Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fireball Forward! - Pouppeville

Having had so much fun with Fireball Forward! last weekend, Leo and I wanted to get together again as soon as we could to have another go at it. We were able to find a couple hours last night to play the second scenario in the programmed instruction sequence, Pouppeville.

The scenario has two full sized but poor quality German platoons along with a company leader and a sniper defending a bunch of buildings (10 total elements/stands). US paratroops consisting of two heavy platoons and some battalion HQ assets are the attackers (9 total elements), and need to accumulate victory points for buildings captured. Most buildings are worth 1 VP at game end, but two buildings centered near the northern edge of the board are worth 5 and 2, and are thus very important. The game is four turns long, but the American random force addition die roll gave them an extra turn, thus a five turn game in this playing. My random roll got me a company leader morale improvement (which would matter later).

We flipped a coin for sides, and I got the Germans. I set up scattered in the buildings primarily in the center and east of the board, with only a sniper on the western side. I hoped that a central setup would allow me to respond to attacks from whatever direction Leo chose, or to fall back on the big VP buildings as needed. In the interests of trying to capture some fog of war without having a referee, we did use hidden unit markers including a number of dummies on each side. In a friendly game, this worked fine.

As it turned out, Leo advanced entirely up the eastern side of the road, both toward the first building along the road and then far to the east up and into the orchard. Not having placed any squads far to the west worked out well for me, but my sniper was badly out of position to do anything useful.
US early advance and hidden Germans - looking E/SE

Fire on both sides in the first turn was desultory, slowing his advance in a few places but not doing much in the way of casualties.
US advance on the east - looking South

In the middle few turns, German fire improved, killing an American squad in the orchard and another in the open. My sniper was killed trying to move to his other prepared position in the center of the board. A successful American assault on the first building along the east side of the road cost me a squad.
Fighting for the buildings - looking Northeast

As losses mounted for the Americans, it became obvious that the only way the Americans were going to win would be a successful assault on the high VP buildings in the last two turns. As it worked out, the paratroops were not able to take the next building up the road, which would have put them diagonally across the street from the 5 VP building. Further east, after killing a German squad in the building protecting the hedgerow enclosure in the northeast corner of the board, a final American squad and its platoon leader made an end run for the north edge of the board in hopes of taking the 2 VP building.
Final US push - looking Southeast

The American squad was gunned down crossing the open ground to assault the building, leaving the leader alone behind the hedgerow. The buildings were safe and Germans won the game. Final American losses were 3 out of their 4 heavy squads. Germans losses were two squads and the sniper.

All told, things went well for me. My fire early on wasn't great, but my morale rolls were better than Leo's in general, causing him to lose some of his good squads while my bad ones hung around bravely. In one case, the only reason I passed an important morale check in the mid-game, saving an important building and delaying Leo's advance, was that the company commander had rolled that improved morale random option. Another fun game of Fireball Forward!, and I already have the next two scenarios set up on the table: Tank Attack at La Fiere and Choctaw Warrior. Now I just need to learn the vehicle rules.

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