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"The game did not go as expected." Topic


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Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP08 Jun 2022 5:08 p.m. PST

Have you ever had a game you are running not go as you envisioned? I recently ran an AWI scenario for my club. I spent weeks researching the battle and added some touches of my own to accommodate more players. The British had a Seneca war party hidden in a woods with three American units outside that could be hit in the flank or rear probably destroying that unit. The Indians were encouraged to do so due to certain bonuses it would get on the first turn.
Well the player running the Indians decided to stay in the woods and shoot their rifles as units marched by. Despite that two really good American regiments would probably turn towards them and probably wipe them out. So on their first movement phase of the game the Indians did nothing. I had been expecting them to run out of the woods screaming like banshees. But no. They wanted to be in the American rear. Okay that sounds reasonable.

Then the American player decided it would be a good idea to send a regiment into those very same heavy woods. There was absolutely no reason to do this. The front line was still a good distance away there were no enemy units nearby (except for the Indians which he didn't know about) to hide from. But on he went into the woods and immediately encountered the enemy Indians and they both went into immediate melee. The Indians lost and routed off the battlefield. The Americans surprised the Indians that were supposed to surprise them. Not at all what I expected. I had envision the Indians moving around the battlefield being a menace to any American unit.

I have had similar things happen before at conventions or at home. A crazy move by a player and the entire game goes wonky. You never know what players will do. Anyone else have this happen to them?

IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP08 Jun 2022 5:36 p.m. PST

You seem to imply that your game or players is a problem. I think it is fine.

When I write a historical scenario, I endeavor not to be too historically prescriptive so as to allow for players many ways to achieve an objective and some that I had not thought of. The scenario introduces the historical boundaries and situations of the game and the players are given the tools to achieve the objective.

Even if the players are not proceeding as you thought they would, that is a good thing, particularly if they achieve their objective.

Gozerius08 Jun 2022 6:05 p.m. PST

That's why I had to give up role playing games. I would create a scenario for the party to proceed through a set of encounters, and then they would go off in the wrong direction.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP08 Jun 2022 6:45 p.m. PST

IronDuke596

Oh I don't see it as being too much of a problem. Maybe the player had a hunch that there was something in the woods he should check out. Not in this case but it certainly is plausible. However I have seen scenarios go terribly wrong when a player does something unusual. A well balance scenario turns into a quick rout. A two hour convention game turns into a 15 minute rout. Fortunately that has not happened to me at a convention.

Stryderg08 Jun 2022 6:51 p.m. PST

Watched a "pirates in Tortuga" game. Each player had a handful of minis representing pirates, Royal Marines, merchants, ladies of dubious virtue and a few others. The Royal Marine player was a young teen and decided it would be fun to spend most of the game chasing chickens for a nice meal instead of achieving his objective. The pirates won.

Stryderg08 Jun 2022 6:54 p.m. PST

Oh, and a colonial troops vs Zulus (maybe Arabs, it was a long ago). The Zulus charged first turn, rolled ridiculously well and squeezed the colonials into a tiny area. Couldn't get the cavalry into the fray because there was no more room on the table.

William Warner08 Jun 2022 7:40 p.m. PST

One of the things I miss as a solo player is the unexpected whims of a live opponent.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP08 Jun 2022 8:00 p.m. PST

"The Royal Marine player was a young teen…"

Teenagers are often unpredictable. I have found they do better if their is an adult on their side.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP08 Jun 2022 8:02 p.m. PST

"One of the things I miss as a solo player is the unexpected whims of a live opponent."

How about the unexpected whims of a teammate?

Martin Rapier09 Jun 2022 1:02 a.m. PST

I try not to overly plan around what players may or may not do, that is most of the fun of playing with human players. I generally find that carefully worded victory conditions will guide players in certain directions, assuming they bother to read them.

Rosenberg09 Jun 2022 2:12 a.m. PST

I killed Ney twice in the same battle. First time I rolled a 03. After the shock wore off we all decided to put him back (taking onboard the Revolution & Empire rule that one dice roll could be retaken per day of battle) Couple of hours later I rolled a 05 and he stayed dead. At that point we stopped for a long beer!!

Normal Guy Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2022 3:18 a.m. PST

I think the question might better be: Did the game EVER go as I envisioned it? The human equation is unpredictable and oh so fascinating.

advocate09 Jun 2022 3:31 a.m. PST

A long time ago, we set up an Anglo-Zulu skirmish game, with the players being British, and the Zulus being run by committee, as it were. We set up British defence, assuming a direction of attack, and then someone said "Let's roll for where the Zulus appear". Needless to say, it was behind our carefully planned defences, resulting in a fighting retreat rather than an assault.

rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2022 4:16 a.m. PST

You have a plan until the battle begins, including what a unit commander might decide to do on his own. Normal.

korsun0 Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2022 4:38 a.m. PST

I can't think of any scenario I have set up that run as I want, but most end up as I expect. I always plan a scenario with various outcomes in mind and try and cater for any/all of them.
Big thing with scenarios is we know the history and so are are not tied down to the military systems of the times. If I want a scenario to be based on historical convention then I just put caveats on certain troop types or events.

However, the biggest thing is wargamers ain't normal. You can plan for A-Z and one of them will still come up with another angle…..we are uniquely programmed.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2022 5:23 a.m. PST

For sure

A few years back I ran a game set during the Mexican Revolution – four players (Federales, Rebels, local militia and US Marines) with a civilian population run by the ref based on die rolls for random events; all four players had the objective to occupy the mission at the centre of the board where there was a cache of weapons

Despite what I thought were very clear objectives, as soon as the first little metal foot hit the table all four players went Hell for leather at each other and completely ignored the mission buildings; as I recall the Marines wound up as last man standing

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Jun 2022 5:34 a.m. PST

Yes, I ran a Vietnam game once. After explaining that in my rules melee is SUPER deadly and chancy – definitely a plan of last resort – the VC sparing their ambushes and…..charged in to melee.

Game over on turn 3…..

Luckily everyone just had a good laugh about it…

UshCha09 Jun 2022 10:14 a.m. PST

The worst is when at a convention you get a fellow who has little or no grasp of the tactical requirements and another that frighteningly gets a grip in a few minutes. What results is an unfortunate slaughter but nothing can be done. definitely not what is expected and worse not as desired.

Interestingly Board gamer's seem to grasp tactical things generally as fast a good war gamer's and generally better than normal war gamer's probably as the game is more important to them than the models. May explain why they are generally not rules lawyers

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2022 12:13 p.m. PST

Board wargames have hexes which cuts down on the arguing. Also the rules tend to be more organize and detail. No historical narrative to dig the rules out of. There are notable exceptions like Avalon Hill's "Luftwaffe" which I had to copy the rules, cut them into sections, reorganize the pages and tape them together so I could read them.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2022 12:24 p.m. PST

One of the issues with a convention game is that I don't know the players. A game I run for my local club is somewhat easier because I know the players really well. I know who the aggressive players are and I know who are the passive/defensive players and everything in between. So I can assign them accordingly, based on the scenario. I also try to split up the best players. A convention game is a crap shoot.

Twoheart09 Jun 2022 2:01 p.m. PST

Friend of mine ran the game in which Daniel Inoye won a medal of honor defending a hill in Italy. But German player never moved onto the hill.
or
The time my single rebel unit fired on a Yankee lead brigade which routed every unit coming up a road behind it on the first turn. Took an hour for the Federals to shake out their troops to get back at me. (Never played another Civil War game after that…just too bizarre.)
or
The Nazi vs Dinosaur game I ran at a Con. One player refused to move her nicely armed squad at all when an Allosaur first appeared. Fear paralyzed the player. Had to see it to believe it.
or
When the Luftwaffe burned out all nine 1:48 scale Snap Tite B-17's in the game after the 8th Air Force player failed to bring on his fighters before the bombers. Bombers needed just one airplane to exit to win.
or
The time an opponent was so verbally oppressive to me in a convention game, the judge decided to have Bomber Command overfly his troops and drop barrels of firebombs on him.

What next?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2022 4:54 p.m. PST

OC, tell me again why the player outthinking you--uncovering troops you hid--is a "crazy move." And why there was "no reason" to check out concealing terrain--which really was concealing something.

I've certainly done stupid. I may have done crazy. What you describe the American player doing was neither.

Personal logo gamertom Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2022 6:05 p.m. PST

"May explain why they [board gamers] are generally not rules lawyers"

That one gave me a really good laugh.

One type of player not mentioned in previous posts is the one who deliberately sets out to "break the game." I have (regrettably) played against a few of those.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2022 6:21 p.m. PST

The only games I've seen go according to plan were scripted or channeled. I never saw much point in playing those, because I don't enjoy being reduced to a dice-rolling robot for the GM or rules author.

I started running big horse & musket games in the early 2000s, and developed two solutions to the problem of totally unpredictable outcomes:

  1. Social engineering. Assign players to roles on the battlefield based on their personalities. Aggressive players get commands that need to attack; cautious players get commands that need to sit or quail; eccentric players get the command that was historically a thorn in the C-in-C's side (Ney, Sickles, Wellington's fickle cavalry, etc.); befuddled or noobie players get the inexperienced commands/commanders; and so on.
  2. Set the table, not the script. Give up trying to plan the course of the battle, and instead set up the conditions for the players to develop their own battle, then sit back and watch a sui generis battle develop. Zoom out the scale a bit so that the armies can't occupy the entire table (smaller ground scale, larger table). Set up the terrain so there are lots of small, tactically influential bits sprinkled around (roads, fields, hills, woods, towns, fence lines, etc.) and let the players decide when/how/whether to use them. Make sure the forces enter all sides of the table (not just two) to break up players' natural psychological orientation on table edges. Give each player sufficient forces to have his own reserves and wings. Set up the forces just out of contact and with maneuver options, then let the players decide where they choose to fight.
The first only works with familiar players, the second is not very likely to recreate an historical battle very closely, but either or both can get you a very fun game.

My point about each player having enough in his own command to form his own wings and/or reserves is an important one. Nobody wants to command "the reserve", but all armies have reserves; nobody wants to be stuck on the wing of an attack that goes in late or gets slaughtered early, but these are things that happen in contact.

I found the best solution in large horse & musket games was to set up the forces in route of march just at the point of concentration but before (or during) deployment. This puts the head of each player's command just out of contact, gives each player options to concentrate right or left or in depth, and automatically makes part of the force into built-in reserves. This sometimes means reorganizing historical commands into a new command structure, but more often means zooming out the battle so each player gets multiple commands stacked along a road or avenue of approach.

It probably also means ruining the actual timing of historical events, but I've found that players make up for this through their own natural coordination problems. Even gamers standing side by side with perfect communications are terrible at acting in concert. All the battlefield anomalies happen organically just because gamers are ill-disciplined and bad at tactics: exposed flanks, excessive advances, mysterious retreats, stalled attacks, units inexplicably frozen in place, troops caught unprepared, etc. ad nauseum.

- Ix

pfmodel09 Jun 2022 10:06 p.m. PST

The only games I've seen go according to plan were scripted or channeled. I never saw much point in playing those, because I don't enjoy being reduced to a dice-rolling robot for the GM or rules author.

I do agree. Getting more enjoyable flavour into a game is always an issue. Historical scenarios contain flavour, which means asymmetrical forces, reinforcements, forces coming off the flanks or even rear, unknown reinforcements, asymmetrical objectives, or unknown objectives. The only issue is if you read the account of the battle you know what will occur, but special rules can still force the historical actions according as desired. Unfortuntaly as Yellow Admiral has mentioned, this may not be much fun.

The issue you have is how do you create an ad-hoc scenario, one which is not based on a real battle. One method is having one person create the scenario and this works, but that one person needs to be an umpire.

If, however, if you only have two players, or you just wish an ad-hoc game with a random player, then it becomes a major issue. This is something I have been grappling with for years and my current solution is to use a card based system to determine the ad-hoc scenario, including as much player input as possible. The card selection and arrangement process represents each player's orders, for want of the batter word, and then when they meet much unexpected results can occur.

This video provided an overview of how such a system could work, although it does not go into any detail and is not rules or period specific. It does take some effort creating he initial deck of cards, but for me at least has resulted in some really unusual situations.

youtu.be/0IaPag3pm8E

The Last Conformist09 Jun 2022 11:19 p.m. PST

Martin Rapier wrote:

I generally find that carefully worded victory conditions will guide players in certain directions, assuming they bother to read them.

Something I've repeatedly seen with novice players is suicidal timidity on the side that's supposed to be attacking in a scenario: they advance so slowly and methodically that they cannot possibly achieve their objectives.

Some seem to have trouble grasping the concept of a time limit. Others apparently decide, not entirely unreasonably, that the lives of their little metal men are more important than some objective handed down from on high.

pfmodel10 Jun 2022 3:28 a.m. PST

Objective based victory conditions, with only minimal VP's gained for casualties, will force movement if there is a game-turn limit. I agree new players will generally ignore victory conditions in their first game, but after disastrously losing they will quickly learn. However if you are not using a Game-Turn track with a specific end point for the game than any victory conditions will fail to achieve their objectives.

However if you fear a new player will not understand how to achieve victory, make sure they are on the defensive. It will be a lot easier to learn the rules as well.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2022 7:21 p.m. PST

"OC, tell me again why the player outthinking you--uncovering troops you hid--is a "crazy move." And why there was "no reason" to check out concealing terrain--which really was concealing something."

As I said earlier:

"Maybe the player had a hunch that there was something in the woods he should check out. Not in this case but it certainly is plausible." It really worked out for the American side.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2022 7:55 p.m. PST

I use victory conditions to help manage what players do. Occasionally when a player who needs to be aggressive isn't. I will hand them an order. "General Howe orders you to attack and be aggressive." It has worked for me.

Sometimes I will give them a general order in their scenario hand out. Ordering them to be aggressive and go on the attack.

In the pre-game briefing I will make it clear to them that you must be aggressive and attack. It is the only way to capture point A and win the game.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2022 9:18 p.m. PST

Something I have noticed in the last couple of years has been players giving up too soon. When they still have a good chance of winning or even if they are winning but suffered a set back. They want to throw in the towel. This throws away what could be a close nail-biter fun ending.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2022 3:25 a.m. PST

The original group I gamed with had as a general policy that we would set out the table layout mutually, then toss a coin for which end you got and another for which army you got. This meant it wasn't often possible to end up with a preposterously unbalanced game because you had no idea which bit of the table would be yours or what side you'd be playing.

I played a game like this once where the British player had to hold off superior French numbers until Prussian reinforcements arrived, which was on a random turn by die roll. So far so Waterloo but the terrain, numbers etc were nothing like.

So the British are holding out desperately until eventually, after about twelve turns, the Prussians finally roll to come on. Unfortunately they're mostly Landwehr. One squadron, six figures, of French lancers simply wheels and charges the nearest Landwehr battalion, which takes so long to form square that it doesn't. It routs before contact and all but one other Prussian unit routs off the board in sympathy. This was an on-table appearance that had lasted I think three moves. The remaining Prussian unit is an infantry battalion, which has formed square, but is pinned there by the lancers, who are inside charge range, but outside musket range.

They then get to watch as the rest of the 300-odd French figures then handily finish off the British, six lancers having disposed of 150-odd Prussians without either having taken any actual casualties.

It was in this game that we realised there might be a gameplay quality problem with how our rules treated Prussians.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2022 8:52 p.m. PST

Or that you need to put more effort into planning a scenario.

Murvihill12 Jun 2022 6:47 a.m. PST

That happened in a WW2 small unit game, the Germans had a Tiger as a major reinforcement. The first turn it rolled onto the board a lone American infantryman shot the tank commander dead, tank failed morale and backed off the board. The combination of die rolls needed to achieve that made it not something worth planning in the scenario.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP14 Jun 2022 11:29 p.m. PST

Have you ever had a game you are running not go as you envisioned?

Usually.

That's not a bad thing. I love to see the creativity of the players in my games.

ChrisBBB2 Supporting Member of TMP15 Jun 2022 5:57 a.m. PST

Like Martin says: victory conditions.

Yes, I have often had games go off-piste (less so in recent years as I've got better at scenario design). Creating historical scenarios for BBB means doing a lot of playtesting. Fortunately, the team includes cunning players who, if they spot a loophole in the scenario, will march a corps through it, making the game a travesty as far as the history is concerned. That's good – that's the point of playtesting, so that the eventual published version has the right victory conditions etc for a plausible outcome to occur naturally.

Of course, if players don't pay attention to the victory conditions or to how they might achieve them, things can still go badly awry for them. But that's their problem, not mine.

Seems like a good time to point to my popular blog post on Victory Conditions in Wargames:
link

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Jun 2022 6:55 p.m. PST

If you researched your historical scenario, it is possible that the player had knowledge about the hidden Seneca unit as well. That makes it a "reasonable" action, but not a "realistic" one from the standpoint of what the Americans would have known.

Besides that artificiality, there is also the artificiality of the board itself. Those may have been the only woods on the board, but I doubt they would have been the only ones at the battle site for an AWI battle.

The other scenario specific bit is if the Americans advanced toward the wood (which they didn't in the actual battle), it is very doubtful the Seneca would just sit there and wait to be routed.

So the question is do you want to represent the physical reality of the troops or the reality of the decisions faced by the commanders. I explain that often when setting up a game for the players. "This isn't where the troops/terrain/objective was, but you are facing the same tactical situation, including what you don't know."

Having several options about where the hidden unit actually is (one selected and kept from the American player) can help with this.

As above, victory conditions can also help. In this case, penalties for taking more time for the primary engagement. This creates the realistic decision space where you don't have infinite time to look under every rock. If you check a place with no enemies, you just spent some of your VP.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP20 Jun 2022 8:00 p.m. PST

The Seneca War Party was an add on. The only Indians historically at that battle were the Stockbridge Indian Militia. I have all these Indians and I wanted to use some of them. This seemed like a good opportunity.

I often have to make some of these AWI games a little larger than historical because I have more people who want to play than I have commands and I don't like turning people away. So the American player had no idea there were Indians in those woods.

Like I said before, I don't have a problem with how the game turned out. It was actually a really fun game. It just didn't go as expected.

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Jul 2022 9:24 a.m. PST

I don't know, if I have to March a brigade across a field and have to pass a thicket of trees on my flank, the first thing that I will do is to send some of my troops into the woods to make sure that my flank is safe.

Maybe the Indian player was overawed by the sight of so many enemy units and felt that springing the ambush would be too costly to his tribe. That is, he could take out one enemy unit but would end up getting his warriors wiped out as a result.


Seems like normal behavior to me.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2022 6:22 a.m. PST

It is the kind of thing that cheeses off other players is it not.

I can recall one WW2 battle where vehicles etc were placed in ambush positions which were noted but they weren't put on the table. We were moving down the road and thinking Well that's an obvious ambush position, and so is that, and so is that, because that's why we're here….so I'll fire a machine gun burst, HE etc, into all of them.

At this the opposing players objected that "you wouldn't do that in real life", because we were massacring the ambush, and we said, Erm….why wouldn't we do that? There's obviously an ambush!

Scott Sutherland11 Jul 2022 7:26 a.m. PST

I've run a number of multi-blind games. In the beginning, many players were keen on the Hollywood-style hero going off and doing his own thing.

A few lost games later no one wanted these wild cards on their team.

Pretty much the prevailing view, in the end, was to keep to the plan. The reserves will deal with unforeseen events. It didn't stop some players from breaking with their part of the plan when it had obviously gone wrong, but suddenly the importance of cooperation and reserves were understood.

johannes5511 Jul 2022 12:45 p.m. PST

In a ww2 participation game I played the Germans, my opponent moved first, advanced with his 3 Britih tanks, which i destroyed all 3 in my first firing turn.
He stood up and walked away never to be seen again.
I think the gamemaster didn't plan this.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2022 3:52 p.m. PST

"Seems like normal behavior to me."

DAF, I agree with you. But that's not why the player went into the woods. He said that since I don't pay movement cost for heavy woods, since my guys are Indians then lets go into the woods. It worked out great for him.

Dick Burnett14 Jul 2022 11:30 a.m. PST

In the Taylor-Burton movie Cleopatra, Caesar lands in Alexandria, with the dock having a market day, with Ptolomey's
political advisors expecting Caesar's soldiers to hack through the population to Ptolomey's dias-but Caesar has his troops sheath and draw their purses, to shop theur way through, prompting Ptolomey's general to remark that Caesar is "master of the unexpected".
In one of my SUTC games Small Unit Tactical Combat, a double blind limited intelligence umpired skirmish game using decimal dice, a gamer rolled back to back two 99s--with fatal results.
In another, the gamer hid out in the corner of the table expecting the "million" (in reality, had no opposition)
Yet, my favorite was at a convention in South San Francisco, some twenty plus years ago, in which Frank Chadwick and his Communist pal (no, really) Jack Radey were demonstrating the then new Command Decision 2 miniatures game. The scenario was based upon a real historical event in December 1941 in Russia, the ambush of some Panzers by the Red Army--supposedly. As a collection of Chadwick's fans took up all the Soviet slots, I took up a German command, placing three PzMk3 on a hill facing off against the BT 7s, T34s and KV1s.
I was knocking them all out because 1. as Jack was using the charts because I was a real Nazi (I was running the Germans after all) so I was untrustworthy. Now you may ask how my 37mm popguns were knocking out--not critical hits, T34 and KV. Well, it was like this. because of the confusion of the rules, with too many statistics and separated pages, Jack misread the higher HE value for the lower AT value, allowng the 37mm to become 75mm. To both Frank and Jack's discomfort--we, the bad guys were supposed to lose--Chadwick ruled it a draw.
So, the unexpected from the dice, the players and the Party' own official.

Mark 115 Jul 2022 4:01 p.m. PST

Set the table, not the script. Give up trying to plan the course of the battle, and instead set up the conditions for the players to develop their own battle, then sit back and watch a sui generis battle develop. Zoom out the scale a bit so that the armies can't occupy the entire table (smaller ground scale, larger table). Set up the terrain so there are lots of small, tactically influential bits sprinkled around (roads, fields, hills, woods, towns, fence lines, etc.) and let the players decide when/how/whether to use them.

This is my most persistent failing when I try to create a scenario. If I just set up a table randomly on game day and apportion off tasks to each player it seems to go well enough. But if I actually put in the time to create a well-constructed scenario, well it's constructed, but often not constructed well.

I think the problem is that I script it too much. I imagine in my own mind how it will go, and put in all the tricks to make it interesting, and balance to make it challenging, based on my imaginings of how it will go.

It is good solid advice to NOT do this.

One example -- a game in my own home. 4 players, set in February 1943 in the Ousseltia Valley in Tunisia. Good solid historical research to set the scene, a nice write-up for each player, a battle table created from actual maps from the period, forces drawn from the historical OOBs, but an imaginary clash, a "what-if", to be played.

Teenagers are often unpredictable. I have found they do better if their is an adult on their side.

Also good advice. One of the players was my own son. I teamed him up with a friend who had experience pushing 1/1 scale tanks in Operation Desert Storm. On my side I had a teammate who pushed 1/1 scale tanks in Iraq and 1/1 scale mech cav in Afghanistan. I had gamed with both adults before -- good buds who were tactically astute.

The scenario was that the French have been pushed off of the Kairouan Pass, and one company ("the Chieftain"), with a couple mortars and a single AT gun, are holed up in a crossroads village (Hir Moussa) on the road from Medjes el Bab to Sbiba. Italians of Superga Division, with a company of infantry, a company of M14 tanks and Semoventis in support ("Harold the tanker"), are going to come down on them from the West road, while a Sahariana squadron (my son), with light but heavily armed cars, are coming down the North road. The Italians are trying to reach the road to the South, and care nothing about the village itself. The French are trying to preserve their command, and keep possession of the village. An American tank destroyer company (my unit) is coming up the South road to re-enforce the French position, but will enter the table only after making a random throw.

In my mind it was clear. French stay in the village looking for close-quarters brawling. Italian heavy combat forces (tanks and infantry) roll in and pound them. The Sahariana explore the outskirts of the village and perhaps discover that the village can be bypassed. Will I arrive in time to save the day? Ooh, a thrilling script.

Nope.

The Italian heavy forces held back. Both Italian commanders focused on trying to spot the French in town, and sat in the open letting the mmrtars rain down. The French were not in the outer rim of houses, so there was nothing to spot. By the time the Italians actually started to move their heavy units up to attack, the Sahariana had been crushed, and I had already arrived and setup my TDs to cover the South road (the Italian objective). They were defeated, having never found a single target to fire at. A fair bit of grumbling ensued.

Oops. They didn't play it my way. It was not a good game. All that work. Sigh.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

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