Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Battle Academy: Western Desert Campagin - Capture the Fort

Well, after trying the demo I took the plunge and purchased Battle Academy. I had my hesitations about the purchase because in my opinion too many of the mechanics and data are hidden from the user. Since I am learning the game it might help others learn the game too if I wrote up an AAR. A review will come later after I had the chance to spend a significant amount of time with the game. Since this is a pretty simple mission I'm sure nobody will need this AAR to help them achieve victory, but it may give you a taste for what the game entails.

A Brittish convoy is used to lure the Italian forces out of their fortress and into an ambush. We must ambush the Italian attack and then take control of the fortress. The three extra achievements are:
1) Don't lose any units.
2) Kill at least 10 enemy units.
3) Control all objectives within 12 turns.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it.

Initial Deployment

Turn 1
Units on the tops of hills aren't visible to units below until they give away their position by firing, so the Matilda tanks will wait to ambush the Italian forces. The Matildas were positioned to face the road coming from the fortress to the east and ordered to hold their fire. Now the tanks should surprise the Italians and attack them from close range. Note: The terrain isn't too varied in this mission, but different terrain can provide different amounts of cover. They can also cost a different amount of action points to move through depending on the unit type. You can see the cover value in the terrain tooltip and the action point cost when issuing the move command.
Tanks are in position
Turn 3
The Italians stumbled into the ambush and two of the three CV33s were destroyed. CV33s are very lightly armored tanks with fairly weak guns. The Matilda's penetrate their armor if they can hit them. The Matildas didn't have a great chance to hit the 3rd CV33 because there was a small target penelty and a target agility penelty. These two penelties are based on data for the target unit (CV33) and reduce the Matilda's effective armor piercing (AP) rating used to attack armored targets. This is an example of the lack of transparency into the rules of the game. These penelties are not explained anywhere in the documentation or the UI. These penelties are defined in the Squad.csv file for each unit and reduced the Matilda's first shot only have an 18% chance to hit. Luckily this improves by 10% for each attempted shot. All three tanks failed to take out the remaining CV33, but he turned tail and fled during his movement. One Matilda took this opportunity to destroy it from the rear.

After the ambush
Command informed me that two squads of infantry transported in Bren Carriers were coming to assist me in gaining control of the fort. They advanced closer to my current position.

Help from some infantry
Surprise (not so much)
The rough terrain flanking the path to the fort looked like the perfect place to hide some infantry for an ambush. The Bren Carriers were ordered up to the front to deplot the infantry. Infantry can spot units in adjacent tiles that are hidden, while tanks can not. Before the infantry  were deployed the Matildas fired on the potential ambush to possibly suppress the hidden infantry.

Sneaky Italians
Note: Before this I was informed that I had an available artillery strike, but I didn't use it because I wasn't aware I was going to get another after 4 turns. I saved it for the assault on the fort. On my second playthrough I used it here and it helped to get through this ambush more quickly to achieve the 12 turn achievement.

After some additional softening up from fire from my units, the infantry moved adjacent to the enemy positions and made an assault. The first one successed, but the second failed even though the chance of success was 93%! That's random numbers for you.

The Fort
I ordered the artillery strike on the fort and did visible damage. I also received a message about a retreating unit. I'm not sure how I was supposed to know he was retreating because I didn't even know he was there.

After this I forgot to take screen shots, so I will sum this up pretty quickly. Two more CV33s came out to attack and were disposed of quickly by the Matildas. One by opportunity fire and the other during my turn. I used the same technique of firing shots into the towers and tents to suppress potential enemies, then moved the infantry in to ambush the positions. They took them with ease and command was happy, ending the mission.

We didn't lose any units and killed 10, so we got the first two extra objectives. On my first play through I didn't complete the mission within 12 turns, mainly because I didn't use my artillery strike to soften up the ambush point and got a little bogged down. I played through again and was able to gain the last achievement.


  1. Great AAR. Just bought this for the iPad, and I'm very much looking forward to playing.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for commenting.

  3. Have this and the expansions for the PC. Not a bad little game