28 October 2008 | Tide of Iron

Re: Command Deck I

From: Daniel Clark, ToI Support Staff, FFG H.Q.

When a commander is given his mission objectives during the scenario briefing, his first action should be to take stock of the resources at his command and develop a plan of attack. Some elements of his command are obvious – he has so many soldiers, so many fighting vehicles. The map is arrayed like so. These particular special considerations, such as fog or the presence of an enemy tank ace, must be accounted for.And then there are the more nebulous factors, the elements of the battle outside the commander's direct control. In TIDE OF IRON, these are the strategy decks – decks of cards with significant, often essential effects that can give an army just the edge it needs to complete its objective. Because they are decks of cards, the effects of the Strategy cards are somewhat random – a player never knows when he will draw that "Major Offensive" he needs to swarm the hill, or when his opponent will draw the "Surprise Assault" she needs to defend against that attack. However, knowledge of the contents of a Strategy deck and a clear understanding of the best use for each card will go a long way towards reducing the random factor and bringing the commander one step closer to victory.Today, we discuss Command Deck I. This deck is often assigned to commanders charged with making a daring assault against a fortified position. Its focus is on mobility and initiative. Broadly speaking, there are three types of cards in Command Deck I: cards that help a commander to secure the initiative, cards that enhance mobility, and cards that grant extra actions.The first two cards, "Cut Communications" and "Rapid Mobilization," help commanders secure the initiative, which is invaluable to the attacker in any situation. Being able to move units first can be the difference between grabbing an objective and being blocked by enemy armor. While "Rapid Mobilization" is an extremely cost-effective way of securing a lead in initiative, "Cut Communications" can be used to regain the initiative if the opponent has a commanding lead. There are two copies of each in Command Deck I, so a commander needn't feel compelled to hold either for the "perfect moment" – each may be confidently played as soon as any advantage may be gained from them."Heroic Leadership" and "Critical Objective" both enable squads that otherwise could not secure an objective to do so. "Heroic Leadership" allows units that have been pinned or disrupted by enemy fire to move and act normally. Since suppressive fire is a staple tactic for a defender, the powerful effect of "Heroic Leadership" can, when timed correctly, win a battle. "Critical Objective," on the other hand, is a more broadly useful card – if only because it can be activated multiple times before being discarded. Allowing a squad to make the sprint from cover to cover, or to rush to the objective itself, is well worth the command cost. There are two "Critical Objective" cards in the deck, which goes a long way towards making it a staple.The presence of "Surprise Assault" on the table will force both commanders to change their strategy. A free activation at the right time can ruin an enemy's plan – at the very least, it can allow a commander who has lost the initiative to seize it again, if only for an instant. With two "Surprise Assaults" in the deck, both commanders must be aware of its potential. "Major Offensive" has a similar effect – free activations – but a very different utility. It is the "whammy" card, the final nail in the opponent's coffin. Its effects must be coordinated to bring maximum pain to the enemy and to end the scenario, preferably immediately upon being played.This concludes the briefing on Command Deck I. As has been demonstrated, this deck provides powerful tools for advancing upon and securing the objectives necessary to achieve victory. It is therefore commonly available to armies on the attack in TIDE OF IRON scenarios.Dismissed!

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