Our Friday game would be Lone Canuck's CAW#8 Fire and Brimstone. I always enjoy a Lone Canuck scenario and Fire and Brimstone would live up to my expectations. My regular STL opponent and I were looking for a scenario we could complete in one setting (2-1/2 hours) and this gem fit the bill perfectly.
My opponent drew the German paras and was once more on the defense. I drew the Canadians and would be attacking across a half-board of Board 44. I'm generally not a fan of exit the board scenarios. I suck at them...enough said. But I was stoked to play the Canadians. Of all the Allied forces, I am most drawn to the Canadians. Can't explain why, but I love 'em.
Now, I will digress for a moment to review my state of mind going into our game. Blogging is nothing if not personal, so forgive my indulgence here. I recently commented the same with regards to the recent Podcast of the 2 Half-Squads, which was very personal. Those of us who blog find a lot of joy in blogging our thoughts, ideas, opinions, etc. And I'm no different.
So going into our weekly game night, I was in a true mental fugue. Work related 100%. My job has lately been a grind worse than anything I've experienced in the last 28 years. The cause of it, is of course related to recent management changes. My boss, friend, and mentor of the past 11 years was walked out like yesterday's garbage after 37 years with the company. Watching that was jarring for me...sadly I've watched hundreds of my co-workers be walked out over the years. Anyone who spends any time in corporate America has seen and experienced the same thing. But this one really struck home and has left me questioning what I value in my life.
"you're a slave to money and then you die..."
So yeah...my mind is heavy with thoughts of where I want to see my life go in whatever time I have left on this wonderful ride of life.
Freedom...I often feel like I said farewell to personal freedom after graduating from college in 1987. Since then, my time has belonged to my employers. I still recall my brief stint as a Director in 2008. For a 32 day stretch I worked 12 hour days 7 days a week. At one point, I was picking up parts from a Supplier at 1:30 AM, which I drove to the plant the next day (Saturday) at 5:30 AM while on the phone with my customer in New Zealand...Aerospace is a cruel mistress. And at the end of that 32 days...I walked out and quit...
The CEO at the time, called me at home and asked me to meet him that afternoon. The CEO was a fantastic man, who I had enormous respect for. For two hours, he asked me what caused my decision. I'll never forget him...apologizing to me for the damage the recent days had done to my family and he told me that when I was ready to come back...to let him know...as I was part of that family. 4 weeks later I did return (in a lesser role) and have been there ever since as a valued contributor.
Of course none of that matters to my new masters...so I will see what new paths I can follow...cause rolling boxcars in ASL is inconvenient...but in life is unacceptable.
Thank goodness for ASL...
Thanks for allowing me a chance to get some thoughts out of my head. Now on to ASL...one of life's true joys!
My opponent set up as one would expect. The defensive positions are fairly limited in this scenario.
German 5-4-8's are always tough to face...but in game like this the 4 range would be an assist to my Canadians.
As stated previously, I was excited to have Canadians under my command once again.
And an ASL first for me, was the availability of 2 x Flame-throwing Badgers at my disposal. As you will see...I did absolutely nothing with them and am still shaking my head as I type this...
I moved onto the board with total aggressiveness. I dropped off the mortar and a half-squad in C3. Their mission would be to provide smoke. They would achieve great success in this mission.
This scenario takes place in MUD...and oh good grief did I suffer from the mud. My best half-track, which was carrying my 9-1, a 4-5-7 and a Piat bogged immediately. It would go on to become immobilized. I would not recover from its loss.
My STL opponent would also suffer in the first turn. His first roll for a Panzerfaust would be a 6...and his second PF check would also be a 6. I could hear his frustration over the SKYPE call. Who wouldn't have been frustrated...??
I would lose nothing to enemy Panzerfausts in this scenario.
While my opponent would suffer from PF failures...I would suffer equally from the MUD. I jokingly told him that he would win this scenario without firing a single Panzerfaust.
The game played quickly as we didn't have a lot of forces or ground to cover. Sometimes a quick play game is the just the ticket.
On Turn 2, my Badgers braved the mud successfully and moved in the absolute wrong direction. As you will see...I hadn't understood the victory conditions (and neither did my opponent). I was just going to exit the board wherever I wanted...(it was kind of liberating!!!)
My mortar team also began efforts to assist. Fortunately, I did not attempt to fire smoke at this stage. I rolled a series of 10's and 11's...which had I attempted smoke would have caused me to have none.
My bogging struggles continued as two of my half-tracks bogged. In all, three half-tracks were bogged at the end of Turn 2.
A good look at the situation at the end of two turns. I have marked the actual scenario exit location, which I was no where near...(of course my earlier, long winded explanation of where my head was at will at least explain why I wasn't thinking...).
In ASL...it's everything...
My bogging blues continued as I mired both my bogged vehicles...and yes...it was a bit metaphorical for me as I was feeling very bogged down with my life...I hate it when ASL imitates life!!!
I was mired in self-pity at this point as well...but I was making smoke like a big dog!!!
Ok...I hesitate to share this image...but I must...my mortars made a great smoke screen for my Badgers, which rumbled off the board...of course not in the right spot...but at the time I was kinda of happy...
My 9-1, having abandoned his immobilized half-track set out on foot to exit the board.
The final moments of the game. The German 8-1 would successfully eliminate the mired half-track with the HMG. I simply was stuck too long in front of that HMG. After failing on three previous tries...he finally got lucky.
Meanwhile the Canadian 9-1 and 4-5-7 made a run for the board edge (yes the same wrong location). The German 7-0 and LMG crackled and the 4-5-7 would break. The 9-1, however, made it off the board.
Why yes...yes I did...
A look at the Canadians who managed to exit the wrong location...only 12 of the 16 VP's required...so a German Victory!
Game over. And the good news, despite completely mis-playing the victory conditions...was that I had a great time. For 2-1/2 hours I thought of nothing else, but the deep mud of a field in NW Germany in 1945. I may have lost...but I sure felt like a winner.