|Not a great first outing for the IDF...|
The following is a guest post from blog contributor Greg Burch of the Fawcett Avenue Conscripts in Winnipeg.
Greetings again to the followers of Curt's Analogue Hobbies Blog. Curt just wrapped up a quick visit to Winnipeg. We were thrilled to catch up, and of course to get several games out on to the tables. Here is a battle report and a few photos for one of them - a 15mm scale Yom Kippur War game played using Ambush Alley's "Force on Force" rules.
|The table pre-game - the Syrians would enter from the top of the photo, and had to cross the table|
Earlier in the summer I embarked on a new project - the Yom Kippur War in 15mm, with a specific focus on the battles on the Golan Heights. I have painted up an initial batch of Syrian and Israeli vehicles over the past couple of months, and this was the first game for this new project. I was pretty excited to be playing the first game after painting up the figures, and to have Curt visiting to participate!
|T-62s pre-game - the bottom three are from QRF, and the top three are from Old Glory|
The scenario was from the "Force on Force" rulebook, and is called "Encounter On The Yehudia Road". The scenario is set on the morning of the second day of the Yom Kippur War on the Golan Heights. The Israeli defences have been hammered by the Syrian attack, and the Israelis are dispatching reserve units in platoon and company strength immediately to the front because they are desperate to stem the tide.
|Centurion Sho'ts enter the table|
|Syrians advance under fire|
In the scenario the Israelis have two Centurion Sho't tanks, with D8 quality crews, representing the lead elements of a column commanded by Colonel Ran Sarig. The Syrians have two platoons of three T-62A tanks with D6 quality, representing the lead elements of the Syrian 46th Armored Brigade. The Syrian objective is to exit tanks from the opposite table edge, and the sole Israeli goal was to knock out the T-62s.
|Early results were good for the Israelis|
|Centurion watches the advance|
The scenario is strangely imprecise as to what tanks enter on what turn, so I played this on the assumption that both Syrians platoons showed up on the first turn, while both Israeli tanks entered on the first turn as well. We set up a 6' by 4' table with a smattering of terrain designed to emulate a bit of the rolling and rocky Golan Heights, and kicked off the battle. Curt took command of the Syrians, and I controlled the Israelis.
|First Syrian platoon is hit hard|
The Syrians had initiative for the first turn, and moved on to the table with their activations. The Israelis moved on with their first turn as well. The Syrians maintained initiative in the second turn, and the shooting started, setting the pattern for the game where I would try to react to every move curt made with fire.
|Second Syrian platoon fans out and advances|
Initially my plan was working - Curt had two three-tank platoons, and after three turns, one of the platoons had lost one tank outright, with another tank immobilized and a third tank on losing its main gun. I was feeling pretty good about IDF gunnery!
|Engine hit, and main gun knocked out...|
But Curt's second platoon was moving up at the same time, and I didn't have as much luck engaging them. He knocked out one of my Centurions on the fourth turn, and was able to maneuver into place for flank shots on my surviving Centurion by the sixth turn. The last tank blazed away, but the Syrians knocked it out with sustained fire, first damaging the engine, and then blowing the whole thing up all together. Decisive win for Curt!
|Second Syrian platoon maneuvers for the flank shot|
Using the Ambush Alley game engine to resolve an all-armour contest was interesting. I really enjoy the reaction mechanic. But one of Ambush Alley's core concepts is that the troops matter more than the equipment, and I think tank battles are the fault line for this core game assumption. The quality of the gunnery is linked to troop quality - I used D8s for shooting, and Curt used D6s. But the quality of the armour is set by the armour, not the crew. I think this makes sense, but it's a slippery slope in the context of this game system.
|The Syrians take flank shots on the IDF tanks...|
Some other challenges - the tanks could not make group moves. The rules see each tank as a "fire team" of four crew. I think this can be fixed with a simple house rule - treating each tank platoon as a fire team for activation.
|Centurion burns it at the end of the game...|
Probably the weakest part of using Force on Force for tank battles is the declining value of the fire. The first shot the Centurions took was the best in each turn, and thereafter you lose a dice for each shot. This mechanic is core to the rules, but I find the abstraction does not sit well with tank combat (as opposed to infantry combat).
One other nitpick - for all of the pages and pages in the rule book, Force on Force does not include stats for the T-62A or Centurion Sho't. It was not hard to bodge some together, but it is another bizarre oversight that points to a lack of clear thinking on how these books get published.
But it was still a fun game - I recommend the Ambush Alley game engine to other gamers. Even with the small issues, you will enjoy it very much over all.
I have heard much about the new Bolt Action rules, and I'm thinking it would be fun to adapt to this setting. I look forward to playing this period and scale again very soon. And I hope to bring this along to Regina the next time I visit.