Sunday, February 9, 2014

COC – On Patrol In Romania 1944 – Part 2

The little figures held their positions admirably in a time freeze for the last week and were relieved to “come alive” again. We resumed our game with the German side starting Turn 1 Phase 8. Both sides are still at their starting Force Morale levels of 11 German and 10 Russian. Here are the unit positions at the end of Phase 7.  

Phase 8 – German Roll 5,4,2,1,1          CoC Dice = 5
Russian phase next. CoC dice goes up 1 pip to 5. Rick and Tim use a 4 to activate the SL in the south. The SL spends 1 CI to order the PzSh Team to move up to the stone wall and contest the Russian JOP. Then another CI to also move the Flamethrower Team with the SL attached up toward the stone wall so the SL attaches to the PzSh Team as well. The third CI is used to remove 1 shock from the PzSh Team.

A 2 and 1 dice are added and the 3 is used to activate the JL in the monastery squad who uses 2 CI reduce 2 shock. The remaining 1 dice is not used.

Phase 9 – Russian Roll 6,4,3,2,2         CoC Dice = 5
Next phase German. Still no 5 so the CoC dice holds at 5. Will it hit 6 and allow Brent to move the JOP before it gets captured? Brent uses a 4 to activate the SL, spending 1 CI to put the MMG on Overwatch, and 1 CI to move himself to the south end of the little woods he is in, and the last CI to activate the squad in the same little woods to go on Overwatch to cover the JOP in the crop. Then a 2 dice activates the squad at the church wall to move into the church through the front door, which is safe since the German LMG in the monastery is in hiding while recovering. Seven riflemen and the JL make it into the north end of the church, but the LMG crew only gets to the front door. Lastly Brent uses a 3 die to activate the JL in the squad on the road who spends 1 CI to remove the last shock and the second CI to move them toward the woods. But luck is again bad with a 2 roll. These guys are tough to get moving! 5 dice to go 5 inches! End of phase.

Phase 10 – German Roll 6,5,2,2,2         CoC Dice = 6
Russian phase next. The last 5 pushes the COC dice to 6 and it is now available for mayhem! Tim and Rick add two of the 2 dice together to activate the SL. One CI is used to activate the PzSh Team to move and try and capture the Russian JOP, but they only move 3 inches and stop just short. No Overwatch fire from the Russians (perhaps knowing it will trigger return Overwatch fire from the German squad down south). The second CI is used to activate the Flamethrower Team and attached SL to move into the woods by the church to try for a blast at the Russian squad inside. The third CI order and the last 2 die are unused.

Phase 11 – Russian Roll 4,3,3,2,2     CoC Dice = 5
Next phase is German. Still no 5 so the CoC dice is not full. Brent uses a 3 to activate the JL for the squad in the church. One CI activates the squad to fire at the Flamethrower Team. Since only part of the squad and the JL made it into the church only the first two windows are available. At 2 men per window, 3 men fire rifles and the JL his SMG at close range. Amazingly, only 2 shock affect the Flamethrower Team.

Then Brent uses a 2 and activates the squad in the north woods to fire on the PzSh Team (only the LMG is in LOS) and it completely misses! But this triggers return fire from the German squad on Overwatch down south causing 3 shock on the Russian squad.

Next the squad stuck on the road activates on a 2 and really gets going moving, right into the nearby woods. Finally, using a 4 dice Brent activates the SL who spends 2 CI to reduce the shock on the nearby squad to down to 1 shock and spends the last CI to activate the MMG to move east along the forest edge. End of phase.

Phase 12 – German Roll 5,4,2,1,1      CoC Dice = 6 + 1
Next phase Russian. One pip on the second CoC dice. Rick and Tim activate the SL with a 4 dice. One CI activates the PzSh Team to Tactical Move and capture the JOP. The second CI reduces the shock by 1 on the Flamethrower Team so it gets full rate of fire. The third CI activates the Flamethrower Team to flame the Russian squad in the church. It's gonna get hot in there!

The Russian squad takes only two KIAs and one shock even with the flamethrower firing as if the Russians were in Open Ground. Plus only one six on the original hit roll so the church didn't even catch fire! Sheesh! There must have been some leftover asbestos in the shingles or something. [Note: The shock was edited to show doubled to 2 due to the flamethrower effect – also corrected in next photo until we remembered].

Lastly the Germans use a 2 die to activate the squad in the south woods to fire at the Russian MMG causing 1 shock. Then they add the both the 1 dice to make 2 and try to deploy the last squad. They need a 4, 5, or 6 because the SL is on the table. A 3 is rolled so the squad has to wait for the next German phase to try again. The Germans decide not to use the CoC dice to end the turn and initiate a Force Morale event for the captured JOP. End of phase.

Phase 13 – Russian Roll 6,5,5,3,2       CoC Dice = 6 + 1
Next phase German. Two 5s make a full CoC dice plus 1 so now if the Germans end the turn the Russian can waive the Force Morale roll for the lost JOP. Stalemate. Only a 3 and a 2 dice are available this phase for orders. Brent first activates the JL in the church who orders the 3 riflemen in the two windows and his own SMG to fire on the Flamethrower Team again, getting just 1 KIA, which misses the SL.

Lastly, Brent uses the 2 and activates the squad in the north woods to fire with the LMG on the PzSh Team in the crop, causing 1 shock (Tactical stance saved further damage). End phase.

Phase 14 – German Roll 5,4,3,2,1     CoC Dice = 6 + 2
Next phase Russian. Another 5 adds 2 pips on a second CoC dice. Rick and Tim use the 4 die to activate the SL who uses 1 CI to remove the last shock from the Flamethrower Team. The second CI activates the PzSh Team to fire on the church (hits are doubled if the Panzershreck is fired on a hard target), but it misses (does the expression “can't hit the broad side of a barn door” apply here?). The SL uses the third CI to try and move himself into the nearby building and distance himself from the Flamethrower Team so he is not attached to them. Unfortunately he rolls low and only gets to the outside of the door and is still within 4 inches of the Flamethrower Team so is still attached.

With a clear target, the Germans use a 1 die to activate the Flamethrower Team to fire on the Russians in the church again. This time the crewman got the range.

The Flamethrower Team inflicts 2 more KIAs on the Russian squad but no shock. However, double 6s on the hit roll sets the church on fire requiring the Russian squad to immediately vacate, which they do out the front door.

On a “hot” dice roll streak now, Tim and Rick use a 3 die to activate the JL for the squad in the south woods. He activates the squad to fire at the MMG, getting 1 KIA and 3 shock, pinning the MMG!

Using the last 2 die, The German side attempts to deploy the last squad from reserve. Rick rolls a 5 so the squad arrives behind the hedge in the west, immediately opening fire on the Russian squad in the woods to the north with more “hot” dice causing 4 shock!

End of phase.

Phase 15 – Russian Roll 6,3,3,2,1      CoC Dice = 6 + 1
Next phase German. No addition to the CoC dice. Finally a 1 die roll. There hasn't been a 1 command dice rolled since Russian Phase 5! With great excitement, Brent activates the sniper. He wants to target the German SL but since it is attached to the Flamethrower Team he must target the whole team and hope that if a KIA is achieved it will carry through to the SL (snipers have an increased chance of hitting leaders and shock is doubled). But Brent rolls a 2 and the sniper misses again (must have a bent scope).

Brent uses a 3 to activate the JL in the north west squad in the woods. The JL uses one CI to remove a shock so the squad is at 3 shock. The other CI orders the squad to fire at the German squad behind the hedge. Excellent shooting finally, with 2 shock and 1 KIA. The German JL is hit instead of a rifleman! A 2 die roll means the JL is wounded and cannot activate for the rest of the Turn. [Note: The red shock marker comes off at Turn end & the yellow bead shows one less CI from now on. We played that a 2,3 wound also limits the JL by -1 CI for the rest of the game – comment at end] The wound on a Junior Leader also causes a Force Morale event and Rick rolls a 3 for a -1 to morale, moving the German Force Morale down to 10.

Next a 2 dice activates the squad in the little woods by the church and the LMG fires on the PzSh Team causing 1 KIA and 1 shock, pinning the team.

This all leads up to Brent's main event. Brent wants to see how Close Combat works! First he uses a 3 to activate the JL in the squad just outside the front of the church, the one that had to evacuate, and has the JL remove 1 shock. The squad is not terribly healthy, down to 5 men and 1 shock, but they have had enough of the Flamethrower Team, so the JL uses the second CI to move the squad. They only need to get within 4 inches and Brent rolls high on the move roll causing Close Combat. The Russians have 5 dice from men (leaders don't count and LMGs don't count for the attacker), 2 dice from the JL's SMG and 2 dice from the JL's Initiative level for a total of 9 dice.

The German Flamethrower team has 2 dice for crewmen and since the SL is attached an additional 3 dice for his Initiative level and 2 dice for his machine pistol. Plus 2 more dice for the number of Russian dice used to move in for a total of 9 dice. So 9 against 9, causing a KIA on a 5 or 6, with 6s also adding a shock! [Goof up: we forgot to add for German defending in light cover which is 1 dice for every 3 dice you have so far. This would have added in 3 more for the German making it 9 Russian vs 12 German. But we played it with 9 each.]

The Russians rolled extra crappy only getting 1 hit and missing the German SL! The German rolled 3 hits, with two 6s for 2 extra shock, also missing the Russian JL. This reduced the Russian squad to 2 men plus the JL with 3 shock, and the German Flamethrower team to 1 man with no shock.

Since the Russians lost the Close Combat by a (3 – 1) = 2 dice difference the squad is thrown back 9 inches and must add one more shock raising it to 4 shock. The squad falls back behind the church where they came from and with only 3 men in the squad counting the JL, the squad is pinned! End of phase.

Phase 16 – German Roll 5,5,3,2,2       CoC Dice = 6 + 4
Next Phase is Russian. Two more 5s raise the second CoC dice to 4 pips. Rick and Tim add together the 2 dies to make 4 and activate the SL. With 1 CI the SL moves himself using a Tactical move toward the stone wall attaching to the PzSh Team. A second CI removes one shock from the PzSh Team, leaving only 1 shock. With 1 man in the PzSh team and the SL attached, the pin will be removed if the Game Turn ends.

The third CI activates the Flamethrower Team (one shot left) to boldly move up to the corner of the church with LOS to the pinned Russian squad near the main entrance.

With the last 2 die Rick and Tim activate the south squad JL. The JL uses 1 CI to activate the squad to fire at the Russian MMG plus spends his second CI to invoke the special German ability of Maschinengewehr which allows the JL to direct the LMG adding 2 dice. The already pinned MMG suffers 1 more shock, now at 5.

[Note: We goofed on two rules for this fire. First, to use the Maschinengewehr rule the JL needs to spend 2 CI on ONLY the LMG Team, leaving the Rifle Team not activated to fire. Or the JL can spend 1 CI to activate the whole squad as usual without using Maschinengewehr. To invoke Maschinengewehr and have the whole squad fire would need a 3 die to activate the JL & LMG Team and a separate 1 die to activate the Rifle Team. In this case the dice total went from 14 to 16 dice by mistake. Second, we forgot that pinned units get 1 level of cover added so the MMG was in the equivalent of hard cover instead of light cover. Oh well, previously we forgot to allow the German side 3 more dice in the Close Combat for defending in cover. So it all evens out, right? :-)]

The Germans assess their position now and decide it is a good time to to play a CoC dice to end the Game Turn, mainly because two Russian units will stay pinned for all of Turn 2. Play of the CoC dice results in the following actions.
- The German JL in the west hedge squad regains consciousness and recovers well enough to use 1 CI for the rest of the game. [comment at end]
- The captured Russian JOP is removed causing a Force Morale event and Brent rolls a 1 for a -1 to morale. The Russian Force Morale drops to 9.
- The German PzSh Team checks for shock level and is not longer pinned so the pin marker comes off.
- The Russian MMG and squad at the front of the church check for shock level and both will remain pinned for all of Turn 2.
- Overwatch and Tactical markers are removed.

End of Phase 16 and end of Turn 1 - I had hoped to finish the game this session, but the group had to head for home since the evening was getting late. Again we decided to put the game on “pause” and resume in a week. Once more the “cat protecting” sheet covered the little figures, time-frozen in place. Therefore this became Part 2 of the AAR recording of our game play up to the end of Turn 1. The forces on the table are shown below.

Russian Force Morale is (10 - 1) = 9 Casualties = 9 men of 32 at start = 28%
German Force Morale is (11 - 1) = 10 Casualties = 5 men of 32 at start = 16%, 1 wounded JL

Part 3 will resume with Turn 2 Phase 1 Russian.

1. Yeah, we are playing this slow for sure with lots and lots of rule look-ups. Five hours so far! I think the game is about to break one way or the other so we should finish next session.

2. Leaders with SMG/Machine pistols are extremely formidable in Close Combat. Without the SL the Flamethrower Team would have only had two dice for men, two for Russians moving, and one for light cover for just 5 dice, almost outnumbered 2 to one on total dice. Of course there is always the risk of an SL being wounded or KIA as well. C'est la guerre.

3. I'm surprised the Force Morale for each side has not dropped more given the casualty levels of 16% German and 28% Russian. I suspect this may be normal at this point in a game with initial casualties needed to bring the unit conditions down into a range where the probability of a unit routing becomes high, triggering large Force Morale drops. Perhaps it could be interpreted, “They don't know what hit them yet.”

4. We felt that since a roll of 2,3 on a leader hit wounds a leader so severely he is not available for the rest of that Game Turn that he should also be -1 CI for the rest of the game, same as for a light wound on a 4,5,6. Perhaps this is our first house rule.

5. One of our group wondered what the motivation was to attack in the Patrol scenario since neither side can lose by not attacking. Most of the other scenarios assign an attacker to one side and indicate if the attacker doesn't achieve his objective, the defender wins. The only reason I can see to attack is that the Patrol scenario is designed to fit the CoC Campaign System where you are really fighting for advantage in the next battle, not the one you are in.

6. Our group agrees that the basic game mechanic for CoC appears solid and all the disagreements we have with rules so far are small enough to be handled with house rules. We like the command dice activation and for the most part like the way it plays. CoC is fun to play and certainly keeps your interest up.

Stay tuned for what MUST be the finale in Part 3!

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