Saturday, September 12, 2009

Walking On Omaha - Turn 1 German Fire Phase

Sorry for the delay, life has been coming at me hard for a few months now so these posts will come out as I have time for them. At least I'm getting smarter about how you add photos to Blogger (hint: do it before typing and in reverse order).

On to the German Fire Phase. Last time, if you recall, the three tank units made it ashore, albeit reduced (about as good as it's going to get in the first turn). Now it's time for the Germans to take shots at them.

This is the part of the game where you do most of the German AI, and you'll see that it's really very quick and painless once you learn the priorities. What happens is this: you draw a card for each sector. In that sector, you see what colors are in the fire field of the card, and if there are German positions (both WN and the inland "reinforcement" positions), and they take shots at the US units in their fields of fire.

You can tell that a unit is in a field of fire because every hex on the map has a set of target symbols that match up with a German position. While this can get a bit complex on some parts of the map, in general the symbols make it easy to correlate what goes where. The symbols also show if the field of fire is Intense, Steady, or Sporadic, and you first choose the targets that are in Intense fields. Intense is also important because there is no differentiation for armor or target symbol on the target counter. This will become more obvious as we do more German Fire Phases later in the game, but for now just follow along and bear with me.

We begin in the East sector, with the card shown:

Unfortunately, the picture cuts off right where you can't see the tank in question, but it's just to the left of the screen and in a space that has an orange Sporadic Fire symbol, as well as a purple Sporadic Fire symbol. Note that the card has red, blue, and green colors, as well as the triangle target symbol. Since none of these colors matches the fire symbols in the hex the unit is in, there is no fire on that unit. However, you'll want to remember the card.

This unit (as we progress from left to right across the map) is in a hex with blue Steady Fire and red Steady Fire symbols. Directly above as well as to the right are three German units in two WN positions. The one directly above has one WN unit and no depth marker and is the Blue WN position. The other units are both in a single red WN position, although it takes up two hexes. One of those units has a depth marker in it, the one closest to the beach.

Remember now that the German attack card draw for the east sector had a double red square and a single blue square (with a star). The double green square with the A on it (only used in the extended game) won't fire as there are no units in green fields of fire in this sector. The double square means that the position must have at least one unit/depth marker combination in one hex to be able to fire (I think, it may just be two counters over the entire position). Since the red WN position meets this requirement, it may fire. Since there are three counters total in the position, it may fire on three targets. Since there is only one target possible, it fires on it, the lone tank unit on the beach.

The process works like this: first, see if any targets are in Intense fields of fire, and deal with them first. There are not, so we then move to Steady fields of fire, where there is one target. Indexing the German Fire results table, we see that to inflict a step loss the unit must be non-armored and the target symbol must match up. Since neither of these conditions holds, the tank unit is spared. In order to do damage to the tank unit, the red square on the card would need to have the oval Armored symbol *and* the target symbol would have had to match up. In Intense fields of fire, neither of these conditions applies, so you want to avoid those FoFs if at all possible (although it's not, really, at least until you get off the waterline).

Next, we need to check the blue German position. The position only has one square, so there is no two-counter requirement for the position and it may fire. The star on the card indicates that a leader could be the target (normally they are exempt), but there are no leaders on the board yet so we ignore it for now. Since the only possible target is the same armor unit shot at by the Orange position before, it is only eligible to be fired on because it has not taken any damage (units may only lose one step total during the entire German fire phase). However, the same condition holds for it as for the previous fire - there is no armor symbol on that color on the card, and the target symbols don't match up. Thus, no damage here either.

OK, both tank units have survived the fire phase in the East sector. Now, on to the West sector, which will have it's own card drawn to determine who gets shot at.

Orange, blue, and brown are the colors drawn in this sector. However, there's only one unit, and it's in an orange field of fire, so that's the position that fires. In this picture, you can see the little WN "gun" icon just below the counter, which identifies the color of the position as well as a German cross underneath the counter. In this case, the diamond target symbol matches, but the orange box on the card doesn't have the armor symbol, so the shots bounce off the hull. No other position has a target to fire on, so that's it for this sector.

In turn 4 and on, we would also check for artillery fire, but it's not important at this point. Also, we'd remove any disruption markers from German units at the end of the phase, but there's been no opportunity to even shoot at the Germans, so the phase ends.

We skip over the US Beach Clearing phase because it's the first turn. On to the US action phase in the next entry!


100%Blade said...

Great reports Doug, thank you.

Just wondered if you'd tried Where There is Discord

If not, look it up - I think you'll like it

Dug said...

Thanks, Blade.

I'd heard of WTiD but had forgotten about it. I was impressed that a portion of the proceeds go to charities in both Argentina and the UK.

Apparently, the game now has a US distributor, Noble Knight Games, so what was apparently high shipping prices from the UK are no longer the case.

Glad you're enjoying the reports. I just hope I'm giving a good sense of the game as well, that's really my goal.