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.....