Squarebashing assault 101

Assaulting in Squarebashing quite often has many options, with some subtle nuances. Here is 1 examples with the options explained. Hopefully it will help to show which is best, and what the outcomes will be

SB

The French are in blue. They are defending a trench D-E-F. They Germans in Green have options of assaulting in the following

Option 1 assault only from the front (B)

The dice are
 German (assaulting)
 3 dice per unit at strength        = 6
 Fighting bonus + 2                 = 2
 Support square (F)+2               = 2
 Assaulting trench -3               =-3
French (defending)
 2 dice per unit at strength        = 2
 Support square (D)+1               = 1
 G cannot support as under barrage

Total dice 7 assault vs 3 defence

If the Assault is successful if the barrage in G is suppression then the French regulars in E cannot retire and will take another 6 hits. If not suppression then it moves to G. Then at least 1 German unit from B must move to E – gains winning the fight marker

Option 2 assault only from the flank (F)

The dice are
 German (assaulting)
 3 dice per unit at strength       = 6
 Assaulting flank                  = 2
 Winning the fight + 2             = 2
 Support square (B)+2              = 2
 Assaulting trench to flank -2     =-2
French (defending)
 2 dice per unit at strength       = 2
 Support square (D)+1              = 1
 G cannot support as under barrage

Total dice 10 assault vs 3 defence

If the Assault is successful if the barrage in G is suppression then the French regulars in E cannot retire and will take another 6 hits. If not suppression then it moves to G. Then at least 1 German unit from F must move to E.

Option 3 Primary assault from the front (B) additional assault from (F)

The dice are
 German (assaulting)
 3 dice per unit at strength         = 6
 Fighting bonus + 2                  = 2
 Extra assault units                 = 2 (max 2 units per face)
 Assaulting trench -3                =-3
French (defending)
 2 dice per unit at strength         = 2
 Extra assault units                 =-2 (max 2 units per face)
 Support square (D)+1                = 1
 G cannot support as under barrage

Total dice 7 assault vs 2 defence (actual = 1 but 2 dice minimum)

If the Assault is successful if the barrage in G is suppression then the French regulars in E cannot retire and will take another 6 hits. If not suppression then it moves to G. Then at least 1 German unit from B or F must move to E – gains winning the fight marker

Option 4 Primary assault from the flank (F) additional assault from (B)

The dice are
 German (assaulting)
 3 dice per unit at strength          = 6
 Assaulting flank                     = 2
 Winning the fight + 2                = 2
 Extra assault units                  = 2 (max 2 units per face)
 Assaulting trench to flank -2        =-2
French (defending)
 2 dice per unit at strength          = 2
 Extra assault units                  =-2 (max 2 units per face)
 Support square (D)+1                 = 1
 G cannot support as under barrage

Total dice 10 assault vs 2 defence (actual = 1 but 2 dice minimum)

If the Assault is successful if the barrage in G is suppression then the French regulars in E cannot retire and will take another 6 hits. If not suppression then it moves to G. Then at least 1 German unit from B or F must move to E.

So obviously best to multi assault especially against tougher (more dice opponents) . The only questions are around having to move units into the final square which may or not be advantageous to you.

Squarebashing 1917

On Thursday I had chance to trot out some new toys to play Squarebashing. I’ve just completely my late war French and Germans and it was an opportunity to experience the full fat armies of Squarebashing. After playing the last few games with the Belgians in 1914 the smorgasbord of quality assets was a luxury. What I failed to released was that both armies were kitted out to the gunnels with bombardments and therefore I would be on the receiving end of it also.

We decided to play the trench game. I’ve only really played this a couple of times and we missed a few things. However it did mean we didn’t have to worry about the countdown to battle phase. In the trench game its always ‘attack in force’ for depletions, and as the defending French we have a trench running the length of row three. The defender can be deployed in row 2 and 3, as per usual the attackers are in row 6. After deploying the position seemed impregnable (doesn’t it always) .

The French
2 professional infantry
6 regular infantry
4 reserve infantry
6 MGs
6 Artillery

The Germans
5 professional infantry
5 regular infantry
3 MGs
4 Artillery
1 Heavy Tank

Both armies were rated 47 … I think the highest in the book (no one would have a bonus for being a ‘better army’)

As defender the French has 12 infantry units and after depletions would have to have 1 on 3 off the table (4). Depletions were applied. It always seems horrific when you see a couple of 6s appear on your best troops and have the ultimatum of deploying them at half strength or in reserve. In the end it probably wasn’t that bad as I ended up only with 4 infantry in reserve (also 2 guns and 1 MG), which is just about the minimum. It did look that the front line of regular in the trench had taken the worse of it and were all ‘bases down’, while the reservists looked largely untouched.

However the trench game nastily also requires the defender to lose 1 base from 4 full strength on table infantry units AND damage 2 guns AND damage 2 MG…. also losing d6 of each bombardment asset!

After this the defending French looked threadbare and it might be the case for the Germans to walk through.

1917_1

There is also a mine phase (forgot that !). The Germans also have the option to swap infantry for Stormtroopers (forgot that!)

The German lined up to advance. Ray had picked the ‘fighting’ higher command order (to bolster his attacks) and I pick ‘morale’ and I felt I might need it.

Turn 1 the German point effect barrage the line. It looked bad and I took a few casualties , but it was the centre of the line. My higher command would be close enough for his command orders to be of use (the French only have a command rating of 2 – boo – compared to the Germans 4 ). One of the objectives to fight over is a MG bunker in row 4 . The Germans did attack this , but the trenches and bunker do have a contiguous line of rough terrain in front of it so each assaulter does have to throw to exit (and assault). I was fortunate here as the professional German failed (on rolling a 1 ) leaving the regulars to advance on their own. This happened a couple of times in the game and did forge the narrative of perhaps why they were veterans. The initial assault faltered, but the MG bunker was damaged. 1917_2

The next turn saw the French suppression barrage failed spectacularly. The Germans were all lined up nicely , but even with a good artillery rating I managed to throw 3 consecutive 6s to see the artillery to go over the heads of the advancing troops and fall harmlessly into no mans land. It clipped the end of the line, but the centre of the defending  line was left under pressure.

1917_3

The next German turn was a rolling barrage. With only 5 dice in the asset (needing to roll 1 6 ) it wasn’t guaranteed, but it was granted. This could potentially fill 15 squares ( a 5 x 3 section) with barrage markers. The German artillery is also rated as good, and they obliged by getting all the first 5 all on target , except 1 which fell short … on top of my MG bunker. It was the perfect shot. Luckily the rolling aspect of the barrage was minimal and it only rolled forward in 1 column. But the initial barrage was terrible. All the targeting squares took hits and combined with the barrage markers it looked ripe for an assault and a swift victory. This was the case. The MG bunker was captured and there was a breakthrough right in the middle of the line. The French teetered on defeat…

1917_4

The following French turn saw them call for urgent arrivals. Not my favourite asset as it doesn’t ruin your opponents days as much as savage artillery barrage. But , the situation was dire. The centre was breached and I only had 1 damaged MG holding the left flank. I had to send my professionals from reserve to assist there otherwise it would be over very quickly. The French second line was mainly damaged conscripted with some field artillery. It would be a mainly static defence. The Germans breakthrough did take some withering fire as it pushed into the 2nd line. But some nice dice saw then shrug off the injuries.

There was a then a slight lull in the battle. The Germans didn’t have an artillery asset to support the ongoing assault and chose to erect some hasty defences (to facilitate a improved morale check that they were due to take) . The French followed up with successful point effect barrage right on the schwerpunkt of the attack. There was a glimmer of hope for the gallant French defenders. The Germans would have to take some nasty morale checks. However, their nerve held…. It all looked good, but they were professionals and in trenches (by this time), so in the end it wasn’t that bad. They stalled but it was only a brief respite.

With a master stroke the Germans then called up their suppression barrage. The was targeted just behind the lines (in row 2). This had the double whammy of denying troops in those squares giving support to the front line troops and also preventing and movement into those squares….. in the form of retreats from the front line!! The main assault went it. The French were weakened and could only offer minimal resistance, the Germans too had a bloody nose, but just did enough to win the critical fights which would have been OK (relatively speaking) , but the fact that the retreat was blocked by the barrage meant they took a lot of damage. This just crushed the French and a couple of units were just annihilated.

At this point we called time and added up. It was just one point from a decisive German victory (but we were only about ½ way down the countdown clock ) so given another hour it would have been a major German success.

Despite the feeling like a kicked puppy the trench game does offer a lot of challenges and makes what look like a drole gaming experience into a white knuckle ride – recommended.

 

Attack on Fort Vaux

James and Paul came down to a rather busy Thursday club night to trial their new show game. The game recreates the assault through the murderous tunnels of Fort Vaux where the brave French defenders reversed the setbacks that had befallen them at Fort Douaumont. James had rather lovingly rendered the fort interior in 1/56 and the action was based on the attack of the 2 access tunnels by the German assault troops. A set of random ‘reinforcement’ cards would be placed on each section and would give the Germans extra troops, grenades or the dreaded flamethrower. The defending French also had a deck of cards to boost their defense but they could only use each card once to simulate the attrition of resources. They also has a few ‘blanks’ which did nothing.


fort_vaux1

 

 

fort_vaux4

The mechanics of the game were that the attack was over the course of 4 days. Each day was broken down into 4 assaults phases. Reinforcement cards were played at the beginning of the day. Each tunnel was sectioned in 10 barracked areas. To succeed the Germans needed to push the French back to the inner barracks area by the end of the 4th day. Any other result would be French victory. Each soldier/figures attacking or defending a barricade would roll a dice. To score a hit the attackers would need a 6, the defenders 5 or 6. Typical the attacking force would be larger. Each hit would remove a casualty and if the attackers won then they would push back the defenders the number of barricades equal the difference in the result. SO, a regular attack would be 10 Germans needing a 6 vs 8 French soldiers needing a 5 or 6. The cards would have some bearing on this.

fort_vaux2

We payed several games. The first played out at a rather protracted affair with the French slowly giving was until the fort was captured on day 3 or 4.

fort_vaux5

The second (where I was defending at the French) was a big victory to the French. Down to me throwing fistfuls of 5s and 6s. I don’t even think that Paul made it into the tunnel at tall. James did get in but ultimately came undone when he encountered a machine gun section (event card) lodged in a wider section of the tunnel. The attack was so bad that the we played a day 5 and 6 to see if the Germans could make any headway … but no

fort_vaux7

 

The 3rd was again quick and bloody. As the German this time I was initially repulsed by the French at the entrance. But on the 2nd assault, aided by a NCO (giving re-rolls to the dice) AND a flame thrower (each 6 rolled causes 2 hits). A rather lucky roll of 6 sixes out of 10 dice wiped of the defender in a ferocious attack.

fort_vaux6

All in all a pleasant game. Nothing too stressful, but it is designed for a quick participation show game. So all very jolly… not like the unlucky souls that had to face grenades in confined spaces and flamethrowers erupting everywhere.

We even had time to trot out a quick game of ‘The Grizzled’.lespoilus

sweet November

Keeping with the WW1 theme. This is a co-operative card game where each player takes the role of a Poilu trying to survive the war through various trials. Neither Paul or James had played it before and I was tired by this time. Whenever we play this at home with the kids its always really hard to complete successfully. But this time the cards seemed to be kind and we must have had a lucky war and despite my player ending with a string of disorders .. at one point I was a phobic, silent, tyrannical leader and one card from losing the game … we succeeded. So much so I had to read the rules again when I got home – as it seemed so easy! But no it was OK we just got lucky.