Well, both sides are counting on this morning’s political events to see whether the war will progress or come to an end. The US has managed to catch up to the Soviets in terms of sinking enemy units but the Russians have a big lead from their recent landings in Beirut, which is prime real estate for victory in this scenario.
If the conflict continues, the US gets reinforcements in the form of the USS Kennedy and a large task force to accompany it. On the other hand, if the conflict ends, the Soviets can sit back and count their VPs, much to the dismay of the Americans.
Let’s get down to business:
Political Events Phase:
Roll: 5 (+3) = 8
An armistice is declared by the warring nations and the Soviets and Americans decide to put down their weapons for the time-being. It’s game over and time to add up the VPs.
The Soviets get 21 VPs for Sea Denial, plus another 40 for Beirut and other 38 for previous Sea Denial on previous days. For sinking units, they get a whopping 87 points. 186 points total.
The Americans get 30 VPs for the Cyprus landing plus another 70 points total for the enemy units sunk. 100 points total.
Result: Substantial Victory – Soviet Union
Although I had played a fair bit of the Introductory and Intermediate scenarios from Sixth Fleet, this was my very first time playing an Advanced scenario with all the bells and whistles (including Logistics). It was time intensive to track almost every single unit in the game but thanks to Vassal, it was no problem to just take a break and come back to it later. So first of all, Vassal, for all its warts, is an amazing tool that lets you play these larger games at your own pace and when you have time rather than taking up valuable table space for prolonged periods.
Secondly, I’m sure it’s quite obvious by now that I don’t know very much about modern naval tactics. Having the American task forces spread out over the Mediterranean left them wide open to submarine and air attack and it would have been much better to keep everyone together. This might have meant keeping the US carrier task force hanging back for a day or two while the other task forces caught up, but I believe it would have been worth it in the end by saving a lot of ships. I think I did a fair job of playing the Soviets by using the air units in the Crimea to hit out at vulnerable US shipping. Also, keeping the main units of the Soviet amphibious force in Latakia was smart because a) Syrian CAP prevented them from being bombed by American carrier units and b) units in port hexes cannot be attacked by torpedoes.
Finally, the random elements of the game are amazing and provide incredible replayability. The inclusion of allies and neutrality as well as weather really affected the progress of the game. The possibility of creating enemies by sending air units over neutral territory or a sudden violent storm cropping up and sweeping away all your careful planning provide for a tense atmosphere and can be frustrating or a huge relief depending on their overall effect on play. It’s nice to see how simply these rules are handled in the game and how the rules for all of these different random events are written smoothly and neatly. I found it very easy to use these elements in my campaign and I will definitely use them again in future Sixth Fleet games.