Monday, May 25, 2009

Blitzkrieg Commander

Des's family was in town for her Master's graduation ceremonies, so that of course meant a game with her dad Frank was in order. I let the guest decide and he opted for WWII action, so I got to bust out my Odessa Campaign 20mm minis and dive in to Blitzkrieg Commander for the first time!

I was never really in doubt about BKC as a system, and I was not let down. If anything, the game exceeded my expectations. (I'll probably be picking up Future War Commander at some point to finally have some rules to go with my Reaper mechs and Pendraken soldiers.) Despite the fact that it was the first time I'd played the game at all, and that I'd only had time to give the rulebook a cursory glance to refresh my memory--having read through it maybe two or three years ago, then put it on the shelf--the game went smoothly and total time from set-up to clean-up was only about three-and-a-half hours.

My miniatures collection is focused around the Romanian slog towards Odessa in the summer and fall of 1941. I took the Romanians, Frank took the Russians. To keep things simple, we played an Encounter scenario. I snapped some shots at about the mid-point of the game (sorry about the poor lighting conditions, as usual--one of these days I'll get some proper flood lights...):

I continue to be more than happy with my Hexon II tiles. I'm finding that I'll probably need some more slope pieces, but other than that I have more than enough hexes to make for an infinite variety of set-ups. At any rate, here we see how the fighting was shaping up, centering around a small village; those Post-It tags indicate occupied buildings. We managed to divide the village in half by the end of the game.

I tested out the Flanking rules to great success--you can see my R-35s "charging" in (with all of their 10cm move) on the left, sending a unit of dismounted Cossacks falling back in a desperate delaying action.

A close-up shot of the village. Those are Paper Terrain houses. I have the whole "South Russian Village" set, so eventually those'll be mounted on bases to represent Built-Up Areas and there will even be a nifty little Church! I'm also going to come up with some house rules to determine when to go from the "intact" to the "ruined" state (dropping the Hit number by one in the process). Probably something along the lines of how Space Marine used to do it.

Now, this being our first-ever BKC game, along with the fact that I hadn't had a chance to properly review the rules, guaranteed there were a couple boo-boos. Such is the learning process. I effectively forgot about the Initiative phase by the time it would have mattered in the game, but this was balanced out by the fact that we didn't clear Hits in the End Phase. So I think the deadliness of the game was about the same as what it would be normally, but I'll have to play another game, just to make sure. Dang! ;)

Next up I'm going to make some fields and defensive improvements like trenches and wire sections. I'm also going to buy some micro dice in two colors to represent hits and suppressed hits, but I'm also quite happy with the fact that there's very little for me to do. After years of prep work, waiting, painting, and so forth, it's a great relief to finally be able to play something!

ETA: I forgot to mention that the highlight of the game was probably when I sent my unit of Combat Engineers dashing across the no-man's land of the village common (with three successive move orders!) to close assault the Soviet T-26. Thanks to their flamethrower, the Engineers drove the tank back, but were in turn wiped out when the house full of Naval Infantry across the way opened up on them. Posthumous medals for bravery all around!

In all seriousness, though, that sequence was a great example of how much fun BKC's unit activation system is. I was really sweating those last couple order rolls, hoping my Engineers wouldn't find themselves caught out in the open, exposed to fire from three different directions!

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