Tuesday, 19 November 2013

DUST: Panzer Walker Platoon Playtest

The weather is better, marshes are not frozen anymore, grass and plants are awakening...
This is Spring 1947.

Maybe we could even ear birds sing...If there wasn't the screaming of shells falling down.
War as usual.

''Helmut, get back into the Walker, we're moving! And be quick, you don't want GeneralMajor Sigrid to be waiting for you.''
The Leutnant put back is cap on and climbed into his Koenigluther. His copilot was already getting the engines ready. As always, the comfort of Helmut's leather seat brought him a smile as he reminisced the time he had spent in Panzer IV and 1st generation Luthers. Cramped space was a thing of the past: he had earned his comfort and the right to be inside a KoenigLuther.

''So? What are we up to?''
''Panzer Walker Platoon 'Verwustung' is to get to the old factory and then pass by the marshes. We expect strong canadian resistance trying to stop us from getting into the city.''
''Canadians, damned though nuts to crack...Lucky for us, we got a big nutcracker named KoenigLuther!''

Conditions of the Battle: None
<<Marshes...Let's be thankful its not raining: I don't want to wait for the BergeLuther like last time.>>
--Panzer Walker Pilot

Battle Objectives: Key Positions
<<Get inside the old factory and wait 'til we get reinforcements for an assault on the city? Why should a KoenigLuther wait for reinforcements?!>>
--Helmut, KoenigLuther Pilot

Deployment of the Battle: Force Collision
<<The Canadians better like mosquitoes and leeches, no way we'll let them inside the old factory>>
--Panzer Grenadier

Axis: Panzer Walker Platoon 'Verwustung':

Command: GeneralMajor Sigrid
1st section: Battle Grenadiers
2nd section: PrinzLuther
3rd section: JagdLuther 75
4th section: Luther
Support 1: KoenigLuther
Support 2: Flamm-Luther

-This Platoon was made using the 1st version of the Beta Test Rules (as the 2nd version was available on the day after we played our games).
-All the Walkers have 'Luther' in their name ;).
-I could have made it even more unbalanced and armored by replacing the Battle Grenadiers with a Nordwind.

Allies: Francois' Canadians:

I can't remember his exact list, but he was beta-testing the Devil Dogs (as support) as well as a Barking Dog.
Some units (like the Devil Dogs) have had head-swaps in order to get british helmets and better fit with the Canadian Feel of Francois' army.

Pre-Battle Analysis:

Lots and lots of troops! I caught my opponent unaware of the list I would be playing and luckily for me he has no planes in his list.
If I have more than enough firepower to easily remove his walkers, I feel like my lone Flamm-Luther will be my only tool to hope stem the infantry tide.

Also, I lost this battle automatically: Francois is vile, and while unprepared for my force, brought the battle-builder to 'Key Positions'.
I really wish I could display a victory on this blog, but it won't be for today. (That plus I usually forget my camera when I'm playing games I win)

Bonus Analysis:
Francois has some really sweet Canadian Walkers!

This Rattler wasn't used in this game but it did look super awesome!

The Game:

Panzer Walker Platoon 'Verwustung' moves into the old factory

Coming from the opposite corner, Canadians advance through the marshes.
Always on the offensive, the Panzer Walker Platoon moves out from the ruins and toward the Allies.
''Target acquired''
Sneaking behind the trees, a Barking Dog opens fire on the JagdLuther and sets it on fire.
Meanwhile, the Tankbusters zoom on the battlefield, intent on attacking the KoenigLuther.

Bottom attack.

Top attack.

But as soon as the KoenigLuther's guns get a line of sight on the Barking Dog, the Allied Walker explodes and burns. (Sadly not before it could destroy the JagdLuther).

Well aware that if I don't protect my KoenigLuther some Canadians will try to sneak in its rear to lend blows where it 's least protected, I brought the Luther for support.

''These guys are up to no good.''

On the top side, the Flamm-Luther gets swarmed with a sea of targets and infantry.

Totally unexpected by the Allied soldiers in this forest, the KoenigLuther moves full speed ahead and runs them over instead of trying to fire at them.

In the meantime, Sigrid and the Grenadiers step out of the ruins to try and bring the 12'' radio into effect (mind you, this game was played one day before the V2 of the Open Beta PDF and as such no vehicle had any radio. A true nightmare for orders.)

Time to engage the Tankbusters before they can do any harm! The Luther charges into the forest...

Only to have the Tankbusters jetpack away from it...landing in its back, ready to fire at it as soon as they can.

Thankfully, I expected my opponent would do that and while I wished I could have left them inside their protective transport (really useful against mortar fire), I unloaded Sigrid and the Battle Grenadiers. Berserk + Granatefaust and all their shots managed to remove this pesky threat from the battlefield.

Aerial view of the battlefield around turn 4.

''Got it in my sight mate!''

The Flamm-Luther is in a dire situation as he gets assaulted from all side and by all types of weapons (from rocket-fists to grenade launchers, bazookas, grenades, etc...)

The PrinzLuther tries to repel the Canadians from coming too close to the old factory.

Unstoppable, the KoenigLuther continues its advance...

To the forest where the Canadian HQ is sitting. Probably one of Francois' key positions. Too bad I ran out of fuel to tank shock his troops and try to make them flee.

Having taken damage from the mortar, the Grenadiers and Sigrid run into the ruins to prepare for imminent Canadian assault.

An assault which will never come as the game ends on turn 5.
Victory for the Canadians as they hold 2 pieces of terrain to my one, although if vehicles ever get errated and can hold/contest objectives, then I tied! :)

In its first iteration, I found the Panzer Walker Platoon to be not that great against an enemy superior in numbers (read: ''all-comer lists''). Of course, I could have easily skipped the Koenigluther for...lets say 2 more Flamm-Luthers.

Its main weaknesses:
-Facing, it means infantry can easily flank it and even attack it in the rear.
-Lack of radios (this issue has been corrected in the V2 of the Open Beta, thankfully!).
-Auto-loses on 'Key positions' and probably some other scenarios.
-Could be crippled by the Icarus Battle Builder's ''Coldsnap''
-Tank traps and dense terrain are not friends of this platoon.
-Maybe airplanes...Depends how you build your platoon.

Its strenghts: 
-You almost always play first!! (because your model count is so low)
-It has the Blitzkrieg Order.
-An unprepared opponent will have to be creative to fight it.
-Makes Grim Reapers a little less good (although they still destroy my walkers with their rocket-fists.)

What changes I'd like to see in the Open Beta:
-New Grim Reaper Stats: less dice vs infantry (and planes)...or we get to react to jump-packs. :)
-The Panzer Walker Platoon seemed playable...although the Barking Dog felt over-costed. The Devil Dogs throw too many dice when they attacked. (I think around 52 while within 6'' of their target if its infantry 2)
-The Silent Death to get 'headshot' instead of 'sniper' (might be worth giving them 'spotter' back in that case...or maybe keep 'take aim'). It would also be better if they only do 2/1 instead of 2/2 vs infantry.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed yet another defeat! :)

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