Sunday, September 4, 2011

Battles of the American Revolution, Vol. VII (GMT) ~ "Germantown"

Game: Battles of the American Revolution Series
Scenario: Germantown
Participants: Jim "HeavyD" D, Myself
Time: Friday, Sep 2nd ~ 6.30PM - 8.45PM, Saturday Sep 3rd ~ 12.00PM - 3.00PM

The last time I played Germantown was my first and it was a great time. Bob and I had a good game, with highs and lows and lots of drama. I lost as the British in the end, but I didn't feel like I was loosing until the very end when the Army Morale track gave out on me. HeavyD and I decided to play this one as we had been on a GCACW kick for the past several months and wanted to play something that we could finish in one or two sittings. As I had already played the British once, I volunteered to play the Americans this time around. 

When I sat down to set up and then to think about what I was going to do in this game, I thought back to my last game with Bob. In that game I remembered messing up the defense of the fortified house (the Chew house) by not putting enough guys in it. I also recall having Bob's artillery shoot the heck out of me, neither one of these recollections offered much insight into what I was going to do this time. So basically I was starting in fresh. 


Initial Set Up

After spending some time going over the special rules we were ready to start. The first turn went very well for me as I was able to capture HeavyD's initial battery after forcing his infantry to run off. In my second turn I decided to divert the lead elements of my army down a side road (lane really) using strategic movement. My thinking here was that due to the fog in the early turns we are really bound to the roads more then usual (-1 MP when not on a road). So my thinking was that I would split off the first portion of the army and try and get in around the fortified location and cut it off. I had the trailing elements (lower quality) of the army and most of the artillery stick to the main road. This, to me at the time made sense as I was moving almost all my guys at full strategic movement rate, instead of moving down the main road and then bumping into the Chew house. 

The American Main Force clashes with the British Picket line

We caught an error we made early enough on turn two to go back and fix it. You cannot use strategic movement on a path, so I had to re-march my right wing (Militia) along the road, causing them to move in parallel with my main force, keeping them separated as well. These early turns are quick as most of the British forces are unable to move yet. One thing that caught my eye was that HeavyD was moving very aggressively towards my Militia column with his Hessian's (some of the only British units that can move on turn two). 

End of American Turn 3 (top of the turn)

Action on the Right

As I walked away after completing my 3rd turn I felt ok about how things were going. I was a little annoyed at how rusty I had played already. An example of this is some of my initial attacks. This series is deceptively simple, yet underneath lie's a rich and complex system, especially the combat system. I had made an attack or two without thinking ahead to what might happen. Retreating is tricky and you need to plan for it, both your attackers retreating and the enemies retreats. I had missed this and bunched up my troops. 

Caught Unaware, the American Militia stumbles into a Hornets nest

Thus when HeavyD went after my right wing with his Hessian's I was caught off guard and badly placed. HeavyD got a back to back turn as well and this aided him greatly. It was yet another case of my not thinking ahead to that eventuality and thus planning for it. You should always plan for that if you win the initiative at the top of the turn. I didn't and it cost me. I was really starting to get frustrated by how badly I had played this. Also, I had greatly underestimated HeavyD who had clearly brought his A-game.

The Right Wing fighting for its life (end of British turn 4)

Things went from bad to worse for my Militia as he was able to virtually wipe out the entire column, capturing or eliminating almost all of them. I quickly shot down the army morale track as my hopes plummeted. His initial attacks didn't go as well as they could have, yet I was still trapped due to a PIN result and ZOC's. My wing was also unsupported, so I had little around to run over and assist with. Before I knew it, the game was all but over. True we were only on the 4th turn, but I had lost 7-8 units and my Army morale was already at the half way point. Elsewhere on the field of battle I had little to be excited about. 

HeavyD was able (with the double turn) to base his line on the Chew house and this was a bad thing as that place is hard enough to take when you have it completely surrounded. Now he had it well supported in the middle of his line. Also, the weather played a roll. It remained Dense fog on the fourth turn, thus my artillery was unable to even see any red coats, much shoot at any. 

The point in the game where I resign...

I decided to throw in the towel here as at best I had a long way to go to even get back into a position to even think about getting a win. Plus the day was young and we still had time to play some other games. 

I have to hand it to HeavyD, he beat me fair and square and very soundly. I really underestimated him. I also underestimated the game, missing (or forgetting) many important points that I had learned the hard way in previous playings. 

Given that the day was young, we broke out Dominion and played several hands. We went with Random decks (5 cards each) from the Core set and Seaside. I think we played three hands, all were pretty close and entertaining. Then we decided to break out Agricola. I had been playing this one with Bob recently and wanted to get HeavyD familiar with the game again as it had been some time since he played it. We played the core game with the "E" Occupation cards. I drew a Plow maker and this really helped out. I wonder, in the wider world of this game whether the cards are seen as a good thing or a bad? In our case locally, they are usually the thing that will nearly always determine the winner. Usually one person will draw one or two Occupations that are really good and they'll shoot out in front (like I did here). Interestingly though, the final score was very close to the last couple games Bob and I had played with the winner having nearly double the VPs as the next player (always two player games). I am planing on having Bob and HeavyD play a three player game of Agricola latter in the month, so perhaps that will mix things up a bit. 

Nothing like a few hands of Dominion to take the sting off

Ah, the thrill of agriculture gaming!

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