Monday, July 30, 2018

AAR: Into the Grinding Mill [J147]

Zeb Doyle

Chinese: Zeb Doyle
Japanese: Matt Schwoebel

This is a medium-to-large scenario set in 1937, with a company of first-line Chinese 3-3-7s protecting the board 12 village, which even a rusty old relic as myself knows is tricky to defend. The job is made easier by the clever use of a few overlays, an SSR that huts are NA, and a bunch of pillboxes, trenches, wire, and minefields. To round out the OB, there is the usual Chinese rag-tag assortment of all the cast-off gear of the rest of the world’s armies, including WWI-vintage dug-in Renault tanks and 75mm Krupp mountain guns. To further bolster the defense, a platoon of elite 4-4-7s and a pair of Vickers 6-Ton tanks enter on turn three.
Against this motley array, the Japanese have plenty of force to try and dig out the opposition, with 19 total squads, ranging from elite through 2nd-line, a 10-2, a .50-cal, a FT, some DCs, and six Chi-Ro tanks with a respectable 57*mm MA. They also get two pre-game Bombardments by SSR, each of which is resolved KGP-style, with a Pre-Registered hex and an FFE:1 that hits everything within two hexes of where it ends up.
These Bombardments are one of the main dilemmas in the scenario for the Chinese. Normally, it would be straightforward to heavily fortify the village, with the pillboxes converted to Bunkers and covered by wire and minefields. That sort of concentrated defense certainly can ride out a Bombardment (with the wire and mines needing to roll a 9 or less to survive, and the pillboxes a 10), but the thought of all those important fortifications being wiped out pre-game by a few bad rolls isn’t very palatable.
On the other side of the map, the biggest challenge for the Japanese is time. The scenario is only 6.5 turns long, and they must go ~12-15 hexes to clear the VC area of all non-Broken Chinese MMC. This includes crossing a stream (deep by SSR), navigating the rural environs of board 13, and then digging the defense out of all those pillboxes and trenches on board 12. It can be done, especially with three knee mortars providing smoke, but the timeline is tight and provides no margin for error..
Given this intriguing situation, Schwoebel wanted the attackers, but also the balance (I think it was 13:5 in favor of the Chinese on ROAR prior to our playing). This was not insubstantial, adding a hero and a FT to the Japanese cause, but set up a running gag for me throughout the game where I could mock Matt, so it was worth it. I really felt the Japanese already had enough in their OB to do the job, that time would be the biggest concern, and so adding even more troops would just be gilding the lily.
            As the defending Chinese, I got a little spooked by the potential destruction from the Bombardments and went with a dispersed set-up. This divided the battlefield into three areas: the board 12 church/graveyard area, which offered the best terrain for skulking and where I hoped to make my final stand; the center village, with the bulk of the buildings; and the right flank, which was fairly open but needed to be covered to prevent any Japanese thoughts of a coup de main.
            I put one pillbox/75mm gun combo in each of the three areas, with the bulk of the trenches and machine guns by the church, most of my troops in the middle, and a 3-3-7/Mtr covering a dug-in Renault on my right. The wire and mines were sprinkled around the map, mainly to deny rally points. Finally, the deep stream on board 13 does have three bridges, and I tried to cover those as best I could to force the Japanese to get their boots wet. However, given the set-up limitations and hindrances, I couldn’t find a way to mass much firepower on them.
            With that done, Matt resolved his Bombardments, which both hit the center village area and destroyed my pillbox/gun combo there, really weakening that sector.. With that done, the Japanese commenced the attack with a strong thrust up the middle, and a credible push on both flanks. Matt had noticed the mass of trenches in the church area and committed all his tanks and the 10-2/.50-cal on that side. Early action saw me boxcar out an LMG trying to place a FL on the one bridge I could credibly threaten, and then rolling snakes and cowering off the IFT on a 1-2 shot at the 10-2/.50-cal stack. That and the destroyed pillbox made a great welcome back into ASL!
            As the game progressed through the early turns, Matt was able to take advantage of my weakened center and make very good progress there. My only solace was that he found all my minefields and rolled lots of boxcars on what felt like half of his morale checks, which eroded his manpower advantage even faster than you’d expect for the Japanese.
Out in the boonies on my right flank, my Renault was a super-star, Intensive Firing at everything it could see and somehow doing lots of damage with its 37* peashooter. A 4-4-8 was so struck by its sleek lines and Parisian-styling that they failed to destroy the Immobile, no MG tank in Melee, and Matt then boxcarred another MC, forcing them to Withdraw. The Renault finally went down to a Placed DC, but not before one last IF shot took out a Chi-Ro.
            Meanwhile, in the church sector, things settled into a bit of a stalemate, with Matt’s 10-2/.50 cal dominating the area, but not being able to push forward across the open against my MMG and HMG.. Here, I made a mistake by deviating from my pre-game plan. My pillbox/75mm gun in this area was meant to counter any possible appearance of the .50-cal since it and the 10-2 are such a powerful combo (I ended up with a 1+5+7 pillbox behind a kunai hindrance six hexes away from the Japanese in jungle. After acquisition, I could roll an 8 to get a 12+0 attack, while the return fire would have been a 12+4. That’s about the best set-up the Chinese can expect against the 10-2, I think). At any rate, I got seduced by the Chi-Ro tanks and concentrated on them instead. With no AP, I had a net 5TK to do anything, and as we all know, those B11 guns only have a finite amount of shots in them. I malfunctioned it without accomplishing anything. Stupid.
             During the mid-game, I got my desperately-needed reinforcements. The two Vickers tanks went to my right flank to replace the destroyed Renault, where their 6FP CMGs could cover the open terrain. I still had a squad and gun-crew here that were just outside the victory area, and I wanted to keep them intact and threatening a late-turn dash into the village. The action here turned into an amusing game of cat-and-mouse, with Matt’s balance-given hero and FT trying to work their way through a gully to take out the tanks. This went back and forth for a few turns, but the hero ended up in a jungle hex, got hit by my 50mm MTR, and after yet another boxcarred MC, both he and FT exited without doing anything. So much for the balance!
             In the center, things weren’t looking so rosy. Matt brought his Chi-Ro tanks over to bolster his already-successful attack, and several Chinese squads died for FTR. I had hoped to send my entire platoon of elite reinforcements to the church but ended up having to commit two 4-4-7s to the main village instead. At this point, I got lucky. Matt (rightfully) didn’t want to waste any time, and so entered multiple CCs to clear out the remaining resistance. Most of these were 1:1 attacks, with the Japanese of course favored on the Ambush, but my troops were able to beat the odds by outright winning several of the combats. This huge stroke of luck didn’t come close to turning the tide in the village, but it, along with Matt's numerous boxcar MCs, really accelerated the typical Japanese manpower attrition.
             Over by the church, the 10-2/.50-cal dominated, going on several ROF tears and chewing up my troops. Even with the entry of my last two reinforcing 4-4-7s here, I had to have my gun-crew abandon the attempts at repair and move over to man the HMG instead. Going into the last few turns, it wasn’t looking good for the Chinese, but the clock was ticking loudly. Matt was still facing a timeline that was manageable but had no margin for error.
             The end-game played out with Matt preparing to stamp out the flickering resistance in all three sectors. On my right, I had high hopes that my gun-crew could get back into the VC area, but despite my two Vickers tanks, Matt was able to get troops onto the pillbox. Overcoming the wire and lack of HtH, he had his only good CC roll of the game (needed a 4) to kill my 2-2-7 in CC and eliminate the threat. I still had another squad in this area, but it would have to move into the VC area and face down at least two Japanese squads, so I wasn’t optimistic at all.
             In the center, Matt’s sour CC luck quickly returned. With his (OB-given) FT and the tanks, he was finally able to clear the village, but my Chinese managed to make it a bloody process by holding their own and giving as good as they got in every CC. That, the previous losses, and the threat from my last surviving squad on the right flank meant that there just weren’t that many Japanese left to charge the church.
            Here, Matt’s 10-2/.50-cal had really worn my troops down over the course of the game, despite my trying to maintain concealment and skulk as much as possible. This powerful combo was all set to move into my trench compound and really make things tough for me when some insignificant DR on the far side of the map triggered my sniper which took out the 10-2. Obviously, that was huge, and swung things back in my favor.
Matt sorted through the resulting chaos well, but it set him back enough that on the last turn, I thought I was in pretty good shape. I had a stack of a 9-1, concealed 8-1, 3-3-7/HMG, 2-2-7 tucked away in the far corner of the church, where they were in the VC area but out of LOS of almost all the Japanese. Thanks to the bloody CCs of the center village, Matt had only a 9-1/2-2-8/4-4-7 that could reach me.
As the Japanese stack entered the church next to my troops, they were greeted with a 20+0 attack. Sadly, I pulled a page out of Matt’s book and rolled boxcars, resulting in no effect. Elation for the Japanese, despair for the Chinese. Taking the Subsequent First Fire shot was a better roll, causing an NMC. The leader and crew passed, but the squad rolled snakes and went Berserk, losing the ability to Advance and cancelling the Japanese celebration.
Still, you never know how CC will go, especially when its HtH, and my blood pressure spiked when the 9-1 and 2-2-8 advanced in and Ambushed my troops, despite the presence of my concealed 8-1. The resulting attack was a 1:4, -2 for Ambush and being Japanese, meaning Matt need a six or less to win the game. His string of poor rolls continued however, and the Chinese managed to hang on for victory.
Thanks very much to Matt for the game. He shook off some bad dice and was tolerant of my rusty play, allowing me to treat A.2 as an optional rule. I thought the scenario itself was a ton of fun, although I’m not sure how good my set-up was. The more I think about it, the more I think I was too scared of the Bombardments. If so, it’s probably better setting up a denser and more integrated defense that allows for the pillboxes to mutually support each other. Even if the Bombardments do more damage, the Chinese are probably better served playing with most of their fortifications in great spots, rather than all their fortifications in decent spots. Again though, I’m far too rusty to draw any good conclusions.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

June DFW Gameday (and AARs)

Ed Beekman

Our June game day had a very specific Stalingrad theme.  

Jim C and Tracey decided  to  play S18 Breaking Bread again since  they felt they made  too many errors  last month.  Again Jim's Russians were  able  to  repulse Tracey's Germans to keep control  of  the Bread  Factory  buildings.

Ralph challenged Matt for  the Chair and they selected DASL2 Berserk!  Matt's Germans came at Ralph's Russians hard and heavy and got away with it due to the luck of the dice.  Ralph's MMG stack went Berserk and charged to their doom.  Then the tide turned as Ralph started to  whittle down the attackers and then he counterattacked, resulting in driving back and reducing the German force, leaving them no chance to get  to the Victory Building.  Ralph will  be Chairman next  month.  

We were expecting another player but real life interfered.  I had set up RB3 Bread  Factory #3 in preparation and Ralph and I  played it after his  first  game  was  complete.  There was a brief battle  for one of the Victory Buildings as Ralph first ambushed and killed a defending squad and then broke half  my  counter attack force but then  the squad was Pinned and CRd by a Booby Trap allowing me to eliminate them in a HtH ambush.  The German main force approaching the Admin block caused my HMG squad, best leader and a broken unit to go berserk.  One charge later and a quarter of my on board OB was eliminated.  Then the German leader went Berserk with a squad.  The leader quickly died but the squad cleared the second victory building, driving all my defenders to FTR death.  My reinforcements entered as the last of my units were dying or fleeing.  Three turns to go and it would take at least that long to get to the victory buildings.  My units walked into a meat grinder and were chopped up just shy of being able to reach the VC.  My last turn I had one squad locked in melee and a concealed leader surrounded by Germans on 5 hexsides.   I announced my move for the win and assault moved the concealed stack away from the Bread Factory and out of encirclement.  Ralph was confused.  He looked over the scenario and remembered I had a HIP unit.  I still controlled one of the victory buildings with the HIPsters in the upstairs location that he never moved through.  His "recon by fire" revealed the HIPpies but could only Pin the leader and my win was preserved.

Have you figured out the theme?  We played three different versions - Starter Kit, Deluxe, and Historical - of the battle for the Bread Factory just south of the Red Barricades.  The Russians won all three games.

Look forward to seeing you at Austin or next month at my place.

Friday, May 04, 2018

AAR: Conscript Corner [OS1]

Ed Beekman
Ralph and I played OS1 Conscript Counter from Objective: Schmidt.  ROAR has the Germans  favored 3:1 but the ASL Scenario  Archive has the Americans favored 2:0.  Ralph picked the Germans.  The Germans must have 2 Good Order Squad Equivalents at game end to win OR inflict 8 CVP on the Americans.  The Americans outnumber the Germans by less than 4:3 and all MMC have a 6 Morale.  All the Germans are Conscripts with an ELR of 1 but they have good leadership.  The Americans have a 3 ELR and a quarter of their troops are 2nd Line with only a single -1 Leader.  The Germans are defending stone buildings on a hillside and the Americans must cover some open ground when they enter.  

Ralph set most of his troops up front to hit the Americans as they enter and left the requisite 2 MMC at the back of the map along with a dummy stack for me to bug hunt in the end game.  I lost a squad to a low IFT DR when entering but was able to position my units to create a death trap for the Germans at the base of the hill.  My kill stack was mostly effective Disrupting the Germans.  I usually only needed an NMC on a 20 +2 attack (frequently it was a better result) with a HS then walking over to accept the surrender.  I had to be careful moving, by the end of turn 2 I was half way to the CVP cap, included losing a 1st Line squad to a Conscript HS on snake eyes which also gave back Ralph the 8-1 leader I had just captured elsewhere.   Fortunately the Americans rallied quickly although many MMC were reduced in quality to Green and 2nd Line.  In the end the American advantages in Firepower and Range doomed the Germans.  There was only 1 good order German squad and no chance to Rally another squad's worth at the end.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

DFW Gameday - And AARs Galore

The DFW ASL scene had an extraordinary game day in March.
Bob (Dutch) successfully defended  the Chair against Ralph (Germans) in G7 Bring  Up the Guns.  The Germans have to exit some wagon towed guns to win.  Ralph misjudged the range and lost some guns to low odds, long ranges shots.  He was clearing the path to exit enough guns to win when a Sniper eliminated a Wagon, giving Bob a cheap win.  Feel free to challenge Bob for the Chair next month.
Jim F. (Slovaks) played Matt (Hungarians) in O11 Short-Lived  Offensive.  Early on Matt burned one of Jim's Armored Cars in Bypass of a kill stack's building.  Jim sent one of his own kill stacks into Melee against Matt's smoked in stack.  The wreck's Blaze spread to  the building then flared into a Blaze resulting in each side losing a chunk of their OB to the fire, something I have not seen before..  Using Prisoners to boost his CVP, Jim easily reached his VP total needed to win.
Jim C. (Germans) and Tracey (Americans) continued  their  SK  journey into the finer points of Guns in S12 Over Open Sights.  Jim had to eliminate or capture all three American Guns to  win.  Jim captured and then destroyed the two 105 ART about mid game but it wasn't looking good getting to the 155 ART.  On his last turn, the crew was broken but still manning the gun.  He had to eliminate the crew to give him a chance to capture the gun in the movement phase.  He prep fired everything he but one squad, eliminating the crew on a final 8 +2 shot.  The squad moved onto the gun, surviving all Tracey's Defensive fire (4 -2 shots [?]).  Everything worked perfectly until he tried to recover the gun and rolled a 6, giving Tracey the win.
After Ralph's Sniper debacle, he challenged me to a game.  We played BFP147 The Commissar's Folly from Poland in Flames.  I got the attacking Russians and had to Capture 2 of 3 Stone/Wood buildings within 5 turns, a tough order as I had to take at least one 2 hex multi-level building.  I split my forces to attack the two flank buildings, including the 1 hex multi-level victory building.  The 1 hex building fell on Turn 2 when I was able to Smoke it and eliminate the defenders in Melee.  On the other flank, I was 2 hexes away from another victory building with concealed units but Ralph was able to strip concealment on a 4 +2 shot.  This stalled my advance.  On Turn 3 he broke every unit close to my targeted building.  I was in trouble, 2 turns to take a multihex stone/wood building and I had no one with in 3 hexes of either.  Pulling out all the stops, I changed targets to the middle victory building.  I was able to push a squad with a LMG into the wooden building between the Polish controlled victory buildings, which prevented him from moving reinforcements between them.  Squads swarmed around my target building.  It was occupied by a Polish squad and a crew with a HMG with broken units hiding upstairs.  I had a squad go Berserk which could be useful getting into the furthest hex of the building.  On the last turn, my Berserk died before it reached it target on a 16 -1 KIA.  This kept me from tying up the Polish squad and moving another unit into position to advance into the hex and forcing the elimination of the upstairs broken units for failure to rout.  I swarmed the HMG and eliminated it in Melee, but I failed to get ambush so wasn't able to infiltrate upstairs which would have probably also guaranteed victory.  Ralph had the last move and had to hold on.  He had ineffective Prep Fire then moved to be able to advance into the threatened building.  I had to eliminate all the broken units and a Good Order squad to win.  I broke the squad with 16 +3 shot but it needed to die or it would rout upstairs to maintain Control.  I hit the upstairs broken units with an 8 +2 then a 12 +2 for no effect other than encirclement.  My kill stack then hit them with a 16 +3 for a 2 MC.  The leader passed but the squads were all reduced (I was hoping for a fatal leader wound which could have wiped all units out).  I kept rate on the MMGs so hit them again with an 8 +3 which eliminated the broken MMCs but the SMC passed the 1 MC again.  I had one more rate shot but it had no effect, giving Ralph a well fought win. 
On the following day, Richard Jenulis from Seattle, was in town and Arlen graciously took up the challenge.  They played J190 Trial Run.  Arlen's Germans had a run of bad luck early on such as his MMG malfunctioning on its first shot which allowed Richard's Canadians to get across the stream.  His Shermans arrived, ran a gauntlet of fire to position the Canadians to be able to exit enough for the win.  Congratulations to Richard on his win and thanks to Arlen for upholding Texas hospitality

Sunday, June 18, 2017

AAR: BFP115 Turned Back at Tylicz

Ed Beekman

Slovaks: Ralph
Poles: Ed

Ralph has been playing DTO lately but I really don't like DTO so he went back to his previous concentration, Cavalry or killing horses as he calls it.  He selected BFP115 Turned Back at Tylicz and took the Slovaks because they have the horses.  The Slovaks need to control all the multi-hex buildings and the single hex church to win.  What makes this interesting is there are hills along both flanks.  I set up to fall back from my right to the left with my Guns with good fields of fire on the roads into town.  I put a few squads and my mortars on the hills.

Ralph set up looking like he would attack across the front with his mortars supporting from my left flank.  He tried to Smoke me on turn one with the mortars but one broke on the first shot and the other had no smoke.  His cavalry tested my flanks.  The cavalry charged the hill on my right flank but the defending squad got lucky with its residual FP and crushed the attack.  The cavalry on the left was also decimated by fire as they dismounted to form up for an attack.  One turn, no horses left on the board.  The Slovakian Armored Cars also pushed the flanks.  On the right, they moved up and threatened the church, moving right into one of my gun's field of fire.  Of course my gun broke on its first shot and was eliminated instead of repaired two turns later.  On the other flank,  the cars crept behind the hill with several squads of infantry, which took several turns to get into position.  Meanwhile, my HMG took out one mortar team and the spotter for the other mortar.  The church fell to the Slovaks when assaulted by Armored Cars, sniper fire and superior numbers of infantry. 

Here the attack stalled.  My mortars on the hill were dropping rounds all over the place, there was a MMG set to lay a Fire Lane along the entire right side of the town, the HMG on the left was going on rate tears until it finally broke and its victory building became susceptible to capture.  On the left hill, the armored cars and infantry pushed up the hill only to be taken under fire from a squad and my other gun.  Eventually all the infantry broke and the Armored cars destroyed due to intensive fire with the gun.  With time running out and no hope of taking all the buildings, Ralph called it a day.  

We did an after action analysis and think the Slovaks should concentrate their infantry on the Pole's left, using the hill and terrain to sweep into the rear of the town by mid game.  The armored cars probably should stick together if they can find positions where they don't hinder each other's fire. Keeping them together while using vehicular bypass freeze would work better since loss of a vehicle doesn't leave the other one stuck due to lack of a radio and an elite morale of only 7.  Also the Slovaks need to keep together in a swarm.  They have lower range and firepower compared to the Poles but far superior numbers.  Individual squads use the 2 FP column but two squads use the 6 FP column.  A swarm of 3 FP squads will be able to Fire Group on those 20 or higher columns.  An interesting scenario but a bit hard on the Slovaks, especially when the Poles dice get hot.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Initial Review: Part 1 - Beyond the Beachhead 2

Nick Drinkwater

Instant Out of the Wrapper Review: Part 1 - Beyond the Beachhead 2; Part 2 - BPF2 Operation Cobra

Its here at last - the next instalment from Bounding Fire Productions after the outstanding Into the Rubble pack is now winging its way across the country to the waiting masses and another excellent product it is too. BtB 2 and BFP 2 can be bought from Bounding Fire in a combined package of $75 or individually at $50 and $44 each respectively. Note this is a first impressions review and I have not tried any of the scenarios or nit-picked them for obvious errors - at first glance, can't seem to find any.

First up is Beyond the Beachhead 2 which is composed of all of the original BtB components plus extra boards and extra scenarios. Chas Smith apparently retained the rights to use the components of that pack when he went from HOB (back) to BFP. The main difference this time is that the original BtB boards (which were mounted hardboard works of art) have been re-issued as ASLSK-style cardboard boards to make them compliant with all the new board issued from MMP. Something has been lost in the translation as the old versions were some of the best quality components in the entire hobby, but this is the price of progress I guess, and at least lugging the whole kit to tournaments has got that much easier.

The super shiny, super glossy 2/3 board overlays have also been replaced with a matt version now. The pack itself has two loose leaf fly covers with a coloured cartoon-style picture of Stug rumbling between two high hedges somewhere in France on the front - the back cover is a summary of the components included, some summary notes from some of the scenarios and a list of the extra items needed to play the pack. The whole pack is stiffened by a cardboard sheet to help it survive the rigours of the US postal service - sadly mine didn't and the corners of the pack took a crunch, but no lasting damage done.

Components (those marked with a * were in the original HOB version of BtB1).

Note that all these boards have bocage marked on them as hedges with a brown perimeter rim and this is a different feature from a regular hedge (which is also marked on some of these boards). Also, these boards and overlays often include many examples of slopes so even the apparently flattest looking terrain has some subtle LOS changes going on - cool!

BFP C*: one third grainfield bocage, one third scattered stone village including a small church and a two hex graveyard and a two hex, level one hill; final third of the board is more bocage.

BFP D*: The road-bocage one. One bocage-lined road running the long-axis of the board, orchard-lined. Small level one hill and small sunken road.

BFP E: One half is bocage-lined grain fields and medium sized level-one hills with sunken lanes, the other half consists of a small stone building hamlet and hill / grain gulley. A 'split' board - think Normandy version of Board 10.

BFP F: A transition board for bocage. Mainly open ground with two bocage-lined grainfields at each end, each with an associated level one hill. (Like Board 49, but designed to transition to denser bocage). Get out the smoke / SMOKE!

BFP V-1*: A great addition to either the BFP boards - an orchard-rich, linear style French stone building village with bocage-lined fields and woods - narrow roads are in effect. This board is designed to be placed on the BFP boards and would cover approximately two thirds of them - the Q hexrow road is the linking feature between the overlay and the board beneath.

BFP V-2: A small 14 hex stone village overlay with single hex buildings. One oddity are depictions of small buildings that straddle hexlines to prevent snap shots and bypass - rules for this are included (see below).

BFP V-3: Another 2/3 board overlay linked by the Q hexrow road. This is the antithesis of BFB V-1 being a dispersed stone building village sited around a small one-hex chapel. A couple of large bocage fields are added to the overlay edges, but this is all in pretty open terrain.

BFP H-1*: A 2/3 board overlay dominated by a level 2 hill covered by an intricate network of choking bocage and orchards and a snaky orchard and bocage-lined road. Slow progress going over this particular hill.

BFP H-2: A 22 hex two-level hill overlay with a couple of small bocage hedges included. Fairly simple in its design.

Rules addition: One page of the BtB 1 rules is reproduced here including rules for light bocage and hexside buildings. On the reverse of this page are the known errata and Q&A for the ITR packs and the old Hell on Wheels pack.

Scenarios 1-8 are from the BFP 1 (HOB) version. These are described elsewhere on the web, so I'll breeze over them.

Btb 1: Taking Tailleville
Btb 2: Merely Hanging On
Btb 3: Kraut Corner
Btb 4: Firestorm in St.Manvieu
Btb 5: Martinville Ridge
Btb 6: Men Against Tanks
Btb 7: Blood on Hill 192
Btb 8: Steel Inferno

New Scenarios:
Btb 9: Norman "D".
6.5 turns. 5.5 SS squads on BFP Board E (bocage, grain and hills) defending against 11 Elite and 1st line US squads. A very simple, all infantry building control scenario, probably good for tourneys.

BtB 10: Unplanned Attack.
5.5 turns. Played on overlay BFP V3 only (the dispersed village in open terrain one). 6 squad equivalents of all HIP German paras have to deny 13 1st and 2nd line US squads from controlling the majority of the village buildings. Another all-infantry tournament sized special.

Btb 11: Bosq Barbecue.
6.5 turns. A bit meatier this one. Two good and four bad (447) SS squads with copious AA Gun support and 4 self-propelled guns have to deny 15 British first line units from taken a chunk of the BFP-D village. They have a tough approach over the wide-open spaces of BFP F, but they are given a ton of British smoke generators to do it - 5 basic flavours of Churchills and two Crocodiles!! This one looks super-cool.

BtB 12: Going against the Grain.
6.5 turns of BIG scenario. The Brits are on the defense and they have to prevent the Germans from exiting units and taking stone buildings in the BFP F village - the SS can also try and sneak units off by using the lomg snakey bocage-lined lane of BFB D that just screams 'ambush'! The SS receive 15 of their main guys plus a couple of engineer squads and receive a couple of Flak panzers, a couple of Bisons and 5 (yep, that was five) Panthers. The Brits have to split their 15 1st line squads, but they also receive two 17 pounders, two 6 pounders a Mortar and three bog-standard Churchills. This one looks challenging but a lot of fun.

BtB 13: By Chance.
6.5 turns. A very weak German force of 6 conscript and second line squads lock horns with an American recce force on trucks with half-tracks. An immediate CVP cap will keep the US honest as they try to control buildings on Board 17 attacking across the BFB F board. The biggest thing in this is the US 100mm OBA.

BtB 14: Swatting a Hornet.
6 turns set on one-half of BFP E with some stone rubble thrown in for good measure. This is BFP's version of the SP scenario "The Hornet of Cloville" where nine 1st and 2nd line US squads with three shermans have to remove all good order German MMC and AFV's from a critical hex. As well as the eponymous Hornet, the Germans get a MkIV and 6.5 para and second line squads.

BtB 15: Becker's Battery.
6 turns for an all armour British force to accumulate 66 VP from either exiting vehicles off the south edge of Board 33 and half of BFB D, attacking across Boards 44 and BFP F. The Germans can also exit units after Turn 4 and in this case, the twist is that the Germans recieve 10 of the funky 75L and 105 SP guns that came with Pegasus Bridge I think). This is a mighty force of British steel including 15 Sherman V, three Fireflies, and a couple of Crusader AA tanks. The Germans get the option to utilise HIP if behind Bocage hedges, but a lot of this fight will take place on open terrain and grain fields. Looks a bit different this.

BtB 16: Battlegroup Nor-Mons.
6.5 turns and another chunky scenario. Brits vs SS in this set on BFP E, F and D. The SS need to control a central level two hill and have more VP than the Brits for building rubble control - Brits receive VP for any units on any hills at Game end. To carry this task out, nineteen 1st and 2nd line squads with 80mm AND 120mm OBA, 5 Shermans and a Firefly need to hold off 21 mixed quality SS squads with Mortar OBA plus two Tigers, 5 Mk IVs and a couple of Stugs. The balance is interesting in the form of FB, but maybe is a mistake as only the US are listed with their details (unless I have misunderstood something here).

A great set of scenarios, and apart from the issue of conquering the problems posed by Bocage defense and attack, are all very straightforward. Almost all are moderate with no wind (a couple have mild breezes for spreading smoke) but there is no night, rain etc and no scenario is larger than 6.5 turns, though some are quite sizeable in terms of numbers of units. Once people are happy with the Bocage (both normal and light) and slopes and narrow streets, then there should be something for everyone in here. The scenario cards are of excellent quality being printed on a nice quality paper with the counters and boards represented in colour - great effort.

A really good effort overall - those who own BtB 1 may have an issue with the price of $50 for something they have about 40% of already, but if you're new to it, that's fairly good value for 4 boards, 5 overlays and 16 scenarios. It would have been brilliant if BFP had issued an upgrade pack for those who already had BtB1, but I understand the problems of small company economics and the re-issue of the boards in the new format is definitely a useful thing so I am really happy with these. A- for those new to the BtB packs and a B++ for those who already have them.

Operation Cobra review to follow.

AAR: TOT45 The Dogs of War

Ed Beekman

Germans: Ralph
Partisans: Sean
Russians: Ed

The Dogs of War is a 3 player scenario in May '45 Prague.  The Czech Partisans are defending the Victory Building (VB) against attacks by 2nd SS Das Reich units and Russian Liberation Army (ROA) units which are Russian POWs rearmed by the Germans to liberate Russia.  Ralph wanted the SS and Sean took the Partisans leaving me with the traitorous Russians.  Sean set up first in the VB, where his units are Fanatic, on the hex row A half of board 21, and would receive a couple of reinforcing squads with an obsolete French tank on Turn 3.  He would also roll to randomly generate infiltrating squads during each of the Partisan Player Turn Rally Phases.  Ralph set up second on the graveyard side of the VB.  His force included a couple of JgPz and an obsolete, although not nearly as obsolete as the Partisan's, Skoda tank.  I set up last on the other side of the VB.  My force included a pair of captured T34s, a pair of halftracks, a Hetzer and a Flamm halftrack.  The ELR situation is  also interesting.  The Partisans naturally have a 5 ELR, the Russians have a 1 ELR.  The SS take it on the chin with a 0 ELR, which  means squads that fail a MC break  into HS and HS Disrupt but there will be  no surrendering because all sides have invoked NO QUARTER.  And EVERYONE has Panzerfausts!  Alright, the Partisans' are captured so their PF checks and TH rolls have a +2 modifier.

The sequence of play starts with the SS and in the DFPh the Partisans goes first followed by the ROA.  The second phasing player is the ROA with the SS followed by the Partisans  in DFPh.  Finally the Partisans go with the ROA followed by the SS in DF.  You need to consider unit positions at the end of your movement carefully, they can potentially be shot at in 4 fire phases before they can move again.  With some low ELRs this can be really bad.

There are 5 ways to win the game.  In descending order:  be the only player with Good Order (GO) MMC in the VB; have 2 more GO Squad Equivalents within 2 hexes of the SW corner of the VB than the next one player; have 3 GO Partisan squads in the VB (applicable only to Partisan player); have more GO HS equivalents within 2 hexes of the SW corner of the VB than the next one player; the Partisan wins.  Our game was decided by the 4th VC.

Ralph started the game trying to strip concealment from Partisans in the VB and cautiously advancing through the graveyard.  He also took a shot at my concealed kill stack forcing it to relocate during my turn.  The Partisans began repulsing the SS with a 10-2 led HMG which broke up an SS squad.  My DF was ineffective in stripping partisan concealment.

In my first turn I moved towards the VB, getting the FlammHT in position to "zip-po" in for Bounding Fire on later turns then return to hiding while the T34's moved to firing positions on the VB with the Hetzer covering them from hostile armor.  Ralph broke the Sean's HMG stack in DF.  One of my T34s malf'd its B11 MA on the first shot. 
Sean generated several Partisan infiltrators around the periphery and one in the VB.  He remanned the HMG while DF seemed to redirect against infiltrators to get them off the Rout paths.  

Ralph's turn saw him get into the VB with a pair of squads while his JgPz moved against my armor.  Many infiltrators were neutralized while I was hit with the first of 3 sniper attacks in the game.  Both opponents put their snipers on my side of the board and each attack hit a stack of units and I would each time obligingly roll a Yatzee, resulting in all my leaders wounding and stunning a HT.  The only other sniper activity was mine, which eliminated an infiltrating Partisan leader late in the game.  

I didn't like Ralph interfering with Russian interests, so I engaged his PzJgs.  I lost my 'lame' T34 to one but the Flamm HT burnt it up before going back into hiding.  When I assaulted the second PzJg, it came down to a Gun Duel.  We both had +5 Firer Based DRMs so the lower roll would go first.  I rolled a 5 which meant my round would go up the enemy's rear since all other TH DRM for me were 0.  Ralph rolled a 3, winning the duel and destroying my other T34.  The Hetzer then attacked, Ralph spinning for a desperation IF shot that missed.   The Hetzer moved to the side and reduced it to burning wreckage.  I thought it a good trade, 2 T34s for 2 JgPz.  I also loaded a couple squads into my HTs and moved to isolate infiltrating partisans and keep some SS units DM.

Sean generated a few more infiltrators and played it safe but had some units broken in the VB by DF. 

Ralph moved on the Partisans on the VB ground floor, eliminating 2 squads in CC and capturing one of the two stairwells.  He also pushed along the southern flank to attack the Hetzer and my LMG team on that flank.  His squad passed its PAATC but failed to kill the Hetzer (in motion) in CC. 

On my turn I shot up and flamed Partisans and SS on the north and south flanks.  The Hetzer safely drove out of CC (Ralph needed 3's to hit w/PF as I drove through the burning PzJg wreck) and threatened the Skoda behind the graveyard wall.  Ralph fired the Skoda at the Hetzer and missed.  As I moved to a more optimal firing position, Ralph took the Intensive Fire shot.  Snake eyes, Critical Hit.  He rolled a 7 TK, I passed my possible Shock TC for No Effect.  9 penetration +1 for range, double less 14 armor = 6 final TK #.  The Hetzer moved behind the Skoda for a better position and gained acquisition.  I was able to sneak a squad into the building but it would not be able to stay.

On Sean's turn he moved to counterattack Ralph in the VB while bringing his reinforcements along a safe approach to the VB along the northern flank, catching a few SS between me and him.  In DF, I got lucky with an armored HT fire group against the SS squad on my side of the VB.  This left NO Good Order enemies on my side of the building.  Ralph lost a squad for FTR because the Hetzer cut its rout path (Hetzer = Troublemaker).

Ralph cleared the southern approaches to the VB while making a deal with Sean not to attack each other there.  He came after my Hetzer with a squad and 9-1 leader.  I failed my Motion roll along with my DF.  One Panzerfaust later the Hetzer was a burning wreck.  Ralph was then able to rout a couple squads worth of broken HS to the 9-1 for future rallys.

 My turn was a game changer.  I took a halftrack and raced it into bypass of Ralph's stack guarding the road I had to cross into the VB.  It survived PSK, PF, and Reaction Fire suffering only Immobilization.  Yeah, it died in CC but it had done its job better then I could have hoped.  I would have been just as happy with a burning wreck between Ralph and me.  This freed me to rush 5 squads, a wounded leader, MMG and my remaining vehicles into position in and around the VB.  My AF eliminated all but 1 of Seans remaining partisan squads in the VB.  I set up a defensive perimeter around the staircase I controlled and waited for the counterattack.

At this point it was the world against Ed, I had Victory Condition 2 in the bag.  Ralph was vowing that he may not win but he was going to make sure I didn't win either.  Sean was figuring if he played us against each other, maybe, just maybe he could sneak away with the win.

Sean moved his units into position to make the final charge into the VB with his reinforcement and infiltration squads while using his HMG to break one of my squads.

Ralph had rallied his broken units with the 9-1 leader and was able to run them into the VB via the graveyard while moving the Skoda next to the SW corner of the VB to count towards victory and threaten my Flamm HT.  Some units on the south tried to also get into the VB but were repulsed by me.

Ralph also jumped one of my squads in CC which turned into a Melee.  Ralph now had 3 GO squads and a vehicle in position to count towards victory plus another HS tied up in melee with one of my squads.

In my turn, I played it safe.  I moved units upstairs where they could fire at Sean's units that will be trying to enter the VB.  I also self rallied a HS with a LMG which I moved into position to lay a Fire Lane across the southern approach to the VB.  Ralph DF'd into our melee, breaking my squad who obligingly died trying to escape the melee.  I had 3 MMC and 2 vehicles in position to count towards victory, but Ralph had picked up another GO HS from the melee meaning I was a HS short of VC 2.

Sean's turn had one objective for him - have 3 GO squads in the VB.  One was already present  so he only needed 2 more with 5 squads available to get there.  His first squad ran across the road, survived the DF and got in the building.  The second squad crossed the road but broke to Final Fire adjacent to the VB.  Next he tried the southern flank.  The first squad ran through the LMG fire lane but Pinned outside the building.  The last squads had to go through the residual fire or get within HT flamethrower range.  They did not make it.  Lastly he moved his tank into position to count towards victory.

In the final tally, all three of us had GO squads in the building - Sean with 2, Ralph with 3.5 and I had 3.  Nobody had VC #1.
VC #2: Sean had 4 squad equivalents, Ralph had 5.5, and I had 7.  Missed  by a HS.  Nobody had VC#2
VC#3:  Sean only had 2 squads in the VB.  He did not have VC#3.
VC#4:  I had the most squad equivalents as totalled in VC#2 above for the win.

It was a very good game with a completely different feel.  The fire sequences are different which makes your moves, advances and rally points very important.  Next time you have an odd number of players, you should try a 3 player game like this.  The journal published a couple of them recently.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

AAR: BFP20 Bypassed Lehr

Americans: Ed
Germans: Robert

Robert and I decided to play BFP20 Bypassed Lehr. During Operation Cobra the mobile elements of the Big Red One have bypassed a village occupied by remnants of Panzer Lehr and it is up to the less mobile following units to mop them up. The Germans are mostly 2nd line with some Sturm squads. The Americans are an even mix of 1st Line and Elite.ROAR has the Germans as the favored side so I let Robert have them. The Germans win at game end by controlling at least 4 buildings. There are 15 in play, all Stone. Tough for the Americans. At first I thought I would drive up the middle and spread out from there but decided to pick up the "easy" buildings on the flank, drive the Germans back into a "nut" and then use my firepower to crack the last few needed to win. It was a classic German vs American infantry fight, The Germans popping off 4 to 12 FP attacks while the Americans returned fire with 12 to 30 FP attacks. Robert did a good job of skulking and passing morale checks early on putting me behind schedule. Two of the larger buildings fell on schedule and I even managed to get a squad into the backfield to contest the last multihex building. As time was running out a German HS took out an American squad in melee to hold a flank building and another squad broke an American squad on a 4+2 shot to delay the attack on another flank building. We had to call it quits with a turn and a half remaining and the game too close to call although I give the edge to Robert because of the late setbacks on my flanks. I had to take 4 more buildings - I know I could probably take 3 but it would be tough to take 4. Robert can claim the chair in October by host decree.

Just a reminder, I will be hosting ASL gaming at my place in October on the 3rd Saturday - the 15th - since I will still be at ASLOK on the 8th.

We have 5 already preregistered for the November tournament, including a new attendee who also happens to be the Austin Tournament runner up. Visit the website * <>* for information on the tournament and preregistering. I will post the first half of the scenario list before I leave for ASLOK (the oldies but goodies) and the other half the week after I return (the latest and greatest). The tournament Tshirts are in, see the attached JPEG. You get one with your entry to the tournament. I will have a limited number available for sale after the tournament.

Hope to see you in October and at the tournament in November.


AAR: ASL43 Into The Fray

Germans: Matt
Poles: Ralph

At the last North Texas game day Ralph had been reading up on the Cavalry rules and as he put it, wanted to kill some horses. Matt took him up on the challenge; they played ASL 43 Into the Fray. Matt took the attacking Germans, Ralph the Poles (and the horses). The Germans have to either punch through a line of Polish reservists or wreak wholesale slaughter on the the Poles to win. Most of the Germans attacked on their left flank with a "keep em honest" group moving down the right. The right flank was stopped dead in their tracks. Literally. Most KIA'd with low rolls by Ralph. The other flank pushed on, assisted by reinforcing armor. One tank was immobilized but it was still possible for Matt to exit what he needed. Then the cavalry arrived... The Germans opened up on them and it got ugly as Matt started rolling KIAs too. I missed the details being wrapped up in my own game but apparently he killed enough horses to win.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

AAR: FT77 Suprised Buffalo

Ed Beekman
Italians: Jim Ferrell, Ed Beekman
Americans/Partisans: Zeke
We had three players so we looked for a scenario that could work for three.  We agreed upon FT77 Surprised Buffalo.  It is a December '44 Italy scenario with second line Americans and some Italian Partisans defending a town from a large Italian force wielding German support weapons.  The Americans are strung out in a picket line across the town and on the mountain behind.  The partisans are hiding in the approaches to the village.  The Italians have to cover a board's width of snow covered terrain to either take the majority of the buildings in the town without losing about 40% of their forces OR eliminate 20 CVP of the Allied force without losing an equivalent number of CVP.  Both sides have brittle units with 6 morale but the Italians have a small contingent of elite 7 morale troops.  It is also one of those rare scenarios where both sides have artillery.
Zeke wanted the defending Americans while Jim and myself split the attacking Italians.  Jim took more troops since he was attacking into the village section with more buildings while I received most of the elite troops since I was attacking into the teeth of the mountain behind the town.  We made a dispersed charge and Jim was able to cover the board width in a few turns without much trouble but I had to deal with the American .50 cal HMG, 60mm mortar and Battalion Mortar OBA.  Several squads were eliminated and the precious 9-2 Italian leader was lost to back to back boxcars but a rare Italian Hero emerged from the carnage toting a dismantled German HMG.  The American mortar lost a duel with the Italian 81mm Mortar while the artillery observer and .50 cal HMG team were eventually obliterated by Italian artillery.
Jim started forcing his way into town in what was turning into a tough battle of maneuver. I was also moving into town but the defense was manning a few locations that looked like a challenge to reduce. Unfortunately we had to call the game due to time about halfway through with the issue still in doubt.  We all really enjoyed the scenario, it has fun "toys" on both sides, many unusual aspects and definitely is worth a play.

Friday, June 03, 2016

AAR: LSSAH21 The Brickyard

Ed Beekman

Ed: Germans
Zeke: Russians

I played Zeke in LSSAH21 The Brickyard.  Zeke took the Russians since ROAR has it 2:1 pro-Russians and deservedly so.  The Germans have to take a 3 hex stone building while staying under a 31 CVP cap.  The Russians have a 2:1 infantry advantage which is significant even though they are 1st Line Russian Rifle squads to 5-4-8 SS squads who are mostly deployed in small halftracks.  I also had an smg halftrack and three Mk 4 panzers but they would be countered by 3 T34s on turn 2. 

My plan was to try and encircle the victory building to weaken the Russian numerical advantage with morale and fire modifiers.  Not gonna happen.  The left flank bounced a dummy stack while the right flank thought they had a LOS free approach to the brickyard.  NOPE, there was a HIP Russian squad that Pinned all three half squads although it broke on the FPF.  My smg HT was recalled by the Russian sniper before it could do anything.  The Russian AT gun nailed two half tracks when it revealed itself and a Russian ATR accounted for another.  Just over one turn down and I was already half way to my CVP cap.  When the Russian tanks came on in the required platoon movement, the middle tank immobilized when they rolled into position to fire on one of my tanks.  I had the advantage in the resulting gun duel and destroyed the lead T34  while maintaining rate but didn't get to use it.  The immobilized T34 responded with an APCR critical hit to burn the Mark 4.  The Russian infantry accounted for another halftrack and then the ATG, manned by a squad, intensive fired to hit and kill another Mark 4 throwing me over the CVP cap.  Congratulations to Zeke on his successful defense of the brickyard.

I am writing to relax.  I am hyper having just pulled out a colonoscopy win in the last turn of my VASL league game.  After being smacked around like a red haired stepchild for most of the game (my opponent averaged a 4 on his first 5 or 6 IFT shots).  I can't complain about those rolls though, I had several useful low rolls late in the game including snakes on a mortar hit versus a concealed HS in the jungle that would have sealed my fate and another snakes with a captured FT into a melee in a VC location that killed everybody.  That's why we love this game.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

AAR: WO12 Heart of Wilderness

Ralph recaptured the Chair from Matt by defeating him in WO12 Heart of Wilderness.  Matt had the defending Germans while Ralph, attacking with the Russians, had to seize a bridge on the east side of the battle field and one of two buildings on the west side.  The terrain is pretty dense, with lots of woods and orchards with a hill, stream and gully thrown in for good measure.  The Germans receive a mix of elite and first line troops, a pair of Guns, a pair of Pillboxes, and trenches.  The Russians attack starts in the east with near parity with the Germans in MMC and the bridge as their apparent target.  On the second turn a nearly equal sized group of Russians attack from the south, who should head toward the village to claim the requisite building.  Finally four BT tanks loaded with Russian SMG squads arrive on turn 4 to reinforce one of the attacks from any one of three directions.
Ralph started "turtling" towards the bridge although a brief loss of presence of mind cost him a squad.  He was cutting off most of the forward defenders, capturing and destroying their equipment.  Matt was able to barely pull out several units but at the cost of one of his guns - before the tanks  even showed up. 
Ralph was attacking a key position on the approaches to the bridge with a large fire group, only to roll an 11 for the lowest possible NE result.  He cobbled together another large fire group and said if I roll another 11 I'm out of here.  Of course he rolled another 11.  We managed to mollify him, get him to sit back down  and continue playing.
As the Russians drew within sight of the bridge an elite Russian squad rolled snakes but instead of going berserk as feared/hoped by the opposing players, it got the daily double - a hero and fanatic squad.  This potent force was able to grind its way forward to seize the bridge with the assistance of several other squads on the penultimate turn.  With units occupying the approaches, this Objective was securely in the Russian's hands.
In the south Matt slowed the Russians with effective use of dummy stacks and a fortuitous melee.  A German HS was tied up with a Russian squad, MMG and leader.  Ralph rolled a 6 to eliminate the HS but Matt responded with snakes, wiping out the entire Russian  stack, generated a leader which meant he only suffered CR due to the odds change but lost his HS by random selection.
The tanks rolled in to cut off the Germans slowing the southern advance and suppress the pillbox covering the approach to town.  Once the infantry formed up to assault the town, the tanks tied up German infantry until they could be relieved by Russian infantry engaging in CC.  The plan was to go for the more southern building but that plan died when it was discovered it was held by an elite German squad and a 10-2 leader.  A platoon of BT tanks continued their tactics but one died in a street fight.  Ralph bum rushed the northern victory building, finding only dummies in his way.  A SMG squad dared CC against the 10-2 building to keep them from counterattacking and managed to get AMBUSH.  Although nobody died, it effectively took Matt's last strong unit out of the battle.  A forlorn hope of retaking the building with the sole remaining unbroken HS died in a hail of vehicular small arms fire in CC.
It is a good scenario although a little hard on the Germans.  Matt was handicapped by lack of experience with fortifications like pillboxes.  This was his first time using them.  In analyzing the game we thought it probably best for the Germans to throw most everything around the bridge, all the trenches, pillboxes, guns and especially the 10-2 leader.  Leave enough troops and dummies in town to misdirect the Russians to over commit there.  Congratulations to both players on a well played game.
Ed Beekman
AAR: ASL 22 Kurhaus Clash 

Ralph and I had a mini-game day at his place a few weeks back.  He was hoping to play ASL 22 Kurhaus Clash and I accepted  the challenge.  Ralph took the German SS, I got the Americans.  The Germans are counterattacking the Americans in Aachen with the objective to have more good order infantry in the open "park land" board on the American side of the battlefield.  The first problem the Germans have is crossing a wide boulevard (-1 DRM to all fire against units on the road).  The German SS have an 8 (9 broken) morale to the American's 6 (8 broken) but the Americans out number the Germans by about 4:3 on the other hand the Germans can pick the point(s) of attack.  A couple  other interesting features of the scenarios is a 3rd level location in a building in which the Germans can put a HMG in overwatch of a much of the board.  The Americans receive a HIP radio observer who once he has contact does not have to draw for access as long as the SR/FFE is on/next to a known enemy unit.
I set up troop concentrations on each flank with MGs covering as much of the boulevard with potential  fire lanes as possible.  My mortars were in the park with LOS  to as many woods hexes and some upper  level building locations in the German zone.  The OBA observer set up in a stone building in the middle of a lightly wooded area in the middle of the front lines with LOS to the 3rd level location.
Ralph set up to attack on the flanks, a StuG supporting each attack, with his 9-2 with the HMG on the 3rd level.
The first couple  of turns  the Germans simply pounded the Americans and nearly a quarter of my squads not only broke but reduced to 2nd Line.  I mainly skulked away from the German fire power while my OBA  just couldn't get the range right on the 9-2 overwatch position.  A StuG obliterated one of my squads in a stone building with a critical hit.
Things started looking  up for me when my sniper took out the 9-2 (Ralph complained about all the  sniper checks I was getting but I told him to just stop rolling so low), OBA  finally landed an SR on the HMG and I broke a MG squad and leader on the other flank when a MTR rolled snakes on the IFT.  But Ralph moved the HMG  out of LOS which forced me to draw two cards to call down an FFE.  I immediately drew a red card and lost a well placed SR.  I snuck a couple  HS to  upper level  encircle  the  MMG  unit  but the squad self rallied.  I lost the squads but it took a couple turns to mop them up .  Eventually Ralph broke through on that flank and pushed forward in an enveloping motion.   Game changing sniper shots were enjoyed by both, which allowed 8 CVP of Germans to get into the victory area but then kept them from expanding the bridgehead.  The other enveloping arm ran into OBA which decimated those units.  The supporting StuG was immobilized by a BAZ shot  which caused the crew to bail out.  With a turn to go, the Germans still had 8 CVP  in the victory area but no hope of increasing that number.  I only had 4 CVP but had another 8 to 12 CVP that could safely move  there for the  win on my last turn.  
I think  if the Germans load up on just one side and simply punch their way across the  board  using the StuGs for smoke and cover this is winnable scenario for them.

Ed Beekman

Saturday, January 23, 2016

AAR: FT KGS8 The Battle in the Tunnel and Organ Gully

Ed Beekman

Ed Beekman: Russian
Zeke: German

Zeke and I were on the second stage playing a scenario from Kampfgruppe Scherer - The Battle in the Tunnel and Organ Gully.  It is a low intensity scenario; Zeke had the Germans (6 squads) and I the Russians (11 squads).  I had to take the bridge and tunnel locations.  I spent the turns moving into position, planning to breach the tunnel barricade with my DC and then surge through.  My sole elite squad aided by the Commissar moved concealed up to the barricade only to be stunned by Zeke's first DFire.  It was only a 1MC which the commissar passed  but the squad failed by more than its ELR - now I only had leaders who could place  the DC without the non-qualified penalty.  Although I took the bridge, I was never able to clear the tunnel although some conscripts got in through the back door only to be captured in CC.

Monday, December 21, 2015

AAR: J103 Lenin’s Sons

Arlen Vanek

Arlen Vanek: German
Chris Casten: Russian

Basic strategy; since it looked (9 concealment counters) like Chris set up heavily in the woods, that’s the route I took. Provide a base of fire in hex V2 with three squads and MG’s to try and prevent his guys from backing up the victory buildings while the main force group attacks the left flank. Worked good until we met up with the Russian Hero with a DC in hex J5. The hero throws the DC, breaks two squads and a leader, and survives the morale check. Then in close combat said hero ambushed the attacking squad and killed him at 1-4 odds. Then in the final turn, Chris used FPF to try and prevent a squad from getting adjacent to a victory building. The squad rolled snakes, gets the KIA and goes HOB. Great win for Chris and the Elite Russians. Great scenario and well balanced. It could have easily gone either way and provides for many approaches depending on setup. 

AAR: FT178 Niederburg Farmhouse

Ed Beekman

Ed Beekman: Americans
Ralph Garringer: Germans
The Germans are clearing a pocket of American  resistance in Luxemburg during the Battle of the Bulge.  Ralph chose to attack as the Germans.  The battle is on board 10, hexrows A to P, in the MUD by SSR.  Also by SSR, the stone building at the hill top cross roads has two levels and the Germans must control both at game end.  The Americans have only 3.5 squad equivalents of elite infantry, a pair of leaders, but plenty of support weapons including a MaDeuce, and 2 of those squad equivalents can start HIP.  As scenario defender, the MGs can be  boresighted (Ralph didn't enter either location I selected, I think they may have been too obvious).  I hid the best leader, a HS and the .50 cal upstairs in the victory building with a squad holding downstairs.  I dug in a HS with my other leader behind the building.  A HS with the MMG was on the right flank to sweep all the open ground there and lay down a FL in front of the building if needed.  Finally two BAZ teams hid on the left flank among the hedges.
Ralph attacked with his 8 squads of Volksgrenadiers (2nd line with a couple stormtroop squads thrown in) on my left.  I lost a Bazooka team to a low FP shot led by the German -2 leader but then I got lucky and pinned that leader, broke the accompanying squad and raked the following Volksgrenadiers with the 50.  This is when the Hetzer showed up finding the infantry in shambles.  It saved the day by locking the units in the victory location by going into bypass.  I couldn't kill it with Reaction, CC nor 50 cal fire onto its roof.  This allowed half the broken Germans to rally and renew the attack.  The Hetzer turned around and smashed into the building! and all the Germans rushed after.  My MMG on the flank slowed the attack a little but then was lost to malfunction, the 50 cal team broke on a low odds NMC shot and were FTR while all the other nearby supporting groups broke.  If I could keep alive downstairs in Melee, I could deny control of Level 1 and still win.  In the penultimate German CC phase I had the advantage (3:2 -1) failed to kill as I did the following turn.  On the final German turn, the Hetzer sallied forth to lock up my last infantry not in the building (the MMC team rushing to help) and all the remaining Germans but a HS jumped into Melee - overstacked by 1 MMC.  Ralph then Withdrew one squad upstairs (-2 withdraw, -1 my leader, -1 overstacked, +6 supporting units for a 3:2 +2 if I attacked him - need a 3 to eliminate - CR not sufficient) to control upstairs.  I was attacked at 2:1 -1 and was eliminated while managing to get a CR on a 6, leaving the Germans in Victorious control.

Monday, June 30, 2014

AAR: 105 Going to Church

Vincent Maresca
Vincent Maresca: British
Frank Morehouse: Germans
Frank Morehouse and I played ASL 105 “Going to Church” (revised version in FKaC).
Well – Frank’s SS panzermen were hunkered down into the fortress church with MGs on multiple levels looking down on the Canadians forming up below. My master plan was to have a small holding for to the front and the bulking pulling a flanking attack. LESSON ONE – I was now divided but unable to conquer. Obviously the German MG firegroups took out my HMG and had a few good shots on my flank force. I had plenty of time, right - so gave out some very ineffective Prep Fire. I have plenty of time to move later. My holding force now had a broken 9-2 and squad leaving the HMG alone in their building while the remaining half-squads with the LMG and mortar dogged around in the building sand woods. Meanwhile, my flanking force was making its move through the city streets while the German sniper kept nipping at their heals (the Canadian sniper was getting his helmet polished by some French typist and never stuck his rifle out the window once). Frank’s sniper activated maybe 7 times and really slowed up my flank attack as I had to divert leaders to rally duty (as the sniper killed my 8-0 with a headshot).

While my Canadians were taking a beating just trying to get up to the edge of the Church building, a dim recollection of mine said “hey dummy, look at the back of the Brit mortar”. Well hay, hay, my, my – this little piece of crap can chunck smoke! so starting on turn 2 – the smoke started to rain down and the German MGs found a new target. the mortar lasted another turn and but was out for the remainder of the game. LESSON TWO – always check your forces and what their special ASL capabilities are in the game. The designer included them for a reason!

The Germans were now scrambling around to get out of the smoke hexes allowing the Canadians to try a break-in on Turn 4. This was it, my HOB generated Hero with the DC charged into the first church hex to meet his fate. Now Mr. hero had to eat 36 FP but had a +4 TEM. Frank grinned, as he rolls very well on small attacks, and threw out an “11”! I couldn’t believe it! in SFF this same stack rolled a “12” and broke the HMG (but it quickly returned on next RPh). DC placed and now to finish off the Huns and free France! I rolled a “9” resulting in NMC and all passed. LESSON THREE – DC are shit and if by some miracle you get it placed, it never does squat!

Well Turn 5 of 6, assault failed to do much, time was running out (had dinner plans), no KIA German units throughout the game and Germans holding the stairwalls to upper levels containing more(house) troops, meant the Canadians had failed to liberate the church. Another nice win by Frank who claims not to remember much ASL after not playing for 10 years – you could have fooled me! Good Job Frank.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

AAR: J159 Tropic Lightning

Brian Roundhill
Americans: Rick Reinesch
Japanese: Brian Roundhill
Reproduced from Picture of defensive setup is available there.
First game day of the year, matched up against the champion of the 2013 North Texas Shootout, Rick Reinesch. If you do not know Rick yet, you should, either as fantastic director of the Austin Team Tournament, editor of Banzai, member of the Bounding Fire staff, or the all around great guy that he is.

Tropic Lightning is the return to Manila, with a superior American force attacking a tenacious and tricky Japanese defense. The Americans must control all the stone buildings, which means the scenario will usually hinge upon two separate building areas - 56R4/Q5 and 56Z1/Z2. The first is the usual board 56 stronghold, while the latter are located farthest away from the American setup area. This means the Japanese must determine how to slow the American assault in the first half of the village while also preventing any flank detachments.

The MMG and MTR on board 35 has the job of shooting riders, while the Gun eliminates vehicles. The Set DC is in the most likely location for an AFV to shoot Smoke from, and Tank Hunter Heroes can be setup as desired. The plan is for Infantry reinforcements to defend the 56Z1/Z2 complex, and the AFV reinforcements can be used as necessary or desired.

Rick brought his Americans straight up board 56 to begin with. His tank destroyer moved into the HIP DC Location, but I got greedy and hoped for a Sherman to move through as well. Net result - wasted DC. The Japanese duig-in tanks stalled the American AFVs in the centre and right, but two Stuarts meandered along the board 56 edge and through a couple of huts, push the Japanese on that side back towards the centre. The American firepower took its usual toll, and my Japanese started melting.

The Japanese AFVs came on turn 2 - half heading to the rear of the battlefield for the final combat, while the other half moved into positions for a tank battle. Two Japanese AFVs snuck around and into the 35N10 woods and eliminated one US tank at the cost of both Japanese AFVs. The US halftracks raced along the board 56 battle edge, carrying troops as far as possible.

The finale came, and the Japanese were ready. With two turns left, several Japanese squads were in the 56Z1/Z2 area as well as in 56X1/X2. The MMG and crew took up residence in 56W5 while two AFVs lurked behind the bamboo in 56X5/X6. The US AFV swarm came as expected, and took out the Japanese AFVs with a couple of losses, but the final stone buildings remained strong. The final rush into firepower and residual resulted in no American troops able to get into the final victory buildings.

Final thoughts: This scenario revolves around those final buildings, and the Americans must find a way to get firepower onto them by Turn 5. Otherwise they will come up short and lose. With my setup, Rick did the correct thing by not racing down board 35, but I believe he neede to find a time and/or a way to race some riders earlier than he did. Perhaps the Stuarts on the opposite side of the battle needed to load up and portage the troops.

I also discovered I need to learn more Japanese tricks to combat US firepower.  
-- Brian Roundhill

Thursday, September 27, 2012

AAR: FrF4 Barbarossa D-Day

Nick Drinkwater

German (ELR 4, SAN 2]: Walter Eardley
Russian [ELR 2, SAN 2]: Nick Drinkwater

A very rare Drinkwater-sighting in Houston!

Yes, its true, I'm on a flying visit through H-town to do the annual medicals, dentists and opticians, but as well as all that work-related crap, I'm able to squeeze in a single night of gaming with Mr. Eardley, as well as pick up and pay for this year's games stash that he's been secreting for me. This year coming back with me to Angola, we have GMT's Infidel and Flying Colors 2 - the Serpent of the Seas, as well as MMP's Kingdom of Heaven and a good quality, used version of B-17 which I snagged on ebay. Funnily enough I have to leave behind my new copy of the game 'Angola' by MMP as that wouldn't be well received by the customs agents in Luanda!

As ever with me on these trips, time is of a premium but there is just enough to get in a quick scenario so that I can pretend to keep my hand in / give Walter easy win points (delete as appropriate). The last scenario I played was a year ago when Matt completely outplayed me and handed me my ass in a game of Ivanovsski so it’s been a while...

Rolling for sides gives me the godless proles from Asia who have to try and hold onto the Board 43 Alamo until game end (6.5 turns) vs. a bunch of Hitlerian hells angels. (In English, six 447s, a couple of LMGs and weak leaders at start, vs. a 221B armoured car and seven mixed 467s and 468s on motorbikes and sidecars). Armour support comes in Turn 3 for both teams - two 50mm Mk IIIs and an old style 37L one for the Hermans (all with those stellar bow and co-ax MGs) and six T26s for the Ivans - great gun, but that's about the only high point - saddled with the killer platoon movement to make their life harder, they also have red mechanical reliability issues and paper thin armour. If there's a good order Russian MMC within two hexes of the center of the Alamo, then chalk up another annoying delaying victory for the Glorious Revolutionaries; if not, then its bratwurst eating time in Moscow.

The first three turns were effectively the appetizer to the main event, the appearance of the tanks. Walter comes on with the most direct attack from the southern board edge of Board 44 and despite having a half-squad shot off bikes, is pretty quickly into my speedbump which sadly go down as prisoners. The defenders of the perimeter of the Alamo are made of sterner stuff though, and though I was ambushed even though I was the concealed first line squad jumping onto a 467 (go figure), I was able to eventually dispatch the fritzes to bring it back to a 1 vs. 1.5 squads lost by Turn 2 – and this is a game where the infantry matter. Some inspired shooting and hang-tough defense meant that I was twice able to break and roll back the point of Walter's attack, even with mega tank MG attacks in Turn 3 – I was even able to dash and then battle harden a squad back to the main festung - style point city!

So far, all good. Walter kept breaking MA guns and I was rolling with inspiration instead of desperation for once. All was brewing nicely for the main course of the armour battle...the 37L came on to weigh in against the Alamo defenders, while the two 50mm gun ones moved ready to recieve the rush, sorry, make that grinding crawl of my six armoured heroes of the Soviet Union across the large grain field immediately east of the Alamo main building. The first T26 platoon inched on and ground their way to the back entrance of the Alamo dodging a bunch of first fire from the two 50mm Mk IIIs, leaving themselves able to suppress any Germans trying to cross the innermost Alamo courtyard. My other T26 platoon humped their way into the Grainfield but missed every shot in advancing fire, of course breaking one gun, but at least leaving acqisitions on their opponents for next turn. Finally my Commissar with the newly toughened 458 and another 447 leapt into CC with an adjacent 50mm Mark III. Needing a 7 and a 5, they both missed their cc attacks which was hugely disappointing and a grim addition to the three missed advancing fire shots from the grainfield platoon…in a pattern not unfamiliar to my visits to Walter’s house, my dice go cold just at the wrong time. Plus ca change…

The German Prep Fire phase of Turn 4 was basically the game – after a succession of hideous German rolls for the first three turns, the two 50mm Mark IIIs decided it was now time to became marksmen, first class…hit with a three, keep rate, kill T26, hit with another three, keep rate, kill T26, hit with a 5, lose rate, kill T26, other tank hit in-hex Commissar stack with MGs, miss, hit commissar stack in-hex with MA hit, break, break, break. Done.

We staggered on some more but from a really strong position, I was now in a majorly losing position – the other T26 platoon managed to confront the 37L Mk III that had just broken its gun (for the second time), but both my clutzes missed on their advancing fire phase. Next turn, the 37L repaired its gun (of course) for the second time, found a shell and killed off the fourth T26 before eventually succumbing to return fire. A lone 447 failed to kill a 247 in Melee for three turns before succumbing himself – typical – and Walters HMG squad survived a hit and a critical hit from the last T26 with only a pin. Finally with only the 7-0, a LMG and a 447 concealed and unbroken on the top level of the Alamo left unbroken on the board, I conceded when my last T-26 rolled boxcars on the bottom of Turn 5. Walter still had both 50mm Mk IIIs, the armoured car, the HMG, 2 x LMGs and 5 of his original seven squads plus a 9-1. Time to say goodbye.

A fun game – not bad from me but clearly still pretty rusty as it was my first game in months and only fourth in the last 3 years, but I mis-played the first of the two tank platoons and that was my downfall – the first platoon should have stayed around to help knock out the German tanks and aid the grainfield platoon by keeping them in a cross-fire. However, I became fixated with helping out the desperately stretched infantry in the Alamo by sending them immediate armour support, and at that point the lack of tactical maneuverability due to platoon movement hit home hard. We both thought the CC attempt with the Commissar was the right play, but my dice went cold just at the wrong moment and left them hideously exposed. Walter played his usual methodical, steady game, despite some hideous luck on early dice, and ruthlessly exploited the opportunities when they became available. Well played!

And so back to Angola for some more fun there – hope everyone well and will see you all again in the future!