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Subject: Finns on Skiis. rss

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Will Green
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Finally! I got the Med in the Mail, and played my first two games from the game. It was hard to choose between the twelve new scenarios as the stories, the history and the units were all different and each had its own captivating element.

My opponent and I decided to each choose three scenarios, and then we would choose from the ones that overlapped. Well, two scenarios did, and we decided to play Number 20 ~ the Finns ambushing the Overconfident Russians who were marching through the woods sharing the excess Vodka rations, and singing songs of victory, war, and patriotism…

The Russians were on the march along the road through the woods. They had a long extended line and were not thinking of an attack from our side. We Sussi had the advantage of being ski-troopers, and well adapted to swift movement through the woods in order to advance, almost unseen, and unheard until…death awaits.

We opened the battle with a number of Molotov cocktails which shredded the cover of the woods, exposing the Russian invader for what he was, naked without his numbers in waves crashing through our lands! Several of Roussi broke, and for that we clambered in for closer battles. When the defiler of our lands barked orders to Advance he realized soon enough that the Finns are of much hardier stock than he had wished. By the end of two Melees there were 50 Roussi, and a Leader littered about the road, blood dripping into the snow. More Fire, and Molotov Cocktails brought more of the “soon to be vanquished foe” to his knees. Before the first Time Check I had counted 80 dead, and one Leader in the blooded pile.

Roussi decided it was best to retreat and reorganize. Soon enough the Battle Sector that we were working with had expanded, though it had shrunk for the Roussi. Our men, our brave squads working in unison sealed off all avenues of escape, and soon had the Roussi surrounded. By the Fourth Time I had checked my watch, the Roussi was down to his last four units. It was then that our Valiant Leader led a charge into his last remaining strength. Here, on the edge of the Woods, twenty more Roussi and his best Leader lay fallen. We took the remaining Vodka, and continued on through the woods looking for more Roussi who were Overconfident, and seeking warmth through the bottle.

{This, being my first Med game, had both of us wondering how the Russians stand a chance, as the Finns have better units, more abundant weapons, are Elite, and the Trump card, is that they can discard an additional card, whenever they give one or more Orders. This was a very powerful bonus for the Finns and seemed to make a huge difference in the game. We both thought that if the Russians can survive the initial onslaught, and regroup quickly enough that they would stand a chance. I am interested in playing the Russians to see how the game plays/ feels differently for that faction.

I am also interested in others who have played this scenario with the Russians winning, or winning by a landslide.}

Looking forward to more games already!!
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Ricatoni
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I have been looking forward to this release but am confused. What did the Finns have to do with the Meditterranean Theater of Operations? What am I missing here? I thought this was an expansion mostly for France, Italy, and Minor Ally/Axis in the Med. Does the minor country ally portion of this extension extend into the Eastern Front Theater as well?
 
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Will Green
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I think you may find some clarity from these points in a thread before the game was released.

El Hidalgo wrote:
I have been looking forward to this release but am confused. What did the Finns have to do with the Meditterranean Theater of Operations? What am I missing here? I thought this was an expansion mostly for France, Italy, and Minor Ally/Axis in the Med. Does the minor country ally portion of this extension extend into the Eastern Front Theater as well?


TommieSL wrote:
sos1 wrote:
Chad Jensen wrote:
As of right now, the twelve scenarios in CC:Mediterranean are:
...
Finland vs Russia;
...

Yesss ... Mediterranean, right!


My thought exactly reading through some of the listed combatants, but I guess (and I may be wrong) this is a carry over of GMT's decision to 'split' what was originally designed to be a single release into two separate (but obviously related) games.
I guess they thought we couldn't handle too much meaty goodness in one delivery


Chad Jensen wrote:
Quote:
CC:E Volume II?


Um, it is. "Combat Commander: Volume II -- Mediterranean".

I think what you're missing is that there are three "nationalities" in CC:Med:

British (and the Commonwealth);
France (and the Allied Minors);
Italy (and the Axis Minors).

Those three main titles fit the word "Mediterranean". "Finland" then fall under the umbrella of "Axis Minors" (and does indeed utilize the "Italian & Axis Minors" Fate Deck).

But that is really neither here nor there: the word "Mediterranean" is simply included in the title for evocative purposes and to clearly delineate it from other titles - both existing and pending - in the CC series. I'm not sure why it should serve to impart any specific indication that that particular game will only include nationalities bordering that particular body of water.


dcooley wrote:
From another thread, it appears that the Finns will have a couple of special rules as well as their own counters, at least for Sissi units (so quit whining about the Finns). Can I imply from this that minors will have at least some unique country-specific units?

I know that the Brazilians are represented in the Europe set by US units (Scenario 12, IIRC), and we're really just talking about a small set of numeric values, but having country-specific units does add something to my personal enjoyment of the game. Weapons not so much (they were mostly made by a minor's patron country), but it's nice to have a unit that's its own color if for flavor if nothing else. I understand this will increase the price of the game, which is a shame.

BTW, Mediterranean is, I suspect, intended to show that the *primary* thrust of the *expansion* is North Africa and Italy (adding the Brits and Italians, plus the French for Torch). That this allows you to game other situations is just cake.

q]

Chad Jensen wrote:
[q="BagpipeDan"]Combat Commander Volume: II -- Meditteranean And Also Finland Just For The Hell Of It

Why is everybody focused on the anomalous Finns? The poor fellows are so misunderstood. shake

Here's some more fodder for you folks: CC:Med also includes Hungary, Rumania, Slovakia, Belgium, Holland, Yugoslavia, Denmark and Norway (Norway!) - none of which are next to nor sent any combat troops to the Mediterranean Theater.

Flame on! laugh

[perhaps I should retitle the game "Combat Commander: Volume II -- The Rest of 'em"]
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Gregory Wong
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El Hidalgo wrote:
I have been looking forward to this release but am confused. What did the Finns have to do with the Meditterranean Theater of Operations? What am I missing here? I thought this was an expansion mostly for France, Italy, and Minor Ally/Axis in the Med. Does the minor country ally portion of this extension extend into the Eastern Front Theater as well?


Think of it as a bonus. It's like Ginsu knives.

You get the Italians, the French, and the Brits. Now, how much would you pay? Don't answer yet. You also get the Finns and Poles absolutely free, a $3,000 value.
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Ricatoni
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Thanks....you guys crack me up!
 
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Jan Salomonsson
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Was home sick from work today so had a chance to solo this battle. It was a rout. The Fins started play with two advance cards, and the Soviets had surrendered before the 3rd Time Phase began. It looks like it is a very tough one to win for the Russians.
 
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Chadwik
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Quote:
This, being my first Med game, had both of us wondering how the Russians stand a chance

Quote:
It looks like it is a very tough one to win for the Russians.

I assume you guys are trying to fight it out with the obviously superior Finns, yes? Why?

Psst! ... hey, you ... yeah, you playing the Russians ... Exit Points ... don't fight; run! ...
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Jan Salomonsson
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Hey Chad,

Admittedly my solo run was a bit special as I had two advance cards (and the initiative!) at start, but there were 5 eliminated russian squads and just as many isolated ones surrounded by fins after the first turn, and the only remaining soviet force that had any real kind of future was the stragglers left in the smaller bit of woods in the corner. They tried courageously to hold their ground but where eliminated easily once the last soviet officer fell.

I am sure it can be won by the russians, it just looks tough I think it is the ambush factor and the terrain rather than the troop quality that is their big problem. Incidentally, I set finns up along both sides of the road in the woods. Turn one saw a lot of Melee, and some good rolls for the sissi.

I am not going to complain about scenario balance after one solo playthrough with flu. I look forward to the challenge of playing the russians against someone one day.
 
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Chadwik
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I am not going to complain about scenario balance after one solo playthrough with flu.

Oh, I certainly didn't see your post as a complaint. I was just responding with a little play hint. Some (many?) CC scenarios require one or both players to 'think outside the box', as it were, in order to avoid a huge loss. I think #20 is one of them.
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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Chad Jensen wrote:
Psst! ... hey, you ... yeah, you playing the Russians ... Exit Points ... don't fight; run! ...


Yes, Dutch Raspler and I played this same scenario and we saw this almost immediately -- the Russians should set up and play their first couple turns to run units off the map edge by road, which sets up a "bank" of VPs that the Finns will have to work against.
 
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Jan Salomonsson
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Hi!

I don't get how you can manage to do anything like that during the first couple of turns. The finns start. Unless their hand is rubbish they will have a Fire or Advance card. If they do, you will have nothing to move off the map edge by road.

What am I missing?
 
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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Wow, so all your Finns win every melee and eliminate every Russian squad on their first fire? I want to play with your set.
 
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David desJardins
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sdiberar wrote:
Wow, so all your Finns win every melee and eliminate every Russian squad on their first fire?


No. He's saying that after the first turn the Finns will control and/or kill the units near A10, so, if the Russians are trying to exit the map, they will have to leave the road and move through the woods to reach the Axis map edge.
 
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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And? I think they can still exit a few squads and a leader, maybe with a weapon or two. That could easily be another 7-9 points, depending. And you get them back at your end of the board, which is faster than trying to move them their through the woods.

Let's just say I've seen it happen, k? I don't think it's less likely than all the forward Russians being wiped out to a man.
 
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David desJardins
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sdiberar wrote:
Let's just say I've seen it happen, k? I don't think it's less likely than all the forward Russians being wiped out to a man.


The comment was only about your stated plan (four posts up) to exit units by road. I don't think that's realistic, if the Finns try to stop you. You can certainly exit units if you leave the road.
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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Moving one hex along the road gives the Russians +1 MP, but other than that they can just run through the woods. I didn't mean literally that they had to follow the road right off the map, but certainly it assists in getting them there. In any case, the point is that the Russians can set up to get some units off the board rapidly and use that point cushion to survive until they can coordinate a defense.
 
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Will Green
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sdiberar wrote:
Moving one hex along the road gives the Russians +1 MP, but other than that they can just run through the woods. I didn't mean literally that they had to follow the road right off the map, but certainly it assists in getting them there. In any case, the point is that the Russians can set up to get some units off the board rapidly and use that point cushion to survive until they can coordinate a defense.


This is very true depending on the access-ability of those woods. In my game the Finns had a units in contiguous hexes from F-5~B-7,8and on to C-9, then D8, E8, F7, G7, H6, then D9, I7,8 and J8. The Russians would have had to either blast there way through, or enter into melee, win, then be able to move again on their next turn. After two hands played by the Finns, the Russians, that started with units on B8 along the road to I-4, and then L2-O2, were hit hard with Molotov's and the first five units that were closest to exiting were decimated.

So G6 was the first unit that could make a 'breakthrough'. The units I4,5 and H5 Could have made adash to J5, 6, 7and into K8, yet they would have been hit by a fire group in the open, and then the Finns, with vastly superior speed could have sealed off their escape path.

The Russians chose to retreat into the woods in the corner, and regroup.

In my game, the Russians never had the "escape path" as a possibility. If they get the right cards, initially, and the Finns don't have an Advance, or Move card the opening will play out differently.

Your experience sounds like it was very different from this. What did happen for your playthrough?

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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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I played the Finns, and set up most of my units two hexes away from the road, all along it, in three large groups. I used a lot of Move/Assault Fire combinations to use my Molotovs (I didn't see a real Fire card for quite some time), which limited the Russian response. Still, my first several Molotov attacks resulted in only two units breaking, and he was able to exit two squads and a 1-Command leader. From that point on, I just closed in on him, but was never able to set up a decisive melee (the Axis Minor deck is the main culprit here - less of everything useful, including Ambushes). When the Russian Hero appeared, he led a series of Melees which took my well out of VP range.

I should mention that we hit five time triggers very quickly, which put a lot of time pressure on the Finns.
 
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Colin Lewis
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Played this same scenario this morning and had a great time with it. It seemed like it was going to be lop sided in favor of the Finns, but the Russians got off to a great start. The game was pretty close, but always slightly in favor of the Russians.

About 2/3 of the way through the game we hit a bit a wall where neither side was within close combat range of each other and didn't quite know how to best proceed. The Russians were ahead and tried burning cards and hoping for time triggers, which eventually happened and ended the game with a 3 VP win.

Great scenario, fun challenges, and the extra discard ability of the Finns is an awesome bonus for them.
 
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Christopher
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Played this scenario this past weekend as the Finns. My competitor, a very solid player, was obliterated. The game ended by surrender level +1 being reached, and the VP stood at 41 for me. I lost one lone unit.

We had to keep checking the scenario rules to make sure we hadn't missed something to make it so lop-sided.

It seems to me that the Finns can easily set up to prevent the Russians from exiting off the road (as I did) and can severely hamper any attempt to exit through the woods or along that exposed hill. But even if the Russians can exit a few units, with elimination points doubled, how can they possibly win?

I'm tending to think that only a routinely very bad Finn hand and a routinely good Russian deck would allow it.

Or maybe we *did* play something wrong...?
 
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Chadwik
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Or maybe we *did* play something wrong...?

Or it could be that our testers played the Russians very well and/or the Finns very badly. Not being facetious -- we may have blown it at our end.

I myself played this scenario several times during development and if I recall the wins were split rather evenly. However, post-publication accounts seem to indicate that the Finns are nearly unbeatable. If this holds up over time, it will end up being the first "broken" CC scenario. At that point, I'll devise a fix in order to bring things back into contention. I'm inclined to wait a bit longer before doing so, however, as I've personally seen the Russians win more than once....

(A thought just occurred to me: It is possible that something in the published scenario is a typo -- that is, different from what we were playtesting. I'm going to look through my archives for older versions of this scenario and see if it matches up with the published version. Stay tuned....)
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Chadwik
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Nope. Scenario 20 was created in September of 2006 and the files handed off to the printers about a year later. It appears the scenario stayed pretty much the same throughout the year's worth of playtesting:

The special rules remained unchanged from inception.

The Finns actually grew by +3 squads, and originally had 5 Satchel Charges instead of the published 8 Molotov Cocktails. Also, the three Light MGs were originally German LMGs, so this was slightly downgraded.

The Russians had a Light Mortar converted into a second Medium MG and had 5 SMG squads converted into Rifle squads #11-15.

Starting Allied VPs was 2 (4 now: upgrade). The Finns had 4 orders at the beginning (3 now: downgrade).

So there was minimal change throughout development. The changes that were made indicate to me that overall there were more Russian wins than Finnish wins. So at this point I just have to scratch my head and wonder if the Russian puzzle just has yet to be solved....
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Christopher
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Thanks for going to all that effort, Chad. Interesting to see how the scenario evolved (albeit slightly).

I think you are right: time will tell if a tweak or two would balance it out a bit.
 
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Chadwik
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Quote:
time will tell if a tweak or two would balance it out a bit.

Right you are. If in the end it is determined that errata is needed to fix this one than I'll do just that.

I was just thinking that it very well may be that in our testing the Finns won about half the time ... but by a landslide; and the Russians won about half the time ... but just barely after a long drawn-out affair. If so, I likely didn't put enough emphasis on HOW the scenario was won when determining overall balance, thus giving us the disparate results we are witnessing post-publication.

Just a bit more food for thought.
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John McLintock
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Chad Jensen wrote:
I was just thinking that it very well may be that in our testing the Finns won about half the time ... but by a landslide; and the Russians won about half the time ... but just barely after a long drawn-out affair. If so, I likely didn't put enough emphasis on HOW the scenario was won when determining overall balance, thus giving us the disparate results we are witnessing post-publication.


With Chad being driven to consider fixing this scenario, I just thought I'd post to report another Russian win, and with 12VP on time 8, I'd say that corresponds to "just barely after a long drawn-out affair" (it certainly felt gruelling if memory serves). The main tactical point I have to add to existing remarks about Exit VP is protect your MG's, because that'll deny the Finns a lot of easy VP of their own.

More generally, I would suggest that this is a scenario where you have to put aside some of what you'll've already learned from previous games of Combat Commander (as you might see from my account of our game here). It might therefore be that unlearning lessons already painfully learned is what makes this scenario particularly difficult for the Russians.

On top of all that, I find myself thinking that the possible balance as suggested by Chad- an even split between Finnish cakewalks and Russian slugathons- has a certain aptness in this scenario. It seems to fit the history and the particular situation. But then, I might be biased because I won as the Russians.
 
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