Dave vs Martin AARUploaded by: Dave. Viewed 2585 times.Me: Germans vs Martin Barker: Russians
Martin's first ever game of ASL saw him take the Russians in this Olden, but Golden, scenario from Beyond Valor. The range of scenarios in BV range from large to huge and 'To the Square' is certainly one of the larger ones, weighing in at a hefty 4 boards, 10 turns, 35 or so squads, 4 T-34's for the Russians and a couple of AT guns for the Germans it certainly isn't one for a quick evening's play. Especially for an introduction to ASL!
Perhaps in the olden days of asl days were longer, or people had more time. If so, life was certainly good because being able to squeeze these size scenarios into today's world of kids, dinners, consoles, work, commuting, pc's and eurogames is no easy task.
The scenarios asks a lot of both sides. The Eastern edge Russians must cross 4 boards (laid width-wise) and must exit 30 VP worth of units from the western edge. Their tanks are worth a good proportion of these (I make it 7vp each [AFV,MA,2 for Crew,3 for the Armour] as opposed to the 6 as suggested by the excellent SoCal analysis (http://188.8.131.52/cgi-bin/oecgi.exe/Inet_SC_ASL_Scenario_Main?SESSION_ID=141821017013889&NEXT_SECTION=VIEW_AAR&AAR_ID=486) - the alternative is to take and secure a large multi-hex building defended by wire in the north west.
For as long a distance as the Russians must travel, the German must defend a front with just 14 squads and a couple of hidden AT guns. I always seem to have trouble getting an effective defence set up when the opponent gets to see what I've done and respond to it. In this instance Martin chose to go pretty much solely for the exit condition, along the southern edge of the board, the opposite side of the north westerly victory building. This meant that around 2/3rds of my units were out of position, although luckily my guns would be able to take a shot or two without having to move.
First turn, first Russian action was to call down artillery, but the field phone had no joy, so it was left to the troops on the ground.
In hindsight I setup too much up front. I relied on making the Russians have a tough time crossing the early streets to begin with, but behind the protection of concealment and stone buildings, more often than not I found it easier just to sit back and shrug off the Russian prep fire - but not return it. My first hidden squad popped up to waste a 4-2 shot on a stack of Russians wandering past and the other hidden squad was already considering dropping HIP to get across to the other side of the board.
Martin's plan was working well, a turn or two later (and another failed phone attempt), the Russians were beyond the german front line and the Germans were suddenly finding themselves with problems trying to cross the roads behind them to get back into the fight. All the while this was happening my northerly forces were heading south west in an interdiction attempt (comical in that they started heading South- East, then South, then South-West when they realised the Russians were moving faster than expected).
Much of this progress was down to a well executed human wave (remember this was the Russian's first game) - full credit to Martin for really going for it.
The first couple of Close Combats turned bad for the Russians, typified by the a German 7-0 leader killing a half squad and doing his best to hold up the entire flank.
One of my AT guns found itself with a shot at a tank, took it and missed. It barely had a chance to think about the second shot before the said tank had ducked back out of sight and suddenly appeared at point blank range to KIA the crew.
One AT gun down, my right hand side collapsing and much of my forces out of position it didn't look good.
Sensing her father's anguish, desperate measures seemed to be in order. My 4 year old daughter popped up to show me a drawing of some alien purporting to be 'Mum' (you know the ones, arms coming out of the ears, legs extending from a head) when she swung her arms and managed to call down a Fire For Effect (no spotting round required) with a half drunken cup of tea, across the south western section of the map. Time stood still for a second as I watched the brown liquid sit like spilt mercury on top of the maps. A thousand thoughts rushed through my mind. Ebay? Is this one of my action pack boards? Will a jury forgive me? Suddenly I realised that it hadn't hit one counter, and the tea was being held in perfect place by the plexiglass I'd put on top of the maps, on a whim, because the boards weren't sitting all that evenly on the table. some kitchen roll for both the plexiglass and crying eyes solved the problem, and on we went.
Around turn 4 the ill fated radio broke, only to gak its repair roll. At least Martin got a good taste for OBA :)
My second AT gun revealed itself to go on a nice rate of fire run, ending up immobilising one of the T34s. It had to wait until the tank was a couple of hexes away on its boresighted hex. Quick question: Can deliberate Immobilisation attempts benefit from the Boresighted location DRM? We played yes, but it felt out of sync with the "No Acquisition benefits from DI Attempts' rule.
The gun was quickly taken over (the crew taken prisoner) along with a couple of additional squads that were also captured, and soon the road was actually blocked with too many squads trying to make their way across board 21.
Turn 5 was the lowest point and the turning point for me. One T34 had pretty much made it off the north western edge of the board, but rather than starting to rack the exit points up, it turned south to help cover the exits and hamper my repositioning efforts. Absolutely the right thing to do, but for me I had to get aggressive now and started going for broke.
The same t34, with now a broken MA was ambushed, with the street-fighting bonus. 1 squad vs the AFV. I figured I needed a 5, with a -1 for ambush, -1 CE for final DR of 7 or less. They failed, and in return the AFV CR'd the squad. Question came up here as to whether the AFV MG CC roll is affected by the street fighting/ambush +1 drm. We played no, but in hindsight I think this should have been 'yes'. It turned out to make no real difference as the Russians went for a risky repair dr on the MA on the next turn to see it break and recall the tank, just 6 or so hexes away from the exit edge.
An unlucky (for the Russian) oversight of a squad guarding an open road left a stack with 2KIA and a broken hs was all that was left of a decent force moving up towards the final hurdle and then the two remaining tanks were both taken out by panzerfausts (curiosity note: what was in these things that made them so leathal compared to almost any AT gun in the system? Why couldn't they load AT guns with this stuff? :)
Some confusion reigned when the HS guarding the prisoners broke. Do broken guards take their prisoners with them if they rout? We avoided the question by not having the guards rout (no one was adjacent), and another squad advanced into the hex to take over guard duty later. The prisoners passed their NTC to attack the guards, but then it all got confusing. Does the non-guarding unit take part in the CC - does it even want to eliminate the prisoners in this type of scenario? Does melee then exist after the CC if no one is killed? Does the DM unit stay DM'd in the rally phase? Urg.
We figured out the Russians including the prisoners only had around 36 vp on the board, and there were a number of broken units struggling to keep up. Martin decided to go for the all-or nothing capture attempts in CC. It turned out to be nothing, and he gamely resigned a turn or so shy of the full 10 turns.
We'd started just after 2pm and finished up around 10:30pm with a break for some dinner and the odd cup of tea (this is England, after all) I've mostly played tournament size scenarios and this one really gave me a kick because I'm always avoiding the bigger ones - for no other good reason than time. I have to say for the most part, a great, big scenario is worth more than a couple of smaller ones because of the story that unfolds and the epic nature of the game. Also for the newer guys here, don't overlook the older scenarios out there - I'd certainly recommend this one.
A final note about my opponent, it was the first time we'd met and I hope to get many more games in with Martin. He's a really fun guy to play and I know he's booked up already to play at the Heroes tourney in March, which I'm hoping to attend too. He was unlucky not to win this game and I fully expect him to start racking up some wins in the near future. Look out for him at Blackpool!