Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Grand Theft Merrostan

Another game of Force on Force this week.  I've always tended to work through scenarios from the FoF books but this time decided to use my own.  I continued with the Imagi-nation setting of Merrostan [so called because the club is based in Merrow] following the game we played a few weeks ago.  Partly this is because I've always been slightly squeamish about playing games set in ongoing conflicts... I know this doesn't bear too much close analysis but there you go!  It also allows me to play fast and loose with force composition and get out the random collection of vehicles and kit from my AK47 games

This weeks game pitched Merrostani Government troops against the brave fighters of the Merrostani People's Liberation Front (MPLF).  Both sides had learnt a truck carrying a valuable cargo had been abandoned in an isolated village and dispatched troops to secure the prize.

The village centre

Although most troops were evenly balanced, the Govt Troops were slightly better armed and had brought along an uparmoured Hummer and a Panhard armoured car for support.  The MPLF were a bit more varied with a steadier hardened cadre accompanied by 2 BTRs (clearly some dodgy deals going on between Russia and Merrostan!), and a poorer quality section (but with high morale) and a couple of Technicals.  Anthony and Martin took the Govt side while Steve and I were the plucky rebels , with me commanding the poorer quality hordes.

In order to prevent either side making a rapid move in turn 1 and nabbing the truck, I restricted moves in the initial turn to tactical... assuming that everyone was cautiously approaching the town in case of ambushes.  After this cautious start the MPLF seized the initiative and advanced on the left side of town.  Steve pushed the first BTR ahead of the infantry where it almost immediately fell victim to a well aimed AT round.  Undaunted he repeated this with BTR #2 which escaped with 'only' a knocked out gun.  Steve's infantry meanwhile cautiously advanced through the buildings on the edge of the village. 

The BTRs come under fire

Over on the other flank I'd quickly established that my infantry really were pants.... it's surprising how significant a single die shift can be!  My technicals, inspired by Steve's BTRs' bravery, advanced and paid a similar price, coming under heavy fire from Govt troops in buildings on the other side of town.  My squads and theirs exchanged fire repeatedly with the MPLF slowly being eroded by the superior gunfire from their enemies but at least they were tying down several units who were being distracted and using up their reaction fire dice.

The Technicals charge out and  fail to learn from the BTRs example!

Having lost most of our vehicles and all of our vehicle mounted firepower, Steve decided on an unusual tactic... ramming!  His mobile [but gun-less] BTR raced through the village and crashed into the rear of the Panhard.  Having established that there weren't any rules to cover this we agreed that some damage was possible if the Panhard failed to react and get out of the way.  Both the Armoured Car and the infantry squad failed to react [presumably baffled as to what on earth the driver was doing!] and the infantry had to draw a Fog of War card which caused a random casualty on the unit. In the excitement of the crashing APCs one of the infantry leaned out a little too far from his rooftop position and fell to his death!  After all that the Panhard was fine, if a little dented!

Crunch!  There goes the no claims bonus!

A second FoW card led to the adjacent Govt unit being overcome with a sense of dread... probably caused by seeing their friend plummet to his death!... and sheltered in a clump of trees, refusing to advance any further.

By now the firefight on my flank was slowly wearing down my troops although there were still enough to cause the Govt troops problems although they were also fairly intact.  In the village centre the fight had turned into a close range fight with squads on both sides being knocked down in rapid succession.  The Hummer had also come under sustained fire from several squads who failed to knock it out but did disable it's HMG and forced it to retreat.

As the evening was drawing to an end it looked as though things were going to end in a stalemate when Steve revealed his cunning plan... the crew of the knocked out BTR had been skulking in one of the buildings since the early part of the game, keeping their heads down and chose their moment well.  They sprinted out and into the truck, tearing off down the road to safety and victory and leaving everyone else staring at each other across the town centre, slightly confused about what to do next!

So a narrow victory for the MPLF.  As always we forgot several useful and/or important rules, despite having written up a checklist for each player of 'things we usually forget'.  We did remember to draw Fog of War cards [thanks to Steve's reminders] but forgot that we could use Suppression fire and smoke which might have been a useful tactic for my poorer quality militia.  We also really didn't get the hang of vehicles [or at least Steve and I did... Anthony and Steve seemed to be managing fine!].


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