Friday, February 6, 2009

CC:Pacific - take 2

I totally spaced getting the rules for our next game to Eric before the weekend, so we had to change our plans and I chose to go back to Combat Commander: Pacific for a second play. This time we chose scenario 'E', which has the US (me) attacking a dug-in Japanese defender (Eric). (Well, I did start to set up 'D', but started reading 'E' when sorting out the counters, and then couldn't figure out how to place the Sogeki Hei unit in palm trees, when there were no palm trees on the map...) This scenario makes use of the new infiltration rules, and the Sogeki Hei unit, so lots of Pacific goodness.

I balanced my forces left and right, with the strong '2' leader in the middle. Eric's set-up was mostly dictated by the scenario, with most of his units set up for infiltration, but he set up the SH unit well forward, obviously hoping to create some quick damage.

I started the game in the normal manner, discarding my hand, a couple of times in a search for a Move card. I finally got going, and was immediately under some long range MG fire. I also was able to rush the SH unit, who apart from one '5-4' draw for a 23 FP attack, was unable to hurt me, and I didn't lose any units before I was able to melee and kill the SH unit. I'd also played an Asset Request, only to be denied, but Eric got a module of 150mm, which was to be real scary throughout the game.

After that Eric played an Infiltration and dumped a unit right on top of me, where the Sighting marker occupied an objective hex. In the ensuing melee I drew '4', used the initiative, then drew '2'. However, the objective hex was right next to my right flank force, and I was able to pour fire into the hex until Eric didn't have a Revive card and I removed his unit.

I started progressing up the left flank, again taking fire from the MG, and also his gun, but time was progressing, especially when I drew a '2', shuffled, then immediately drew another one. Eric played another Infiltrate card, placing units right in the midst of my left flank force, and things were starting to look bleak, with a lot of broken units and only two turns until Sudden Death.

However, things weren't all bad. I finally remembered that Asset Denied cards could be used against the opponent, and had silenced both his weapons, leaving just the radio. Pity I'd discarded a few of them right at the start of the game. I was able to form a large fire group on the left and remove the threat there, along with a timely Sniper event. I'd also Advanced into another melee with another unit that had Infiltrated, but Eric had two Ambush actions in hand, drawing one into hand immediately before the melee. The biggest thing, however, was that Eric's drawing had mostly gone stone cold dead, and mine picked up considerably. I found lots of Revive cards to recover all my units, Fired effectively, removing his force defending the one objective, and marched my Hero into it. He didn't draw any Asset Requests to use his 150mm, and pretty soon was down to a single squad and leader. With me finally realizing that the way to win was to get off the board, I drew lots of Move and Advance cards to allow me to build a decent lead, and was finally able to get the Time trigger I wanted and rolled the end of the game, to win at 20VPs.

The Infiltration works well, and I was never sure where units were going to pop up next. Having Infiltrate and Ambush cards are a very strong combination when Allied units are occupying Sighting hexes, and I was getting very wary of doing so. The melee structure, moving it to the start of the Allied turn, allows the Japanese player to pick his fights. The US player (don't know about the other Allies) certainly has lots of firepower, and needs to bring that to bear.

So far I'm really enjoying CC:P, but I wonder how much of that is due to our two games being fairly wackiness-free. Sure there's been the odd wacky moment, but nothing of the game ruining sort. (Like taking out the German's HMG in the first turn, when it's their main defensive armament in the whole scenario.) If we'd had the same low level of wackiness in the other games, would they be on the same level as CC:P? Then again, CC:P does feel tight, and the specific rules for the Pacific theater work well. (With a caveat for the Banzai Charge, but I'd need to play a few more times.)

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