I love the moving Saving Private Ryan. The first scenes are they troops riding in their Higgins boat were riveting.
Because of my prior post The target for today is… Bremen one of my friends has invited me over to play The Greatest Day: Sword, Juno, and Gold Beaches one of the games in the Grand Tactical Series I mentioned in that previous post.
We have agreed to play something big, but the table is 7.00′ by 4.00′ so we don’t have a ton of space. On the back of the scenario book is the different map layouts for scenario’s using less than the “whole thing” (which is 61.0″ by 77.5″ which will not fit on the table). I think any of the Advanced Scenario’s will work, we have to be able to get the division sheets and charts and tables on the table too, so we need to leave some space open.
I have been reading the rules and the game is not difficult to learn at all. First off you have to understand the scale of the game. each hex on the map is approximately 500 meters (1500 feet), each unit or counter is a company 100-150 men, each counter is organized into formations (think brigades) with a colored stripe saying which counter is which formation. The background color of the unit shows it division.
You pull chits out of a cup to find what units activate. You spend points to put the chits in the draw cup, the points are called Dispatch Points. You also have Command Points which are used during your activation to give units a second action or to activate units when you draw a Direct chit, or you can exchange Command Points for Dispatch Points at 2 Command for 1 Dispatch Point. Also Command Points can be used for automatic success’s on checks you roll for on units. You roll dice to get more Dispatch and Command Points when you draw a Division Chit.
You have a division chit that activates all the units in the division, the division chit you cannot just do whatever you want with the units activated by this, think of it as a standing order. Units can move but not shoot, and are restricted in a few other ways. If a formation chit is drawn that formation within the division gets to move, shoot, and do all allowable actions. A Direct Chit activates individual units when spend one Command Point for each unit you activate. There are other chits you can draw, to activate off board naval assets, British Royal Commando’s but that is I think all.
Some of the rules are standard war game stuff, movement, leaders and command, rally, are fairly standard. The shooting (from here on referred to as combat) is actually easier than some other war games I have played.
Roll a ten sided dice (supplied with the game), add the modifiers to the unit fire rating that is firing , the color bands match the color box around the fire rating on the unit, and check the left side for armor and the right for unarmored. Pretty darn simple, I like that.
The nuances of the game system is not actually in the rules themselves per say but the map terrain and how different units move (or don’t move through it), and with one unique rule that replaces your stand war game Zone of Control (ZOC), the Fire Zone.
At the scale the game is at there is not your standard ZOC other war games use to show how modern weapons with the longer ranges control parts of the battle field. Instead your units have fire zones that is a range of hexes they can react to enemy movement and fire. First lets talk about terrain, the map has natural choke points. If you look at the terrain effects chart (sorry no picture) you will see different movement types (tanks are tracked, wheeled vehicles, infantry is leg) are affected by terrain differently. This is where this games differ from others. Here is a quote from the rules:
Unlike some war games, Tracked and Wheeled vehicles find movement channeled by crests and forests. Roads are often the only way vehicles may cross from one point of the battlefield to another through certain terrain and anti-tank forces deploy accordingly. Strengths and weaknesses of unit types depend on the terrain and the proper interplay of infantry, armor, artillery, and motor transport are vital to successful play. In some war games infantry are just slow, weak versions of tank units. Not here. You must barrage well-placed defenders lest his anti-tank weapons shred your vehicles and units moving up to attack. Some war games only recognize combined-arms tactics and terrain effects by adding a +1 or a -1 to your attack. In this game you actually see and use the interplay of combined-arms and terrain.
I didn’t get a chance to finish this article before we played a first game on Sunday. So what I would like to do is wrap this up and talk about the scenario we played and the post wrap up.
Sorry about the abrupt ending…