- they don't include everything straight off - I know this is deliberate, but sometimes you also want to teach why combined arms works.
- they can take a long time with inexperienced players
I think I'm now a grizzled enough veteran of the game that I can deal with this, so... Time for something a little different: IABSM Lite.
No rule changes, but the scenario was designed to fit on a 4'x4' with sub-company strength forces and a more tactical approach.
The British had two platoons, three big men including the company CO and three Sherman V's with a big man, as well as a FOO with two fire missions from a rather busy 25pdr battery (reflected by being 1 pip harder to contact). The Germans, holding the farm, had 1 infantry Zug with 2 big men, an MG42 with another big man, a FOO with a couple of 80mms, and a StuG III. Extra cards were Allied Rally, Allied Heroic Leader, Axis MG Bonus and Axis Dynamic Commander.
Simple mission - take/hold the farm.
There was quite a bit of 'no, I won't bring any more blinds on yet' going on, which was slightly more cat-and-mouse than some IABSM games I've seen. In the end, he brought two infantry platoons on behind the smoke, and managed to get a good way up the road and across the fields before a flurry of Tea Break cards blew the smoke away. At which point (having been pre-briefed by both Carl (watching while playing something else) and I, he brought the 2" mortars into play - the German section in the red-roofed farmhouse took a fair bit of tap, but things never quite panned out to get them pinned preparatory to a close assault.
The Brits also lost a couple of sections to enfilade fire from the farmhouse, which I think wouldn't have happened had the Shermans been around to do their job. In the end, the infantry in the farmhouse were down to 5 figures and 4 shock, and two platoons went in and basically forced them out in a tied close assault due to excess shock.
We pretty much left it there, not least so we could talk about it: essentially taking the farmhouse had cost the British two Shermans and half their force, but the Germans were down to one section, an MG and a StuGIII which had a pretty commanding view of the battlefield. It would have been interesting.
Thoughts on "IABSM Lite"?
I think it works: the tricks are:
- Scenario design
- have a clear tactical objective, and set it around the middle of the table.
- make it a bit 'narrative' in nature so the players don't forget what it is
- rationalise some smaller forces - 2/3 company or so.
- make sure there's a bit of cover around deployment areas :D
- more big men
You might possibly consider, if you go with platoon 2inCs as big men, leaving the actual platoon cards out - I dunno? Thoughts?
I'm toying with a few more smaller tactical teasers like this - I think it could be fun and it can finish in a club night.