Friday, July 24, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Michael Dorosh, of the tacticalwargamer.com, has posted a list of Third Party Publishers of ASL products here:
I've added it to the links bar on the right too. Check it out!
Monday, July 6, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
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...
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
And he has.
We played on some super juicy Deluxe ASL boards and D1 - Guryev's Headquarters from Streets of Fire. (Click here to get it!) I've heard rumours that MMP wants to reprint these puppies on SK-style cardboard and the only thing I can say is DO IT!!!!!! The luxury of the double (triple?)-sized hexes is ridiculous. Given that you have less geographic area to work with on the maps themselves, the scenarios are shorter, tenser affairs with little manoeuvre and mucho blood. Blood everywhere. Awesome.
Here's a look at the two boards on which D1 takes place...
The boards are DASL boards b and d. The left edge in the picture is North and the building by the roundabout in the upper left is Guryev's Headquarters itself. The goal of the scenario is for my Germans (we determined this by random die roll) to have more full squad equivalents in the building than the Russians by the end of game (turn 7).
Above is our set-up. Those neat little piles of counters are so small and well organized... that would soon change as all hell would break loose on the opening turn.
Seeing as it was my first game ever I'm going to note certain rules and such that are different from the SK-level -- I should say in addition to actually, there aren't many different rules at all. Andy was ever the gentlemen in explaining new things but to be perfectly honest, an experienced ASLSK player shouldn't have much new stuff to learn. The scenario choice was also very appropriate given that there were no AFVs or Guns.
The first rule we encountered was Environment Conditions. We just chucked it. Andy felt that neither of us were going to be setting fire to things so it wasn't likely wind direction was going to be a factor. One rule down!
The second immediate new rule was basically the ? question mark counters on the Russian defenders. I had no easy way to figure out who was what and more importantly, where the hell the MGs were (more on that later). Also confounding things were two squads which were HIP -- something I think isn't in SK-level (just HIP Guns).
My initial plan was to press up against the Russian defense and probe for weakness while trying to slide 5-6 squads down the right flank and dash, hopefully, towards the Headquarters while the others were engaged. It wasn't really a bad plan but it just lacked aggression. Seven turns is NOT a long time.
Here's what the first movement phase looked like. Seems pretty good right?
Other than a half-squad (very very useful that deployment rule -- you can start the game with full MMCs deployed to half-squads) scouting the left that was HIPPed and the right flank running into a bit of delay, the advance seemed good.
I've become a lot more use to doing CXing and things of that nature to really plan out my moves optimally. I think this comes with more experience in the game. At first you're just happy to figure out that MMCs move 4 MPs worth... later you're squeezing them with leaders (with no neg bonus) and CXing for double that.
I must also say that I had the hot hand in the first couple of turns. The dice were rolling pretty much in my favour no matter who rolled them:
Subsequent Defensive Fire at point blank range... whatever! The prawn and I have chatted about this recently too. We almost HATE hot dice in the beginning of a contest or game... the law of averages means some tough slogging later in the game... this holy truth was evident in Stalingrad this day.....
If there's one hallmark that makes a good wargame it's the narrative generated from the game. This is something you're just not going to get out of a Euro like Agricola or Puerto Rico or whatever. For example, take the case of the Cursed MMG.
I'll leave the first part of this AAR with these shots:
Howzzat for a one hundredth blog post?! Wakka wakka!