Having used Polls with you previously for TCS OpSheets over on BGG, and sought your counsel on tactics interactively in the past for GBoH, it seems like a natural progression to go a little deeper, extend a little further. These polls, posts and questions help me take a different slant, give me a fresh perspective on solo play, and for sure enrich the playing experience.
2011 has been the year of the experiment, we have created scrollable facebook albums similar to old flip thru comic books, done live streaming play, polls, stop motion videos and other goodies.
Lets try something new! Scenario Play by Poll or PbP.
You can command the British forces on the Island of Leros for an entire campaign! Or chip in on a particularly juicy combat with your tactical suggestions.
Participate simply by voting on choices in a poll or suggesting a compelling alternative here on the blog prior to the cut off date. This will be the first interactive board war game played this way in full. We have done partial games, portions of games, but not the whole enchilada.!…or is that Souvalaki? Its a Greek Isle after all.
Each turn or series of turns will be driven by a simple Poll (s). Like this:
Some more detailed than others. Each turn will attempt to outline the situation in a consistent format. Specific orders or suggestions that I implement that are posted here immediately earn 5 GG as well.
Background on the conflict:
What happened on Leros back then in 1943, and is it worth your time to read the polls and vote? Read on thru the post for snippets of the whole story.
How will we handle, game mechanics, gotchas, mess ups and shit I do wrong..??..Well The Big Board will always favor you, unless you piss me off! ;). Seriously tho, most errors I have seen in TCS end up being a wash. So lets have fun first and I will do my best to get the rules right, and make you aware of all the options possible. Keep in mind we are doing this for the experience, for fun and to see if it enhances our knowledge, and adds some little bit of enjoyment somewhere to our game and historical explorations!
You wont need to know the rules, you wont need to fuss with paperwork. or die rolling.
Just make the critical decisions, that drive the play! See it all unfold via AAR and video. You call the shots and the Brits will react. Every so often I will post a poll or series of polls. Those polls will give you the general run down on a situation, with pictures, important things to consider and overall objectives. Leros is a cool game for this. The objective is simple. Survive thru Nov 17th! The victory conditions rely on loss levels at game end or surrender by one side. The Germans are shooting for losing less than 50-100 Steps for a major victory.
You will play the British, you chances of winning will rely on you being able to counterattack early and drive the Germans from their beachheads. So the action begins right off the bat. Will you be conservative and seek to hold the high ground or attempt to drive the Germans back into the Sea!
We will use the time honored British Tacitcal Planning Approach I dug up. See below.
The British model for Tac Manouver –
G: Ground – what does the dirt look like?
S: Situation – For this mission you on a sticky wicket.
M: Mission – Defend the Victory Hexes of Leros Island.
E: Execution – How will you do the M. Here we break things down
a bit and it will become E by Battalion.
*Commanders Intent: WHAT are you DOING?
*Scheme of maneouvre HOW the unit does it ?
*Main Effort WHERE is it to be done?
*Mission statements for sub units
*Actions (read plan B, if then else thinking)
-Then a summary
A: Admin and logistics
More History from the battle:
Using this approach we need to put our thinking caps on to decide what tactics to employ, which forces do what, and how you want to do it.
We can be as detailed as we like or as abstract as we like. For instance The British pollsters may decide to attack Rachi Ridge with a full company at x time. Then leave the details to me. From there any follow up posts to the blog that request specific tactics or approaches can be catered to or Polled.
Initially The British need to decide where to deploy.
The Irish, The Buffs, the Kent and King Battalions + the Italians all require placement. I will provide the general set up areas for each formation, most are required to start in a defensive posture – dug in.
The Forces and some familiar concepts
The British have 80 units + Italians. Each Battalion is made up of 3x 3inch mortars 2 MG sections and 3 companies of 3 platoons each. There are also Battalion resources – Bofors, and MG sections (15 MGs). 2lb AT guns and 4 batteries of 88mm 25lbr guns. The German have similarly powered units, plus strong Paratrooper forces, and some elite units that may arrive as reinforcements sometime after 1800 on the 12th. I’ll be bringing them, so brace yourself!
Fire Power & Morale
Generally speaking the Brits are good Morale  except the Irish who have 2 most of that attributable to hard headedness, whereas the Italians are awful . Fighting against Germans that range from 1 to 4. Firepower is generally equivalent for MG’s, and most Axis platoons (German specialist units like Paras are significantly higher).
Turn Sequence. Each turn has a familiar pattern to it for WWII tactical Gamers. Weather on the hour, then Arty & Air, then the Action Phase. The trick with TCS is getting your men in position to Fix the enemy via suppression, then close assault and Finish. So true Fire and Movement tactics will be required. Smoke is hard to use FYI. You have a 50% chance of smoke dropping from Mortar fires, plus wind will be a factor on the Island (Normal and Wind smoke is usable, but not during Gale and Storm).
Fire and move….What can I say patience is key, attempting the rush and Overwatch or Opportunity fire will destroy your army. The Coastal guns get shots at arriving transports, their effectiveness is defined by a set of table and the cross referenced landing zones. As the Germans I will be seeking to avoid out right transport losses. Post set up I will issue my landing zones for publication.
Ammo levels for arty by the way are limited. You have 60 HE rounds, if you hold 10 in reserve that leaves 50 or just 10 Battery fires a day.
Close Assault is a tactic that requires good timing, everything in your favor and some luck. You can see some GD’42 articles here to see what I mean. Overwhelming force is my only advice to you. Once you enter the hex, the fight goes on right then until someone breaks.
Morale affects units discretely (Morale is modified via rolls for certain actions, and as a result of circumstances plus the steps lost) and at the Battalion level. Once losses start to mount it is easy to fail morale checks which will result in retreats, suppression and surrenders. Morale recover is tough but possible at the Battalion level.
Note: Ammo levels for arty by the way are limited. You have 60 HE rounds, if you hold 10 in reserve that leaves 50 or just 10 Battery fires a day.
Cover and Terrain are going to be vital here. Choosing fields of fire down steep hills, arrange for the best possible cover and seeking to enfilade and flank will pay dividends. The open terrain is in fact chock full of those quaint low stone, farmers fences, undulating rocky terrain and all open terrain is rated partly protective, versus open for fire effect.
Op Sheets , the smaller scenarios seek control of key objectives, Leros, 2-3 hill tops that are in the map shot at the top of the post and the
port location of Portolago. Not easy going if the Brits set up correctly. Historical order were for the Brits to secure high ground overlooking beaches and likely landing zones within approximately 13 hexes of a coastal hex. In a follow up post I add some close ups of the map, per the areas marked below. These objectives whilst not mandatory for a win do define the battle area and the where the key parts of the island would be expected to be under control. So the German Op Sheets will be targeting to eventually control the entire Island as its overall intent, which will be manifest by the control of port facilities, the township and the heights that control access to the roads, port and town of Leros.
I’m looking forward to this experiment, so join in and remake some history!