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.