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Friday, March 25, 2005

Allied Assault

Friday nights game of Trench Wars started out with myself, a good friend just back from Iraq, via a year in Korea (long story!) and a couple of young men who showed up ready to watch. I explained that Trench Wars is one of the easiest games I’ve ever played as far as getting a grip on the rules quickly. The rulebook is not very big and only the first 19 pages are rules, and some of those pages are charts.

So the two lads jumped in ready to play, handy-dandy “Cheat Sheet” in hand, pushing Frenchies across the board, while my friend Stephen was pushing his “hairy men in skirts” – AKA Highlanders – around the table.

With three newbies playing, I chose to limit what the defenders had available. I gave them one heavy machine gun (HMG) and about 20 infantry spread the length of the table – approximately eight feet.

We had barely got going when four more folks showed up! Another friend from the Trench Wars Egroup, ‘British’ Dave, and a local gent who runs the Eagle and Empire Egroup for us, with several sons and their friends.

By the time they arrived, things were already starting to look rough for the defenders; the German HMG lost a crewman on the first allied turn, reducing its rate of fire to 12d6, instead of 18d6. With that weapon being the lynchpin of my entire tactical plan, the loss of crew put the defenders at a disadvantage.

The game went downhill from there. The young lads defending had some bad rolls, the attackers were now backed by a very knowledgeable and canny player (‘British’ Dave is a fine gamer, with excellent tactical instincts.) and my friend, who has a very firm grasp on real WWI tactics, and further, is an outstanding analyst, put game knowledge together with real-world tactics and overcame any disadvantage he might have otherwise suffered due to lack of experience.

The two lads on the allied right flank were having a ball, moving and shooting with a large force of French, totally distracting the defenders from the sly movements up to the trench on the left flank.

Unfortunately we had to call the game early, but it is probably better that we did. Stephen had flanked the trench and it was a matter of time before ultimate defeat for the defenders.

All in all a pretty good game, though it would have been better if we’d had more time.

I stacked the odds initially, fully believing that my superior game-mechanics knowledge combined with some luck and tactical skill could overcome the numbers advantage, however, when I handed off to the inexperienced players, I failed to compensate them with some reinforcements. Sorry lads! I’ll know better next time!

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