Saturday, June 18, 2016

Our Friday Night Game -- the conclusion of FF-8 "Send in the Sand Rabbits"

Our Friday night game saw the conclusion of FF-8 "Send in the Sand Rabbits". We had missed one session, so it took us both a moment to reorient ourselves to the battle in progress. I had been thinking about the game throughout the week and felt that it would go pretty well for my Russians. To say it went my way would be an understatement. Things went my way almost from the start and my opponent's dice took away any chances he had. 

It's never easy for ASL'rs to reflect on the randomness of results, which is such a huge aspect of game play. It's tougher still, when we observe that randomness deny what we know would otherwise be predicted results in a given least as much as we might believe we can accurately predict such things. So I did feel badly near the end of the game as my opponent's cold dice allowed my forces to simply walk past his defenders.

Winning any game in ASL is always worth celebrating and despite the setbacks suffered by STL opponent, I was still happy with the win and my choices for much of the game. As for the scenario itself...I have to admit that Scott Holst's initial impressions of the VC were accurate. It played a bit messily. My opponent never made any attempt to move east of Row T and gain the VP associated with being beyond that row. Instead, he built his game around keeping me from exiting the board. Was that the best choice?  I don't know. This game really played very much like the historical event, so I generally give kudos to a scenario designer when they achieve that. To me that is a big part of the game, as I really enjoy experiencing the actual event to the extent possible with a board game. Would I play this one again....probably not. It just never developed into an exciting game for us, which of course is as related to the Players involved as the scenario itself.

My opponent's Germans would find themselves locked in position for most of the game. They traded shots with shadows as they attempted unsuccessfully to uncover my concealed 4-5-8's in my initial ambush force.

My ambush force was hugely successful...not in eliminating German units, but in holding them in place along a long front, which enabled my exit forces to get off the map.

At the start of Turn 4, I wasn't sure what to expect. Through 3 turns, my STL opponent had been content to stay pretty much west of the Row Y Road. That appeared to be the road he was planning to defend in an attempt to stop my forces from exiting the board.

His forces had good North-South visibility and the road definitely bisected my approach to exit the board. So I could see the value in that, but on the downside, I was going to be moving through his field of vision with only 1 any shots would be really tough to make.

My opponent moved the Jadgpanzer IV into a hull down position with a shot down the entire length of the Y Road. His Tiger II then started up and rumbled towards my oncoming infantry laden trucks. I had feared that move and would now see if I would pay for my audacity.

In Advancing Fire, the MG's managed to immobilize my lead truck. Both squads made their morale checks...but a Snake Eyes created a Berserk squad and activated the German Sniper who promptly eliminated my broken AT Gun crew.

Good shooting Uwe.

The Berserk 4-4-7 charged right at the King Tiger in order to draw its MG fire and spare my other truck from disaster. The ploy worked, but my Berserkers were broken, which left 6 residual fire in the Hex...and ensured that I would not be moving any trucks through that hex.

They made a lot of noise...but ultimately broke under the point blank MG fire of the White Tiger!!!

Next up, I decided to go for broke. I sent two IS-2's right at the mighty King Tiger.

Dmitri Kasonov questioned the wisdom of my command...but understood that his comrades in the trucks were in great danger. Only he stood between them and the White Tiger of Death!!!

What would follow would be the decisive moment of the scenario as my IS-2's faced off at point-blank range with the fearsome King Tiger.
My other forces continued moving as well. I was determined to run everything to the edge of the board as quickly as possible. The Tiger II could only watch as Trucks of Soviet Infantry bypassed and headed West.

Two trucks with a total of 4 squads ran past the Tiger II and would successfully exit the West board edge.

Soviet Yaks captured the battle from the air as they headed west to strafe German airfields.

My opponent's bad luck with the dice continued and gained in frequency. His Tiger II eliminated his Main Armament while trying repair and was recalled.

Bad Dice...

Bad dice didn't just affect my opponent. Dmitri's IS-2 broke its gun while trying to hit the King Tiger. Fortunately for me though, the Tiger kept failing to penetrate the armor of the IS-2 right in front of it.

Meanwhile up in the North, the recalled Tiger II headed for the rear. The standoff in the building remained with the Germans on the 1st floor and the Russians hanging on to the second floor.

My opponent's Landsers never came up the stairs after me.

The tank duel ended with a fiery blast as my IS-2 hit the King Tiger's turret and rolled snake-eyes for the effect.

That was the moment we both realized that the game was over. There was nothing now to stop my forces from exiting the board.

My tankers had come through and taken out the dreaded White Tiger!!!
My opponent didn't give up of course and as my column of tanks and trucks went by, he attempted to fire a Panzerschreck and Panzerfausts from inside the building. Three times he fired as my vehicles rolled by...and each time, he rolled a "9" which broke the squad and failed to hit.

It's hard not to feel like my opponent suffered a bit from bad rolls at the end. The odds of rolling three 9's in a row...with auto killing Panzerfausts was hard to believe.

So, as my opponent's DM'd themselves, my Trucks and Armor exited the board and secured a Russian Victory.

A look at the Russians who successfully exited the board.

Relative positions of the forces at game end. My opponent gave the concession at the conclusion of Turn 6.  Not the greatest scenario we ever played, but it had its fun moments and it's never boring when King Tigers face off against IS-2's!!!

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