Saturday, 12 January 2013

GamesReport: 11-Jan-13 Combat Commander Europe

My Combat Commander Stuff
Inspired into action by recent posts on Sgt Steiner's fine blog, I've finally managed to get Combat Commander to the table.

Back in July '12 I picked up a copy of Combat Commander Pacific to scratch a Pacific Theatre itch and it was quickly followed by purchases of the New Guinea battle pack and then the Combat Commander Europe base set from eBay. Buying is too easy sometimes and despite my good intentions these games fell behind an ASLSK renaissance. 

Sometimes the biggest barrier to playing a new game is learning a new game, so kudos to JohnK for offering to teach this one to me.

A CC:Europe card
Anyway onto the game itself...

The Combat Commander series is a card-driven system that focuses on the tactical infantry combat of World War II across it's many theatres. There are no dice as such, the cards are used to determine in-game effects... dice outcomes, random hexes, events etc.  

Learning Combat Commander
I didn't want to leave it all to JohnK, so I walked through *most* of the rules this week just to familiarise myself with the terms and the basic phases of play. Even so we struggled through the set-up and the first few turns, but I gradually got use to the simplicity of the card-play if not some of the more detailed rules... they will have to wait until I re-read the rules having experienced a full scenario...

The Scenario
Playing as the US vs. John's Germans we played Scenario #4 "Closed For Renovation".

Humaine, Belgium, December 27, 1944 - After three days of fierce combat and heavy bombardment, the town of Humaine was surrounded by forces of the US 2nd Armoured Division. Most of the German defenders surrendered after some hard fighting. Remnants of 9th Panzer Division occupying a château on the north end of town refused to give up, however, and it fell to CCR to root out these stubborn troops.

Initial Set-Up
Reinforcements At The Wall
Taking The Objective

I elected to push Elite units up the eastern side of the château and took out his 75mm IG 18 Gun and the troops stationed in the building there. I hoped that this intense pressure would draw some Germans away from the main objective to give my main attack (from the western wall) a better chance.

It worked pretty well, but the eastern assault weakened my troops there and I had now choice but to begin the second attack against the heavily fortified Germans. Time was running out!

Just one round before a sudden death finish was called, I took the 15VP objective and had eliminated enough German units to give me a 4VP win. I'd almost left it too late though. 

First Impressions
I'm very familiar with games that have fire and movement as a certainty in your turn. If you want to move, you can move and if you want to fire, hey you can fire! However, the card system in CC:E only allows you to fire and/or move if you have the cards to do so. If you don't, you have options to discard and re-draw or to play other orders instead. 

This was an early barrier to me as I planned my assault on the building objective in our scenario. The cards certainly add a chaotic feel to the game, so if I can embrace that, there will be a place for the series at my game-table in the future. Right now the jury is still out...

It's nice to get back to some wargaming!

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