Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Iron Cross at Adler Hobby (2)

This was my last game of 2016. Marc D. and Gordon from Adler Hobby wanted to give Iron Cross another go and they invited me up to Gordon's store to join them. While we were setting up Bob showed up and helped Mark with the first few turns of the game until he had to leave. For more photos, and a summary from the French side of the table, you can read Mark's post about this game on his blog.

Mark and I matched up mirror armies to each other, Free French for Bob and Mark and Germas for Gordon and I. Each force consisted of a CinC, four infantry detachments, a medium machine gun, a flame-thrower team, a mortar, an anti-tank gun, an SP anti-tank gun (Marder III for me, GMC half track with AT gun for Mark), a recon armor piece (Stuart for Mark, SdKfz 222 for me) and a medium tank each (Mark's Grant was used but we used Serman factors for it and I used a Panzer IV). We wanted to load up on vehicles and see how that worked with AT guns and mortars to try out all the rules.

This second time through, I believe we got almost all the rules right. The game was fun and played fast even with two new players in the mix. We learned that the MMGs were very powerful when they hit with all of their dice, and that anti-tank fire, while it can be very devastating, can also outright miss. Mortars are great when they hit and feel right, with multiple activations making them more likely to hit and more effective when they do. Flamethrowers seemed just right as well being good against enemies in cover but vulnerable to incoming fire. Even with three vehicles on the table for each side, I don't believe the vehicles unblananced the game. We equipped our infantry teams with bazookas and panzerfausts, and when infantry advanced on un-supported tanks, the tanks were in trouble and had to withdraw or could have been destroyed. Armor supported with infantry seemed to work nicely.

The game started off with Mark's MG team wiping out one of our infantry detachments and our Mortar pinning the MG in return. In the following turns Bob pressed our right flank with an infantry team trying to capture the tall building on the hill. Gordon's AT gun blew up the Grant which shook up the nearby infantry and mortar team. The advancing team reached the tall building, but then got blown away by combined 222 MG fire and infantry fire. Likewise my MMG took out Mark's MMG in a single turn of sustained MG on MG action. My Marder III lived a charmed life bouncing a side shot from the Stuart and then withdrew behind the hill not wanting to press its luck.

On the other Flank Bob's infantry team swept around the ruined building and took out our flame-thrower team at the end of a turn when the French had activation tokens left and we had spent all of ours. The following turn our Panzer IV reacted to this advance and with the help of our lone infantry detachment on that flank, held long enough for us to call time as Mark had to leave.

These are simple, fun, fast-play rules. While they cover almost everything you need, we found one glaring omission. The rules cover movement through terrain, but don't seem to have any line-of-sight rules in them. For this game we used the Bolt Action rule for area terrain - you can see into but not through it. This helped, but still seemed lacking when shooting through multiple pieces of linear terrain. I think using Bolt Action's area terrain rule and additionally using Chain of Command's linear terrain rule will make it 'just right'.