Thursday, December 31, 2009

The 'Geeks End o' Year Stats

Aldie, at Boardgamegeek, has posted the Top 100s in all sorts of categories. And I'm on a couple of them!

For Files, I have three entries: Dominion Horizontal Card Box Dividers, Command and Colors: Ancients Combat Reference, and Fields of Fire CC Play Aid. I was a busy beaver.

Even better, in the Session Reports I have six entries! They are for A Most Dangerous Time, Napoleon's Triumph, Unhappy King Charles, Memoir '44 - Hedgerow Hell, and the two ASL sessions posted here on this blog. Woot!

I have no shame in tooting my own horn, those things took a lot of time and effort. Thanks to everyone who thumbed me and I look forward to telling more fun stories of my games on the blog and the 'geek in the new year!

Dominion -
CC Ancients -
Fields of Fire -

NT -
M44 -
ASL D1 -
ASL U15 -

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas everyone! Enjoy your families and get in a game or two.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

U15 AAR Battle for the Warta Line Part Duh


As we headed into turn 4-5 of 7.5, it appeared that it was still anyone's game. To recap, I had funnelled Andy's forces into the centre of the board with tough flank defenses. On the Polish left, some of the SS were even being held up by a couple of Polish infantry squads.

In addition, I was hoofing my forces into the middle to meet the deluge. The MMG and 9-2 leader on the left was effectively preventing anyone from using that side of the board's routes to escape. On the right, I had squads CXing in to block the roads out of town.

Of course, Andy's goosesteppers were having none of that. They had an easy time piercing my frontal screen (am I being dumb by leaving half-squads out there to die?). Andy even broke out the rarely seen Trailbreak counter when his surviving PzI crashed the thin line of woods outside the village.

Hoping to surprise him, I let the PzI get within a good range of the squad with the ATR in the two storey building but their shots either ran wide or merely SHOCKED the tank. In turn Andy was having his Panzer lay smoke about to cover his fast advancing infantry.

Everyone was converging on the tall building (point B) where I had a squad and my "hidden" artillery phone/forward observer. Would the OBA they were calling down right on top of their position make a difference?!

As lucky as I was early in the game, the dice started to right themselves. As a very large stack of German infantry climbed the stairwell into the building (my men were pinned by a stack in the front who took grievous casualties), the spotting rounds from my OBA started going everywhere but where I wanted... The result was that there was going to be some very nasty point blank shooting in the building...

True to form, the OBA veered off considerably, impacting harmlessly on the near board edge. Also true to form was the SS. As they took my troops in 2N1 they invoked No Quarter and gunned down the Polish prisoners with glee and abandon. Would the war crime be avenged?

Things were getting grim. Despite an SS 9-2 leader eating a sniper's bullet the PzI was running roughshod in the rear. In fact, it did an Overrun on one of my reinforcing squads from the right flank. One snake-eyes later (that's a 2KIA for you guys keeping score at home) the squad was promptly turned into fruit salad and the PzI turned around in the hex and came back to clear the foxholes around 3N7. If anyone has ever played Command and Conquer, the real-time strategy game on PC, you'll recall the tanks and harvesters who squished infantry to gruesome effect -- that was basically what the German armour did to my hapless Polish this turn. I won't lie... I laughed.


In the late game, above, you can see the nice funnel being formed by the action. I didn't count the VPs Andy had available -- I think it's a bit gamey really -- so I just did what any military commander would do here: pinch off the breakthrough.

From the left, the leader-led MMG squad started to sweep through. However, Andy was no fool and the Panzer was sweeping in the opposite direction. Though I had one squad on the treeline at 3T9, I was trying to quickly reinforce from 3V3 from the right. By this time the foxhole filled with squads at 3Q4 were already smushed (what was worse though? He rolled a snake in the CC to clear the foxhole and birthed an 8-1, OUCH!). It was looking to be a very tight final couple of turns.

In the above photo you can see the results. From left to right, the two squads running in from the left were pinned or broken by the PzI which had, at this point, swept completely to the left side. Though I was able to liquify a few SS stragglers from that side, my own men were cut down. In the second green circle, I assault moved a unit from the foxhole in 3N7 towards the one in 3P8. If I was not broken I would have engaged the Germans in that next hex in CC and kept more VPs from exiting. Alas, Defensive Fire shot them up.

The squad at the end of the board (in the third green circle) was the last line of defense. They prep fired to no effect and then it was up to the final stack (in the fourth circle) to hump it to the exit area. They were gunned down in 3V5... there would be no help...

I think the above shot if just before the last half turn (German). Note that there's really nothing stopping the hordes of SS from crossing the Warta line save for one Polish squad in 3T9. Surely it wasn't enough...

Ah, the icing on the cake. The villainous Andy, one wartime atrocity under his belt already, now demonstrated to this newb the exact permutations of the dreaded VBM sleeze. Basically, he wheeled his PzIB inbetween 3S9/3T9 in Bypass. What this means kids, is that the enemy squads in adjacent hexes cannot do anything but shoot at this vehicle. The SS would be free to waltz off the board and to victory!

Honestly though, there wasn't much I could do, even if the VBM didn't happen. Andy eventually exited off 19VP worth of units so the game was won already, albeit close. Plus, I don't want it to sound anything other than that I had a blast. Having played little or no games of any kind, much less ASL for a couple of months I was ecstatic to get a chance to play at TABSCon. The game was pretty casual; Andy and I took the better part of five hours to go through it and I enjoyed every minute.

It's been a year since I re-discovered my wargaming roots and picked up ASL(SK) and I look forward to another year of hard fought scenarios with the system. More thoughts soon and perhaps a year-end wrap up...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Battle of the Bulge

It's the 65th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge today -- one of wargaming's "Biggies". As I'm sitting here pondering which of my Bulge games to play it suddenly struck me that I should have a ASLSK scenario set during the battle right?

Hmmm, a quick flip through the scenario binder shows nothing... S30 Ripples on the Pond is part of Operation Queen that was just before the Bulge... but that's it.

Anyone know of any ASLSK scenarios set during the Battle of the Bulge? Or should I just dig out FAB: Bulge or SCS Bastogne?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

U15 AAR - Battle for the Warta Line Part I


It was a brisk day on the 6th of September, 1939, when the leading elements of the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler Regiment threatened to cross the Warta River and encircle the elite Polish 10th Infantry Division in the opening battles of what would become WWII.

Likewise it was a crisp winter day a couple of weeks back when Andy and I hooked up once again at TABSCon to play ASL scenario U15 - Battle for the Warta Line and reenact this interesting firefight. I had been out of ASL for a few months since my last VASLeague game, busy with real life and was raring for some action.

Jonesing for a go with Allied Minors, Andy picked this scenario from the recent Turning the Tide pack from MMP. It's a pack that updates 20 old school Squad Leader-era scenarios to the ASL system and are ostensibly "classics". Long story short: it was F-U-N.

U15 - Heavy early war action!As mentioned U15 pits the fledgling Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler Regiment against the dug-in bits of the Polish elite 10th Infantry Division. I was the latter and within minutes of getting out of car, putting together a sick defensive set-up that would have the nascent SS goosesteppers twisting on barbed wire... or so I hoped. It was just my second full ASL game ever and I think I acquitted myself well.

Above is a VASL screenshot of the boards. Right is NORTH, down is the Polish (EAST) side which I had to prevent 16VPs of Germans from exiting. VPs were standard 1 per half-squad equivalent, 1 per leader +1 per negative mod, but no VPs for vehicles and crews. Upon a quick survey of the board it seemed like the best way, in my mind, to slow down the Germans and give them the roughest time was to funnel them into the "village" on the eastern board, anchoring the flanks with oodles of barbed wire and foxhole fortifications I was given on the OB. On top of that, I had a few interesting toys to set-up too: an artillery phone (OBA!), and a 1+3+5 pillbox.

What's that you say? Second game and the scrub is already dabbling in the arcane arts of OBA? It's easy, when you have your more experienced opponent do all the work! Hehe.

So, given a few minutes to figure out what foxholes and barbed wire were (and finding a notebook to write down HIP stuff -- the leader with phone especially) I came up with this layout, again, recreated from my crappy blurry photo in VASL:

The dark brown squares are the foxhole locations which would be HIP. The pillbox I placed on the extreme right behind barbed wire (white squares) with overwatch over a quarter of the boardspace. No doubt some more experienced player is choking in laughter at me now -- and after the game Andy suggested that the pillbox should have gone on a hill with CA of even more area. My thinking at the time was that the pillbox would threaten the easiest approaches of the German vehicles -- TWO Panzer IBs (oooh scary) -- and I would actually distribute the majority of my ATRs amongst the other infantry scattering the map. I chose a modified reverse slope defense. Most of my men would be in smaller half-squads delaying the enemy and trying to run back to the first line of defense on the eastern board.

Much of the barbed wire was meant to prevent end runs by Andy's infantry and funnel them into a more concentrated bunch where I could inflict grievous harm with my OBA. I had no illusions though; no plan survives contact with the enemy, or the dice in ASL!

Below is a VASL recreation of the set-up from the blurry photo I took. I blame the insufficient pre-game coffee!

Below is a detail of the set-up on the left flank. Of note is point A where I threw my best leader, a 9-2 with an MMG and full squad in a foxhole behind barbed wire and on high ground. Note that most of my squads were dispersed as an anti-OBA measure. I also reasoned that should Andy choose a flank to hit, this would have been the side as the opposite flank had the more menacing pillbox.

I think I put two ? counters with a half-squad in the uppermost middle stack -- my one really diversionary stack. Andy couldn't discount there being two squads or a squad and a nasty SW in it. Did it work? I'll let Andy answer that one...

At point B I put the HIPed 8-0 leader with the arty phone. Note my inexperience here in forgetting/not knowing about the second floor placement of the squad. Stacked with him was a single squad and ATR. Again, I was hinting at an MMG here but wanted to surprise Andy with an ATR, which I felt he would lead with.

On the right flank you can see point C, where I placed my main point of defense in the middle front of the village. In a foxhole was my second best leader (9-1) and two squads (one?) and an MMG under a concealment counter.

Point D was the pillbox. There I put two squads, my last leader and another ATR. (Yes, early in the game Andy told me that was illegal and one squad popped out!)


The very earliest turns were a bit slow, as most scenarios are, as we sorted out how to OBA and Andy contemplated my bizarre defense. HA! On the left flank, I saw some of the SS infantry try to flush out and determine what exactly they were facing under the ? markers. (? are basically concealment markers, one of the key differences in full ASL from ASLSK, bypass and SAN being the other two.)

My plan here was to hold up the German hordes for a turn or more (if I was lucky) and retreat anything I could to another defensive line. For the left side, I was hoping to delay and harrass in the midst of the woods, especially under concealment.

Luck did favour me greatly in the beginning... Andy's first OBA roll was a 12DR, essentially he broke the radio and his repair dr was a 6. So much for artillery raining down on the Polish. It appeared that the German war machine was still a bit creaky at the start of WWII. What was more, Andy malf'd his PzI's MA (an MG) and that repair dr was also a 6.

Now if you know anything about a game like ASL, being so damned lucky in the beginning usually spelled a severe dicing later on. I won't lie to you, I was very happy about the dice but I knew I was in for it later...

Well, for now, the DRs were Polish-friendly. A German half-squad was vapourised in their MPh on the left making the early boxcar count for the bad guys something like 3 in two half-turns.

In more good news, my OBA hit a small concentration of German squads on the centre-right, on the edge of the open ground. I rolled a 3DR for a 2KIA and it seemed I could do no wrong.

By turn 2-3, the Germans were pushing hard on the middle towards point B and my OBA phone (I am amazed at how much I had to keep secret from Andy -- but here I flat out asked him what I could do with the second floor observer...). As he kept some of the advanced Polish half-squads locked in CC, large stacks and his other PzI were advancing steadily.

I may have surprised Andy with the ATR in the building and his PzI was vulnerable for a crucial turn but my men were unable to find the range and their shots were wide... You may scoff at a lowly PzI, but to quote a famous axiom, "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king". The PzI was that one-eyed man, jumping the line and causing havoc with my troops shifting from the right flank to try and stop the flood in the middle.

It would NOT be pretty...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Newbie November... in December...

I HATE Italy! I count myself among the lucky few. That is, the lucky few that can coax a wargame session out of their wife. So I didn't complain much when my wife, who has suffered through Combat Commander, Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage, and Bravery in the Sand etc, drew the line at ASLSK. One look at the hexes and counters and she shivered in fear.

Well, it only took a year but she broke down the other day and said she wouldn't mind learning it. We tried to get a game going in November but failed -- thanks kids! -- but got in a couple of sessions this past weekend in S1 Retaking Vierville. Long story short, I gave her the American paratroopers and balance and it came down to the last turn as usual in this great scenario. [If you want to see my first AAR from this scenario click here.]

On turn 5, in my last half-turn, I made a run into the village and was hit by THREE DRs of 3. Let's just say I became quite proficient with the upper row of the IFT. It came down eventually to a CC in one of the last victory hexes where three burly paratrooper MMCs pounded the snot out of my one 9-1 leader and elite half-squad. Was it fun? Dude, I played ASL with my wife! Hell yes!

Anyways, it's been just over a year playing this awesome game called ASL and I've got a lot to reflect on. Here's a list of fun things:
  1. I've played about 20 SK scenarios now. Enough that playing S1 again was almost bizarrely easy. I miss my support weapons and vehicles!
  2. I've played just 2 full ASL games (with Andy) and it's been great. Not at all do I feel like I'm in over my head. So, for me at least, SK was a great way to dip my toe in the waters of full ASL.
  3. I have a LOT of ASL stuff.
  4. I have met and befriended a LOT of people through this game.
  5. I cannot wait to see where I am next year with more ASL and wargaming under my belt.

It's been a fun year. For those following along, I hope it's been good to you too. More AARs soon!

Monday, December 7, 2009


... will be posted soonish. I had a boffo time and all I did (and had brainpower for) was play Andy in a ripping fun scenario. Here's a teaser pic for you. Yes, that is the evil SS doing evil sleeze. I love it!

Friday, December 4, 2009

TABSCON December 2009

I've been totally out of it for the past few months thanks to school start-up, volleyball coaching and swine flu beating up on the kids. But tomorrow is TABSCON damn it and I'm going!!!

If you're in the Greater Toronto Area come on out. Admission is $5 and it's non-stop gaming. Andy is going to whip me in another full-ASL game and who knows what other shenanigans will happen -- the Prawn will even make an appearance!

The website for TABS is here:
Be there or be square...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

2-Half Squads Moved

Well it looks like the fellows from 2HS have moved their site and contents from podbean. The new updated URL is:

They're up to episode 28. I need to catch up!