Friday 17 May 2013

Tigers by the Tail - Tomorrow's War AAR

We played the scenario 'Tigers by the Tail' the other day. This scenario pits two ultra-high tech grav tanks versus five near-future tracked tanks in an ambush scenario. It is one of the scenarios from the TW rulebook and is there expressly for the purpose of practising the vehicles rules. We got some bits wrong, had a few questions about interpretation of the rules but generally had a great time: enough of a great time that I only remembered to take one photograph throughout the game!

Captain Kolawski grinned as the enemy tanks came into view. The trap was working well. He’d knock out the lead tank, while Sergeant O’Donnelly would take out the back tank. Between them they could wipe up the rest of the commies. He couldn’t believe they would have sent such pitiful vehicles into combat, they would have been out of date in his grandfather’s time. You could see the plumes of smoke from their diesel engines miles away, and as for the noise. “Rear vehicle destroyed.” Whooped O’Donnelly, over the radio.”They didn’t even see us.”
The two US grav tanks lurk menacingly on the far side of the battlefield. One DPRG tank at the rear of the column has been destroyed. One is about to exit the battlefield. Another has turned to face its attacker, while two others seek the cover of the woods
Just then the lead vehicle came into sight. His tank barely moved, as the main cannon fired. A satisfying burst of flame showed the hit on the viewscreen. The tank juddered to a halt, then in a burst of blue smoke the engine started again. Suddenly the radio burst into life. “This is General MacArthur-Park speaking. Could you give me an update as to your position, Captain?” “We have met and are engaging the enemy, Sir,” replied Kolawski.
(The only fog of war card that affected the game was one Steve drew. It involved high command interfering directly with events on the battlefield so he lost initiative immediately and could not regain it for the rest of the game. In the scenario the US force is meant to have initiative for the first two turns to represent their ambush.)

Just then the second tank appeared. Before Kolawski could react it had fired a shot at them. The shot pinged off the front armour. Again their own cannon fired, causing the track of the new enemy to uncurl from the left hand side. The lead tank lurched forward again heading towards deeper vegetation. Even with their advanced sensors it would escape in there. “Well done Captain, carry on and score one for the good guys.” Barked the General. Sergeant O’Donnelly’s voice came through the speaker. “Second tank has been immobilised, Captain. Going after the third…” The speaker blurted out static, then came a robotic voice. “The other caller has disconnected.”
(Yay, I managed to destroy one of the US tanks through its front armour! The US tanks had the advantage in being able to ensure that they present front armour at all times due to their superior mobility. This made quite a difference to my ability to hurt them)

Captain Kolawski frantically viewed the telemetry screen in front of him. The Sergeant’s tank was down and crippled, but all the crews life signs were in the green. Another shot lanced out from the crippled second tank and the tank rocked. “Guns damaged, Captain,” yelled Corporal Kennedy. “Get that tank put out of action now,” he ordered back. “Then after that other tank.” Their gun fired again, this time the crippled tank fell silent. The tank moved rapidly and soon they were behind the remaining tank. Just time for one shoot before it disappeared into the thick jungle. As the enemy tank fell into the sights the tank suddenly lurched and the shot went wide. “Damnations.” Cried Kolawski and slammed the panel in front of him. Still they had stopped three, but at the cost of one of their own.
(With the scenario over, we took stock of the damage. Steve had brewed up two of my DPRG tanks and immobilised one, counting three kills. I had exited two tanks and killed one of Steve's US tanks. The other US tank had a damaged gun, but that did not score any points. The final score was 6 VPs to Steve and 5 VPs to me. Steve won in what was a very close game.)

This was a great scenario to play as training for vehicle actions. I think we need to try it again, because I can see a range of opportunities for the US tanks to make this into a serious kicking for the DPRG. I'm less sure about the tactical options for the DPRG. Running seems to be the optimum strategy, or maybe forming the wagons into a circle in the woods and letting the US come to them. Winning reaction tests that allow you to move out of sight is obviously a good strategy too. Basically, the US forces control the action for the first two turns unless you are Steve and draw the wrong fog of war card. In those two turns, I think the US should be able to cripple or destroy most of the DPRG force, if they are canny and have a bit of luck. Hmm ...