Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Battle Report - 17-Sep-2012 - Operation: Squad

Another club night - sadly AndyM couldn't make it for our scheduled game of IABSM3, so instead (since t'other Andy had likewise stood him up) Carl and I decided on a game of Operation: Squad.

The British mortar team find a nice safe spot to hide.
We set up a game with the Germans defending a small farm - a cluster of two buildings - against a reinforced British squad. I deployed the Panzergrenadiers along the hedge line in front of the farm, all except for the two MG34 teams which took up positions on the upper floors of the buildings.

It started off pretty well (once we'd remembered the rules!): I did lose a man to the British sniper, but Carl then sent his heavy machine gun team across the field, and one of the MG34s basically mowed them down.

Unfortunately, the other MG34 only had one window to shoot from, and looked unlikely to have any targets, since the British approach wasn't down the road (which was a lovely kill zone), at least to start with. Even worse, the British squad commander managed to get a spot on the original MG34, and called in the mortar team. Direct hit on the corner of the house. Not good.

The Panzergrenadiers' remaining MG34 gunner with a
field of fire down the main road.

Things went rather rapidly downhill from there: I lost another to the damn sniper, who kept picking off the one guy with any chance of spotting him. I did managed to pick off one rifleman with the remaining MG34, but by then I'd hit break point, then lost two more figures to failed morale rolls...

And that was that.

Overall thoughts? I still adore the Op: Squad reaction system - we had several occurrences of it during the game which were just perfect. However, I think there are two or three major flaws that need some attention before I'd want to use it again for a scenario with unbalanced sides..

To begin with, scenarios with one side defending don't work: if one side outnumbers the other, it gets a bunch of free, uncontested actions at the end of every turn. There are a couple of obvious fixes for this: either a) use single-figure blinds (sort of like IABSM) to make up the numbers or b) make up the points difference with Wait actions.

Second - mortars are too damn accurate. It seems to be far too easy to lob a mortar bomb right where you want it. (And no, this isn't sour grapes - we did notice this in the playtest of a couple of the scenarios I ran at the start of the year).

More seriously, it's just too damn lethal. The first couple of times I'd played it, I'd put the carnage down to inexperience, but I really wasn't expecting the battle to be over with the Brits still, for the most part, two fields away. Again, not that hard to fix: dropping the base dice roll for combat from 3d6 to 2d6 could be one option.

It is though, as it stands, clearly designed as a pick-up game for fun, with roughly equal sides. And for that, it works great.




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