Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Back and Forth Across the Marne

Over the last two weeks, Mike and I have continued our Rock of the Marne campaign. We're through 12 turns at this point – just three more to go. To date, we've been playing for around 10 hours with another half hour for setup. Now, there's definitely been some extra time spent on getting your head back into the game than had we been doing this all in one sitting, but it's still probably a 10 hour game when all's said and done.

My last post covered us through turn 3. That is mid-day on July 16. (Each turn is 1/2 day.) On July 18 (GT 7) the Allies began a large counter-attack that eventually ended up pushing the German force back to their starting points, and destroyed much of what was left of the forces in that area.

Our game has deviated from history a fair amount, and the last three turns are going to prove which directions things fall.

This image shows how the historical counter-attack happened. The solid red line is the front on the morning of July 18 (turn 7). I've drawn three sets of lines on this graphic.

The black box is the approximate map area the game covers.

The blue line is through the first three turns. You'll see it pretty much matches up with where things should have been after six turns.

The green line is through twelve turns. I've effectively created two salients that have seriously exposed flanks. This should roughly correlate to the red dotted line on the map. You can see I've continued to push in the southwest and southeast, but am getting pushed back much harder in the west than actually happened.

To what can this be attributed? Well, a number of factors. First off, the majority of German VP hexes are at the southern edge of the map. 15 of 26 points, IIRC. Historically, the Germans never came close to any of them. As I've maintained the offensive across the Marne, that meant I didn't have the resources to also put up a strong defense in the western trenches – therefore I abandoned them and attempted to set up a defense further east. Mike has spent a good portion of the last four turns chasing me across the northwest sector of the map. Our final session will pick up with him catching me as I can't afford to give up any more VP spaces running away.

In the southeast, I've taken Chalons and now have to hold it against a British relief force.

The other concern I've got is holding western bridges across the Marne river. As each bridge can only support one HQ, it's imperative to me to hold them. At the offensive's peak, I held seven bridges. I'm now down to three (though I may be getting one back this turn.) That's not enough to maintain all the HQs that have moved south, so I either need to pull someone back or take more space.

The latter is becoming more difficult as to attack, you need attack supply. To get attack supply, you must have replenished HQs. To replenish an HQ, it must be in supply, and you have to roll higher than your supply number each turn. For the last 1/3-1/2 of the game, that number is an 8 for the Germans. That means I have to roll a 9 or higher on two dice to get attacks supplied by that HQ. Not easy, and in fact on one turn (either turn 10 or 11) I whiffed on ever single roll.

Here's the current board position from the Allied perspective after 12 turns.




I'll wait until next week to post my full thoughts on the game.

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