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Paradrop at Kanev - short review


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#1 Kingtiger

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 07:07 AM

Played this scenario with a friend today and below are our findings.

The bad news is that in our view it is yet another unbalanced scenario. It's virtually impossible to lose for a somewhat skilled player playing the Russians. The good news is that a few very minor changes can fix this. It is just a shame that the designers don't pick up on these things before publishing them. I don't really have a problem with a scenario that you've played for ten times to then find out that one side is slightly favoured over the other, but in the case of too many TOI scenarios it only takes a few ROUNDS of play to see that it's not balanced.

So what makes the scenario unbalanced? Basically three things:

1.) The Russians have way too much time to achive their objective (10 rounds), which gives them more than enough time to pin/disrupt or simply destroy or route the German defenders thereby opening a path along with the sixteen required figures can easily be exited off the map.

2.) Elite formations op card coupled with no restrictions against combined fire. The best the German can do cover wise against an attack of say 3 regular squads combining fire with the lead unit throwing as many as 8 dice and the two other ones 2 each for a grand total of 12 dice against a maximum possible cover of 3 or 4 (woods + medic and woods + officer+ elite respectively). A guaranteed kill. As I said, since there's no time pressure for the Russians they can easily repeat this over several rounds to eliminate all the opposition. 

3.) The balkas not slowing down the Russians at all with the offical movement cost of 1 even when crossig them sideways.

So what are the solutions?

1.) Reduce the number of rounds to 6 or 7.

2.) Use the massive confusion op card for the Russians. (negates combined fire). It also seems to fit right in judging by the scenario description.

3.) Use the balka rules described in a related thread. At the very least do something about the way they DO NOT impede movement. We used the houserule that a unit must stop when entering or exiting a balka unless it comes from or moves to an adjacent balka hex. This slows the Russians down at least somewhat.

I have the idea that the rules used for dropping the paratroopers ( the way artillery fire works along with a possible drift) are intended to have a few units land off the board (which would mean that they enter on the round that equals the result of the black die in case of drift). However, this is quite easy to avoid just by NOT setting up the target hexes on the edge of the board. Played the first two rounds solo once and by doing it this way only one landed off board and when playing the entire scenario with my freidn today not a single unit landed off the board. This ensures that ALL Russian units can contribute their firepower and that none need to hurry up to catch up in order tgo possibly make it off the map fulfilling the victory conditions.

I'll play it again someday soon with the massive confusion op card for the Russians and 6 rounds of play. We'll keep on using the balka rules as described above and in a more detailed way in the thread called "Paradrop at Kanev and balkas". This should make for a much closer scenario.

Three more ideas that came up:

1.) Give the Germans the morale deck along with or instead of the ground support deck.

2.) Have both sides bid in how many rounds they expect to be able to fulfil the scenario's victory conditions for the Russians. the player with the lowest bid gets to play the Russians. If he manages to win within the number of rounds mentioned, he wins. Otherwise he doesn't. Obviously if only this change is used any other changes would not necessarily be required.

3.) Add a German engineer squad to each division. They might come in handy building entrenchments to provide some additional cover, which is sorely needed foir the Germans a spointed out above.

Two more final general observations: after about 5 rounds or so the Russian reinforcement deck becomes obsolete. Any units placed would never be able to make it off the map, nor will they be able to put in any significant weight in the battle. Also, it might make for a more closelyt contested initiative if the German command objective were worth 3 points rather than two. In our game the Russians were constantly able to win initiative if they wanted it badly enough since they constantly had one more command point available.

Final conclusion: unbalanced scenario but with potential.



#2 BJaffe01

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 12:17 PM

you are supposed to use the exact hexes illustrated in the scenario for the drop zones. not chose where to place them.the only choice was which squads dropped where.

i agree the Balka rules should be different. Balka'a are like dry river beds some where wide enough for tanks to drive along and that's what the entance's where for to faciliate entry into the balka. the ones that wide also tended to be deep ie the tank was completely hidden from view. and some where narrow that only infantry could move along.

as for elite formations i didn't find the card that overpowering when the Russian troops arrived so scattered.

sorry it turned out so poorly when i played it the Russians ended up need 5 rounds just to get enough troops available to actually move on to the victory conditions

 

BJaffe01

 



#3 Aussie_Digger

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 01:52 PM

I havent played this one yet though I have looked at it and thought about the stratgey I would use.

For the russians there just seems way too much time to complete the objectives, So even if your squads are spread out all over the board you have time to re group and then attack in force. There dosnt even seem like there is any point to taking daring risks with the russian attack as you can afford to hold back and attack from cover (even long range attacks are viable using the EF card and combine fire, eg 3 squads could fire 22 dice in combine fire with a good chance of taking out a whole german squad) So as the russian i would just take my time getting troops formed up into attacking groups then take a few rounds inflicting loses and opening a gap in the german lines before advancing (even if you get really unlucky by taking lots of hit the troops that you can bring in from the reinforcement deck will give enough troops to complete the VC

All the germans can really do is set up in cover terrain that they can cover the advance from and attempt to take out as many russian figures as possible (i was thinking about trying to slow the advance by trying to pin/ disrupt units therefor wasting rounds for the russian but I think this almost impossible as there are 10 rounds to try and get through.

I do think by reducing the rounds this would force the russians into attacking picemeal if they are scattered, and they would then have to take more risks to meet the VC. This i think too would also make the strategy of delaying the russians (pinning them) a viable option aswell for the germans.

Once I do get around to playing this one I will play as it is written the first time (just to make sure) But then I think after that by just reducing the rounds this will help things, Dont want to change too much else as too many changes can move the balance and it is hard to tell what exactlly made the differance.

(PS i really want Prelude to breakout  to be fixed aswell. as the scenario is written it is no challenge to the germans I have played 2 times, have played both sides with the germans winning in rounds 4 and then in round 5) there was a thred on here asking about how things in the scenario could be fixed) I have a feeling that what has been published in the scenario guide, is differnt to how Bill and Dana desinged this one.

Once again we need eratta from FFG, I saw the videos from gen con you guys put out, how about supporting the ones you already have out first because I am not buying anything from you guys again until i see ToI being supported.



#4 KlausFritsch

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 11:09 PM

BJaffe01 said:

sorry it turned out so poorly when i played it the Russians ended up need 5 rounds just to get enough troops available to actually move on to the victory conditions

Much depends on the luck of the drop. My Russians all landed on the map and were able to break through the Germans with time to spare.

The Germans also made the mistake of trying to rush forward to stop the Russians farther into the map. I think the Germans need to hugh the woods at the edge of the map and Op Fire the hell out of anything the moves into normal range.



#5 BJaffe01

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 05:52 AM

boy that's lucky with the Para drop's . yeah the germans need to defend wisely.

BJaffe01

 



#6 Kingtiger

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 08:26 AM

BJaffe01 said:

you are supposed to use the exact hexes illustrated in the scenario for the drop zones. not chose where to place them.the only choice was which squads dropped where.

i agree the Balka rules should be different. Balka'a are like dry river beds some where wide enough for tanks to drive along and that's what the entance's where for to faciliate entry into the balka. the ones that wide also tended to be deep ie the tank was completely hidden from view. and some where narrow that only infantry could move along.

as for elite formations i didn't find the card that overpowering when the Russian troops arrived so scattered.

sorry it turned out so poorly when i played it the Russians ended up need 5 rounds just to get enough troops available to actually move on to the victory conditions

 

BJaffe01

 

OK, I guess I misread the information about the drop zones then. I thought it said AROUND  the target hexes...OK, this might indeed make a small difference then. I do still think though that the Russians will still have ample time to regroup.Will try again as written then with the sole exception of the balka rules.

As for the balkas I intend to keep using my houserules.They simply make more sense to me AND they make for more strategic and tactical choices as well.

No, elite formations is ok. It's just when combined with combined fire it becomes too much. That's what I was trying to say.  I don't think the example Ausie digger mentioned of three squads throwing 22 dice is correct, though as only the lead unit gets the bonus granted by the elite formations card.This is also stated on the card.

Germans in op fire in the woods doesn't help too much. Just pin a unit (MG) in op fire. It then immediately becomes fatigued and no longer poses a threat that round.



#7 Kingtiger

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 09:06 AM

BJaffe01 said:

boy that's lucky with the Para drop's . yeah the germans need to defend wisely.

BJaffe01

 

Just to get this straight: they are supposed to land in the hexes numbered one through 4 (i.e these are the taget hexes); NOT AROUND them. That's how I read it. This should indeed on average delay a number of Russian squads for a couple of rounds which could indeed make a difference. Still I believe it should, even then, be quite possible for the Russians to win in 7 or 8 rounds tops. Then again, to be sure about that, I'd have to play the scenario more often.



#8 Aussie_Digger

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 01:06 PM

Kingtiger said:

  I don't think the example Ausie digger mentioned of three squads throwing 22 dice is correct, though as only the lead unit gets the bonus granted by the elite formations card.This is also stated on the card.

 

Sorry you are right I should have read the card again before posting, the example I gave then would be 15 dice still pretty good odds (1 squad 3elite 1 officer) (2 supporting squads of 4 regular inf)



#9 Kingtiger

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 08:34 PM

Aussie_Digger said:

Kingtiger said:

 

  I don't think the example Ausie digger mentioned of three squads throwing 22 dice is correct, though as only the lead unit gets the bonus granted by the elite formations card.This is also stated on the card.

 

 

 

Sorry you are right I should have read the card again before posting, the example I gave then would be 15 dice still pretty good odds (1 squad 3elite 1 officer) (2 supporting squads of 4 regular inf)

That's exactly my point. And should you feel that the odds are still not good enough, there's nothing to keep you from adding yet another squad or two to the mix. You've got time to spare anyway.



#10 Grand Stone

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 12:12 AM

You should start with 3 squads in each drop-zone and then scatter them afterwards. That might change things slightly.  If the russians can get all their infanteri into position BEFORE morning,  that would give them a lot better position. Then the russians can enter the woods safly and afterwards just sit and fire. The russians having better troops they should come out on top of things. However if the russians comes to the edge of line of sight after this round, the germans have 3 MGs waiting.  Thus, setup might change things, and it seems like a fun scenario.

I enjoys night-vision scenarios :)

 

Just a minor comment regarding combined fire, its actually not that good in this case. Its probably better to fire your sqauds seperatly. Ie, x2 firepower of 8 is better than x1 firepower of 12.

 

 

 

 



#11 Grand Stone

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 12:54 AM

edit:

firepower of x2 8 is better than firepower x1 10.  Ie, combined fire is not that big of a deal in this scenario I think, unless you want to destroy something FAST.



#12 Kingtiger

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 06:16 AM

Grand Stone said:

edit:

firepower of x2 8 is better than firepower x1 10.  Ie, combined fire is not that big of a deal in this scenario I think, unless you want to destroy something FAST.

Yes, I agree that in many cases firing separately would be better. Once you do have all the Russians in place, and since there IS NO hurry, what have they got to lose by making absolutely sure that you'll get a kill outright by adding yet one or two more squads.

 

Those three MGs might look impressive, but as I said, if they are in op fire, which they will typically be, just fire against them suppressively. A pin will immediately flip over its activation token to its fatigued problem. Moreover, the Russians can easily afford a relatively high casualty rate. My opponent still nearly lost because he initially refused to have himself shot at.



#13 Grand Stone

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 09:51 AM

The combined fire was just a minor comment.

 

Thats is correct. A MG gun typically only last for a very short period of time. Its basicly the first thing the enemy fires at, and with good time, you extremly seldom get to use its extremly nice ability. So if the russians gets the majority of  infanteri ready to fire at the MGs (or germans in general) in round 3, the russians has basicly won I guess. But the delay in first round due to scattering of the troops helps the germans somewhat more than just delaying a turn or two, because if the russians does not have the troops into position by round 3, they need to move first, and thus

-allowing the germans to fire at anything that enters line of sight

-taking out all 3 MG guns using fire & movement actions would be difficult, and would requier with maxium luck atleast 3 actions, but most probably more. And then 4-5 actions only if they do suppresive fire=most probably no permanent damage to the germans. Its very likely that the germans  has the option to fire atleast one MG on most of the russians.

If you can take out a few russians during that very first critical round, when the russians have limit options, it might change the power slightly.   So I guess its atleast slightly better balanced than you first thought.

 

Ofcourse, I'm just speculating here and you might very well be correct that it is slighty unbalanced. I dont know.  But you are correct about a few things: the russians do have high firepower and if they get to sit calmly and fire, the russian would win.



#14 Kingtiger

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 08:31 PM

As for at least one MG getting to fire at you: If you manage to pin the other two and make your choices wisely, you can make sure that the MG will be firing at you nearly exclusively from long range (6's only). That makes it/them a lot less lethal. This is exactly what happened in our game. Moreover, the Russians have quite a few elites in their line up, which yoields for a cover die even in the open against suppressive MG fire.Of course, the Germans could use normal fire, which is indeed a better choice more often than not in this scenario.

As for the fire and move comment: don't forget that even when making a fire and move attack, the Russians still benefit from the Elite formations card, i.e. throwing as many dice in a fire and move attack as a regular formation would when making a concentrated fire attack. If you have a squad consisting of two elites and two regulars that's still a whopping 6 dice against a maximum cover for the MG of 3 (woods + officer,; ok four if you also include an elite in the squad base. 6 against 4. Very good odds since you only need one hit for a pinned result. Igf it doesn't work the first time you try then certainly it will the second time round.

 



#15 Grand Stone

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 09:19 PM

Kingtinger; I just assumed that a different setup could change things. Most importantly, the number of units the russian has available to fight. Fighting first 5 squads and then antoher 5 is conciderably better ods than fighting all 10 at a time.

 

But, I trust you, if you say this scenario needs something, youre probably correct.



#16 Kingtiger

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 09:21 PM

Grand Stone said:

Kingtinger; I just assumed that a different setup could change things. Most importantly, the number of units the russian has available to fight. Fighting first 5 squads and then antoher 5 is conciderably better ods than fighting all 10 at a time.

 

But, I trust you, if you say this scenario needs something, youre probably correct.

Oh, I didn't mean anything personal if that's how you took it. It's just that I've noticed that too many players are afraid to risk casualties even when the victory conditions don't have anything to do with the number of casualties sustained. Therefore being overcautious might lead a player to try and avoid op fire for too long. Also, as i said, it's quite easy to shoot (esp. an MG) out of op fire mode. All you need is one hit and you don't usually even need to combine fire to get better odds than the defender with the elite formations card in play.

No, I;m sure you and Bill are right that when the Russians arrive more scattered and over several turns that this may indeed go a long way to helping the Germans. Intuitively I would still say that ten turns is slightly too long for a somewhat skilled Russian player, but we'll have to see about that when we play the scenario again. We'll play as written with the sole exception of the changes to balka terrain.



#17 BJaffe01

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 06:27 AM

sorry for being gone. your are supposed to place the russian units in the hexes marked 1-4 then roll for scatter. it should break them up more. when i played this one over a year ago the Russians had a hard time getting strength forward.also being willing to take  losses to take out machine guns is sound strategy as  long as the victory conditions do not penalize you for losing men.

BJaffe01



#18 Kingtiger

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 07:02 PM

BJaffe01 said:

sorry for being gone. your are supposed to place the russian units in the hexes marked 1-4 then roll for scatter. it should break them up more. when i played this one over a year ago the Russians had a hard time getting strength forward.also being willing to take  losses to take out machine guns is sound strategy as  long as the victory conditions do not penalize you for losing men.

BJaffe01

Yes, my friend also pointed that out to me. I agree that that should definitely make a difference. To what extent is hard to say. Will need to replay it. Seems to me that if the Russian player plays it right (suppress MGs) relatively few casualties will have to be suffered, but as i said, I'll need to play it again with the correct drop method. I thiught you could choose any of the hexes adjacent to the marked drop zones as well as the target.



#19 BJaffe01

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 06:30 AM

That's okay to miss read that. It probably could have been explained better as well. i'm just glad i could correct that for you. when you replay it let me know how it turns out.

BJaffe01






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