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.