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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

'Overwatching' the introduction of WWII Armour

Tonight saw the introduction of armour to the interactions of the miniature battlefield; thanks Ed and Daz for your valuable input and ideas. The number of action counters allocated to vehicles was increased beyond the one allowed for infantry based units. I hope this will recognize the mechanized nature of the faster moving units. One concession is that the vehicles cannot be issued the same order twice, and that the order the action counters are placed down next to the unit represents the order in which they must be played. The unit can however allow other units to take their actions between, allowing a level of interactivity with what else is happening on the battlefield.

During the play of the game, the main thoughts of the rules tonight fell upon how overwatch worked. During the game a single tank held up the German left flank with impunity; the only way of shifting this situation seemed the involvement of opposing armour. You might think this ably replicates infantry's lack of initiative in the face of armour, however it did seem to stifle the player's involvement and tactical options.

Our solution was not to change how the mechanics of overwatch worked, but rather how units 'fell off' this status. Currently units only lost this status if they received suppression or hits, which worked with infantry. When faced with impenetrable armour, with bristling machine guns, infantry seemed unable to bring their man portable anti tank weapons to bear. We solved the issue by stating that if an overwatch attack showed half or more blank dice faces, the unit lost it's overwatch status.

This created some interesting situations, where infantry sections manouvred to attract the attentions of a tank to lose it's overwatch status, thereby allowing infantry AT teams to move for a shot in relative safety. Also the ability to present the tank with multiple opportunities to fire at targets increased the chances of the tank losing it's status and therefore left the tank with several dilemmas. As such, a cat and mouse approach to activations opened up with this simple change to the rules.

The armour seemed to work quite well, but definitely needs playing some more; next week's game then!


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