2GM Tactics: A Look at Scenarios13 Jul 2017 0
A WW2-themed card/wargame, 2GM Tactics is an interesting game. You can read our analysis of it, or check out our whole coverage of it. The primary game mode of 2GM is 'Battle Royal', where each player assembles a deck to an agreed point limit, randomly generate terrain, and then fight it out until one person runs out of cards or a HQ is destroyed. Scenarios are the other game 'mode', and they represent a very different dimension to how you approach and play out a battle. The gameplay is largely the same, barring special rules introduced for the scenario in question, but the objectives are completely different and further to that, deck-building can be very unique as well.
Scenarios can either be generic, representing different mission types, or they can be historical in the sense that they are trying to recreate a particular battle. Many historical scenarios in 2GM come as part of a linked campaign, and there are rules and persistent elements that carry over battle-to-battle.
For the purposes of this article we tested two similar scenarios – the first mission of the 'Operation Overlord' campaign, which is the D-Day landings, and then the stand-alone historical scenario covering Dunkirk.
I actually had to run through this scenario twice as I was doing things wrong the first time around. What's interesting in this set-up is that it has highly unique deployment rules for US, who have to deploy onto Landing Craft and then land on to the beaches.
The US objective was to get any two units to the German’s deployment line, and if a turn ended with two units in this position, they win. The German objective was to destroy 12 units (and obviously prevent the US getting to the Axis deployment line).
Economy for the Germans worked like normal, but the US had a slight advantage in the sense that they always have a supply line of 2, simply because those tiles are water tiles and it's assumed they have control over them. Anything that lands on the beach instantly increases the supply line to 3, and then if the Command Groups emerge they start off at generating 3 a turn by the time they get to the beach.
Despite this enhanced income though, the US side is hampered by the fact that there are only three landing craft available in the whole game. At most, they can deploy three units at once, and then deploy them to the third line straight away. The next turn the landing craft move off map, return to the 'side deck', and then can be used to deploy more troops to the front, and so on...
It means a slow-ish trickle of units getting onto the beaches, and their progress is further hampered by the fact that the German player is allowed to place any number of barriers, trenches, walls and barbed wire they wish, along with two incredibly strong bunkers. Barriers prevent tank movement (although the US player is only allowed a maximum of five tanks in the whole deck) while barbed wire prevents infantry movement.
So far it seems like a fairly balanced scenario that requires a bit of luck and clever thinking in order to succeed. The key to German strategy would be their powerful artillery pieces and making sure they are in cover. The two bunkers the German player has access to are great places to sit these powerful long-range weapons, as they are all but invincible here provided you prevent assaults. Heavy Infantry with LMGs can make short work of most Infantry, while Light Infantry Medics will keep everything alive. The German player is not allowed to use Tanks or Airplanes. Making sure the US side doesn't build up momentum is also important – kill everything, and kill it fast, even targeting the landing craft if you can.
So far it seems to be the US that has the harder job, but it is doable. Using Special Forces to clear terrain blockers is important for early strategy as it will clear the way for your big push as you draw more tanks. What's key is that you can sit units in the landing craft out of range of anything bar 4-Range artillery quite comfortably, but you need to have some kind of beach presence to stop the German's rushing you. The US can also use airplanes, which can be used to try and clear out entire sectors and/or to destroy defensive terrain. Being careful of how many units you sacrifice is key, but if you keep up the pressure and make a big push with your heavy gear, you should be able to break through. Need to roll a lot of crits, though.
Similar to D-Day, this is another widely different scenario that forces some very focused tactics and gameplay. Unlike the previous mission, where the Allied side had to arrive via the beaches, in this mission the UK player (this is from the expanded scenario booklet as it includes expansion factions) has to evacuate three troops from the board via Landing Transports. The German player has to destroy either X amount of units, or level the three houses that feature as terrain.
The UK side is basically limited to Infantry and the two AA guns they have as part of their card pool. The Germans have access to everything and are able to assemble a mighty 150 point deck, vs. the UK's measly 80.
Economy wise, the UK are only allowed to generate one per turn from the HQ, and then any Radio Link units they can deploy (which generate AP differently to German/US/Russian Command Groups). Further to this, they have no 'deployment line' – the three houses act as spawn points, and only if they are empty and not destroyed. This is offset by the fact that they can place trenches and walls wherever they want, and start the game with up to eight units pre-deployed to the map.
Essentially the UK's strategy relies on going for a quick win (which is what ended up happening in testing). Only one landing craft can be drawn into your hand a turn, so it would require a minimum of three turns just to get all the boats into position. Getting land units ready to board shouldn't be an issue provided the other five units (plus anything else you can deploy to the field) can hold the Germans at their deployment line. Still, provided the Axis don't cause delays by destroying Landing Craft, on Turn 4 it's very easy to load everything up and then move off map all in one go.
For the Germans to really succeed, they need to hit hard and hit fast. One of the houses always starts close to the German's deployment line, with the other two behind that, so getting an early kill on one house is usually doable, but it will require a lot of zerg-like rush tactics to really keep the UK player on the back foot. Setting up artillery to shell the landing craft is an option if the units become available, but really the sooner you clear out those houses, the sooner you'll win.
I think this scenario could probably do with some tweaking but it requires further testing. In my match, the German AI did indeed get off to an early start by destroying a house on Turn 1, but failed to capitalise on this or advance any further into the map. My UK forces meanwhile calmly moved three units to the rear, waited for the boats to turn up one by one, and then retreated on mass with the rest of the pre-deployed units (plus new arrivals) covering our retreat. This battle could have been much more interesting and tense if it weren't so brief, but the only real suggestion I would put forward would be to maybe increase the number of units the UK player has to evacuate. This would serve to increase tension, and require at least one more cycle of landing craft coming to the beaches for more units.
Closing Thoughts & Analysis
As we've been playing the game over the past month, we've been learning more about the subtleties and clarifications through asking questions and play-testing. I'll save my ultimate thoughts on all this for the review, but while 2GM isn't a complicated game, it is one that could probably have been designed a bit better. Many of the clarifications and ruling we've been asking of the developers over on BGG only seem to make things more complex than they need to be. That being said, it's still a lot of fun, and the scenarios serve as the best example of what makes 2GM good, more so than Battle Royal itself does.
The deck-building restrictions mean you have to really get creative with the cards you have (although some scenarios have less restrictions, so this is a variable concept). The different objectives, whether you're doing a generic scenario or a 'historical' battle, keep things fresh. The pre-set historical scenarios also have some great little rewards to add persistence to your army as you go through the missions of a campaign. This requires a little extra management as deck-building can widely differ from scenario to scenario, but you just have to make sure you're keeping track of everything. All in all, these more targeted set-pieces are well worth playing, even in solitaire mode.
We've played quite a bit of 2GM Tactics now – stay tuned for our final article where we offer our definitive thoughts in the 'official' review.