Monday, March 31, 2008

Time to Kill

Not much ASL going on these days. Looks like my VotG campaign with Joe won't be continued until next weekend. Not sure if I'll find another game this week or not.

To kill time for now, lets all try an essay question: World War Two was an unbalanced dog. Explain.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

ASL Photography

Looking like an ASL - free weekend. I guess I'll continue work on my soon to be published photo-essay. Working under the name Asl Adams, it's titled: Board 9 and the Range of Light

Some samples:

Friday, March 21, 2008

AAR ITR-1 Debacle at Sung Kiang

I haven't played a scenario with the Japanese involved in many months, and I think Shanghai in Flames is the only Sino-Japanese scenario I've tried. So, when Jim picked this one from my short list I was glad, if only for the novelty factor. Jim picked the attacker, leaving me to work out a Chinese defense.

Defensive Set Up

Here is how things look before the concealment counters go on and the guns disappear as we await the arrival of the IJA at the edge of Sung Kiang.

The first decision was where to put the guns. I chose S3 and CC1, both on BFP B (the rear board). S3 covers the left flank and the rear of the U1 factory, and most of the critical road. CC1 has a line of site to at least four important buildings on the Japanese route of advance, including the key looking corner property T7 (but no boresighting by SSR. Rats!)

Interestingly hexrow 'Q' is in play. I've given the ATR to a half squad in R6 to guard against a Japanese armored car flank attackup the road. Also countering a quick road move are the two funky Chinese armored cars in the road.

Deciding how far forward to set up was tough. I hate to give up all that ground so easily, but I can't count on any squads set up north of row 6 being around even to midgame, let alone crunch time. So, just a half squad in S4 and a dummy stack in V4 to slow down to the IJA . The obvious first line of defense is the R8-Y8-EE5 road. If all goes as planned we'll duke it out there for a few turns, before falling back into the factories.

Despite the fact that the guns can set up in non-fortified factories by ITR special rules, I decided to fortify those locations anyway to give the gun crews extra protection. Also fortifed are factory hexes V2 and EE3.

The Game

Turn one saw the Japanese attack attack across a wide front, moving the LtMtrs into position to lay smoke. The forward Chineses troops caused some light casualties, and lost only a half squad (the Japanese declaring no quarter already!), the rest withdrawing in good order to better posistion. The Chinese HMG got a KIA on a Mtr squad in prep and things were going well.

Jim's Japanese attack got more agressive on turn two. The HMG squad broke and routed with the 9-1 back to the U1 factory. I lost the Chinese 8-1 when I exposed him to a bypass LOS I did not see. He was trying to go rally a broken squad, instead he was KIA on the way.

A broken Japanese half squd routed into the vacated HMG hex, thinking the concealed squad in X9 were dummies. They were not. That squad advanced in and killed the brokies in CC. They would recover the HMG in the following rally phase. Front still holding. Here's the situation at the end of turn two:

Some bad stuff happened on turn three as the Chinese center started to give way. The two armored cars on the left flank went down. One to a MA ordnance shot from it's enemy counterpart, the other to CC. The ART gun holding up the left flank inthe rear went boxcars on it's first shot, and then the manning crew was broken by sniper fire. Uh-oh.

Still, the U1 factory was looking like a tough nut, and the Japanese attack on the right was not especially strong. Still a fight at the end of three.

The turned left flank proved catastrophic on turn four. The Japanese kill stacks (a MMGx2 stack, and another FT squad) did damage in and around the U1 factory prep and and an armored car scooted around stop in the street and to cut rout paths out of the factory after surviving two Atr shots.

Over on the right we were still holding...barely

Turn five was a total cave in. There were lots of "failure-to-rout" deaths in the U1 factory, there were two Japanese squads running loose in the rear. When the advance fire shot from the flamethrower vaporised the last good order unit in U1, we called it a day.

Debacle at Sung Jiang is an interesting scenario because of the situation (1937 Sino-Japanese), and the toys. The Chinese cars with the twin 2FP MG turrets are unusual.

In the end though, Jim and I both agreed that it is pretty tough on the Chinese. We felt like neither side had remarkable good or bad luck, and although my play was far from perfect, it wasn't all that bad. Yet, it was all over two turns early, turning the scenario title into an accurate assessment of the battle.

End game situation:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

ASL at Jim's

With going to Jim's house this weekend I am reminded that I need to return a very odd but entertaining piece of ASLiana he lent to me some time back....

A bit of ASL memorabilia from the Brackin Collection

Monday, March 17, 2008

Weekend ASL

Saturday is usually "ASL day" in my world. Joe has already waved me off continuing the VotG campaign this week because it's his girlfriend's birthday. Yeah. Seriously. Pffft.

Fortunately I got a call from another of my regular opponents, whom we will call "Jim". His name is Jim.

The last few scenarios we have played have been monsters: The Darkest Day, and Storming the Station, both from Valor of the Guards.

We are going to scale it back a bit and have a go at Debacle At Sung Kiang. A Chinese vs. Japanese 1937 scenario from Bounding Fire's recent "Into the Rubble" pack. While it's not a stack-slammer like Darkest Day, it's still a bit meaty with 16 squads and a few armored cars on each side. That actually makes it one of the smaller cards in the pack (!)

Time to brush up on the rules for Chinese troops, and embanked railroads, which are sort of like hillocks, which I also have to look up. Oh and factories, and.... oh hell. I'll just start reading again from chapter A.

Why can't I ever remember the rules?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Letter of Complaint from the SHA

Devastation is brought to the Stalingrad railyards, causing consternation among the Stalingrad hobo population.

Shortly after posting the below AAR on Saturday, we received this letter of complaint from the Stalingrad Hobo Association:

Dear Blind Hex,

We members of the Stalingrad Hobo Community object in the strongest possible terms to your depiction of the destruction of our homes (what you call "rail cars") as the random result of some sort of "game". While thankfully no hobos were killed or wounded in the bombardment you describe, and while it's true that the resulting blaze makes it easier for us to start trash can fires, several of the homeless hobos among us were made even more homeless by the destruction of their rail car quasi- homes.

Let me first state for the record, that the battle in Stalingrad has been overall a net positive for our community. The rubbling of buildings has created a plethora of new quasi-home possibilities, and vastly increased the amount of available scrap metal we crave. Broken lumber strewn about has been a boon to the bindle stick industry which accounts for nearly 40% of our internal economy.

However, we find your glib attitude toward the rail yard tragedies to be offensive. Just because our clothes are comically large and ill fitting, and we eat meals out of discarded food found in restaurant dumpsters, and sometimes from hospital refuse, that is no reason to take our plight lightly.

"Boxcar" Vlad, President - Stalingrad Hobo Association.

"Boxcar" Vlad of the Stalingrad Hobo Association prepares for the unhappy possibility of a German victory at Stalingrad.

Editor's note - The purpose of this site is to document the playing of a VotG campaign game, not to make societal judgements. However, we do wonder how 1940's Russian hobos gained access to a computer. That's just weird.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

AAR VotG CGII - Drive to the Volga -Day 1 -Part 1

Joe and I have previously played three ASL campaigns: Primosole Bridge (the long one), Operation Watchtower, and KGP IV, prayers in the dark. When Valor of the Guards was released, it was a natural that we would take a shot this one. We settled on CGII. It's a little larger than our previous games, but I think we will be able to see it through.

Since Joe had been the attacker in our last CG, he volunteered to take the defending Russians.

I have never beaten Joe. In the three campaigns, and at least a dozen scenarios. I'm starting to get a complex. I'm the Mets, he's the Phillies, and it's September, 2007. Anyway I certainly won't be underestimating him .

Sept 14th.

Joe and I got through 2 -1/2 turns of the first scenario of the CG last week. Joe sent me a few cool pix I'll post with this AAR.

The were two pregame bombardments. One given by the OB, plus one more that I purchased. The pre-reg hexes that I selected were both towards the eastern edge of the railyards, as I had planned to make a thust through there. Joe double-crossed me by not setting up ANY units in that area. But I had the last laugh, as neither bombardment fell on target. One fell two hexes east, breaking a few militia squads. The other fell one hex to the west, wrecking some rail cars, and starting a fire.

Because Joe setup almost all of his units back - east of Communistcheskaya St - the first few turns saw more manuever than fire. I was somewhat surpised to see that he chose not defend the Central Rail Station. It would be tough to hold through the day with all the firepower the Germans are bringing, but as a strongpoint it could be very costly for the Germans to take. Time will tell.

The Germans are making two thrusts: one in the north to try to sweep up the northern edge, the other in the center around and through the rail station. I bought an infantry coy of the 518th (one of only two allotted) to assist in the north. I was fortunate to get a reinforcement dr of '1' and get these troops and the OB given northern edge troops on the map quickly.

The main northern defense positions discover thus far are a dug-in T-34 in the K5 rubble (He has already bagged a StuG), and a 76L ART gun in the 2nd level of Pavlov's house (it's hard to believe his wife went along with that. "Honey, I'm gonna put huge gun in the spare bedroom okay?" "Oh, Pavlov!").

Other notable events on the northen flank:

  • The Germans called in for some rocket artillery, which missed it's target (the K8 building), but still did some damage falling a few hexes to the south.

  • A leader went berserk in the hex next to the dug-in T-34, but failed to convince the broken squad he was moving with to 'go crazy' with him. The broken squad routed away. leaving the crazed leader hoping he remembered to pack his ATMM

  • A StuG got bogged on some debris en route to assisting the northern assault.

A dug-in T-34 greets a StuG while a berzerk leader checks his pack for an ATMM.

An ART gun crew covers 9th January square and the watches over the T-34. Their main protection is the AA gun in the trench a few steps north.

Meanwhile........down by the Rail Station......

The thrust around the rail station moved quickly, as very little resistance was put up in the area. Joe is obviously concentrating on force preservation, as he looks forward to a night counter-attack. Some resistance was put up in and around the Children's Home, but those troops quickly headed for the rear, leaving behind a MMG.

I used the 6 "support CPP" to buy the upgraded stuka RG. So far, Joe's T-34's have survived two stuka attacks. (Hopefully the score will change soon.) He has had bad luck with the MA's on the things, though. In the first turn he broke a squad manned MMG in the north, and the MA on a T-34 in the south. In a turn two rally phase he rolled a 6 on the MMG repair attempt and took it off the map. He then declared "Well, I couldn't possibly roll another '6', so I guess I'll try to fix this one too." I don't have to tell you what happened.

As I moved three StuGs through the area near south edge on turn two, a HIP ATR toting half squad popped up in the rear missing his shot. However, as all three StugS turned to show them front armor, it gave a rear shot chance to a different ATR team, who didn't miss. Joe used this diversion to get a T-34 into position to block my advance. I move up a StuG outside of his CA for a bounding shot which missed. Joe held fire.

In his DF phase he spun the turret for reasonable shot, but.....another 12. Will he try to fix this one? We'll see......

The German horde approaches Communistcheskaya Street.

Lead German squad tries to cross the street in the shadow of friendly artillery fire.



The bombardment wrecks some rail cars and starts a fire in the yard. Local hobo population is outraged!

Humiliated T-34 sulks toward the rear, while two stuka pilots circle, laughing at him.

Hopefully, we'll be able to get back at it within a few weeks.