Our Friday game would see the conclusion of AP106 "Helluva Patrol Leader". And before the night was over, my emotions would be a scattered mess. ASL never fails to bring out the best and the worst in you with literally every roll of the dice. It's what we all love and hate about the game.
I went into the bottom of Turn 3, with every expectation of wrapping up an easy win. My boys were in great position and my STL opponent's Germans were with their backs to the wall. And they couldn't have been any more dangerous to me..
One thing about my STL opponent...he never gives up and he hates to lose...but if he must lose...he always tries to take as many of the enemy with him as possible. There would be no easy win tonight against his Germans.
Sometimes the cornered enemy is the most dangerous.
Gearing up for our session, I was really pleased that we were actually playing for the third time in a row. It's been many moons since that had been possible. Something always seemed to derail our session. So I was pretty stoked to play.
I was full of optimism that my boys would get the job done.
As we began the German phase of Turn 3, I was already in control of almost half of the building objectives. I was in good positions to lay down some huge fire on the Germans. I just had to survive their Turn 3 Prep Fire.
As it turned out, my opponent's Prep Fire in Turn 3 did nothing, but neither did my Defensive Fire. In fact, nothing happened at in the phase. We both rolled badly and it was the turn that wasn't.
My Turn 4 Prep Fire would however get me some traction and DM some of the Germans facing me. With time running out, I needed to get into the Row house hexes as quickly possible. The Germans in AA6 were effectively cut off, but the 4-6-7 and LMG in U7 would simply not go down. 30+ Fire Factor shots were doing nothing as I continued to roll 10's, 11's....it was maddening.
One of the great unsolved mysteries of ASL is the correlation between high fire factor shots and high rolls...
That's a relief...I thought it was me...
So, Turn 4 set me a little bit at ease. The Row House had largely been abandoned as the Germans routed back, but I too had been hurt. In his Defensive Fire, my opponent succeeded in breaking my 6-6-6 in W8 and pinning both 7-4-7's in V7. Unbelievable...I had no one in position to advance into the Row House Hexes.
I know right...all I had to do was stay unpinned and I could have wrapped things up right then and there and as you shall see...I would wish that I had...
My 8-1 did move forward in the Row House in my Advance Phase. It would cost him his life.
My opponent would skulk his 4-6-7 in W7 and recently rallied boys would rush in to CC with my 8-1.
Kudos to my opponent for his aggressive and no quit style of play. He would turn the game on its head and make me earn a victory.
Turn 5 Prep Fire...I was starting to sweat. I was having to fight for the same hexes repeatedly and time was definitely running out. I once again managed some key breaks...but U7 refused to buckle.
I will admit it...I was starting to really worry that this game was going to slip from my grasp...I could picture myself putting a US loss on ROAR... yeah...5 US wins to 1 German...or make that 2 German...oh good grief...I had to settle down and start rolling well...
In my Turn 5 movement, I realized that I had to get some boys across the street and into the Row House. I sent my 3-3-7 from AA8 into Z7 to draw fire from the German stack in AA6. The German LMG fired and I rolled snakes on the MC...and then became Beserk. But my opponent had placed a fire lane when he fired at my boys as they moved into Z7. So my 9-1 stack in Z8 would have to traverse the fire lane. Fortunately, the 9-1 and one 7-4-7 succeeded in crossing the road.
My berserk boys would rush into the house with the German 7-0 and two 4-4-7's. We both rolled and failed to do anything with our TBF fires...so would have to wait until CC for the final results.
My opponent's D-Fire would once again severely hamstring me. The U7 4-6-7 and LMG would DM both my 7-0 and 6-6-6 that had moved into the hex and he would once again Pin both 7-4-7's.
This pinning business was becoming a real drag!!!
The Germans once again routed back to their W4 forest lair and I moved forward with the units that I could. The German force in U7 remained a huge thorn in my side.
My Berserk 3-3-7 would be eliminated in Close Combat and put a cap on a turn that hadn't gone quite the way I had hoped.
German Phase of Turn 5 - my opponent rallied some of his boys in the forest lair and would send them back into the Row house. UGH!!! The Germans in U7 were the key unit that was holding the flank and keeping the German hopes alive.
I could sense that my opponent was becoming emboldened. I had been rolling terribly with my 20+ and 30+ shots. Blood was in the water and he sensed it.
Going into Turn 6 and all I could do was scratch my head. Germans in V6 and U7...and me unable to hit them hard enough to dislodge them.
Thankfully my opponent could not hear my silent screams of anguish!!!
My Turn 6 Prep Fires achieved nothing...nothing...let me repeat nothing... and this was it...my last chance to fire. I went into movement phase and completely panicked. My 10-2 and stack attempted smoke...the first 7-4-7 misses, the second 7-4-7 misses and the 6-6-6 misses. So no smoke...but I'm determined to get my 10-2 and this three squads into the fight. I know the German stack in AA6 is just waiting. I declare CX and go for it. My opponent's MG42 rips the hot June air...he rolls a 4...UGH...casualty reduction and +3 MC. I'm totally screwed. I roll to see who takes the reduction and a 7-4-7 and the 10-2 tie. The 10-2 dies and the everyone else is DM'd.
OK...at this point in the game my ELR was 0...I was at my lowest point and trying to prepare myself for a defeat. And at that very moment my phone starts dinging as it receives a text. I look at it and it's a drunken dude chewing me out for calling his phone...is this really happening...I wonder to myself...
I text back...that no...I had not called him..whoever he was. Undeterred, the drunken dude unleashes a torrent of very ugly texts at me.
As you might imagine...I was not really in the right state of mind to handle this sort of nonsense...my ASL game is unraveling and I'm losing my focus...what phase is it again??
Meanwhile my opponent is unaware that I'm dealing with this nonsense.
I finally realized that the best course of action was to simply turn off my phone. Something that would be a useful tactic most days I would imagine.
Sometimes I wonder about my life and if these things only happen to me...
Having dealt with the momentary distraction...I was back to the game and feeling none too confident about my chances for a win.
Ok...back to the game, which was entering a critical moment for both my opponent and I. Victory was possible still for both of us. All my opponent had to do was survive my last ditch Advancing Fire from a 6-6-6 that advanced into V7.
My boys opened up on the Germans in U7...8 factors at +3. I rolled a 4 and cowered...now 6 factors at +3, resulting in an NMC. My opponent rolls and breaks...
So...to break it down...repeated 30+ factor shots left the Germans in U7 unfazed...but my 6 factor shot at +3 breaks them. Ahhhh...the mysteries of ASL and freakin' random dice rolls.
With the Germans in U7 broken, I could finally move my boys into that location and into CC with the German 8-1 and 2-4-7 in V6. In a completely uneven fight, my boys finish off the last remaining Germans in the Row House.
The U7 Germans would escape, but in the German Phase of Turn 6, there was little they could do to take back any of the victory locations. So following Prep Fire phase, my opponent gave the concession and a very close game was finally over.
I wanted to celebrate the win...but was more mentally exhausted than anything. I was just glad to escape with a win...
My opponent had inflicted some heavy damage on me in Turns 5 and 6 and very nearly snatched victory from defeat.
My boys may have won the day...but kudos again to my opponent and his Germans for the tenacious battle they waged.
And there is a lesson to every ASL player out there to be learned. Never assume that victory is certain or that defeat cannot be avoided. Play every turn and every die roll.
This game was decided by the results of a single Normal Morale Check...ASL...ya gotta love this game.