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Subject: Example of play - first two impulses of German solo game rss

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Paul Aceto
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This is a picture-heavy description of the first two impulses of the Initial Assault scenario of the German solo game. Hopefully this will give you an idea of how the game plays. The rule books and player aids are a bit intimidating at first but I'm finding already in my second session that things are becoming more routine. This is my second try at this scenario. I failed miserably the first time out, and later realized I had played a few rules incorrectly.

There are several special rules for December 16. The key ones to note for this AAR are that the Germans cannot move in the first impulse (just attack), the maximum movement for non-mechanized Allied units is one hex, the Allies cannot blow bridges and the Germans get an extra 3 cards in the first impulse (9 vs the normal hand size of 6).

So here was the situation at the start. There were already 4 blown bridges, and some Allied units were in Improved Positions (the white star marker). The top colored stripe of a counter indicates its corps.



Looking at my initial hand of 9 cards, I decided to activate the LVIII Panzer Corps to start off my impulse. You can choose one of the options in the upper half, colored section of the card for your activation (and note one option can be done only December 20-29; the red numbers). The card can also be played as a Combat Tactic, shown on the bottom half of the card. The number in the top left is the Command Value. After I play cards whose values equal or exceed 10, it will be the Allied player's turn.



I chose LVIII because it was well situated to make an attack on the unit in hex 1406. I decided to pile on the Combat Tactics cards. These, plus some other factors, determined how many combat chits were drawn from the cup. The downside was that these cards were not available for activations later that impulse, but the cards I chose were not ones I had planned to use anyways. The Allied player drew 1 card, but its tactic did not apply to combat.



Totaling up all the relevant factors, I saw that I had to draw between 2-7 combat chits. I really wanted to eliminate the Allied unit, which would take at least 5 hits, so I opted for all 7 chits. Here is the result. You check each chit to see whether it applies, and that often depends on what combat tactics were played. My playing the Artillery and Infantry Infiltration (aka Flank Attack) tactic cards helped to give me the 5 hits needed to kill the unit. The chit at the top (Defender Adjacent) was not counted as its condition did not apply.



So suddenly there was a large gap in the Allied lines, and my mechanized units were ready to advance two hexes, thereby capturing the bridge! Except....there are rules for placing Roadblock markers whenever German units move/advance next to an Allied Position hex (the orange circle with a number in it). When this happens, you rule a d10 and if the number is equal to or less than the Position number, a Roadblock is placed. This stops movement on any adjacent hex which has a road connecting to the Roadblock hex. It will be removed the next time an adjacent German unit is activated, but by then it will have done its job, in this case by stopping the advance of the LVIII Corps short of the bridge. This is an effective mechanic that reflects how small, ad hoc US detachments were able to frustrate German plans in the first few days of the battle. It also is a great for solitaire as you can never be sure how far you will be able to race into the enemy rear areas.



So that ended LVIII Corps' activation, but I still needed to burn a card to get me up to 10 command points. Then it was the Allied impulse, which started by revealing the top card in the Allied Command deck. You go down the applicable options listed on the card until you get to the first one you can implement. In this case, it was the US Army card, and the only option I could use on December 16 was the Engineers event.



So I consulted the Player Aid card checklist to see how this would be implemented.



The first option applied, thanks to that Roadblock that was just placed, and I replaced the Roadblock with a reserve unit. So not only did that little group of defenders slow my advance, they bought enough time for a reserve armored unit to be raced to the front to defend the bridge.



Though it is early days yet, I have to say in my previous session and now this one, the game's AI has been pretty impressive. I'm getting good vibes about this one.

Next up, German impulse 2. I am not expecting LVIII Corps to achieve its first day objectives... (in any case, units/formations cannot activate in 2 consecutive impulses).
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Tom Kassel
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One small point, Paul. During the initial German impulse, you don't draw a card for allied combat tactics due to surprise. This can make the initial attacks a little more effective.
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RAJ
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Thank You for this example of play.
I have two questions.
1) In the Engineers event description is "replace a roadblock in VP hex or in Allied supply". If I understand correct, this means in hex with VP or in hex with Allied supply mark. Hex with RB from Your example have no VP and supply mark, so You shouldn't place reserve unit but go to next priority. If I am right there should be Blowne bridge from 3rd priority.
Am I right?
2) Counters from Silent War are probably the same quality and they have problem with picture erasing by using them and holdig in hands. You think is there big possibility to the same problem in EAA?
 
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Paul Aceto
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I thought you didn't check to see if there was an undetected enemy but still checked for a combat tactic. I might have gotten that wrong. In any case, it had no effect.

I interpret the Engineers event to mean a hex in Allied supply, not an Allied supply hex, and the Roadblock was in a hex in Allied supply.

I don't see any issue at all with the counters, other than some are a bit mis-aligned.
 
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RAJ
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But in third priority is "Allied supply can be traced to ... hex". I think designer should explain it.
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Paul Aceto
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"Replace a roadblock in Allied supply" is pretty clear to me.

Also, you skip the Blown Bridge option on December 16.
 
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Kurt R
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Thanks, Paul. How does this compare to one of the D-Day games in terms of learning the rules?

BTW, I'm taking them with me to the beach this weekend. Rules on the beach, woohoo.
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RAJ
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OK, my bad.
Can You continue this example? Now it is interesting how looks Allied turn.
 
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Paul Aceto
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It is several steps up in complexity from the D-Day games. The best thing to do when starting is just set up a scenario and bull your way through it, realizing you will make mistakes and do stupid things. That's how I learned to play Fields of Fire.

The Initial Assault scenario is an excellent tutorial for getting ready for the bigger ones.

Will do Ryszard. I may do it over on the Solitaire Games on Your Table geeklist. If you play and enjoy solitaire games, of all types, you should definitely join that list.
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Piotr
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Zouave wrote:
It is several steps up in complexity from the D-Day games. The best thing to do when starting is just set up a scenario and bull your way through it, realizing you will make mistakes and do stupid things. That's how I learned to play Fields of Fire.


It's not as complex and convoluted as Fields of Fire, though, is it? Then again, I wouldn't believe if you told me it was - always seemed to me John Butterfield creates very playable designs that utilize the map / cards / counters in the best possible way without being fiddly - D-Day at Omaha Beach might have been complex, but it had simple, yet effective mechanics underneath.
 
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Steve Herron
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Thanks for posting, it was informative to see how it played. Would consider putting it on my want list after your endorsement.
 
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David Perry
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sherron wrote:
Thanks for posting, it was informative to see how it played. Would consider putting it on my want list after your endorsement.


Also a nice taster for those of us waiting for the game to reach Europe.
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David Janik-Jones
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Lord of the Void wrote:
Zouave wrote:
It is several steps up in complexity from the D-Day games. The best thing to do when starting is just set up a scenario and bull your way through it, realizing you will make mistakes and do stupid things. That's how I learned to play Fields of Fire.


It's not as complex and convoluted as Fields of Fire, though, is it? Then again, I wouldn't believe if you told me it was - always seemed to me John Butterfield creates very playable designs that utilize the map / cards / counters in the best possible way without being fiddly - D-Day at Omaha Beach might have been complex, but it had simple, yet effective mechanics underneath.

I only wish John Butterfield had designed Fields of Fire. That is my biggest wargame fantasy ... that I lived in a world where John Butterfield had designed Fields of Fire. Makes me teary-eyed.
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Paul Aceto
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Well, let me state up front that I've only played the intro German solo scenario. I have yet to see the AI try to make an attack. But I am finding it pretty easy to find the info needed to process each step of the turn.

One thing that helps in this regard is that the card-driven mechanic means you usually have to check for only a few units at a time. The Allied Command card above in fact just had me take one action - placing the reserve unit (in a darned good spot, I might add) - and then "he" was done. I might use a card to bring in reserves, which means placing a unit or two, and then I'd be done. You go back and forth like that each turn.

The game is actually providing more of a narrative than most wargames I've played.
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Zouave wrote:

The game is actually providing more of a narrative than most wargames I've played.


... welcome to John Butterfield school of design
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David Janik-Jones
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Zouave wrote:
The game is actually providing more of a narrative than most wargames I've played.

Colour me interested now even more. Hitting Canadian FLGS and OLGS shortly, from my understanding.
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John Butterfield
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Hey Paul – Loving your photo walkthrough … keep it up! Three comments:

As Tom pointed out, you do not draw Allied cards for tactics during the first German impulse. See the third bullet of 4.11 and the corresponding bullet on the Key Rules Summaries player aid.

Yes, the Engineer event calls for placement of a reserve unit (if available) on a roadblock that is in a VP hex OR from which supply can be traced.

Have you considered using some of your 10 command points in your initial impulse to play a command card for a second activation? For example, you played cards with 8 command points in the activation and attack by LVIII Corps. This left you with 2 command points which could have been used for another activation before the first Allied impulse. And once an activation is underway, you can exceed the 10 point limit with additional card plays for combat tactics. See the written example on page 15 of the German Solo rules for a similar situation.
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Randy Mauldin
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Yeah I was wondering the same thing. The statement "I need to burn a card to get to 10 command points", got me confused. You could activate another corp with those remaining command points. It's the solo equivalent of the Germans getting 3 impulses to begin the game in the two player version...
 
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Paul Aceto
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I did consider that, but as I recall I didn't have cards I could usefully employ, given the no movement restrictions. Or I could have completely missed a chance to blow the Allied line wide open!

I do recall that I am trying to set things up so I can get at least two activations of I SS Corps this turn.
 
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Randy Mauldin
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Yes but you would not necessarily have to "burn" a card to get to the Allied impulse would you? You could simply declare your impulse over and go to the Allied impulse.

Also, your original card had a Command Value of 2 so you were actually limited to two tactics cards.

Good stuff anyway. Keep it going.
 
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Paul Aceto
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I'm not sure about the first one. Rule 4.11 says "You must play cards with a total Command Value of at least 10."

But you are right on the second, I should have been limited to 2 Combat Tactics cards. So that balanced out the Allied Combat Tactic card I drew, I suppose.
 
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Randy Mauldin
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Ah yes, you are correct on the Command Card count. I didn't see that.
 
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Tom Kassel
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The requirement to spend ten command points on the initial attack means you cannot make a minimal effort and then evade the no movement restriction. That would be strongly beneficial to the German side. You can explore how strong by trying it out.

The historical justification of the restriction is the requirement to preserve operational secrecy before the attack began. In many cases, units were forbidden reconnaissance of enemy positions to avoid alerting the allies, while movements to start lines were done as quietly as possible.
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Luke Hughes

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This is a helpful AAR. Just starting my German solo game so thanks. The design is interesting. The company and designer could do themselves and those on the fence a favor by posting Butterfield's designer notes found in the two player guide. He talks about his design motivations.
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