Monday, August 6, 2012

A little bit of bocage

I've always had a love-hate relationship with World War 2 skirmish rules. I really like the genre, but have always hated most rules. You end up with rules that spend way too much time with the minute details ( I don't need to know the guy was wounded in the big toe) or abstracting too much, and it feels like the rules could be used for any period.

The camera shakes before the mortar round hits
Always on the hunt fro that sweet pot in between. I think I found it with Victory Decision.
We gave the rules a whirl with post Normandy invasion bocage country. We didn't have a ton of said terrain, thus the title of the post. We had 4 players, a small number for our group, but it was the right size for a play test. Each side had roughly 3 squads, mortar and MG support with a couple of tanks. The Germans started with a squad of our choice already placed. We chose to put the MG42 in the highest point on the board. The rest would enter from the base lines.

A shot of how most of the German rolls went

VD has an interesting turn initiative mechanic. Both sides nominate a squad or group and roll off adding that unit's Leadership value. The high score gets to activate their selected squad. Then you go again. Notice how I didn't say "then the other player activates his squad"? Cause they don't. You could theoretically (but highly unlikely) lose every roll, and not get to activate until the other side has completely gone. But, proper use of Command units can alleviate this.
The Germans spent most of the game rolling abyssmally. The Americans almost always went first except for the first round where that MG ripped a US squad to pieces before getting destroyed by a mortar round.
Shooting is really straight forward. Count up number of minis shooting from a unit, times the number dice for firepower. Roll and dig out hits. Most of the time the target will get a save for cover or morale and that's it. Owner picks out the dead.
Suppression is a big factor and is handled seamlessly. Tank vs tank was just as simple with good results. No looking at 5 different charts, rolling to hit, rolling to penetrate, rolling to save. Just really nice.

In the 2 1/2 hours we played, we got a definite result and it was easy to pick up, and most importantly fun. We will be playing again very soon. Too bad I sold off most my WW2 stuff. All these great minis and terrain were provided by one of "the new guys" John. Great stuff
As another bonus, the rules are very affordable and available as a download. Agis Neugebauer the author is a nice guy and always available to answer question on the Victory Decision part of Lead Adventure Forum. I asked him about early war French forces last week, and he got right on it.
Big thumbs up!


Battlescale said...

I know that feeling so well. I too have yet to find that 'perfect' set of WWII rules. .... This seems like another set I'll have to purchase!

CWT said...

The only set of skirmish WW2 rules I've ever played was actually for a 'board game' called Tide of Iron, by Fantasy Flight Games. Seemed like there was a good game hidden in there somewhere, but I just couldn't manage to find it!

BaronVonJ said...

May not be perfect, but it works for us.

Scottswargaming said...

Good looking game and rules review. Thanks for the heads up - one to check out for sure.

Cluck Amok said...

There is a good game inside Tide of Iron. Might have just needed this opposed activation system to tease it out!