A warm welcome to Jacques who I think is the newest follower to the blog. I can't find if you have a blog or not. Let me know and I will update this with it.
A Pair of Games
It was an interesting weekend. Saturday night I had the great opportunity to get in a solo game of Chain of Command in. I decided to set up my campaign for the East Front by fielding a German platoon against a Soviet platoon. The idea was that it was to be a small action at the start of Operation Barbarossa. The Germans were supposed to advance and take a crossroads that was "important" to the overall advance. Or so was the thought.
I had Brian choose the Soviet supports earlier in the week and I was ready to begin. Much to my surprise, my five year old was anxious to get involved in Daddy's game. He helped with the patrol phase and was quite pleased with himself.
He caught on quickly and soon we had the patrol phase wrapped up and ready to go. There was an intermission as he was lured away from the table with the temptation of watching a Disney movie so I decided I would play the game out later. Somewhere in there it seems there was a promise to allow him to play. That would haunt me later. Below shows the table with Jump Off Points.
The first Soviet turn brought out a Soviet squad that immediately brought the infantry under fire. They were able to nearly shatter the rifle section which was the only exposed team of the squad. They had 4 kills and 3 shock on the team and pinned them. This was not a good start.
Next phase, I brought in another Panzer III on the board to support the crumbling infantry. The tank fired its MG on the Soviets causing a little shock (Germans had dreadful attack rolls the whole game). The Feldwebel removed some shock from the rifle team to unpin it and I managed to deploy the 5cm mortar team at the far end of the table.
The Soviets brought out a second squad along side the first and one of their tanks. The Soviets had two tanks availible. One was a T-26 with twin turrets of the 37mm variety and the other an old T37. Not great equipment. But still, the T-26 fired and scored a hit on the lonely Panzer III's gunsite and shocked it. The newly deployed squad fired on the visible rifle team and wiped it out. This caused the first drop in German morale.
For the next German phase, I deployed two infantry squads to support the lonely tank. Double sixes got me another go and moved one of those squads to the church to try to flank the Soviets and maybe take a jump off point. On the other side of the table, the MMG team was getting nervous and scooted up the bridge to put some fire on the mass of Soviet infantry.
With Phase 8 things began to go horribly wrong for the Germans. The Soviets deployed a platoon leader to the table and used the Uhraah! charge and ran both squads towards the bridge to overrun the small LMG team. With double sixes for the Soviets, it was a good gamble as with two turns of trying, the charge hit home. They managed to destroy the squad leader, the Feldwebel (platoon second in command) and the LMG team. All killed to a man. This cost the Germans five points of morale pushing the Germans to just 4 command dice.
In the attempt to pull out, the Panzer III was hit again and forced the crew to bail out. This further dropped force morale for the Germans. The Germans could only try to get away with out completely collapsing. The end result was the loss of a complete infantry squad, a Panzer III tank abandoned and the loss of another squad leader in the course of the retreat. Nine dead compared to three killed on the Soviet side. I was too depressed to take more pictures.
Having reached a successful conclusion to the game I packed everything away for Tuesday night and promptly went to bed. I was woken up by a terrible noise that at 12:45 in the morning I was able to identify eventually as my son sobbing uncontrollably. Rushing to his room to figure out what was going on, I realize that he is crying because we never got to play the game! Promises and reassurances made until he finally fell back to a snuffling sleep. Once the alarm went off in the morning, I had to run downstairs to quickly reset up the game based on the pictures on my cell phone before my son woke up.
All the way to church and back, he begged to play the game. We took my wife out to lunch for her birthday and finally made it back home. He ran to the table and took a seat asking "How do we play?"
This was my dilema. How do I translate Chain of Command to 5 year old? This could go badly. I had explained jump of points the previous day and he remembered. I gave him his command dice and gave him first go (he played the Soviets) and let him begin. He had a good roll. He got the hang of it that 5's advance his Chain of Command dice. I walked him through what he could do on each step of the way.
He deployed a squad to the fenceline almost identically to what I had done the previous night. It was going great. We played through some 5 phases before he started loosing focus. Oddly, the dice failed us both. We could not get a decent movement or shooting roll the whole game. He did inflict more casualties on me than I had on him by the time he picked up the doors to the barn and turned them over to exclaim, "Hey, these look like chocolate!" Only to be followed by "Can my guys throw the doors at your guys?" I ended up deciding that thrown barn doors must shoot with 8 dice and let him. It resulted in two casualties. I then let him finish out. He managed to knock out the same Panzer III that was abandoned in the first game. The big question was did he have fun? Well, he asked this morning if we could play again when he got back from school today. Then when he found out I was getting a game in this Tuesday, he assumed he was going with me to play until my wife and I explained that it was past his bedtime. Chances are, I now have a gaming buddy for a while. At least till girls become a more interesting distraction.