Fire in the Sky – second American disaster

We had another opportunity to play excellent Fire in the Sky. I was to take Americans again – however this time I was ready and had a much better idea of how to work the infinite forces that the industry pushed forward. ūüėČFitS second take - 1FitS second take - 2

However, my opponent also had much better idea of how to use the Japanese forces and it showed. This time however it was not so straight forward endeavor to push towards Australia unopposed, nor it was so easy to take Singapore – or Wake. Both eventually fell, but British put up a tough resistance in Rangoon, and the barrier held. At least for the time being.FitS second take - 3FitS second take - 4

Early war British attempt to relieve Rangoon met nasty drawback when HMS Indomitable was torpedoed and ended up at the bottom of he sea. And that was her first outing. Meanwhile, Doomed defenders of Wake saw a big carrier battle almost turning the tide permanently since Japanese suffered a loss of CV’s Kaga and Akagi along with CVL – however, joy was premature because they were only slightly damaged and returned later to revenge the fate of CVL Hosho. All this at cost of Lexington, permanent loss. A bit later, it was another big battle in the vicinity of Guadalcanal, where Americans saw an opportunity to snatch a Carrier or two – Shokaku and Zuikaku being harbored in Rabaul. of course Japanese reacted, but with way more than just those two. In fact, three other smaller carriers joined in, and Japanese mustered total of 16! air steps against my 8. Comfortable advantage that entailed a huge disaster for Americans.¬†It was to be one of the first serious setbacks that showed the wounded dragon could yet bite back.FitS second take - 5FitS second take - 6

It was a lot of work for AAA crews to cut the Japanese strike down to 3 and 5 respectively. Other carries survived without a hit, and other – well, a bit of repair time but nothing excess. My strike then? It aborted due to enemy fighters and heavy AAA. Nobody got through. It was a gamble and did not pay off at least on the short term. Shortly after Port Moresby fell. Now, only Guadalcanal stands on a way of Japanese wave that can flush over the southeast Pacific.FitS second take - 7FitS second take - 8

It was not to happen though. Japanese were now stranded by the oil shortages, and mounting US reinforcements made it possible to set covering forces to keep any serious attempt to gain foot in Guadalcanal. Rabaul on the other hand was build to become fortress. Initially 2 step, and later 8 step infantry, and covering air force made any landing prospect difficult, considering that Leyte held Japanese reactionary force sufficient to beat any modest landing attempt.FitS second take - 9FitS second take - 10

After beating head on the Rabaul fortress for too long, and seeing how Manilla and leyte become fortifications of massive magnitude, change of plans was in oder – next target: An express way through Marshalls, Palu, Marianas and finally poorly defended Kure. All was well initially, but once in response range of Kure task forces, it was evident that wounded Japanese navy was deadly dangerous. After losing quite few ships in various operations, mounting sufficient strength that would guarantee superiority was both costly and slow.FitS second take - 11FitS second take - 12

Closer I advanced towards Japan, and the oil fields of south,  Japanese options to utilize interior lines increased dramatically. Further I needed to deploy my forces for reaction and operations.FitS second take - 13FitS second take - 14

After British lost both carriers, they became inept and there were little progress towards Singapore and generally they were content to keep the Japanese at bay and tie up some air, naval and ground forces. After repulsed a few times in Palau it was evident that Japan would not surrender easily, and when VP count hovered around 9-10 when there were only three turns left, I had to call it.FitS second take - 15FitS second take - 16

When force of four carriers (16 air points!), and associated other crafts made attempt to Palau, and then soundly defeated,

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Mansions of Madness, second scenario

There was an opportunity to play the second scenario in the revised Mansions of Madness, and this time the evident goal was to escape from Innsmouth. Not to go terribly deep into details, all three of us failed miserably, albeit two were nearly successful due to insanity that was setting in. At the end I no longer cared of leaving the town, but rather collect as much stuff that I could – and to that end, a fellow player was taking on monsters a tad too much. To my luck, it happened to be the one player with most of the stuff :D.

MoM-2nd-2nd scenario - 1

Early going, found the first cultist.

So, he died in the harbour, just within my grasp, fighting a angry mob and some other creatures of late. I was hiding and waiting for his demise to dash in to get his possessions but just when that was about to happen, the mob destroyed our way out and the scenario ended. So close, yet so far. I thought that I should have gone into the fry and give a kick or two to my fellow player to expedite his demise, but then I decided discarded the idea. Next time I will not be so kind, should the opportunity rise. ūüėČ

Overall, escape scenario was interesting, albeit we could not quite figure out the way out – mostly because of divided attention of players. There is certain need for co-operation and when one out of three elects to do things his way and not much of co-operate, then well… there goes. Especially when instead of looking for glues, he wanted to beat every monster in the the hopes of the monsters running out. Knowing the time limit built into the system, other two attempted to figure out as much as possible before running out of time. Unfortunately these two operating modes did not really go well together. Especially when we had no weapons.


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Review: Arkham Horror

Arkham Horror.pngArkham Horror is a strange beast intended to set in Lovecraftian world of horrors. It has been on a table now more than enough now and despite many fanatic followers – like the cult of Cthulhu itself, game fails epically where it should not. Fully cooperative games are rarity even today since they are remarkably hard to execute well. I think that I am done with AH.

First impressions – if there is any previous exposure to FFG is the obnoxious sight of small cards and other clutter. However, to Arkham Horror’s credit, it is probably the game starting the small card clutter setup which so many others followed and expanded. Immediately after reading the rules, it is quite evident that in order to play at all, errata & errata of errata equal to the length of the original rulebook need to be incorporated to the game to make it playable (alternatively one may go with very liberal disregard of the rules – and this means most of the rules). On the positive side, ¬†there are no rubbish miniatures, so that can be given a plus. Too many games nowadays feature very low quality “bendyplastic” miniatures, without real purpose besides of inflating production cost, and therefore cost to the consumer.

For playing experience it is notable that Arkham Horror is a game that moves along in glacial speed, yet being random as natural selection. It is a game where everything is measured in geological timescale and if one or more players are inclined to stall – well, you’d better prepare for a long and tedious session indeed. Don’t take it wrong, first half of the first game it was moderately interesting but then the rinse and repeat aspect took over. Move to the gate, close the gate, move to another, rinse and repeat (ad infinitum).

Author claims that the playtime is between 120/240 minutes. In practical terms this would mean that every person in 8 player game would invest 15-30 minutes in the whole game, including setup time and choosing of the characters. Apparently calculation is based on that every player do their turn (much) under one minute. Normally, the game times can be safely doubled, but in case of AH, 4 times the given time is closer to reality, given that all the necessary components are kept neatly ready for play. Unless of course the group has particularly fast players. It is still very long game by any standards, but manageable.

First game was almost okay (afterwards, checking the errata and the errata for the errata, found out number of things that were done wrong because the owner of the game was not well aware of the rules and related corrections). The next one was very tedious and long – albeit shorter than the first, and from the third onwards, well… I don’t know how many times I tried to like the system but it just grew worse every step along the way. There are no surprises, nothing new that would be even a long distance call from interesting. There is nothing Lovecraftian in the setting or theme. Absolutely none. Just same old, over and over again. Variation is superficial, and the narrative is hair thin. Too often, one can feel the effects of aging coming along when opponent is optimizing trivial matters, or just stalling. However, even when playing Arkham Horror even in relatively good speed, one may actually witness the erosion leveling mountains, and continents moving. In short, now, as unfortunate as it is, Arkham Horror has become most¬†arduous and boring not-immediately-broken game I have played.

Yes, I know many people who love the game, and could maybe understand why from the theme point of view, but what strikes me is the amount of fanatic followers of this pseudo-co-op game that is essentially solo game for many people. Now I am inclined to think that it is the blind devotion of FFG which forces people to like everything that they release, regardless.

Sad conclusion is that the theme offers interesting possibilities, but the execution is terrible. In all honesty, the co-op system really does not work. Very liberal interpretation of rules is required even with errata.

Partly the reason why the co-op thing does not work very well is the rules and their liberal application. Playing many solo games over the years, the core of the engine is the rulebook, and if done well, it is necessary to both follow, and limit the possible interpretations to as close to 1 as possible.

In short, complete overhaul of the system, especially the core governing the co-op aspect, and the game engine is needed (in fact, moving backwards to Betrayal at¬†the¬†House on the Hill would be better choice…). Dramatic reduction of clutter and along with it, playtime is also necessary. Currently most of the cards and other things serve no purpose what so ever, except at complications and playtime. For actual result they have very little, or no effect. Because there is currently practically zero interaction between players, every delay multiplies and causes significant downtime and wait. In 6 player setting half an hour wait between turns is on the low side, and many games would easily fit in as fillers. Being co-op game, one should have right to expect that players are required to cooperate in order to win, and not do so just superficially. It is not hard to devise set of rules that govern the co-operation and do get it done in meaningful way.

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Thoughts about Age of Sail

I have thought for some time the reason why it is hard to create Age of Sail game that would be fast to play, rather simple and rewarding. After testing out quite few light and heavy rulesets I have found out one common problem shared by almost all systems that claim to be simple.

Sometimes I wonder if the game designers have any understanding of the evolution of sailing war ships and related tactics at all – not to mention the sailing itself.

Sailing model


Fight of the Poursuivante against the British ship Hercules, 28 June 1803. Oil of canvas, 1819. Louis-Philippe Crépin (1772 Р1851). (source: Wikimedia Commons)

Necessary disclaimer: I have to admit that my sailing experience with square rigger is rather limited, but I have spend some summers sailing with a yawl and should therefore qualify to have experience greater than zero :).

That said, on can say that competent seaman is quite able to say with certain precision the possible positions of three masted square rigger in next three to five minutes. Viewing some of the modern era Tall Ship Race ships maneuver in harbor with sails only gives some idea about more or less concerted movements. Knowing the alignment to the wind, and course, move of such ship are predictable, and necessarily so. Evolutions of sailing ship maneuvers may take a long time. Which brings to a point:

Most of the Age of Sail games assume that the battle starts when the ships from both sides are already in relative positions and pay little heed to how the positions were gained. What is left, is little else to do but to slug it out. What would be needed is a system that allows the ponderous approach and positioning to be played out in quick mode.

However, it is not that sailing model should be excessively complex, in fact very simple one may work much better – at least one has opportunity to complete the games.



The Action and Capture of the Spanish Xebeque Frigate El Gamo (source: Wikimedia Commons)

When someone looks at the real casualty figures, dead and wounded in a naval combat, it is quite evident that the numbers that were inflicted were by no means prohibitively heavy. Many authors describe a heavy casualties when total toll was in their tens in a ship with complement of well over a hundred (there are of course notable exceptions, but that is another matter). It was also pointed out curiously enough that seamen were considered lucky because of the much lower chance of being killed in action than their land lobbing counterparts. Disease and other discomforts existed of course, but they were no alien to common soldiers either.

So, that leads to interesting observation. Most simple games appear to have their weapon systems stolen from much later era while preserving bits of Age of Sail. Interestingly in simple games ships tend to sink, explode or burn all the time while in reality it was ship surrendering well before any of the others happened – if even that. Most curious occurrence was certain very light game where single shot caused three ships out of six to explode or sink after first shot.

Monsoon seasWhen damage that is caused by fire is such that no vessel can take it for more than few shots (common argument is that the firing resembles multiple shots) it renders any attempt to perform reasonable maneuvers invalid (Common maneuver of wearing together for instance to match enemy course and tack would be borderline impossible). While this makes certainly faster games, it is doubtful if it makes the game interesting, or playable in historical context.

How would one preserve the durability of the ship, yet resign from tedious record keeping and at the same time maintain reasonable resemblance of the period rate of fire? How to account the smoke resulting black powder gunnery? Crew fatigue and other considerations without making a game too complex and tedious?

So gunnery is a major issue in many games that claim to be fast. It is just much too effective, or too little effective, but in a wrong way.

Command and Control

SCA.FPSo it rises question what is the interesting and rewarding aspect in Age of Sail? Over the years I’ve come to think that it is the command and control challenge and maneuvering in the tactical setting, more than the micromanagement of every single ship of the fleet.

Command system is absent in most games, and if implemented, it is only superficial, far too generous, considering that the players have option to see everything happening in the map. A capacity that most admirals would have greatly appreciated.

There are some systems – namely Signal Close Action that has paid significant amount of detail in the command and control system. Admittedly it is the most complex part of the rules, but it does give pretty good concepts of fixed signal book, message delivery, message relaying and limited freedom to act within the constraints of the signal. It does of course mean that players have to play in gentlemanly manner and respect the intention of the signals, but also it does give immense depth to the subject.

SCAWhen playing the game without signals, every ship has capability to do whatever they like to do. However, with signals, the story is wholly different. Now entire fleet is subservient to single commanding officer that sets out the grand strategy through means of extremely limited signaling system. One can of course address whole fleet, or just single ship, but doing that means that everyone else is left to act upon the previous signal – usually continue on same course and sail settings.

Relaying messages causes delays in the signal delivery and every signal has possibility of failure. It may be that when ships are engaged, there is no more practical means for receiving signal (or acknowledge it). In short, you lose the control at the moment the fleets are engaged. Precisely on the moment you’d need that hand of god.

Age of Sail command and control system is a reminiscent of ancients battles, where strategy may have been formed, and once units engaged, there were nothing that could be done, but to fight it out.

However, while signaling system is a crucial part of Age of Sail, there is still something that no game system has done well. Bringing in the point of…

Forgotten detail: Fleet PreservationClose Action

It sounds insignificant detail, but it is not. Fleet morale rules dictate the time when fleets are either forced to separate, or officers are losing heart. Too many otherwise fine games assume, quite wrongly, that engagements would rage on until there are no opposing ships afloat.

However, historically it was very rarely the case – and game wise it is rather stupid assumption.

When Suffren fought in India, no ships changed hands, yet it is the most active era of French navy. In general before the Napoleonic era (eg. before the revolutionaries decided to decimate the officer core) it was rare occasions that battles ended up with only one side remaining. It was rare even in the most decisive battles.

There are few things to consider, and these are not minor details, but dictate even some foundation assumptions in Age of Sail. Any fleet that has lost few ships will have hard time keeping up the fighting spirits, while opposing side would see every struck enemy vessel as a fuel to fight even harder, because it was known to landslide. Finding the critical point when the avalanche of losses becomes unbearable is quite difficult. Yet the overall fragility of the fleet would contribute to the preferred tack, and also to some extend the gunnery. Considering the options, fleet prone to low morale, or non-combat escort mission would more likely opt to disable enemy to continue with the mission, rather than capture or force surrender.

Rebel seasFor example, wind cage may be preferred because, if executed right, it allows one side to decide the point of attack, especially if sailing by the wind in parallel lines. However, one could see leeward side as better opportunity for escape, should battle go awry. Having significant rigging damage, it becomes hard to withdraw from the windward tack, therefore choosing leeward side may therefore be fully intentional. Additionally, in heavy seas, leeward side may allow lower deck gunnery more readily.

There it is then. So far, a Fleet Preservation has been elusive rule. I have not seen it executed well in any game, and therefore it has been necessary to make gentleman agreement on the conditions when fleets should separate. Some house rules have been attempted, but unfortunately they have not turned out to be satisfactory.

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Signal Close Action – de Ternay vs. Graves

It came to our attention that Graves were sailing in the vicinity of the Bay but it was necessary to deliver the troops and take the risk of encountering the fleet. Unfortunately we could no slip to the bay without the British noticing and we had to prepare for battle. Hope of having one ship superiority was turned down by sight of London (98), a large three decker. Duc de Bourgogne, now carrying complement of 80 guns is no match to London, and regardless of my attempts I have not been able to gain windward side in the coming engagement. British fleet, sailing in parallel, opposing course may choose quite freely the avenue of their attack, and I have only few options available. Ternay - 1.png

Why not set up the table outside for a chance?

British fleet under Graves
Resolution (74)
Prudent (64)
London (98)
Royal Oak (74)
America (64)
Bedford (74)

French fleet under de Ternay
Neptune (74)
Jason (64)
Provence (64)
Bourgogne (80)
Eveille (64)
Ardent (64)
Conquerant (74) Ternay - 2We have some disorder among the line, and I have to make signal to everyone form a line stern Neptune and observe the British fleet maneuvers evolving. Waiting aggressive attack from the windward side, British are content to fire from long range, and not many of our vessels have received substantial damage. They have now parallel to our line, and I cannot see British attempting nothing but wearing together, or in succession to concentrate fire in the Ternay - 3

I have now for some time contemplated Рbecause of the British caution not to close in the usual aggressive way, to maneuver against the British by tacking in succession, now that none of the enemy ships appear to have inclination to attack more closely. By tacking, I had opportunity to gain both superior force against now apparently weak British rear. After all, America (64) appears to have suffered significantly under the fire of our van. Ternay - 4

I sent out the signal to wear in succession and Neptune acted promptly. However, Jason was not apparently aware of the development, and collided with tacking Neptune, throwing the whole line in disarray. Provence had to take measures to avoid collision, and everybody else scrambled to reduce sail when realizing what has happened in the van. These unfortunate events provided golden opportunity for the British, and they waited not exploiting the opportunity. Entire British fleet now bore down on our line, and Eveille(64) was especially hard beaten by much larger London (98) Ternay - 5

Luckily enough, my good officer manning Eveille (64) fought until to reasonable end, and then slipped behind Due de Bourgogne, and Ardent (64) & Conquerant (74) took her place in the line. Undoubtedly this saved Eveille from the immediate danger and gave her much needed respite. I can only ardor the dedication of her crew for putting up a stiff resistance against such monstrous broadside London (98) could Ternay - 6

Meanwhile, Neptune (74) followed by Jason (64) and Provence (64) had finished their tack and were now sailing aggressively against America (64), Royal Oak (74) and London (98).  In the rear, good officers of Ardent (64) and Conquerant (74) concentrated on Prudent which had ill chances to survive concentrated fire for much longer. However, British finally finisher their wear, and line was, from the most part parallel to ours. Now London (98) and Royal Oak (74) found their marks and what I could tell from the smoke engulfing Jason (74) and Provence (64), they were both in grave Ternay - 7

Now, having the lee side, and not being able to perform the tack, I had difficult decision to make. I could only call for retreat, since fleet was now effectively split in half. By luck we lost no ship to the enemy, nor did none of English surrender. Ternay - 8

Eveille (64), Neptune (74) and Jason (64) all suffered gravely. What I can tell, only America (64), and Prudent (64) suffered comparably. It is evident that due to the untimely collision of our leading ships, the intended maneuver could not be executed in timely manner, causing us to lose critical initiative.

This time Signal Close Action was played with optional signaling rules, and it did make complex maneuvering very dangerous. Inherently difficult maneuver, such like tacking in battle is insane to start with, but with signaling rules in play, it becomes suicidal. If something goes wrong – and it will, there is nothing one can do to change it. Ships in absence of annul, or other signal will have to follow the one they had. Any correction or annul takes at least, if lucky, one turn to reach the ships. By then, order such as wear in succession has already been executed at least by one or two leading ships. Recalling them to perform tack again, or wear is, well… Ternay - 9

It was evident that once word was out to the fleet, there were no practicable way to annul the signal and change mind. Delay, albeit only one turn, has dramatic effect on the overall fleet control. Everything relies on the signals, their timely execution and decision when to send them out.  Yet again, excellent, fast and very realistic game, given the simplified system that SCA:FP is. I fully acknowledge that the full system would, especially in this particular tactical scenario give very, very good game indeed. Ternay - 10

Final evolutions before the recall of French Fleet. British let the French slip – mostly due to their own developing disorder – while two ships could have immediately start chase, they would also have to face the whole French fleet, should they be separated too far.

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Fire in the Sky – American disaster

We had an opportunity to play Fire in The Sky – my favorite take on the Pacific war and I had the honor of playing American side of the story. I have to admit that the American problem – excessive flow of wrong material at the wrong time is a bit frustrating – especially if opposition manages to snatch CV’s away early on.

My opponent opted not to go for the Pearl Harbor to my amazement, but instead put up a strike force that guaranteed the flow of oil and to take out Port Moresby and Guadalcanal. Besides of that, he was rather conservative in the oil expenditure, and reserves were building up quite nicely – especially near disaster near Wake that reminded Japanese that American CV threat is real. Unfortunately US TF did not manage to cause damage nor hits to the Japanese, but they certainly treated more carefully afterwards.FiS - 1

At the start of the second turn, Japan could transport 8 and after third, when Singapore fell, 12. From then on, he kept hoarding – and then only focused on severing the link between Australia and Pearl Harbor keeping reactionary force at hand. Until Guadalcanal, the attack went surgically and like knife in the butter. Cost however was that spent units were not redeployed into the front lines, and holes started to appear into Japanese umbrella.

Of course I tried over and over again block the eventual doom from happening but my every attempt met end in the hands of the carrier force – or some other disaster. Hard task when moving single 4 step infantry unit to anywhere near Guadalcanal cost half the available transport capacity and fleets faring not much better. Deploying even a small reactionary force to keep eye on the Japanese operations in the region had tremendous cost. American single carriers were vulnerable to extreme. It is not to say that my opponent did not make tactical and strategic mistakes – far from it. However, they were completely offset by my own incompetency ;).

FiS - 2

However, losing a CV and AACL in same turn to two submarines is something to tell home about, a bad thing not because of losses – they would be replaced, but because of the region the losses occurred – in Gilberts. At the time, only viable position to threat Japanese ops and drag them into fighting on ground of my choosing. That was the moment things started to hit the fan – repeatedly.

Our take on battle in Guadalcanal featured – remarkably enough – carrier hide and seek where both sides launched strikes against another simultaneously, and while Americans mortally wounded Shokaku and Zuikaku, Lexington paid the price and sunk. Two smaller Japanese carriers were damaged but made it back home. Not in any shape to continue fight, American TF limbed back to home and for the moment it seemed that Guadalcanal and Port Moresby were safe.

FiS - 3

Far from it. Despite the reinforcements that New Zelanders received in Port Moresby they were subject to vigorous attack from the Japanese ground forces, apparently infuriated by the fact that every call for support from Japanese navy, or air forces had failed in past months. After the latest batch of reinforcements, Port Moresby fell to Japanese hands, and not a long after, first troops landed practically unopposed in Brisbane.

Mind that at this time Manila, nor Leyte were not taken yet and both were well within the Japanese gasp would they wish to do so. For Americans, there were nothing that could have stopped it from happening.¬†Loss of Brisbane was to have catastrophic results. In fact, when American final attempts to alleviate the situation miserably failed, and VP’s were mounting, I conceded.

Lesson learnt. Never leave your backdoor unguarded – and American CV’s are indeed very vulnerable if fighting alone, and not in the ground of their choosing. Given that the reaction distance is only half of the movement allowance, even the fastest vessels have range of four. Therefore, guarding region of Solomons or New Guinea does require local reactionary strike force standing by all the time. A hard task even if there is no Japanese air umbrella in place – which will surely extend as operations move forward, additionally hindering naval ops.

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ASL – Puma Prowls

Puma Prowls is one of my ASL favorites – all vehicles scenario featuring four of my favorite 4 rad armored cars (PSW 234/2) versus Russian T-70 tankettes. Puma’s are, albeit lightly armored, quite well armed and therefore they can bring to bear quickly. With 33 movement points, they can get to almost any position in the map as long as roads are present. 50L gun with 2 ROF guarantees that they can hit a target far and efficiently.

If something, Puma does have one drawback. Light armor makes it vulnerable to enemy fire. Utilization of mobility, smoke dispensers and every conceivable hull down position is essential. Because armored cars can take the fight anywhere, there is little need to put up a pitched battle when situation is not favorable.

We chose the sides in random, and I had the luxury of getting the T-70 tankettes. Only positive thing about them – like most Russian AFV was that I had five and 9-2 armor leader against his four and 9-1 armor leader. T-70 is a small thing, in late war – when everyone should have already known better, it still has a slow traverse single man turret with 45L gun and no radio.

In plain terms it means platoon movement, no flexibility and n ability to gain benefit of crew exposure (knowing that Puma has quite good MG, I doubt it would make difference there anyway). So Pumas had the upper hand in mobility, raw gunnery, while I had advantage of numbers and better leadership.

It was Russians who moved first, and already expended half of their MP’s were not going to get very far out. ¬†Pumas however got pretty far and my task changed quite rapidly from advance to figuring out the best defensive postures. So, I got to the walls first and several shots were exchanged. Albeit Puma’s armor is weak, it was tough enough that my initial shots did not find their way through. Puma crew however took out one of the T-70’s and made burning wreck out of it. Now, my one platoon had single vehicle, and no platoon restrictions. Good. Another Puma came in for the kill, when first shot missed, only to get a critical hit through intensive fire. Not bad. A bit of standoff resulted, where few shots were exchanged – T-70 in the location of the burning wreck and Puma in the open. Situation favoring the T-70, Puma decided to evacuate the position and rely in it’s mobility.

Shortly after one Puma lost the main armament and was recalled, while another T-70 went up in flames. That was followed by another Puma down with intensive fire critical hit, and two T-70’s with malfunctioning gun. Another one of those was dispatched by last remaining Puma, before I moved around the town center with my last remaining half-platoon and tank leader to kill the last Puma.

T70’s killed three, and three with three losses of their own. One Puma was recalled, and one T-70 had no functioning MA at the end. So, it was 3VP each for the kills, and 2 for getting one T-70 out with functioning MA.

Puma prowls - 1

Moment before the last shot that killed the last remaining Puma. After that, it was smooth sailing to the recon mission that the Russians were performing.

It was very good game, albeit I had unfair advantage of playing the weaknesses of the armored cars while he was not used to the intricacies of them. Instead of allowing Germans the luxury of the walls, or long range fire, I drew the enemy into town fight where my small tankettes were not so much disadvantaged. Close range fire and small target silhouette is a benefit for the Russians.

That said, the last Puma really started to use the mobility and smoke capacity instead of just putting up a slogging match and was much harder to kill that the first two. Again, lesson learnt, Puma’s are very dangerous when wounded. ūüôā

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