Round 6 of the Ironman Tournament I choose to play Bravery in the Sand. Bravery in the Sand or BitS for short is a fun and short game. It has random activation (chit pull system) and a bucket of dice combat system. Game play is tight and exciting; the game is easy to learn but hard to master.
This round I got paired up with Bill Lenoir, a very nice guy. He is very fun and very challenging to play against. Although this is his first time to play against a live opponent, it is very hard for me to try to best him.
To tell the truth, I have helped play-test BitS before, although not too extensively as me and my play-test buddy have only played a total of three games, and we always feel that the British have the advantage, these games have proven our opinion wrong otherwise and opened up to new and interesting strategy that I have not think about before…
Kenneth Li – British/Commonwealth, Bill Lenoir – German/Italian
Bill asked for the harder side to start with, and from my previous experience play-testing the game, I recommended the DAK, well, this have proven me wrong completely if you have read ahead. After these few games, I now think that the DAK is easier to play but not easy to win…
As the British/Commonwealth, it has one major advantage – replacements. The longer the game go, the more advantage for the British, British strategy is to prevent the Germans from ganging up on their individual Armor divisions and in the mean time try to deal damage to the Germans, trying to wear them down and prevent them to go with any decisive victory.
I decided not to do anything with the 70th D division in Tobruk and those divisions around Halfaya Pass, thus, I kept those chits in my hand and not put them into the cup. I tried to concentrate on the other divisions, this way (by not putting them in the cup) beside having those unneeded units coming up at the wrong time, it also helped to ensure that the divisions you really needed will be able to activate.
Events this turn:
1) Continue (not combined) attack from my 4th Armor, 7th Armor, and 1st Armor division reduced the 21st Panzer to 3 and a half strength points (1 un-flipped/full strength unit and 5 flipped/half strength units), and in the process, both 4th Armor and 7th Armor take one hit, and the 1st Armor take two hits.
2) The 1st South African division takes the blunt of the damage, taking 3 hits and got all flipped by 15th Panzer division which only takes 1 hit, and successfully does a tank recovery, so 15th Panzer emerge from the attack unharmed.
3) The 4th Armor division took and addition hit from the German 90th Light Infantry division before the end of turn.
This seem like a good turn, as I have gotten the 21st Panzer division to a almost breaking point (when all the units in a division becomes flipped, especially for the Germans, there is no way for it to come back), and at this early on in the game, it is a major dent to the German offensive. The major draw back is my British divisions have also taken some major damage.
British/Commonwealth replacement – 1st Armor
It is now time to move the units in Tobruk (70th D) and around Halfaya Pass and so this turn, I put those chits into the cup, hopping to activate them to do some offensive this turn.
Events this turn:
1) 2nd South Africa division and 4th Indian division in the process of attacking Halfaya Pass take a big lost - 4th Indian take 2 hits in the process without dealing any damage to the garrison unit there.
2) 4th Armor got reduced to 2 flipped/half-strength units from the harassing German 90th Light Infantry which take no damage at all.
3) 7th Armor got reduced to one full strength and 3 half-strength units.
4) Some Italian divisions got damaged by British attacks.
5) 70th D in Tobruk breakout with 2 tank units and 2 infantry units and gotten 2 hits in the process.
6) To prevent the 1st South African division from taking another attack and got another major lost by Panzer or other units, 22nd Armor stay out and not moved.
Things do not go my way, as it seems the British have taken a lot of damage without any major improvement this turn.
British/Commonwealth replacement – 7th Armor
This turn seem like a swirling battle with not much of an improvement on both sides:
70th D managed to break out into hex 0903, without any new damage taken. Have gotten 15th Panzer with one permanent hit and 21st Panzer got all reduced. But the British got some hit too – 1st Armor have 2 hits, 4th Armor is gone completely, 7th Armor down to 3 half strength units and the area around Halfaya Pass does not see any improvement to the situation.
British/Commonwealth replacement – 7th Armor
(22nd Armor – 1st Activation) Seeing only Trieste in Bir el Gubi, 22nd Armor situated next (0404) attack causing one hit on Trieste and a retreat to 0402.
Then in a chain of German/Italian activation, 15th Panzer and German 90th Light Infantry do a combined attack on Tobruk (which currently have 2 full infantry units of 70th D division) and caused 2 lucky hit (2 sixes rolling eight dice), 15th Panzer then activated again (last time was through a DAK chit, and Bill forgot to declare Rommel directive) and continued to attack Tobruk and get another lucky hit (five dice rolling one six).
The situation in Tobruk is grim as 70th D situated there is now down to a half unit. My 1st Armor activated next but is too far way to help improve the situation there. The only thing that the 1st Armor can do is to attack the all flipped/half strength 21st Panzer division, and this time causing two more hits on that unit (reducing it to only four half strength units). It does seem like that the British is gaining.
21st Panzer then activate next (not the British 70th D so that I can rush back to Tobruk to reinforce). Going for broke, the 21st Panzer attack Tobruk with 2 dice and managed to get one six and end the game with a German Decisive victory.
Well, thought that I have had the German there by wearing his Panzer forces down (down to only a total of 7 strength points) and either goes for a British Decisive victory by having 3+ force (the 70th D) in 0901(To Tripoli) or trying my hands in destroying the German's Panzer force (reducing to less than 2.5 strength). It happened when the game just turn around by those lucky German sieges in Tobruk. Too bad that I have let my guards down around Tobruk and give them the chance to successfully besiege it…
Now the pressure is on me for the second game. I have to pull a German Decisive victory in Game number 2 (continue to play the tied breaker) or lost round 6 totally…
Game 1 result: German (Bill) decisive victory.
Kenneth Li – German/Italian, Bill Lenoir – British/Commonwealth
Not much of an action this turn, it has been a slow buildup. Here are some detailed events:
British 1st South African managed to displace the Italian unit there, causing 1 hit; in return my German 90th Light Infantry and 15th Panzer combined attack on the 1st South African in El Adem caused 3 hits and reduced all units in that division to half-strength.
British 2nd South African division attack on Halfaya Pass and obtained no result. I moved the Trieste into Bir El Gubi to prevent Ariette from overrun by the British 22nd Armor.
Furthermore, I run the 21st Panzer division to 0512 right in front of Fort Capuzzo to put some pressure there. British 70th D venture out of Tobruk with one armor unit and get eliminated by a lucky Italian double six roll.
British/Commonwealth replacement – 1st South African
After the slow, first turn start, the pace pick up a bit with the Germans this turn. Here are the main events: British 4th Armor journey into 0804 (the mouth of Tobruk) and managed to displace the Italian units stationed there, causing 1 hit. But my 15th Panzer, 21st Panzer and German 90th Light Infantry managed to trap them (4th Armor) there for a combined attack and totally annihilate that armor division. While, the 2nd South African’s attack on Halfaya Pass obtained another no effect, but get one hit from the defense German forces.
This is a good turn as the Germans managed to get one armor division eliminated.
British/Commonwealth replacement – 70th D (replacing the lost armor unit from turn 1)
First activation is the British 7th Armor and it gets moved into El Adem, taking control of it. The German then managed to move again 15th Panzer, 21st Panzer and German 90th Light Infantry into El Adem, trapping the 7th Armor and make a combined attack, this again totally annihilate that armor division (now I have two British armor division down the drain), but 15th panzer and German 90th Light Infantry each took one hit.
I further managed to move 15th Panzer and 21st Panzer into Sidi Rezegh and do another combined attack, this time on 1st South African division, and eliminate that British division, 15th Panzer take another hit, but this time it got battlefield tank replaced.
British 2nd New Zealand, 4th Indian and 2nd South African combined attack Halfaya Pass and this time got 2 hits on the German garrison units and 2nd South African take one hit in the process.
The German/Italian got another big win this turn (more than last turn and two turns in a row) as I have managed to eliminate a total of three British divisions. Can I continue on this spree or will I get bogged down next? I will get Rommel Directive next turn (which is a good thing), but British’s continue replacement flow is a hard thing to beat. I can gun for the Armor elimination decisive victory, but it is hard to do as the British have two replacements each turn.
British/Commonwealth replacement – 4th Armor, placing in Sidi Azeiz
This time, I managed to trap the British 22nd Armor at 0404 with Italian Trieste, Italian Ariette and 21st Panzer division. The combined attack deals a heavy brow to the Britsh 22nd, leaving it with only 3 half strength units and it retreated to 0405. Then the DAK chit came out and with Rommel directive declared the 21st Panzer pursuit to 0405, this time six dice with a +2 and finished the armor division with three hits. Another British armor division bites the dust! Next my German 90th Light division managed to move two times (one with a DAK) and gained control of Gabr Saleh. While the British managed to successfully besiege Halfaya Pass and take control of it with 2nd New Zealand, 4th Indian and 2nd South African divisions.
Another good turn for the Germans, as I managed to bag another British armored division, third time in a row, but still there are two more divisions with armored units out there (70th D and 1st Armor). And the British replacement rate each turn do not help much on that front, still it will slow down the British from defending the route…
British/Commonwealth replacement – 22nd Armor, placing in Fort Capuzzo
Time is running out and I can either gain the decisive victory by destroying British armor or tried to have units on the road “to Alexandria”. Destroying British armor is much harder as they have replacement each turn. It will be better doing the later.
This turn, I was unable to trap any of the British’s Armor unit. But instead, I concentrated on gaining control of Sidi Omar and Bir Sheferzen. In the mean time, the British’s 2nd South African division and 2nd New Zealand division make a combined attack at Sollum and get a hit on the German garrison. Sollum still hold for the time being.
British/Commonwealth replacement – 4th Armor and 7th Armor (half unit) created in both Gambut and Sidi Azeiz respectively.
We get several British activations at the start of the turn, and Bill managed to place the 4th Indian division as road block down south on the road “to Alexandria”. Then there came a DAK chit, which I declared Rommel directive and move my 21st Panzer to attack the one unit of the 4th Indian division which have garrisoned in 0113. That single unit gets eliminated in the process by the +2 roll. The next chit draw is the 21st Panzer and I managed to move into 0114 fulfilling the Axis Decisive victory and end the game.
Game 2 result: German (Ken) decisive victory.
Well, now we each get an Axis Decisive victory, and that means that we have to play a third game to decide the victory for this round of Ironman. I will describe my next game in the next post. Read on…