Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Combat Commander Squared - Pt 1

Two games of CC:E in two days? Fabulous! I love being retired!

Wednesday my non-wargamer friend Connor came over and I taught him CC:E. Connor's wargaming experience began with Blitzkrieg and Submarine back in the (AH) day, and as an adult it's been limited to a few card-driven games like Hannibal and Wilderness War that I've taught him. Last time he was over we gave World of Warcraft a try, but I have to admit that I really like this game much better as a cooperative game, best solitaire. So it was that I thought it would be perfect to see how well he did learning something outside of his experience.

Lunch at the local organic restaurant is quite good, but also pretty long (expect an hour to get and eat a club sandwich, for example), so I went over the basics there, although without the elements in front of us it was tough for Connor to imagine what was going on. Things moved a bit quicker once we started playing. As usual, we played Scenario One, Fat Lipski, which uses only a handful of terrain types, a very small counter density, and no ordnance or artillery. Connor was the Germans, me the Ruskies. We played the first several turns with open hands, picking them up when we got to a point where both of us drew completely new hands.

The game began with Connor quickly taking the two buildings at objectives 1 and 5, which seemed prudent if not terribly valuable given that our open objective was 4, sitting alone on the other side of the forest. The Russians have a bit of an advantage to take this space, so I was happy to see it come up. The Russians have no choices as to where to place their squads as there are only eight possible hexes for eight rifle squads, so it's really a matter of where the MGs and leaders go. I put a Medium MG, my 1 leader, and three squads on that side, and had little trouble getting to the objective, although one of my squads temporarily broke.

On the other side of the board, I got my units into position at the edge of the forest, but took a little time to get them shifted over for maximum firepower, with my 2 leader stacked with the squad with the other medium MG. Two squads started working their way through the forest to take on objective 3, which was my secret objective. I also had one of the three squads at objective 4 head through the forest as well, and that unit managed to even cross the road unscathed when I got an event that let me discard the lone Fire card from Connor's hand, then I dug in adjacent to the hex. I even managed to break the German squad at 3 before Connor brought up the lone squad and 1 leader that had been facing the units at objective 4. At this point I could now start moving those units off of the board, or at least threaten to, for even more points. As it was, I got one squad off for 2 points.

As the reinforcing units came up, my infiltrating squad moved into objective three, playing an ambush on the already broken squad for the quick kill. However, Connor had a light wounds card that reduced it to a broken team, only one point lower on the scale. Still, I had a four point advantage, and even though I'd given up the initiative card to prevent a catastrophic medium MG jam on the other side of the woods, I felt pretty confident that I could take him. Until he rolled exactly four more than me and we both were eliminated. He held the space, and I had to start bringing up more units to take it. It might have been smarter just to exit the board for a sure two points rather than try to hold that space for what looked like at least a little more time.

By now I'd lost my light MG, but had at least the chance to take a couple of units off of the board. I had a three point lead, so I knew that the game would depend upon what Connor's secret objective was. I got to find out exactly what when I got an event that let me peek, only to find out that it was 5VP for objective 5, a very tough nut to crack without doing some serious damage to the 2 leader in the hex. I was gearing up for an assault with time running out when it did - Connor had to go home! We decided to call it at that point, and he won with 5 VP, although that would have been in some doubt had I gotten a few more turns and a chance at taking one of the two spaces.

I've now lost three of four games of this title, and I'm loving it! Tomorrow I will get in a play with Jesse, probably Scenario 2 in Bocage country, and I'm really looking forward to it. Count me at one play for 2007 for this title, with number two coming up.

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