After Action Report for
“The Commie’s are comin’…”.
This scenario was played three times over three days at Historicon 2022 held in Lancaster PA July 21-24 2022.
Game writeup as seen in the program
Thursday, 4:00 PM, 4 hrs, Players: 6, Location: Freedom A: FR-14
Friday, 10:00 AM, 4 hrs, Players: 6, Location: Freedom A: FR-14
Saturday, 10:00 AM, 4 hrs, Players: 6, Location: Freedom A: FR-14
GM: Kenny Noe & ODGW
Sponsor: ODGW, Prize: None
Period: Modern, Scale: 12mm, Rules: Mein Panzer Core Rules
Masks Required? No
Description: Stepping back from nuclear war over the Cuban Missile Crisis, the U.S.S.R. has launched a conventional war in its place. Category A/B forces are flooding across the border. While NATO awaits resupply of men and material. A desperate US Army fights to stem the Red onslaught unfolding in central Germany. Can you stop the Communist Army? Or will you command brave motherland forces driving hard to the west? Your choice. Come play Mein Panzer and test 1960's tech in the heat of battle.
No experience necessary. Quick play/learn rules. Under 12 if accompanied by an adult player.
Game Map (Original Layout)
The battlefield as shown above and in pictures is a 10 foot by six-foot rectangle. North is the six-foot table edge with the large village at its end. The other compass points are the remaining three battlefield edges. Toward the southern end of the battlefield there is a farm with several building and fields. The fields provided light cover and was considered rough terrain for vehicle movement. There are dual railroad tracks running west and east with a crossing in the middle of the map. Hard top roads are crossing the map diagonally in an "X" pattern with one road crossing the railroad track in the middle of the map. There are two clumps of trees (one on the eastern side and the other on the western side) that are considered dense forest. Additionally, there is a line of trees following the railroad that is passible but does block all lines of sight from north to south. A two-level hill forming a small ridge line dominates the northwestern portion of the map while a mix of four or five one-level hills are scattered throughout the battlefield. A small water obstacle and a scattering of trees and small bush like feature complete the terrain layout of the map.
This game is designed to be a meeting engagement running north and south of the map with both sides ordered to cross the railroad tracks located in the center of the battlefield and push on as far as possible. (see map above)
Note - This scenario was designed to be flexible and able to play with 2, 4, or 6 players. Depending on how many players show up at the prescribed time I will adjust the units to fit the players. Additionally, the WarPact players do not have dedicated Forward Observers for their one artillery battery. WarPact Center command has told the battlefield commanders there are four pre-plotted fire points (of their choosing) where artillery can target. Additionally, the company commander of each tank company can make a NON-FO call if the need for artillery is clear.
Forces – Game Units
Game One – Thursday
The game was designed for six players (three on each side). However only four out of the 6 showed up for this time slot. Three of the gamers had never played MP and one had but many years ago. This is not a big issue as convention games go you usually have people looking to try a new game.
So, I adjusted the "players" as needed. Units from Player 1 and Player 3 (see Forces above) were deployed for both NATO and WarPact sides.
The players were eager to maneuver their units and the game turned into a “Who can get to the RR tree line first”. Once there both sides were in knife fighting distance. The Leopard1 pushed through the tree line first only to be dealt a loss of two tanks to waiting IT-1s on the ridge line. NATO then lost the next turn initiative and the T-62s open up on the now exposed Leopards. Even the advantage of soft cover from the forest did little to blunt the blow as two more Leopards fell.
The final turn the last Leopard perished from a cavalry like charge from the PT-76s as they made a mad dash to cross the RR tracks.
On the other side of the road the WarPact player decided to await the NATO thrust in positions of over watch hoping to catch the same luck that his comrade obtained. In doing this the WarPact commander lost sight of his objective and failed to advance past the RR tracks.
End of Game - By the time the game was called neither side had achieved their objectives. NATO was close with M60A1 threating the eastern flank while WarPact forces were in control of the western flank and PT-76s ready to stream across the tracks. It would have been dicey to see the western flank once the M60A1 punch through the forest. The use of Artillery was not very effective in this game as accuracy seemed to plague both sides
After action comments
All players agreed they had a fun time with the rules. However, the scenario could use a little work.
The time frame of 1963 Europe with armored vehicles that have no "special" armor to defeat HEAT rounds meant that whoever fired HEAT and hit was pretty much had an automatic kill. Both sides found this to be true almost immediately. MP usually does not count ammo especially on ground vehicles. I as GM don't care for this as it's just one more thing to track. However, both sides agreed that limiting HEAT would be good for the overall scenario.
The meeting engagement scenario was thought not the best for this time period. One recommendation would be NATO on the defensive with prepared positions to fall back upon with swarms of WarPact vehicles driving in. Most players recommended I change the scenario to this objective vice the meeting engagement. As GM, I agreed that was a valid and typical scenario for this time period, however that was not why I built the scenario the way I did. My experience with convention and running games has shown me that players (esp. new players) want a fast fun game where they attack and kill everything. I feel like a defensive game where one side waits on the other to come to them and the other side driving into a meat grinder is not fun for all. (my 0.02¢)
Lastly, the terrain setup really stymied both sides. The forest line running along the rail road was ruled to completely block line of sight. The idea was to force both sides to move forward and engage the enemy. However, this turned into whoever was brave enough to pass through the wood line was smacked hard and the player was truly demoralized.
After reflecting on the players comments and discussing with other ODGW staff I made a couple adjustments for the next two games.