Saturday, November 26, 2016

Hail of Fire: Screaming Eagles Attack ENDGAME

So for those of you hoping "the good guys win" you'd better skip this post!  I actually feel bad as many were looking forward to the second part of the battle but the "second part" of the battle didn't last long...
Move out men!  
 The Americans, true to form, kept their good dice rolling for orders and were able to swiftly move through the woods right up to the German objective.

 The Germans, true to form as well, busted their reserve roll each turn so the Tiger and other infantry platoon never materialized.  The Germans were forced to make due with what they had.  Their tenacity made up for lack of numbers!
German platoon moving towards the farm to counterattack!
 The Americans gambled on a lightning fast assault of the objective from the cover and concealment of the woods and their order dice enabled them to get into position without any trouble.

 Unfortunately for the Americans, their .30 cal fell behind and was not able to set up in time to throw some fire on the objective so this was, for all intents and purposes, a "hasty assault."

Also, this was one of the first games where I used the chit draw system.  As you can imagine, with all these platoons out there getting KO'd, there were quite a few chit draws on both sides.  The US player's break was calculated at 14 and the Germans at 18.  At the start of turn 3, the US player was already at 13 and the Germans still held the objective which meant another chit draw (the Germans if you must know were only at 11)....Now they may have drawn a "0" chit, but who knows.  I really wanted to carry out this assault if anything for the practice!

So the Paratroopers did what they definitely do best.  "Close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver"  Well they did almost all of that.  The "close with" part they have down pat.  The "destroy the enemy" thing we'll need to work on.

US units move swiftly through the crops after emerging from the woods. 

There they are men!  Advance!  Attack!  Assault!  MOVE FORWARD!
 The US troopers dash through the terrain just as Gerry's rifles and LMGs open up and start tearing them up!  Too late!  Prime that grenade, grab your E-Tool and let's go!

I get into close combat with only 2 teams but there are others up there for support behind them.  Now call me crazy, but this latest version of HOF, I found more difficult to follow the Close Combat sequence from the last one.  Admittedly, I'm a bonehead so that might have something to  do with it, but for some reason this was more confusing for me this time, and last time I was on the Eastern Front with a shedload more teams in contact!

Over that hedge Soldier!  I can smell Gerry on the other side!
 The 2 sides tie their "hits" and we have to roll another round of Parry / Thrust.  The Ami's get the worst of round 2 and end up losing teams.  At this point, both sides in the combat sat down, pulled out their scorecards and tried to figure out who won.  "Fritz, throw your pencil over the hedge, bitte.  I lost mine in the melee!"

 The math says this round goes to the Germans and that's a wrap.  The remaining US teams withdraw to the edge of the woods.  The paratroopers fail their subsequent morale check and bug out.

Final dispositions

So that's it.  sorry to disappoint everyone I know this post series wasn't very long but the game had a combined total of 4 turns.  Granted, I only had a small number of understrength units on the table, but it still made for some good fighting on the table.

I like the things that Hail of Fire lets you do - the sense that you can gamble with momentum like in Crossfire is very appealing.  I know it will take me at least 3 turns to get to the treeline.  Do I risk getting stuck in the open?  Or go for broke?  Should I spend a turn trying to suppress that MG position before stepping off?  Is there an enemy unit in those woods?

These are all questions make you ask, and it's appreciated that it does.  The approach to turns and orders is novel and works out nicely.  I love how shooting is handled and frankly in that regard, HOF goes "Flames of War" one better in terms of simplicity and effectiveness.

The cons?  Well not too many of those.  I understand and am grateful for Brandon F's desire to keep the rules as short and concise as possible but I think I need to go through them with a fine toothed comb and extract some pertinent things for my own "cheat sheet" as I am finding there are too many details and things I'm overlooking during solo play.  This is not a shortfall of the system, just my own quirks.

I probably need to "practice" melee a few times to ensure I'm getting it right.  Same with the hidden unit placement rules.  They are a little confusing to me (the execution of revealing units, not the idea).
Also, inherent leadership casualties.  In this game, leadership was close to the action and inevitable got hit and killed.  What happens when the company commander is KO'd?  These are some questions I've got to troll through the rules to figure out.

All in all, an awesome game that I will continue to play more with more varied forces and bigger battles.  I think it scratches that itch for company sized battles and does give an appropriate feel of command at that level.  What more could you ask for?  Go to Wargames Vault and download the Beta version now and get playing!


  1. Even the Band of Brothers didn't win them all mate!

    Sounds like an interesting rule set. I'm still hankering for the next Battlegroup release though!

  2. Steve, the break point total shouldn't be different for each side as you add up points for each unit in the game, not per side. If you only added up units per side, it would cause the game to be very short. Dale made the same mistake, so thats another thing I need to go back and make even more clear. I'm bummed you found the assault rules more complicated since the goal was to make them more streamlined!!! :.\ The consequence to a dead company commander is the extra chits pulled and also not having that extra leader on the table to re-roll hits, help rally, etc. It otherwise doesn't effect C2 in any other way (currently). I'm looking forward to your questions and suggestion! Thanks again for your help in making the game better!

    1. Oh eell that explains why they got there so fast then. Previously i had played without the chit draw just to get the hang of the rules. I think the assault rules are fine it's just alot of text in the rules for what is a pretty straightforward and linear process. Im going to make a play aid for future games i think that would help me immensely during melee, assuming my troops live long enough to make it there!!

      Okay good to know regarding the boss. I was trying to figure out if it somehow curtailed the orders process or if a "lucky" PL got the job!

      These are a very nice set of playable and exciting rules and are a refreshing change from what's currently out there.

  3. Hmmm. I will have to look at the assault rules again. I played two assaults and both went easily, but they were also lopsided affairs.

    Good game, even if you did end early.

    1. Dale, there's no issue to the assault rules themselves. I just would like to make some kind of player aid that articulated the steps with bullets or short sentences (like on a QRS). Lots of text.

      Yes it was a fun little game. That's one of the things I like about HOF. You can have a good game with a few units, or a ton of units.

  4. Good stuff again, Steve! No need to apologize, there was still plenty of meat.


    1. Glad you enjoyed them Jack. They're worth a spin, and the price of admission!

  5. It's good to see that your comments are based on command decisions and managing the battle, rather than rules interpretations - if you know what I mean. You're gambling on how many men you can get into contact with the command effectiveness etc, rather than worrying about moving 6".

    These rules sound great. Must try these out, and a great narrative here.

    1. Darren,
      You might take a liking to these with your penchant for C2 and resource management. I will say that my first game was inconclusive and took a few emails with the author to get some things straight but all in all it delivers a fun game.

  6. It sounds like you took the appropriate risks in order to exploit the capabilities of elite troops. I always find that close combat is the part of any WW2 rules set that causes the most head-scratching moments.

    1. IMHO this game is built on your tolerance for risk and willingness to gamble. If you push your troops as far as your orders will allow, it can mean the difference between victory and defeat. I like that about ths system.