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Subject: S14: Shonky guns and nervous privates rss

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Merric Blackman
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S14: 88s at Zon
This scenario, played between Randy (Germans) and me (Yanks), saw my troops attempt to cross the board and escape through the far side. Ranged against me were a number of German 1st and 2nd line squads, and two 88 Anti-Aircraft guns... somewhere.

For the first time, we got to use HIP for our guns in this scenario, which meant that Randy took some glee in noting the initial placement of the guns on a couple of pieces of scrap paper and then setting up the rest of his forces. My troops entered in two waves, armed with a few 1944-issue Bazookas. The first group of four squads entered to the left (southeast) of the map, where Randy had quite a number of troops guarding the approaches.

Randy felt the first stirrings of his fluctuating dice luck now, as his very first attack dieroll was a double-six, having no effect except to break the light machine-gun he was attacking with. Two of my 7-4-7 squads moved up to near a farmhouse, whilst the other took up positions on the hill that overlooked the battlefield.



Randy's Germans fought back; in the farmhouse, my squad that had actually entered the building fell to point-blank Prep fire from Randy's squad, and he took the opportunity to bring up a half-squad as reinforcements. My return fire was ineffective.

It was now time for my second wave to enter, and they did: seven squads, two leaders, and a number of bazookas (plus a MMG). Entering through the woods, they were able to take up positions that seriously threatened Randy's northernmost troops in the town.

My routed squad near the farmhouse was eliminated through fire from Randy's halfsquad (and Fate - a natural 12 on the MC after a K/1 result), but my remaining squad moved up and engaged Randy's in close combat; Randy achieved an Ambush against me, but neither of us rolled well enough to hurt the other, and so into Melee status that stack went.



Randy moved his half-squad near the farmhouse back rather than reinforcing the melee and took up a position on the hill. His western troops in the village started to withdraw: some became pinned from fire on the hill, but others managed to break one of my bazooka squads in the forest. This would be the story of my Bazooka squads: if they were in the forest, they'd always get hit and break. If they were in a building, they were safe but couldn't hit anything!

In the farmhouse, my squad eliminated the German 4-4-7, and I now held that part of the field: not that many other of my troops were around it!

Attacking the German squad and leader that had been pinned in the street, I managed to pin the squad again and break the leader. Moving across the road, my next bazooka squad became broken and was forced to retreat from its position back to the forest along with my 9-2 leader.

I moved my medium machine gun squad and its leader up to take a nice view of the village - alas, advancing fire didn't allow me to hit anything.



My die rolling was being particularly horrid, "9" was an average roll, which meant I was rarely hitting anything in the stone buildings, even with my -2 and -1 leaders. Randy continued to pull back and hold back my advance.

Keeping in mind manoeuvre was how I was likely to win this scenario, I advanced two squads up to the stronghold Randy held on the hill. One was broken as it moved into point-blank range, but the other reached there unscathed and was able to get into close combat with Randy's troop and leader: it then Ambushed them, and was able to cause Casualty Reduction on the squad, reducing it to a half-squad.

I also advanced my half-squad into the light machinegun post in the village, trapping it in melee. Now, it seemed, my troops should be able to get past - unfortunately, my bazooka-wielding troops in the forest were still being broken by Randy's other squad, and he'd moved another squad up to overlook my exit route!



Firing on the village melee, I actually managed to break both units (which removed the melee counter, and Randy's troop Low Crawled into the street). It was time for my charge through the village, and I discovered the location of the first 88 AA-Gun: inside the building my squad was immediately moving past.

Randy's dice luck deserted him again, and he rolled another natural 12 for its first shot, breaking the gun, but the attack still caused my squad to break and retreat back onto their initial position on the hill.

Meanwhile, the rest of my squads pushed up through the village, surrounding the poor broken German half-squad and causing it to surrender. On the hill, my squad picked up the German LMG and started making its way towards the large building there, but was pinned before it could get close enough to cause problems for Randy.

Alas, even point-blank advancing fire wasn't enough to dislodge Randy from his positions, and the last turn would prove a messy one!



Randy attempted to repair his revealed 88, and rolled a 6, eliminating it. Randy pulled his troops back a little further, and revealed the second of his 88s: targeting my most forward troop, it missed, but placed an acquisition marker. My defensive fire broke his dispossessed crew as it attempted to scuttle around to a better defensive position, but was otherwise ineffective or non-existent: my lines of fire weren't as good as I would have liked them, and my troops were further back than they should have been.

So, the final push was on: first I moved up my troops on the hill to surround Randy's troops there (and make subsequent fire an impossible task), and then the rest of my troops double-timed it for the exit. Unfortunately, the gauntlet of Randy's fire was just too much for them. His luck returned, and mine remained absent. Only one group of my men: a 7-4-7 squad and the 9-2 leader - were able to escape, the rest were cut down or were just too far away to make it off.



In the end, I had made 5 of the 7 VPs I needed - one more squad making it off would have done it! I made a couple of tactical blunders in movement and positioning in the game, but it had been an excellent game, nonetheless. The game took about 100 minutes to play. With any luck, it won't be that long before we play the next game in the series.

Oh, and my preordered copy of Doomed Battalions arrived today - that leaves For King and Country, Hollow Legions and Code of Ho as the core modules I still need to acquire (although it's going to be still some time before I've exhausted the play opportunities currently available to me for ASL).
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Charles Stevens
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Thanks for the report, it sounded like an exciting game. Question about the 88 though, can they set up in buildings?

 
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Merric Blackman
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The 88 shouldn't have been able to set up in the building - checking the rules (boy, I hate finding things in the SK rulebooks) - The particular rule we should have applied is that only Small Target Guns and and AT/INF Guns that aren't Large Target should be able to be in buildings.

Cheers,
Merric
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Todd Reed
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MerricB wrote:
boy, I hate finding things in the SK rulebooks


Merric, I'm with you. I'm still working through SK1 Scenarios, using the SK3 rulebook and I was going through S4 last night (I've a long way to go to improve my open ground attacks) and reached a point where I just trusted what I knew and enjoyed the experience.

I would try to look something up quickly, but if I didn't find it in a minute, I would skip it. I made a couple notes and came to the geek to find out some of the answers.

I wonder if it would be possible to make an index - or, if that would help?
 
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Jay Richardson
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Todd Reed wrote:
I wonder if it would be possible to make an index - or, if that would help?

Here's one that players have found to be useful:

ASLSK Index for ASLSK Players (version 81)
http://www.jrvdev.com/ROAR/Ver1/AslArticles.asp
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Todd Reed
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Again Jay, you come through with some great help.
 
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Robert Wilson
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MerricB wrote:


Oh, and my preordered copy of Doomed Battalions arrived today -


I knew I should have my name as Aaron Aardvaark on my credit card!

Blackman is a long way before Wilson
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Merric Blackman
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I'll also point out that I'm in Australia.

Cheers!
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Franjo
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Good report.

One question: Do you not play with concealment counters?
 
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Merric Blackman
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This is one of the Starter Kit scenarios; the starter kits don't use concealment. It's a mechanic of the full game.

Cheers,
Merric
 
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Franjo
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Ok. I didn't know that. Some years ago I used to play a lot of ASL (I'm the proud owner of most of its modules).

I think that playing without concealment maybe makes the game faster and easier to learn, but it loses one of the most appealing characteristics of the game: the fog of war, not knowing what is really under that big "?" stack, the decision to reveal or not the position when that enemy squad is approaching, etc.

 
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Todd Reed
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I'm new to ASLSK and I must say that the depth of the game provides enough fog of war for my taste - right now anyway!

I'm already overwhelmed by all that's going on, I don't want big "?" facing me - right now.

This is the beauty of the SKs.

All that said , there will be a day when I'm ready for that.
 
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Franjo
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I'm sure it is a good idea to make easy the path to glory.

In fact, I remember now that my first plays were without this rule. Only after a half dozen or so of hard sessions we started to put on the board the "?" counters. But it was an awesome improvement to an already incredible, deep, game. The best WW2 tactical game I've played ever.
 
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