LnL: A Day of Heroes – Chalk 2’s Run

I finally got a chance to break out my new copy of LnL’s “A Day of Heroes”, a tactical game based around the events of October 3rd, 1993 in Mogadishu, Somalia and I played a scenario called “Chalk 2’s Run”.  This is kind of a learning scenario for the game, which features an attempt by a small group of US soldiers (“Chalk 2”) to rescue the crew of a downed UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter as armed Somalis approach the crash site.

Set up:  The scenario starts with the Black Hawk crew at the crash site, defended by a sniper team from Delta.  Chalk 2 starts off to the west of the site while Somali mobs and small groups of armed men are between them.  What’s interesting here is that the Somali player has only partial control of the mobs and must roll on a table to find out what they do each time he activates them.  Roadblocks on the map also randomly generate Somali forces.  Everything is very unpredictable for both players and the winner is the one who can ride out the chaos to achieve their goal.

Black Hawk Down:  The helo crew and sniper team at the crash site.
Chalk 2 is far to the west of the crash site.
Armed Somalis set up near the crash site between the Black Hawk crew and Chalk 2.

The US starts first, sending its two heroes from Chalk 2 down towards the south.  Going immediately east to help the crew is unrealistic.  There are simply too many enemies in the way.  Angry mobs are in the street and getting caught out there is incredibly dangerous so both heroes move through the buildings.  It’s slower but it keeps them alive.

The Somalis immediately start sending small squads towards the downed Black Hawk.  One squad makes it adjacent to the crash site but the Delta snipers take them out.  The Somali leader decides to change his own position for a better shot at the Black Hawk crew.  A few squads are kept in the vicinity of Chalk 2 just to slow down their rescue attempt.

Some of the growing mobs start moving towards the crash site.  One of the mobs in the street down south disperses of its own accord.  This is good news for Chalk 2, since they are in the vicinity.

Turns 2 and 3:  The Somalis really have a lot of guys starting to surround the crew.  RPGs are fired at the crash site but none of them hit.  The Somali leader fires with his squad, rolling a “6” for a total FP of 8.  The Americans are lucky, however, and roll a “6” for defense, negating the attack.  The Delta snipers take out another squad that has moved into a nearby building adjacent to the crash site.

Armed Somalis and a mob approach the crash site.

With the bulk of the Somalis to the north and west of the crash site, part of Chalk 2 keeps to the south.  The pace is agonizingly slow but it’s safe and steady.

Some of the other men in Chalk 2 are separated from the main force and end up withdrawing further to the west.  The Somalis follow the stragglers, cutting them off from the rest of their teammates.

Several team members of Chalk 2 withdraw further to the west while the rest of the team makes its way to the site.

A Somali mob sees the main force of Chalk 2 in the street and they suddenly disperse at the site of the heavily armed men.  Another fortunate incident for the Americans as their path to the helicopter gets a bit easier.

A Somali mob near Chalk 2 activates and rolls a dispersal result.

Turn 4:  More mobs form at the roadblocks at the start of the turn.  Chalk 2 is making steady progress to the crash site.   However, the Delta snipers and the Black Hawk crew are almost totally surrounded by now.  The Somalis have several groups of armed men in nearby buildings while they fire from down the street at the US forces with RPGs and automatic weapons.  The fire is not very accurate and the US rolls high for defense.  However, the street is also filling with mobs that are headed directly for the site.

A Somali mob approaches the crash site while squads of men surround it in  the nearby buildings.

The Somali leader and his men have positioned a few squads down the street and they fire on the rescue team as it nears their objective.  One of the US heroes from Chalk 2 manages to make his way towards the crash site and is wounded by one of the squads.  Luckily, he has drawn fire away from the Black Hawk crew.

The stragglers from Chalk 2 far to the west get extremely frustrated trying to find a good way to the site but young men with assault rifles hide in the nearby mobs and fire at them as they enter the street.  Some of the Americans open fire on one of the nearby mobs, killing both civilians and the armed men, which costs the US player a victory point.  Unfortunately, dispersing the mob does little as another one grows further down the street.  The stragglers are now totally separated from the main force of Chalk 2, which is far to east, nearing the crash site.

A small section of Chalk 2 is pushed far to the west by mobs and armed men in the street.

Turn 5:  The roadblocks spawn more mobs.  There are now so many mobs on the game board that I have run out of mob counters!

Somalis near the crash site open up on the Americans but are unable to shake them up.  One of the wounded US heroes from Chalk 2 melees and eliminates a nearby Somali squad that is about to open fire on the crew.    Another US hero from Chalk 2 approaches a group of enemies, drawing their fire away from the crew.
Since the armed Somalis have failed to shake up the US crew and the Delta sniper team, they go for broke and activate a nearby mob.  The mob successfully activates and swarms the crash site, angrily searching for the Americans.  The US crew and the sniper work together and manage to survive the fight.  As more enemies approach the crash site from all sides, however, it’s unclear if they’ll make it another round.
While the Americans engage the mob at the crash site, they’re surrounded by more armed groups.
Turn 6:  The roadblocks spawn armed leaders and 1-3-4 squads.  This is the first turn where I didn’t get a mob result on the generation table.  The roadblocks are too far away from the crash site for it to make a difference though, so the Somalis are going to have to do what they can with the forces they already have at the site.
Chalk 2’s two heros work together.  One of them engages the Somali leader, Will Waat, and his team.  They fire and miss at his approach and enter melee.  The other hero near the crash site takes on a group of Somalis and eliminates them.  Unfortunately, the US hero who engaged Will Waat goes down in the melee but all this has prevented these Somalis from firing on the main Chalk 2 force as it gets to the crash site.  
Chalk 2 arrives at the objective and joins the melee against the mob, easily winning.  The growing civilian toll in lives costs the US another victory point, however.
Rescued!  Chalk 2 arrives at the crash site.
The Somalis, determined to try and gain another VP before the end of the game, start focusing their fire on the stragglers of Chalk 2 far to the west and cut off from the main team.  The small group of Americans withdraws further south, away from the danger.
The final tally is:  US:  10 VPs for controlling the crash site, -1 VP for losing an SMC, and -2 VPs for dispersing the mobs.  
Conclusion:  What a great game!  Things are incredibly chaotic and unpredictable, just as they should be.  Neither side is fully in control of what’s going to happen and each turn you get to watch as your plans might fall apart or come together depending on so many factors.  I have never played a game like this before, where there’s some sort of a surprise every single turn.  I’m sure I could replay this scenario a dozen times and have vastly different outcomes using the exact same tactics.
I believe the US got a bit lucky here as the Somali lost all the mobs in the south that were cutting off Chalk 2’s attempt to reach the crash site.  It was a bit easy for the American player to find a way around the dangerous streets near the objective.  
I was incredibly frustrated at trying to get the stragglers from Chalk 2 to move east but they were stymied at every attempt.  It sort of turned into its own story each turn as they played a game of cat and mouse with the nearby Somali mobs.  This also had the advantage of pulling away some of the Somali units that could have been used to take out the crash site.
The tactics take some getting used to.  I may have played the Somalis too conservatively, not realizing that the roadblocks and mobs help them to generate additional forces throughout the game.  The Americans have to play very conservatively due to their small number of available units.  A lucky roll by a Somali squad can absolutely ruin the American player’s plans.

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