to trap mine. Because to win he had to stop my water party. And given unlimited movement, there was nothing I could do to stop him.