Diligence is defined by Webster as "a steady, earnest, and energetic effort: devoted and painstaking work and application to accomplish an undertaking."
For our 13th (!) game of the Ulianovo assault, I'm going to say that we're approaching "diligent" levels of playtesting here. Alex and Ken played, and then Alex replayed the Ulianovo assault and I was very pleased with both the feedback received by both, and the thoughts it stimulated in Ken and Alex's wargaming brains, who continued to text into the night about tactics to solve this tactical puzzle, long after the guns fell silent on the battlefield.
Ken and Alex's combined 80 years of wargaming experience greatly helped in ironing out some issues with the scenario and certainly gave me food for thought as we approach the final two weeks before the Russians step off onto Operation Kutuzov at the convention.
Rather than a blow-by-blow, I'll post some of the feedback for the convention game along with cool pictures. (Also you can access the Ulianovo scenario here)
|First blood to the Germans as mortar bombs rain down on Russian infantry columns
|Ken tried a very Napoleonic strategy and launched 4 prongs of columns at the Germans, trading speed for protection. While his plan was crazy, Alex tried it again and it worked!
|A pivotal moment as Ken failed to pin Alex's Germans and one of his flanking companies was shot to pieces.
|A pensive Alex weighing his options. Note the 4 speedy columns moving up. Alex tried a hybrid of Ken's plan and it worked - very, very well as it turned out!
|Soviets going "over the top" at the trenchline
|The first batch of Germans are annihilated in the first round of close combat!
|Alex squeezes the Germans from both sides - those troops on the left are SMG troops - deadly in Close Quarters!
|Another of Alex's companies gains the trenchline. Forget those Germans in the upper left - they're going for blood! Alex eyes the command post up. He guesses, correctly, that it's in the center.
|My reserves dig in behind the village - an unexpected turn of events! THe remnants of the trenchline platoon are behind the center building
|Soviet Turn 5, The SMG gunners move in to assault the first house, which holds some of the remnants from the 1st Platoon
|Soviet Turn 6, the Soviets capture the center house and the game is an automatic Soviet victory!
|unwanted dinner guests...
So there you have it! A very clean and clear Soviet victory with some very experienced gamers. I fought as hard as I could, trying to maximize shots and firepower and the Soviets won the scenario handily. I think, things being even, with players making the best choices (Soviets move forward FAST to get to the trench and assault, Soviet mortars pinning the Germans, Germans shooting every conceivable weapon every turn) both sides have a reasonable chance for victory. It's a safe bet that the Germans are going to need their reserve platoon to counter attack either by fire or by assault.
Now it's time to think about the changes above, and sculpt some flamethrower backpack tanks for my Russians out of "green stuff" as I get ready for the convention! Stay tuned!