You may have noticed that I’m kind of obsessed with Combat Commander right now.
Patrick Pence, of Patrick’s Tactics and Tutorials Youtube fame, runs a Combat Commander ladder on Boardgame Geek where players play one scenario a month against others on the ladder.
Essentially, it’s a ranking system and you (usually) play the player that’s above you or below you on the ladder.
After playing some PBEM games with Michal from the Boardgame Chronicle, I decided to join the Ladder and get some real-time games in against multiple opponents.
My first game was last night, and it was a hell of a lot of fun! Steve C from the ladder volunteered to play against me since the guy I would normally play couldn’t play this month.
This month’s scenario was called Sonnenwende, a struggle between German troops and Soviet troops in the streets of Berlin in 1945.
I was assigned the Germans and Steve the Soviets.
The Soviets have a ton of Assault troops and SMG troops as well as flamethrowers and satchel charges designed to take out bunkers. They also have powerful artillery.
The Germans have elite SS troops as well as conscripts, as well as a couple of heavy machine guns, a number of bunkers and trenches, wire and mines that will fortify the defense of the main building (Objective 5 in the north of the map).
Here’s the initial setup.
One bunker behind all that wire in the north, and then one each in the street in the south covering crossroads. There are also trenches in and next to the objective building too.
I set up heavy in the Objective 5 building, though I did spare my other leader, HMG, and two of the bunkers for the southern area to prevent any Soviet escapes. A couple of wire in front of the HMG in the main building would prevent any satchel charge or flamethrowers from attacking the main bunker, at least in a frontal assault.
The Soviets have a pretty substantial force that can be split in order to be heavy both in the south and north.
Sadly, things didn’t start out well for Steve as his first direct fire against the bunker, with two Sustained Fire actions played, resulted in the elimination of one of his LMGs when he *also* drew a Jammed trigger.
The artillery was largely ineffective, though he did manage to hit a couple of times. Thankfully the Germans were able to do an Artillery Denied order on my first turn that kept it quiet for a large part of the early game when it would have been most useful.
Also, on his first artillery to hit roll of the game in his first turn, he drew a Time trigger. It was way too early to be advancing that! So he gave me the initiative and I kept it the rest of the game.
The Soviets continued to take shots, both at Objective 5 and when the southern Soviets managed to advance to within range of the German bunkers in the road.
However, between bad dice draws and the fact that every time the German units broke, I happened to have drawn a Recover card and swiftly rallied them, Steven couldn’t get much traction going.
The German mortar was largely useless (though I forgot to fire it one time when I could have). It took one shot, missed at 3 range, and the one Soviet success is that the squad manning the mortar kept breaking. A lucky malfunction event just as the squad rallied didn’t help, and the next random hex check eliminated the mortar.
Thankfully the Germans didn’t need it!
It didn’t help the Soviet cause that a Strategic Objective event came up, and the objective drawn was that Objective 5 is worth 2 points, making the building even more valuable!
Then the Germans drew a Walking Wounded event, but the game had been so bloodless so far that the only eliminated unit was a Soviet Assault squad! And it appeared right next to the Trench in the street (I should have put it in the Trench and used Close Combat, but I didn’t want to chance it)
Time was marching on and the Soviets tried to get close to the objective building, only to blunder into some more wire right in front of the Trench in the street.
There would be no “Assault Fire – Satchel Charge” on the Trench this day!
That was pretty much it. The Soviets just couldn’t crack any of the bunkers, at least not long enough to do anything. German recovery was usually swift!
The first Sudden Death trigger on round 10 was a 5 and since the Germans had kept initiative since the first Soviet artillery roll, that was the end of the game with 27 German points.
This turned out to be an entirely bloodless affair after the Walking Wounded event. There were no eliminated units at all at the end of the game.
I think that’s a rarity!
Thanks so much to Steve for a good game and for being a good sport when things just weren’t going his way.
I’m looking forward to June’s game now!
Combat Commander Ladder – After Action Reports
May 2021 – Scenario #112 – Sonnenwende
July 2021 – Scenario #23 – No Man’s Land
August 2021 – Scenario #34 – Encircled at Hill 30
September 2021 – Scenario A – Grassy Knoll
October 2021 – Scenario M6 – Breakout
November 2021 – Scenario #35 – Spartakovka Salient