On 7 April 1939 Mussolini’s Italian Army invaded Albania, deposing its leader Zog I and imposing Italian rule over the country which had been a Italian protectorate since the end of World War I.
In October of 1940, the Italians invaded Greece from bases in Albania. After making some gains in Northern Greece, the Greek Army counter-attacked and pushed the Italian Army back into Albania. After losing about one-third of the Albanian territory, the Italian dictator called upon his friend and ally, Adolph Hitler, for assistance.
Hitler had his own problems, after becoming an ally of Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia, under its ruler King Alexander I, was deposed in early 1941. Hitler declared war on the Royal Army of Yugoslavia on 6 April 1941 and defeated the Yugoslavs by 17 April 1941. These side shows were hampering his plans to invade the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa.
Hitler came to the aide of the Italians primarily because of the British sending reinforcements to Greece. He did not want the British establishing bases within flying distance of the Romanian oil fields. Simultaneously, he invaded Northern Greece on 6 April 1941, coinciding with the Invasion of Yugoslavia. By the beginning of May, mainland Greece had been overrun. The British and Greek forces evacuated some 40,000 troops to the island of Crete. The island was invaded on 20 May 1941 and the Greek campaign was completed by June First.
This however, was not the end of the fighting in the Balkans, as resistance movements rose in Yugoslavia, Greece and Albania, forcing the Axis allies to employ thousands of troops chasing the elusive partisans for the rest of the war.
Welcome to the next evolution of the old GDW (Game Designers Workshop) Europa series and it is a quantum leap forward in game design to this new game system. The first thing you need to understand is that Balkan Fury is a large game taking into consideration the land, sea, and air forces that took part in the global conflict of World War II. This is one game that is part of a larger series of games that will be interconnected together in a synergistic design. This is the second game in the series and consists of the following components;
- Two 18” x 26” maps
- Two 10 sided dice
- Nine Fully Researched Modules (Scenarios)
- 1120 die cut counters
- 92 Page Rule Booklet
- 42 Page Orders of Battle (Scenario) Booklet
- 30 Pages of Charts and Tables
As you can see from the above components, Balkan Fury is not a game for the light of heart. It is a sophisticated game about a complex situation which is the Balkans in World War II.
The scale of Balkan Fury has each land hex on the map equaling approximately 15 miles from side to side and each sea hex or sea zone is equivalent to 5 land hex or approximately 75 miles from side to side. Each turn in the game is equivalent to a fortnight (two weeks). There are different types of units represented in the game. These units can vary from the following organizations;
Sequence of Play
The Sequence of Play as presented is not only for Balkan Fury but also encompasses the other games in the series. It is not a simple sequence to understand and follow but I will attempt to break it down into several sub-components within this review. If you look at the rules your initial interpretation is that they are extremely complex and convoluted. However, once you study the sequence you begin to see that it is really a simple sequence where there are a lot of sub-phases. The main Sequence of Play consists of only 6 phases and they are;
Turn Sequence: EVERY player turn follows these steps, in this order:
1) Initial Phase.
2) Movement Phase
a) The non-phasing player flies airbase attack/operational/strategic/naval cooperation missions.
b) The phasing player moves ground units, naval task forces and air units
c) The non-phasing player flies interception missions and moves naval forces to intercept the phasing player’s naval operations.
3) Combat Phase
a) Non-Phasing Player Air Combat
b) Phasing Player Air Combat
c) The phasing player declares attacks
d) The non-phasing player flies defensive CAS
e) Phasing player attacks are declared and resolved
f) Both players determine the isolation status of their units
g) Resolve all naval and ground combats, hex order determined by the phasing player.
h) Take losses
4) Reaction Movement Phase
5) Air Return Phase
6) Pursuit Phase
Now, within each of these steps there are a number of activities that are taking place that the players will need to track and take care of during a turn.
Movement and Stacking
Units move in Balkan Fury just like other wargames by tracing a line from one hex to another. They follow a line to their destination paying the correct terrain penalties as they move. The unique movement issue you can note in the Sequence of Play is that the Phasing Players Movement is sandwiched between Non-Phasing Player movement segments of Air and Naval Movement. This allows the Non-Phasing Player to perform some reactions to their opponent but he could also place themselves out of position for future turns. The players must be aware of the Sequence and understand how it will affect their units.
Next, a unique feature of this game is its Stacking Rules. Each unit in the game has a stacking value. Repeating the organizations we had before the Stacking Points (SP) of units is;
|Organization||Unit Representation||Stacking Points|
If we are looking at stacking in Balkan Fury, in a “Regular” hex we can place 22 SP’s + 6 SP’s of Artillery. This means that we can place 4 Divisions, + 6 SP’s of non-Divisional units + 6 SP’s of Artillery in a single hex.
There are three types of ground movement in BF and each has its own nuances and effects on the game. You have;
Tactical Movement is standard ground movement hex by hex, taking into consideration such items as Terrain and Zones of Influences (ZOI).
A unit employing Operational Movement can move 1.5 times its printed movement allowance as long as it does not enter an Enemy Zone of Influence (EZOI). As with Tactical Movement, units using Operational Movement can combine land, air, and naval movement in the same Operational Movement Phase.
A unit using Administrative Movement can move twice its printed movement allowance but can only move in its own territory and may not enter EZOI’s. As with Tactical and Operational Movement all combined naval and air movement is worked out proportionately.
Another form of activity that can take place during the ground movement phase are Overruns. While you may think of an Overrun as a type of Combat, the reality is that it takes place during the movement segment. An Overrun is defined as an activity of when a moving force encounters a much weaker force that is more of a delay than a battle. These, like many other activities in the BF game are handled in a unique fashion.
Overruns are possible and a number of combat odds ratios. Overruns can be performed at 10:1, 9:1, 8:1, and 7:1. The first thing you need to keep in mind is that the attacker losses are a multiple of either the attack or defense strength of the defending unit. By this I mean that if the attacker has 10:1 odds, the attacking unit will lose a maximum of whatever the attack or defense strength of the defending unit. If the odds are at 9:1 the attacker will lose a maximum of twice the attack or defense strength of the defending unit. Whereas if the attack is conducted at 8:1 the attacker loses a maximum of three times the defensive strength and 7:1 it is a maximum of four times the attack or defense strength of the defending unit. Notice that the key words here in all of these attack odds computations is “maximum” because the attacker does not automatically lose the number of attack strength points but needs to roll their percentage dice to determine what percentage of the maximum they will lose.
As an example, let’s say that an attack is taking place in a clear terrain where the defensive factors are 4 and the attack factors are 32. This immediately gives the attacker and 8:1 movement overrun where the attacker could lost a maximum of three times (3x) the defense factor or 12 attack points. Rolling 2d10 dice at this point will now determine exactly the amount of losses the attacker will endure. If the attacker rolls a high percentage, than his losses are larger and beneficial to the defender versus rolling low numbers which are beneficial to the attacker. In our particular example, we rolled at 35 which means we will only need to account for 35% of the maximum losses. Taking the maximum losses of 12 Attack Points and multiplying it by .35 and we have a result of 4.2 which we would round up to a maximum of 5. So, our Overrunning unit would have 5 attack points subtracted from its total and could then continue to move for the rest of the turn. Overruns, while handled in a unique fashion with percentile dice adds more of the chance value which guarantees replay value as things will never be the same.
Now that we have looked briefly at ground movement it’s time to take a look at Air Movement. The basic tenant is that air units move 1 movement point per hex no matter what the terrain which would be correct as they are flying over the terrain. There are four types of Air Movement in the game of Balkan Fury. These four types of movement are:
Normal Range Movement
Normal Movement is applied to all types of missions at the printed movement allowance found on the counter. An air unit cannot exceed this movement when declaring Normal Movement.
Short Range Movement
Short Range Movement is applied to all missions that use only 1/4th of the units printed movement allowance. Air units flying missions at this range have their bombing factors increased by 50% or can double their cargo carrying capacity. Fighters flying short range interceptions would have their attack strengths doubled.
Extended Range Movement
An air unit’s Extended Range Movement limits air movement to 1.5 times the printed movement allowance found on the counter. Fighters flying intercept missions would have their attack strengths reduced to 25% of their printed value.
Long Range Movement
Air units flying long range would be able to move twice their printed movement allowance. However, as a result of this increased movement distance, their bomb carrying capacity would be decreased to only 25% of their printed bomb load. Fighters on intercept missions would have their attack strengths decreased to 50% of their printed value.
Combine with this the weather rules and, as expected, if the weather is bad your air range could decrease significantly.
Now that we have briefly looked at Ground and Air Movement it is time to turn our attention to Naval Movement. The first thing to understand about Naval Movement is that during the turn there are 8 phases where a naval unit could move. Naval movement is voluntary and not mandatory and it is the first phase that takes place during the movement phase of a turn. Naval movement is before ground movement. (Now, let’s consider that statement for a second that naval movement occurs before ground movement. If we are invading a mainland or an island, we need to transport our ground units to the destination location so that they can disembark and attack the enemy. That is why Naval Movement occurs before ground movement.)
The four phases during which Naval Movement is allowed are;
- Standard Movement Segment
- Reaction Movement Segment
- Phasing Player Pursuit Movement Segment
- Non-Phasing Player Pursuit Movement Segment
Within the naval rules players will need to watch fuel, how to spot enemy Task Forces, submarine flotillas, Convoys and a number of air rules associated with naval warfare. However, one of the excellent features of the TSWW system and Balkan Fury in particular is that you can phase in the naval rules at your own pace by playing the shorter scenarios first and not worrying about the intricacies of including Naval Movement or Combat until later.
Before talking about a Ground, Air and Naval Movement example, we have to talk a bit about Transportation Lines. Transportation lines as defined in the game consist of Rail lines, Roads, Bridges, and Air Transportation. For example, if we have a ground unit that wishes to combine rail movement with air transportation and road movement, we would break down the unit’s movement into the following segments. First we would be required to look up the Rail Movement allowance on the Rail Movement Chart. Cross referencing the unit’s movement with its printed movement allowance we are provided with a Rail movement number. So, if our ground unit begins the movement phase on a rail line and has a printed movement allowance of 12, we would see that it has the ability to move 33 rail hexes at the cost of 1 MP (Movement Point). We know that major bridge and road movement is at the terrain cost of the hex so in theory, our ground unit could move 44 hexes in clear terrain or even more if it wanted to purchase additional rail movement or uses rail movement to an air field, flies to a destination and then uses standard movement to move to the front. So, as you can see, units in this Operational Level game can move large expanses during a turn but once it arrives near an enemy unit, that ability can be severely diminished.
Combat Efficiency Variable (CEV)
The Combat Efficiency Variable (CEV) is a multiplier that varies by country depending on the year of the war. The CEV is a measure of the relative efficiency of a nation. It looks at things from a global perspective and considers items such as leadership, training, doctrine, communications, morale, etc. It combines all of these type factors into a single value that players will use as a multiplier in combat. For example, if a German force (20 points) in August 1941 were attacking a Russian unit (10 points) the CEV would be 1.5. This means that you would multiply the German forces 20 points by 1.5 and they would have a total strength of 30 points. This would increase their attack from 2 (20 points) to 1 (10 points) odds ratio to 3 (20 points x 1.5 = 30 points) to 1 (10 points) odds ratio. So, as you can see, players need to keep an eye on their CEV Chart and take advantage and try to attack when their CEV are at their highest level to take advantage of the multipliers and gain more of a boost in combat.
There are a number of unique processes in the ground combat system that is used in the TSWW System and Balkan Fury. The first unique item we discussed briefly above which was the Combat Efficiency Variable or CEV. Depending on the game in the system that you are playing and the year you are playing will determine what the multiplier of the CEV is to your unit. So, if you are determining your attack strength, you would multiply the printed value on your ground unit counter by the CEV to determine its final attack strength.
Another factor that is somewhat unique in BF is the manner in which the final odds ratios are calculated. In a majority of other wargames once you have a combat ratio, you either round off to the next highest number of the lowest number. In either case, you are rounding off to a perfect ratio. Well, Balkan Fury adds that little extra unknown quantity which is chance and has you rolling dice to determine your final odds. Providing an example using the CEV and odds calculation let’s look at this combat.
We have a stack of units with a combined attack factor of 27, attacking a defending unit that has 9 factors. The current CEV for the attack is at 1.25 which gives us a final attack value of 33.75. When we perform our odds calculation we have 33.75 divided by 9 which is a 3.75 to 1 or 3.75:1. Now as I said, in most games you would round up to 4:1 to down to 3:1 but Balkan Fury is not like most games. At this point the attacker would roll their 2d10 percentile dice again. If the result of this die roll is greater than 75, the attacker would roll on the 3:1 odds column which would be advantageous for the defender. If the percentiles die roll is 75 or less the odds would be advantageous for the attacker and they would roll on the 4:1 column.
The above process is a simple and interesting way of solving the wargaming problem of odds calculation rounding. It offers players an elegant solution to this simple problem while adding the element of chance.
The final area where combat is different is when calculating either attacker or defender losses. Normally, a unit (either attacker or defender) will take their losses with attack or defense point respectfully. However, in BF losses are not taken in strengths but in Stacking Points. This gives the player the unique ability to break down his units to take combat losses during the game phase for ground combat.
Scenarios or Orders of Battle (OOB)
A total of 9 Scenarios of Orders of Battle (OOB) are presented with this game. Each of these has been meticulously researched for accuracy. The OOB’s that come with the game are:
- Cape Matapan
- Albania ‘39
- Albania ’39 Five Day Game
- Greece 40
- Fall Marita
- Fall Mercure
- Fall Mecure 5 Day Game
- Balkan Fury
As you can readily see, you receive a wide selection of situations that you can game.
Sample Game of Balkan Fury Beginning
(From unknown source)
this is the first Session Report of a TSWW-Game ever to be published on Boardgamegeek. Those of you who dare to visit Consimworld might be familiar with the Report, because I first published it there. I know shame on me… But lets proceed to the actual Report.
The Session Report depicts the Italian Invasion of Albania in April 1939. I warn you now that there is not much Game in this Scenario. The Italian Military is head and shoulders above its Opponent. This Sentence sounds odd related to the War Efforts of the late Kingdom of Italy
I did not know anything about this Conflict before I got Balkan Fury. Even now I know just that what is written on wikipedia.
According to this Article the … erm … Campaign lasted from April 7 to April 12, 1939. TSWW has two-week Turns. So it should be possible to finish this Scenario in just one Turn.
Before I start, here are some Counter Samples with Description.
By the way I found the “g” which I forgot in the Word “Strength” in above Picture. It is here => g.
This is the Part of the World were the following Conflict took place.
Albania. At the given Time a poor and underdeveloped Nation, which ironically depended very much on the Kingdom of Italy. The Italians have to conquer the Ports Durresi (Hex 1717) and Vlora (Hex 1612) as well as the Capital Tirana (Hex 1817) or capture the Albanian Government.
The Armed Forces
The Military was in a likewise bad Condition.
The entire Albanian Military
It consisted of three weak Infantry Regiments and two Static Regiments as Combat Troops. The topmost Counter represents the Albanian Government, which is …
Zog I, King of the Albanians or “Nalt Madhnija e Tij Zogu I, Mbreti I Shqiptarëvet”
The Italian Army had more than adequate Means to accomplish the Task set by the Duce.
The Ground Forces consisted of one Infantry Division, one Infantry Regiment, two ad hoc Infantry Brigades, one light Tank Regiment, one ad hoc Bersagleri Brigade (Bicycle) and one Artillery Regiment. The Units with bracketed Size Symbols had other Size Designations historically or are Combinations of different smaller Units. The Counters beside the Headquarter are Supply Terminals. The main Distributor for Supply.
The Italian Navy the Regia Marina provided two Battleships, four heavy Cruisers, two light Cruisers, fifteen Fleet Destroyers, two Torpedo Boat Fleets, twelf Naval Shipping Points (Freighter) and two Points of Landing Barges.
The Regia Aeronautica supported the Operation with 60 CR.32bis Fighters, 80 SM.79-1 Bombers, 80 SM.81 Bombers and 40 Z.506 Floatplanes. One Counter represents rougly 40 Airplanes, the reduced Side roughly 20 Airplabes.
The Albanian Set-up
Below the 2nd Corps HQ is the 4th Infantry Regiment and below the Government Counter are the GHQ Army Headquarter, the 1st Corps HQ, the Royal Guards Static Regiment and four Supply Points.
The Italian Set-up
The Italians stationed their Airforce in different Cities in southern Italy. The CR.32bis Fighters had the shortest Range (9). Tirana was barely in their normal Range.
The Navy was grouped in two Task Forces and two Convoys and stationed in Taranto. The two Supply Terminals and the Logistic Point were also set up in Taranto. The Ground Forces started loaded onto the Convoys.
The Invasion Force loaded and ready to go
The upper Part of every Grouping depict the Main Body and the lower Part the Escort.
Each Naval Shipping Point can carry one Stacking Point of Ground Units. (Stacking Points: Division 4 SP, Brigade 2 SP, Regiment 1 SP, Battalion 1/2 SP) I had to use Combat Ships to lift all Troops. Four Escorts can transport one Stacking Point. The light Tank Regiment counted as triple in Size for the Purposes of Naval Transport.
Italian Invasion Plan
Italian Invasion Plan
Task Force 1 with most of the Heavy Ships would sail to the Port of Durresi and support the Debarkation of the main Forces from Convoy 1 in Durresi. Task Force 2 would support the Debarkation of the smaller Force from Convoy 2 in Vlora. If it becomes necessary would they lend Combat Gunnery Support to the Ground Forces.
The Regia Aeronautica would lend Close Air Support to the Ground Forces over Tirana.
Axis Turn, Initial Phase
A Game Turn starts with the Initial Phase. Both Players conducts administrative Actions. In this Scenario only the Determination of the Supply Status of the Units applies. After I asked some Questions regarding the Albanian Scenario did John Bannerman state that the Albanian Units are in General Supply and the Italian Units are in Offensive Supply. Units in General Supply have Disadvantages in Offensive Actions, but defend at full Capacity.
Next is the Movement Phase.
Axis Turn, Movement Phase
The non-phasing Player would fly his Air Missions (without Interception Mission), but the Albanians have no Air Force.
Now the phasing Player, the Italian, moves his Naval, Air and Ground Units. You have to move the Naval Units first.
Italian Naval and Air Movement
Convoy 2 conducts a Naval Transport Mission, moves two Sea Zones (75 Miles each) from Taranto to Vlora and enters the Port to unload the Ground Units. Each Naval Unit has a Strategic Movement Allowance (SMA), which is not depicted on the Counters. You have to refer to the Strategic Movement Chart. The Movement to each Sea Zone costs one SMA. You have to pay one further SMA to unload Units via the Port. All Ground Units have also to pay one Movement Point to be unloaded. Now I recognize that the Landing Barges have a SMA from just 2 and thus are unable to unload their Cargo after moving two Sea Zones. If the Scenario wents according to Plan they and their Cargo will take no part in it. That is odd, because it seems that the Italians historically landed all Troops during the five Day long Campaign. I accept that for now, but change without ostentation the Distribution of the Ground Units in Convoy 2, that the Blackshirt Brigade with 0 Attack Strength is on the Barges.
I put the Convoy on its spotted Side besides the Port of Vlora because it is occupied by an Albanian Regiment. Normally it would not be possible to unload Troops in an occupied Port, but Albania is still neutral. The Scenario lacks most of the necessary Scenario specific Rules and I had to put a Query in the Yahoo Group. My Issue was that the Italians have not the necessary Naval Means to conduct an amphibious Landing with the Rules as written. I only can get the Italian Ground Units to Albania with Naval Transport Missions and the Use of the Albanian Ports. John announced that the Troops could be unloaded in a neutral Port, stack with the defending Units and if they win the ensuing Battle could stay Inland. If they lose, they are eliminated. This will also be important for the Weserübung-Scenario from Blitzkrieg. I put the 3 GdA Infantry Regiment and 1 Flt Brigade on top of the Convoy and Albanian Infantry Regiment Counters, as a Reminder that I have to continue later at this Stage. I have to finish all Naval Movement before I can proceed to the Ground Unit Movement.
Task Force 2 moves two Sea Zones to Vlora. The TF is leaded by the light Cruiser Luigi di Savoia Duca degli Abruzzi which is in turn escorted by three Fleet Destroyers and two Torpedo Boat Flotillas.
Light Cruiser Luigi di Savoia Duca degli Abruzzi
They will lend Combat Gunnery Support (CGS) to the Ground Units in Vlora, if necessary. Because the TF is situated in a Sea Zone which is adjacent to the Albanian Cost, Costal Watchers may spot the TF. I roll one Die on the Naval Success and Spotting Table. Costal Watchers get a +1 DRM and on a 5 or more is the TF successfully spotted. The Roll shows a 6. I turn the TF Marker to its spotted Side.
Convoy 1 sails three Sea Zones from Taranto to Durresi and unloads the Corps HQ Marker, the 154th Infantry Division Murge, the Bersaglieri Brigade, the 31st light Tank Regiment and the Artillery Regiment. I again put the unloaded Units onto the Convoy and Albanian Garrison Counter and proceed to the next Naval Movement.
Task Force 1 is leaded by the modernised Dreadnought Battleships Andrea Doria and Giulio Cesare.
Battleship Giulio Cesare
Furthermore does it consist of all four Zara-Class Heavy Cruisers …
Zara-Class Heavy Cruisers
… the light Cruiser Guiseppe Garibaldi and two Fleet Destroyers.
The TF can lend Combat Gunnery Support (CGS) to Ground Combats in Durresi and as far as Tirana. Albanian Costal Watchers are unable to spot the Italian Fleet Concentration before their Coast (Die Roll of 2) and leave it on its unspotted Side.
I fly all Italian Air Planes to Tirana. They are tasked with Close Air Support to the Ground Units, when they march into Tirana.
I proceed to the Ground Unit Movement. I start with the Italian Main Force in Durresi and intend to overrun the Durresi Garrison. The Italians have the necessary 7:1 or more calculated Odds. But before I apply the Overrun-Rules I have to check which Albanian Units offer Resistance (Scenario specific Rule). The Albanian Military had Italian Advisors and they told the Troops to go home or sabotaged Equipment.
1-6 The Units surrenders. 7-8 The Units resists with a Combat Efficiency Variable (CEV) of 0,5. 9-10 The Unit fights fanatically with a CEV of 1,5.
GHQ (Tirana) – 5
1st Corps HQ – 6 (Tirana)
2nd Corps HQ – 2 (Elbasani)
1st Inf.Rgt. – 8 (Rreshen)
3rd Inf.Rgt. – 5 (Vlora)
4th Inf.Rgt. – 7 (Elbasani)
Royal Guards – 7 (Tirana)
Durresi Gar. – 2 (Durresi)
Both Ports are free now. But there will be Resistance in the Capital. Mind you, I should not have rolled for the HQ Counters, because they are strictly speaking not Units but Markers. But it seemed appropriate to me that the Albanian Command Structure could also collapse. And how they did
After the Collaps of Parts of the Albanian Forces
The Albanian Units which surrendered as soon as the first Italian Soldier set his Foot on Albanian Soil
After that the Italians moved the Bersaglieri Brigade into the Waterways to the northwest of Tirana and the 31st light Tank Regiment through the Hills in the South of Tirana to cut the Tirana-Elbasani Road.
End of the Italian Movement Phase
The Movement Phase is finished. The Italians could have overrun the Albanian Royal Guards, but they would have lost at minimum one Stacking Point and we would not see the Regia Marina and the Regia Aeronautica in Action. So we proceed to the Combat Phase.
Axis Turn, Combat Phase
We skip the non-phasing Player Air Combat Segment. Thereafter the phasing Player has his Air Combat Segment. The Italians have just the Close Air Support Mission over Tirana. The Albanians have nothing to oppose the them. So the Bomber come through and all deliver their Payload. 80 SM.80, 80 SM.79-1 and 40 Z.506 drop 9 Bomb Factors. For Close Air Support Missions the Bomb Factors are divided by four and added directly to the Attack Strength of the Ground Combat Strength. The Result is 2.25. 1D10 is rolled to see if the Fraction is rounded up or down. 2 or less means that it will be rounded up. I roll a 7 and just two Combat Factors will be added to the Ground Attack on Tirana.
CM.81 Bomber and CR.32 Fighters
Now the phasing Player has to declare all intended Attacks. Once declared a Attack must be resolved. The Italians announce just one Attack against Tirana with all adjacent Units.
We can skip the following Procedures about defensive Close Air Support Missions and Air Interceptions, because the Albanian Military is not able to field Airplanes.
Next is the Combat Gunnery Support Mission of Task Force 1. The TF Marker is turned to the spotted Side. The Target of TF 1 is also Tirana. Tirana lies one Hex inland and just the long Range Guns can reach the Town. Only the two Battleships and the four Heavy Cruisers have long Range Guns. The Long Range Gunnery Factors are not on the Counters. They amount to 70 % of the total Gunnery Factor. Andrea Doria 26 (38), Giulio Cesare 25 (37) and each heavy Cruiser 9 (13). That totals to 87 and is divided by 8. The resulting Combat Gunnery Support Strength (CGSS) of 10 will be added to the Ground Attack in Tirana. No retaining of Fractions here.
Giulio Cesare firing
Finally we come to the actual Battle, the Italian Ground Attack against Tirana. Lets follow the Ground Combat Procedure.
1. The Attack Strength of all the Forces attacking are modified for Terrain, Supply, National Contingent, Weather and Combat Efficiency Variable (CEV), then totalled.
The Modifiers for Terrain and Weather are related. You have to look onto the correspondent Terrain Effect Chart. In this Case the large Town (Tirana) is the predominant Terrain Feature. Thus we look at the City Types Chart. The Weather has two Effects. First it does determine which Column we use for Going (optional), Combat Modifier and MP-Cost and second it does determine which kind of DRM is applied. We look for the Combat Modifier in the good Weather Column. The Column differs between motorised Units, Cavalry and all other Units. The Combat Modifier for all Unit Types is 1.0. Large Towns give no DRM.
Our Attack consist of the 154th Inf.Div. Murge (5-6), the Bersaglieri Brigade (1-6), the 31st light Tank Regiment (1-16) and the AEC Artillery Regiment (2-3-6).
Only the 31st light Tank Regiment is motorised, but as stated there is no Difference regarding the Combat Modifier between the Unit Types.
All Italians Units are in Offensive Supply and attack with full Strength.
The Italians have no Contingent of other Nations in their Attack Force.
The CEV reflects the relative Efficiency of a Military and includes “soft” Factors like Training, Leadership, Moral, Communications, etc. The Italian Military has a CEV of 1 (Ground CEV Table). An average Value. Germany has 1,5 in 1939 and the British Commonwealth has 1,3.
Having determined all Modifers we can apply them to all attacking Units Combat or Attack Strength and total the Results.
Example: 154th Inf.Div. Murge 5 (Combat Strength) x 1 (Combat Modifier) x 1 (CEV) = 5
Since all Modifiers have no real Effect can we proceed to total the Attack Strength.
Total = 9 + 2 (Close Air Support) + 10 (Combat Gunnery Support Strength) = 21
2. After this do we modify the Defence Strength of all defending Units for Supply, National Contingent, Weather and CEV, then total the Results.
Just the Royal Guard Static Regiment defends Tirana.
The Royal Guards are in General Supply and retain their full Defence Strength.
No National Contingent.
Good Weather has no effect.
The Royal Guards defend with a CEV of 0,5, see above.
Thus we get a Defence Strength of 1 x 0,5 (CEV) = 0,5
3. We now compare both Totals and determine the Combat Ratio (Attack Total : Defender Total). 21 : 0,5 = 42:1
The highest Ratio on the Ground Combat Resolution Table is 9:1 and thence used.
Before we roll on the Table must we look for any DRM.
The Italians attack from three different Hexes with two of them are diametrically opposite. They get a +1 DRM for a Concentric Attack.
Furthermore do the Italians have a Tank Unit. They could apply for the Combined Arms Effect. Light Armoured Units generates 75 % of their Attack Strength as Armour Points. Here 0,75. The Armour Points are modified by Terrain. The large Town is no good Tank Terrain and the 0,75 Armour Points are modified by 75 % to 0,56. The Italians have such less than 1 Armour Point and get no DRM.
Before we finally roll on the Ground Combat Resolution Table let us envision the Combat.
Final Attack against Tirana
And the Roll is a 8 modified to 9.
Nine means the Defender is eleminated. Any remaining Units must retreat. The Attacker suffers no Losses and can advance into the vacated Hex. An eleminated Units is turned to its reduced Side, but the Royal Guards have no reduced Side.
The Albanian Royal Guards fought valiantly, but had never a Chance to inflict substantial Losses.
Albanian Royal Guards
The Italians march victorious into the Town. They capture the four General Supply Points.
Advancing Italian Bersaglieri in Albania
The Albanian Government is able to evade Capture, but proceeds into Exile, since the Loss of Tirana triggers the Albanian Surrender (all Ports and the Capital are in Italian Hands).
End of Game Positions
Thus the Scenario ends
We have looked at a number of different features of the TSWW system and Balkan Fury. We have not delved into the Logistics, Air and Naval Combat and their interaction or the Political Rules which governs the way in which a country can act.
What you need to remember right from the start is that Balkan Fury is not a difficult or complex game but, it is a big game. However, because of the length of the rules it is the perception of difficulty that may intimidate many gamers. The rules included with the game box are a total of 92 pages, the Order of Battle is an additional 42 pages and there are 30 pages of charts and tables.
Balkan Fury can be thought of as an introductory game to the TSWW (The Second World War) system of play. Learning the rules for this game will prepare you to learn the game system that Diffraction Entertainment has created. This game system is an enhanced version of the Game Designers Workshop (GDW) Europa series with the additional of Air and Naval movement and combat and a thorough collaboration with each other. It is this interaction between the different units and all of the combination of events that could occur that makes the rules long. Long but not difficult is a key factor to remember when talking about Balkan Fury.
When introduced to the game system, I would recommend that players start with the smaller scenarios and work their way up to the larger scenarios. It is a good idea to take a map, select a rule such as combat, pick some counters and push them around until you fully understand all of the combat nuances. Once you feel that you understand combat, select another rule and do the same thing. Do this for each of the rules for Naval, Air and Ground and in no time at all you will understand the game system. Remember, that just because rules are provided with the game, you have the flexibility of not using the rule until you are comfortable with some of the basic game premises. So for example, you can start by just using the ground rules and then slowly integrate the Air, Naval, Logistics and Political rules. Adding each of these sections to your game in a structured manner will only increases your enjoyment of the entire system. As you learn the TSWW System, of which Balkan Fury is the second release, you will be prepared for the additional games that will be forthcoming from Diffraction Entertainment.