Thursday, October 16, 2014

Road Clearing - Post Game Analysis

Alright, as promised here comes the post-game analysis.

As a reminder, I´ll repost my Pre-Game analysis and work from that base:

 This game will be tough for me as the Taliban player. These Veterans will likely be able to inflict some damage and the worst thing that can happen to me is losing Leaders. I´ll have to preserve my leadership at all cost even if it means keeping them out of sight of those marksmen and detaching them from the local troops, drastically reducing their efficiency.
The PID-checks should give me a small head-start as do the Ambush-cards. Should allow me to chose my fights and strike hard where I want to.
Biggest problem will be to reach the ambush locations in time to set up an effective ambush. Hopefully my IEDs and dummies can slow the enemy down long enough for me to maneuver in. Once in position, I should be able to provide pretty effective fire on close range... hopefully some elements are pinned at that point, otherwise I might be on the receiving end before I get to act.

So, to be honest, it wasn´t as hard as I expected. We had a nice post-game summary discussing why this was the case and it came down to the following points:

I had expected to feel a lot more pressure on my chain of command. I dreaded the combination of Marksmen and Veteran units that could have taken out my leaders with ease once they had line of sight. But they never even bothered trying. In fact, a lot of the final result was due to playing the US list below its capacity. Combine that with some bad dice (or good dice for me) and you end up with the bloody mess you can see in the BatRep.

The game started out badly for me with a wonky initiative roll putting me on the backburner for the first turn, delaying my setup of the ambush. Fortunately I was still able to bring my forces into an L-shaped ambush position while the US Forces approached.
Once I commenced the assault it went downhill for the US as they never even tried to turn the tables.

Two blatant mistakes where: The lack of Overwatch to threaten my units - the psychological effect of having a Stryker on Overwatch can do a lot to restrict your ability to act. The fact that he gets a Bonus on reaction tests AND gets to interrupt multiple activations does wonders to inhibit your opponents - if you´re not trying to actively suppress a unit to prepare an assault or more your vehicle, Overwatch can be a powerful tool, not only on the offense.

Second mistake was the lack of smoke. Being under constant observation from a leader with radio connection to a mortar battery is never good (and even worse if he is as lucky as my guy was) so breaking Line of Sight can help a great deal (also against direct fire weapons) and give you the time you need to regroup and rally your troops.

Apart from those two un-used mechanics the US forces weren´t used in the best way possible. Conducting a counter-ambush assault towards the south would have broken line of sight with the ambushing troops on the eastern table end and potentially crushed the very thin Taliban presence in the treeline.

Alternative plan
In the dense terrain the Veterans could have played to their strengths - they are quicker to react, shoot better and have some decent chance of killing enemy troops at close distance. Of course getting close and personal also comes with the danger of losing troops easier, but there´s no risk-free option in combat

Pushin down to the south would either have forced me to retreat to the east, relieving pressure from the road or resist and go down fighting, but on American terms - not on mine.

With the southern part of the road cleared the Americans could have resumed the fight against my troops in the east, taking them apart piece by piece.

The way it played out, the US player was stunned and didn´t really act, so I got to do my bidding. And even veterans don´t survive long if caught in the open. They need to be in cover to fully exploit their superior skill, otherwise they will get pinned easily and suffer from reduced efficiency and take casualties and be occupied with stabilising the critically wounded.

Bringing no Medic was the another big mistake, he could have stabilized some of the critically wounded, freeing precious resources for offensive action.

Playing the way he did the US Forces would have needed Heavy Air Support...

Alright, on to the observations on the game mechanics:
There´s not much to say. The system works quite well by now, but there are some points for fine-tuning we discovered:

-RPGs are to expensive: Anti-Tank weaponry should have reduced cost to reflect their limited amount of ammo if played without an ammo bearer / assistant. So the cost will be reduced by 30-50% to reflect that

-Up-Armored vehicles are to easy to kill: The critical shot of the game was due to Small arms dealing too much damage to up-armored softskins. We´ll reduce the chances of small arms killing an up-armored vehicle by adding another modifier. Only heavy volume fire should be able to penetrate these vehicles.

-HMGs are too inaccurate. Time and time again the M2s fired and missed - too much missing for my taste. We reviewed the statistics and found that it was too hard for HMGs to hit, so we brought it back in line with the to-hit chances for infantry.

And that´s it. Some more ideas where spawned, but that´s nothing relevant to this game in particular. We both feel that we´re on the right track!

Thanks for reading through to this point, we hope you enjoyed the insight and hope that we´ve caught your interest.  If you want to know more, subscribe and/or tune in for the weekly developer diaries every sunday!

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