Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Ambush in the Jungle, Part 2 - Bolt Action AAR

With only a few turns left, Sam, Dick, and I returned to John's place to finish his Palau scenario that was covered in last week's post. 

We had ended on turn 10, which only gave the Americans (Sam and Dick) 5 turns left to move their units off the table. The Marines needed to get 5 units off for a Marginal Victory, 6 units for a Minor Victory, and 7 units for a Major Victory. 

This far along in the game, the battered American forces were finally approaching the Japanese table edge and close to escaping. So John and I had to throw the last of our reserves into the fight to try and halt their advance. 

The Marine squads were still deadly, as long as a random Exceptional Damage roll didn't take out their flamethrowers or bazookas.

With the Ha-Go cleared out, the Marines in the center rushed into the unoccupied bunker to get out of sight of the Japanese mountain gun. 

The Ka-Mi, however, was still holding up the fastest route for the Marines to make it to the exit point. 

It didn't take long for the Americans to get a bazooka into position and brew up the Ka-Mi after avoiding a poorly aimed Japanese sniper shot. 

The last of the Japanese reinforcements appeared to try and hold up a reconstituted Marine squad. However, both sides only managed to do a single casualty to each other. 

With no more ambuhes left to stop the Americans, John and I could only watch as sections of the last defensive line were overrun by Marine assaults. 

With the Ka-Mi gone, Sam and Dick were scrambling to push their remaining units as fast as possible down the road. 

In the center, both sides had their infantry fail an Order test and go Down, leaving the jungle oddly quiet for a moment.

And the Marines got their first unit off the table!

However, another unit was wiped out entirely. But if Sam and Dick decided to reconstitute the squad, it would have pushed them to turn 15, leaving them no time to score more victory points.  

Multiple Marine units converged on the same small area, hoping to double time to safety. 

After another failed Order test, one of the last Japanese infantry squads went down. This left them as a perfect target for a close assault, with the Marines handily routing the enemy squad. The Americans left the table the next turn, scoring another victory point. 

Disaster struck in turn 15 for the Americans! The lead infantry squad failed its Order test and went down, directly in the path of a jeep filled with the platoon's command team, as well as the two remaining Shermans. 

While the Americans were able to randomly roll up a 16th turn, it was only enough time to get the Jeep and the command team off the table to score a third victory point. The two Shermans were left in the lurch, unable to move off the table by the game's end. 

This left the Americans with only three victory points. Had the infantry squad not halted the column's progress, the Americans would have scored five victory points; enough to claim a Marginal Victory. 

Without scoring the tanks, victory went to the Japanese. 

Overall, the players enjoyed the game. It would work well as a 4-6 player event game. The Americans were frustrated at times with how the Japanese could suddenly appear so close to them, but the massive 15-man Marine squads were well equipped to survive the slog (barring a lucky Japanese mortar round). 

It was the tanks that the Americans had to worry more about. With only a d6 of movement through the jungle, the Shermans mostly stuck to the roads. This left them vulnerable to anti-tank teams, guns, and hidden tanks. The underpowered guns of the Ha-Go and Ka-Mi might not have been too threatening, but they could still cause pins and potentially hold up the American advance.

The Japanese played entirely statically in this scenario. Once a squad deploys, there was little chance of it being able to move before being wiped out by an American unit, or taking out its target if the American unit was weak enough (or ran out of luck with an anti-tank attack). Being able to ambush from only 6" away helped offset this, and having every unit deployed behind heavy cover usually meant they could stick around for a turn or two if the Marines flamethrowers missed. 

Hopefully we worked some of the kinks out, since this would work well as a club game. 

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