Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Everything.

In the spirit of the season, here's my buddy Paul being silly with Aimee Mann.

Monday, September 6, 2010

AAR BFP60 Thrilla in Manila

My opponent and I played "Thrilla in Manila" from BFP's Blood & Jungle pack. This one features the high powered American forces trying to root out every Japanese soldier holed up in the Agricultural building in 1945. The Americans have a big hammer, but the Japanese are hard to kill.

Jim set up on a broad front. He had two kill stacks of .50 cal /MMG on the first level of buildings near the center. He would send a few squads up the middle while the larger attack would come from the flanks.

My defense featured the a pillbox /HMG covering the row I road, and the other with a MMG cover hexrow F. I fortified four ground level hexes of the victory building, and the two northernmost 1st levels. I swapped the remaining two fortified locations for tunnels; one from E5 to G4, the other K4 to H3. Both pillboxes also get tunnels, which lead into the victory building.

My AA guns were covering the back of the building from the brush patch. The INF gun was in G4. I considered putting the gun on a fortified upper building level, bu decided I didn't want to expose it the big American guns so early.

Each of the northernmost hexes of the victory building have 6FP AP mines. To try to keep the fire spewing sherman at bay, I put all 4 AT mine factors in F5, and a set DC in I7 to be detonated by a HIP T-H hero in J5.

Jim's first WP shot was effective on G5, stripping concealment of all the units and revealing a HIP rooftop squad. So much for that surprise. That was the only WP round the Americans brought with them, however. The didn't bring any regular smoke either.

The early battle had the American guns and kill stacks pounding the front of the building as the Japanese skulked and tried to hold off two bazooka squads creeping up through the debris. The squads were turned back, but the Japanese 10-1 leader died early, failing a MC and the ensuing wound severity dr.

One of the M18s came rolling down the main street hoping to clear some wire (which it did), but ran into the set A-T DC as well. Leaving a burning wreck.

There was a fairly intense fight for the buildings on the Japanese right. The Americans took some beating in there. I had hoped to get most of my troops back to the building through the E5 tunnel, but the flametank parked in F6 made the tunnel hex one of the more dangerous on the map. In the end, only 2 half squads were able to get back.

The American of the Japanese left moved without much opposition. A HIP Japanese half squad did manage to scare a big American stack moving in the open, but gacked the roll. 2.5 of the 3.5 squads I had on that side were able to get across the street with out much trouble. The HMG crew in the pillbox got back as well, although they had to cross open ground to do it (can't carry the HMG through a tunnel.) By turn 5 the main battle was on.

The Americans initially gained a toehold in the building on the north side. The troops on the flanks were beaten back by point blank fire a few times.

As the Americans moved in, there was no longer any place to hide in that building.

 The Japanese continued to attrit under the massive firepower pounding away at them. Insult to injury came when the last full strength elite Japanese squad went berserk, charging out of the victory building to their death.

The flame tank finally tried to move in closer and hit the AT mines. Burn. The next turn we got wind, and the smoke drifted into the building.

The Japanese on the south end finally gave way to fire from a sherman with armor leader, and now Americans were getting in from both ends.

As turn 7 started, the issue was still very much in doubt. The known Japanese consisted of only only a wounded 9-1 leader, one half squad, one full squad, and 3 reduced strength gun crews. There was still a HIP half squad at large somewhere. An American squad would bump into it, hiding in the cellar.

The drifting smoke made the American's job harder, as it made the FP less effective. The Japanese full squad won a CC killing an American squad, and a Japanese gun crew was hanging on in melee against the odds. Still on the edge.

Turn 8 saw Jim's shermans going CE and driving into bypass of the two remaining Japanese MMCs, freezing them. A squad and leader executed an infantry overrun on the wounded leader who was trying to bottle up the stairwell, and pushed him into the location of the Japanese squad.

CC came and the Americans, with advantages in both, prevailed.

Jim's attacking strategy was sound. I think my defensive set-up was as well. One thing I did not do well during play, was take full advantage of the O6 cellar locations. I was only able to generate one T-H hero during the game, who was cut down by the MG's of the sherman he was desperately charging.

This is a very intense scenario. Both of us were pretty well drained at the end. I was feeling pretty good about my position in the odd numbered turns, and certain all was lost on the evens. That's the kind of roller coaster that defines an exciting scenario. More like this, please.

I would highly recommend downloading the enlarged map section from Bounding Fire . Otherwise, the map becomes cluttered and tedious late in the game.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New Business

Jim and I will later be taking on Thrilla in Manila , from BFP's Blood and Jungle pack.

As the title indicates, this one has the Japanese and American troops in a city battle as the U.S. fights to retake the Phillipines in 1945. The American are tasked with taking a five hex three story building, which has RB-style cellars to boot.

"Slugfest" doesn't quite do this one justice. The two sides set up right on top of each other and start hammering away. The US has a flame tank, two 155 arty pieces being used as direct fire, flamethrowers, dcs, the whole kit.

The Japanese counter with two AA guns, an INF gun, a few pillboxes, and multiple fortified building locations. In addition, they have all the usual Japanese defensive tricks.

This will likley be a bloodbath.

Old Business

It's been a few weeks since the Despbry Defiant playing. I didn't have my camera and all I got were a few iPhone shots that aren't very good.

Suffice to say that Desobry was not defiant. In fact, he was downrigtht compliant.

I set up the .50 cal, & -2 leader in the steeple location. Even thought ahead enough to have a spare half-squad on level one to man the MG if needed. In the opening prep phase, with German infantry in the open (except for the mist), the .50 cal whiffed. No effect. No Rate. in the ensuing DF phase, Jim needed a three to hit the steeple with his halftrack mounted 75*. Rolled a three. Broken squad, wounded leader.

So we rout the squuad out of there, and let the spare squad advance up and take over. Jim rolls a two on his next shot. Critical. The .50 would end the day having taken only one shot. It was that kind of day.

Jim moved his armor up and the roads to avoid bogging in the mud. The infantry mostly moved up the middle between the roads. I gave Jim a few anxious moments with my artillery, but his casualties remained light. When at last he had significant infantry near my pre-registered hex, I pulled a red card.

I was careless with my armor reinforcements, using them to engage a panther tank that would have been a very difficult kill. I should have held them back behind the village in a reverse slop defense. Jim obliged my carelessness by blowing the reinforcements away.

Soon, he was killing the HIP tank on my left flank and mopp-ing up the infantry in that area.

The German path almost entirley clear, we called this in turn 6.

A combination of bad dice and careless play made this a reasonably easy German victory. Jim's slow and steady approach capitalized on my errors.

It's an interesting enough scenario, and certainly should have been closer. Jim and I both gave it the "slight recommend" rating on ROAR. We agreed that it is not as fun and interesting as it's AP6 sister scenario, Nishe Nyet.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

AP61 Desobry Defiant

Jim and I will be taking a crack at this one later this morning.

Jim will take the German attacker, and I'll defend muddy and misty Noville with a mixed bag of American troops.

The Germans have a big and tough force with 12(!) AFVs, not counting the 6 halftracks. Three of those are Panthers. They also have a half dozen elite squads to go with 12 1st & 2nd liners.

Pre-game sense is that the Germans have a lot of tools and firepower, but a big task ahead. The VC basically require total annihilation of the American infantry, and the Americanshave a few tricks at their disposal as well (e.g. daisy chain, gyros, etc.)

We played AP60, Nishe Nyet, from this pack a few weeks ago, and it was pretty strong. My Russians were able to push Jim's Germans over the CVP cap for the win. Hoping this scenario is as much fun as that one.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

World Cups

Friday, May 28, 2010

Steel Inferno

Well, it's been so long since we played this one, that I may have a hard time remembering what happened. Notes? HAHAHAHA. Ah. No. No notes. I DO have photographs to jog the memory.

Jim chose to use his rubbled building allotment to knock down some outlying buildings on the British approach. A logical move to eliminate some of the easier victory locations.

My pregame bombardment came down near the church. It rubbled the rear hex (both levels) and revealed the German AT gun in the forward hex.

There were basically two approaches I considered for the attack. The British left has the most cover. There are a lot of blind hexes created by the woods and bocage that deny LOS to even the steeple location. The down side is that it would be slow going.

I decided to forgo the cover, because I felt like by the time I got to the town via that path, it would likely be about turn 5, and German defense would have plenty of time to shift and meet me. So, I chose the faster, riskier up the middle route.

By the bottom of the second, things were not going well for the attackers.

Jim set up a skirmish line on my left to protect the covered approach. I saw an opportunity to cut those troops off and prevent their retreat. Jim saw an opportunity to burn two Shermans with panzerfausts.

Meanwhile my quick coup-de-main up the middle was being slowed down to a crawl by harassing fire called in by the German radio man. Though still concealed, he was obviously in the building in BFP C N8.

Top of third, things started to turn. A sniper took out the German 8-1. Then , the biggest shot of the game: an area fire Critical Hit on the radio man. The barrage lifted and the gates were open.

The bulk of my infantry moved through and around the now rubbled buildings in P2 and O3. Some more moved around now open German left. There was just too much infantry there for the Germans to check.

A Sherman with a malfed MA charged into the building in R3 and overran the German MG, breaking the crew. Then he slammed into the church, tying up the troops there.

The German reinforcements came on and put up a fight, but it was too late. The British just had too much bearing down on the Germans by that point. In the final turn, the multitude of British squads poured into the village capturing more than enough buildings for the win.

It should be said that I scored a few criticals in this game, and Jim had terrible luck with boxcars at all the wrong times. I feel like my strategy was pretty sound, and yet it was a dicing as well.

Because of the dice and the early exit of the German artillery, this didn;t feel as close as it might have. I think it is an interesting scenario and well worth playing.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Steel Inferno

Getting ready to take on Jim tomorrow in the Chas Smith neo-clasic BtB 8 Steel Inferno. Have only heard great things about this one, and am glad to finally be getting a chance to play it.

I'll have the large British force trying to capture the village of Fontenay from a small but very tough group of SS troops. Both sides have artillery and armor support. Looks like a great one.

One question we had was regarding the pre-game bombardment. HBR 2 states "The British player may place a Bombardment per KGP US RG Note b [EXC: Blast Radius is only 3 hexes].

The KGP rule is that everything within 7 hexes of the Pre-Registered hex undergoes Bombardment as per chapter C. The problem is that the term "Blast Radius" used in the SSR is not a term defined in ASL, so we're not entirely certain how many hexes get caught. We are assuing that we are just supposed to follow the KGP rule, substituing the number '3' for the number '7', but I wish it was more explicit.

My troops have to capture 8 buildings. Of course, rubbled buildings don't count, and the Germans get to rubble three of them by SSR. It's also possible more could get rubbled as a result of the bombardment, or even during during play.

Should be a quite the blast.

Friday, March 19, 2010

AAR BFP 29 Hueishan Docks, or Gone With the Wind.

GUSTS. Sonofa...

After a marathon ASL session with JRBrackin, I will never again think of the wind change DR as a perfunctory ritual.

Jim has been unable to play for the last several weeks, and like a starving man at a buffet, he wasn't in the mood for anything light. So he suggested BFP-29 Hueishan Docks and asked for the defending Japanese. I cleared my schedule.

The Chinese start out with 20 squads on map and get another 13 SE on/after turn one. They also have a whopping 13 AFVs and 3 trucks to haul men and equipment. The Japanese start with only about 17 SE on map, but get a very tough turn four reinforcement group of 10 1st line & elite troops with 3(!) flamethrowers and 6 tanks.

The Chinese have to control 6 of the 10 multi-hex buildings north of the river on board BFP G. My strategy was to attack mainly via the shortest route, on the Chinese left. I would push south and then turn west, and hopefully approach the last victory building before the Japanese wets edge reinforcements could get there.

The initial street crossing was a bit hairy as Jim set a little HIP trap in the DW-1a C5 building. A hip squad popped up and smacked an assault mover. Then another squad was turned back by fire. I was able to force the crossing by firing three Dare-Death squads (the Chinese get 6 by SSR). All three made it across and the C5 and F5 buildings would soon fall.

The Japanese INF piece in G-F9 flipped one of the lightly armored Chinese tanks, and kept some infantry pinned down for a turn and a half. In the bottom of the 2nd the Japanese right was going down, and the crew tried to push it out, thinking they were out of range of Chinese pouring through the C5 and H3 buildings. They were not. The crew was vaporized.

The Japanese start clearing out and crossing the I1-I8 street. Many did not make it. Through turns three and four the Chinese turned west and got firmly established across the I1-I8 road. Four victory buildings were in their hands and the fifth was close to falling. On the downside, the Chinese artillery had pulled two red cards without getting off even a single mission.

As the Japanese reinforcements entered, a bit of a stalemate had developed around the open ground between hexrows L and N. Feeling the urgency of the approaching combat engineers I pushed five tanks around the corner and start up the road along the river bank. I was aware that the big Japanese 75* ART gun was in a sanger in R8 staring straight up that road, but thought I might be able to give him more of these small targets than he could hit.

In defensive fire, he immob'd one tank. In the following prep fire he burned two more. Another had a malf''d MA, the fifth thought it best to stand off and try to shoot it out with all the traffic problems now arising from burning wrecks. It was costly, but the tank assault did dislodge the Japanese HMG in the J9 building, and give the Japanese infantry in the southern buildings and woods some trouble.

Meanwhile, I decided to try to break the infantry stalemate like any good Chinese commander, with the bold stroke of a human wave.

Eleven and a half squads started on their way, across largely open ground. Only 5 made it across in good order. To complicate matters more, the wave was slowed down by an accidental overstacking. ( I made this mistake at least two other times). In my defense, there were a huge number of squads in a very small area, and this was an easy mistake to make. With the counter density around the final victory building in P9, it was starting to look more like Pavlov's House.

Turn seven came and the Japanese reinforcements were firmly established in the P9 building and the buildings just north. I still had many squads and all my DCs left. The two burning wrecks on the river road had created overlapping drifting smoke in N9 and O10. It was one of those ASL situations where the smoke is so thick you can't see the next location. I was able to move a big stack into N9 unmolested. More troops were moving into the N10 woods without too much trouble. After 10+ hours, the stage was set for an epic last turn slugging match. And then.......

I didn't even watch as my opponent dropped the dice for the wind change die roll. It's just a rote exercise. Nearly meaningless in a daytime scenario. Why, there isn't even a chance of rain or snow. Not even civilian interrogation. I was intently surveying the destruction when Jim calmly declared “gusts.”

It took a minute for the meaning of this to truly sink in. I sat in abject horror as Jim began removing the smoke counters from the board. The previously blind massive Japanese kill stack in O10 was suddenly sitting with a clear field of vision. During prep fire, the two big Chinese stacks were systematically destroyed by flamethower and small arms fire. Game.

Perhaps I should have made it to the building sooner. I lost track of my Dare-Death squads after the initial crossing, an obvious blunder. I was never really able to get the Chinese heavy mortars into play, as the battle kept moving away from. The OBA problem was just an unlucky deck.

The sheer number of counters in play made for an at times tedious going, and with all their AFV's the Chinese really have to manage traffic flow.

But those are trivial criticisms of an otherwise terrific scenario. Though the ending was disappointing, the stage was set for a hugely entertaining final turn before “boxcars Jim” made that roll. Jim and I both gave it very high rating on ROAR. If you and your opponent have a dozen hours or so someday, I recommend.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Holy S**t !

It's bad.

Anyone for a Winter War scenario?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Time Off

Well, it's been a few months since a post here. Just haven't had a lot of ASL to blog about. I missed Winter Offensive this year for the first time in awhile. I have been playing some, but mostly TOP SECRET non-bloggable playtests.

With all the new releases, hopefully I'll have something to post soon.

In the meantime, here's a video of my old buddy Paul, doing his job at Sketchfest in San Francisco last week. His job, as it happens, is being one of the funniest people alive: