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My brother and I have been teaching ourselves ASL, and we’re going to play all our scenarios in chronological order. Don’t read this for great tactical insights, as we’re still very much neophytes. For our previous battles, see here.

I’m in the home stretch of writing my dissertation, and it’s becoming clear that I don’t have time to do full-on AARs for all of our scenarios. Hopefully in the future I will have a real job and better work-life-balance and all that (sure!) and can resume longer form ones. In the meantime, I will try to chime in every once and while with mini-AARs. Fortunately, we haven’t had a ton of time to play, so I’m not so far behind.

Mini-AAR: Commandos Hold Fast, 5 October 1943.
The war in Italy continues, this time with a large German force, supported by some late-arriving armor, having to cross half a board in the face of resistance from a small force of British commandos. This was my first time facing British 648s, and man are they tough! The Germans have all the advantages you could want as an attacker: all the time in the world (assault move + advance will get you almost all the to the victory conditions), and olive groves everywhere, which allow for a good deal of freedom of maneuver. Even so, those 648’s are tough—breaking them is hard, getting next to them is hard, and you can’t get more than 2:1 odds against them in close combat. I ended up winning, but only by the skin of my teeth: it could easily have gone either way.

Mini-AAR: Hold the Brickworks, 6 October 1943.
You would think the Germans were invading Italy, rather than the other way around, because every single scenario features them attacking. In this one, the Germans had a choice between trying to get a large force offboard, or seizing a British strongpoint and getting a small force offboard. I went for the latter, but then I forgot to look at the scenario sheet partway through the game, and thus forgot about the observer HIP in the victory building (despite the fact that he was calling down fire on me the entire time: this was not my finest hour). Anyway, that meant that unbeknownst to me, I never gained control of the victory building. My brother accidentally revealed his presence there, giving me a quandary about whether or not to try to fix the situation: I decided the right thing to do was concede.

In other news, this was our first experience with the modification to the OBA rules in which when you draw a red card, you put it back in the deck along with a second red card, and you never lose access permanently. Because you add a second red even after “temporary” chit draws, this punishes you heavily for firing OBA at concealed units, which makes it much less effective for the attacker, since you effectively can’t use it to soften up targets for your infantry: you have to use infantry to soften up (unconceal) targets for your OBA. Otherwise you risk doing what I did, and having a run-away chain reaction of adding about a thousand red chits to your deck and having it be functionally useless by turn three. From the point of view of having fun, I don’t think I like this rule change: I’d rather lose OBA and not have to worry about it, than have a fiddly and complicated weapon that I know isn’t going to do anything for me because there are 3 black chits and 11 red ones in the deck.

Mini-AAR: The Last Fifteen, 15 February 1942.
“Wait a minute,” you’re saying, “I thought that you guys were playing in chronological order. Why are you going backwards in time?” Well, shut up, because it is time for another go at Stalingrad. This time, we will be playing Valor of the Guards Campaign Game II. Last time we felt the Russian was a bit behind the eight ball because we didn’t really understand night scenarios. So in preparation, we played a night scenario from Valor of the Guards. Because it was a night scenario, I don’t remember anything about it except that it was confusing and I didn’t really enjoy it. But it was less confusing and less similar-to-putting-a-fork-in-my-eye-level-of-fun than previous night scenarios we’ve played, so I guess I’m getting somewhere. I lost, by the way, bringing the Axis record to 20-15.

Several of you have been recommending that I go play other people in order to broaden my tactical horizons. Well, I haven’t had the time to be very hard core about this (for more-or-less the same reasons that I’ve put full AARs on hiatus), but I did join the VASLeague, and so far it has been a blast! I am 2-2 going into the final round, and that record probably is a bit inflated: I have been thoroughly beaten twice, and have gone 2-0 in games that came down to the last die roll. Still, better to be lucky than good, and I have now added armored assault and the vehicular bypass freeze to my repertoire of tactics, so I’d say it’s been a great success so far. Also, I had not known that cowering makes unit final fire—another important lesson learned.

It’s my hope that our Campaign Game is going to go slowly enough that I’ll be able to keep y’all updated as it goes—we start quite soon, but of course I have to post on a time delay just in case my sneaky brother is on BGG without telling me, which I wouldn’t put past him. Don’t want him to know that I am purchasing all guns on day one: that would ruin the shock and awe effect.
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Jim Fardette
United States
Canandaigua
New York
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Great write up for someone too busy for big ones.
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Mark Sockwell
United States
Joplin
Missouri
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I see you're in St. Paul. Have you contacted the guys of the Twin Cities ASL Group?

Cheers,


Mark
 
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Jason Johns
United States
Unspecified
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boilermaker wrote:
In other news, this was our first experience with the modification to the OBA rules in which when you draw a red card, you put it back in the deck along with a second red card, and you never lose access permanently. Because you add a second red even after “temporary” chit draws, this punishes you heavily for firing OBA at concealed units, which makes it much less effective for the attacker, since you effectively can’t use it to soften up targets for your infantry: you have to use infantry to soften up (unconceal) targets for your OBA. Otherwise you risk doing what I did, and having a run-away chain reaction of adding about a thousand red chits to your deck and having it be functionally useless by turn three. From the point of view of having fun, I don’t think I like this rule change: I’d rather lose OBA and not have to worry about it, than have a fiddly and complicated weapon that I know isn’t going to do anything for me because there are 3 black chits and 11 red ones in the deck.


I used this for the first time in the second scenario of the Ozerekya Bay campaign game. I started at 6/3 or 5/2 (I forget), but ended at 3black 10 red. I got off one series then a bunch of reds then one more battery. I'll use it again, but I'm not convinced either.

I almost like the idea of just adding back the same red, rather than the red and another. Hmmm. What are your thoughts?
 
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Marc Hanna
United States
New Smyrna Beach
Florida
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iamspamus wrote:
boilermaker wrote:
In other news, this was our first experience with the modification to the OBA rules in which when you draw a red card, you put it back in the deck along with a second red card, and you never lose access permanently. Because you add a second red even after “temporary” chit draws, this punishes you heavily for firing OBA at concealed units, which makes it much less effective for the attacker, since you effectively can’t use it to soften up targets for your infantry: you have to use infantry to soften up (unconceal) targets for your OBA. Otherwise you risk doing what I did, and having a run-away chain reaction of adding about a thousand red chits to your deck and having it be functionally useless by turn three. From the point of view of having fun, I don’t think I like this rule change: I’d rather lose OBA and not have to worry about it, than have a fiddly and complicated weapon that I know isn’t going to do anything for me because there are 3 black chits and 11 red ones in the deck.


I used this for the first time in the second scenario of the Ozerekya Bay campaign game. I started at 6/3 or 5/2 (I forget), but ended at 3black 10 red. I got off one series then a bunch of reds then one more battery. I'll use it again, but I'm not convinced either.

I almost like the idea of just adding back the same red, rather than the red and another. Hmmm. What are your thoughts?


What does this SSR add to the 'realism' of OBA? Not much more than a grudge rule. It doesn't make OBA any easier or more fun (not the greatest aspect of this rules set in the first place).
 
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I think that the adding-back-reds rule is intended to reduce outliers--i.e., in a 8/3 deck with the SSR, you are more likely to have 3-4 fire missions, and much less likely to have zero, or eight. I gather that it does this effectively, in that the mean number of fire missions doesn't change much, but the variability is decreased. This seems pretty harmless to me, although I'm not sure that the benefit is worth the increased bookkeeping, as I wrote above.

Adding a second red on temporary chit draws does seems like a grudge rule, and one I don't really understand, and I'm certainly not a fan of it.
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Adam Lunney
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The two scenarios at the start are designs of mine - thanks for giving them a go.

Adam
 
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