Thursday, April 25, 2013

Let's Go to an ASL Tournament!

I don't know what gaming tournaments were like in the 80's and 90's, however, I started playing ASL in 1999 and went to my first touney in 2001 and life was good.

ASL Tournaments are fantastic.  They are the reason that ASL is the Number 1 wargame.

There is no doubt that ASL is THE most popular wargame.  There are numerous tournaments across the globe.  There is no other wargame that can come close.

So why are ASL Tourneys so prevelant and popular?

#1  Everyone Knows the Rules. This may seem like a strange reason, but it is the bedrock of ASL.  So many games--I'm looking at you Flying Colors!--could use less "historcical realism" and more "play the fucking game and have fun!"
#2  Buddies.  If it wasn't for the Wes Vaughns and Jeff DeYoungs--God help me!--and Larry Zoets and Doug Kirks and Jim Burris's and...well, that and a bunch of hookers.

#3  Every other Wargame Sucks!  Lets face it, ASL=the Cardinals or Yankees.  Every other wargame is the Cubs.  It's unfortunate peeps acually even consider anything but ASL but then you have to take into account the David Hughes of the world, who also fanboy up Flying Colors but mock other fanboys which make everything even more confusing.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Back in the day I remember reading a  article in the old "General" about how to play the United States side in the game Pax Brittanica.

Now, I thought the game Pax B. was pretty cool and I played it with a group of people and we had fun doing it despite it's flaws.  However, that "General" article always stuck with me because it said that if you play the near perfect game as the US, you can hope to finish 4rth or maybe 3rd.


The idea that a game doesn't give a near equal chance of success, or what is called balance, is kind of silly right?  A game almost by definition is about fair competition.

Games are designed to do that right?

Well. not so much.

The  truth in the wargaming hobby is that a large number of gamers play "solitairy."  I don't mean to put solitary gamers down by any means, however, the end result is that many wargames are not designed with balance as a primary concern.

Take for example, "Flying Colors."  FC is a great system of showing age of sail battles, yet there was no attempt to try and balance the battles.  "Tragalgar" is a total joke in regards to balance; the British player will win every time.  There was no attempt to make an equal battle through victory conditions. 

This to me goes to the point of poor game design combined with the solitairy nature of wargamers.

Now, if you compare games like Ben Hull's Musket & Pike or Mark Miklo's Battles of the American Revolution, you see designers who attempt to create a competative game experience.

In the end for me, which you can see represented in my Top 10 GMT games, balance is as important in a game design as any other factor.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holiday Fun

ASL-WO7 "Hell for the Holidays"

I recently finished up a couple of plays of Pete Shelling's Winter Offensive scenario, "Hell for the Holidays."  This scenario takes place in 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge.  The attacking Germans are attempting to gain control of 5 stone building hexes while avoiding a rather high CVP cap.  I played the defending Americans in both plays.  My first was against Dave Kleinschmidt and you can listen to our comments here:  It is at the 9 minute mark in Episode 81.

My second play was against Matt Book who had also played it once before as the Germans and who felt it favored the Germans.

The current ROAR record has it 20-8 in favor of the Americans.

German Advantages:  Mobility, Armor, Smoke
German Disadvantages:  Leadership, Numbers, SSR's, Sniper

The German force is an impressive one in many ways.  It features 7 elite squads supported, and transported by 6 half-tracks and 4 tanks, including a Jagdpanzer.  Also, all 5 of the gunarmed AFV have good smoke potential.  The German force is a very mobile one and the tanks are superior to the Americans in a face to face fight.

However, the Germans have some pretty big disadvantages.  Their leadership is poor with only an 8-1 and 8-0 leader.  They have only an equal amount of squad equivalents as the Americans.  They are also Lax and vulnerable to HTH close combat.  They have to enter as PRC and can't unload unless next to a building and crew survival is NA so any PRC will die with their transport.  Also, a SAN of 2 means the American Stuart tanks can be CE with little fear of sniper recall.

American Advantages:  Firepower, AT Gun, Bounding Fire
American Disadvantages:  Mobility, Low TK numbers

The American player has a nice infantry force with 6.5 6-6-7 squads armed with 2 MMG, 3 BAZ and a DC.  They outshoot the attacking German infantry 47 FP to 35 FP.  In addition, they have a big advantage in CC due to that firepower along with the German player being Lax.

Supporting the infantry is a HIP 37LL ATG.  The German vehicles will be in danger until this is revealed and dealt with.  Also, 4 small target Stuart tanks and a 9-1 AL will be a constant source of harassment against the German force.  They are fast and difficult for the German armor to come to grips with but fragile against the German guns.  Don't forget they have cannister and multiple hits on doubles.

The Americans though will have a tough time trying to catch the mounted German infantry should they break through the frontline defense.  The German tanks will also severly limit movement of both the Stuarts and the American infantry.  And while the Stuart can flit in and out of German LOS, taking Boudning Fire shots, those 37LL guns will have a tough time getting a kill result against the German armor.

Balance:  55-45 Americans

The German player has plenty of options for his attack.  In my game with Dave, he choose to split his force in 2, attacking both on the right and left.  The advantage in this is that the Americans are forced to fight 2 battles with a loss in either one meaning they will likely lose the scenario.

In my game with Matt, he choose to attack with everyone on his right, planning on using the open ground of board 65 to achieve a breakthrough, laying a smoke screen to cover his half-tracks.

Neither plan worked.  In Dave's case, i was able to kill his 2 Mk4 tanks escorting his board 65 force, and his infantry had no chance of breaking through without armor support, while i KO'd his infantry on his board 64 force meaning he couldn't take buildings with that group.

Matt's attack was stymied due to his tankers not bringing smoke.  He was only able to lay 1 smoke marker down and my Stuart's were able to kill a Mk4, he recalled another due to a gun malf, and finally, he broke the Jagpanzer gun on an IF shot.  I was also able to kill another half-track with an MG shot.  Overall though, Matt had atrocious luck shooting.  He couldn't hit anything as the only casualties inflicted were the ATG crew whom he broke and FTR'd along with a single Stuart.  He never broke any other American unit.

While both games were easy American wins, i don't rate this scenario particularly pro-American.  Both Dave and Matt's plans were sound but bad luck on their part--Matt with not getting Smoke and Dave with having his tanks killed through front shots--played a key role.

One thing to remember is that the German tanks can gain control of single story stone building hexes.  There are a few on the board.  The German should set up his turn 5 movement to be able to move tanks into these buildings on turn 6 and stay in motion.  This can be a nasty surprise to the American player and for that reason, the German should not attempt to fix any MA malfs for fear of recall.

Overall, "Hell for the Holidays" delivers a very tense and challenging ASL experience with 2 great OB's.   This is something we've come to expect and enjoy from designer Pete Shelling.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Top Ten GMT Games

There was a very interesting topic on BGG about rating all the GMT games.  It was an interesting read so i thought i would borrow the idea and do my own list, only limiting it to my Top 10 Favorite GMT Games.

At first i thought it would be easy to list my top 10 from GMT but there were a lot of tough decisions and good games i enjoy left off.

Without further ado, here goes:

#10.  "Paths of Glory"

I played quite a bit of POG in the early part of the last decade.  It is a fantastic competetive gaming experience full of difficult choices.  It also spawned a slew of great card driven games, some of which are on this list.  Overall though, i grew out of love with it as good game play never resembled WWI much and also became fairly pre-determined.

Still, POG will always have a place in my Top 10 GMT games.

#9.  "Successors"

While technically not a GMT "original," Successors was improved by the GMT reprint and survives due to that.  It is a cut throat free for all multi-player affair.  Games tend to play out differently due to the random initial draw of generals.  The game systems are fantastic and the card events interesting.

It does have it's flaws though including the possibility of drawing two really good or bad generals as well as a fairly lengthy playtime.

#8.  "Wilderness War"

What a rulebook!  WW set the standard for CDG rules with a clear amd concise rulebook that is virtually error free.  It is also a heck of a good game that packs a lot of fun into a realatively short play time.

However, gameplay tends to be "samey" after awhile as there are limited avenues of attack.  Still, i want to get this game back on the table as it's been about 7 years since i last played.

#7.  "Napoleonic Wars"

Ah, the fantastic Nappy Wars!  On it's release, my gaming group must have played this 20+ times that year.  Great fun and a great design that plays well with 2-5 players.  While i would gladly play it anytime, it does have the issue of not really being all that historically accurate--to say the least--and that does seem a bit weird at times.  Nevertheless, a great gaming experience that also plays out fairly quickly.

#6.  "Musket & Pike Series"

I cheated a bit here as i grouped all the games in this fantastic series into one.  Ben Hull's MPS series is the ASL of the gunpowder era.  Yes, the game is fairly complex and uses systems that take awhile to get the hang of, but man does it pay off.  The game actually plays out like the battles did and the command system does a great job of simulating how difficult it was to command such armies without resorting to written commands or "handi-cap" rules.

The scenarios i've played, about a dozen, have all been well balanced and competetive affairs.  Play time can be long though for many of the scenarios which can make weeknight gaming a bit difficult.  In fact, that's the only reason i don't play the series more often.

#5.  "The Thirty Year's War"

A very underrated game IMO that is loads of fun with a lot of strategic options.  I love this game, especially if it goes until the last turn and you view a once pristine map of Europe filled with pillage markers and the once mighty armies reduced to small bands of desperate mercenaries.  Good times.

It does require 6 hours+ to play though so it's not a single weeknight game.

#4.  "Ardennes '44"

I am not a traditional hex and counter, CRT kind of gamer in general.  The old Avalon Hill/SPI games don't hold much appeal to me.  I am also not a big Battle of the Bulge fan.  Which is why Ardennes '44 was such a surprise to me in how much i loved it. 

First off, it is a stunningly beautiful game.  The map is amazing and the counters are colorful yet totally functional.  But secondly and most improtantly, the gameplay is superb.  I am not a solitaire gamer and usually only play a game solitaire for a couple of turns to get the rules down before i have a FTF game scheduled.  With Ardennes 44 though, i couldn't stop playing it solitaire.  In fact, i restarted it and played it again.  And again.

I can't see how a game could do the "Bulge" better than Ardennes '44. 

#3.  "Virgin Queen/Here I Stand"

Again, i kind of cheated, if such a thing is possible in a personal Top 10 list, by combining Here I Stand and Virgin Queen together.  But they both use the same basic game engine and also, i doubt i'll play HIS again after playing VQ for the first time a couple of weeks ago.

These games are all about diplomacy, which is nothing new in the gaming world, however, it's what you can do with diplomacy and how the different sides have sometimes very different goals and abilities that make these games my favorite multi-player games ever.

The fact that you can trade tangible assets such as card draws, troops, and territory as well as make deals to play certain cards to help players make this game stand out from all other diplomacy type games.  All the powers play differently too which makes each game almost a new experience when you switch sides.

The amount of thought that designer Ed Beach put into these games is amazing.  GMT also did an outstanding job with the production.  The VQ map is stunning as are the counters and other components.  The main downside to this game is the playtime.  You need to plan 8+ hours to get the campaign in and it plays best with 6 players so that can be a difficult thing to coordinate.  That i'm regularly able to coordinate this game with others in the Chicago area speaks to how much fun this game is to play.

#2.  "Battles of the American Revolution"

Mark Miklos designed a winner with "Saratoga" and continued on with great game after great game in this series.  These games hit the sweet spot for me in terms of simple and easily understandable rules plus short play time plus a good amount of decision making.  Throw in a entertaining battle tactics system as well which provides for a great way to trash talk with your opponent, and we have one of my alltime favorites.

I've played every game in the series except for Germantown and Savannah and every game has been a different experience with tense gameplay where the game seems to hinge on every roll. 
This is classic wargaming at it's best and i'm looking forward to the next in this series.

#1.  "1805:  Sea of Glory"

1805 as my #1?  Most likely a shocker to most gamers as this game i think flew under most people's radar.  In fact, although i bought this game when it first came out, i put it on the shelf and didn't really look at it until a year later.  I'm glad i did and i'm glad my main gaming buddy decided to give this a go with me.  We set it up that first night and it remained on the table for the next 3 months as we played game after game.

Of all the games i've played, 1805 is the game that most squarely places me in the place the admirals of that time occupied.  The uncertainty, the feeling of helplessness against wind and weather and your political superiors, the lack of good intelligence.  It's all there.  The fact that designer Phil Fry could design a operational game on the Age of Sail is amazing in itself.  That he did it so well is a thing of beauty.

So why so little fanfare over this game?  For one thing, it can be a long game.  We're talking 12+ hours if you go the distance.  For another, it's a game of patience.  Each player is fighting other factors-weather, provisions, wind-as much as their opponent.  You can spend half a dozen turns with nothing happening.

But i think the main factor in it's lack of popularity is that it cannot be played solitaire.  Considering a decent percentage of wargamers only play solitaire, this has hurt it's popularity more than anything.

But all of that is okay with me.  I look forward to the next time i try and lead the French fleet out past the British blockade and sneak into Alexandria with my transports full of the Emperor's finest troops or as Nelson, track down that French fleet sailing to Barbados and bring them to glorious battle.

So there you have it, my Top 10 GMT Games.  Here's a couple that i struggled to leave out:  Twighlight Struggle, Barbarossa to Berlin, and SPQR.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Back in Business

I've neglected my blog for long enough.  Time to get back in business. 

With the New Year coming up, i am going to write not only AAR's of games played, and with better photos now that i have a new phone with a better camera, but also some commentary about gaming in general.

Finally, here is a quick update of games i've played since my last post back in May:

New Doug and I spent a couple of months playing Mark Miklos's excellent "Battles of the American Revolution" series.  We played "Guilford Courthouse" with my Red Coats smashing Doug's Rebels.  It was Doug's first game so he gets a pass.  We also played this outside in my gazeebo during a beautiful summer night.  First time i've played a wargame outside and at night.  We will be doing more outside gaming again come next summer.

We followed that up with "Eutaw Springs."  Doug wanted the Brits this time, and in a really close, back and forth game, my American troops were able to prevail.  We played this at Doug's house in the city, and i was in traffic over 2 hours driving in.  Chicago sucks that way.

We finished off the series with "Pensacola" which is a seige battle.  I give this high marks for creativity, although there are some rules questions that need answered.  Doug again took the Brits while i had the attacking Spanish.  I never knew the Spanish actually fought during the Am. Rev. War, so i learned something new.

"Pensacola" is long by BAR standards--2 school nights are needed.  The first night we played all the way up until the final battle.  Doug sortied nicely, killing some of my units, but more importantly, he destroyed one of my seige works.  I did manage a couple of breaches and it looked like the final assault was going to be a close fight.  Unfortunatley, Chicago was hit by heavy rains and i got some water in my basement and i had to shelve the game before we could finish.  I definatley want to get this back on the table again as it is a very intriguing battle.

Next up was the St. Louis ASL Tourney where i finished 4-1, but a disappointing 4-1 as i really blew the 4rth game after taking a nice lead.  Still, good times for sure.

I travelled down to St. Louis again in October for some gaming with my brother Dale, Jim Burris, and some other old friends.  We played "Small World," "Dominion," and a big game of "Descent."  "Descent" is one of my favorites.  I plan on buying my own copy once the 2nd edition comes out in 2012.

Next, New Doug and i returned to an old favorite of my, Ben Hull's Musket and Pike Series.  We chose the Warksow scenario from the newest module.  Doug had the defending Danes versus my attacking Swedes.  Fantastic series, although i was really rusty on the rules and we spent quite a bit of time looking things up.  By the end though, we were running smooth and Doug managed a win by swiftly moving his right wing over to his left and charging my outnumbered cav.  We took about equal losses there, but that was more than enough to get him the win as i needed +20 or so VP's.  We will be playing more MPS in the future.

I then did some Euro gaming with Doug and some of his neighbors.  We played "Dominion" and "Galaxy Trucker."  I liked both games and we had some good laughs.

Finally, i hosted a game of "Mansions of Madness."  MoM is very similar to "Descent" with one player being the bad guy versus the rest of the players being investigators trying to solve a mystery.  Outstanding game with wonderful graphics.  My brother Gerald joined Doug and Jeff Hallett as the investigators while i played the Keeper.  The good guys won by figuring out their objective early thanks to Kate's special ability, and were able to high tail it out before i could get my minions in place to stop them.  Lots of drinking, laughs, and taunting.  I am hosting another game next week and will post am ore indepth AAR.

That's it for now.  Happy Hollidays.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Here I Stand

Saturday, April 30th


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My favorite multi-player game is easily GMT's "Here I Stand."  Rich was kind enough to set-up and host a game last Saturday at his lovely home in Downers Grove.

My strategy--or strategery--as the Papacy:  Diplomatically, i need to maintain a strong alliance with the Haps.  We both have shared interests in Germany--me on the religion side, Haps on the Electorate side.  The Haps can provide military protection for me as well.  My other main diplomatic goal is to make peace with France and to keep them out of Italy and direct their attention elsewhere.


England cuts a deal with France where France gives him a card in exchange for allowing the Scots to vacate Edinburgh.  This raises eyebrows amongst the other players and would have repurcussions for England in the following turns as we felt England had taken advantage of a new French player.

The Ottomans took Belgrade and also knocked out the Knights of St. John so it looked like they were going for a Med. strategy.

The Haps took Metz.  France pulled their Scots out of Edinburgh and built a chateux.  England took an undefended Edinburgh, while i failed to take Florence but did have success in keeping the reformation somewhat in check against John's Prots.  I also threaten France with Excommunication should they cross into Italy.  I'm not sure if Michael planned to do so or not, but i like to think my threat helped keep the French army out of Italy.

In the New World, France found the Amazon, the Haps conquered the Aztecs but failed in exploration.  England's Rut found the Straights but failed to circumnavigate.

VP's  Otts 10 Haps 12 England 12 France 15 Papacy 18 Prots 1

At start.  Outstanding graphics!

The action really gets started.  I draw the best card possible for the Papacy in "Venetian Alliance!"  I also find that the Haps have Wartburg, so i'm in good shape.  France and i agree to end our war and i encourage France to stay at war with England.  I also ally with the Haps and Tim forms a Haps-France alliance with loaning 2 squadrons to France to fight England. 

On my turn 2, i take Florence, play Leipzig Debate and target Tyndale in England and burn him!  I then bring Venice into alliance.  Great turn for me.

Papal Empire.

England and France begin their arms race in the channel, building up their navies and armies.  The Ottomans take Buda, creating war with the Haps.  The Haps are pretty quiet, although they play Trace Italiene, plopping a fortress in Germany and, along with a Papal merc i had deployed to Germany, help keep the Reformation in check.

France and England--the Phony War.

VP's:  Otts 14  Haps 16 England 12 France 16 Papacy 21 Prots 4

Suleiman takes Buda.

Diplomacy continues hot and heavy.   With the Prots under control, i now need Tim more than he needs me, so i gladly continue our alliance and loan the Haps a Papal squadron.  Rich and i discuss divorce terms.  We bargain back and forth with me wanting 2 cards and 2 mercs as my starting position.  Rich starts with 1 card and 2 mercs.  We finally settle on 2 cards to me and i send him a single merc.  This will cancel my alliance with Tim which worries me a little but i quick talk with France convinces me i'm okay.

When we announce deals though, France declines to go to peace with England--they had obviously discussed this in diplomacy-- and England cancels our deal as he needs the cards to fight France.

So, France invades England but Rich is able to crush the French army.  France does win a naval battle in Calais and exchanges one loaned Haps squadron for 2 English squadrons, and settles in for a long seige of Calais as Rich hits France with Gout and Unpaid Mercs.

Rich also hits the sheets with Ann Boleyn but only gets Elizabeth out of it.  Ann's days are numbered...

John's Prots go on a conversion rampage in Germany which i can do little about.  John's dice have finally went hot and mine cold. 

The Barbary Pirates make their appearance, but Tim is ready for them and sails a Spanish Armada into port and wipes the corsairs out.

The Shmalkaldic League also comes out and Tim moves Charles into Germany to try and take some electorates.

Charles in charge...German version.

It's a quiet turn for me, as i work on St. Peters and build up my army for what i expect will be an invasion from someone.

VP's Otts 16 Haps 19 England 14 France 16 Papacy 23 Prots 12


With 23 VP's, i know i have a big target on me.  The question is, who is going to come after me?  My biggest concern is Tim, as Charles coming up from Naples with a large Haps army could be bad.  Tim also has a bunch of cards so he could take Florence and Vencice from me.  The Otts are also a concern but i am better prepared to deal with them as i have a good sized fleet in the Adriatic.

Tim is also in a good position to win so i want France and England to go after him.  I talk to Michael(France) and encourage him to end the Angl-French War and ally with England to go after Tim.  He sees the logic in this and i feel pretty good about my chances of either winning or being in a good position to win on Turn 5.

But here is where i make a huge mistake:  i don't talk to Rich to make sure the England-France deal happens.  So we go to announce deals and France and England stay at war!  The Ottomans then go to peace with Tim and DOW me.  Now, i am very concerned that Tim will win this turn as he has carte blanche in Germany and can easily take all the Electorates, and that coupled with another exporation and conquest can give him the win.

So Dean sends the Ottoman fleet into the Adriatic to take on the combined Papal-Venetian fleet.  He sinks all but 2 squadrons while lossing a couple himself in a bloody battle.  Sulieman then lands in Venice with 5 Ottoman regulars.

Ottomans move on Italy.

Over in the channel, Michael's French fleet takes out the English fleet and Calais finally falls to the French.

Calais falls to the French!
 Charles rampages through Germany picking off the Electorates one by one.  John does send a Prot army into Prague and takes it, but with Tim's wealth of cards, and no threat elsewhere, he is able to get Ferdinand there and retake it.

Haps blitz Germany.

Meanwhile, a Papal army moves to relieve the seige at Venice and wins the field battle!  With no retreat path, Sulieman is captured and paraded through the streets of Rome.

So, i am in good shape having held off the Ottoman invasion.  Tim is at 22 VP's with an explorer to roll for.  When he picks his -1 explorer Navarez, i breath a sigh of relief.  It looks like we'll go another turn and i have a great chance to win on Turn 5.  But Tim rolls an 11, which gives him a chance to circumnavigate and get the win.  He still needs an 11 or 12 to do this, so i'm still not worried.   He throws the dice in the cup and...12!  His worst explorer circumnavigates and the 3 VP push him to 25 and the win!

Final VP: Otts 17 Haps 25 England 12 France 19 Papacy 22 Prots 6

Nice win for Tim.  I felt i played a great game but made one major mistake during the turn 4 diplomacy not talking to Rich to cement the French-English anti-Haps alliance.  So what happened there?   I found out that Rich had wanted peace but wanted to wait a turn to DOW the Haps and use his home card to try and get Edward.  This was a non-starter for Michael as he, rightly so, didn't want to take the Haps on alone.  Both Michael and Rich are new players so they really needed someone to broker the deal and to make sure they attacked Tim.  I failed at this and it cost me the game.

Great time as always.  Thanks again to Rich for hosting ,and i'm looking forward to our next game.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

ASL, "Misservey's Men"

Doug Kirk was in town for work, so he came over last night for dinner and a game of ASL.  Besides being a top notch player, you can read his excellent March Madness championship AAR here:

Doug also puts together the scenario list for the St. Louis Tourney of which he does a fantastic job. 

He wanted to check out "Messervey's Men" from the latest Journal.  "MM" is a basic King of the Hill scenario featuring a rabble of Italians trying to fend off a good size force of Sikhs, represented by 2nd line British, supported by some light weight carriers and armored cars.  This all takes place in Africa during 1942. 

The advantages for my Italians are few.  With 3 FP and 6 morale, i can't effectively engage in a shooting contest with Doug's troops especially since i have very little cover on the hill with 5 Sangars and some crags to hide in.  My main Italian advantages are time and fine cooking.  Doug has 6 moves to take and clear the level 4 hills.  This will be slow going for his troops and i hope to run out the clock.  I can also win by inflicting 26 CVP, but that is pretty unlikely in this scenario.  The fine cooking really doesn't factor in to ASL.

With that in mind, i set none of my 10 squads forward; everyone is around the victory area.  I do have a 70mm infantry gun and a light mortar which i center my defense around.  Doug comes on turn 1 and i hold my fire with the exception of taking a shot at one of his carriers that he leaves in LOS of my gun and mortar.  I fire first with my mortar but promptly malf it.  My gun then fires but can't get a kill.  Finally, i shoot my MMG but also can't kill the pesky carrier.

On to my turn 1 where i fire my gun again but malf it--Italian weapons really blow.  Finally, i shoot the MMG and roll snakes on the TK roll, burning the pesky carrier.  Doug has few shots and we move on to turn 2.

End of turn 1.  Carrier in flames!
 Doug continues to press forward on turn 2, while i skulk back or retain concealment.  I am unable to fix either the mortar or gun.  Doug's first mortar has no smoke, but he drops a well place HE round on the gun crew, breaking it.  He follows that up with a crit on my mortar crew.  That would be mostly it for his effective fire for the game.  And yes, i mean for the whole game!

I don't recall seeing such poor shooting in my many games of ASL.  Doug would routinely take half a dozen shots a fire phase.  2+1, 4+1, 6+1, 6+0, even a couple of 12+1 shots.  Nothing.  I mean absolutely nothing!   While my shots were generally poor as well--i malfed my MMG on turn 3 and X'd it on the repair roll, adding that to my gun and mortar--i did get some key breaks here and there.

Doug did roll 5 or 6 snakes but they didn't help him much.  One snakes was on a carrier overrun which i followed with a snakes of my own, BHing a 3-4-6 to a 4-4-7.  His other snakes generated a hero, which i promptly killed in CC.  Another battle hardened a half-squad, but activated my sniper which whacked his 9-1 leader.  It was ugly.

Doug: "What the hell did i do to deserve this?"
 Despite the poor shooting skills, Doug slowly ground his way up the hill, resorting to CC, which he did better at, whacking a couple of Italian squads.  I brought on my reinforcements, running my 2 squads/lmg/leader up the back of the hill, while my tank parked on the side of the hill to provide covering fire to the top of the hill.

Doug's armored car decided to duke it out with my tank.  I scoffed at the notion as my tank was the King Tiger of this battlefield with a 3 armor and a 37 gun plus 4 CMG while Doug's Rolls Royce had a 0 armor and an ATR for it's MA.  I didn't scoff long though as Doug DI'd my tank and the crew bailed.  Ouch.

Fortunatly for me, Doug had no one to shoot at the crew, so it was able to re-crew the tank next turn and would provide some decisive firepower to my defense.

Immobilized Italian tank helps break up the final rush.

A key piece i forgot to mention is the Italian Fighter-Bomber which came on on my turn 4.  It only gets one straffing run per the SSR, but it made the most of it, pinning or breaking a whole line of Doug's troops.  This really stymied Doug's advance.

We came to the end game, and i was able to put a line of guys in front of my last Sangar which contained a 3-4-6/lmg+8-1 leader.  Doug couldn't get to them in CC and had to break the squad in Advancing fire.  He had a 6+3 shot which he missed, a 2+1 shot which whiffed, so it came down to a final 1+1 shot with his armored car.  He managed a PTC, which i needed to roll snakes on to activate his sniper.  I didn't and it was game over.

A fun, tight scenario.  Neither of us were sure what to make of it balance-wise.  Doug's incredibly poor shooting meant the Italians had to take few MC's.  I had a total of 5 broken units the whole game.  I don't think my breaking all my key weapons early offset this, although it put me in a bad spot for sure.

Good times as always with Doug.  Play fast, have a few laughs, a few drinks, and a close hard fought game.  It's what ASL is all about.  Ciao!

My Italians hang on for the win.