Dave came over Friday night and we played a "proper" game of IRON CROSS from Great Escape Games. Some readers might remember I played a smaller, infantry-only game of Iron Cross last week.
Last night's game featured a Soviet infantry company and a platoon of KV-1 tanks in a meeting engagement (we used the "meeting engagement" scenario from the rules) fighting against a reinforced German platoon with a section of Tiger tanks in support! The stage was set for a great Friday night eastern front battle.
|Dave commanded the Soviets and I ran the Germans. |
We each placed 2 objectives for a total of 4, which we would have to seize.
|The German force. 4 x Infantry Squads, a mortar section, HMG section, sniper team, and command|
We counted our units, built piles of activation tokens (using the Iron Ivan litko discs) and rolled for initiative. Dave won the initiative and stepped off onto the attack, KV-1s rumbling forward!)
|Dave's infantry and armor moving towards the front!|
The activation, reaction system took a little bit of getting used to and since we were both far away with plenty of terrain in between our forces, we ended up using most of our command tokens getting into position. This was quickly becoming a "movement to contact" mission.
Dave found some good positions for his KV-1s and moved them into position to watch over the objectives. My Tigers rumble into position to contest as well.
|Tiger moving into position trading shots with a KV-1!|
The Tiger manages to get a kill on the KV-1! The one thing I like about the game is that there is a limited number of modifiers, and hits occur on a simple roll of 5+ on 1D10, subject to some modifiers. David attempts to pre-empt my fire and while his reaction roll is successful, his shot misses. Onto my shot!
|scratch one KV-1 |
At this point David has also been successful at stealing the initiative away (roll of 6 on a reaction roll) and we're figuring out that we need to keep a reserve of command tokens in order to react (more on this later).
Units can activate multiple times if you want them to, but you have to pay additional command tokens and pass an activation roll.
|Note more tanks to the front! |
|German infantry getting into position. Dave's infantry would occupy the woods in the upper right and trade shots with my infantry. There is no maximum range in Iron Cross but there is "short range" fire (fire with 2D10)|
|Forward for the Rodina!!!|
|Soviet "platoon" sized element. There are no strict formations in IC and that bothered Dave and I a little bit but we got over it. |
So once you get over the concept of preempting the enemy's fire and the reaction concept, the game starts to move fast. Very fast!
|Note the morale marker on the KV-1. Since it was a proper "casualty" marker, we left it there next to the burning KV-1.|
One of Dave's turns he decides to shoot at one of my Tigers, feeling optimistic! :) The KV-1 already had morale markers and activation markers on it. First, Dave needed a "6" just to activate it. He scores a "6." I laugh nerviously. Then, Dave needed a "9" or "10" to hit the Tiger. He rolls a "10." Then, taking the KV-1's weapon value into account, he needs to roll another "9" or higher to force a KO/Damage roll. HE GETS IT! Now all he needs to roll is a 4+ to kill the Tiger. HE GETS A 6!
So to recap, David rolled a "6" "10" "9" and "6" sequentially and KO's the Tiger I! We decide to retire KV-1 #112 and give it some kind of distinctive paint job :)
My forces are starting to spread out and Dave's infantry are hammering away at them causing lots of Morale Markers. Dave decides to spend a bunch of tokens with the mortar and it pays off as well and Dave eventually kills my force's HMG section with mortars.
|KV-1 #112 KO's the tiger with 3 activation markers AND a morale marker!|
We are quickly learning the value of taking company morale checks in order to lose morale markers.
Now into turn 6, both of us realize we have to start making something happen and we're tied at 2 objectives each with a similar amount of KIA squads and vehicles! Dave burns most of his tokens and passes the initiative. He BOLOs his reactions and I use the rest of mine taking an infantry squad and literally CHARGING a KV-1 to get into contact. Since Dave has no more command tokens, he can't react. I spend a whopping 5 tokens (passing all my subsequent activation rolls) and assault the KV-1 in close combat, literally needing a "10" to penetrate. My troops attach their mine and I roll a "10" on the D10! The KV-1 brews up in its damage roll.
NO shortage of excitement in this game, which reminds me of Crossfire but is a little more nuanced.
|A HUGE gamble pays off!|
We roll less than 4 on the D6 so the game ends. If anyone could explain to me how to use Breakpoints I would greatly appreciate it! The Soviets lost 24 points worth of units (in terms of Breakpoint) and the Germans lost 20. Now what?
|My German reinforcements moving up to the front. I was going to send these guys off to the right to counter the Russians in the woods.|
|end game! Note the Russians moving up to the farm house and the lone Tiger on the objective countering them.|
|Heroes of the battle! (along with the KV-1 #112 crew)|
So another couple questions I'd pose - how do you handle Line of Sight in woods? I cannot remember the rules covering visibility regarding close terrain. What can be seen and/or shot at? The rules we played were that, just like in Crossfire, you can be seen/shot at in any area terrain, but terrain block line of sight for units on the OTHER side of the feature.
Next question? What if a unit has 4 activations and and 2 morale markers? Do I need to roll a "6" and then a "4" or higher to activate it? Or do I have to stop if it's impossible to activate it?
The only benefit terrain gives is during the morale marker roll. It's much harder to acquire morale markers in cover than in the open.
This was a GREAT game and lots of fun. The system is very novel, and unlike any WW2 game I've since played. I love the scale how an infantry unit on the table is roughly a squad. You have flexibility in Iron Cross but you need a plan as you have to spend resources to execute your plan and to react to the enemy. There is alot of "back and forth" and you aren't just sitting there waiting for the other guy's turn to be over.
The way Armor is handled is great and very easy, which I really liked. The game was played in a little over 3 hours and that was with plenty of discussion and looking stuff up in the rules, and one of the big benefits? Not a ton of modifiers.
The game's scale is the same as Crossfire but with less leadership on the table (you only have a single command stand). Reactions aren't free like in Crossfire but you still have ample opportunities to react if you deploy smartly.
|David's infantry preparing to counter attack! The game ended before they could move in for the kill!|
|My CROSSFIRE infantry!|
|Moving through the cornfield|
|Final dispositions. Note the burning Tiger and a couple burning KV-1s in the upper left!|