Jeff Buser and I play on Sunday evenings. Jeff is a better player than I am, but we get along good and he will play anything, anytime, anywhere. We originally got together on-line playtesting some future French stuff for Steve Swann, then he picked up a couple of night scenarios with me. After the second one, I asked him if he would like to play all of my desert scenarios with me in chronological order. Of course he would. Turns out, the actual number of desert scenarios I have is miniscule and not all of the scenarios I picked out are desert, but simply located in Africa. So we are playing all of my Africa scenarios.
A61 however, is a true desert scenario and there’s not much to it. This is an early desert scenario, and by that, I mean it was released in an annual and pretty close to when the desert boards were released, so in my opinion, for what it’s worth, it looks and plays like a scenario released when desert ASL was in it’s infancy. Jeff got the British and I got the Italians.
It’s an armor scenario, but this is truly NOT the typical definition of armor. British Rolls Royce and Morris armored cars attack an Italian line of trucks on a track. The trucks are protected (if you want to call it that) by Italian L3 tankettes. Six are escorting the trucks and six more enter on turn 4. The trucks are not allowed to exit until turn 3.
Now, there are a slew of things going on here and all make a difference. First, I want to say that on ROAR, the Italians are heavily favored 23-13 so we gave the British the balance which made the Italian reinforcements come on on turn 5 instead of 4. Now, here are all the extras:
Italian crews are inexperienced.
There is an Italian 65mm gun en portee in one of the trucks. As I read the relevant rules, it seems it takes three full turns to unload and set it up.
If the truck with the gun is destroyed it is 5 Desert Victory Points (DVP) by itself.
Italian AFV are radioless, but may not use platoon movement.
The British have three armor leaders for their 5 ACs.
There is vehicle dust
There is Intense Heat Haze
Light dust is in effect.
British AC are all 3 DVP each, Italian trucks and Tankettes are 2 DVP each
The armored cars have 23 and 24 mp each.
Jeff brought his first two ACs on and made a beeline for the trucks. It took us about a single fire phase to realize that firing main armaments at moving vehicles with vehicle dust and a light dust roll was a non starter. In order to win Jeff had to have six more DVP than I did and the quickest way to get a DVP advantage was to kill trucks.
Overrun was the answer. Armored cars in open desert terrain spend 1mp per hex, avoiding Hammada. So Jeff had plenty of points to spend for overrun. Once he got into the line, he hid himself with the truck vehicle dust and overran as many trucks as he could. My L3 Tankettes were helpless. Naturally, the first truck to be overrun was the one with the gun.
So, we think the ROAR results must be taken with a grain of salt. Some things we wonder are, did the games that were reported realize that the trucks had to be overrun to rack up points? Was the vehicle dust and dust rolls added to shots. Small target, double small target? And most importantly, the Italian tankettes may not use platoon movement, but there is nothing that says they can skip their non-platoon movement task checks, did the Italian players roll for the ability to simply move a tankette? With an inexperienced crew? That means they had to roll a 6 or less just to move.
Our game ended with the ACs running off behind a hillock, forming a group, ahead by 13 points while the Tankettes failed their non-platoon rolls.
All six tankettes on the right failed their movement rolls on the second to last turn meaning I would have to pass rolls, move and fire with a dust roll, inexperienced crews, and small targets.
With all due respect to the Italian players before us, we think you missed something, somewhere.
We learned a lot, and while I can’t say this was much fun, it was interesting.
I can’t recommend this scenario. Jeff and I are off to play Showdown at Tug Argan Pass in Somaliland next, it should be interesting.
Thanks for reading.