Adrift in the Fog of War
Last night, for the first time since I bought Regiments in mid-August, I tried another of the three types of Skirmish single battles in the recent Cold War-turns-hot real-time tactical simulation created by Bird’s Eye Games and published by MicroProse.
In addition to Attack (the type of mission I’ve played the most) and Mobile Defense (a mission type I have yet to try), Regiments has a Skirmish mode called Meeting Engagement.
In military terms, a “meeting engagement” is one of the most difficult and often unpredictable situations a commander can get into. It occurs when two opposing units – usually battalion or regiment/brigade size – collide unexpectedly while they’re moving toward some objective or other. Unlike an Attack or Mobile Defense situation, where each side has a defined attacker/defender role, the commanders on both sides must make quick decisions on the spot and seek to gain the advantage before the “other side” does.
In Regiments, the idea is to occupy as many Objective Zones (OZs) as possible without spreading your forces too thinly, inflict as many casualties on the artificial intelligence (AI) controlled side as you can, then capture and hold territory until the mission time – which can be set to either 20, 30, 40, or 60 minutes – elapses. The side that scores 1000 points first is then declared the winner.
Oh, yeah. And to make the game even more confusing, Regiments will change the layout of the OZs every so often, depending on how you set up the Skirmish. When this happens, you must forget whatever strategy you were using when the battle started and start over, even though you have suffered casualties.
I dislike this “Zone Switch” wrinkle in the game, so I don’t select it. I tried it once but did not enjoy the experience.
I wish I could report that I am as proficient in the Meeting Engagement missions as I have been in the Attack ones. Alas, I am not.
Right now, my win-loss record in Regiments’ Meeting Engagement skirmishes is a paltry 1-2. I won my first battle, but in the next two, I lost, even though I inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy (in this case, the Soviet 40th Motor Rifle Regiment).
The only consolation I have is that it took me a few playthroughs in the Attack scenarios before I won a total victory with the American units – which are the best-equipped in the game’s NATO component – and even more playthroughs with Bundeswehr units, which are good but aren’t (at least as depicted in Regiments) as well-equipped as their American allies.
Oh, well. I look at it this way: Even if the Soviet 40th Motor Rifle Regiment won the last two battles in Regiments, the record will show that those victories were Pyrrhic.
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