HEAD-2-HEAD Private Rank Game
Brian Denmark (Tank Pre-Con) VS. PK Torretto (Infantry Pre-Con)
B.D. I’m sitting here with PK Torretto, the designer of P.O.W.E.R, for our first game report. We’ve chosen to play a Private Rank game in which we each choose to play one of the eight card preconstructed packs. I’ve chosen the ‘tank’ pack because I like to have as many heavy tanks as possible in just about any game I play. This pack gives me two M1A1 Abrams tanks, a Sheridan light tank, and a UH-60 Blackhawk for Close Air Support. Also available for support are two infantry units, one with a Stinger SAM and one with mortars, and two supply units that will allow my main force to operate further forward.
My opponent chooses the ‘infantry’ pack. This is going to be a tough game. The infantry pack has both the Population Boom and Body Armor boosters allowing his infantry to have an attack and a defense of two (defense three on his rifle squads). To make matters worse my lovely tanks can only attack infantry when they are in the same square. PK will be able stack multiple units within the same square making a very tough nut to crack. Still, I have a few advantages. My tanks are faster than his infantry which means that if I can breakthrough his line I may be able to win without fighting most of his army. Furthermore, he only has a single Stinger SAM. If I can deal with that unit my Blackhawk will be completely safe, able to attack freely without fear of reprisal.
As we go I’ve included PK’s notes to give some insight into his plans and strategies.
PK.T. Main Goal: Wise BQ flips to build all units, not to press-my-luck so that I don’t choke any units from getting to battlefield. With Red BQ boxes that don’t even move down I want an empty BQ slot ready when I flip them. Hopefully getting all my squad units to the battlefield twice as strong from the Population Boom Special and my Rifle Squads with an extra defense wearing Body Armor.
Secondary Goal #1: Use solo-purpose units, my Stinger SAM for his Blackhawk (his one air unit), and my anti-tank Javelin MUST take out one Abrams (not settle for the Sheridan).
Secondary Goal #2: Stack Units. Both tanks can only attack infantry if they are on top of them in the same square, “rolling them over” and using the same .50 cal gun for 2 damage. And that means I will stack! Max of 3 ground troops in any one square, that way I can invoke the defender-wins-the-square rule if he chooses to attack first.
B.D. We both deal our cards face down into our Build Queues and flip a coin for first turn. I win the coin flip. I have 5 units that are BQ1 or BQ2. I need to get those BQ spaces cleared out first to avoid choking off face down cards. I flip BQ#1 and see my HEMTT supply unit. I hate the risk of not seeing the other face-down card in BQ1 for a while but I need some pressure before PK finds his boosters. I flip BQ#2 and see the Sheridan. I can’t risk choking off more cards so I pass the turn.
PK.T. I must start with flipping from BQ 2 to try and get all units to the battlefield. (If I flip a red BQ2 my first flip I could choke 2 facedown cards for the entire game!) So, first flip is from BQ2 and luckily the 1/8 percent chance was avoided. My Rifle Squad BQ HQ “freebie” goes straight into the battlefield. I flip the second BQ2 facedown card. Boom! Right in an empty BQ slot and my Special is already active on the second flip making my Rifle Squad a 2/2! Do I Stop? If the next flip is Body Armor I will have choked a unit. But, any of the other 5 cards out of 6 are BQ1s or the last “freebie” so I take the chance. My Force Recon goes to BQ1 (he doesn’t have artillery, but diagonal movement may be nice), time to stop pressing my luck, his turn.
B.D. I have a one third chance of flipping a BQ1 card and choking off theSheridanbut I’m going to need more than one unit now that he has Population Boom online. I flip BQ#2 finding my Blackhawk and stop. I’m in the same place I was first turn, unable to risk clogging up the Build Queue by flipping more.
PK.T. Uh oh. He got lucky with that Blackhawk BQ2 flip his second turn. If he doesn’t flip other cards to stall the build I need my Stinger SAM within at least 4 moves or his helo is going to have a field day with his supply unit close at hand. He stopped flipping because he wants that tank in next round, but it delays the Abrams. I’m fine with that. I deploy my Force Recon in a middle row because of the diagonal movement, and flip over the Sniper BQ1. If one of the remaining top 2 face down cards is the Body Armor Special, I will choke a unit. I will wait just one more turn to clear out BQ 1 for that red BQ box that never shifts down the Queue.
B.D. Waiting on the Blackhawk.
PK.T. Wow. He doesn’t flip over anymore? He must really want that helo. I flip from BQ3 and dang it, another BQ1. I have one BQ1 left, a BQ HQ, and the body armor. Again, I can wait while my Anti-Tank Javelins are being “trained”, clear out BQ1 slot, and I see no immediate threat. His turn, but I sure wish my Stinger SAM unit was being trained instead right now.
B.D. I move up a little to keep PK from going one the offensive with his numerical advantage. Now I need to find my Abrams. I flip BQ#1 finding my Stinger SAM, a low value unit since I’m not facing any Air Support. I flip BQ#3 and finally find an M1A1 Abrams. I can keep flipping at this point without any risks of slowing the production of important units. I flip BQ#4 getting my Mortars immediately and flip BQ#4 again seeing my MRAP supply unit.
PK.T. Now things are a’changing. His Sheridan Tank is rolling up, the helo is out and the Abrams is being built. Also, notice that the two BQ1s will deploy nicely ahead of the Abrams. I also know now that the card under the Abrams being built is another Abrams. That will be built right behind the other Abrams. I need to be careful of this back-to-back deployment. I may have to rush him.
P.K.T. Status: 4 of my 6 units deployed, Population Boom Special active and no sign of it being turned off by other units being built on top of it. But, no air defense. I won’t move up but will begin stacking to reach my #2 goal. My BQ3 flip was a “freebie” and will I stack them to support the Anti-Tank team. I now have two open BQ slots for that dang Body Armor Special and Boom! there it is, top card in BQ4. I choose to put it in the BQ3 slot so the last card (Stinger SAMs) won’t deactivate it because it’s BQ1. (only Specials on top of a BQ pile are “active”). Good news? Main goal: Achieved – All units will be deployed and both Specials are “active” for the rest of the game!
B.D. Body Armor is online. I’ve lost the first race. PK can now stack enough units that it will require three attackers to deal with them (defender-wins-the-square if I don’t clear it out by the end of the turn and only my Mortars can attack his infantry at range). I put the Blackhawk and the Sheridan together, backed up with a supply unit in case he spreads out too much. Then I flip the last Abrams in BQ#3 and go back to waiting for tanks.
PK.T. Having the Stingers be my last card and his Blackhawk being his second is really upsetting my #1 Goal. It may take 3 turns to adjust. I want the solo-purpose units to be used correctly. So I’ll stack and stack and Goal #2: Achieved. Rifle Squad, Snipers, Force Recon in one. And Rifle Squad with Anti-Tank Javelins in the other.
B.D. I only have theSheridan(which most of his infantry can kill alone) to back up the Blackhawk at this point so I can’t go on the offensive. I move to block the center and start trying to make sure I can deal with his Stinger SAM.
PK.T. Total unexpected shift of his troops. That delay to shift was just what I needed to get those Stingers up to the front lines. Here’s my big chance. Both Abrams are not out yet. Any move upfield and his Sheridan and Helo can attack. So, spread out! I de-stack my infantry Force Recon diagonally a square up, but safe from tank and mortars. Javelin and Stinger are up. If I can hold on a few more turns before attacking I could have baited theSheridan at this point, but I am sticking to my #1 Goal.
PK.T. This move is the big shift. I pull back the Snipers & Squad in the crosshairs of the Helo and move up the Stingers at long last. They have Return Fire trait, so come on down! I support the Anti-Tank Javelins with a Rifle Squad and retreat the Force Recon. I am finally leading with a solo-purpose unit and about to march!
PK.T. Lots of stuff happening this turn. On the right side I set up bait. That Rifle Squad is a 2/3 with both Specials active and it would take the mortars and the Abrams to take it out. The Javelins are diagonal one away, have a 1 radius range and will take out the Abrams. Goal #1. It also brings out the mortars and I can snag them with the Force Recon I moved up. Force Recon is protected by the Stingers. (though in hindsight, if he sacrificed theSheridan for the Stingers? whole different game. This was a big mistake on my part and one that would have lost the game for me, I bet).
B.D. He’s offering a trade. One rifle squad for one Abrams. Sounds like a bad deal to me. I still have a numerical disadvantage when it comes to fighting units so I need to trade two for one or better.
PK.T. One word: Charge! I think he thought I was going to wait until the Anti-Tank Javelins were in position. My Stingers had a 1 radius attack at the Blackhawk and I wasn’t going to miss that opportunity, even though I knew that unit and the Force Recon were going to be short-lived in that square. First part of Goal #1: Achieved.
B.D. That’s it. The mistake that probably cost me the game. I re-positioned the Blackhawk to move it away from the Stinger SAM but I wasn’t paying attention and I left it in range. I’ve lost one of my biggest advantages due to carelessness.
My new plan is going to be a push through. All three tanks move forward and make a hole. I’ll lose two of them for it but the third should be able to push through and race to PK’s HQ before he can stop it.
PK.T. Side step the Javelins and I get my Abrams. Second Part of Goal #1: Achieved. I’ll take the Supplied one first, obviously. My Snipers are 2/2 because of the Population Boom Special and can take out the Sheridan by themselves, and at range. Lastly, pincer move with both Rifle Squads buffed to 2/3 from Specials to take out the other Abrams, the last tank, and let the dust settle.
B.D. Desperate moves beget more mistakes. I missed the two Rifle Squads able to kill my second Abrams. It’s over. I load up the transports in case I get a hole I can run for it but I’m not expecting that to work.
INFANTRY PACK VICTORY!
Stay tuned for a Head-2-Head Sergeant Rank game coming soon!