Douglas Bush from BGG has kindly shared his superb AAR of this GDW classic.
3 of these titles were just added to the library [I figured once I personally ascended to over 150 titles that library seemed appropriate, word from on high suggests that more than that will be cause for either renovation or divorce or both]. To collectors with over 500 titles I commend your dedication and your spirit of adventure. But I digress.
Here is what the game looks:
Assault, by GDW, is a Platoon level treatment of modern combined arms combat in Europe ca. 1985. The game was released in 1983, the first in a series of five titles in the series. I now have just the three (the other two owned are Bundeswehr & Cavalry)
The game is a simulation of the new organization and doctrine that was in the process of being adopted by the US Army at the time. The rules are detailed, very detailed. That said, the rules are clear and the game situations are described in some depth. In many ways, the game reminds me of SPI‘s NATO Division Commander, which is one of my favorite games of the era. but at a smaller scale. Ultimately the game puts the players in the shoes of battalion, regimental, or brigade commander standing up to NATO, or stemming the Soviet tide over the Continent, versus Divisional with NDC. There in I think lies a problem akin to Tactical Combat System , where the fun is in the planning at Battalion level, but the additional overhead required to manage each platoon and MG section starts to soak off some of the ‘fun’ vs realism factor.
As a concept the scale is 250m per hex and 5 minutes a turn. There is a strong emphasis on Headquarters and Tactical Operations Centers which generate operations points, thereby simulating the limits of what can be accomplished during a turn. In order to move into combat, change formation, rebuild HQs, and rally suppressed units, players must expend operations points. Without operations points, units are still able to fight, but their ability to maneuver and recover from combat effects is severely curtailed. This part of the game gives a feel of City Fight where each side has platoon points to spend for commanders and squads. The difference is the paperwork. Assault brings some overhead here. The core difference is that players do not play blind here. Sim Guy writes a nice review over on the BGG, some of which is plagiarized here.
What we will see here is a deliberate focus on command and control. Something I am fond of. Frank went a long way to making an awesome game. It would be very interesting to see a ‘re implementation’ of the detailed command aspects with some modern mechanics applied. This game is a wonderful treatment of the era and deserves some serious play if you ahve an interest in ’80’s style modern combat.
Assault Scenario 11 is a deliberate Soviet assault against a prepared NATO defense. It is set in good defensive terrain and the defenders have had 6 hours to prepare the defense. In this playing, we generated a West German army defense force of a mechanized infantry battalion with Leopard 2 armor support and some PAH-1 helicopters. Both sides also had the potential for air support.
Scenario 11 AAR – Turns 1-2
A couple images from the first two turns of the game. David brings on what looks like a battalion along both the north and south board edges. I am able to confirm that on T1 by using my PAH-1 helos doing spotting pop-ups. They see a battalion of T-80s on each flank, with a company of BMPs in support. Luckily there weren’t any SA-9 or SA-13s deployed just yet, so the helos were able to get a quick look in relative safety.
During Turn 2 we have our first contact. The same PAH-1s do fire pop-ups and launch HOT missiles at almost max range. They knock out a platoon of plow tanks, a platoon of BMPs, and some BRDMs on the northern flank, but miss big time down south. The Soviet recon company is temporarily shaken as a result. The window for the shots closes quickly, however, as David races across the open ground and gets into the LOS shadow of the hills/trees. Also note the off-board artillery setup just on the right edge. In the center, I try to sneak another PAH-1 helicopter up for a look from the flanks. Turns out to be a bad idea.
Part 2 up next………..