Friday, October 10, 2008

O'Brien Loses!

I was sick yet again today - Scrabblette and I have been plagued with colds all winter long. At least this time I felt well enough to have another bash at ASL. I had unfinished business with the first scenario and wanted to know what would happen if the Germans played better. Of course, for old times' sake I used Sgt O'Brien as the American commander in the middle of Vierville. He did a very good job there last time when the Americans won, but I was rooting for the Germans this time.

As a quick aside, I have played games with a fellow who always plays Germany. I thought that was just a forgivable quirk, but have since got the feeling he's a white supremacist of some sort. Apparently they're just misunderstood patriots... anyway, rest assured I'm nothing like that. It really disturbs me that such people still exist.

Anyway, the Germans brought on their first two squads - Baumann to oppose O'Brien in the town, and Harpe to the intersection to guard the road in from the north where the American forces were. Praun brought reinforcements through the forest to the south of the town.

This plan worked well for a while, as Harpe's control of the road prevented the Americans from entering the town. Eventually however a detachment of O'Briens squad and the reinforcements forced Harpe out of his shelter.

In the town, O'Brien had had some success in fighting off Baumann, but Weiss arrived with more reinforcements. Praun had no success at dislodging O'Brien.

With Harpe's forces scattered, American reinforcements under Dunn swept into town. Baumann was killed, but his troops were rallied by Weiss who advanced again to face O'Brien.

Weiss's reformed squad attacked O'Brien with everything they had. Suddenly, Praun and his men made a run for the building at L3, the only victory point they had any chance of reaching. The Americans, now abandoned by the scaredy-cat O'Brien, were unable to bring sufficient firepower to bear to stop Praun, and he reached the safety of the building.

It was now the last turn of the game, and the Americans needed to dislodge Praun from L3 to win the game. Dunn's stack had 36 fire power, so they stormed the building to destroy the German forces.

Dunn was pinned by the defensive fire, and without his leadership the Germans' 15 fire power forced all of the Americans to flee for cover. When the game ended, Praun controlled L3 and the Germans won.

It might sound like the Germans got lucky, and indeed they did. The Americans didn't make a mistake in not covering L3 - O'Brien just didn't have the fire power to look after it, and Dunn had been held off by Harpe for so long he was unable to arrive in time to save the day. The unluckiness for the Americans was that Dunn got pinned in the final attack - he missed his morale check by 1, and that prevented his -2 DRM from being applied for the rest of the stack. Anything from that stack that didn't break would have gone into L3 during the advance phase, and the game would have been decided by Close Combat.

I was very impressed by the way Harpe's squad was able to control the road enough to hold back the Americans' overwhelming force. Harpe's guns had 6 range which meant they could shoot to the very west side of the map in normal range. It was impossible to sneak past them. I was also impressed by how long O'Brien hung on - Praun and Baumann initially intended to drive him out of his building and occupy N6 and N5, but he just wouldn't go.

I do like this game, it's a pity there are so many rules. I forgot to use CX counters this time, and I even forget why you would. The next scenario has machine guns which come with a whole lot more rules. Oh dear.


Ozvortex said...

I've dallied with Squad Leader in the past but never had the commitment to tackle the voluminous rules of ASL.

One tactical WWII game I've been watching closely on BGG is
Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! - Russia 1941-1942. It has shot to Number 1 on the BGG Wargames ranking since its recent release and appears to be a very playable wargame in regard to length of time, rules complexity and fun factor.

Friendless said...

Conflict of Heroes looks quite nice - I'll play it with you!

Merric said...

I've just ordered Conflict of Heroes; I hope I enjoy it! :) I should - if I can enjoy both Memoir '44 and ASL, I should be able to enjoy almost any other wargame... except Tide of Iron, for some reason.

That's one monster stack you built there, John!

You use CX counters only when you get your units to run (double time); basically they get another couple of movement factors, and then suffer a +1 to attack rolls until the start of their next turn. You often don't use them at all in a scenario.

Machine-guns aren't that tough. There are a few rules, but the only one that *really* matters is that when the coloured die in an attack roll <= their ROF (number in box), they aren't considered to have fired and you can use them again. Randy was getting really annoyed with me in our recent game together because my Russian MMG kept doing that. :)