Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Texas ASL - February 3rd, 2007 AAR

Zeb Doyle

So, the February 2007 game day has come and gone and much ASL action was had by all. The turnout was decent with nine of us there, and we even had John Hyler and Manabu Matsuura. Manubu is new to Texas and ASL, but in just his third ASL game ever, he gave Mike Seningen quite a battle. John meanwhile played Rick in a game of Pocket Panzers, which, from the way they were shouting, sounded like it was lots of fun. The most noise came from my immediate right, however, where Mike Denson and Shostak were playing The Bozsoki Relay and engaged in what, verbally at least, must have been one of the most intense ASL games ever played.

I had the privilege of rolling dice with Brian Roundhill, who deserves a vote of thanks for hosting. We played Taking A Stand At Rosario, a really cool-looking scenario that's been on my play list forever. It's an early war fight between the Japanese and Americans in Luzon, and has all kinds of fun goodies like bicycle riding Nipponese warriors facing off against 6-6-7s on horseback. I was the defending Americans and spent a fair amount of time arranging my defense. Brian didn't have the time to look at the scenario nearly as much but still put together an excellent attack. The set-up gave me a bit of an edge, but the key to the game was the six Japanese mortars producing a grand total of two smoke rounds. That gave my 9-2/.50 cal combo the opportunity for a ton of 8-1 and 8+0 shots, and I rolled well enough that Brian's SAN of 4 was activated early and often. The Japanese infantry melted away under that punishment with a lot of K/ and KIA carnage, and by the end of the game Brian had his troops in great position but there weren't enough of them left. The funniest part of this scenario for us was an SSR stating that the first American 6-6-7 to pass a non-HOB Morale Check automatically Battle Hardens and creates a Hero. The first MC I rolled was snakes, and I got my BH and hero the standard way. After that one occurrence, Brian focused virtually all his fire on my 9-2/.50 cal/3-4-7. That combo passed tons of MCs and actually never broke but wasn't a squad, and so didn't qualify for the SSR. Amazingly, the entire game passed without the SSR ever being activated! I'd highly recommend the scenario, but thanks to the dice, our playing wasn't too incredible.

After that, Brian and I decided to try Transylvania 6-5000, featuring Hungarians trying to kick the Russians out of a village and/or off a hill. It's a pretty small scenario, but both sides get some interesting choices. I wanted to attack after defending in the prior scenario, and Brian was nice enough to take the Russians. He set up a nice little defense centered on the hill and left the village empty. One nice touch was using his dummy counters to simulate an extra tank. That's a tactic that is often overlooked, but makes it much harder on the attacker. I then brought my Hungarians on and over the first few turns showed Brian how to use smoke. The secret here is to roll low, and unlike the Japanese in the prior scenario, my StuGs went 4 for 4 on sD attempts and 3 of 4 on smoke shots. All that cover make it easy for my Hungarian infantry to push forward and by the time the Russian reinforcements were ready to enter, I was in great shape. This is one of the interesting parts of the scenario, as the reinforcements can try to bolster the hill defense or make a dash for the village to draw off some attackers with them.

Brian decided to reinforce the hill, which I was happy to see. I figured I was in such good position there that the extra Russians would make little difference and I wouldn't have to make the difficult decision of splitting my force. I got even happier when a lucky PF shot torched the Russian T-34/85 as it drove on. Feeling like victory was at hand, my Hungarians prepared to storm the hill. Brian wouldn't go down so easily though, and did a great job with his remaining T-34 M43 to really tear up my troops. My dice cooled down a little as well and my 4-4-7s, suddenly unable to pass 2MCs at will, fell back in disarray. The T-34 kept my StuGs from getting into a good position and suddenly disaster was staring me in the face. At this point, near the end of a very intense game and after hours of ASL and the consequent mental exertion, Brian made a major mistake in driving his T-34 into a more defensive position that happened to be outside the VC area. The tank was still a threat to shoot at me, but I no longer needed to destroy it to win. That was huge, because I was in really bad shape going into the last turn. I ended up having to get a lucky IF hit and survive a 24-1 CH to pull out a very very lucky win. If Brian hadn't moved his tank one hex or if my 8-1 hadn't survived that 24-1, I would have lost.

Overall, it was a great day, although I did feel guilty for dicing the host in one game and then stealing his well-deserved win in the second. It was also really good to see everyone and to meet Manubu. For everyone that wasn't there, I'll borrow a line from Australia and ask "It's ASL--where the bloody hell are you?" (disclaimer: bikini-clad Aussie babes not included)

Thanks for reading,


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