Wednesday, December 17, 2008

AAR #2 - S2 - War of the Rats - Part Three

BRING OUT YER DEADWow I better get this second AAR wrapped up because the Prawn has asked-- nay -- demanded a rematch of S2 War of the Rats and it's ON tomorrow!

Okay, the first thing I want to go over was the situation at the end of the game. The Prawn conceded at the end of turn 4. The reinforcements he was to receive sometime starting on turn 2 had still not shown up and there was every reason to believe that even if they had, it would have been too late.

Here's the pic of the final board at the conclusion of turn 4:



According to my pathetic memory, here's what stood in Prawn's way: (A) a first-line squad with LMG; (B) two squads with MMG; (C) two squads with leader and DC; (D) a squad, a leader, a LMG and FT; (E) two squads, one leader and a LMG; (F) a first-line squad mopping up some conscripts who routed north. Versus (G) a Russian squad with MMG and leader. [There was another squad and a half of Germans too.]

The Russian reinforcements would have entered from the south (right side of photo). They would have been two first (elite?) squads, a 9-2 leader and a LMG. I don't believe for a second that they would have advanced far enough in a turn or two under murderous fire to challenge one of the three victory buildings.

Part of our post-game discussion last week was whether the Prawn was right to concede. I think, more and more, that he did the right thing and saved Russian (cardboard) lives. Perhaps a few more games under our collective belts would confirm our suspicions.


Mistakes

1. Well we corrected some of our laziness and actually laid down residual fire counters this time (though we slacked off at the end again). We were pretty meticulous on the DRMs for all IFT rolls -- FFMO, FFNAM, Hindrance, Smoke, Leadership Mods, TEMs etc. I think on the whole we may have missed only a couple of mods which is a good improvement on last time.

2. So what did we miss? Prawn's Russians were mostly "Inexperienced". That means that they had less MF, cowered twice as bad and their B#s were all one less as well [5.4]. To be honest, there was very little cowering for some reason in our IFT rolls so I don't think it was decisive. This probably was balanced by the forgetting that German squads with the FT provided opponents' fire with a -1 DRM -- again though, this wasn't decisive in my memory [4.2]. Even stevens then and we'll get this right for sure in the rematch.

3. Final Protective Fire. I had to check this multiple times because it got nuts. On at least two occasions, Russian squads fired at least half a dozen times versus adjacent German units who had shown up on their doorsteps in MPh. The original DR counts as a NMC every time they fire and they can fire indefinitely until they break [3.3.3]. As I said, on two occasions Prawn's Russian creeps blasted adjacent Germans 5-6 times with FPF to no effect until they themselves broke. In hindsight this breaking of low morale troops probably hastened his demise. The sheer number of shots though was breathtaking.

4. ELR. [5.1] I think we may have ELR'ed a unit or two in Rally Phase. Rallying does NOT equal Morale Checks. ELRing occurs only on UNBROKEN units failing a MC bigtime. I think we may have ELRed a broken unit or even one in RPh -- I'm not sure but this is something to keep in mind for the rematch (and let's face it, not like the Russian Conscripts were ELRing down to "Moron" status).

And that might be it.... As I said in part one, the new rules added from S1 to S2 were basically SWs and ELR. We easily captured those rules into our game. [As an aside, my creation of the eASLSK3 has really helped my proficiency with the rules.]


Lessons

5. Smoke is good. I don't care what the Prawn says, smoke was good in leaving up +2 hindrances so my Germans could cross the big empty streets with a lot less casualties. Having a Russian have to roll a 9 instead of a 7 to force a NMC is a big difference.

6. Skulking. Okay, I finally get what this is about. ASLers are always talking about "skulking". Basically it's a "gamey" technique of Assault moving your squads out of LOS of your opponent when you're the ATTACKER and defending the scenario objectives and subsequently Advancing them in APh back to their original hexes. Why? To avoid the incoming Defensive Fire Phase which is sandwiched between them. "So what?" you say. I think I broke at least a few squads of the Prawn's who sat around in their original hexes who Prep Fired to little effect earlier. The argument against this is that it's "gamey" -- that is, a tactic that is allowed by the rules but is ahistorical or not something the squads in "Real Life" would have attempted. Until this scenario I always thought it was a stupid and "gamey" thing to do but I think Prawn's final results have a bit to say about its effectiveness. Besides, nobody should be arguing about realism when they're pushing cardboard around a paper map.

7. Defensive Options. Okay, Prawn and I discussed this a lot at the end of the game. I felt that his defense across the board was probably sub-optimal. I really felt that his placement of the MMG in the rear was really not good. All it did was dissuade me from going to the back of the map which was, uh, empty of victory buildings. Was this a poor reverse-slope defense? I think so. Would it be better to anchor his flanks with the MGs in front? Prawn's counter to this was that I had the first shot and second set-up so I would naturally put my MMG across the street with the best leader and squads I had and blast away in turn one (and yes I would have). My rebuttal was basically that the MMG in the back was not the solution to this problem. I don't know if there's a proper solution to this puzzle and maybe that's what is so great about ASL -- the fun just in thinking about tactics.

8. Conscripts. They suck. Prawn's current thinking is they are best used to soak and absorb and speedbump the Germans en masse on a specific part of the map and should not have been so spread out. Their primary task is to keep the Germans occupied and distracted until the "elite" Russian reinforcements show up. I think there's no question that the tougher row to hoe is the Russian side in this scenario -- a lot of close sheparding of crappy squads is necessary and a solid set-up and plan is critical. Then again, isn't this what makes games like ASL fun?

So I hope this wrap up of the first War of the Rats was educational. War of the Rats II: The Reckoning lands soon!

7 comments:

Josh said...

As usual, another excellent AAR. You are coming along quite nicely, grasshopper. Continue on for the path to ASL Mastery is the path of true enlightenment. ;)

scrub said...

Yes, my master. 8)

Anonymous said...

Nice post. I think Scrub got the tone and feel of the game debate captured perfectly.

Aside from his point SIX about conscripts I agree with him. I have changed my mind about them - after our latest game that is. If I am ever a leader of a world power I am never training my troops. Any soldier who shows courage or experience will be immediately dismissed (shot). Conscripts, especially Dr. Conscripto, my personal fav conscript kick German butt while the 9-2 and 8-0 Srg with their elite units turn and run. Satchel charge, please!!!

Ohh yeah, and machine guns suck, but Scrub will undoubtedly fill you in on the details of our most recent battle soon. I think I just wrote a teaser.

Prawnski

Marasaurio said...

Hi! Good AAR!
I've noticed that maybe you misunderstood a bit the Final Protective Fire: defending unit may keep firing as long as it passes the NMCs against it, and so many times as MFs the attacker spent adjacent to them.
Maybe I'm wrong, but 6 FPF seem odd unless you fired against three different units in the same MPh.

mdnowak said...

Nice AAR. I can relate to many of your mistakes and learnings in playing this scenario myself.

I don't know if this situation occurred during your game but the last time I played this scenario I questioned whether the -1 IFT DR modifier on a squad or SMC that has a FT also is applied to any other MMC or SMC counters stacked in the same hex with it. I placed this question on GameSquad Forums and the response I received was no. So the way I understand it, when attacking a stack that has one of the stacked units pocessing a FT, the -1 DRM only effects the IFT result for the MMC or SMC that has the FT. The other units are not affected by the -1 DRM. So it seems that an attack can have two results, one for all those non-FT pocessing units in the stack and then a worser (is that a word?) one for the unit pocessing the FT.

scrub said...

Marasaurio,

I have re-read the section on FPF in my ASLSK3 and you are correct. I think I left out the clause "no limit... other than ... the MF/MP they expend moving adjacent to the firer's hex."

So yes, we messed that up again!

scrub said...

mdnowak,

I re-read the section on FTs [4.2] and it is unclear:

"Any unit possessing a FT must deduct one from the IFT resolution DR of any attack against it."

I guess the implication that this resolution number may be different from the rest of the units in the stack is the question -- seems clunky. However, I tend to agree with whatever the smarty-pants on GameSquad say.

I'll crack open my ASLRB2 about FTs and FPF when I get the chance and sort this out definitively.