The Bitter Canyon Incident

Playtest Results

Simon and I play tested the Bitter Canyon Incident from Aug 11-15/07.   The game seemed close but ended with a complete victory for the PSA.

Simon's thoughts on tactics for playing defense in TBCI are here:     The Bitter Canyon Incident Tactics

                                                                                             The Bitter Canyon Incident Tactics

Here is .gam file for cyberboard, if you wish to use the replay function and watch the whole game.

Below is the highlights for those of you without cyberboard.


At the start of the game, the map looked like so:

Simon had arranged 16 armor units in the center of the valley.  These units consisted of 2 MHZRs, 6 HVYs, 4 GEVs, and 2 MSLs, plus a few infantry.  That's a big force to overcome, considering I have fewer armor, and as the attacker will almost certainly give up the first shot.

2 HOWITZERs on the north side of the valley rounded out the rest of the defending armor. 

The circled units to the right of the defending armor consist of the storage shed with the 3 missile crawlers inside.  They have to make their way to the launch pads, which were located together at the bottom edge of the map.

The rest of the 7 buildings and infantry squads were located in an arc, from below the howies to the bottom right hand corner of the map.



Since I had to enter form the north or west side of the map, I quickly saw I had 2 valid attack routes.

Attack route #1 - from the west.  This route looked most promising.  Open terrain right into the heart of the valley.

Attack route #2 - from the north.  You have to look carefully at the map to see this route, since the orange and yellow hexes look alike at first.  There is an path of yellow hexes from the north to the valley, as indicated by the arrow on the map.  Yellow terrain is tough on GEV and TNK type vehicles, your movement will be severely limited.  HVY and OGRE movement type vehicles treat yellow hexes as normal terrain  Thus if you take this route, you will be using HVY and SUPER HVY tanks exclusively.

Any attack route that takes you through alot of orange or white hexes you may as well forget.  The terrain movement penalties will slow you far too much.

In the end I decided to use both routes.  All 20 infantry squads would attack from the north, and all 15 armor would attack from the west.



This front saw all 20 infantry squads "dash" in to destroy the eastern most howitzer, and then menace the admin buildings.  I knew that they would never keep up with my armor in the west, and I felt I couldn't spare the armor units to put them in GEV-PCs.  So it was a diversionary attack from the start.  Their best use would be to tie up defenders while  my armor did the heavy lifting.

My MI entered as per the pic on the right.  They have 5 turns to go under howie fire before they can take it out the big gun.

Since they receive double defense in the yellow hexes, and triple defense in the orange hexes, they didn't get as beat up as you might have thought, even though they're stacked and all.

Six turns later, the human wave has eliminated the eastern howie, and defeated a platoon of PSA defenders.  But it is a shadow of it's former self.  Soon they will be eliminated by the remaining PSA infantry and their 3 surviving HVYs.

As I told Simon, this was the slowest rush on a howitzer that I've ever seen.  It was like watching paint dry.





For my 15 armor, I didn't have many choices because I needed speed and range.  MSLs would take forever to get into the battle, and HVYs would always give up the first shot.  So I went with 5 GEVs, 10 LGEVs, 2 SUPERS, and 2 LTs.


After the first turn, the heavy armor is lagging behind, but the hovers move up within range of the defending GEVs.





Here is the starting setup for Simon's PSA defenders.  Note the concentration of HVYs on the road just north of the mud flats (red hexes).  

This was to play a major part in the upcoming battle.  GEVs (which I had plenty of) can cross the mud flats at no penalty.  Heavy armor can't, and just venturing into the mud gives a HVY a 50% chance of getting stuck. 

Since the majority of the fighting took place just south of the mud flats, the defending armor had to go around the mud, thus delaying their arrival at the battle by a crucial turn.






Here's Simon's defenders after turn 1.   The HVYs are lumbering east after cutting the road across the mud flats.  A MSL is going with them, but it retains the ability to direct fire to the south if necessary.  His 4 GEVs have consolidated in front of his mobile artillery.   It's going to be a hard nut to crack.





Turn 2 begins.  I can't hit the defenders, but I move into attack position.  Fortunately, I'll be out of range of his MHZRs, unfortunately, Simon will get a crack at me with his GEVs. 






PSA turn 2 - Simon moves up and takes a crack at my hovers.   He will move his hovers back to just in front of his artillery on the 2nd phase.







SSDF turn 3 - 1 GEV and 1 LGEVs are destroyed.  3 GEVs and 3 LGEVs are disabled.  Bloody hovers just can't take the punishment.  Still, it could have been worse.

1 GEV and 6 LGEVs counter attack.  All they can do is kill  2 GEVs.  But they snuggle up close so they can do what GEVs do best - overrun on the second phase.








2nd movement phase, the GEV horde overruns an enemy GEV, a MSL and a MHWZ, killing them all!  There are only 4 LGEVs left when it's all said and done.  Since they have so little defense, they are toast for sure on the next turn.







PSA turn 3 - a turn of reprisal.  Simon takes a shot at the disabled hovers with his last GEV, while the heavy armor heads south.  One GEV is lost.

Simon's MSL slides west and takes a long 1-2 shot at one of the SUPERS.  It misses but one of the LTs in the stack is disabled.

All LGEVs are eliminated with extreme prejudice by the HVY horde.








PSA GEV movement phase - Simon pays me back by overrunning a helpless disabled LGEV.






SSDF turn 4 - 2 GEVs and 2 LGEVs recover.  The battle is still up in the air.  I now have 8 armor against Simon's nine.  What Simon has that I don't is infantry.  You'll see how important that becomes later in the battle.

My SUPERs now get in the fray.  They both move into the battle zone (and become MHWZ targets).  One SUPER attacks the last MSL at 3-1 odds, but can only manage to disable it.

My 2 GEVs attack the double D infantry but miss (it was a long 1-2 shot.  They can't shoot back so why not?).

Everybody else gangs up on the last PSA GEV and blast it into atoms.

Then the GEVs retreat back to their friends.




PSA turn 4 - Simon spreads his HVYs out.  He knows he must stop any GEV from getting around his defending armor.  While you can't see the missile crawlers, they are just to the east of this battle.  If a GEV gets by, it can overrun the defenseless missile crawlers and destroy them all.

Note the movement of the 6 INF squads to the triple defense orange hex.

The PSA MHWZ fires on a SUPER and misses.




SSDF turn 5 - the all out war.  The disabled LT recovers.  Now every unit will move up and attack.

The disabled MSL on the road is attacked 3 times - by both LTs and by a SUPER gun, but is unaffected!  Two HVYs are destroyed and one HVY is disabled.

The MHWZ is smoked by the southern super.  Sadly, he had to move into overrun range to do it.  So when the GEVs withdraw, one LGEV stacks with the SUPER, to prevent that from happening.

You can see the missile crawlers in the distance in this pic.





PSA turn 5 - the hammer blow from which I never recovered.  The untouchable MSL recovers and joins the HVYs and INFs in their attack.  One SUPER and LGEV are disabled, one SUPER and LT are destroyed.

The only avenue left for the attack is for a hover to sneak by and get to the crawlers.






SSDF turn 6 - the desperate plan.  If you can't defeat the enemy armor, go around it.

The plan is this  - the hovers go into the mud flats above the defending HVYs.  If the LT and hovers can disable or destroy all three targets, the LGEV can escape eastward and destroy the crawlers.  I calculate the plan has a 17% chance of working.

But fate is against me, and I miss two attacks.  This includes the fifth attack on that damn MSL.  The disabled HVY is killed off by a lucky 1-2 attack







Enraged, the hovers overrun the MSL on the second phase, losing a GEV in the process.  But it was worth it!








PSA turn 6 - the end.  The remaining defenders make short work of the ragtag SSDF force.  The disabled SUPER and LGEV are overrun by 2 platoons of INF. 

The last GEV on the map is disabled by the western howie (who finally gets to fire a shot).

While the game goes on for a further turn, the SSDF forces are effectively defeated.  The LGEV cannot outflank the HVYs, and cannot attack them. 

I resign after turn 7.  Since all missiles will be launched, it is a decisive PSA victory.



My closing remarks to Simon were:


Sadly, the SSDF's position is beyond hope.  There's not enough there to possibly win, so I resign.  Nice game Simon!  It was tense there for a while.  I was always 1 hex away from a breakout.  I think we both had our share of crap rolls, too (darn MSL tank!).
The infantry up north were a lost cause from the start, since they could'nt have caught the crawlers anyway.  But they did tie up some of your troopers from being used elsewhere.  That was the slowest "rush" on a howitzer that I've ever seen.  Yet the terrain kept them from being beat up too badly.
Your western howie only fired one shot, but severely constricted my movements.  Your southern from platoons were a big factor too, with triple D, waiting to attack or overrun.
In the end the armor cancelled each other out, we both lost 15 armor units.  I can't help but think maybe the SSDF needs a little more force to get the job done, but maybe that's just my ego!



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This site was last updated 08/19/07