Leros: The Island Prize, session two

We made a little more progress this time through. Last time we only made it through one turn (ouch), which had me seriously questioning the viability of the whole enterprise. I think we did three turns this time in 2.5 hours, which we still need to bring down significantly to have a chance, but that should be doable and we are going through a pretty intense, up-close-and-personal phase of the battle so longer turns are not unexpected. I think this phase will be decisive though, I doubt the battle will go to the second day one way or the other.

After our last game, I was a little worried the game was going to flounder since we had an awkward situation in which we (the Germans) landed basically right on top of the British reserve concentration. This session, though, I was reminded why I like TCS – it plays cleanly and quickly, the systems are straightforward, and while it’s a very incremental, attritional game, you can still get good results pretty quickly through either good luck or good play which can lead to a fluid situation and a need to be flexible and keep cool (my big complaint about The Gamer’s CWB is that it always took absolutely forever to get anything significant done – I once spent three whole Saturdays playing Thunder at the Crossroads and basically just got through some initial skirmishing. Not fun. Well, OK, it was fun, but that was because I was playing with Clay, Charles, and Wayne, all great guys, and not mainly due to the strength of the game). While TCS is not as flavorful or tactically rich as Squad Leader, I think it really does give a good feel for how battalion-level operations worked, and gives a good feel for WWII tactical combat in general (for a game, anyway). SL’s fluid, dashing movements (I know all the guys in that building are broken, time to rush the street and take up ideal positions to interdict rout paths) seem a little funky.

Anyway, I do think we might be kind of doomed – we’re in a bad way, in a dogfight with most of the British OOB right from the outset, with no heavy weapons and probably insufficient troops to get the job done, and with more British arriving well before any more Germans show up. Not good. But, we’ll make a game of it, and it should be entertaining. I’m already thinking which TCS title I might enjoy doing next, and A Frozen Hell (low-density, mostly infantry but a few tanks) and Operation Schmidt (low-density, but late-war combined arms US vs. Germans) come to mind. Semper Fi might also be a good candidate. Anyway, TCS is not going to challenge OCS for my favorite game from The Gamers, but it is a good time, and Leros is a good entry I think. The landing issues were unfortunate, but having now made the mistake once – last time I played, I think we used the historical setups – I would never make it again, which in turn makes me more likely to want to play again.

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