Thursday, February 18, 2010

ASL 21 - Among the Ruins AAR (Part 1)

After a semi-forced hiatus (I couldn't find a F2F player in Lubbock), I finally bit the bullet and began to seriously look at VASL+Skype again. My job unfortunately, does not allow the amount of time that I would like in the evenings, so my ability to play is quite restricted. I advertised on GameSquad and found several people who were OK with my conditions. Either they are as hard up as me for an ASL fix, or we have some VERY patient people in this hobby. My guess is that it's a little of both. I LOVE our community.

I selected Roy Connelly as an opponent from Wichita, KS. After the usual trepidation of "meeting" a new person (yes, I'm somewhat shy - sue me), we connected tonight to begin our game. Roy is an ideal opponent. Knowledgeable, fun to talk to, and plays a good game. If anyone out there that reads this (and there are more of you than I imagined) has the chance in the future to play him on VASL or can get down to the Texas Team Tournament, I highly recommend doing so. You won't regret it and will walk away having had a great time.

That being said, Roy selected the Americans as in several other games, he is defending and wanted one on the attack. I didn't care and the ROAR is dead even in the 70's per side, so I let him have it. That being said, this is a VERY interesting scenario for both sides. The Americans have a vast superiority in number of squads. They are all 6-6-6's, though. Known for their brittleness. Even though they rally extremely well, broken units do not move toward the victory locations. Roy also gets 3 tanks, another plus. VBM anyone?

To fight the Americans, my Germans are greatly outnumbered but are 8 morale. They have a plethora of support weapons (including 2 'Shreks), and a Quad 20 AA gun. They get dummies, and the Gun and 2 squads + SW can HIP. Because my Germans are outnumbered, I made a hard decision. I decided to play the time card. My setup was mainly in the middle of the board, a little back from the front lines. I decided that I needed to concentrate my forces where he attached so I had to be able to shift to one side or the other. Doing so, however, would very likely concede turn 1 and probably 2 as well with little or no action. I put a token resistance up front and kept the main force back and sent him my setup.

Sure enough, he decided to come in force down the cemetery side. I had put a set of dummies up in the 3rd story building on that side and rubbled buildings in front of it to look like the HMG. He decided to take his chances. I hoped for some luck with the dice to soak up some prep fire on turn 1. That took 2 stacks. He had plenty more to move. Oh well. You can't pick 'em all. By the end of turn 1, he had advanced to the second line of streets and my paltry defense was ready to meet him with backup double timing it behind to adjust. Turn 2, one of the two elements shifted out of the front line defense leaving a lone 5-4-8 with an LMG to slow the American hordes. Run through the checklist: Fire lane - tried with no effect, DFPh with inherent into the stack that avoided the fire lane - no effect. Now the squad is boxed in a row house with a tank closing in. He preps at the one value target he sees, a devil squad with a BAZ. He shoots....he scores. DM, rout to a woods hex with no leader. It's not much, but what can you really expect from a squad that's been left to die by his buddies? I mean, seriously...

Turn 3 looks to be when the game is going to start in earnest. I have a whole bunch of MG's to bring to bear and he still has no idea where the 2 HIPpies with whatever they're packing or the Quad 20 are. One thing I've learned over the time that I've been playing and can pass along: HIP units are more useful as a threat than an actual force. Anything that makes the attacker think twice about charging toward his/her (hopefully...) objective is a useful weapon for the defender. That includes dummies and HIPpies. You may put a HIP squad in a bad location, or even a location that is out of the path of the attack, but the Attacker still has to wonder where that squad is. It's not so easy to run a tank down a road with buildings on the side if you suspect a HIP unit with a BAZ/PSK waiting for a rear shot or a Quad 20 to cut up your infantry. Maybe that HIP MMG has a crossroad hex bore sighted. Which of all of those question marks on the side of the board I need to attack is real and which is a dummy? All of these push an attacker toward cautiousness and for a defender that needs to last a specific number of turns while keeping his opponent from the objective, caution is something you NEED the attacker to have.

I'd almost forgotten how much I love this game and the people in it. Everyone should play ASL. All the time.

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