Wednesday, March 22, 2006

AAR: U9 - A Belated Christmas

Nick Drinkwater

This one is more of a proto-AAR as we wrapped up after a couple of turns due to time issues and also confusion over what was intended by the VC – yes, it's another example of the "Curse of the Dreaded And / Or" statement!!!

This was the game I sort'a, kind'a played at Owlcon – my opponent was Clint Howell, and after aborting this game, we re-convened the next morning to play Guerra en le Selva where I diced the crap out of him. In hindsight, and after a late start due to a visit to the House of Pies for some corned beef hash and some eggs, we were never going to get this one completed in the time allotted, so we played out a couple more turns of "what ifs" to see what could have happened, then called it quits.

Anyway, this actually has the makings of a fun and quirky scenario – this is an ASL remake of one that I think first appeared way, way back as part of GI Anvil of Victor so this is real walk down memory lane. Yes, this is the one where all the gliders loaded to the gills with supplies try to reinforce the surrounded 101st Airborne in the woods just outside of Bastogne – the gliders try to land on Board 4, between a force of late war 2nd line Germans on the hills of board 2 and a tough bunch of US paras in the woods of Board 5. The scenario seems to be designed to actually act like a game of rugby, where the two sides line up on each side of the playing field ready to dash out and struggle with each other in the open ground for possession of, in this case, 18 rugby balls (gliders). The gliders land over three turns in three waves of six. Their landing hexrow is determined randomly by pulling out drift counters (on the back of the big assault boats - we now know this after a lot of hunting), but their ILH hex-number can be determined by the US flayer evasion etc is measured from that hex. Now they're supposed to Land on Board 4 which of course we're all hugely familiar with as being the open, farmy one – well, actually there are a lot of small isolated woods and small isolated buildings on there all doing their small isolated thing and these can all play havoc with your approach run with gliders. Obviously, the American wants the gliders to land more on his side of Board 4 than the German half and this did indeed happen as he can choose the ILH, but despite this the Germans do have options and it was just interesting playing out the landing phases to see where they all end up.

I won't go into all the details of which side has which weapons, squads etc – suffice it to say that for the purposes of AA fire, the German gets a single 6FP IFE AA 20L Gun, an HMG with a 9-2 leader and the AA MG capability of two halftracks. With a glider "star" number of 1 and a one loss of ROF for AA fire, my defense fire against the gliders was pretty pathetic – the best weapon is the HMG with the leader which does have the potential to shoot gliders down (something like a 7 after mods with a ROF of 2), while the AA Gun is a 5. We played all three turns of the glider landings to see what happened, and I shot one down and caused two others to crash into woods, but with little to no ROF, so I was probably a little below par on the shooting – I guess overall, you would probably want to bag between 3- 5 gliders leaving between 13-15 to actually land. Some of these will definitely end up pretty safe far enough behind the US lines to be too far out of reach for the germans (although the US will need to watch out for any long-shot hail marys by lone half-tracks into the end-zone to try and steal the odd, more isolated glider). Overall though, the game is probably going to come down to a struggle for 4-5 gliders in the middle of No-Mans-Land.

The setup is important – I missed a trick with the Germans and put all my efforts (and LMGs) into going with the Level 0 ground forces (lots of 447s and a few 548s) ready for the dash to the middle for the big scrum, and not put any of the LMGs on Level 2. As a result, the US were able to aggressively march all their squads (approx 12? 747s or so I think) out into No Mans Land with impunity much further than I had intended, as I had little left that could take advantage of even the long-range 1FP -1 and -2 shots being offered. Hence they were able to claim much more yardage in Turn 1 than I was happy with and the majority of the gliders landed in the protective cordon they quickly set up over the eastern 2/3rds of Board 4. Then we both re- read the VC and realized that *AS WRITTEN*, to win, the Americans have to control 18 VP worth of gliders (2 VP per undamaged glider, 1 for damaged) and / or have at least twice as many good order squads on board 4 as the Germans. Now, I'm English and I speak the queen's English, and no matter what *AS WRITTEN* literally means that the Americans must achieve BOTH parts of the VC to win (this is the AND part of the infamous "and/or" qualifier). Clint and TD Walt both agreed, though I consulted with Zeb Doyle as well afterwards and he explained the true intent. Anyway, as a result of the VC as they are currently written, all the Germans have to do is stay holed up on the hills, take long range potshots at the US with the HMG and keep the casualties within reason and stay below the 2:1 loss ratio and the Germans can't lose – I did this for a turn, eliminating two 747s in a wood with a brutal -2 ROF streak and it was clear the writing was on the wall. This was after Clint's 60mm mortar had X'ed out on its first shot. As it was, as the VC are written, the Americans have to deny both of the VC to the germans, and so they are going to have to come chasing the Germans over the open ground and still pull out some miraculous victory. AND yes, there is even a rule in the SSR about how the Germans can destroy gliders in CC to encourage them to come out of their foxholes, but I didn't need to go there.

The VC should actually read "To win, at game end, the US player can win in any of three ways: (a) control 18 VP of gliders, (b) have twice as many good order squads on Board 4 or (c) achieve both (a) and (b).

There. Nice and straight forward and impossible to beat with any rules finessing – achievement of (a) or (b) or (c) and the US wins. If none of those three are achieved, then the Germans win. Now then… that wasn't hard, was it?

So, give this one a spin if you fancy some totally unpredictable wackiness and fancy playing the ASL version of multi-ball rugby, but play with the VC listed above. I wouldn't mind giving it a spin some time, but it is a big one with a lot of squads each side and there are options to do lots of FTR options with the two halftracks. Ground snow is in effect but it doesn't really impact the game too much. The gliders are really easy to do and it is quite fun watching them crash into the trees.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The way I've always read a statement such as:

S is true if A and/or B.

Is that S is true if any one of A and B are true. If that wasn't the case, then the "/or" would be redundant.