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Strafexpedition 1916» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Valsugana - Scenario 7 review rss

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David Kershaw
Ireland
Belfast
Northern Ireland
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Lines of Battle: Quatre Bras 1815. Brunswick hussar.
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My friend bought Strafexpedition and along with the main maps and scenarios there was a bonus 7th scenario and map, covering the flank fighting in this valley. The Austrian objective is to advance quickly down the valley to remove the potential threat to the flank of the main attack to the West. The Italians have 2 ordinary brigades with a couple of Alpini battalions to hold back double that number of Austrians, half of whom are elite mountain troops. To give them a chance, the Italians do have strong artillery support and receive a third ordinary brigade as reinforcements. On the other hand, their logistics are poor compared to the Austrians which severely hampers any counteroffensive efforts.

Units are batallions. Each unit has a strength, morale and movement rating. Infantry also have a machine-gun rating, while artillery has range (generally 8-10 hexes, as each hex is about 1km across). The units are grouped into brigades of generally 6 infantry, although you can also attach up to 2 independent infantry units (the Italians have some elite Alpini batallions). The brigade units must remain within the brigade command range, or else you will only be able to move some parts of it. In combat units can take step losses (2 and your dead) and/or morale losses, which are indicated with a counter - quite fiddly this). Units in our game were either 4 or 5 morale. If combat reduces morale to zero, the unit surrenders - as you can repair eliminated units, but not surrendered units, watching morale is important. Surrendered units also count towards victory.

The game play is quite interactive: Each side gets a number of logistic points, which they may then spend to activate brigades - 1 point gets the brigade activated, 2 or 3 gives the brigade plus increasing artillery support. Initiative is a random roll, modified by logistic point spent. The winner moves and actiated brigade and conducts any assualts. Then they move their next brigade or can pass and allow their opponent a go. Or, if they continue, the opponent may try to grab the initiative with a D6 roll under a selected brigade's initiative rating (Italian's were all 2, Austrians 2 or 4). Once both players have completed moving and assaulting with their activated brigades, non activated units get to move (although not adjacent to any enemy). One interesting aspect of movement is that ZOCs do not halt movement of activated units, it costs an extra point to leave a ZOC, but moving through a ZOC is allowed at the penalty of attracting machine-gun fire from the unit(s) ZOC being moved through, which might cause a morale loss.

Combat is great fun and very evocative of WW1. Assaults are into a hex, and must obey stacking restrictions. Stacking is 2 units (1 in high mountains), so if you are defending with 2 units, the attack is most likely to be at 1:1 ratio. However, a few things happen before the combat resolution roll. First, attacking artillery (if paid for with logistics above) can be called in. It can be very nasty, causing step losses and morale losses and even trench degradation. Then the defender gets to fire back with their machine-gun rating, and any called in artillery. This is not as bad, as called in artillery is quarter-strength, but every morale loss counts. The combat ratio is then determined (usually 1:1) and this is modified by terrain and trench level as column shifts. Critically, it is also modified by column shifts for difference in morale, which can be several columns if morale 5 elite are attacking units with morale reduced from previous combat and artillery. Combat results in possible more step/morale losses and either the attacker retreating back, or the defender retreating away (and if this is adjacent to another enemy unit, they may take further losses from machine-gun fire). If the defender retreats, reserves within 2 hexes may counterattack, which is attractive if attackers have suffered a couple of morale losses.

Our game took 3 and a half hours to play 5 turns. It had a quick Austrian breakthrough in the centre of the valley while the assaults on the flanks were held up. As the game progressed the Italians fell back on the left, but a stack was left isolated and out of command (and supply) on the right. Even though it ultimately surrendered, this heroic regiment (2 batallions) held up the Austrian advance enough for a semblance of a front to form 12km back from the original. While the Austrians ended up way short of their objectives, close to a third of the Italian army had surrendered and a sneaky thrust by an Austrain mountain batallion to capture some Italian artillery just gave them the edge to claim victory.

Enjoyable stuff - looking forward to a re-match.
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Eric Smith
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Wow, that a report beyond my life.
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Colonel Williamson

Princeton
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We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle
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I just recently purchased this game and it came with the extra Valsugana map, but no other information. is this found on a separate card or something? Are there additional Counters?

Thanks,

M
 
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The counters are included in the standard game. They are marked on the counter sheet.

The scenario and extra rules are only available as download. You find them here:
http://italianwars.net/games/strafexpedition_1916_-_living_r...
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Colonel Williamson

Princeton
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We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle
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Hegel wrote:
The counters are included in the standard game. They are marked on the counter sheet.

The scenario and extra rules are only available as download. You find them here:
http://italianwars.net/games/strafexpedition_1916_-_living_r...


Thank you!!!!!

M
 
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