S&T#21 Anzio Beachhead #2

For this game, Dan and I switched sides. This left me completely flummoxed as I had a pretty good idea what Allied strategy I wanted to try, but I had no idea what to do as the Germans. I also tend to be stronger on defense than offense, and my Yiddish blood always balks at playing the Nazis. The result was… an ignominous defeat.

Things started off well enough. As you can see, the British had not set up their lines very carefully, and the Germans did a good job of putting pressure on all fronts. Of course, the Germans have to put pressure on all fronts because of the optional rule which precludes a German player from entering more than half of his reinforcements south of the Via Anziate,

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Game #1 Anzio of the decade-long S&T playtest

Editor Note:
Neopeius is embarking upon a print and play of 100 of the first S&T Magazine games!
Here is one of his first matches. He has agreed to share his journey with us.

(the Fat Greek faces off against the powerful Panzer Division)

January 2011’s game is Anzio Beachhead, and thus far, we have played once. Dan took the Germans, and I took the Wallies. As usual, Lorelei did the box art.

(note the poor sunbather running in terror from the American soldier. His ship is the “Octopus.” And the seagulls go, “caw, caw, caw!”)

We played with all of the optional rules (so the instructions clocked in at a whopping *two* pages!)

The allied attack caught the Germans utterly by surprise.

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S&T Series Battle for Moscow

Session Report, October 29, 2011 and November 5, 2011:

With not a little anticipation, Dan and I sat down to our first S&T operational game since the abortion that was Bastogne. I had read a lot about this game, and most had fond memories of it. Construction of the game was something of an effort, not quite as bad as Bastogne, but still taking about five hours. I think the final result was attractive and playable. Of course, Lorelei drew the box art.

Setup:

Eager to get into the game and knowing little about the best way to proceed, I set up my Russians in a very lackadaisical fashion. In the back of my head was the knowledge that this was a very tough game for the Germans, and I didn’t want it to be over too quickly. Be careful what you wish for!!!

October, 1st Week (German)

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S&T #24 Plays: The Battle for Moscow play2

By Neopeius

The Game

The Eastern Front, that thousands of miles wide battlefield fought over for four years between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, may have spawned more games than any other theater of combat, and it has been a perennial favorite since Avalon Hill came out with Stalingrad. Battle of Moscow is an early example, a 2-player operational game simulating the critical months of October-December 1941 on the northern half of the front including Moscow and Leningrad. Played in weekly turns, the Germans must isolate both capitals, or they must occupy Moscow itself, by the beginning of December and hold the objective(s) for four weeks to win the game. The rules aren’t quite clear, but it appears that, for the Russians to actually win, they must successfully counterattack in an extended game, which lasts through March 1941, completely eliminating the Germans from all Soviet cities. By these parameters, the real battle was a draw, the Germans pooping out in early December within sight of the Kremlin’s spires, the Soviet counterattack failing to eject them from the motherland.

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S&T #22 Plays: Renaissance of Infantry

By Neopeius

The Game

Renaissance of Infantry is a 2-player (grand) tactical game, which depicts conflicts of medieval forces. Scenario-based, the game models a very wide range of battles and settings, from the Roman/Goth battle of Adrianople in 378 to the battle of Pavia in 1525. It even includes a few fantasy scenarios. There are rules for primitive firearms (arquebuses) and artillery.

The Components

Though it was released as a boxed game, my version is the magazine edition, and it was therefore a DTP product. The pieces are pretty and oversized, but the map is generic for all of the scenarios. Instead, I use a Chessex wet-erase map. It’s about 50% larger, the hexes are bigger, and I can put scenario-appropriate terrain on it.

There are lots of charts; like its cousin, Panzerblitz, it has rock-paper-scissors effectiveness.

As usual, Lorelei did the box art.

Vital Statistics

Renaissance of Infantry plays like a tactical game, which means supply is not a consideration, but facing is. The units are large, though, representing 500 men apiece. This puts it firmly in the realm of the operational games. Perhaps medieval battles were more tactical in feel? Or perhaps the game only makes sense if you think of the units as containing smaller groups.

Each scenario is won on points. The slaughter of an enemy gives you points, enemy leaders giving you the most points. Victory level is determined by the ratio of losses. The scenarios are not all balanced.

The Rules

Renaissance of Infantry plays very differently from its contemporary operational/strategic games. Each turn, each player moves and then attacks. Every unit type has a different movement rate. Stacking is limited to three units (command units can stack on top). Terrain affects offense/defense and movement cost.

Units can engage in missile or melee combat, and melee combat can only be conducted from a hex by similar units (so mixed stacks cannot all melee attack the same enemy hex on the same turn). Missile units generally have extended range, and they are devastating. Units stacked with missile units get a free missile defense against an attacking unit.

There are no ZOCs, and there are few adverse effects to attacking, per se (no Attacker Eliminated results). On the other hand, position is everything–as a tactical game, facing is important. Units generally are weaker to flank attacks than frontal attacks (the back three vs. the front three hexes).

Different units have different special capabilities: Cavalry must charge straight ahead to get full attack strength; pikemen can turn into immobile squares and get a higher defense strength as well as stack four-deep. Longbowmen and artillery can shoot *over* units.

Combat results in disruption or elimination. Disrupted units cannot move/attack next turn, and their combat strength is reduced to “1.” Disrupted units are eliminated if disrupted again. It is therefore important to attack with combined arms to win a decisive victory.

There are optional rules for castles, panic and a few color rules for various national forces. They don’t add too much to the basic game.

Gameplay

Renaissance of Infantry is very fast-playing. Turns take 5-10 minutes, and an engagement is done in an hour. There’s a lot of chart consulting, but you memorize the values for a given scenario pretty quickly. It is very important to coordinate your attacks such that enemy units are effectively destroyed. This means clever usage of archers and ground troops. Cavalry are especially tricky to employ to full advantage. Since the game is won on proportion of losses, there are few overwhelming victories, and a losing force, through clever withdrawing, can turn a bad situation into a draw.

Conclusion

As I’ve only played the Battle of Adrianople scenario (three times), I am reserving judgment. It’s a fun little game, and I suspect the model only gets better with time (although I understand the consolidation of tactical games, PRESTAGS, is generic and boring), so I anticipate taking the basic game and adding elements as appropriate. I like the idea of a flexible system to run tactical battles on, though the scale (a five hundred troops per unit) seems odd for tactical fighting.

I am looking forward to building my own scenarios, and I’d love to hear from others who have done so.