My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mistakes with Memoir '44 Campaign System

Well, I got my answers from the Memoir '44 forum on the Days of Wonder forum and it was a Doh! moment.

1. Dice rolled for Victory Event Rolls are assessed in the order listed on the chart. Put another way, do all Infantry first, Armor rolls second, etc.

2. Except for the Grenade and Star, your opponent chooses the unit affected!

So, the chances of destroying a unit are pretty slim as your opponent has to do it to themselves. : )

Fortunately, Don and I were about even in playing it wrong, soooo ... no need to start the campaign over. (Not when I am ahead!)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Memoir '44 - The Fall Gelb Campaign (Part 4)

Game 6, The Diversion campaign, Battle of Hannut-Merdorp scenario

To start, you roll for "attrition" (called Victory Event Rolls) and see if some of the units are depleted, or must retreat. This scenario led to some interesting questions.We did not read the rules closely enough and applied the die rolls in any order, which allowed Don to kill my artillery unit (he rolled a Flag and a Grenade). We found that was wrong as Flags must be applied before Grenades and Grenades can only affect units that are not depleted. As the Flag forces a retreat, and the unit was on the baseline, it lost a figure, making it depleted. That means the Grenade could not be used.

Nonetheless, we did not know that at the time so Don smashed my artillery unit with a Grenade and a Flag and I destroyed his with two Flags. That's one way to make sure artillery has no effect in a game. (By the way, I think my applying two Flags is still legal, but I am awaiting an answer on the Memoir '44 forum.

When it came to the Reserve rolls, I was looking for an armor reinforcement and got ... two Flags. That only allowed me to dig in with two units, most of which were already dug in. : ( This scenario was not going well. The Allied winning streak was looking shaky...

With Don killing my artillery, getting no reinforcements, Don bringing on an artillery reinforcement, and Panzers everywhere, I did not do well. The Allies lost 2-6. In addition, I did not even get a single objective (for killing Panzer units.

Game 7, The Diversion campaign, Resistance in Gembloux scenario

Winning this scenario will allow me to mine the bridge in the following scenario. Having lost the previous scenario, Don's infantry units on the baseline were allowed to advance one hex. The Victory Event Roll produced some casualties, but nothing significant on my end. I was able to roll up an armor reserve, which I staged in case I would need it. (I did.)

The first thing I did was count the range from the German artillery. Being only four hexes from a German artillery unit, my infantry in Ernage was dead meat. On my right flank, the infantry in the railway station was within 6 hexes of both German artillery, so it would not survive either. Only the last two rows of hexes on my side was out of range from at least one artillery unit.

Early play had the Axis getting the Artillery Bombardment card, allowing Don to knock out Ernage and the railway station before I could evacuate it. I was able to use Barrage to knock out the artillery on the Axis left flank. That gave me breathing room to maneuver on my right. Eventually my tanks and artillery won on the right flank and my infantry starting chasing down the remnants of German units. The Allies squeaked out a victory, 7-5. In addition, I was able to knock out 2 Panzer units.

Game 8, The Diversion campaign, Dug-in Behind the Dyle scenario

Having won the last scenario I was able to mine the railroad bridge over the Dyle River. I got a '4' mine, but it never came into play; Don made a run for the right flank (my left flank).

I wasn't really sure how to fight this one. Rolling 2 Flags for Reserves meant I received no reinforcements. With 5 infantry and 1 artillery (I lost one, on the left flank, to the Victory Event Rolls) versus 10 infantry and 1 artillery, this was going to be a hard fight, dug in or not.

My first task was to retreat the infantry out of Court-St-Etienne, as that position is simply too vulnerable (I retreated them to the woods behind the ford). The second was to advance my remaining artillery, out of the woods behind the towns on the right flank so it could reach out and hit the attackers with an extra die.

Don's attack on my left flank went very well in the beginning, but he slowly lost momentum and I was able to counterattack and pick off depleted units on my right while holding off the left at various strong points. With Don's dice failing, I was able to launch a last-ditch attack and win 5-3.

Game 9, The Diversion campaign, Battle of the Lys scenario

As this was the last game of the campaign, I used my last Reserve Token, an armor unit, to try and win the scenario and the campaign. I was able to eliminate the Axis artillery unit (the last scenario allowed me to apply an additional Flag to my Victory Event Roll), so that created a weakness on the Axis left flank.

I attacked on my right flank while Don did the same. I slowly pulled back from the left hopping from terrain to terrain while I chopped up the right. Unfortunately, Don chopped me up faster and the Allies lost, 4-6.

Final Score, The Diversion campaign

The Allies scored 18 medals and earned 1 objective point for destroying 5 Panzer units. The Axis scored 20 medals, but got no objective points. This resulted in a Campaign Score of 19-20, with the Axis winning a Minor Victory in the campaign. The Grand Campaign Score was now 41-35 with the Allies leading.

With the Axis winning the The Diversion campaign, they got to choose the next campaign and Don chose The Sickle Cut.

Memoir '44 - The Fall Gelb Campaign (Part 3)

As a note, I found what winning Bodange game 1) gets you: +1 victory point on the Grand Campaign score. That's better than nothing, but I still like my idea of cutting off a reinforcement too.

Game 5, Airborne Operations campaign, Moerdijk Bridges scenario

In this scenario I used my last reserve token and gained yet another armor unit. I placed it in the center to attack Tweede Tol and the open ground behind.

My strategy was to move my artillery on the right forward to blast the Germans guarding the bridges from a closer range. The infantry on the right would then move in and blow the bridges, getting objective points and victory points. The small force on my left would press towards the Germans on the railroad tracks and blow the bridge there. Everything else was designated to keep the Germans in the backfield, and any reinforcements, occupied.

Instead what happened is that Don had few of the right cards and no good dice. I simply shot him down across the board and eliminated five units before I could even come close to blowing a single bridge. I had won, but not getting any objectives was going to cost me. The Allies won 5-1.

Airborne Operations campaign, Final Score

The Allies won a total of 21 medals, but received 1 objective point, so their campaign score was lowered by -1 victory point, so the final Allied campaign score was 20.

The Axis won a total of 13 medals, but received 1 objective point, so their campaign score was not altered and ended with a campaign score of 13.

With a difference of 7 points, the first campaign is a Major Allied Victory, gaining the Allies 2 additional Grand Campaign points for a total of 22-13!

Further, because the Axis lost this campaign, the roads were not secured for the Panzers, considerably delaying the arrival of armor reinforcements. As a consequence, the Axis may not call up armor units as reserves for the rest of the Grand Campaign! Ouch! Now that hurts, especially as Don is an armor man.

Start of The Diversion campaign

Now we move into the second of three campaigns. The stakes for this campaign are that the winner gets to choose which campaign is played as the third: The Sickle Cut or The Crossing of the Meuse.

Now that a new campaign is started, both the Axis and the Allies get new Strategic Reserve tokens. The Allies get 2 and the Axis get 3. I note that the first scenario, if I win I get to add one Reserve Token to my Strategic Reserve Pool! I've got to win that battle!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Memoir '44 - The Fall Gelb Campaign (Part 2)

Game 3, Airborne Operations campaign, Unternehmen Niwi scenario

As I won game 2, I was allowed to bring on an additional infantry unit in this scenario - the linked games portion of the campaign. Wouldn't you know it I forgot to place the unit! I was so focused on making sure I did the Campaign Events and the Reserve Roll correctly it completely slipped my mind. Ah well!

This is an interesting scenario in that the French are counter-attacking a surprise German airdrop. There are three objectives (three separate towns) and these not only count towards winning the scenario, but count additionally in the campaign. As the Belgian and French player, I cannot simply slug it out with the Germans and hope to eliminate more units; I have to capture at least two objectives by the end of the campaign or suffer a penalty in campaign points. I have three possible objectives here, one in Game 4, and three in Game 5, for a range of -2 to 4 campaign points.

Looking at the scenario victory results, if I win this scenario I get one Reserve Token added to my Strategic Reserve Pool.
At this point it might be useful to describe the Reserve rules for the campaign. Each campaign allows each side a specific number of Reserve Tokens - 2 for the Allies and 3 for the Germans in this campaign. At the beginning of each scenario both players roll two dice to determine the number and types of units that may be used to reinforce the scenario. For each token spent, you can bring on one of the indicated units. These tokens, however, represent your strategic reserve for the entire campaign. (Note a Grand Campaign consists of two or more Campaigns, so each of those having their own number of tokens.
So, with three more games in the campaign, and a roll of Armor for a reinforcement, I decide to commit an armor unit to this scenario. If I win, it will automatically be replaced.

Looking over the board, I decided to try and attack Leglise (the right sector). It has only two infantry units guarding an objective. If I am successful, I can use one of the depleted T-15 armor units (a scenario special rule) to garrison the town while I sweep left and attempt to take Witry (the center sector), which is a bit more closely guarded. Finally, I will try a drive on Nives (the left sector), assuming I haven't already won on victory points.

For the most part, my plan worked. I was able to take Leglise fairly quickly, despite a German armor reinforcement showing up in that sector. However, I depleted it quickly and it took a quick victory point by exiting the board on the road to Neufchateau (another scenario special rule). I was driving to Witry when I won. The Allies won 5-2.

Don and I stopped for the day at that point. We had played three games - most of the time was in setting up the board - and he had won the pre-campaign game (as Don put it, a warm up) and I had won the two campaign games, so things were looking pretty good for the Allies.

Game 4, Airborne Operations campaign, Valkenburg Airfield scenario

This scenario has the Allied forces split  by the German forces in the center. Both sides have nine infantry units, but the Germans are all elite. To counter that the Allies have one additional artillery and armor unit.

My plan was to attack from the Allied baseline, using the artillery and armor as the point of the spear, driving straight for the airfield. Having played this scenario before, I realized that the woods were the key, as they give you firing positions directly onto the airfield (which is open ground).

Again, I was able to roll up an armor reinforcement from the reserve, so I deployed it in the center to help with the thrust. The Germans rolled up an elite infantry unit as reinforcements (which makes sense, given that all of their units were elite).

Again, my plan went as expected, but the fight was very hard. Honestly, I should have lost but Don'd dice, which were good at the beginning, failed him in the end. A loss of a single infantry figure would have won him the game. As it was, the Allies won 6-5.

What happened at the end forced me to look at the Memoir '44 FAQ for a ruling. When I killed the sixth German unit, making it 6 VP, I was in close combat. So, if I advanced after combat, it would put me on the airfield, giving me the objective. Unfortunately, the FAQ states that as soon as you hit the necessary Victory Point, the game instantly ends; you do not finish the move, much less the turn. That means the unit did not get to Take Ground, thus not capturing a key campaign objective.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Memoir '44 - The Fall Gelb Campaign

Don and I have been playing a Memoir '44 campaign for the last two weekends and it has rally turned out fascinating. I love the idea of campaigns - where actions in one game carry over in some form to the next - and those in the Campaign Book - Volume 1 certainly do.

The Fall Gelb campaign is a linked narrative campaign in which all of the scenarios are mapped out and defined beforehand. Success or failure in a game can have one of several effects. It can determine:

  • Which scenario or sub-campaign is to be fought next;
  • What additional forces you have available (over and above that indicated in the pre-defined scenario);
  • What forces in the scenario definition you do not get to use; and
  • What changes to the setup you must make.
What makes this type of campaign easy to run, but still worthwhile is that your successes and failures in one game do have an impact in the next, but yet the basic scenario played is still balanced. You just get a little more advantage or penalty based on previous play. This really helps reduce the number of "suicide moves" players make to achieve last turn wins. (It doesn't, however, eliminate them.)

Game 1, Pre-campaign, Bodange scenario

This is a strange little scenario in that it has not effect on the campaign or subsequent games whatsoever. Don called it a "warm-up game". I think it could be linked to Game 3, Airborne Operations Campaign, Unternehmen Niwi scenario in that one of the German armor reinforcements comes down the road from Bodange, so if the Germans lose that scenario, they lose that reinforcement.

That said, Don (as the Axis) won the Bodange scenario 5-4, so it was a close game. The Belgians are spread out and fairly immobile, but their artillery dominates this game, as does most artillery on defense.

Game 2, Airborne Operations campaign, Fort Eben-EmaĆ«l scenario

This is the famous German glider assault on the Belgian fortress that was reputed to be impregnable and was basically rendered ineffective within 10 minutes or so, and surrendered within a day.

The Belgians have the advantage of plenty of cover (bunkers, turrets, and fortresses), but as the Germans are within the defenses and the objectives are all unoccupied, the Belgians have to move. I did a fairly good job of moving into the center and protecting the objectives while Don had terrible luck trying to blow one turret in particular (five rolls of 2 dice each, with each die having 1/6th chance of rolling a star and he needed one star to blow it up).

The Germans needed six VP while the Belgians only needed five, however the Germans could blow turrets automatically (no card or action required), so they should have won... However, the Belgians squeaked out a 5-5 victory.

Well, there is a lightning store outside, so I think I will shut down the computer...

The rest of the story later (still five more games to report on).

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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 50 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ (although I have a townhouse in Houston, TX and a small home in Tucson, AZ) working on a contract for "the next two years" that is going on five years now. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").