Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Walking On Omaha - Turn 1 Amphibious Phase

I've finished up my run through the intro scenario of DaOB, and decided to walk through the first few turns of my first time through the full AM scenario (that covers the first four hours, or sixteen turns). I hope that by walking through the game you'll see just how clean and straightforward the system is.

The game begins with semi-randomized WN units (the beach bunkers set into the bluffs and the first line of defense for the Germans), arranged by whether or not the units include arty spotters and whether or not the units have "depth" markers. This set up is the same in every game, as is the eight tank units that are the first ashore. Here's the setup in the east sector (1st Division, the Big Red One). Note the Skittles-like colors on the map - these show the fields of fire of the WN positions, with the solid circles the "intense" fire zones, the BMW propellors the "steady" fire zones, and the open circles the sporadic fire zones. As you can see from the pictures, the units must wade through a more or less solid line of nastiness before they can get to the "shingle", the natural defensive terrain caused by high tide during storms.

Here's the East sector at game start:

And the West sector, which is to the *right* on this North-At-Bottom map:

Note that each sector has four US tanks ready to land. That won't last long.

The Amphibious Operations phase has three subsections: Seeing how well the various units fare in the water, actually landing them, and finally setting up the next wave of units with the current turn marked on them.

First, we draw a card for the East sector, the first photo above. The top portion of the card shows a list of the three "target symbols" present on most US units, HQs and Generals excepted (which we don't need to worry about yet). Each symbol corresponds to a letter, which you then use to cross-index the unit type on the Amphibious Landing chart, making sure to use the right chart for the right turn. The tanks on Turn 1 get the worst of it, rarely landing where they intended or intact, if at all. In the East sector, one tank unit is delayed two turns, another is eliminated, and the remaining two both lose one of their two steps. In the West, we draw another card and apply those results as well, which sees only one reduced tank land, one come in two turns later, and two eliminated. About par for the course, but better than in my first game where every tank was delayed or sunk.

The next phase is simply to move the tanks ashore. Each of the landing boxes is actually an arrow pointing to the upper right beach hex. We're at low tide for the first several turns, so they land right at the water's edge. After all that paddling, getting to the beach is easy! For now. Finally, we place the Turn 1 reinforcements on the board in their assigned landing boxes, shown below. You can see the three tank units that made it on shore this turn. Fortunately, the next Amphib Operations chart is not quite as harsh as the first turns, and starting on turn 4 things get a lot easier, although there will still be lots of surprises.

Here's the East sector at the end of the Amphibious Operations Phase. The eliminated tank is at the bottom of the map, the delayed unit on the turn track. Note that the tank near the left edge of the board drifted quite a bit to the east as it landed, which tends to happen early in the game:

Here's the West sector:

Next we'd normally do the Event Card phase, but we skip it on turn 1.

Next time: German Fire Phase! Ouchie!

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