It’s March (almost the end) and it’s time for another report from the Combat Commander ladder, run by the effervescent Patrick Pence of Patrick’s Tactics & Tutorials fame.
This game happened late in March, so I was having a bit of withdrawal as my February game was early!
But it’s always nice to welcome a new
victim player into the ladder, and this month’s opponent was Brad F, a newcomer. He was even in my time zone so it made deciding when to play a lot easier.
I won last month, so could I make it two in a row?
Let’s find out!
The Man Who Would Be King is a scenario out of the Combat Commander Battle Pack #6: Operation Sea Lion pack of scenarios, a hypothetical set where Adolf Hitler decided to go through with the aforementioned operation and invade Great Britain.
In this scenario, a group of hooligans from the British Union of Fascists (BUF) decide to break out their leader, Oswald Mosley, from Holloway Prison. The Germans weren’t willing to do it themselves (their troops being occupied elsewhere in Britain), but they did give some arms to the BUF and said “go get ’em!”
Both the British (me, tan counters) and the BUF (Brad, kind of awful green color) are “Green” troops, so they’re pretty slow and they don’t have the greatest morale. The BUF also uses the Italians and the Italian deck of cards, which isn’t always the greatest either.
Here’s our initial setup and then I’ll explain a couple of things.
(Don’t forget that you can click on the pictures in this post to blow them up)
The three objectives that are in hexes are prison cells where Mosley might be located. The objective is revealed if a BUF unit is adjacent to it. If it’s the “Q” objective, that’s Mosley! The BUF player also gets the VP for the objective.
The BUF then needs to exit Mosley off the left side of the map. Until that happens, the BUF cannot get any VP for exiting units.
Even worse, when Routed, they rout towards the closest map edge, even if that’s up or down!
That will become important later.
The British have 4 squads, 3 weapons teams, and 2 leaders with another two squads/leader/team/LMG coming in on Time Track 4. They have to set up one squad in each objective building which means they are very spread out.
Finally, the BUF can use two Command Confusion cards to count as one Advance order, though he can’t advance into melee that way.
And with that, we’re off!
The Italian discard limit (the number of cards they can discard when they don’t do any orders) is two. Brad discovered that quite often in this game, because the Italian deck isn’t the greatest (though it’s better than the French deck).
My hand wasn’t very good either, though, so we both started with a lot of discarding.
Then Brad started to move in the north!
Sgt Carboni lead his men towards the prison Gate House. But would they actually head that way?
Instead, next turn, Lt. Pani moved some of his men in the south, trying to outflank me that way.
The slow movement of these BUF units was already causing a bit of havoc.
I decided that I had to start taking some potshots and get time advancing with card play. Even though the squad in the Gate House had no hope of breaking anything, I tried to fire them at Sgt Marcello.
Not only did it have no effect, it caused a blaze to break out in the orchard and brought a BUF sniper down on them!
That wasn’t the start I wanted.
Thankfully, until I could rally the squad, they were safe in the Gate House despite being fired on multiple times.
Marcello tried to kill the squad, but in firing a Light Machine Gun with Sustained Fire, he drew a “1-1” Jammed trigger. The Jammed trigger jammed it and because Brad used Sustained Fire, rolling doubles jammed it again, eliminating it!
That was fortuitous.
The squad in the Gate House rallied and there was some ineffective fire back and forth.
All was quiet in the prison, with only the sound of sporadic gun fire in the distance breaking up the peace.
The BUF forces in the south were slipping around the side of the prison wall, out of sight of the now-alerted British.
As some of them hugged the wall, an LMG opened fire on them from the main prison house!
With a good roll and poor BUF morale, they broke.
Pani decided to abandon them to their fate and continued moving forward.
Then the (possibly ill-advised) BUF move in the north happened.
More British Opportunity Fire and the hooligans were left cowering in the street! (And also a British “Medic” Event ended up rallying the squad hugging the wall in the south).
After that, Brad was subjected to the Routing special rules about BUF units routing towards the nearest board edge until Mosley escapes. Sadly for him, every unit that had just broken left the map, giving me 5 more VP.
(Did I mention that the Italian deck seems to not have a lot of Recover cards?)
However, Brad persevered and kept going.
Pani and his men were still sneaking along the southern edge, and I was starting to wonder if I should have set up somebody to make sure that would be difficult for him.
Some more ineffective fire from both sides resulted in the first Time trigger (both decks were almost empty anyway). Since I was in Recon posture, that meant I didn’t get an automatic VP every time that Time happened.
All of that firing also resulted in another BUF LMG breaking down. It was later eliminated on a random hex roll. But a British LMG also was eliminated due to a Jammed trigger on a Sustained Fire attack. Curses!
Since not much was going on, here’s an updated map on where some of the BUF units have moved to.
Some British repositioning in the prison (mainly making sure all units in the north end of the prison were in Command) and a bit of BUF movement on the north and south.
Pani and his men moved even closer to the prison (and Mosley, though Brad didn’t know that). Subsequent Opportunity Fire from Mosley’s guards resulted in the Blaze moving into the prison as well as a BUF Time trigger!
Then Pani made the mistake of moving into range of Lt. Chatham and his guards, causing both Pani and his men to break behind the wall.
Sadly, both rallied before the British could do anything about them.
After that, Pani made his move.
And revealed Mosley’s cell!
That meant that, on the next Time trigger, Mosely (Lt. Romano) would be placed on any friendly BUF hex in the prison. Thankfully, the British reinforcements would be coming in at the same time. It also gave the BUF 5 VP.
In hindsight, given Mosley’s location, I should have put Chatham, an LMG and a weapons team in the small stone building next to the wall in the front south part of the prison.
Let’s see if it hurt me.
Pani then decided to advance into the building and go into melee with the Territorial squad there who had been guarding Mosley.
While I had one Ambush card, so did Brad. He broke Pani while my squad broke. This resulted in Brad having a 4-2 advantage on me in melee. Not insurmountable, but it would be tough.
Not only did my squad die, but Brad drew a sniper that broke another unit! (with the arrow)
A subsequent fire attack resulted in another Time trigger, bringing Mosley and my reinforcements onto the board.
Brad only controlled one hex in the prison, so Mosley’s position was obvious.
I positioned Nettles and his men to try and block Mosley’s exit.
However, Mosley made a run for it, and I had used my only Fire card to attack somebody else moving when the Time trigger happened.
Mosley sauntered off the board with Pani’s squad, leaving poor Pani cowering in one of the prison cells.
That gave Brad 5 more VP, bringing my total down to 4!
And there were still at least two Time triggers to go for Sudden Death.
The BUF squad in the north made a run for the border with my squad being broken by the sniper (I should have put the extra reinforcement squad up there, sadly another mistake).
In attempting to Recover my broken squad before anybody else could run, another Time! Romano (Mosley) and his squad came back onto the board and we were one Time away from Sudden Death.
Cpl. Nettles fired on the BUF units remaining in the south to try and keep them from moving off the board, and promptly broke them.
Meanwhile, the other British reinforcement squad moved toward Mosley’s former cell to kill off Pani.
It took some close-in fire while I tried to find an Advance card (the result of some of that firing was Sgt. Marcello getting hit by a sniper, from which he quickly recovered), but it finally happened. Some Suppressing fire from Nettles suppressed him just as the British got their Advance card.
Pani heroically tried to hold them off with his pistol (even ambushing them and breaking them), but sadly was unable to and he died having given his life for the cause.
At this point, the British were at 6 VP, with one BUF squad poised to exit the board, and then a Command & Control event gave the British 4 more VP.
A BUF Time trigger happened, bringing on Sudden Death, but Brad pulled a high enough card that we were set to continue (it didn’t seem worth using the Initiative when he would have to draw a 5 or less).
At this point, Brad was getting a bit desperate so he tried to run Carboni around the north side.
That didn’t work.
Brad advanced the squad off the board, giving him 2 more VP.
Sadly, Carboni then faced withering fire and met his maker, letting me regain those 2 VP.
Out of desperation, more running happened. The squad in the south paid for it, breaking and then miraculously not dying (they were only suppressed).
I was going to Advance Chatham’s team into the broken squad’s hex, but never drew an Advance card until after they had already left! That was unfortunate.
The squad in the north tried to move further and broke, and another Italian Time trigger!
Another Sudden Death possibility and another “let’s move on” roll.
The northern BUF squad, instead of trying to run off the board, was hoping for a miracle melee and advanced into the prison!
It didn’t go well for them. The British had an Ambush card and the BUF didn’t.
Sgt. Marcello and his squad get it into their heads to try and run off the board as well, and there were two turns in a row where the British didn’t have a Fire card to hinder them.
Would it make a difference?
They did manage to make it! That’s 4 more points for the BUF. We’re down to 8 British VP. Would that be bad?
Especially with another British Command & Control event giving them the 4 VP back.
The squad in the south tried to make a break for it, but another BUF Time trigger ended the game.
With the two remaining unrevealed cells giving the British two more VP, that meant a 14 point British victory.
Brad was a great opponent and I’m glad he’s joined the CC Ladder. He is relatively new to Combat Commander and he made a few mistakes, but I did too and I thought he was actually going to pull the game out when he was able to free Mosley.
I look forward to seeing him in the future and I hope we get to match up again at some point.
That leaves me at 7-3 on the ladder and I’m approaching my one year anniversary (May 2021). I took a month off so I’ll only have 11 games this year, but it’s still been a blast.
If you are interested in this at all, you should join us!
Just join the CC Ladder guild on Boardgame Geek and maybe I’ll be facing against you one of these days.
April’s game is just around the corner, and it’s from the Leader of Men battle pack.
I don’t have that one, so I don’t have any idea what’s coming next.
I’m sure it will be a doozy, though.
Join me next month and find out!
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
December 2021 – Scenario #51 – The Uneasy Wait
January 2022 – Scenario #65 – Road Trip
February 2022 – Scenario #75 – Sturmgruppe Beton
March 2022 – Scenario #90 – The Man Who Would Be King
April 2022 – Scenario LoM9 – Operation Mercury
May 2022 – Scenario #119 – Sky Fall
June 2022 – Scenario #9 – Rush to Contact
July 2022 – Scenario #14 – At the Crossroads
August 2022 – Scenario #30 – Red Skies At Night
September 2022 – Scenario E – West Tank Barrier
October 2022 – Scenario M4 – Templeton’s Crossing
November 2022 – Scenario #41 – The Commissar House
December 2022 – Scenario #53 – Deeds Not Words
January 2023 – Scenario #67 – The Orient Express
February 2023 – Scenario #82 – Hidden Guns Lash Out
March 2023 – Scenario #91 – The Battle of Trafalgar
April 2023 – Scenario LoM8 – Codes in the Sunrise
May 2023 – Scenario #105 – La Fiere Counterattack
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Pretty tense game on subject I was not aware of!
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Well, it is hypothetical. LOL But Mosley was imprisoned in 1940. It’s just no invasion happened for the BUF guys to try and free him.
It’s a fun-looking battlepack. We should play some of the scenarios from it sometime.
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I love how the British fascists use the Italian counters and thus all have Italian names 😀
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I did find that hilarious. 🙂
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