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Subject: First attempt at V&V - H1: Hedgerow Hell rss

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Mosse Stenström
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I've really enjoyed my ventures with the ASL Starter Kit-series of games, simplified ASL, but as me and my brother got to the third installation things started to go over our non-existant hair(s). Guns and tanks seemed to be too much with the complexity of ASL...

Ever since I got my new color printer and reacquainted myself with the Print-and-play games, I was glad to find Valor & Victory: The World War II Squad Level Game System, and printed out its' rulebook. Having read the rules I had high hopes. Complexity-wise it's about on par with ASL Starter Kit #1, but as it contains artillery and tanks, it still holds rules for as much as all the ASL Starter Kits combined!

It seemed just the right amount of rules for my taste - just enough complexity to feel realistic yet streamlined enough to have a smoother flow-of-play than ASL(SK). I printed out all the necessary components, mounted on cardboard and set up for a solo run-through of scenario (or situation) H1: Hedgerow Hell. In this scenario, elements of the American 38th Infantry Regiment are moving through Normandy when they meet heavily fortified German positions in the hedgerows.



In game terms, the German units set up along the south edge of the map, with six squads (three light MG:s), three leaders and two foxholes placed where-ever they want. The Americans - nine squads with three leaders - enter from the center flank of the north edge and have to exit four squad equivalents through the center south flank within five turns to win. I placed the German foxholes close to the center (2E5 and 2G5) and manned them with squads carrying MG:s. From 2G5 the MG could fire along both roads leading northeast and northwest, reaching any American squad exiting the hedgerows. The houses in the east would also provide good cover, so I placed squads, an MG and a leader there as well.

I then sent in the Americans in five groups on a wide front. As the attacker one always have to choose between coming in on a wide front or concentrating ones firepower (APFP=Anti-Personnel Firepower in V&V-terms) on a certain spot to better ones chances on a breakthrough. There's rarely enough units for both... I opted to go in wide, as a narrow approach could have left the Americans flanked and in a crossfire.

From the cover of the hedgerows the Americans opened fire on the Germans with little result. The group furthest east took a chance to cross the road, and although they lost half a squad doing it, they made it to the woods behind the German-infested houses. The Germans in turn, not willing to give up their fortified positions just opened fire, but their cardboard bullets did not find their targets.

The Americans in the woods behind enemy lines overpowered the lone German officer who was waiting behind the line. You see, I was in an ASL-state of mind, leaving the leaders behind the line so that broken units could rout back to the leaders to be rallied, but there's no routing in Valor & Victory, so the German leader was needlessly left behind, and paid the price with his cardboard life...



The two German squads with their light machine gun in the east house wanted to avenge the death of their officer, and prepared for a Close Assault on the two American half-squads with their leader, that smug-a** Murphy. Even when the Americans produced a handful of Grenades, the Germans overpowered them by a factor of two-to-one. Eight or less on a German Close Assault Dice Roll (2d6) would eliminate them all. Alas, they rolled an eleven. Hence they would lose the difference in Casualty Points (3), plus the cover modifier (+3) plus the amount of enemy units (+3), and the only way to satisfy nine Casualty Points was to eliminate all participating German units.

The East front was broken for the Germans. And then the Americans remembered they hade two Artillery Fire Missions (Light Barrage) available. As they now had spotters with Line of Sight to both remaining MG-nests both were ordered at once, at the Command Phase of round three. They were spot-on, did not scatter and delivered devastation - both MG:s were knocked out! The Germans were now down to a few squads in the hedgerows in the west, and these were consequently hunted down. The Americans placed smoke to cross the roads and attacked the German positions violently, and got the required four squad equivalents past the south map edge for the win.

I painfuly realized that I was in an ASL state of mind throughout the game, and as the game doesn't work the same way (although similarly) I probably played it a bit wrong. As already mentioned I kept the leaders behind the line to await routing troops, which does not happen. The leaders need to be stacked with the troops here, as they are required to form multi-hex firegroups. In ASL, you don't always want to keep the leaders stacked with the troops, in case they get shot at. But in Valor & Victory, the defender can distribute the damage as he sees fit, protecting the leaders if he chooses to.

Other than that the system feels solid, and I look eagerly forward to trying this against somebody else. I'm also keen to try out commanding tanks, as we never really got that far with ASL. If you have a good color printer and the interest in tactical WWII wargames I recommend printing the rulebook at least and giving it a read. This may be print-and-play, and free at that, but it has good support, both from the designer and from fans who have provided several scenarios available at Boardgamegeek.

From my blog, more pictures etc. available at http://www.themosse.net/blog/?s=272
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Quote:
I painfuly realized that I was in an ASL state of mind throughout the game, and as the game doesn't work the same way (although similarly) I probably played it a bit wrong. As already mentioned I kept the leaders behind the line to await routing troops, which does not happen. The leaders need to be stacked with the troops here, as they are required to form multi-hex firegroups. In ASL, you don't always want to keep the leaders stacked with the troops, in case they get shot at. But in Valor & Victory, the defender can distribute the damage as he sees fit, protecting the leaders if he chooses to.


Same here, but for simple Squad Leader.
The game plays a lot different and attrition is high.
I placed the germans basically in three groups with interlocking MG fire.
I controlled the stone building (didn't realize there's no difference with the "wooden" ones), the hay stacks with foxholes to control the road on the left, and the eastern hex of the west bocage with foxholes to control the street in front of the "stone building".

One thing I couldn't believe was "range", the group I put in the hay stacks couldn't reach the forest at the end of the road! cry

At the end of my game, only 5 and a 1/2 American squads made it through, so it looks like a balanced scenario, since it could have easily gone either way.

Thanks for your AAR!
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