A few weeks ago, Keith invited me over for a game of 'Battlegroup', using the recently released hardback core rulebook. I had treated myself to a copy of these as a Xmas present so it was the perfect opportunity to give them a run out. So after a bit of bedtime reading in the week to get to grips with the core mechanics, I set off on a wet and cold Sunday morning to have a bit of wargaming fun in the Cotswolds.
Keith fancied trying out the first scenario from the rulebook, 'Recce Screen', using his lovely Poland '39 forces. The forces were broadly a couple of Platoons a side, with some additional units in support. Due to the nature of the scenario, things would start off small and then build up as reinforcements arrived. So really a perfect scenario to get a handle on things.
The game was played on a 3' x 3' table (more of which later) with a nice mix of terrain and 3 objectives. By chance I ended up commanding the Polish troops, which I was more than happy with, as you've just got to love their tankettes! No detailed notes were kept as a lot of the game was spent making sure we got things right, which broadly speaking we did. However I took plenty of pics which will hopefully give an idea of how the game went.
|The few German troops basically deployed along the road with a small flanking force on their right.|
|The Poles push forward.|
|As both sides began to exchange fire, the Poles moved their infantry forward into the farmhouse and the objective, whilst the Ursus armoured car manouevered to get a flank shot, then promptly failed.|
|The Polish troops are in the top farmhouse, whilst the German infantry lined the wall to the left of the smoking vehicle.|
|Armed only with a machine gun, the German armoured car wisely retreated, as concentrated Polish fire saw the demise of a German section.|
|The German 'heavies' arrived in the form of three Panzer II's, which outgunned most of the Polish armour.|
|The other Panzer II's pushed round the Polish flank to threaten the tankettes.|
|At least the Poles had a 'heavy' gun of their own in the form of a horse drawn 37mm anti-tank gun, which was by far and away the most powerful gun on the table.|
|The Polish tankettes respond to the threat on their flank.|
|Unable to get a shot away, the Polish 20mm armed tankette is quickly brewed up by the Panzer II. German infantry arrive and their combined fire with another Panzer II sees the Polish section in the farmhouse reduced to half-strength.|
|The Ursus armoured car moves to try and threaten the German right flank.|
|'Yours truly' using Keith's new toy to check line of sight for the Polish anti-tank gun and remarkably useful it is too.|
|The deviation and distance roll led to the attack landing right on top of a Panzer II and German mg unit...|
|... the result of which was one blown up tank and no more mg unit. This loss put the Germans well beyond the breakpoint and so the Poles had won the game.|
Post Game Thoughts.
Well for a first game with a new set of rules, I must say they were pretty easy to pick up and a lot of it felt intuitive. Naturally it helped that Keith had played a few games before. So as always some thoughts on points that may be of interest:
- Rather than giving too detailed a review based upon just one game, I would recommend that you read Keith's review on his Blog.
- We both agreed that a 3' x 3' table is really too small for most games, unless you drop down to just a Platoon with a few additional units. A 4' x 4' table is really much better, giving more room for manouevre, deployment, terrain placement etc.
- I must say that I really enjoyed the game and think that these rules work very well for Company level actions and below. I tried to like 'Chain of Command' and whilst a good set of rules, they just did not give a good game IMHO. For larger scale action I will continue to use Blitzkreig Commander II.
- The command and control mechanics I liked and work well for solo play. Ditto the way loss of units add a variable amount to the break point. Not cumbersome but enough to give a nice level of 'friction'.
- Knowing that I will not have to re-base any of my existing units is a great bonus. A few additions here and their for things such as anti-tank rifles and 2" mortars are easilt achieved.
- I will certainly be picking up the 'Blitzkreig' supplement at Salute as it gives me another option for some early war games and even tweaking for use with my SCW/AVBCW forces. Having to buy a supplement I do baulk at slightly, but the books are superbly produced and are lovely to read. At least the hardback rulebook has lists in it for Canadians and Germans in Normandy, which will cover my late war gaming.
So first impressions have been very favourable. I look forward to trying out some more small games soon as well as reading the rules with the benefit of having played a game.