A Grognard's Guide to Version Phwoar: Part Two A Grognard's1 Guide to Version Phwoar:
Part Three

with Andrew Duncan

Battle Generator, New Missions and Mission Changes
The Battle Plans mission generation system is great. I can choose an army then choose a plan that suits my strengths. I’ll look at my opponent’s force to see how I can exploit their weaknesses and play to my strengths. They’ll be doing the same, so maybe there’s a bluff I can play?

I get to pick from Prepared Attack, Hasty Attack or Defend. I won’t be choosing Defend often – I like to seize the initiative and force the pace with the speed of manoeuvre and aggressive tactics.

Our missions have also changed, presenting new challenges for the tabletop commander. Meeting Engagements are the same but there are changes to a few old favourites, as well as a new mission in Bridgehead.

Interestingly – and about time, too – it’s not possible to win merely by holding out. The only exception is Fighting Withdrawal (see below). No Retreat and Bridgehead, a new mission, mean the Defender can only win if they drive the Attacker out of their half and/or 16”/40cm from an objective, respectively. The Mobile Battles require the same, except Hasty Attack, where the defender can only win by taking the opponent’s objective. The Meeting Engagements all require the capture of the opponent’s objective for either Attacker or Defender to win.

A Grognard's Guide to Version Phwoar: Part Three

In the Defensive Battles and Mobile Battles, bring your horde of infantry and artillery and get ready for the Western Front 1915. If my force is running aground on your defences, you’ll have to counterattack to win by driving me more than 16”/40cm from the objectives. A good defensive force with a lot of infantry and guns can still provide a good game. However, a primarily defensive force will need an ability to counterattack with a resilient reserve and some fast-moving units to finish off a weakened attacker.

Now I know what the victory conditions are, there any other key changes. First of all, in every mission infantry and guns from both sides start dug-in. This makes military sense to me. The opposing forces have found each other or have known their dispositions for some time. Everyone will be prepared, even where one side has the initiative.

In the Defensive Battles, I’m in a prepared position and expecting the enemy.  I may be caught off-guard and have to wait for my reserves to come up, but I’ve got a couple of surprises of my own. I can deploy a minefield for every 25 points in my force. Minefields are now represented by Minefield token. Their area of effect is 2”/5cm from the token. I can use these to protect my objectives or deny manoeuvre lanes on my flanks.

A Grognard's Guide to Version Phwoar: Part Three

The old Fighting Withdrawal mission, now called Rearguard, has a few changes in addition to those noted above. The game now lasts until the start of the Defender’s ninth turn. There are now only two objectives placed by the attacker. These are now also closer together, being placed up to 16”/40cm from the Defender’s baseline and within 16”/40cm of the table sides. On a 6’ x 4’ table, this will be a central rectangle 40”/100cm wide by 16”/40cm deep. The Defender starts withdrawing troops from turn two, and there is no objective removal. This new shape eliminates my standard approach to this mission, which involves throwing all my army as fast as possible down a weaker flank to go for one objective. Success will require a more subtle plan, combining manoeuvre and attrition and reflecting the terrain and my opponent’s force.

The role played by reconnaissance troops in the game has changed. They now provide Spearhead moves. In addition, Reserves work in a very different manner. For a discussion of these changes see below. The Spearhead opportunities, Reserves requirements and Victory Conditions for each mission are set out in a table at the end of this article.

A Grognard's Guide to Version Phwoar: Part Three

Spearhead
Spearhead brings a new dimension to the shape of six of the nine missions. With Spearhead I can use my reconnaissance units, those with the Spearhead rule, to expand my deployment area. A unit with the Spearhead rule can move at Tactical or Dash speed after deployment into any area of the board more than:

● 16”/40cm from the enemy deployment area
● 16”/40cm from any objectives outside the deployment areas
● 16”/40cm from any enemy teams it isn’t concealed from
● 8”/20cm from any enemy team it is concealed from.

This allows me to set up attacks from different directions. I may also be able to take key pieces of terrain with infantry to deny important manoeuvre corridors to the enemy. As the attacker, I’ll be looking for a defilade position into which I can place some tanks to provide covering fire for my main force or as a good jumping off point for a flank attack.

As the defender, I’ll have to consider the new threat that Spearhead poses when I deploy. However, I can use my own Spearhead units to deny important ground to the enemy and protect my flanks.

The Defensive Battles simulate forces confronting each other from established positions and hence offer little room for the reconnaissance forces to exploit. The enemy has been found and fixed in place. However, Bridgehead offers a very narrow channel, 4”/10cm, down either flank for the attacker. The defender can limit this by Spearheading along their baseline.

A Grognard's Guide to Version Phwoar: Part Three

Unsurprisingly, battles that are developing as forces clash whilst manoeuvring strategically offer the most opportunity for Spearhead. All the Meeting Engagement deployments offer considerable scope to take ground and important terrain features. Both Encounter and Free For All have room to Spearhead and take your deployment area from 12”/30cm from the baseline to within 4”/10cm of halfway. Dust-Up gives an entire flank to manoeuvre into. That village outside your deployment area covering some fields through which the enemy could move to threaten your objective can now be claimed by your reconnaissance forces and garrisoned with infantry and anti-tank guns.

Mobile battles also have opportunities to exploit with Spearhead. Hasty Attack is a bit like the Meeting Engagements. Breakthrough has Flanking Reserves and its own challenges but no Spearhead. However, Counterattack has some interesting options for the Attacker. Should I place my objective in no-man’s land forward so it’s closer to my front line or further back so I can Spearhead to my open flank and set up a holding force to confront the reserves I know will threaten the flank of my attack?

With these options, all my forces will aim to include one or two units of reconnaissance troops with the Spearhead rule.

A Grognard's Guide to Version Phwoar: Part Three

Reserves
Major changes are coming to Reserves. It’s no longer half your units (which, for the cunning player, were often a lot less than half your force) which have to be kept off the battlefield. List design and the Reserves rule used to mean you wanted to have a minimum of six platoons, and preferably nine. Three or five of these units would be worth as few points as possible. With, say, a small recce unit (valuable in attack but not so much in defence), some anti-aircraft guns and perhaps a weapons platoon of HMGs, you could still have 1300 points from a 1500-point force on the board – hardly a disadvantage for handing over the initiative and taking the benefit of choosing a defensive position.

Now your reserves will be 40% of your force’s points. I will have to consider how I want to structure my army list with this in mind. Do I want a few good units to bring on to counter the enemy quickly and forcefully? Or do I take a larger number of smaller units that can act independently and present challenges to the enemy from different directions? If I have a lot of weaker units, I may have to wait to build up a reserve force behind cover before committing them. I will also be hoping I actually roll a few 5s and 6s for some early reserves, and don’t have to wait for some weak platoons to come on late in the game. On the other hand, they won’t present much of a loss when subject to Strategic Withdrawal in Fighting Withdrawal.

This will be important as, while I want to be the attacker, that won’t always be the case. The defender has reserves in eight of the nine missions. Even the attacker can’t commit their entire force in four missions. I’ll need to consider what sort of troops I want to keep in reserve. Some of them will need to pack a punch, be manoeuvrable and sometimes I’ll need to recapture an objective.

A new reserve rule has also been introduced: Deep Reserves. This means I can only have one unit of tanks with better than front armour 3 or planes on the board. The remainder of the armour is being held to the rear to respond to enemy breakthroughs or take advantage of disorder in their front line after their forces have broken on our front. The first 60% of my force will need to be able to withstand the full weight of the enemy until the key moment when the reserves are committed.

~ Andrew.

Battle Plan Mission Deployment Reserves Victory Conditions*
Meeting Engagement Dust-Up Spearhead possible
Attacker and Defender have room to their open flanks.
Attacker and Defender: Delayed. Attacker: Captures Objective.
Defender: Captures Objective.
Encounter Spearhead possible
Attacker and Defender up to 4"/10cm their side of halfway.
Attacker and Defender: Scattered Delayed. Attacker: Captures Objective.
Defender: Captures Objective.
Free For All

Spearhead possible
Attacker and Defender up to 4"/10cm their side of halfway.

None. Attacker: Captures Objective.
Defender: Captures Objective.
Mobile Battle Breakthrough No Spearhead
8"/20cm between deployment areas.
Attacker: Flanking Delayed.
Defender: Immediate in Defenders corners.
Attacker: Captures Objective.
Defender: Drives enemy more than 16'/40cm from the Objectives.
Counterattack

Spearhead possible
Attacker can limit defender and has potential to deploy substantially to their flank in no-man's land

Defender:
Immediate Reserves to attackers open flank.

Attacker: Captures Objective.
Defender: Drives enemy more than 16'/40cm from the Objectives.
Hasty Attack

Spearhead possible
Attacker: Up to 8”/20cm their side of halfway.
Defender: Up to 4”/10cm their side of halfway.

Attacker: Scattered Immediate.
Defender: Scattered Delayed.
Attacker: Captures Objective.
Defender: Captures Objective.
Defensive Battle Bridgehead

Spearhead possible
Attacker: 4”/10cm on either flank.
Defender: 8”/20cm from baseline.

Defender:
Deep Scattered Immediate Reserves.

Attacker: Captures Objective.
Defender: Drives enemy more than 16'/40cm from the Objectives.
Fighting Withdrawal

No Spearhead
Deployment areas within 16”/40cm.

None
Defender has to withdrawal from turn two if 6+ units.

Attacker: Captures Objective.
Defender: Holds out.
No Retreat

No Spearhead
Deployment areas within 16”/40cm.

Defender:
Deep Immediate.

Attacker: Captures Objective.
Defender: Drives enemy from their table half.
* = Breaking your opponent's force will also work.

1. Wiktionary
1. An old soldier.
2. (games, slang) Someone who enjoys playing older wargames or role playing games, or older versions of such games, when newer ones are available.

Miriam Webster Dictionary
A soldier of the original imperial guard that was created by Napoleon I in 1804 and that made the final French charge at Waterloo.

French, from grogner to grunt, grumble (from Old French gronir, grogner, from Latin grunnire to grunt) + -ard


Last Updated On Wednesday, March 8, 2017 by Blake at Battlefront