Monday, January 19, 2009

S21 Clash at Borisovka Redux - An AAR

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. The treacherous Prawn/Megatron laid waste to the noble Optimus Prime in S21 Clash at Borisovka, the all AFV scenario from ASLSK3. The Prawn had been dying to learn the vehicle rules and now his appetite is whetted. I think we only screwed up a few rules that I'll explain in this mini-AAR.

The scenario, as mentioned is all tanks. (Here's a replay of Talloaf and my go at S21 last month.) Basically, on a two-map setup, the Germans have a couple of Tigers and four panzers trying to prevent my force of 10 Russian T-34s from exiting off the far side of the board.

I gave the Prawn a longish intro to vehicle counters with some photocopies of richfam's fifth ASLSK tutorial and we diced for sides. I won the Russians and showed the Prawn a quick run of moving tanks around in the first turn. The Prawn's a quick study and we were soon chucking chunks of steel around the map.

For at least a little while in the first couple of turns my T-34s were scattering about. One of my long range shots (just to demonstrate shooting) clanged off one of his turrets and Shocked the crew (alas they shrugged it off -- as did a Tiger later on). On the other hand, the Prawn's hot dice had a couple of my tanks flipping to wreck side. One notable shot required only that he not roll boxcars but he did (evidence above).

For some reason (and I'm not quite sure why yet) this game turned out a lot differently than the one I had with Talloaf. I think because I was more concerned with learning and teaching the vehicle rules than with just cheesing the victory conditions we had a lot more face-to-face tank battles. Now, I am NOT making light of the Prawn's first victory over me (what the hell, I am), he played very well and made some great tactical decisions. And the force field he projected over this particular Panzer in the above photo helped too. Note the combined acquisition counters from FIVE of my tanks (two of which were -2s). Bastard.

Here's a shot from the Prawn's perspective late in the game (probably turn 3). Note the two Tigers prowling in the foreground with their 88Ls. Nasty pieces of business there. Note the Panzer in the background that had climbed a small hill to get a dirty rear shot of my helpless Ukrainian farmhands. As turn 3 wound down I had two T-34s poised to exit, one which already had, and another that was recalled for a broken MA. Everything else was a flaming wreck (wait, ASLSK doesn't have flaming wrecks...) and so the Prawn celebrated his first ASL victory with a 6-4 score in the Clash at Borisovka!

What did we screw up?! & Miscellaneous Comments...

1. I'm pretty sure were messed up Intensive Fire. For some inexplicable reason I didn't look up the full rule on it in 3.2.4 and I'm sure we were IFing in the AFPh (logically they spent too much time moving to have time to line up a second shot) and definitely we were IFing at targets further than "adjacent" hexes (again, logically speaking the franticness of dealing with a very close threat would hurry the tank crew). So, next time, no more crazy IF in every conceivable phase. The rule is IF is only available to MAs that have lost ROF, during the same phase (not AFPh).

2. Acronyms abound in the vehicle rules. Whether or not there are more than just in infantry rules, it just feels like there's more. The chart look ups got a little bit tiresome -- though sometimes similar shots were quick to take in succession. On at least one occasion I just simply chose not to shoot because the look up on the TH DRM chart was just ridiculous. (Probably meant I would have missed anyways...)

3. Tigers are cool.

4. I pulled another Curt Schilling with Prawn after the game. In the debrief I told him to pull out some counters, I showed him the Chapter H notes from ASLSK3 and we just talked about the sheer multitude of STUFF crammed into the vehicle counters, ruleset and mechanics. It's both daunting and at the same time super impressive.

5. Things I will have to review for next time: vehicle movement on hills, motion status attempts, and 7.10 AFV Effects (I'm sure I missed some stuff about shocks, stuns and such).

6. I'm positive we got the acquisition stuff down. Now I know why I see them so prominently placed in people's Plano solutions for their ASL stuff.

... and lastly, I'm going to add another Learning Tip to the list. This one I kind of was inspired by my play of Combat Commander: Europe (and Pacific). In that game there can be multiple interruptions of the combat sequence after the Firepower attack totals are determined so the game gives you a Attack Total counter to help record-keeping. Relevance to ASL? Whereas keeping track of MF in infantry engagements during Defensive Fire is relatively easy, AFVs have Movement Points that run past a dozen in most cases and can be expended in increments of a half a point! You better have a notepad handy not only to keep track of these things but to write down questions to be researched and answered later.


Keep a notebook handy for record keeping and questions!

That's all for now people, get out there and roll low!


Anonymous said...

MY O is gone! Although I felt bad about abandoning my Russian friends, finally winnings feels pretty good. I thought it was me all along, maybe it was just the weak American and German forces that kept me from VICTORY! It felt good having some superior weapons and Ld. for a change.

The battle came down to two very important roles, both 1's by me. In the first turn Scrub 'showed' me how hard it was to hit a moving tank from across the map by promptly stunning one of my precious Panzers. He recovered with a 1.

This happened again with a bit of a gamble by my heavily armoured Tiger, but again he was saved with a lucky 1 to unstun me. With 4 of my six tanks fully functioning and both my Tigers with clear targets there was little he could do to escape. Those bad boys are nasty business.

Overall it was really fun. I can see how crazy the game could get with Infantry AND tanks blasting each other to little bits.

Just as with the infantry it will take a couple games to get the rules set. I think with one more tank engagement I should have a solid hold of the rules.

I wonder what the Scrubery has planned for us next...


Minke said...

We use a 20-sided die to keep track of the currently moving tank´s remaining/spent MP. Works great. You´ll have to rememer those ½ MP costs though.

scrub said...

Good idea Minke. This list of geek paraphenalia is really starting to grow here just to play the game. Still, having a notepad around is pretty handy for when you have a rules query.

Todd Reed said...

I was curious what you thought of your CC:Pacific play? I've not partaken yet in the glory of the hot Pacific sun beating down on my chits and die.
Also, I really enjoy the record keeping aspect you mentioned about CC.
But that's enough about CC, this is about ASL.

scrub said...

Hi Todd, my wife and I play CC:E and CC:P. We really like the feel of the smoothed out mechanics in Pacific. The Japanese definitely feel different as a force compared to ETO forces. The terrain is different too.

What I think has happened in Pacific is that Jensen and co. have started pushing some of the boundaries of the original design and everything fits that much better. If you liked CC:E, Pacific is every bit as good.

(And the Stalingrad BP is frickin' awesome too -- but I love Stalingrad in any wargame form.)

dude163 said...

Great article and AAR

the tank scenarios run a lot faster than the infantry ones I find, but they are a different kind of fun too!

scrub said...

Thanks dude! Prawn and I may replay S21 on Thursday!