Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Save a Dead Tree: War Against Japan

I've been playing small test situations with Two Hour Wargames's (THW) Nuts! 2.0 and the War Against Japan (WAJ) supplement. The former I have used often enough, but the latter has languished in my book case until recently. 

Last night, I had a chance to set up and try an assault landing.

It was to be the start of a campaign, but due to a restless toddler who refused to sleep, my time to play was greatly truncated and the game didn't get very far before having to be torn down for the night.

I rolled Palm trees/Scrub for the dominant terrain type. This was somewhat unfortunate as it meant line of sight would extend unimpeded across the table (although it does provide cover and concealment:

The layout

I had a reenforced platoon consisting of :

  • Platoon HQ
  • Squad 1
  • Squad 2
  • Squad 3
  • Squad 4 (on loan for this mission)
  • Flamethrower (on loan) whom I attached to my HQ squad.

Enemy Activity Level was 3, my support level was 4.

I decided to send Squad 4 onto the beach first, and then diced for which section. The entered in section 1.

4th Squad takes to the beach.
To their front, upper left in the picture, you can see some coins I use for what are essentially random/hidden force markers. All of them resolved to nothing.

1st squad hit the beach in section 3 and found themselves opposite 4 markers, which resolved into two groups of infantry (13 figures total). The second group had an LMG. Fantastic.

And then passed 2d6 on their In Sight test. Great.

The results were horrific. The squad was decimated. 80% casualties and 20% wounded.

The rest of my force landed with little incident, thankfully.

Unfortunately, I ended up calling the game after 2 turns (that's how little time i had). 

Here's my right and part of my center - which also took fire, but was only forced to duck back (drop prone in this case):

On my left and the remainder of center things were going a better - the rest of 2 ,and all of 3 and 4 had made it up to the tree line, although Squads 3 and 4 were bunching up, since 4 had to work its way around the inlet.

I really don't feel capable of calling victory or defeat at this point. 

With an Enemy Activity Level of 3, it's a good bet a number of the remaining enemy markers would resolve to nothing. So, i plan to set it up again on Wednesday night and give it a go.

Thoughts about WAJ:

  • There are a lot of special rules for handling the Japanese and all of them feel "right" to me, as do the modified reaction tables for all forces in the Pacific.
  • The beach assault clearly has potential to be devastating to your force - which, to my understanding, is how it should be.
  • The tactics tables for the Japanese, as well as having a specified target preference order, helps take Japanese control further out of the solo player's hands.
  • I do have some questions, which is typical when playing a Two Hour Wargames title - mostly pertaining to LOS and resolution of those force markers.

Nuts! 2.0 is most often my choice for small 1:1 skirmishes (up to platoon) WWII gaming. Although I may use other  rules now and then, and even make my own, I always find myself trying to incorporate the THW reaction mechanisms into them. So my decision to use Nuts/WAJ should be viewed in that light.

Disposable Heroes covers the same sized conflict but feels very different, as I noted previously. I enjoyed them, but I wasn't overly excited by them.

 Nuts! feels like there's a lot happening, control is often wrested from you when things go south, and shooting is far bloodier, where DH feels a bit less frenetic (more like chess), gives you greater ability to coordinate complex plans (again, chess), and  shooting tends to pin, not kill. 

Both games suffer from status marker-itis, although Nuts! far more. I developed a tracking sheet for use with THW's CR3:FV but it is useless in a game with as many figures as this.

Of the two systems, Disposable Heroes seems to be far easier to learn and, I suspect,  teach someone else. But, once you grok the reaction mechanisms, THW games tend to be, in my opinion, a bit more exciting.

1 comment:

  1. Not one of my periods, John. But it was nice to see Heinlein's "grok" used in your post. Thanks.

    -- Jeff