We've managed two games of Blitzkrieg Commander 2 over the last couple of weeks and I'm happy to report the Lads are up for a third next week. Considering the previous resistance to my Western Desert games (and I confess to being the major cause of this having bored them to death with the Sidi Rezegh game) I do believe the rules have been a major contributory factor - they had to throw me a bone at some point but, not three bones.
The first game was a much steeper learning curve than I had suspected it would be. The game got from A to B well enough but we (largely due to not playing games with a rigid turn structure that much) neglected to play some of the things allowed in the rules, and played some things wrong. Having said that, you might think the game was a disaster but, it wasn't. It proved very entertaining. Many nuances in the rules were highlighted, even though most of the light was shone retrospectively.
We played the second game to a satisfactory conclusion in the evenings play with victory going decisively to the Germans.
BC 2 is not the panacea for World War II gamers. It has its upsides and its downsides. I like it a lot and will be playing it for some time to come with the odd amendment here and there to suit my taste.
BC 2 is aimed at Europe and Russia rather than the Western Desert and the basic terrain definitions don't really suit the desert theatre; desert terrain is less distinct (and a lot less 'vertical' than you find in more temperate climbs) and has to be treated in a much more subtle way to get the best 'differences' out of it: However, terrain definition can be easily sorted out.
One mistake I made in the first game was to count the British as being in trenches and gun pits and what I thought would be simple emplacements became the Tobruk defences! A quirk of the desert is the definition of 'dug-in' must change a little. You can't dig-in in much of the Libyan desert without recourse to pneumatic drilling. When troops were not in static positions for any length of time, they had to content themselves with very shallow 'scrapes' to the bed rock surrounded by piled rocks. Thus slit trenches became sangars. These are not as good as trenches and should probably only count as partial cover (and save on a 6?) and they should be visible at greater ranges because a substantial part of them is actually above ground level. Again, this is a simple thing to do in the rules, so no worries.
One rule that doesn't make much sense to me is only allowing the recce to communicate with the nearest friendly command unit? In the second game we changed it to nearest command unit, or FOA, or FAC and it seemed to work much better.
Then we come to off table artillery. Off table artillery is one of my war game crosses and I fear I might carry it to my grave. I don't do artillery deviation by random direction dice and random distance off target dice. This is not how artillery worked. Requesting artillery I get; zone deviation off target is a load of 'Old School' war game's rubbish. Consequently I will disregard the rule as written in BC 2 and use the following rule instead (note, for my 15mm stuff, I've converted centimetres by adding 50% then converted into inches - e.g. 10cm = 15cm = 6". I'm not sure we ever measure anything very precisely in a game and inches lend themselves to friendly fudging better than centimetres IMHO, I'm not sure why):
- The firing battery pin points the aiming point. The target rolls 2d6, the artillery rolls 1d6 per 18" distance between target and observer. If the artillery player rolls equal or lower he places the zone template with the aiming point anywhere within the zone. If the target rolls lower the target player places the zone with the aiming point anywhere within the zone.
This means that the target point is ALWAYS in zone (unless there is a blunder on request). The only thing that needs to be decided is what else is. We played this in the second game and it worked well. It's not my own idea, the basic mechanism was pinched from a Piquet rule set.
Next week, we'll play again.