I had a chance to play Blitzkrieg Commander with a friend this weekend. So at last my WW2 micro armor got to the game table. Last year I got the bug to play in this scale, and promptly acquired a force of US mechanized infantry from GHQ models.
My attempt to blog this game didn't really pan out as hoped. My camera took absolutely poor photos and the lighting situation wasn't helping. You will see from the pictures that there was a strong directional light that blew out a lot of my pictures. Still it gives a good general view of the action.
We played a 2,000 point game from the Tunisia list, which allowed my opponent to match his German models to mine. We laughed about this, because we didn't have suitable terrain. So we ended up fighting in the rolling green fields and verdant forests of Tunisia! Oh well. Flex those imagination muscles. We didn't pick a scenario other than a straight up meat grinder. That's always easier for learning the combat rules.
For those unfamiliar with "the Commander" series, these books focus on combined arms forces on a large scale. The rules were written for 12mm, but work in 6mm and can go as high as 20mm with adjustments. The rules are fairly straightforward, and most of the books are made of a myriad of detailed force lists. Blitzkrieg Commander is WW2 specific and covers all theaters in all times.
So we sat down to our test game, and I really didn't know the rules that well. The book is rather dull, and I just wasn't getting the concepts. Once we started playing, things caught on. The key feature of this game is the order structure. Each unit is assigned to a formation, which is controlled by an HQ unit. The HQ issues orders to move, shoot, etc, to units in its formation by rolling under is leadership value. Every additional order gives a minus, but you can keep pushing until either you are too low to succeed or have failed. A failed order stops that formation's activation for the turn.
I lined up my force in a neat line. I had 7 Sherman tanks, 8 rifle squads with M3 halftracks, a mortar carrier, and some recce troops with an armored car. Three HQ units followed behind. I didn't have the HQs modeled yet, and so they're empty bases behind the units. The HQs are very abstract in this game anyway. I'll be building real models soon enough.
US strategy (if I ever had any strategy) was to get my tanks on a hill on the left flank for better LOS (which it did not provide as I later discovered) and have my infantry take and hold the center of the board. I issued a few move orders and the Germans sped up to meet me. Below are the M3s with their infantry stands behind them, making for the center. We kept the infantry bases behind their rides so we knew which vehicles held which units. I had two bazooka teams mixed in there, so it was important to know.
I got to see a command failure in action, where the Germans ended up firing on their own HQ. They almost killed it too. But the worm would turn soon enough. We traded shots, and the Germans were infinitely more effective, destroying one unit and suppressing three others. Suppression in the open is a disaster to say the least. Then I flubbed a command roll and my third formation of recce teams and mortar carrier ran away. Ugh! This picture is so blurry probably because I was crying too hard at the time I took it.
As my center was crushed, the armor on my left flank crumbled. I got to see a "command critical" in action. This basically awarded the German player a free action, which proved devastating. The Germans passed order after order to fire, and in one turn destroyed everything they could see.
Overall, the game mechanics were easy to understand and modeled the units well. Despite getting my ass kicked, I'm planning to invest further in this game. I see a lot of potential for this rules set. The only down side is getting enough terrain in this scale to provide protection and some maneuver opportunities.