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The Arab-Israeli Wars» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Tel Maschara Scenario rss

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Jeffery Hatmaker
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I've been reading "No Victors No Vanquished, The Yom Kippur War" and got to the part where this ambush took place; I looked it up and gave it a play. While in reality, the Israelis did hand the Iraqis a slice of humble pie, I found that, at least the way I played it, it was a bust for the Iraqis. They were handed their heads. Here's how the deal went down... I grabbed all my game bits and sat at a large log-cross-section table on my front porch on a beautiful May day to enjoy some old-school grognard carnage in the sunshine. Now to the game: the Iraqi forces are compelled to enter the map on one of two east-west roads. They must be stacked two per hex, start (and finish) their first turn on the first nine hexes of the road of choice stacked two deep. They MUST proceed west at speed (nine hexes) along said road whilst stacked two deep until either:

(a) They are fired upon, or

(b) They come within two hexes of an Israeli unit.

This is some tricky stuff for the Israelis, ironically, in that you must:

(a) Choose your ground to take maximum defensive use of the terrain, (viz, "Hull Down" defensive rule, elevation, et al), but yet

(b) Do so in a way that gives you coverage no matter which road the Iraqi forces enter upon without,

(c) Giving them enough map to get off the board, thus meeting one of the scoring requirements for victory points.

My gripe... the terrain is both a curse and a blessing in that you can really defend and hide well, but due to LOS/LOF issues, you can't really take full advantage of "opportunity fire," thus choosing exactly WHEN it is best to spring your trap. The trap could well bite you on your own tuchus if you screw around and let the Iraqis flank you or overrun. I used overrun to help the WAY outnumbered Israelis get a fighting chance against superior numbers, but if the Iraqis had gotten a little luckier and a little wiser, I'd've been hoisted me on my own pitard. Once again, the morale factor really did make a BIG difference. By this point in the October War, the Israelis had begun to overcome being intitially poleaxed by the sheer shock of Egypt's surprise attack accross the suez, and were beginning to re-assess and adjust to a very dangerous and fluid situation. But I likewise contend that earlier in the fight, the Israeli morale would've been much lower, due to the bitter gall of being handed their hats by the Arab forces early on. I'm going to keep several tactics in mind as the Iraqi player next time. First, I want to STACK up to the max as soon as the doo-doo hits the fan, then I want to OVERRUN the dug in Israeli redoubts, but only if FORCED to fight. If at all possible, just boogie on off the board at the road rate, which would be 12 hexes per turn. This scenario is about getting the Iraqis to another front to fight, and the Israelis disruption of that action. Israeli forces need to pick the best (and HIGHEST) ground from which to deliver a whole lotta lovin', REAL FAST to the Iraqis. You get to draw first blood as the Israeli player, so bleed 'em white before they can crawl up the slopes and basically WHOMP the livin' SNOT outta you with their superior numbers. I was genuinely concerned about the Israelis, but the Iraqis couldn't re-activate numerous dispersed units due to horrible morale (the reason being that the other Arab states treated them like red-headed step children; no one seemed to know what the Iraqis were to supposed to do or who was in charge of them, and accordingly, every time they asked for directions, a bewildered and obviously un-interested commander would simply say, "go to the front and fight... that way!" Wouldn't even give a brother a map! No wonder morale was awful). Anyway, I loved this scenario for it's purely tank-oriented fight. You take 7 Shermans and lay a trap for 18 Soviet T-55's. No mean feat, that! I need to give some more consideration to initial placement so that I can hopefully improve my timing by opening the can of whoop-ass with better timing by using opportunity fire. Can't wait to do it again!

powwowdancer out
 
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Steven Bucey
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I am currently playing this as the Israeli via pbem using vassal -- I'll update how it goes. We are using the standard rules, with my variant half attack strength for units that use split move and fire.
 
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Steven Bucey
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Sorry, I meant to get back to this after the game ended. The game sort of died off after the end of turn 3. I had setup to guard the northern road with an eye to fall back positions should he enter the southern road. As it turned out, he came right at me on the northern road. I managed to wreck his force as it came through the coke point at AA3 with a lot of dispersals and a few kills each turn, so that by the end of turn 3 he had lost over half his force and I think I had only a single dispersed unit. On turn three he did attempt an overrun but my op/fire stopped that cold -- because of the terrain around my position at W1 he wasn't really able to get at me from several hexes and delute my op/Fire.

I think really all the Isreali need to do is go for dispersals and he should do well, particularly if he can clog the roads with dispersed units and deny full road movement. Out to 6 hexes the israeli can get 2-1 versus the return fire of only 1-2, and combined wth the gap in morale this is a real strategy I feel. A very tough one for the Iraqi player.
 
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Jeffery Hatmaker
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Yeah, it's kind've a turkey shoot, which is fun for the Israelis, but a total bummer for the Iraqi player. Which is sad, because in reality, the battle was anything but a gimme. (At least according to the aforementioned book). Perhaps anyone reading this who has some righteous, workable Iraqi tactics could drop a line or two describing same? I love AAW, and this scenario is fun, but I get the feeling it needs to be played MANY times in order for the Iraqi player to achieve anything remotely resembling parity. It reminds me of the Bridge At Remagen scenario in Panzer Blitz; the allies roll into town, and unless Der Chermanz get some serious dice lovin', it's basically a savage thumpin', with little or no hope for those nasty nazis. I've played it many times, and it just doesn't matter... you'd have to change the victory conditions considerably to make it anything remotely resembling a fair fight. Maybe that's the challenge; keep hammering away against impossible odds until you can find something, anything that works? Hmm.

powwowdancer out
 
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Doug Kiz
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When you play this game using standard (or advanced) rules, I agree it is a turkey shoot. However, it is a basic scenario and plays much differently as such.

I have still yet to lose as the Isrealis. I have only won as the Iraqi player against a weak opponent. But automatic undispersal makes it a much tougher fight.
 
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George Falconer
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Many of the scenarios in this and it's sister games were not very well balanced. no biggie, they are still fun. Tel Maschera is a good enough learning scenario, although it's silly lob-sided.
 
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Jim Millard
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Learning scenario: Tel Maschara, Situation B-3
Gwfalcon wrote:
Many of the scenarios in this and it's sister games were not very well balanced. no biggie, they are still fun. Tel Maschera is a good enough learning scenario, although it's silly lob-sided.

Also, don't forget Special Rule 4.

Yes, the scenario gets out of hand if you use anything beyond the Basic rules. Most of the 'B-x' Situations are that way; treat as training scenarios only, unless you play balance them in some way.
 
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