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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Battle For the Town

This is Steven Petrick posting.

The last two playtests of Star Fleet Marines involved throwing a company of troops on shuttles against another company in a defended locality.

In both cases, SVC knew where I was going, and was not really surprised when I tried to leak through his perimeter to get to the core of his defense. In both cases my lead shuttle was forced back, delaying it, but the bulk of the force got through. Once grounded in the assembly area I had to push the assault as quickly as I could before his outer perimeter could reinforce the main redoubt.

The first time we did this, I did catch him by surprise with a new tactic available to me because I had the shuttles, but I was unable to succeed. SVC rolled very well, destroying two of the shuttles outright (fortunately only one of them had troops aboard, but that still meant a loss of two squads in that shuttle plus the shuttles themselves). My assault gradually broke down in the face of the defender's firepower.

The second try benefited, and was harmed, by the first try. While I determined a better approach route, SVC allowed himself a squad in reserve. This squad reinforced his main redoubt, and but my assault gained a partial and critical success in seizing one end of the town. While SVC was trying to pull his troops back into the town, I desperately wanted to use the shuttles to attack them before they could reach it, while my own troops finished securing it.

It was not to be.

While I held one end of the town, all of my attacks to try to secure the center and opposite end of the town failed to achieve real success. While I would often kill the squad arriving to reinforce the center of town, I could never succeed in the supposedly easier attack against the opposite end of town. Needing firepower to support those attacks, I could not send the shuttles to try to interdict the movement of part of his company on the far side of the town.

Fortunately for me, the part of his company (nearly 33%) that now basically had me between them and the town felt pressured to try to get there. This caused them to try to get to the town quickly, and thus take high-speed low cover routes to accomplish this. That part of SVC's company was destroyed without a single squad making it into the town. If they had made it, it is possible that their added firepower (since the bulk of my force was of necessity trapped on open ground trying to fight their way into the town) might have been enough to reverse the tide, or at least stabilize the situation enough that he might have been able to kick my toehold out of the part of the town I held.

With SVC's last troops in the town (those on the far side that I was unable to interdict), and all further reinforcement eliminated, I was finally able to ground the shuttles and use them as light tanks. By that time I was basically down to a single platoon and my headquarters, and soon SVC was down to just his headquarters.

After several unsuccessful assaults directed only at his headquarters unit (I rolled an "8" on three consecutive close assaults where a "7" would have killed his last unit), I decided that it would be sour grapes on my part to keep saying no to SVC's request for the "Honors of War," insisting that sooner or later I would roll less than "8" and agreed he could leave.

It was a bloody fight, costing me nine squads and a shuttle to kill 14 of SVC's squads.