Analysis of the Marco Polo Bridge Scenario

Click the image to the left to see it at full resolution. There are the boards I put together for the game. They form a 6′ x 6′ (approx. 2m x 2m) region.

This analysis is to look at how this game is won and lost by looking at how it has been played in the past and particularily how it was played at Nashcon 2007.

The Japanese start on the upper 3 ruined boards. The Bridge is symbolically opening up on the middle board with a fan shaped land attachment. This allows unit to start in just about anywhere in those three sections. The Japanese have to have as many or more troops within 6″ (15cm) of the victory point locations. Armor trumps troops. It becomes rather difficult then for the Chinese to hold onto the positions if the Japanese win any local fights.

What I have seen happen at conventions is that people will divide up the forces and set off without much of a plan for mutual back up. This is unfortunate for the Japanese. While they have a platoon of armor and 2 platoons of infantry the Chinese have an almost unlimited supply of infantry. At a minimum they will be fielding 45 troops. As these get killed off or routed they can recycle them bringing them back in groups of 10-15 troops.

Since killing them doesn’t do much good as they just come back, the key then is to pick your battles – force your way towards particular objectives and keep the Chinese pinned as much as possible.

On the left side of the photo we see the easiest to reach objective. Just one more block down is the 2nd. Taking those two will reduce the Chinese reinforcement by 50%. Once you do that then it becomes easier to defeat them. However trying to take the whole board at once just leads to a static line. Eventually the Japanese lose their impetus because they take so many casualties.

Against a smart Japanese enemy the Chinese have various options. They have 4 dare to die squads. Those have similar morale effects as the Japanese. They also have adders they can add to units. these are limited in number and consist of an HMG, 2x Molotov throwers, and 4x Large Satchel throwers.
Overall, unless you establish in the minds of the players that a strong plan is needed to win, most convention attendees aren’t motivated enough to lead their side.
Thoughts or comments?

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