Monday, September 26, 2016

Das Golem II

Second teaser video for the annual Halloween Scenario from Grumble Jones. Play as the Germans and escape from the terrors of the Golem in old Prague or play as the Czech Resistance and the Golem. Some crazy, ASL Halloween fun!!


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Our Saturday Game, Kansas ASL Scenario PP03 Ukrainian Mutiny

For our Saturday game, Dan Best and I decided to do another scenario from Kansas ASL's The Very Best of March Madness Volume 1. The selected scenario was one of Dan's designs and is titled "Ukrainian Mutiny". This scenario is based on a little known incident that occurred in July of 1943 at the Auschwitz Death Camp. The Ukrainian Guards within the camp had become concerned after witnessing so much horror, that they themselves may one day become victims. So on the evening of July 3rd, 1943, a group of Ukrainians seized weapons from the camp armory and fled the camp. The German SS guards pursued them to a quarry near Chelm Slaski in Poland. Despite fierce resistance they were ultimately overcome and later executed. Following this mutiny, the Germans removed all Ukrainian SS to other camps and other duties.

This scenario depicts the desperate efforts of the Ukrainians to hold out against a large force of German SS. Anytime you get the opportunity to play the designer of a Scenario whether as a play test or regular game, it's always good to discuss how they came up with the ideas for the scenario. Dan and I spent about a half an hour last night discussing it. To my surprise and interest, Dan had spent some time traveling in Poland and visited many sites around Crakow and Warsaw. During his visit and research, he came across this particular mutiny of the Ukrainian guards and when he received his copy of Paratrooper and looked at Board 24, it just immediately struck him that it was a perfect board for representing a quarry. And so a scenario was born.

For this particular game, I drew the Ukrainians and Dan the Germans. This particular scenario includes caves and sangars, which we don't normally see in an ETO scenario. The caves of course reflect the fact that much of the fight occurred in a quarry. The victory conditions were pretty simple. The Germans must eliminate every partisan/Ukrainian unit. With that in mind, I tried to put myself in the mind of the Ukrainians. They would have been very aware that they had to stay hidden and try to remain undetected by the Germans. The SSR's for this scenario allowed for most of the Ukrainians to set up HIP. So naturally, I decided to build my defense on keeping at least one Ukrainian unit completely hidden, while my other units would draw the Germans away from where that unit was hiding. You'll see if I was successful as this AAR rolls along.

 The OOB's for both sides were starkly different. The Ukrainians would have 3-1/2 squads total vs. 11 German SS 4-4-7's. But the these would be needed in order to scour the board and find the HIP Ukrainians. Dan would deploy three squads at the start and these 2-3-7's would be extremely useful in covering a lot of ground, but would lack some necessary firepower during the encounters with my Ukrainians. This game also gave me the first opportunity to to use some of the Bounding Fire, SS 4-4-7's from Poland in Flames.

With only 5 turns available to him, Dan moved aggressively from the very start. I had placed my 8-1 officer, a 5-2-7 and my MMG in the stone house at M6. My plan was to stall the Germans at this crossroads for as long as possible. I had placed all but one cave towards the west half of the map. I placed none of my men there, but hoped that Dan would divert forces into that area in order to search all of the caves.

 One of my questionable placements was putting a 5-2-7 under concealment in J8. I did this primarily to put some doubt in Dan's mind as to whether or not my other ? stacks were really dummy stacks. It didn't really work out the way I hoped, and my 5-2-7 quickly became prisoners.

 Back at the Crossroads, my boys in M6 would begin their heroic stand. They would hold out for four turns and take a lot of Germans with them, before they were finally captured.

 During the defense, one of the German 2-3-7's went Berserk.

 My 8-1 managed to eliminate them with the MMG.
 Undeterred by my boys in M6, Dan kept his troops moving ahead and searching. I was very impressed with Dan's search discipline. I could tell that he knew how to play this scenario and several times, I was glad I had not chosen certain hiding places as Dan scoured the map.

       Dan's Germans searched every gully and woods hex.

Dan also coordinated his searches with bringing his troops into position to encircle my boys in M6.

 One of the bigger misfortunes for Dan centered on his MMG's. He malf'd and eliminated one and the other was stuck on the south board edge with a broken 4-4-7 that couldn't be rallied until Turn 3 when his hard charging 7-0 raced halfway across the map to get to them. This lack of heavy firepower would certainly benefit my defense.

 It was at this point that Dan had accounted for all my Dummy Counters and all of my forces, except for the 2-2-7 half-squad with an LMG. And he very nearly stumbled upon me in the northern woods. His 4-4-7 searched adjacent to my HIP boys and then turned back to the south to explore the cave. Dan would not go back to that patch of woods, as he believed my unit was hiding in one of the western caves.

Oh so Ukrainians could smell the sweaty leather kit of the Germans....but fortunately, they moved away without locating my boys.
 My boys in M6 would continue to hold out against multiple attacks. My 8-1 would be DM'd and ELR. And per an available SSR would take his own life rather than allow himself to be captured. The 5-2-7 continued to fight on and repelled the Germans and even managed to win the Close Combat ambush  roll and escape from CC.

Dan kept streaming forces at my M6 position.
 After escaping to M5, my boys then went into close combat with the Germans in M4 who also had my other captured 5-2-7 with them. They got the ambush again and eliminated the Germans and freed their comrades. But it would be a brief moment of freedom only.

 As the battle neared its end, Dan's Germans were engaged in three separate operations. #1 was eliminating my boys in M4, #2 was eliminating my boys in J2 and #3 was searching the caves for my still hidden half-squad that was in M2. 

Dan's Germans were running out of time.
 The fighting intensified in the German phase of Turn. My boys in M4 would finally be killed and captured. But my 7-0 and 3-3-7 in the fortified location of J2 would survive.

 As the German phase of Turn 5 ended, Dan gave the concession. With the 7-0 and 3-3-7 still alive and the hidden 2-2-7 still unaccounted for, Dan realized his couldn't achieve the victory conditions. So my Ukrainians managed to secure the victory.

My own personal observation of this game was that Dan played it exactly like the German must. He successfully searched the entire map and just barely missed finding me hiding in the woods. The Caves have to be searched and my decision not to hide in the caves bore fruit. 

Dan also made a great observation that the Ukrainian player has to not only hide, but also try and inflict losses on the Germans in order to slow them down and limit their searching opportunities. My 8-1 and 5-2-7 in the M6 House did this very well and I believe contributed the most to the Ukrainian Victory.

Another great game with Dan and already looking forward to next Friday's contest!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Our Friday...Sunday...Monday game...MM16 Eve of Destruction

Having enjoyed our first game of ASL by Cardboard via SKYPE, Dan Best and I decided to have another SKYPE session, which would go for an additional two evenings. We selected scenario MM16 Eve of Destruction, which is currently available in Kansas City ASL's "The Very Best of March Madness (Vol. 1).  This would be my first opportunity to play a scenario out of this pack. The Scenario Designer for this one is Mike Reed. Mike's genius for scenario design would really show through as I transformed three desert boards into the Russian steppes near Kursk. Be forewarned this scenario has a lot of overlays. And you are probably like avoid those kinds of scenarios. Well...don't be so much like me! Give overlay a scenarios another look. Because let me tell you...this scenario was FUN!!!  This scenario pack is still available and I highly recommend grabbing a copy before they are all gone and then selling on Ebay for like $800.00 or some other ridiculous know what I'm talking know the guys who got the $80.00 AOO and are selling them for $240.00...not that I'm bitter about that or anything...ok..maybe a teeny tiny bit.

Now back to the AAR. Dan drew the Germans and would be the powerful 1st SS Panzer Division "Leibstandarte" with two Tigers, bucket loads of MKIV's and Half-Tracks and plenty of 6-5-8's and 8-3-8-'s to add some spice to an impressive OOB.  My Russian OOB was not quite as robust. I would have 8 x 4-5-8's defending a couple of Russian Isbas smack in the middle of wheatfields in the wide open steppes. Some ravines, hillocks, and an nice anti-tank ditch would contribute some natural obstacles to impede the advance of the boys in the pea dot camo suits. 

This game is somewhat deceptive at first glance. It's only 5 turns...but those turns...oh how looooong those turns were. I can remember on Monday night...just wanting to lay down after Dan's turn ended. I was exhausted...I mean really exhausted. Having played Flying Turrets, I can say that this scenario is the little brother to that hulk of a scenario. With 45 armored vehicles on the would be a very engaging game to say the least. And as if that was not enough...the Germans get three Stukas with Hans-Ulrich Rudel in one of them. Good grief...I should have conceded before the first roll!!!! Of course I'm glad I didn't as I had blast. That's not to say that I didn't get my ass handed to me...cause I did...

Now we have all played those games where our dice were hot or cold. We all know the joy of endless ROF and critical hits and the sorrow of 11's and 12's. Well during the last turn of this scenario...Turn 4 as I opponents first roll would be a snake eyes, which would rally a DM'd 8-3-8 and create a Hero. And for the next hour and 1/2 my opponents hot dice would be balanced by my stone for dice. It was so bad at one point...that I slipped out...honestly...I tried to keep it in...but it escaped. It was so bad at one point, that Dan asked me over the SKYPE line...."Are you ok?"  

No dude...I got diced...gimme a minute...

I generally try not to change dice during a game...but on that one turn I went through 4 different pairs...and it didn't help...

"Diced you say...doesn't sound that bad maybe man up...
just say'n..."

Yes, Dieter...hang on...there's an AAR out's coming next!!!

 As I mentioned earlier in the post, this game uses a lot of overlays. And yes I set one of them up if you notice the board looks different down the road here...that will be why. The Stars indicated the victory point locations that the Germans needed to take without suffering 90 CVP in the process.
 This was all the Russians had a the start along with 2 x 76L ARTY's in the backfield. The name of the game was stay quiet and stay concealed for as long as possible.

 Dan set up a classic Panzer Keil to sweep up over the hillock and head to the NE of the village.

Dan would also have nearly all of the crews CE.
 The first turn movement set the stage for Dan's later attacks and particularly for his interdiction of my armor assets that would enter on Turn 2.

As the first half-tracks rumbled into view, one of my 76L Artys in the rear opened up.

The AT ditch definitely helped slow down the Germans, but after turn 2, it would largely be irrelevant to the battle.

The half-track mounted mortar went on a smoke ROF tear to begin Turn 2. My 76L Arty would be effectively blinded for the next two complete turns. The SS Panzergrenadiers moved up to the AT ditch where they would end up in Advance Phase.

The AT ditch would be a collection point for broken squads in the later game turns.


As the German armor headed to the NE, my HIP 45LL AT Gun barked out a shot...a miss...then an intensive fire shot...and just like that MALF'd and would never fire again for the remainder of the game. In a blink of an eye, my only AT asset in the village was gone. All that was left was an ATR.

With my 45LL AT Gun MALF'd the German tanks came in like sharks smelling blood in the water. My mortar dropped some rounds on an CE MKIV and managed to stun it.

Nice shooting Dmitri!!

As Turn 2 ended for the Germans, they had reinforced the SS Panzergrenadiers with a platoon of MKIV's. Dan kept his half-tracks back and sent them to the rear of the SE hillock to keep them from adding unnecessarily to the German CVP cap.

 The grenadiers were my biggest concern.

My reinforcements stream onto the battlefield. The worst mistake I would make would be putting my 3 x Churchill IV's right in the line of sight for 2 x Tiger I's. They would make me pay dearly for that error. My T-70's were supposed to sacrifice themselves as the T-34's with 6-2-8 rider dashed into the village. Unfortunately by SSR, the Russians only had half their movement points. 

(Balance note: I would change that to allow the Russians full movement as they enter on Turn 2.)

My Russians were pretty awesome as they entered the game...but all glory is fleeting...especially when Tigers are involved.

Everything moved forward, and over the din of my rumbling tanks could be hurt the sharp cracking of German 88L and 75L Guns...followed by the dull eruptions of steel and my tanks were ripped asunder one after the other.

Dan got ROF with one of the Tigers and in three shots eliminated all three of my Churchill IV's...ouch....

Dan's panzers knocked out a great number of tanks right off the bat.

When a Tiger gets ROF...look out...

Turn 3 would see the SS Grenadiers make a strong push right up into my Russian grill. Some of the Grenadiers would be eliminated, but by and large they got into position.

Dan's 9-2 would move up with 2 x 6-5-8's and 2 x MMG's. The Death Star had arrived.

 The MKIV's that had moved back to the left flank would prove to be a real thorn in my side. I would lose several tanks to them.

My good/bad luck would continue as a snake-eyes resulted in a Berserk 9-1 and 4-5-8. They would charge the MKIV in the next turn and be cut down to a man.

The Germans continued to devastate my tanks in Turn 3.

As the German phase of Turn 3 concluded...I knew the village was in trouble.

In the Russian phase of Turn 3, my surviving T-70's rushed blindly ahead trying to draw as much German fire as possible.

As my T-34's moved towards the village...the tell-tale shriek of Stukas filled the air. Hans Ulrich-Rudel led the way and quickly blazed up a T-34.

As if my day wasn't bad enough already...a flight of tank-busting Stukas swoops down on me...

But kudos to the scenario designer for including Rudel. It added some extra spice to an already great game.
The Stukas eliminated two of my tanks, as Dan's Panzers eliminated several more.

But despite the Stukas and Panzers, my relief column arrived in the village in the nick of time.

All was not necessarily lost for my Russians.

Then we started Turn 4 and Dan's first Rally DR is snakes...and an SS 8-3-8 rallies and create a hero. Oh good would only go downhill from there!!!

The SS hero would only add to my woes...

German Prep Fire did the trick and broke the last of my guys standing in the way.

In his movement phase Dan sent his armor right into me.

Dan's Grenadiers began rushing my defenses. A DC would blow up my defenders in the Q6 foxhole. 

Turn 4 would prove to be the decisive turn as Dan's Germans systematically destroyed my Russians.

 As Turn 4 came to an end, the Germans had eliminated all of the Russian Tanks and very nearly all of my remaining infantry. I still had a couple 4-5-8's concealed and ready to jump into the buildings and force a Turn 5....but quickly rethought that idea and gave Dan my concession. His attack had completely over-matched my Russians. 

 A last look at really fun and exciting game. If you are looking for a scenario to give you the flavor of Kursk, I would have to say that this scenario really brings it to life.

My thanks to Dan for another great game! Already looking forward to our next SKYPE sesson on Saturday.

Great game and great win Dan!