Scenario Review – Panzer Attack on Hill 140

Panzer Attack on Hill 140 is a Normandy scenario from the Equipment Pack for Memoir ’44.  This is not a bad scenario, from a gameplay perspective, but for a map with the subtitle “Massacre of the British Colombia Regiment,” something seems off.  It stands to reason that a “massacre” scenario should be somewhat imbalanced.  This scenario is a tad imbalanced – in the wrong direction!

By August 9, 1944, Operation Totalize had lost its momentum in the face of stiff resistance from German troops, now busy establishing a new defensive line on the Laizon river. Then tragedy struck for the British: lost in darkness, Worthington Force, a group of Algonquin Infantrymen in half-tracks and tankers from the 4th Canadian Armored Division, missed their objective, Hill 195, and ran smack dab into German defenses on Hill 140. Under withering fire from Flak 88s and the German Tigers and Panthers, the force lost 43 tanks out of 46, 250 men, and Lt-Col Worthington himself.

The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. The rest is history.

This is an official scenario from the Equipment Pack, and as such the map is not available online.  Here’s my bad photo.

Hill 140

The key thing to note is the dramatic imbalance in forces on the British left flank.  The have two tanks, an infantry, and an artillery facing off against a heavy German Armor unit that’s pinned against the baseline and the river, and a single infantry.  Thanks to their artillery and their 88, the Germans have enough firepower in the center to make things hard for the Brits, but without a strong hand full of multi-regional cards it’s not going to be easy.

The British Armor superiority is really striking on this map.  If the Axis player brings his or her armor out of cover to attack, it can get quickly stomped by the superior British force – especially if the Brit has been holding an Armor Assault in his or her hand, as happened to me!

This map is not TOO imbalanced, really.  Days of Wonder online has it at 47/53 Allies, which seems a bit close to me.  However, tank battles can go that way sometimes – one player gets on a roll, and in a single attack completely destroys the opponent’s entire tank army.  Given the tough German units, and the completely unpredictable nature of the stock Tiger rule, the Germans do have a reasonable chance to win this battle.

However, a reasonable chance to win a tough fight is not a massacre!

Overall Evaluation – 3/5 – This is an interesting battle, but nothing special.  Its failure to match the theme hurts it a bit.

Balance Evaluation – Somewhat Allied Favored – With normal luck, the British player should be able to clear out the German tanks and take this map thorough sheer weight of numbers.

First-Turn Win Possibility – Possible – There is the potential for a monster German opening – a General Advance or Finest Hour and some hot dice can gut the entire British Armored corps on the opening move.  It’s not very likely, but it could happen.

Plink-Fest Danger – Moderate – If both players are stuck with bad hands, there might be incentive for both sides to try to win at range, with tank plinks and artillery.

 

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