Friday, 6 January 2017
Crackerjack Combat Commander session
I recently hooked up with local gaming buddy Steve for a game of Combat Commander. For our face to face session, I chose scenario 80 from Battle Pack 5: Fall of the West. Entitled Bitter Isthmus, this one has French and German recon forces clash head on near Montherme, France in May 1940.
As the Germans, I set up first - threatening to quickly seize the middle ground. But the French decided to be assertive and use their ability to move first in the scenario to their advantage, getting the jump on the Germans and seizing the strategic centre point themselves. The Germans were soon on their knees, and I thought that this would be a quick scenario!
Instead, what followed for the next 3 hours saw the pendulum of battle swing back and forth repeatedly. An interesting special rule meant that each time a Time advance was triggered, we would both roll to see who would become defender or attacker (with associated changes in card hand size). This resulted in the Germans becoming defender for much of the scenario, earning a VP each time the turn number was advanced.
The picture shows the status in the centre as the game went down to the wire. The VP result at this time, was only +1 to the Germans. The results of Dig In actions played by both sides during the game can be also clearly seen.
In the course of the game, the French succeeded in eliminating several German squads, a HMG & team, and two leaders, especially through the use of a well co-ordinated Fire and Advance combination, assisted with two 'Ambush' actions (ouch!). Yet the Germans had some success too, knocking out a couple of French squads and a leader, and seizing the central objective (#5).
The Germans were only two losses away from surrender, while the Turn marker had already exceeded the Sudden Death marker once. After Steve's HMG team and squad under Lt Serrault had almost wiped out the German defenders in 'Objective 4' hex J4 (resulting in a single broken German team hanging on), Steve lined up to fire his Chasseur squad from hex I6, intent on wiping out the broken German team. This would leave him free to then seize the objective shortly thereafter.
Just as he made his fire roll, he drew a 'Time' card. Rather than use his Initiative card, to force a re-roll, he decided to stick it out and risk a Sudden Death roll. He failed the roll and passed the Initiative card to me....then succeeded in his subsequent roll. I passed the card back to him to force a re-roll. I think we did this a couple of times, but ultimately the game came to a sudden end, before the French could seize Objective 4....and claim the game. Objective 4 was worth 1VP as an open objective, but once the game ended, I revealed the German secret objective...awarding 4 more VP to Objective 4!
The result: a narrow German win.....and a dramatic end to a fine evening of CC gaming!!