Nothing gets foul, grumpy basement dwellers excited as a wargaming campaign, so this summer I opened up the Google drive and began to scribble down some ideas. Singling out the era and front wasn’t hard, I picked Romania in early 1944. The campaign had the good wargaming properties of having somewhat equal military forces (slight favour towards the Axis) but most importantly, large military formations with all the fancy toys were fighting. Romania was an important Axis ally, supplying Germany with vital oil and manpower for the big fights in the east. For Stalin, the Red Emperor, a defeated Romania would become a springboard for more influence in the Balkans.
Campaigns can easily get into Moby Dick type of eternal quests, so I pussied out by reworking the Infantry Aces format from Battle Front by mostly renaming things and making a new map. Points were upped so players could build some redundancy into their armies. It sucks to lose the Pak40s and having no way of hurting T-34s outside Panzerfaust range. The most time consuming part was making the maps, after about 4 iterations I made one that wasn’t awful. The fruits of all the hard work can be enjoyed here.
First round and results
In the first round we had a good turn up playing 750 point games. The areas fought in the first round were Falticeni, Pascani and Targu Frumos in Grupul de Nord. After 6 hard fought battles, the Axis had defeated Soviet attempts at Targu Frumos and Pascani. Only Robinsky’s T-34s achieved a breakthrough at Falticeni. With an Axis victory in Grupul de Nord, the Soviets will look forward to fighting more Axis fortifications in the next round.
I personally got 3 games in playing for both sides, netting two losses and a win. I learned that the Panzer IVs is a worthy fuckin’ adversary in 750 point games. Leaving home without two AT units is a bad idea.
In this round players will fight in Grupul Central containing Targu Neamt, Halaucesti and Podu Iloaiei. The Soviet wunderwaffe Robinsky who switched over to Hero IS-2s has been steamrolling over the German opposition, Soviet tankisti are making ahead in Targu Neamt and Podu Iloaiei but are pushed back in Halaucesti. Points in this round were upped to 1150 meaning players could bring real armies.
I brought a Panzer IV company supported by Tigers into battle, but could not take out the damned IS-2s with flank shots. We fought in Hasty Attack with me as the attacker. I initially laughed at their poor aim as my Panzers raced to the flanks. But the tears of joy soon turned into tears of sorrow once those stupid 122 mm cannons started to roll those important fives and sixes. This weekend the fate of Grupul Central will be decided. Hopefully, I will have the 120 mm Heavy Mortars ready to spew some death and destruction.
The campaign is pretty fun so far, however some of the extra rules weren’t used by the players (such as the Battle Skills). I had high hopes they could link together the campaign, will print them out next time to see what happens. I was expecting some resistance with the restrictions on briefings and units but the players find them acceptable.
Another lesson learned is to run the campaign directly from the blog and Facebook. Nobody bothers with forums anymore.