Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Winter Offensive Exploits

Mike Seningen

It was with great pride that I knocked off Steve Pleva at Winter Offensive -- Steve is a phenomenal player, gracious in victory and in defeat and epitomizes the type of player I strive to be on all fronts.

I've had the pleasure to play Steve several times now and I have also shared a few meals, beers, and conversations with him..... A good friendship - if you can call someone you see once every few years a friendship. How about ASL kinship.

Have catching up to do -- so I'll keep things brief.

David Longstreet -- you're the only game I played since our tournament -- so I was quite rusty and didn't have very high expectations.

I played a playtest Mini against Bil Stoppel(sp?) -- a good player.... It was a bridge scenario and I lost the smoke of my 81mm MTR after dropping only 1 SMOKE round on his HMG position -- this proved my undoing -- as now I covered him in Smoke -- but he was still free to firelane the bridge..... We'll have to see how the balance on this playtest plays out -- as I drop my first game. This one didn't count for anything but the Mini - -and in fact Bill went on to win the mini -- so not bad losing to the eventual winner.

Then I challenged Gary Trezza to a game -- for those that don't know -- Gary puts Matt Shostak's antics in the lame column :-) And I just love to rile them both up.... My rust was really thick on this one as I HIP two ART pieces in buildings, and broke my 81Mtr on the first roll -- so I'm playing the scenario with only 2 of 5 5/8" pieces. This one goes down to the end -- but I preserved with my infantry, and Gary ran out of time closing the noose.... I hold out for the victory and give Gary a half dozen aneurysms along the way.

So at this point it's late on Friday night and I stumble across Pleva looking for a game -- we grab the new Action Pack and snag the Frontiers for Pioneers scenario. We dice for sides and the high roll got the defense -- my 9 wasn't good enough -- Steve's 11 gave him the Russians. It's an interesting scenario where 6 German light skinned Tanks support ~10 motorcycle squads which have to control all buildings from within 3 hexes of one of two road intersections on either bd 59 or 58(i forget which one). The Russians have a 25LL AA piece, a T35 and a KV8 as well as a 9-2 with an MMG. Plenty of tubes to thwart the BMW bikers. I won't do a complete AAR -- as without the scenario cards it would be hard to follow. But I would say the luck was up and down for both sides, but there were some key elements that influenced the game. With his 9-2 reigning down lead from his L2 building perch scattering bikers all over the place, my MkIVC decided that there was no challenge in obscuring his view, and decided to leave all his SMOKE at home. Each of my tanks had SD7 -- and yet I got it maybe 1/3 of the time -- continually frustrating my plan to cover the bikers. On Steve's half of turn 2, he decided to redeploy his armor as it was obvious I was pulling a flanking maneuver. But his KV8 threw a tread (ouch), and his T35 had his tread blown off. Both would continue to dominate the middle of the battlefield, but for all major purposes they were combat ineffective. I played my MkIIIs well and outflanked his smaller tanks, taking them out through many hindrances. The Russians were at a severe disadvantage, being normal sized, red to hits, and button-upped. I'd sit out at 7 hex range with 3-5 hindrances and plunk away at them. Now I had lost about 1/4th my infantry to the 9-2, but I still had good numbers getting into the village, and those combined with tank superiority took its toll -- His infantry made a good stand -- and he was very effective with his MOL attacks -- while my poor tankers couldn't hit a fish in a barrel when lone squads would charge them. But I had too many vehicles, and too much support in the end -- and wiped the Russians out nearly to the last man. Luck is always a part of any ASL victory -- but this one had ups and downs for both sides. While it'll be nice to say I knocked off the greatest -- I'm sure Steve will be marking his calender for the next event he hears that I will be attending to seek out his revenge and pull out his usual can of Whoop-arse... BTW, not that he has much practice at it -- but Steve is as gracious in defeat as he is humble in victory.

So then I get paired up with Gary Mei -- ASL on crack is probably slow motion compared to Gary's game. We played another one from the East Front Pak -- the 3rd of the weekend for me. This one will be remembered probably as long as the Pleva victory. The quick of it was I had a masterful defense -- played a good (could have been better -- but still very good game) and Gary had basically 2 chances to win -- needing a "2" to critical hit a pillbox and eliminate the Gun inside.... Now to make things worse -- Gary had just the turn before rolled a critical to take out my 2nd gun from the side with a StuG -- he needed a 4 or less - -but still he rolled a 2 there as well. This last Gun was sitting in a hex with a trench, 2 squads a leader and an MMG, surrounded by OG on all sides. Mines to one side as well. He had no LOS to the Pillbox front, so he had to hit it from the side -- He only had one defensive fire phase in his half of the last turn. He had a French 37mm Tank (in 1945 no less) 2 hexes away. Of course he rolled the 2 -- I wasn't done yet though-- I remanned my previously knocked out 81Mtr, but the same 37mm Tank VBM'd me and then ESB'd to stop on top of me insuring I would not be Good Order. C'est la vie -- that's classic ASL for you (and a reminder to never discount any counter!) -- all I could do was shrug it off, laugh, and wish Gary luck in the finals-- It was only fitting anyways -- since I was also visiting family on my trip -- and couldn't stay for the final rounds.....

Knowing this must have pissed off the ASL gods as they gave me the wherewithal to beat Pleva, yet they tortured me with a defeat in the semi-finals on a snake-eyes to Gary.

Fortunately I heard from Sam Tyson that Gary won the tournament -- Hats off to Gary --- lots of good competition at Winter Offensive -- but I will be circling My calender looking for an opportunity to share with Gary a little can of Whoop-ass of my own :-)

As an aside -- I am hoping to change my work life to allow me a little more sanity and carve out some more time for ASL with my favorite group of players -- my home buds -- so with a little fortune I'll get the chance to see some of you across the table more often in the near future.

For those headed to Owlcon -- have a safe trip and enjoy the ASL. Nick, David, Sam, Matt, and all the others who sent some love my way --- thanks!


P.S. Curt Schilling does exist and even plays ASL :-) He made a cameo on Saturday afternoon and I saw him playing 1 or 2 games with some of the MMP folks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rust? Like an old Vietnam bayonet maybe.....you need to get out more...I beat you on your home turf and home tourney, then we play for 3rd place at the ASL Open
and you take the rubber match at WO. I should be so rusty.....was great seeing you again and lunch was better than the game. Remember, Southwest flies Austin to Albany and you belong.