Sunday, January 18, 2015

Wounded Tiger

I did a solo game of the "Wounded Tiger" scenario in Conflict of Heroes. A veteran Tiger is immobilized in the middle of a field; the Soviets have sent four T34s and four T70s to finish it off, and the Germans have sent a rescue force consisting of a tank recovery vehicle escorted by a PzIV and a pair of PzIIIs.

In Game 1, both sides drew "Command Action" as their card. The T34s moved as a group, closing on the Tiger with the intent of ducking north behind the barn for cover, then moving behind the Tiger's flank. The Tiger's 88mm gun--and the dice manning it--proved deadly, though, and all four T34s brewed up before they got a shot off. The first one drew a "Kill" damage result; the other three took hits that were far enough over their Armor value to be instant kills. The T70s hadn't activated but had no chance of winning on their own, so I declared that a decisive German victory.

In Game 2, the Tiger still hit, but not hard enough to instant kill, and the Soviets drew Light Damage chits. The T34s headed around the barn, with three surviving to gain a flanking ability within their optimum range. Meanwhile the PzIV rushed through the village to aid the Tiger, while the Pz IIIs headed east to catch the T70s and the Opel puttered along the road and stopped once it was safely hidden in the village.
On Turn 2, the Germans won initiative, and the Tiger--feeling rather nervous--polished off one of the T34s and damaged a second. The two T34s took shots at the Tiger's flank, but one missed outright and the other was forced to reroll one of his hit dice (via the Tiger's Combat Hardened card) and his hit turned into a miss. Two of the T70s charged the PzIV, one dying on the way in. The second one realized he couldnt't expect to hurt the panzer (needed a 12 on 2d6 to hit), so he raced for the village in hopes of at least killing the Opel. This meant he had to expose his flank to the PzIV, so he plowed through a stone house in hopes that it would shelter him. He avoided being immobilized by the terrain; he didn't avoid the 75mm AP round from the PzIV, and that was the end of him.
On Turn 3, the Germans invested CAPs into Initiative and then rolled a 12 for it. The Tiger went first and missed; the last T34 took a shot, which the German neutralized with the Combat Hardened card; the Tiger took a second shot and polished off the T34. That left the Red forces with two T70s which couldn't beat the PzIIIs, much less the heavier tanks. Win for the Germans.

I don't think the scenario is as wildly unbalanced as the first playthrough made it look, but the Russians have a tough situation. The T34s start at range 15 and have to get to 10 not to have a penalty for long range fire. Their guns are Firepower 9 against the Tiger's 21 front armor, so they need to roll 2d6 and get a 12 to hit, even without the penalty.  So a straightforward charge by the T34s will look like this:
Segment 1, the T34s move 2 hexes to range 13; the Tiger fires with 1 CAP for accuracy, hitting on a 6+, and a 10+ is an instant kill.
Segment 2: the T34s advance again, to range 11; the Tiger fires again, using another CAP.
Segment 3: the T34s advance to within range, but they've used 3 Action Points to get here; the Tiger uses his remaining one Action Point plus two Command Points to shoot, adding one more CAP for accuracy. Again, he hits on 6+.
Segment 4: The (surviving) T34s can finally shoot. They need to use one CAP just to have enough action points to fire; using two more for accuracy means they are firing with FP 11 vs the Tiger's 21 armor.
Unless the Soviets do something clever (dive into the balka, exit the east end, and move north fast enough to get the barn between them and the Tiger?), this scenario looks to boil down to "how lucky is the Tiger on its hit rolls and damage draws" rather than "is the commander clever".

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