Thursday, December 25, 2008

For all of my "Faithful" readers....

I don't know how many of you actually read this on a regular basis, but for those that do, thank you for your support. I have a lot of fun with ASL and my other interests and am glad that there are those interested in sharing that. I wanted to take today to wish you all a Merry Christmas. May it be filled with love, peace, and happiness.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


There was ASL and my mind conspired against me....

Let me explain...

Friday, I was all set to go to ASL at Bob's house. I was looking forward to meeting the other guys (usually it's just Bob and me or sometimes Rob R. or Jess W). Then I saw the forecast: snow. OK, I thought. Slow and careful. No problem. I left at 4:30 to go to grab a bite for the family and I to eat and skidded the van 3 times there and back. It was like 2 miles round trip. I'm thinking. OK, I might get there OK, but at midnight, am I going to be so tired I can't drive this safely (especially with heavy snow in the forecast)? I cancelled. Of course, it stopped snowing up in North Spokane around 7:30 pm. I was sad.

Still, the next day, I put the snow tires on my van. More traction....mmmmm....

Hopefully that doesn't happen again.

I am going to have a serious jones to play ASL here over the holidays. I can see it now. Frothing at the mouth, convulsions, irritability, nervous tics...

OK maybe not, but if nothing else, I need to get a VASL game going in the very near future.... Certainly before January when we are likely to resume F2F games.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Spokane ASL Club

There will be a meeting of the Spokane ASL Club this Friday at 6:30 at Bob Wolkey's House. Rob Robertson may be leaving soon so we are going to send him off kicking his butt, just in case we don't have another opportunity before he takes a new job. It sounds like the theme is going to coincide with the time of year. We are going to do some "Bulge" scenarios. Attending will be the largest gathering of ASL-er's I've seen since I started 2 years ago (6 of us, including myself). I'm totally psyched. Hope to see you there....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yet another ASL Resource Alert!

For all/any of you newbies out there, there is another ASL-er like me who is trying to blog his experience. His handle is "scrub" and he's doing a really good job with his posts on his blog. You can find it at:

Just good to see newbies getting the bug with as much of a jones as I have. Really brings a tear to the eye.....

ASL Resource alert!

I've known about the two half squads for a while now, but at 70 min or so an episode I haven't had the time. I finally got around to listening to some of these today, though. These podcasts are AWESOME. These two guys do a great job and are great ambassadors for the game. Remember (from episode 12), we are officially making November "Introduce a newbie to ASL month". Have you hugged a newbie today?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

FrF15 - Kampfgruppe 1001 Nacht

Played an outstanding game last night with Rob Wolkey and Rob Robertson. This one just screams to be used as a 3 player scenario. Late-war Russians v. Germans, 5.5 turns. Metal for both sides, including.....Hetzers (in homage to Psycho - yes, you will always be Hetzer-boy. Get over it.)!

The other reason that this scenario was picked was because I am working on learning combined arms tactics. Mostly when you have a combined arms scenario, unless it's a really big one, the infantry are what's important and the tanks are support (important - but still support). In this one, the tanks are all that matter, and the infantry play the support role (tying up the Germans so they don't get time to start 'Fausting everything in sight.

The scenario is played on two boards as shown below. The Germans must defend the west side from the Russians attacking from the east. Here's the catch: The Russian forces are split into two parts (one entering on each board). The Russians win immediately if they exit >= 4 AFV off the west edge of the map - but they have to exit the same board they entered on. Hence the 3 player playability - the Russians naturally lend themselves to two independent groups.

The Germans must set up on/west of K on 22 and W on 44 and they get some reinforcement armor on turn 3. There are a couple of other caveats to the scenario - Germans can set up one HS (with SW/SMC) or one AFV HIP. The Russian prior to setup secretly designates one of his IS-2's as an IS-2m (way better front armor) that does not have to reveal until it affects a TK roll.

The Wolkster's defense looked pretty evenly spread throughout the mid-board. Particularly daunting were the 5/8" ?'s in 22Q3 and 22Q4. He LOVES that spot and it brutalized me from there in T2 - The Puma Prowls when I was first learning armor mechanics.

I learned the value of riders this scenario, though, not as well as I needed to win through on my side. Rob R.
used riders to come in on the road on board 22. He then dismounted and was in perfect position to armored assault across the bridge in 22K2 and get to 22N0 and M2 for their assault on the infantry that was on that side of the board. Me, I decided to use the cover for my approach as I figured the AA gun was on my side of the board somewhere. I wanted to use the beefy IS-2 in the end game so I kept it out of sight as much as possible. I figured the gun was in 44S7 or somewhere in the backfield like 44F8 so I sent a couple of tanks over to the S7 building with riders to try and draw it out to fire. If it wasn't there, the squads could harass anyone that dropped concealment out of the German backfield group in the 44N5-N4 cluster of trees/brush. The rest of my guys would go up the right side of the board and try to break out that way. Not a terrible plan overall, but there are better ones (I'll get to that).

The Wolkster's dice must have missed me or they were overwhelmed by Rob R. and my terrible dice luck powers or something, because his defence on Turn 2 melted on board 22. No PF's , broken MA's...if it could go wrong/break/whatever, it happened. Rob's tanks just walked right up the road facing basically no opposition. By the end of turn 3 his back was really to the wall on the South side of the board. The north on the other hand was still touch and go. I had shifted a little bit and sent another tank around through the 44T8-T9 corridor to swing around and go through the brush. This was a REALLY good idea, however, my IS-2's drew out the AA gun finally (HIP in 44C7 with good coverage on basically the entire backfield).I made the mistake of presenting it the front armor on one of my 3 tanks...which gave the Hetzer in K5 a nice side shot (even though there were two more with front to the Hetzer). BLAM!...No more IS-2. Now it was 2-on-2 tanks and I couldn't hit anything to save my life. The Hetzers maneuvered around for rear shots and I even did a decent job surviving that.

On turn 4, in the end, it was the 'Fausts that got me. Me trying to maneuver presented the Germans with 'Faust side shots at 2 hexes. Bye-bye IS-2's. On the south side, his reinforcements got in and got one tank, he repaired the MA on one of the Hetzers and got another with a rear shot. It was over.

Lessons learned:

1.) Tanks need open ground. The better attack plan would probably have been for both sides to come through on board 44, overwhelm the forces there, and then re-split up for the exit.

2.) Not learned but reinforced...Mutual support positioning. I didn't do too bad of a job on this (it would have helped for me to roll something other than 10's on my TH die rolls, but the positioning wasn't terrible). Tank-to-Tank or Tank-infantry, a lone tank is a dead tank.

3.) Riders going into an armored assault is cool...way cool. You get the benefit of the MF for the tank for a while and then the TEM. Great for crossing choke points. I'm going to have to file that one away.

4.) When fighting late-war Germans, NEVER, EVER get closer than 3 hexes to the infantry. In the immortal words of Chas "Action Pack" Argent, "Don't 'Faust me bro!".

5.) Even in boards that are more open (like 44) you can still have choke points if the numbers aren't what they need to be. A single tank going down 44R1-Q1 trying to right hook, even if supported by infantry, is still 'Faust-bait to a squad in O2, N2, or N1

6.) General offensive principle: Overwhelm at one specific point to create a breakout. Splitting your forces, unless there is a good reason to do so, is dangerous and often costly.

This is a great little scenario and excellent for 3 players. All in all, a great way to spend a birthday evening...playing ASL with good friends.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Spokane ASL Club

The Spokane ASL club will be meeting tomorrow at Rob Wolkey's condo (11/14/08) for some cardboard carnage. What a great birthday present to me! ASL! YAY! Hope to see you all there.....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

ASL96 - The Crux of Calais

I played Bob W. last night at my place (due to some family circumstances, Bob graciously agreed to make the trek up to my apartment). We played ASL96 - The Crux of Calais. This is a 9-Turn German v. British Scenario set in 1940 on boards 20 and 23. Bob gave me the scenario several weeks ago so I could think about defense v. offense. Below, I have illustrated a defense and the offense I would have done to attack it.

British Setup

German Setup

I set up according to my British set up above. I wanted to have Bob play the attacker because I wanted to see how he tackled the bridge choke point problem. He set up on the west side of the board, Schwerpunkt style, although, he did put squads in 20P9 as I would have for overwatch. Turn one was telling of how this game would go. He had two tanks over on the extreme west edge of the board that drove up and fired on 23AA6. One got a crit and flamed the wreck. DOH! Smoke was placed in 23X4 by the smoke machine in 20Z7. He also moved a tank up to 23P4 to cut off the east side of my defense.

Another of his tanks moved up and used sD on the bridge, and another on the far side. This wouldn't have been so bad, except for the wind. This was something I didn't take into account and it seriously screwed up my defense. Aside from having smoke screw up my main firelane from 23X6, there was in his AFPh now drifting smoke because of the wind down-canal from its original places either two or three hexes (depending on the type). This basically cut out my shots from 23M8 and 23N9. That was the story of this game. When the smoke dispersal went away, I took some shots (including the incredible endless ammo supply of the 76 Mortar raining down bad news on the bridge) and I left some decent residual on the bridge that did some damage to the crossing, but not enough. I lost position in the building across the bridge and another vehicle. By that time it was Turn 3 and 11:30. We were both getting tired but this wasn't going to get any better for the british. I had finally gotten my mid-board squads across the street and they were moving to reinforce, but they wouldn't get there fast enough and would have to take more fire to do so.

We called it a German win due to the lateness of the hour and my positioning. Post-game, we decided that the other AT gun would have been better served being in 23O9 and that I needed more squads over on the two sides of the board instead of in the middle. The HMG should have been in 23M6 and the MMG should have been in 23D6. Based on the layout, there isn't much chance of the Germans trying to take the middle bridge as they could receive fire from both sides doing so. Better to go one side or the other.

My biggest mistake by far was not thinking enough about the smoke and drift. My firelanes all had +6 minimum Hindrances to their line of sight (and that basically took my 40L in 23N9 out of the game). My fire lanes should have gone NW to SE instead of NE to SW (less hindrance due to drift on the initial shots as well as it would have gotten my AT guns better shots.

This is an interesting scenario. I learned that the key to crossing a bridge intact is lots of smoke and fire superiority.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Spokane ASL Club

The Spokane ASL Club will be meeting Friday at 6:30 at Bob's house for some cardboard carnage.... Hope to see you all there.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Spokane ASL Club

The Spokane ASL club meets this Friday (tomorrow) at 6:30 at Rob Wolkey's house. All are invited for some cardboard carnage no matter your experience level. Come join the fun, we hope to see you there.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

AAR - Point of the Sword (102)

ASL is a GREAT way to start off a weekend. I played Bob Wolkey Friday night. We played Point of the Sword from For King and Country. I played the defending Germans and Rob was the British juggernaut. This scenario is played on board 10 (shown below). The Germans must pick 3 stone buildings and designate one location of that building (row houses are considered one building for this purpose) as a fortified location. The British win immediately upon controlling 2 or more buildings containing fortified locations.

The Germans are to set up on or south of Hexrow R. The first wave of British start on or north of Hexrow J and on turn 4 a second wave comes in along the west edge north of Hexrow M.

The Germans are badly outnumbered and the British have all kinds of time to accomplish their objective. The Germans on the other hand have some brilliant terrain for fire lanes and a couple of really good spots to bring down some hurt on the British as they approach as well as one squad + SW HIP. The Germans need to trade space for time and slow the British down. The British have two major advantages: lots of guys, and LOTS of smoke (mortars with a 9 depletion number, plus all of the British 6-4-8's/3-3-8's are Assault Engineers and Commandos - smoking on a 4 or less).

I decided that V7 and Y5 were great spots for my MMG and HMG to place fire lanes to cover the left side of the board. On the right, you have all the woods that is pretty much the only approach cover. It just begged for the mortar so I put it in U1 with an LMG in U0 to cover it. There is another really good spot on that side (X2) but for that to be effective, you need to put either the HMG or MMG there. Probably the MMG (if you use the German balance put the MMG there on Lv1 to cover the right side).

For the rest, I figured I needed to do a fallback defense so I started out forward in the U hexrow with a squad in X6 to cover a retreat through the opening. Then there was the decision of the HIP-ster. My right side was weak and if it was rushed, they would have to fall back quickly. I put a squad with an LMG in Z1. This afforded a couple of intersting fire lane opportunities (Z1 north hexspine alternate left hexgrain and NW hexspine alternate hexgrain left) for the Endgame (I'm thinking turns 5+). R6 & R7 seem way too exposed and there is no way to rout back (read: DEATH TRAP). Even the R9-S9 woods seem a bit too exposed. Normally, I could afford to lose a few squads, but with the numbers of Brits coming, I need all my squads for as long as I can have them.

Unfortunately, me having the squads so far back almost guaranteed that Turn 1 was going to have the Brits advancing essentially uncontested up the board. I might get a few stray shots if I was lucky, but playing someone as experienced as Bob, I highly doubted it.

Turn 1 played out basically like I thought it would. I hadn't counted on the smoke though. Bob but his mortar in H0 and smoked R5. That REALLY sucked because he came up the middle of the board with me having basically no line of sight without at least a +3 hindrance. For the firepower I could bring to bear, that was sniper bait. So Bob got to the P6 grain field and from there advanced into stone buildings basically without incident.

My turn 1 was basically holding ground and trying not to give Bob too many shots while getting my boys in a position to hurt him if he tried to come across on turn 2. Bob had put kill stacks in R6 and R7 but I had concealed guys in U5 and U6 (the U6 guy had an LMG) and my MMG was in V7. Unfortunately, the smoke in R5 made it hard for my guys on the right side of the board to get in a good shot. I also broke my MMG in a typical "me" fashion.

Turn 2, Bob's mortar moved west to J4 in the backfield to prep for another shot on turn 3. Bob took some shots and broke my stack in V7 (2 squads, an 8-1 leader and the MMG). That really sucked, because although I didn't technically have to rout (no adjacent units and in rally terrain), he could keep my stack DM all day long. This would not give me an opportunity to get the MMG back in the game. That was unacceptable so I routed to X8. Since Bob was coming down the left side of the board, I began shifting my right side defense to help. I moved the mortar into the adjacent grain field so that when he tried to cross the open ground I could get him. The rest went back toward the next line of defense, because I figured I'd be displacing next turn. The two squads on the front line did their job, though, and held up the advance another turn.

Turn 3: Bob smoked R8 so his guys could do a wide right hook to attack through the V7 building that he had just weakened. I didn't realize that I did not need to cause an IFT result against a squad to lay a fire lane, however, so I didn't want to take +3 shots from U3 or Y5 to cause a SAN 4 sniper check. I only found out later that I could have shot and made it more difficult for him... Live and learn. His two kill stacks stayed in R6 and R7, so my two forward squads did their job again, but it was time to fall back so they moved to the W4 building. I dropped the mortar and moved the squad back to reinforce the middle as well. By the end of Turn 3, I had reinforced my second line defenses at W4, X2, and X6 with only Y7 vacant.

Turn 4: Bob DM'ed my broken stack in X8 and began to move into my vacated positions (particularly U5 and U6). There was not a whole lot of action in this turn, I'm guessing, in part, due to him not knowing where my HIP guy was, but maybe I just was still that tactically tenable. His reinforcements entered the board on this turn as well. At this point I was reluctant to relinquish my second line defenses and so I made some judicious use of fire lanes particularly from the HMG in Y5 to try to make it harder for the reinforcements to join in the fun. Didn't work too well due to my dice rolling tendencies resurfacing. I thought therapy would cure that, but I guess I was wrong. I routed my Brokies to AA7 and they finally rallied on my turn 4, although I still couldn't repair the MMG. And with that, my second line was set.

Turn 5: Bob closed down the left (west) side to some sporadic small arms fire (I finally decided that I needed to take out some of his firepower - I dropped my HIP and started firing on the reinforcements coming up the left side into the buildings), and advanced into CC. My guys held their own and one even killed his opponent. In the middle of the board, one of my two squads broke (the one with the LMG in W5, but he was able to rout to a leader in X2. With the CC, I had a problem in AA7. I didn't have enough guys to hold this building. I wasn't too sure which direction he'd head so I sent the guys in BB7 down to DD6 and the AA7 guys over to BB5 under cover of infantry smoke in AA6 from AA5. I already had some guys in the DD6 building so that I could hold the fortification. The HMG moved into AA4 and I was into my last line of defense.

Turn 6: Bob began his envelopment of the remaining units in W2 and X2 and I worked on making him think about coming across the last street. I plugged him point blank in Y2. Bob took AA7 and BB7 and moved out in the street towards BB5 placing a DC in AA5. I tried to get some small arms fire to bear but it didn't work too well. He made it into the street and would have taken the building next turn. At this point we called the game (it was 12:00 and we were tired).

Both of us agree it would have come down to the last turn, although, the British would have won (probably). Turn 7 would have seen the AA5 building taken and the British position to take another one (probably DD5 as it didn't have the MG's around it). Turn 8 would have lost the building. All in all, I played a pretty good game I thought. My biggest thing was that I needed to cause more casualties. I couldn't get the rolls I needed to make him keep his head down more. My fallback points were pretty good. My initial plan was pretty good. The game would have gotten to the last turn so my timing was pretty good. Light years ahead of 1 year ago. Now THAT is a good feeling....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spokane ASL Club

The Spokane ASL club is meeting Friday at 6:30 (7:00 if you're me) at Rob Wolkey's house for more cardboard counter goodness. Hope to see you all there. Last time was great according to Rob and Dave and much fun was had.

Well, DUH! It's ASL! How do you NOT have fun playing ASL?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

AAR - A72 Italian Brothers

I finally got to play F2F ASL again last night. MAN it felt good. I played Italian Brothers (A72) with Rob W. I was the McCain loving Republicans. OK, we weren't pro-McCain, but I lean toward the Rep. party line so it seemed like a decent joke at the time.

The Map looks like the above with The Nationalists starting with 3 tanks on board in motion heading North (up). A portion of the Republicans including an LMG, MMG, 3 foxholes and a couple of leaders start within one hex of 17H4. The rest of the Republicans set up on board 6 on or south of Hexrow C.

VC: If the Republicans gain control of Building 6N4, they win immediately. Otherwise, the side at game end that has control of the majority of the 4 buildings 6K1, 6K4, 6K8, and 17P2 wins. If there is a tie there, the nationality with the most CVP wins. If that is a tie, I think the Nationalists win.

We played 4 turns and as usual, I lost. On the upside, my infantry play was, for the most part, solid. The fact that I had been working 50-60 hour weeks for the past couple of weeks, did not help my math skills, however, and I missed a couple of key points.

1.) I realized at the beginning that initial speed was key. What I failed to do was sustain it through turn two (more later).

2.) The key to winning this scenario as the Republicans is to make the Nationalists dig you out of the buildings.

Here is what happened:

1: On turn one, I moved out of board 17 toward 6K8 to take it. The MMG stayed behind and immobilized the lead tanquette in place. My board 6 guys split, heading to 6K1 and 6K8. I had thought to use the tree line down board 6/17 to approach the 17P2 building (that was a mistake). I also misadded and didn't realize that I could get guys into the 6K1 building in the APh on turn 1 from C5.

Rob moved in and got a pair of MMG's into L2 of 17M5 which is a singularly bad place for them to be if you are at all out in the open on board 17. From there, he could go to M6 and cover the rest of his vulnerabilities if he had to. A good move. He advanced forces into the K1 building (because I'm dumb) and the 17P2 building without a fight, taking them.

2: This turn I took 6K8 (Which I think belongs to the Republicans anyway). If you do the math, the Nationalists can't get to it until their turn 2 anyway. I also started a squad toward 6K4 to try to take it and wait for reinforcements. I moved a squad and LMG into K1 opposite Rob's forces.
Rob moved to form a picket line between the hedge and 17P2. This effectively prevented me from taking that building without extreme cost if at all. Rotating guys between the building (to gain concealment) and the line kept me at 1/2 FP shots all day. The two tanquettes that were left were now taking fire on their Front Armor from the MG's instead of their rear. TK# is a 3 for immobilization and a 2 for a kill (which also happens to be the Nationalist SAN - DOH!!!). He also advanced into 6K1 for CC. This was an interesting battle because my squad took out 1.5 of his before we called the game at the end of turn 4 without dying. Rob also took 6K4 this turn.
3: The battle for 6K1 went on as somewhat of a slug fest and it started to look like things were not going to go well for my Republicans even though I took a prisoner for failure to rout which helped my CVP a lot. I was ahead in CVP but still needed to take another building to make it come to that. I began to shift forces out of 6K8 up the treeline to try to take a crack at the picket line with at least a +1 TEM. The 2 BMG's were in 6O10 and 17O1 making it difficult so I decided that I'd have to try to close and CC with them. At 1:1 odds, I'd had some good luck in the other CC's and with a TK# of 3, it was a far sight better than trying to gun them down with a MG.
Rob didn't move around much. He reinforced the CC we had started and started another one in 6J3, which my guys held their own in as well amazingly enough.
4: I moved more guys toward reinforcing the thrust toward 17P2, but they got gunned down by the MMG's in the stairwell of the building. I had leaders there but the DM killed me during that turn. I broke my MMG trying to kill a tanquette (there wasn't much else for them to do) in prep fire. I managed to get in close to the tanquettes and enter 1:1 CC with the 6O10 one with a squad but failed to kill. So did Rob. The other one I tried it with got pinned prior to entering the hex.
This is when things started to fall apart. Rob's picket line was intact. His MMG's in 6M5 were pissing down a whole lot of bad news on my guys on the left side of board 6 and if my guys down the tree line looked like they were going to be able to have a go at it, he could still shift and have flat shots all day into the trees with his leader directing. To add insult to injury, he decided he was going to run over my guys with his tanquettes. Overrun broke both squads there and put him close enough to DM the guys that he had already broken in/near 6K8. The squads he passed would be captured and he would pass me again in CVP with essentially my entire right flank useless. The MG's couldn't take the position by themselves and I wasn't going to be able to turn my guys with the leaders that had re-DM-ed around in time to get them back in the fight and close to the objective.
The CC in 6K1 was going OK, but Rob had the forces to keep reinforcing it and eventually, he would have realized that with the right side won, all he had to do was delay and keep me out of buildings and he would win. At that point, he feeds guys to the CC, just to tie me up. I conceeded (also it was late and I was REALLY getting tired and still had to drive 20 min to get home).
The key for the Republicans in this scenario is to take 6K1 on turn 1. 6K8 is a Republican building on turn 2 because of the MF required for the Nationalists to get there. Good luck taking 6M5 (if there are any grog's out there who have done this, I'd like to hear the story). The other key is getting forces in position to contest 6K4 (I should have sent everyone on board 6 up the left side), and rushing forces up to the hedgerow by 17P2. If you do that, the tanquettes have to turn to fire, and they are in motion. Meanwhile, leave half squads with the two MMG's at the start on board 17 to shoot up the tanquettes while you still have rear shots. When the Nationalists enter on turn 1, they can't take 17P2 without getting really shot up and even when they finger their way into the building (and/or 17P4), there is really no place to rout to.
If you take 6K1 on turn 1, then the Nationalists have to try and dig out concealed units in a stone building . Bad news on any day.
All in all, this was a fun scenario, although, I'm not sure I would play it again. It just didn't appeal to me as a classic like Rocket's Red Glare (G6) or Gavin Take (T1). I'm not even sure why it didn't. I don't feel like it needed more toys or anything. It's not like I didn't like playing it. I don't know. Just my wierd taste, I guess.
But it's like I always say. Some ASL is better than no ASL at all.....

Saturday, August 23, 2008

ASL Withdrawl and Family Events

I am going through ASL withdrawal. I have the shakes. I wake up in a cold sweat thinking about LOS on board 53. I am chased in my nightmares by non-Plano storage kits. OK, maybe not, but I am seriously jonesing for some cardboard counter goodness. The Spokane ASL group is playing this weekend and I can't attend. My brother-in-law is getting married this weekend. Not that that's a bad thing. I am extremely happy for him and his new bride (who is absolutely perfect for him). I am glad it happened and I could be here for it. I just really want to play some ASL. Hopefully, we are getting together again soon now that summer is about over.

Not sure if any of my, apparently irregular, readers have large families. I am an only child and my wife is 5th of 7 kids (6 of which are married, including her, and 3 of those, including us, have kids - plural). It is a madhouse up here in Spokane. So many different personalities, styles, temperaments. It's a natural disaster waiting to happen. And the thing is, you know they all love each other. There's just something about physical proximity.......

I miss the quiet.....

Saturday, July 19, 2008

AP4 is in da house!!!

Got the blessed box yesterday from the brown santa (UPS). The maps are absolutely FREANKIN' AWESOME! Honestly, I'm not one for errata, but with a game this big, it's inevitable. The new rules pages and clarifications are excellent. The scenarios are a bit AFV heavy for me yet (still working on figuring out combined arms tactics and scenarios), however, they all look fun from an objective/OB standpoint.

All in all, another attaboy to the gang at MMP and all those who contributed for putting out another OUTSTANDING product. A particular thanks to Chas Argent for breathing life back into this line. I see exciting times ahead for ASL. I await in breathless anticipation....

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Spokane ASL Club

We will be getting together this Friday (tomorrow) at 7pm at Bob W.'s house for some ASL. This will be the last time for a while, although, if someone wants a game, I'm sure that separate playings can be arranged. Perhaps not at Bob's place, but let it not be said that the Spokane ASL club denies any in need of an ASL fix.

Hope to see everyone there.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

AAR - Gavin Take

I had the opportunity to finish up the scenario ASL T1 - Gavin Take last night against Happy Jenkins, a great guy I met at Enfilade this year over VASL. Happy is relearning the game after a very long hiatus so we selected this scenario as it's one that I could play and know all the rules in case he had a question. The game went down to the last turn and as the Americans, I almost pulled it out. Alas, no soup for me.

We started this game last week and I had a colossal brain fart. I moved units into a visible hex instead of advancing them. He caught me with a 1KIA result and with random selection, 2 units bought it. Buy one get one free for Happy. That happened on the "I" hex front and severely weakened my pressure capability on that side. Aside from that, I don't know that I made any real mistakes during the game. The middle portion went fairly predictably. I had a group speed down the right flank and hook toward the end zone. Part of this starting force blitzed the town and actually tied up one of the MMG's with associated 9-2 leader the ENTIRE game. Go me.

Turn 5, though, saw me with not nearly as many forces in the end zone as I wanted (due to some bad MC's in turn 4). On turn 6, I wouldn't have been able to get these guys to Q10 for the advance off the board. After agonizing, something occurred to me. If these guys can't get to Q10, it doesn't matter what happens to them. Once I realized that, several interesting possibilities presented themselves and I settled on one. The two 7-4-7 squads I had left that could get "close" both each charged one of the stacks I KNEW would be shooting at the third 7-4-7 and leader I would be trying to exit off the board. If Happy fired, so much the better, but I knew he wouldn't. That was OK by me. I waltzed right up to the adjacent hex and attempted to pop smoke in his hex. If nothing else, instead of a +2 Hindrance for the smoke my End Game 7-4-7 would place, they would be shooting out of smoke at a +3 - a slightly better chance for survival. My first guy got one guy with an LMG. So far so good. My second guy rolled a 6. PIN. SUCK!!!!!!!! That was the guy going for the Q7 kill stack. Oh well. Have to try it anyway. My other 7-4-7 successfully placed smoke in Q9 and went for the goal. He got to Q10 and the stack in Q7 still caused a PTC which my guy failed, ending the game.

If I hadn't lost the 2 squads in turn one, my forces on that side of the board would have tied up his much better, making that force much less of a threat in the end game. That would have left the Kill stack, which, while significant, is only one group of guys. I have to say, though, that the smoking of the German hexes is one of the more inventive things I have done yet. It would have been pretty freaking awesome if it had worked the way I wanted....

Happy was an excellent opponent. Very congenial, eager to learn, and fun to play. He's one that "gets it". Like me, he still has a long way to go, but he'll get there. Then watch out. He will be a force to be reckoned with. If you get the opportunity to play him on VASL or in person in a tournament, I highly recommend it. You won't be sorry you did.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Enfilade AAR - Part 2

Saturday Morning. The thought of ASL all day has me busting at the seams. I have breakfast with my wife and go down to the convention floor. Within 5 minutes Brent Morris (Boise, ID) is asking if I want a game. Um, duh.....

After some deliberation, I select one of the scenarios that he brought: LSSAH #7, "Just in Time". This one pits the British against the Germans for 7 turns. The Germans have to hold a one-lane bridge placed in 40Y2-Y3 and the British cross board 2 to try to either destroy it and win immediately, or capture and hold it until the end of the game.

This game started with me as the Germans making a setup snafu. The setup is anywhere on Board 40 or on Board 2 south of Hex row 8. I missed the "south of Hex row 8" part. So did my opponent. We didn't notice it until we were about 3 turns into the game. As written, I'm thinking that the scenario is at least 65-35 pro-British, maybe even 70-30. They have 3 mortars, enter first, and then are on the hill pissing down a whole lot of bad news on the Germans who can't do very much about it. As we played it, it's still probably at best 60-40 pro-British. The Germans are outgunned by about 3-1 and the Brits have a significant number more squads.


I set up my mortar on the hill with another squad supporting it. Both were in trenches. I knew I wasn't going to hold that hill but I had to delay them somehow. If they crossed Board 2 with impunity, that means that they were maybe 6 hexes from the VC with like 5 turns to do it. Totally unacceptable. So instead of taking the hill on turn 1, they did it on turn 2. My defense was reasonably flexible and able to reposition itself once I saw where the main thrust of the British advance was going to be. Unfortunately, I didn't have a whole lot of stopping power. My idea was to try to find the guys with the footballs (DC's) and kill them. The thought was to force them to take and hold the bridge rather than win instantly. Ultimately, I didn't really have the juice to do that either.

Not only that, but the only really good place for the lone AT gun that I had was behind the river on 40 (I put it in an orchard on Hex row Y giving it a good view of the bridge and a decent one of my right flank).

The hill team didn't do very well, although the mortar support squad did better than the mortar squad, holding out for 2.5 turns where I lost the mortar at the beginning of turn 2. I also had some guys on the right and left flanks with clear rally points and fallback lines. The left flank shifted right as the British thrust that way but my left flank forward positions were overrun.

Another issue with the SSR's in this scenario is that even though the British enter off board, there is no HIP for the gun, and the sunken road does not exist. The extra rout line would have been nice.

It also didn't help that my AFV recalled and my ATR needed snakes to hurt the front armor of the British BMG's

As it was, on turn five, Brent caught the bulk of my defenders in the middle trying to skulk with fire in a stack and I boxcar'd the result. Wounded leader, CR half squad, broken squad. That left 2 squads on the right flank, a leader in the middle, and the AT gun. My next turn I tried to rally and biffed on the rolls.

It was about then that I conceded.


I'm thinking that my rear positions may have been better served starting behind the river entrenched. The problem with setting up forward is that for the most part, the only "connected" cover is trees, and if the British take the hill, their mortars are firing air bursts all day. Bad news for the already beleaguered Germans. I just don't see how the Germans can get it done with the restrictions that they have. Not if the British have 7 turns. Maybe I'm wrong.

Through it all, Brent was a class act. Offering rules clarifications and helping me to sort through unfamiliar concepts with kindness. I'd play him again any time and would recommend him to anyone that has the opportunity to do so.

Game 3 to follow....

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Spokane ASL Club

The Spokane ASL club is meeting Friday at 7pm at Rob's house for an action packed evening of cardboard and dice. All are invited.

As an aside, we will likely be hosting a tournament in CdA, ID in October. More details to come....

More ASL....


Enfilade AAR - Part 1

Over Memorial Day weekend, I attended Enfilade 2008 in Olympia, WA. It has been 7 years since I attended a gaming convention and I have MISSED it. I relish the opportunity they afford of meeting new people and entering new situations. This one was no exception.

My first game was on Friday afternoon around 4. I got there and immediately introduced myself to Sam Belcher who promptly asked me if I was interested in a game. Was I ever....After looking through his scenarios, I saw one that caught my eye that I've been wanting to play for a long time. Commando Schenke is a scenario that has gone through three versions (Tactiques, ASL Journal, and Beyond Valor 3rd Ed.). We played the one from Beyond Valor 3rd Edition.


On rolling for sides, I got the Russians.This scenario is played on board 1. The Russians are defending a fortified building and their defense must include 6 or more forward squads. My strategy was to sacrifice these squads as a delaying action. The configuration of the board makes it difficult if not impossible to rout from their setup area. The rest of the OB was deployed back with ample fire lane opportunities.

My goal was to make it as difficult as possible for Sam to get to the fortified building even if it was more difficult for me to fall back there. I did have a leader with my outside MG groups to rally them.I also changed up my 8-0 to a 9-0 commissar and put him in the victory building.The Germans have a decent amount of ground to cover but I made a judgement call and I decided that the first road they had to cross was indefensible by my forward 6 squads so I gave it to him. Again, this was a rout decision. Also, if he got careless, he might step in front of my rear machine guns whereas if I put the squads even further forward, once he dealt with them, he would be even more careful on the approach and I probably wouldn't get an early shot with them.

My 6 squads, one in particular, put up a heroic effort and slowed the Germans. Sam, living up to his reputation as a very competent player did not give me any shots for my MG's. So it went squad to squad as he tried to cross the second row of streets. One of mine survived everything that Sam threw at him until he brought up a demo charge. That took care of that squad.He then moved down the board, I laid a few fire lanes and he got into the building. At this point, he made a rules error. I didn't even notice. You cannot advance into the same hex as a Good Order enemy unit in a Fortified Building. We fixed it in a gentlemanly manner and moved on. This is where I started hurting.

In turn 5, we had a real issue. I had taken out two DC's but there was still a DC and a Flamethrower out there. DC's start as a 30 shot and FT's IGNORE TERRAIN. So once at the victory building, that nice +4 TEM is basically useless and if the FT is up close and personal, we're talking about a 24-flat shot. OUCH!

By the end of the second to last German turn, I had 2 squads left at the top of the building. He had finally picked up the dropped DC outside and was going to be in a position to use both that and the FT on the remaining two squads his next turn. It is theoretically possible that I could have gotten lucky on the dice, however, at this point I conceded the game.


My play on this scenario, was pretty solid. I didn't make any glaring setup mistakes, and my original plan held up. I needed to hold him up around turn 3 for one more turn and I would have had it. All in all, though, I vindicated myself well. A bit of better rolling and I think I could have won this one. This is a great infantry only scenario. The only hitch for the Russians are the FT/DC. They are KILLER because they ignore terrain and/or have high shot values. It is important to identify who is smoking and who is carrying the footballs early on and eliminate them if possible. If the Germans and the Russians go toe-to-toe for the building with the Germans sans FT/DC, I think this is a Russian win. Even with the FT, if the Germans can be delayed to Turn 4 on the outskirts, I think the Russians will win because they can rout upstairs. The commissar is also important because of the ignoring DM factor as well as the morale bump. Rallying at a broken 8 for the Russians is HUGE.

Sam is an excellent player and a very kind individual. Bob W. said that he was a great ambassador for the game and I wholeheartedly agree. If you ever have the chance to play Sam on VASL or F2F, I highly recommend that you avail yourself the opportunity. You will not regret it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Anticipation is Killing Me....

I leave tomorrow with Sarah for Enfilade 2008 and I couldn't be more excited. I haven't gone to a gaming tournament since Nuke-Con 2001. I've missed it SO bad. They are all kinds of fun. If you haven't had the chance to attend one, I HIGHLY recommend it. Always lots of great people to meet and friends to make. Then, of course, there is the gaming. Need I say more?

There will be a tourney AAR posted here when I get back sometime.

I want it to be tomorrow....

Friday, May 9, 2008

More Happiness!!!

In addition to the post below, I think I have the greatest wife ever. With her blessing, I just pre-ordered AP4 (probably not a moment too soon). $8 cheaper than it would have been.

Mmmmmm........Normandy Bocage scenario goodness.......


Barry's Home!!!!

I just got news that my Brother-In-Law is back from Afghanistan as of last night. YAY!!!!

I also got my stimulus check today. YAY!!!!!

So two things:

1.) Time to book the trip to Olympia for Enfilade '08. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am for this. My first tournament! And an actual vacation (no kids, just spouse and ASL - How cool is THAT???)

2.) As a welcome home present, and in order to support the hobby, I just bought SK3 for my Brother-in-Law, Barry and his son Ryan. He is a history buff like me and seemed interested in ASL when I told him about it a couple of years ago. The problem was that it was price prohibitive. With the SK's out, though, I can afford to get him one and he and his son can not only learn ASL but reconnect now that he's home. Both are into Real Time strategy games like Command and Conquer, and Barry enjoys WWII and Civil War history. Who knows, maybe he'll like ASL so much he'll check out GCACW from MMP as well....

You never know...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Rocket's Red Glare AAR

Played RRG against Rob based on a post on the GS forums regarding most played scenarios according to ROAR. Really glad I did. This scenario is awesome. It uses one of my favorite boards (board 3). The troops are all elite and have plenty of toys. There aren't a ton of them, and there's a lot of flexibility.

Turn 1

I had what I thought was a pretty good setup for responsiveness to react to whatever Rob decided to do. With all the MG's, the fire lanes were aplenty. Based on Rob's swing around the hill, I took my MMG out of M5lv1 at the end of the turn. A big mistake, but done with the intention of being flexible. Once I lost control of the S2-N4 road he was free to swing some guys around flanking to O5 and P4 a lot sooner than he should have. My whirblewind would make it more difficult for these guys in Turns 2 and 3, but I should have just left the MMG there. My 105 I chose to set up HIP in R8 with a CA of Q8-R7. My thinking was that it would be used to wreck an Ami end game. As it was, the bulk of the Ami forces came down the right side of the board using the W6 hill as cover. Tons of Bazookas and 'fausts. Perhaps a better place to put the 105 would have been in Y6, or maybe even putting one of the LMG's there with a squad. Either one would have done the job.

Turn 2

The Ami's had penetrated down the right side of the board to the Y8 area on turn 1. On turn 2, since I moved my MMG to support the middle, the Stack in T1 was free to swing around into O5 and P4. Not that I didn't have anything to meet them with, they just were way closer than they should have been on turn two. I moved my StuG III (L) up some to support after the Ami's put their tank in W5 thinking that maybe he was coming down the hill to support his infantry thrust. He didn't though, and was just there to provide a sort of quasi-artillery support for the attack. At that range, my 'schrek in the middle of the board was basically useless, although I put him in R6 with a 6-5-8 on the off chance that the tank would get bored and come down to play.

Some of the bazooka guys assaulted my squad with an LMG in U6 and failed to kill him starting a melee which lasted until the end of the game, ultimately tying up 3 squads and a leader in something like a 1-4 CC that the Ami's for some reason just couldn't win. If a squad with an LMG has to go down, that's not a bad way to go. This turn, Rob went berserk with one squad that I stopped by moving the spare crew forward to within sight range of the berserk squad to tie him up.

Turn 3

This is where things really started going bad overall. I did not have enough mass in the center of the board to stop those stacks in O5 and P4 so I started shifting. My 75L shifted to help the HMG in S8 keep the Bazooka teams in turn 2 from hooking around south to capture O10, while the guys I originally had protecting it moved toward the center of the board to help fend off the masses. I put the Whirblewind in O7 and then Q6 after doing some damage with that 20 FP IFE gun (MAN I like that!). The other thing about Q6 is that it is hull down to a bunch of stuff. The 90L started after me and couldn't get a turret hit. YAY for HD!!! After the Ami's moved I didn't like the 75L position so I went to reorient and bit it with a Bazooka round. No survivors. Should have popped smoke before starting. That was my second big mistake.

At the end of this turn, my position was precarious but not totally lost.

Turn 4

This is when I lost the game. The Ami's broke my MMG, my HMG, the guy with the 'schrek, and a couple of un-weaponed squads. After that the middle of the board was basically over. I had no one to maintain Q7 except a wounded leader and although getting there was costly for the Ami's due to the 105 that put a ton of fire on Q6 breaking the squad and wounding the 10-2 leader, the stack in R6 advanced into CC with Q7 and took the building, ending the game.


I REALLY need to work on timing. When to abandon positions v. when to hold them. Also, I tried to avoid putting a stringer out in no-man's-land but putting someone in Y6 even if they broke on turn 1 or 2 might have slowed the Ami's down a turn. Even better, it might have channeled them into the fire lanes that I was ready to make. All good things....

As a scenario, I'd play this again in a second. This is truly one of the "Classics" for a reason. I recommend it to anyone.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Spokane ASL Club Meets Tonight

6:30 pm at Rob's Condo. YAY!!!!!

What a fabulous way to end the day.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Finale of OA6 - Mounted Extraction

Well, Darren and I finished up OA6 - Mounted Extraction last night. That turn 1 really hurt me. The Germans really need to high tail it to the west on Turn 1 and set up some good peripheral firing positions to stop the Russian reinforcements coming in unmolested as well as being in better position to hook up with the tanks. Not to mention that the German players luck with the dice needs to be...well...vastly different than my standard. Rob has always said, my dice luck is about the worst he has ever seen. I can't disagree.

Total tally, 2 tanks down (one a burning wreck, the other an unconfirmed kill) and two on their way back across (one with riders who were going to be hosed down by an HMG next turn anyway) and a whole bunch of infantry stuck in the woods holding their own against the Russians that were near them. Not good. Not good at all.

Still, it was an interesting scenario and Darren is a world-class guy. I'd play him again any time (and am looking forward to our next game in the future). It's one of the things that I love about this game and community. The people that I have met are all great guys and have taken me under their wing to help me learn. There's no "superiority" complex at all. They're just really great guys.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

First Skype Game

I started my first VASL game with Skype last night against Darren Gour from Calgary, AB. We played OA6 Mounted Extraction from Out of the Attic. As the Germans, I have to cross armor across 3 boards to pick up some surrounded infantry and then carry riders back across the same 3 boards.

My initial problem with this scenario was that I misunderstood it. My initial concept was that the tanks would have to fight through the Russians, pick up the Germans and exit off the board edge opposite the one they came in on. My turn 1 was played under this assumption so the surrounded infantry tried to exploit the Russian weak side on board 5. After my turn 1 however, I realized my mistake and began heading west toward the tanks. My men were in bad position however and I had wasted an opportunity to Double Time toward the west on turn 1 to get into position for pickup.

That blunder aside, we are on Allied turn 3 and I'm not in terrible position. Two of the tanks have stopped for pickup and a third is on the way (my safety). I've got one tank that's going to go nuts with smoke and the rest of the infantry that isn't picked up is going to try and delay and occupy the Russians on that part of the board so they don't shoot up the riders. We'll see how it works out. The Russians have a couple of 50mm mortars that might cause some problems for the riders in turn 4 or 5. Not sure when we'll finish this, but I had a blast playing last night. My earlier feelings were confirmed. If you can't play F2F (which is slightly faster than the VASL interface), this is a perfectly acceptable substitute. It beats the heck out of the VASL text interface.

All in all a very satisfying experience.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The forward march of technology

Last night I got to listen in on my first Skype session of VASL (there wasn't really anyone hanging around looking for a game so that I could play). A player from Massachusetts was playing someone from Italy. How cool is that? You know, if there was no way anyone could play F2F this would be a completely acceptable substitute. As it is, to me, there is just something esoteric about pushing counters around on a board with your friends. The tactile feel of the game is an experience I would rather not have to do without.

I am looking to play more, however, and can't always get out with the club. This option actually seems like it would work (as opposed to the ICQ interface which, while serviceable, is WAY too slow). I'll have to try on a weekend when more people frequent the server.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The anatomy of playtesting a dog...

Yesterday, the three regulars (Bob, Jess and I) play tested a scenario called Reaping Rewards for AP5 (Eastern Front). Apparently, after expressing his apprehension to Chas Argent, Bob was told that the scenario should be balanced already. Um........NOT.

The scenario uses 2 new boards and board 13. The Romanians are on the center board in a cluster of buildings the Russians have two groups. One has some 81 mortars and some other assorted smaller arms. The other is supported by two T34's a KV-8 and they have a .50 cal and several good leaders. The squads are easily two to one if not 3 to one in favor of the Russians. There are 3 multi-hex buildings and the Russians have 5.5 turns to take two of them. Aside from that, the Romanians are limited in their setup to 8 hexes from the center of the middle board.


This scenario is at least 80% in favor of the Russians. I am not the greatest player and even not using the KV-8 and the .50 cal (I was saving the KV-8 for later so as to not prematurely break the FT), I was within 3 hexes of 2 Victory Objectives by the end of Russian turn 3. The Romanians have absolutely nothing to stop the tanks. They have one measly little 45L that kills on a 4 with a rear shot. The armor on these tanks is 11/8 and 11/6. Aside from that, due to the terrain layout, the Russians spent the entirety of turn 1 advancing in what amounted to complete cover. No concealment kept, but the attackers would lose that soon enough anyway. What the cover did was basically negate the mortars that the Romanians had as well as most of the support weapons due to lack of LOS.

The tanks were essentially unstoppable and were free to VBM freeze whoever they wanted and let the assault teams flank and enter the objectives. Admittedly, the Russian sniper got in a few really good hot sniper rolls, but after 3 turns, Bob ceded the game. That was at 12:00 am. At 1:00 am we were STILL scratching our heads as to how to fix it. Ultimately the .50 cal needs to go away. The 9-2 should probably be a 9-1. Either the KV-8 needs to go away or the Romanians need something better than one 45L to kill the tanks. Preferably multiple. The Romanians should be able to set up at least 10 hexes from that center hex (if they are restricted at all). Perhaps they need to change some conscripts for elite squads. Finally, the Romanians could use 8-10 dummy counters to spoof the Russians.

Our Romanian player (Bob Wolkey) having a lot of experience knew exactly where we would come in (and he was right), set up his defence accordingly, and we still owned him. This one needs some MAJOR help before going to print.

Still, playing a DOG ASL scenario is better than no ASL at all.....

- Josh

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Spokane ASL Club Game Night

Friday 4/11/08. 6:30 pm. Rob Wolkey's Condo. Be there or be CR. You know I'm going....

Greetings to all...

I'm not pretentious enough to believe that my thoughts are world-changing, but I figured I'd give this "blog" thing a try anyway. If nothing else, maybe it gives an outlet to my nerdiness. We'll just have to see if anyone wants to join with me in my reveling.

Somehow, I doubt the number will be large.

On the other hand, I have never been one to seek the approval of others.