Author Topic: Operation Brevity  (Read 981 times)

fred

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Operation Brevity
« on: August 30, 2017, 01:08:29 PM »
We are planning to give Rommel a whirl on Friday night, with the Operation Brevity scenario

I have the figures (well mostly...)


Using DAK infantry for the Italians - and sitting on-top of the army counter print-outs.

And made some terrain tonight


Hacking some mountains out of insulation foam. I'm sure these will get a bit more work in the future - but for now they work.

I'm going with 4" squares with 10mm figures - mainly so I can do big games in the future.

Next to cut-out the base labels, and print the QRS. Then laminate the QRS and command posts.

Anything else needed?

Jimbo94

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Re: Operation Brevity
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2017, 03:04:52 PM »
Luck with the dice !!

Looking good, please update on how it went
Cheers

FF1

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Re: Operation Brevity
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2017, 04:57:17 PM »
Our group played our first proper game of this scenario last night.

It didn't dawn on us that the Italians have to man all 3 objectives (or at a minimum 2), otherwise the Brits can win on the first turn. the Italians deployed only around the town in our first game

We restarted our scenario, after we found out. Even with the Italians covering all the objectives, it is possible for the Brits to win on Turn 1 with a couple of lucky 6's.

The Italians even resorted to deploying the gun on an objective to buy time for Rommel to arrive with reinforcements.


fred

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Re: Operation Brevity
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2017, 11:17:00 PM »
From my reading of the scenario you only check the victory conditions at the end of the game.

FF1

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Re: Operation Brevity
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2017, 04:51:16 PM »
Quite right.

How the hell did I miss that :-[

fred

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Re: Operation Brevity - Game Report
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2017, 09:52:01 AM »
We played the Operation Brevity scenario on Friday night.

This was the table at the start, with a 4" grid. Looking from the British start line.



The large square bases are the supply source markers for each side (they are also Command bases for BKC)

There were 2 players on each side, so we split the two who had read the rules on to opposite sides - I ended up with the Germans. We spent a while at the start explaining the basic concepts to the two none readers in the group! Which they seemed to get fairly quickly. The DAK deployed with the Italians on the objectives, and the German KG in the centre of their baseline.

The game started with the British choosing to use 'Intercepted Signals' event to lure one of the Italian units off the central objective towards the British forces - who they then where able to destroy convincingly. I'm not sure why they moved one off the open terrain objective, rather than one out of the town or the mountains.

Much the rest of the British force advanced, with the tanks of 7th armoured Brigade on the left flank, away from the sea, and the large 22nd Brigade formation in the middle. The Germans advanced and both sides started to engage in the middle of the table.

This is mid-game, looking from the German side (so the opposite direction to the first photo)


We are using the little explosion markers as wound markers. Both sides have suffered some casualties by this stage, with the British 22nd Brigade concentrating on the central objective, while 7th armoured's tanks decide that taking on infantry in the mountains is a bad idea. The Pz IIIs had pounced through the pass in the mountains to attempt to bloody the nose to the lighter British tanks, but they withdrew, leaving the Panzers rather isolated, and they suffered some damage the next turn. I decided to spend 2 Ops on Reorgansing the Pz III company with 2 wounds. This seemed expensive, but long term seemed worthwhile.

On the far side, the British are pounding the defenders in the town. The Germans had a solitary Pz II on the coast, which suddenly felt rather puny when a Matilda crossed over to support the infantry.

Towards the end

The German reinforcements have arrived, and are moving to the left to swing back onto the objective. The British had managed to capture this, but had been thrown back off. British armour had got beyond the mountains, but ended up isolated and destroyed by PzIIIs and infantry.

At this point I had been considering resetting the Command Post as we had used up nearly all our tactics - but we decided to go for another turn, getting 6 new Ops, and using these to invoke multiple Tactical phases. This proved the right decision as the strength of the fresh units of KG Esbreck allowed it to smashed through several squares of damaged British troops. At this point as it was late, and the British where running out of combat effective units, we called the game as a German victory.



fred

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Re: Operation Brevity
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2017, 10:59:40 AM »
Some first game thoughts.

We didn't need to reference the rules much during the game, two of us had read the rules before the game, and I'd played a few units through two turns solo. So the rules are definitely easy to remember. The stuff we did look up was general details of a rule.

The 4" grid was a little small, with 5x3cm based figures. This was particular the case with the edges of the cards sticking out, and with wound markers. I'd quite like to stick with the 4" grid as it allows for big battles on a small table. I think for next game I will make some unit labels that stick up vertically at the back of the figures.

It felt like a high level game - you needed to plan attacks and focus on what you were doing. Units had a reasonable staying power, but when hit by fresh units would fold up very quickly.

It took us all a little while to adapt to diagonal movement through terrain - there are two 'passes' in the mountains and at first these weren't something we were 'seeing' as a legal move.

Road Movement - both sides only invoked a single road movement phase at the start of the game, and the Germans going second used the 'Off Road' event to not be tipped. As once the troops where close no-one was felt the need to move far (or could due to enemy ZoC).

You do need to focus what you are doing - its important to get column shifts on the combat results, either through the standard factors or through events. Otherwise attacks tend to be at the mercy of the dice gods. At times it did feel a bit that a roll of a 6 was a win.

It played slower than we expected, we got through 4 turns a side in about 3.5hrs. We spent a while explaining the basics, and as it was two a-side spent a while each turn planning the turn. It does feel that each turn you will want to spend a while deciding how you will spend your Ops. And of course it was our first game, so we had to think things through far more than once you have a few game under your belt.

We were surprised how little supply came into it. The British tried a few times to cut off German units - but this had little impact, as low supply only affects you if you attack or move. And as these were static defending units, they were unaffected.

We weren't entirely sure that the game had a WWII feel - its quite hard to pin down why. I think partly because the units are fairly generic it could almost be Horse & Musket infantry and cavalry attacking each other. Obviously the models are WWII, but I think because lots of the special WWII bits are abstracted to tactics - they tend to miss the flavour and just become combat modifiers. I understand from the scale of the game why things like 88s, airstrikes or flamethrowers are tactics. But this means you don't have these figures on the table. As a point of comparison we have started playing the Battlegroup rules this year - which are much smaller scale, but they really do have the feel of WWII to them. But the mechanisms are much more complex, and you have fairly few units on the table. So a very different game, but it does really feel like WWII.

But I am looking at my other figures and working out how they will work for Rommel - and putting together an order for more Desert infantry. So Rommel has certainly made be more interested in playing WWII.

fred

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Re: Operation Brevity
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2017, 04:54:21 AM »
Did this AAR get lost by posting on the end of my introductory questions.

Nick B

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Re: Operation Brevity
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2017, 02:06:34 PM »
Thanks for posting this Fred. Good AAR and very interesting thoughts.

I was sad to hear that the rules don't give a real WW2 feel and felt generic - very disppointing. Do you think that other theatres or WW2 periods would give a better feel?

Cheers

Nick

fred

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Re: Operation Brevity
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2017, 02:31:22 PM »
Thanks Nick glad you liked the AAR

We are playing a Normandy game this week - so will see how that goes. Its loosely based on the first day of Operation Epsom. I've liked putting together the map, from a Battleground Europe book, which is very straight forward if you can find a map with a 1km gird. And even putting together a couple of forces is fairly straight forward.

I'm keen to like Rommel as I like the scale of game it represents. Perhaps as we add a few more units and get more familiar with the rules things will get more of a WWII feel. Its so hard to define what this is, and quite why some games have it, and it may well be a personal thing.

Le Grand Fromage

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Re: Operation Brevity
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2017, 02:38:11 PM »
Given that 99% of all tabletop WW2 gaming is Skirmish level, I can understand that people get used to having certain things on the table, like mortars, individual AT and AA guns, differentiating between a hull-mounted and a co-axial machinegun, not to mention differentiating between different versions of the same tank, and so on.

Hell, some WW2 games even differentiate between the different sorts of rounds fired by tank guns.

Rommel will never have those features, nor should a game at this scale ever attempt to have those features.

I got a lot of the same sort of comments when I first did Grande Armée back in 2002: people wanted to know why there was just a single model for an artillery battery... didn't it matter that some of those tubes were howitzers?  Didn't it matter that a British horse battery had two fewer guns than a Prussian horse battery, and so on.

In time, though, that game became a favorite for people who wanted to play at that scale.

Rommel isn't supposed to scratch your itch for a skirmish game. But we came to feel that it gave a very satisfying operational game.

Hazelbark

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Re: Operation Brevity
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2017, 02:50:25 PM »
Big Cheese very well put.

For the challenge of napoleonics is different from this. In Grande Armee i didn't want as much abstracted out. In Rommel I totally like what you have done. I don't care about a IVd vs a IVf and a stug vs Nashorn mean a lot less to me. So what you have done is very interesting for me in this period.

Getting the feel for maneuver and how hard it is to take a well defended position are my next steps. Those are learning things I want in a game. I do wish your play testers were more forth coming in some of their experiences.

fred

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Re: Operation Brevity
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2017, 12:41:10 PM »
It wasn't at the level of differentiation between units that was a problem - a Pz II felt very different to a PzIII, and a Matilda was different again - all through very small variations in stats.

What did seem a bit odd was that the unit of Pz IIIs felt that it could just have easily been a unit of Napoleonic Cuirassiers.

I'm not entirely sure why. As I said before it may be that while there are flame throwers, air strikes, defensive barrages etc, these are all part of the Command Post - so aren't seen on table. In game they become a combat modifier.

We are playing again on Friday - so hopefully things will click more.

braxen

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Re: Operation Brevity
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2017, 03:32:49 PM »
thanks for posting Fred, that is a very interesting read.

I am still working on my bases and waiting for my mat, but by October, all should be ready to play.


fred

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Re: Operation Brevity
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2017, 11:56:26 PM »
Played again last night - this time a Normandy game, with a fair bit more kit on the table. And it was a really good game! I'll do an AAR in another thread.

I think we were all a bit more comfortable with how things worked, so weren't spending so much time thinking about the mechanics - we were just playing.

So I think that in any first game with new rules it naturally takes a while to get them, with Rommel its not getting the rules that takes the time, its getting the implications of the rules, as it shifts away from a number of wargame staples. And once you played then you 'get' these changes and just play.

One of the group commented that if felt a very social game.

I liked that when players attempted rash thrusts, that these may have had some initial success, they where quickly cut-off and faded away. Which felt right. In some games once a unit gets through it can rampage around. In Rommel while you can do this - its fairly easy for the defender to isolate these units and suddenly they are a bit of a liability for the attacker.