Round 3 paired me with Tony Buman. Tony said he's only gotten a couple of SK games under his belt and hadn't played with ordnance or vehicles yet, so we chose "88s At Zon" in order to introduce him to Guns. Random selection gave Tony the defending Germans and me the attacking GIs. When playing against a relatively new player, I expect two things (other than teaching some rules): 1) an up-front defense and 2) lots of shooting and very little skulking on defense. This can often lead to a very dramatic path of the game and whoever gets more effective shots will come out on top.
When I saw Tony's setup, my first thought was "that's not as upfront as I thought". He was setup heavy on his left side meaning there was at least one gun covering the right. He had covered any hexes I would have tried running through and playing the US, I didn't want to give him many -1/-2 shots. My plan was to get a toehold on the board with the initial forces, maybe flush out one of the guns and get an idea of how to bring on the 2nd wave (although their entry options are very limited).
Tony's setup :
So on turn 1 I move most (3 squads & leader) under cover of the hill and plan on Advancing onto the hill. I do AM one unit up on the hill to see what happens and behold I see both Guns in OG--one in I7, one in K4. By the time the guns are done firing at my guys (two hits each) there's nothing left in the hex except the acq counters. Rather than spread my squads out over the hill to form a big firegroup, I decide to play hide-n-seek with the guns and move two squads with the leader into I9 and another squad off the hill. One thing I like about the 88s setup is that Tony won't get any shots on the turn 2 reinforcements untiil they are well onboard---I just have to deal with the squads on that side. Here is the map at the end of US Turn 1.
Tony doesn't have any targets for his 88s in GT1 but did stand and fire with G7 and J7 with no effect. My stack in I9 starts to roll out a string of 4's. First one breaks J7 on an IFT shot. The next two hit and break G7 with the BAZ. I don't like rolling low early in a game as it seems the dice gods like to even things out later, but hey, I'm on a roll. In my turn 2, I don't want to face double shots from the guns by going left, so decide to move right and help the Turn 2 reinforcments. I get a unit into K9 to keep that German DM. As the turn 2 forces enter a couple break as expected, but I do get two squads into the M8/N7 building and am feeling pretty good about the progress. I also get two squads and a leader into P8 which may not be the greatest position for moving, but great for firing. I figure I'll bloody the Germans' nose on GT2 and then be able to move forward. Tony refuses to go along with my plan: 1) he gets a hit and KIA on the squad in K9 2) he does stay and shoot,but 3) he won't break when I shoot back. Here is the positon at the end of UST2:
On US Turn 3, I figure I've just got to keep up the pressure. Note that P8 broke on a 6 up 2 shot making them a non-threat. I twice fail to rally the MMG squad I kept up front with the 9-2 greatly reducing that FP. I fail to get smoke grenades most of the time, and when I got the grenades, my units still broke---even took a K/1. I moved another squad into K9 and Tony gets another KIA. By the end of turn 3, I've taken some significant damage and I can't get L5 or O6 to break. Here's the situation at the end of UST3:
On turn 4, I have the classic delimma--really want to shoot but need to move. I figure the up front squads will drop smoke and then move Mr 9-2 up for some Advancing Fire and CC if necessary. But no smoke--well maybe 1 out of 4, and not where I really need it. So I figure I have to move the 9-2 and both hexes forward will take the same shot, so forward they go into a 6 -2. Tony rolls a "3" for 2 KIA and now I'm really hurting. I get a unit to N5 where I can really put the pressure on, but they break on a Final Fire 2 flat shot and die for FTR. I finally manage to break O6, but they rally in GT4 and come back to O5. But still have to deal with L5. So in UST5, I really have to move and push it. I move, try for smoke, none. Move another, try for smoke, none. Lather, rinse, repeat. I manage to get one smoke down, but the squad still pins. By then end of MPh, I've only got two GO squads, a couple of brokies that can't reach the exit hexes, and still would have to get by at least one squad and the K4 88, so decide to call it a game.
I usually don't like throwing in the towel, but this looked pretty hopeless. I had just enough GO VPs to exit, but only one turn to do it and would have to survive the fire from at least one squad and one 88 in OG. I still think this looks like a fun scenario but being compact it can be dicey one way or the other----this time it just wasn't my turn. Tony had some timely DRs with the 88 KIA and passing MCs. I couldn't break his guys or get smoke when I needed it, but hey, that's ASL.