Friday, February 20, 2009

AAR - VASLeague Game 1 - S4 Welcome Back! Part 2

Everybody, please welcome guest poster gwaedin (a.k.a. Luca Andena) who I played in my first VASLeague game. I've just copied and reformatted his post from the last update so it was easier to access and read here. My reactions, which I promised earlier, will be up shortly -- I hope!

Very well, I wanted to first make an AAR myself on the Italian ASL forum but it seems that the arms of the mighty gods pounding the RL hammer on me do not get CX.

My AAR will have to wait but this wonderful opponent and his blog deserve a comment on my part. I'm just putting things in as they come.

Intensity. Absolutely true. I don't have that much experience with ASL (and wargames in general) and for me playing live and pbem is VERY different. While with pbem you have all the time you need to think every possible move, that's not the case while you play "live" on VASL or FtF... even if your opponent is kind enough to allow you a lot of time to think your moves without complaining. That pushes you towards making errors and some of them I made.

I decided to concentrate my troops on the left side because I knew that a single squad had only a very limited number of fire options. Scrub actually managed DF quite well by retaining it and denying me the possibility of bypassing his defenders very early. That could have made a huge difference and it was worth trying to lure him into such a (very naive) trap. On the other hand his Defensive Fire was quite uneffective and that was good news for the krauts.

I think at that point I made my biggest tactical mistake, related to the presence of the FT-toting 546 squad. I should have moved my two killer stacks right: this way scrub would have been faced with the choice of closing the door on my other units OR slowing down the stacks. Instead I went left and had a good chance of putting the squad off his legs.

A couple of good reasons for me to do that: using a FT with a non-elite squad gives you a B#8, meaning that a DR of 8 or more will end up fuel; the squad also had only 6 morale, no leaders around, and the FT gives a -1DRM bonus on anybody who attacks them.

Nevertheless, I couldn't take them off my way and the costed me a LOT of time. If I had moved both my stacks right at the beginning (instead of moving first left, then right) that would have given me a chance to stop his upcoming units in any case. I still tried to do it but a casual shot from his 10-2/667/HMG, firing and something moving in the snow, behind the trees, in a building, actually completely broke one of the two stacks. Scrub was already finishing his defensive fire phase when he saw that shot and wrote "let's try"... good choice!

Another error has been during a seemingly harmless advancing phase, when I was moving my units by only one hex in the woods. I should have kept a squad controlling the road, denying the 546 a chance to fall back further. I immediately realized that and told scrub "I made a mistake"... too late. That's something I wouldn't have done in a pbem game!These seem minor mistakes but they are the reason for which I can't complain about the outcome of the scenario. After that I still had a chance to win, especially when I finally broke his 747 squad near the exit (after 2 turns!). I could have allowed for the '11' shot mentioned by scrub before, you can't think every attack goes well even when you got a lot of firepower. However, i wasn't expecting that his troops would immediately rally even if desperate!

At that time I didn't have any more time to work on softening the defenders and I had to run. Some big-time luck needed to get away with that and you don't deserve to win games by luck when you make mistakes... that's why the obscene carnage set down by ROF of his HMG seems only fair to me.

A note on that: this is a scenario in which application of full ASL rules would have changed things quite a bit (surely making it unbalanced). Two rules worth being pointed out, one obvious and one less obvious:

1) bypass, which allow infantry to skirt the edges of buildings or woods without "entering" them, thus speeding up movement

2) fixed CA for heavy MGs positioned in buildings. Heavy weapons such as guns have a Covered Arc in which they can fire. MMGs and HMGs do not but if they are in a building (or similar hampering terrain) they receive it for any phase in which they shoot - i.e. and HMG cannot fire at a target north and then at another west or south in the same phase. In our case, the HMGs mowed down the poor Germans in every direction...These are just thoughts coming to me without going through the details of the scenario... when I complete my turn-by-turn AAR I will let you know if there's anything else!

In the meanwhile, thanks a lot for a very nice and relaxed game. The six-hours time difference doesn't make it easy for scrub and me to get playing together but I hope pbem will help us finding more gaming opportunities!

Again, thanks very much to gwaedin for posting his thoughts about our game. It was a very enjoyable experience and I very much appreciate his sportsmanship. I hope readers get a good sense about what happened in the game and it's always interesting to hear about things from the other side of the table.

[EDIT: Luca has sent me a link to his complete AAR posted here:
Of course, the hitch is it's in Italian so you might need this if you're really keen but the pictures are excellent!]


Jay Richardson said...

I really enjoyed reading both of your accounts of this game. It sounds as if you guys had a blast. Now I'm tempted to go try that scenario myself...

scrub said...

Thanks for the nice comment Jay.

I'm quite amazed that MMP managed to make every SK scenario I've played a pretty well balanced and tense affair. Quite a testament to their play-testing that most games come down to the final turn in doubt.

Anonymous said...


I know you check this more than your work e-mail Scrub. Check work e-mail now for unrelated info.