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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fortress Budapest Campaign

Battlefront's "Aces" series of mini-campaigns have had us leading infantry forces in Cassino; raiding forces in North Africa; and tanks through Eastern France.  Our FLGS (The Foundry in Huntsville, Alabama) has hosted 2 campaigns out of this list already (Raiding Aces and Tank Aces)...and the demand was there for more.


We have had a recent addition to our group who had a great idea to meet that Infantry Aces based campaign based on the Battle for and the Siege of Budapest.  Steve Toth joined our group several months ago and has made his mark.  Not only is he a skillful opponent, but he loves the history the game represents.  Specifically, Steve has a passion for the study of the Eastern Front, particularly the Hungarians and the Finns.  So Budapest was a natural choice for this project.  Steve started working this idea before he left the Fayetteville, North Carolina area and the All-American Gamers there and finalized everything once he settled here in Huntsville.  One of the really cool things about this campaign is the research Steve did for the Campaign and how he wove that into the missions.  He was able to get a hold of many primary source documents and these really breathed life into the situations the players faced.

Using the familiar "Aces" framework, the campaign covers 3 routes of advance with 3 "phases" in each route.  Each phase is represented by a set of historically based missions for that route.  For instance, on the Southern Route during Phase 3, the mission is based on Castle Hill.  The campaign mission weaves historical detail and is a dice off between No Retreat, Cauldron, or Surrounded for the actual mission to be played. The historical flavor pops up in the special rules for terrain and deployment.  Specifically, there has to be a large building on a hill in the defender's deployment area.  This represents "Castle Hill".  There is also a special rule that simulates the tunnel network in and around Castle Hill and allows the Defender an Immediate Ambush within 6 in of Castle Hill.  Battle 3 on the Center Route simulates the fight for the bridges over the Danube.  Here, the actual mission is a dice off between Free-For-All (1-2), Hasty Attack (3-4), or Fighting Withdrawal (5-6).  There has to be a river running the length of the Defender's deployment zone with 3 bridges.  These bridges are also objectives to simulate the delaying action around the Danube Bridges and if the mission is Fighting Withdrawal, removing the bridge objectives simulates the bridge's destruction.

To simulate the larger size of the forces involved in the fighting, each phase had roughly 100 points more than the similar phase/round in a traditional Aces round.  In this case, in Phase One, each player had 600 points to select forces; 800 points in Phase 2 and 1000 points in Phase 3.

We had 8 players involved, broken out on sides as below:

Steve Toth (Hungarian)
Adrien Broussard (German)
Sulle (German)
Tucker (Hungarian)
Mark (German)

Jeff H  (Russian)
Michael R  (Russian)
Rob  (Russian)
Jon (Romanian)

Steve Toth did a great round by round summary with his “Radio Budapest, News From the Front” Broadcasts.  These summarized the action of each round and were a great narrative read.  He did a similar wrap-up for the final “Operation Konrad” battle.

Vacs Bridge: Axis 1, Soviets 2 - Result: Soviet Win 1 Campaign Point
Attila Line: Axis 4, Soviets 0- Result: Axis Win 1 Campaign Point
Cesndorseg Barracks: Axis 2, Soviets 0- Result: Axis Win 1 Campaign Point

Margit Island: Axis 2, Soviets 0- Result: Axis Win 2 Campaign Points
Race Course: Axis 2, Soviets 0- Result: Axis Win 2 Campaign Points
University: Axis 0, Soviets 2- Result: Soviet Win 2 Campaign Points

MAVAG Factory: Axis 1, Soviets 0- Result: Axis Win 3 Campaign Points
Danube River Bridges: Axis 1, Soviets 2- Result: Soviets Win 3 Campaign Points
Castle Hill: Axis 2, Soviets 1- Result: Axis Win 3 Campaign Points

Total Campaign Score After 3 Rounds:

AXIS: 12

The final battle (Operation Konrad) went in with the Axis in the lead 12-6.  The 4 table battle went back and forth for 5 hours and eventually saw the Soviets move ahead 16-14 and take the win and taking Budapest! 

Special thanks to the Foundry.  They obtained and painted a lot of ruined buildings to support this campaign as well as give us a great place to play.

For those interested in trying out Steve Toth’s Budapest Campaign, WWPD Steve has generously placed the campaign pack on the WWPD servers.  Check it out HERE!

SonBae (AKA Jeff Flint) is a long time gamer and painter and runs a blog at Journey Back To The Table where he posts photos of his work, reviews, BatReps and the “Painting Miniatures Declassified” modeling and painting tutorials.

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