Well… it’s been a rough month for gaming. Mark is always busy during April, but this month has been worse than normal, with work putting a lot of extra stress on his schedule. Jason was busy, and Zjonni had some free time, but is already being buried under classes again.

So, our big game day yesterday turned into just me and Patch. In deciding what to do, ASL was initially decided against because of prep and setup time. But, I pointed out we were due to start a scenario Monday night, and we had our setups worked out already. So, we ended up playing DA8, Gruppo Mobile, FtF for the first time in… 5 years (yikes).

Sicily, 1943, elite American squads versus nine Italian MR/35(f)s. Since they’re worth 6 VP each, the Italians have to exit four of them off the south edge after moving through one and a half deluxe boards lengthwise (22 hexes). They’re not very fast, but the American anti-tank abilities are a little limited: two DCs, two BAZ, and a 37mm ATG that enters on the first turn. Bad news for the Italians is they only have five turns. Bad news for the Americans is that the ATG comes with a HS instead of a crew.

By ROAR, the scenario is tilted towards the Americans, so Patch took the Italians with the balance (8 morale for the Inherent crews). He missed the SSR about the tanks only having half movement on the first turn, so he had to re-do his opening setup and was forced to use both roads onto the board to get everyone into play.

My setup was not bad, but it was a little too forward, and when I had him right in front of me on the first turn, I tried to engage instead of falling back to keep in front of him as I should have. My die luck was not what I could have hoped for. One BAZ went away on its second shot, and while the first shot hit, it failed to penetrate.

However, while things really got away from me on the east side on the second turn, I stunned three of his tanks as they tried to get going on the west side. I did knock one out in the east, but the other three got away from me. I had set up the ATG on the west road, and Patch barely managed an OVR, which didn’t do anything to either side, leaving a MR/35, ATG, 10-2, and Jeep all in the same hex.

On my second turn, I rushed after his fleeing tanks with most of my forces, while leaving a couple squads to deal with the stunned (now flipped to +1) tanks. One squad successfully ran up and placed a DC, blowing his rear tank in the east. (Cool! I’ve only had DCs a couple times, and it’s the first time I’ve used one….)

The third turn really broke things open for him. Patch exited two tanks, and had two more ready to exit. I was only able to reach one of them in my turn, so I would have to kill it and try to stop everything else he had. Not that it had been that easy for him. He had broken the second DC squad on my turn two as it raced up to kill another tank, and I had moved the 10-2 to rally him. Since they were positioned adjacent to the road the three stunned tanks had to use, and he was using CE to get distance, he ate a lot of attacks. With a 667 and 10-2, there was a six resid, and a pair of 2 resids to go through, and they made five FPF attacks against them as they went roaring by. And they threw the DC, but couldn’t connect.

In my turn three, I missed with another BAZ shot, failed PAATCs on two CCs, and failed CC on the tank I had to kill. Game over at the start of turn 4.

It’s actually a nice scenario, I recommend playing it—once. There’s not a lot of great decision making for the Italians, which hurts, but the Americans need thought since the AT capabilities are a bit limited. I also think it’s a bit more balanced than ROAR indicates, because I get the feeling that much of the time the Italians don’t pay enough attention to a tight schedule (don’t let the turn 4 win fool you, there’s not a lot of movement to spare), rather like the typical beginner problem with Fighting Withdrawal.

Cross-posted on GameSquad.