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Back in the swing of things (?)

Or “I guess I really should do something again with all this ASL crap I have”

AP 162 The Governor AAR

So after long hiatus playing Advanced Squad Leader since the Before Times & beyond (getting on close to three years now I think) I finally got around to playing a VASL game this Spring. Not my preferred option of FtF, but I was getting the itch, & threw myself on the tender mercies of Jazz to put up with my ineptness in use of the VASL UI while he attempted to explain the great improvements in the interface. I had last seriously made an effort to use it for a game, as opposed to the odd bit of on the road scenario design, likely somewhere around VASL 4.something.orother

Anyhow, we decided upon AP162 The Governor, & off we went to 1941 Syria, with myself as the defending Vichy against the Jazz-led Australians. I thought I had taken some screenshots but if I did I can’t find them, so this AAR will be brief. As I recall, I setup fairly strong around the tanks on the Vichy left in the Factory, & on the Vichy right to interdict any attempt by the Aussies to swing around behind my lines on that flank. This included having the MMG & 9-1(?) leader on that flank, but they were in a position (I thought) to be able to fairly quickly move back up the hill, & into the centre of town to reinforce the very thin line of Vichy squaddies across the front of the hill covering the road below. I also thought it would be tricky for the Aussies to assault straight up the hill from the front.

Aussies are entering and attacking from the left and top in this image, Vichy are trying to hang onto a lot of stone buildings in the town, and their right flank is the top and left flank the bottom of this image. Writing from memory here without access to scenario card or photos, so caveat emptor

Tom decided, IIRC, to try both a frontal attack & a flanking attack on the Vichy right. When his flanking force was stymied in their effort to turn my flank around the back of the hill by my cunning plan ™, he simply redirected them straight into the town through the middle of the hill against my squaddies covering there. Meanwhile, his frontal force took some fire but managed to break one Vichy squad in the exact centre of the defence. That was enough for him to pour into the centre of the town through that little gap, &for me to realize that my reserves, including the tanks & the MMG group, couldn’t quite get there in time for me to prevent this.

It ended up coming down to the last turn but from that point on it was pretty clear the Aussies would pull it off, which they did. Oh to have setup one more squad or HS, or one of the LMGs in the centre (which in one early version of the setup I had done, but then moved them to a flank). If I had, it would have been a lot closer I think.

Fun game, anyone looking for a relatively quick one-board town fight with reasonably-sized forces, some toys on the Vichy side at least, & tactical options for both sides wouldn’t do bad by picking this.

ASL 1 Fighting Withdrawal AAR

Yep, back to the beginning & the SuperFinns(tm). This one ended up being David Garvin as the defending Russians, vs my attacking Finnsters, &was even FtF. Why ASL 1 you ask? Well, it was done at a local game store, Tadenac Games, as an effort to introduce new folks to ASL, & David chose this one as he had not played it in ages (not sure I would have chosen it myself as a learning scenario, but as I didn’t need to learn really as much as remember, &it is a fun little scenario, I happily played the role of beginner player to David’s grizzled tournament grognard).

I could have sworn I took at least two phone photos of this game but again can’t find them. The last time I played this being long lost in the mists of time (January 1st, 1991 per my personal record on ROAR, but I’m pretty sure it would have been c. 1985 or 1986 & is lost to pre-ROAR archaeologists to discover) I had a look at the card & board (love that cemetery) & with visions of burning buildings/spreading fires in my head, decided to deploy as much as possible to bounce his concealed front line stacks to reveal where his real forces were. I figured I would take some losses doing this (& did) but that I would then make those losses up by flanking/encircling/taking prisoners (which I did, & more).

Finns are attacking from the right, Russians have to setup left of the second road from the right. Finns need to exit a bunch of guys (see secnario card) off the left edge of the board. Again writing from memory here of a game weeks ago so please cut me some slack. But burning buildings, smoke, fire that can spread, big cemetery and big “factory” that isn’t a Factory

Then the plan would be to keep the pressure on the evil Russkies, move down the left flank & clear the central road cutting the board in half, & then decide whether to continue down the Finnish left flank (bottom of the image above), or go straight through the not-a-Factory Factory building. David executed a near-perfect fighting withdrawal with his limited forces, but I kept the pressure on him, leaped the central road past the first burning building on my left, & was then pinned down by his MMG & 9-1 on the 2nd Level of the factory (small f for not a Factory). I sent two or three 6-4-8s through the cemetery to keep him busy & put some harassing small arms fire on him (which worked quite well & forced him to relocate further back) while everyone else did the board edge creep along the left with the Prisoners.

I can’t recall now how much I exited on the last turn (& again it came down to the last turn) but David’s last ditch efforts to get fire onto my exit area came to naught despite good redeployments (bad dice for him on a couple of shots including crucially malfing, but then repairing, the MMG, followed by good dice for me on some MCs & PTCs IIRC) . I don’t recall how much I got off the board, but I think it was almost enough just in Finns to barely win, & the Prisoners easily pushed me over the top & more. Oh, & we had a rare “Guard breaks so Prisoners try their hand at CC” incident, which didn’t go so well for the Prisoners as I recall, but was a lot of laughs.

Again, a fun game, an excellent opponent, & a good scenario with a blast from the past factor, a cool store to play in full of friendly dogs (and people, thanks Peter for hosting). Though if I was going to teach an actual complete beginner ASL, not sure I would pick this one. Lots of other better learning scenarios IMHO (see Gamesquad). This one maybe after they have a few of those under their belt.

Published by clavain

Gaming in one way or another off and on (boardgames, miniatures, video games, card games, TTRPGs) for more than 45 years. Still can't paint miniatures to save my life. Currently controlled by a Border Collie.

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