AAR Konflikt ’47- Pincer Attack/Protect The Base
US forces heard rumors of an abandoned German military base deep in the Białowieża Forest. German scientists had apparently been performing rift experiments on bison local to the area. As their forces got spread thin due to the ongoing war, they were forced to abandon the base. As this was right near their borders, Soviet forces moved in and were tasked with recovering any German technology that was left behind. The US split their forces to make a 2 pronged attack on the base. The Soviets were expecting this, and were prepared to make a stand!
Last night, we played a game of Konflikt '47 at Greenfire Games. I wrote a fun scenario to help Tim and I teach the game to Karl and Mattias:
Scenario- Pincer attack/Protect The Base
The military base deep in the forest houses important intel that needs to be protected at all costs. The enemy is making a move. Now is the time to make a stand!
The game will take place on a 6x4 table. The military base will be located dead center. The table half in front of the base will be filled with trenches. The back side will be forest. This is a 2 on 2 team game, with each table half played separately. The attacker’s forces will line up on the short table edges. The attacking units must be touching the table edge. Once the attackers are placed, the defenders may set up inside their half of the base, up to 8 inches from the center line. Once the defenders are placed, any attacking snipers may be placed anywhere up to 8 inches from the board edge. Any defending snipers may be then moved an additional 4 inches if desired.
NOTE: As the last foot of the table crosses over into both games, there may be some mixing. One game can not interact directly with the other, representing each side’s singular focus, but the other game’s units can affect movement and line of sight.
The Attacking force must move un-contested across the center line of the board. They will be contested if within 3 inches of a defending unit. Once crossing the center line uncontested, that unit is dug in and can no longer be used.
The defenders are rallying for this last stand, and will get a +1 morale bonus if they leave the safety of their starting zone to meet the enemy.
After 5 turns, assess the situation- If the attackers have managed to get more units across the board than they have lost, they have taken over the base. (add this up for both ends of the table!)
If the defenders have managed to defeat enough of the attacking units by either killing them, or keeping them from crossing the center line, they have held out long enough for reinforcements to arrive, and manage to keep the base.
This was a fun pair of games! We were so focused on teaching and playing that we forgot to take a ton of pictures. Luckily, the game was livestreamed on Greenfire's Youtube page:
Tim and Mattias were the Soviet forces in the abandoned German military installation, and Karl and I were the US forces trying to take it over.
Mattias and I had a very exciting game! We had a number of cool cinematic moments, including a jumping walker landing on top of a bunker to wipe out an anti tank team with some hot flamethrower action. Here are some other shots from our game:
The battle started out rough for the US forces, but they managed to rally and move 4 of their 5 units into the base successfully, without losing a single full unit! Mattias' Soviets put up a good fight, though, taking out half of my flight infantry.
Here are some shots of Tim and Karl's game:
We did a poor job of setting up this side of the table. Karl's deployment area was basically a kill box. Some of his units never even moved forward! He did not get anybody into the base, and lost 5 units, giving the US a score of -1. The Soviet forces managed to hold the base, and recovered some rift-bison technology research.
Mattias enjoyed the game:
As a complete newcomer to the game, I know I was not playing optimally or making the best use of my options, but I found the overall shape of the game to be enjoyable and easy to grasp. The pinning mechanic and the order dice mechanic in particular make for a great balance of risk management and what Richard Clark calls 'friction'—i.e., uncertainty of command—which I think separates good wargames from great ones.
I'll have more thoughts as I dive into the details of the rules, but it seems very robust, easy to learn, and pretty quick to play so far. And while I honestly don't find Weird World War II settings to be very inspiring in general, there seem to be enough opportunities for 'counts-as' gaming here for me to make it my own. (By which I mean I finally have an excuse to spend like $200 on Quar.)
Karl did too:
I really enjoyed Konflikt '47. There is a similar vibe to 40k in terms of a roll to hit and roll to kill with appropriate modifiers to both. However, it feels a lot more streamlined, and nicely does away with the multitude of charts. Additionally, I'm a fan of alternating activation games and though the Bolt Action system of drawing dice it is not original it feels nicely different from most other games I am playing. I've heard Konflikt '47 and it's mother-ruleset, Bolt Action described as "Beer and Pretzels" but I think it's exactly the level of complexity that I'm looking for.
I agree with Tim's earlier assessment that it doesn't feel very "weird" just yet. I suspect that the weirdness can be ramped up by investing more in a faction's weird units. Each faction seems to have at least one fantastical infantry unit a heavily armored infantry of some sort, a selection of walkers and a couple historical vehicles with weird weapons added. However, the system is very much based on "weird science" and notably absent are the magical and occult elements present in some other weird war games. I don't find this to be a bad thing, just something worth noting as a flavor comparison. I appreciate the "weird" aspects of this type of game as much for the way it frees one from the historical record as for the new units it brings.
One notable observation about game play would be that this game seems to requires a significant ammount of cover. The 10 inches of open roadway on my side of the table were an absolute death trap for both sides. Reading the rules it looks like we should have been only allowing units to advance and not run when crossing over the obstacles and that would have made it even more dangerous than it was. Still, I don't think this is a bad thing, but rather is nicely realistic and forces one to make the pinning of enemy units a strong part of their strategy. I'm all for having as much terrain as possible and compressing roads and other open space a bit makes for a more interesting layout.
I'm very much looking forward to playing this again and putting together the British Starter Set that just arrived in the mail. I have little interest in a more accurate historical gaming experience, but last night's game brought back a pleasant wave of nostalgia. As a child I loved playing with 1/72 soldiers. I collected dozens of 50-man boxes from ESCI, Italeri, Matchbox and others and spent many hours playing with them and what became a rather large collection of matchbox-sized mililtary vehicles. This game feels like it's captured some that feeling for me. I'm playing with some basis in history but the gloves are off and I'm free to beg, borrow, steal and reinvent as I please.
One note: I REALLY wish the rulebook had a proper index. The book is fairly well organized but there's just enough special rules and situations that an index would be very helpful. Having experienced the incredibly well-organized index in Runewars, I now find myself wondering why all game companies can't or won't do this.
Nobody noticed, but I started a narrative campaign with these first 2 games, so you can expect to see plenty more Konflikt '47 from us in the future! Will the dangers of "rift-bison tech" be revealed? You'll have to check back to find out!