As it stands, Andy has already sent me some notes about the AAR. I share his attitude that ASL is more a journey than a destination -- in other words, we're going to make mistakes, sometimes a lot of them.
One mistake was that in taking my men prisoners he didn't realize that would slightly impair the effectiveness of his own troops (makes sense though right? Man, ASL is detailed!) so he probably wouldn't have taken prisoners and invoked what is known as "No Quarter" -- the fun state of game where troops realize someone has violated the Geneva Conventions and all bets are off -- no one is surrendering for the rest of the game.
Andy says it best here:
But every bit of knowledge puts you closer to the perfect game...
When last we met, the board was looking pretty stinking good for the goosesteppers. Hell, look at that blue mass! (SK fans, you can overstack in full ASL but it starts costing you in DRMs to rolls for and against you -- nice overstuffed hexes do that!) Not only that but we were starting to collect brown counters...
Now, I'm not sure if it was just around turn 3 or after but I generated my first Hero ever in one of these turns. I think it was a snake roll in a rally attempt or something. Heroes are even more extra special SMC dudes that essentially replicate the Hollywood stereotype of war movies. This guy can do anything like lug big SWs around, add -1 DRMs to shooting, don't break, just wound, etc. etc. I'd actually generate two of the guys in the course of the game. Things were looking better and better.
Below is the situation into the third turn. Now some interesting things started to happen. First, I was starting to activate a LOT of sniper activity. Apparently someone dialed up Jude Law and Ron Perlman and my troops started to keep their heads down even while peeing. Note the wounded leader on the right, and the broken half-squad holding the Cursed MMG of Doom.
Things were obviously going to be a tougher slog as I approached the headquarters itself -- where, of course, there was everyone's favourite toy, the HMG... Better yet for Andy, it was on the second floor (buildings aren't all bungalows in full ASL kids!) and had a nice vantage point for anyone approaching. My only real hope was to do the German equivalent of a human wave and try to overwhelm the defenders with sheer numbers. This plan was helped along by Andy's bad luck rolling on getting his reinforcements (six more elite SMG squads and the friendly neighbourhood commissar). One slight hiccup? The tenacious Russians on the right and the total ignorance of yours truly about what the gashy-looking terrain feature was... Gullies slow down troops kids!
You can start seeing some of the seeds of my undoing here in a shot after the fourth turn. Notice the unattended Soviet MMG? Yeah, they died or ran away, and so did everyone else except the hero (who's wounded too!). The sniper was wrecking havoc and Andy's disparate defenders were basically concentrated in the headquarters now.
I could do it though right?
Things were bogging down, with time getting tight I tried and failed to get close from the front and the right side approach had my half-squads trying desperately to climb out of gullies.
Above is the late game pic. By now, about turn 6, Andy had the majority of his reinforcements in the headquarters and I was not going to get in without a lot of luck. I even berserked another half-squad but their glorious charge ended in bloody smears on the front steps of Guryev HQ.
So, in the end, Guryev's Headquarters was just fine thanks. Andy's troops stiffened their resistance just in time and reinforced with a bunch of commissar-led elites easily held the building. (And yes, the commissar did his old "shoot your own to make an example" trick he does so well...)
There has been a LOT of discussion about ASLSK4 or the like. Having played "full ASL" now I think that you probably don't need it if you have an experienced player to show you the ropes (heck, people made do without SKs for years right?). It comes down to your comfort level with making mistakes.
Other than rules, what could I have done better, tactically? Well Andy suggested that I not take my sweet ass time. Really I should have gone full bore to the HQ, instead of lollygagging around. Ideally you'd have at least a toe in the door before the reinforcements showed up. And another thing I realized is that reading the scenario card carefully would help figure this stuff out. Next time, next time...