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Subject: What a beautiful system! Thoughts on tanks rss

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Hello there! Long time SK player, who recently entered the full playground battlefield in buying the ASL rulebook.

When I first bought the third starter kit (which introduces tanks to the SK system), I was blown away. I simply didn't know how to use tanks, and I was daunted enough that I felt reluctance at even trying tank scenarios.

I spent about a week reading tutorials and watching videos before I even felt confident to play a scenario on my own. But, I took that first step.

In my early scenarios with tanks, I treated them like lumbering, mobile guns. I would move them right up next to an enemy tank, since closer range = higher TH number (that's just smart tactics right there!), and would be blown away literally, and in the game, when the defending tank would demolish it. I couldn't believe how the rules work, until the dice left me with no option but to flip the tank over to the white side and admit defeat. "Again?" I would think. Ah, how foolish I was.

I realize now that I am on the road to mastering tank rules. When SK2 added ordnance, the rules were dense, but there wasn't so much that I couldn't handle playing scenarios. With the addition of tanks, and the abstract concept of motion, and plethora of possible modifiers to TH rolls, and the not-always-immediately-intuitive TK numbers for different tanks, there's a whole lot to grasp.

The rules themselves aren't difficult (though they are plentiful), but even after understanding them on paper, there is still a "so, what do I actually know?" moment when you look at the tank on a map. For example, if I taught you chess for the first time, and explained that bishops move diagonally and rooks move laterally, that would make perfect, literal, English sense. But, you may have to play chess a few times (I mean, hundreds of times if we're being serious), before you could understand which positions make a Bishop stronger than a Rook, or vice versa.


Anyways, just today I was playing a rather large (for SK) scenario, S26: Last Ally, Last Victory. On one hand, I realized that leaving my Russian tank in front of the Heavy Tiger while stopped would be a death sentence, so even though I wanted to attack it, I instead kept my distance, and stayed in motion. In another case, I wanted to attack a Panzer tank, and I had a good chance of getting a hit, but the Panzer's 18 armor factor would make damaging it impossible! I held back on attacking the Panzer, and moved my tank away to harass some infantry instead. These are things I was nowhere near ready to understand when I first punched the counters.

On the other hand, two Russian tanks got destroyed, one right after the other, because I stupidly moved them in front of the enemy German Panzers with the 75LL guns. My thinking was "they are in motion, they must be impervious to armor piercing shells!" I realize I still have a lot to learn because of this. But, it is exciting to see it start to make sense. For example, missing a shot in the DFPh isn't so bad, because coming up next is YOUR prep fire phase, and you now have an acquired target ready. Patience is important with tanks.


Tanks add a whole new level of depth to this game. They have their own style, and command a certain amount of authority that really makes the game tactically rewarding. More so than with infantry and ordnance, movement, positioning, target facing, and strategic planning really come into play with tanks. Looking at the map mid-scenario immediately tells a story. The tanks change the atmosphere of the battlefield.

This game is elegant, and as I'm starting to "see" how tanks work, I've developed an even stronger appreciation for the system. The level of detail that allows for the rewarding strategic decisions of tanks, and their interactions with foot soldiers and support weapons, feels right, and feels meaningful in a synergetic sense.

I suppose I just wanted to share this, and see if anyone has had a similar experience with tanks in ASL. I hope you enjoyed reading this, because I sure enjoyed writing it!

-Christopher
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Michael Heyd
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I'm also a beginner who jumped directly into Full ASL. With excellent advice of my mentor it wasn't a problem.

You literally took the words right of my mouth. The system is fantastic and I am sure the game will accompany my whole life.

Thanks for these words.

Michael

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Alan Lynott
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You're ahead of me in terms of learning the system, I have played a couple of tank learning scenarios (played ~25 games in total) and hugely enjoyed them and even though I could see how much they add to the game I have no idea how to use them yet. But I can't wait, and your excellent write up and made me want to get there quicker! I'm just finishing off a few more ordnance scenarios in the next couple of weeks then my focus is AFVs.

I completely agree with your sentiment that ASL rewards those that stick with it, there are many layers and most games give an amazing narrative. I'm loving it.

Cheers, Al.
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Robin Reeve
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It really is nice to see people discovering the depth of ASL tactics.

Tanks are indeed a different beast than Infantry.
Once dead they cannot rally and come back.

If facing a Panther with less powerful tanks (T-34, Shermans), try to maneuver around the PzV (it only has 6 AF on the sides and rear).

A nice thing to do is to enter its hex with a tank (I don't know if that is allowed in the SK system), which prevents it from firing out of its hex and maneuver other tanks to get at it in the rear or side.

Deliberate immobilization (if allowed in the SK) is a nice way to go: if you succeed immobilizing the tank, the crew will have to roll a TC - and if it fails, it abandons ship... and can be mowed down by IFT fire.

Note, too, that if a tank that you cannot kill (barring a CH) takes the risk to go CE, you can fire HE at it. It has about zero chances to pierce the armor, but the collateral attack can affect the crew (e.g. 76mm = 12FP, +2 CE DRM).

You grasped the essentials of tank vs. tank combat: the first to fire has an advantage (with all the caveats about not equally powerful tanks, of course).
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Robin wrote:
A nice thing to do is to enter its hex with a tank (I don't know if that is allowed in the SK system), which prevents it from firing out of its hex and maneuver other tanks to get at it in the rear or side.

Deliberate immobilization (if allowed in the SK) is a nice way to go: if you succeed immobilizing the tank, the crew will have to roll a TC - and if it fails, it abandons ship... and can be mowed down by IFT fire.
.

If I'm not mistaken, the starter kits allow for only the former. I actually used this tactic to surround one of the PzVG/75LL in the following turns. My tank danced around the German, and he fired off as many defensive fire shorts as he could. I got in a good position to finish him off with a flanking shot, but then I rolled an 11, so it was all for naught xD

When I say "him", I mean me, because I'm playing solo. But, it's just as exciting.

Twice in this game, once for the Russians, once for the Germans, I have obtained a critical hit by rolling snake eyes on the TH roll, and then immediately rolled boxcars on the TK roll, resulting in a dud xD

Thanks for your comments, everyone. I love reading posts from people who love ASL!


As an aside, the game looks beautiful set up on my table. Right now, that German Panther from before is fighting one-on-one with the Russian T-34/85L (who is alive only thanks to fancy maneuvering!) The largest contingent of German infantry is slowly approaching the city where the Russian defense is camped out, with demolition packs, a 57mm AT gun, and a handful of IS-2 tanks. On the west edge,the German Heavy Tigers have demolished a poor Russian T-34, and are more or less impervious to enemy fire. Two destroyed Russian wrecks, long since forgotten, remain on the corner of the map, not 5 hexes from the board ege.

All this is to say that not only does the game look great set up on the table, each corner of the map tells a separate story within the battle. There are so many possible ways this scenario could play out, and I'm excited to play another turn! I guess I really like larger scenarios! I think this is the largest SK scenario, barring the historical campaign.
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Pierce Ostrander
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When faced with far superior armor - first don't lose site of the victory conditions. This is the most fundamental tenant of ASL. If your armor does not matter in terms of victory conditions, then you treat it differently than if it does.

Tanks are not just their to shoot other tanks - the can be used as cover, they can make Smoke and they can torment opposing infantry.

Every piece of advice given depends on the situation - but useful general advice works in 90% of the situations you will face - so keep that in mind.

You are talking about tanks on the attack.

In the last game I played, I was in a similar situation: I had a few tanks that were fairly easy for opponents defending guns (including tanks) to kill. So, what do you do? Do not present them as a target for his guns until you have a specific reason to do so. Use them against the opposing infantry - use them to generate smoke (keep in mind that ALL tanks have smoke grenades, even if they have no depletion numbers).

When you do present an inferior tank as a target - do so in conjunction with many other targets: either other tanks or other infantry.

Isolate and Swarm.

Or - force the opposing tanks to come to you (which is what I did).

I found avenues that were not covered by guns that led into the village. I scoped out destination hexes in the village that were out of line of sight (two of which were bypass location - do not neglect to consider these). Then I moved my tanks into the village where they could work on the opposing infantry and provide cover for my advancing infantry into these planned destinations - out of the opponent's guns LOS. Now, he had to come to me - thus giving me the first (and second) shot and improving my odds of taking him out before he took me out.

Here is probably the most important tip I can give you: NEVER start move a vehicle until you have identified it's specific destination hex and facing and it's specific route to that location.

The mark of a novice is to spend a start movement point, move a hex or two and then start dithering about where to go.

When an expert player starts a vehicle, he knows where it will end up, specifically how it will get there and what it will do on the way.








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Ruben Rigillo
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ASL(SK) is a great game to discover step by step!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
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Michael
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Expect the unexpected with Tanks...

Over-running an 88mm ATG with a Russian BT-5
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fubar awol wrote:
When faced with far superior armor - first don't lose site of the victory conditions. This is the most fundamental tenant of ASL. If your armor does not matter in terms of victory conditions, then you treat it differently than if it does.

Tanks are not just their to shoot other tanks - the can be used as cover, they can make Smoke and they can torment opposing infantry.

Ugh, this is a good example of how bad I am with tactics. Because I'm given tanks, I assume that they MUST be used against other tanks. You're completely right, and whenever I attempt to attack a tank with infantry, I am always surprised by how difficult it is to approach it. Of course, this would be the same for the opponent. Tanks are deadly weapons against infantry, yet using them like this is not intuitive to me, for some reason.


fubar awol wrote:
Here is probably the most important tip I can give you: NEVER start move a vehicle until you have identified it's specific destination hex and facing and it's specific route to that location.

The mark of a novice is to spend a start movement point, move a hex or two and then start dithering about where to go.

When an expert player starts a vehicle, he knows where it will end up, specifically how it will get there and what it will do on the way.

Have you been watching me play my current scenario? xD

I've been playing solo, so I've been lenient about backtracking MPs, but I can't tell you how many times I've done exactly what you say - Start my engine, move 3 hexes, and then forget what I'm doing. There are just so many movement points!!
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Alan Lynott
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Kris2476 wrote:
There are just so many movement points!!

I'm playing tanks in SK3 solo to learn the rules, and I also kept losing track of the huge number of movement points - especially because I keep stopping to look up rules. So I stared using a D20 to track where I'm up to, maybe with a D6 in some cases.
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Erwin Lau
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Welcome to the greatest game in the world!

Discover the game step by step gives one lots of satisfactions.
But a few pointers won't hurt (I think )

In general tanks have 8 uses.
Firepower
1. Firing Main gun (AP, HE, Smoke)
2. Firing Machinegun
3. Conducting Overrun

Protection
4. Using Hindrance and TEM to cover Infantry, Armored Assault.
5. Using Smoke dischargers and smoke grenades

Position
6. Interference of enemy Rout direction and Conducting Interdiction
7. Armored Freeze

Transportation
8. Rider

It is not unusual that experienced players use AFVs in a scenario without ever firing or relying on their main guns.

Tank vs Tank
============
Have you ever thinking of Move -> Stop -> Bounding First Fire -> Move out of sight, and combine it with Swarm tactics?

Happy Hunting and Exploring laugh

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BattleSchool Managing Editor
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I address some aspects of the Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV) in ASLSK here:
http://asl-battleschool.blogspot.ca/2014/10/from-start-to-fi...

Bear in mind that, as Erwin points out, there are a great deal of useful things that can be accomplished by an AFV in ASLSK, be it a tank, self-propelled assault gun, or armored car (AC). However, some of these tactics are not permitted in ASLSK (e.g. Riders, vehicle Bypass Movement "freeze," etc.)

Nevertheless, the best players will try to squeeze as much out of each AFV as possible. For the most part, this means moving rather than Prep Firing an AFV. During the PFPh, for example, a tank can fire its MA and MG. While it may have the ability to fire SMOKE or HE/AP/HEAT/APDS, it cannot do both.

However, during the MPh, the same tank could conceivably fire a SMOKE dispenser (to provide cover for itself, another vehicle, and/or Infantry), DM enemy units by moving adjacent to them (or through their hex), outflank an enemy vehicle/position, stop and Bounding First Fire at it, then start up and move out of LOS (of enemy threats), but at the same time into a position that will interfere with enemy routs, and possibly eliminate enemy Infantry for failure to rout.
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Robin Reeve
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During PFPh, a tank could first fire SMOKE then HE/AP etc. as Intensive Fire (or even SMOKE again).
The risk of malf'ing or disabling its Gun would be increased - I would only use that possibility if in dire straits.
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Robin wrote:
During PFPh, a tank could first fire SMOKE then HE/AP etc. as Intensive Fire (or even SMOKE again).
The risk of malf'ing or disabling its Gun would be increased - I would only use that possibility if in dire straits.

I would not deny an ASLSK player the opportunity to do this. However, Section 3.2.4 states that "...thus non-mortars cannot fire again after using the Area Target Type." There is no exception in brackets following this statement.

In other words, and in absence of an official word from MMP to the contrary, the Q&A for chapter C (of the ASLRB2) below, does not necessarily apply to the ASLSK rule set. But as I said, I would have no difficulty playing the rule as if the Q&A below did apply to ASLSK.

Quote:
C3.33 & C5.6
Q. Can a gun that has fired ATT and is marked with a fire counter Intensive Fire using ATT?

A. Yes.

Quote:
ASLRB2 C3.33 AREA TARGET TYPE: ...Fire on the Area Target Type by a non-Mortar consumes all of that Gun's ROF for that turn (excluding Intensive Fire) and thus cannot be used after taking any other shot first.
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Robin Reeve
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I indeed was answering after the ASL rules, not the SK ones.
Sorry for the confusion - it nevertheless could be a teaser to make the step towards the full set of rules.
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za nouge
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Quote:
(keep in mind that ALL tanks have smoke grenades, even if they have no depletion numbers).

Is this accurate? I haven't seen anything in the rules to support this, but it's also tough to disprove... Would love to know since this dramatically affects how some scenarios would play out.
 
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Warren Smith
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nouge wrote:
Quote:
(keep in mind that ALL tanks have smoke grenades, even if they have no depletion numbers).
Is this accurate? I haven't seen anything in the rules to support this, but it's also tough to disprove... Would love to know since this dramatically affects how some scenarios would play out.
Yes, it is accurate, but you wouldn't know if you didn't have Chapter F. It's F.10 on page F2.
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za nouge
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Excellent - thanks for the speedy reply!
 
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James Lowry
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wsmithjr wrote:
nouge wrote:
Quote:
(keep in mind that ALL tanks have smoke grenades, even if they have no depletion numbers).
Is this accurate? I haven't seen anything in the rules to support this, but it's also tough to disprove... Would love to know since this dramatically affects how some scenarios would play out.
Yes, it is accurate, but you wouldn't know if you didn't have Chapter F. It's F.10 on page F2.
Actually, if you have 2nd Edition, it is D13.35.
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Warren Smith
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Rindis wrote:
Actually, if you have 2nd Edition, it is D13.35.
Doh! Yep, that too. whistle

At least I got the correct answer! cool
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