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Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #2» Forums » Sessions

Subject: S10 - Paper Army rss

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Andrew Nick
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This year at SaluteCon (The Trumpeter Salute 2006 Tabletop Miniatures Gaming Convention) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Rick White and his ASL cronies hosted an ASL tournament, and novices to the system were welcome to play as well using the Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kits. I had played ASL Scenario S1, Retaking Vierville, at Rick’s place a few month’s ago, and figured it was about time I gave it another go.

Andrew Tuline was just hanging around on this evening, the first day of the convention, and he offered to play a game. By this time, ASL Starter Kit #2 had been released, and he suggested we play a scenario from it. I had heard that even though Starter Kit #2 introduced big guns, the first two scenarios didn’t use them, so I chose ASL Scenario S10, Paper Army, the second scenario in ASL Starter Kit #2, since I didn’t even feel comfortable enough with the rules up to this point yet, without the extra layer of complexity that using the big guns would add.

This was a chase scenario, with Andrew’s Greeks chasing my Italian surrender-monkeys across the Sarandoporo River Valley. The SSRs (Special Scenario Rules) give the Italians a comfortable head start, with the Greeks playing catch up. But the Greeks have an ace up their sleeve, in the form of a small group of reinforcements that arrive at the start of a randomly determined, but progressively probable, turn, and are allowed to cut off the advancing Italians. Considering this, I split my forces up, sending separate fire and manoeuvre groups down the North and South sides, knowing that the reinforcements could only choose either the North or South side to enter from.

The Italian firegroups took up wooded positions to slow down the pursuers, while the manoeuvre groups continued double-timing it down the board. Andrew similarly split his forces in two, and gave chase. His southern groups were shot up pretty bad early on, but Andrew’s Northern force kept right on my heels, eventually making mincemeat of my firegroup there. Actually, even the Southern firegroup got pounded pretty bad eventually, although they had slowed the Greeks down enough by then so that they were no longer a factor.

Andrew finally received his reinforcements on turn 3, and elected to enter from the South edge, as my southern manoeuvre group was still behind a row of trees and would not be able to fire on the arriving reinforcements. In addition, Andrew was able to set up a minor firelane across to the North side, which only managed to delay the exit of my Northern manoeuvre group.

In the end, I had managed to exit three squads, and, after Andrew had reduced the size of my southern manoeuvre group, I had two leaders, one half-squad, and one full squad left in good order. To even have a chance at victory at this point, I had to exit the full squad, but Andrew still had one good-order squad left on the South side. He had it take up position in the grainfield there, and did a good job of covering the two possible paths of exit for my squad. I made a run for it, but alas, it was not meant to be.

A fairly exciting scenario, somewhat reminiscent of my early experiences in Squad Leader with Alan Yngve’s Tactical Training Series Scenario Alpha, Forced March. Andrew was kind enough to hold my hand through some of the vagaries of the ASL rules, especially defensive fire. I still find that the amount of added complexity did not result in a more exciting experience than the original Squad Leader game, and I thus will continue to progress with the Squad Leader series at this time, with the occasional foray into ASL. It seems that I remain one of those less interested in the realism of my conflict simulations, and more interested in their playability.
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