With all the time we were starting to put into Festung Budapest, I mentioned to Patch that maybe we should look at doing more VotG scenarios. Patch immediately mentioned the very odd VotG23 “Heroes of the Soviet Union” from Journal 9. I had been thinking more in terms of going through them systematically, like the FB scenarios, but what the hey…. We started in July 2012:

Five and a half turns on a tiny corner of the VotG map at night. The Germans get a horrible little force of five leaders and 3 vehicle crews (1-2-7), with three machine guns and 24 factors of mines. On turn 1 they get three HS that have to patrol along the roads. Once the action starts, they can act normally, and the Germans get another HS+leader. Oh, and all the German leaders get 1 FP with range four. (Like a hero, but without the Heroic DRM.)

The Russians have… six men. Four wounded heroes, a wounded heroic 9-2 and a heroic 7-0. They need to get 8 VP (exit off the east side, or casualty, as long as at least one VP is from exit).

It’s the tiniest scenario I’ve ever seen, and I doubt anything will ever break that record.

Patch wanted the Germans, though he forgot to check the VotG SSRs, and missed that he didn’t actually get any HIP. I looked at his cordon, and set out for the north-east corner, where things were thinnest. I quickly ran into trouble because roofless buildings cost 3MF, and my Cloaks only have 4MF to begin with (reduced from the normal 6 by SSR), which kept me out on the streets more than I liked.

With no known units out there, all Patch had to do was enter his patrolling HSes and send them down the streets. The only die roll all turn was the Wind Change DR, which promptly lowered the NVR to 1.

VotG23 1
Situation, Turn 1, including the routes of the entering German infantry.

I found out on my second turn that the cordon was thinner to the north because that’s where all the mines were.

Cloak K found mines in II40, but Patch rolled ‘9’ on entry and exit for no effect, so he opened fire with the 7-0 for a PTC that eliminated the Dummy. That still generated a gunflash, which he used for a couple starshell attempts, getting both and lighting up the important part of the board. He also opened up with the MMG in KK41, but didn’t get a result.

Cloak E advanced into more mines in HH39 for a 1MC which revealed my 7-0 but didn’t hurt him. This was annoying, since it revealed my only non-wounded unit, and eliminated a bunch of No Move markers. Cloak A tried the mines, but got a PTC to reveal it as a Dummy.

Patch had refused to attack a couple of Cloaks in CC on his turn with one of his patrols; with a -1 (lax and concealed) vs a -3 (stealthy and concealed, with a possible leader modifier to boot) for Ambush, I don’t blame him. I therefore went after the adjacent patrol with Cloak B on my turn, and muffed the Ambush. I got a ‘2’ on the CC to knock him out, but I had to reveal two Heroes (still retaining the Cloak for a third unit), which freed up movement on the other patrols and gave him his second reinforcement early.

VotG23 2R
Situation, Russian Turn 2.

NVR went back up to 3 on Patch’s turn. Of course, at this scale, one starshell can light up everything important. Patch two Prep shots, and the MMG got a ‘2’ to reveal Cloak D as a Dummy.I put up a single starshell, which was right in the middle of the action. The new HS+leader entered into JJ38, while other units moved around, and his ‘?’ in KK42 took off for the south, marking him as one of the 8-0s heading to grant Freedom of Movement.

After advance, I felt the walls closing in. There was now a large stack directly in my projected path, the rest of his mobile units were in the way, and more would be coming soon. Not a lot of room to maneuver, and not much time.

VotG23 2G
Situation, German Turn 2.

Patch made six starshell attempts on my turn, but only got one off, which drifted SW, illuminating the CC stack from last turn, but nothing else. It also revealed KK42 as a real unit, when I had been thinking it was a likely Dummy. On the other hand, I was pretty sure that FF38 was a Dummy, as he didn’t join in the starshell jamboree.

I also realized just how bad losing Cloak was. Night, wounded, in terrain that often costs 3MF. Cloak C found more mines in HH38; the resulting 1MC stripped concealment, but only did not affect the hero and 9-1 because they couldn’t pin. For final fire he managed to wound the 7-0, who was the only unwounded unit I started with.

I advanced into FF38 which was indeed a Dummy. I advanced two stacks into II39, managing to survive exiting the mines with no more than another wound (non-fatal) on the 9-2. I managed to get Ambush, which was really needed since it was 3FP to 4. I went all in on my gamble, attacked everything at 1:2 odds HtH with a -2, needing to roll an Original 8 just to reduce him a unit.

DR: 2

VotG23 3R
Situation, Russian Turn 3.

NVR went up again to 4 for Patch’s third turn. Which was needed as I failed three out of three starshell attempts. Of course, with my firepower, I couldn’t touch him anyway. Patch ran his troops north, eventually parking most of his available units into one big stack in JJ41, while the MMG shifted to more directly block my path.

VotG23 3G
Situation, German Turn 3.

Patch recombined the two remaining patrol HSes during my rally, creating a 8-0, 548 ‘?’ stack. (Presumably, that last was a 127 with MG.) He only bothered with one starshell attempt (KK39), which failed.

I started by shuffling the rearward heros east and south, hoping that some sort of gap might open up as Patch raced to block everyone else. The remaining Hero in Cloak B went forward and died of a wound caused by the MMG, after successfully taking two minefield attacks without result. I drip-fed the stack in II39 INTO the shellholes in JJ39, surviving SFF and residual attacks without result.

Patch revealed the HMG in JJ41 for a 12 +2 attack that still got no result (Patch had had only one decent roll the entire turn). I realized a little late that I probably should have tried for a starshell to try and blind that hex. He finally got a good roll (2!) as a hero advanced out of the mines to kill him.

I naturally piled into KK39 with my killer stack, though the debris forced me CX. I got Ambush again, and easily killed the crew there with a 3:1 HtH attack.

VotG23 4R
Situation, Russian Turn 4.

Patch got Civilian Interrogation for his Wind Change roll, and revealed my only concealed unit. I got a starshell up on my first attempt and managed to light up the big stack while leaving my guys out in the dark. I wasn’t going to mess with that result and left it at that.

He moved to aim the big stack right at my big stack, but had to bypass KK42 to do it, which was in easy LOS of my separated hero, who got a NMC to pin the 548. Also, his crew rolled a ‘2’, to activate my Sniper, who… reduced his Sniper to 0. (It had been very close to hitting the moving stack.)

VotG23 4G
Situation, German Turn 4.

There was indeed something of a gap left in Patch’s line, but I just couldn’t move fast enough to get through it before I could be intercepted. I scattered my stack in the north, but still lost a hero to a failed 3MC/wound on a 16 +0 attack. There just wasn’t anywhere to go, but adjacent to him. Final Fire generated a 8 +2 against the 7-0, but he passed the resulting 1MC.

I piled the remaining two leaders into LL39, got Ambush (again), and Withdrew off the map for a win. I had 6 CVP already, and that gained me another three EVP for a comfortable win with another full turn to go.

VotG23 5R
Situation, Russian Turn 5.

It’s a very different scenario. Due to it’s tiny size, it’s going to be dicey, and I could see one bad die roll killing the Russian’s chances before they even get close (I pointed out to Patch that one multiple KIA roll at the wrong time would have doomed me). But they hold a lot of subtle advantages, if they can keep them and use them. I don’t think it will stand up to repeated play, but it is worth playing, just to see how crazy it can get.

This was also my third win against Patch during 2012, which was nice for making up for lost time….

Patch wrote:

“4th minefield was in JJ40.”

“I didn’t anticipate how much trouble it would be to hurt the Soviets, though my dice didn’t help. Still, the heroes shrugged off a lot of MCs, and largely waltzed right through the minefields.”

“If I were to do it again, I think I’d try and keep leaders concealed for the ambush bonus in CC. Rindis constantly ambushed me, and I went down hard every time. I might switch to larger strength minefields as well to try and improve the odds of a 2MC.”

“A crazy, quick scenario.”