Tuesday, October 2, 2012
This past weekend at Fields of Honor, I ran three games of the Down on the Farm scenario out of Ambush Alley's Bush Wars expansion. This AAR covers all three games we played.
Everything set up and ready to go. The deployment zone for the ZANLA was declared as 2' from the far edge relative to the picture to the right. The civilian farmers started in the farmhouse and the guard force started in the small building on the bottom-left which is attached to the larger storage building.
As a house rule (based on historical accounts) we counted a -1 penalty for RPGs shooting through chain link fence. It didn't have that much impact on the game since the ZANLA players moved nearly every round and the 1/2 firepower die due to night fighting resulted in 3 die firepower anyway. It gave the fence more of a game impact and provided some motivation for the ZANLA to close in.
ZANLA deployed and have initiative. They retained initiative throughout the game.
Note that we ignored the 'In Cover' bonus dice as it would have just further made the Rhodesians even more untouchable.
Up to this point the player running the guard force unit held position partially due to failing several spot checks. Seeing the ZANLA charging the house, they decided to move forward to take position in the carport.
The police force eventually made their troop quality test, but by the time they did, the ZANLA were pretty much finished off so we called the game.
The ZANLA failed to inflict a single casualty on the Rhodesians. This type of thing can happen in Force on Force, but this one was particularly dismal if playing on the ZANLA side. Rolling so few dice on the attack due to the night fighting rules really made it tough on the D6 TQ troops who depend on making up for lack of quality with quantity...
Friday - 2nd game.
The second game was played by four players including myself. Two of the others had played in the first game and we convinced another passer-by to join in as well. The setup was the same and only planned on changing tactics to see if that helped matters any. Running into the shotguns obviously didn't work well so the ZANLA players planned to hold back and shoot.
We probably should have kept the police force out of the equation, but they showed up on time and threw a monkey wrench into the ZANLA plan and took out one of the squads without much issue.
The setup was exactly the same, but I modified the scenario by adding two more figures to each ZANLA unit, reduced the farmhouse from 2D cover to 1D cover, and removed the support weapon from the police force.
Again, the Rhodesian players declared the booby trap to be in the same location and the ZANLA unit on the left flank happened to walk right over it. This time they weren't so lucky and sustained casualties, failed morale, and proved to be mostly ineffective the rest of the game. The booby trap definitely turned out to be effective.
The police section showed up on time and made an entrance at the rear flank of the ZANLA. They had their own share of failed spot checks due to the darkness and therefore needed a few turns to get up into the action.
Through most of the game it felt like the Rhodesians had their work cut out for them, but with a good set of rolls could get them on top at any time. Those rolls never came and the ZANLA enjoyed a landslide victory. Although I perhaps tweaked the scenario a bit too much, this game appeared to be much more enjoyable by all involved. Next time I'll probably leave the police section as-is and add back in the 2D cover for the house. The only tweaks would then be adding two more to each squad plus another random support weapon or two.
Overall I found this to be an excellent scenario other than the need to tweak the ZANLA unit size. It was a lot of fun to make the terrain pieces and see them in use.
Has anyone else ran/played this scenario as-written? If so, please comment below on your experiences with it and if any tactics have been found to give the ZANLA a chance of coming close to winning.