Wednesday, August 13, 2008

ASL: After Action Report - MP17 "Bagging Burcorps" Part 2

The situation after the initial Japanese Turn:

End of Japanese Player turn 1

It's already looking a tad like I've invited the Japanese through an open gate right up the middle.

After regrouping:
End of British Player Turn 1

More to come once I retreive the VASL logs.

Monday, August 11, 2008

After Action Report - MP17 "Bagging Burcorps" Part 1

I've played one scenario from the SoCal ASL guys before and really enjoyed that (MP12 "Vulcan's Forge" - Stalingrad) so when Pierce Mason suggested MP17 as a Pacific Theatre scenario, I was fine. It's not a complex scenario on the face of it, with only Light Jungle and standrd PTO rules in effect, but it is a fighting withdrawal over 7 turns over effectively 1.75 board-depths.

The British are not your everyday plucky tommies, but second line troops, reasonably well equipped but not as cool under fire as their regular brethren. With that in mind I set up as follows:

And here's an expanded look:
The Japanese enters from the bottom of the picture and so they're going to be in my face pretty quickly. I should have time to redeploy from my reserve as necessary to react to the main thrust. I've looked to cover the Left flank with a picket line of one and a half sections - if the main thrust comes that way, I'll be very surprised as it's the long way around to the Japanese objective (a small ville far to the North). The right flank is protected by a reduced strength platoon with a senior subaltern and a Bren. This should prevent an attempt to use the easy approach down the right.

The centre is guarded by again a trip wire defence of a section and a bit, while the centre is very much where I expect to develop my reserve and a blocking position around the chokepoint in BB6 where a small watering hole constricts the path to the North. One part of my reserves are going to be sent to the north early on to develop a prepared position for the end game, and watch out for infiltrating Japanese recce troops.

Unfortunately in my initial setup I've effectively tried to defend everywhere and left some inviting gaps for infiltration. I didn't fully take note that British 2nd Line still cower and that the paucity of spray fire weapons makes for major defensive fire weaknesses. However if I can fall back in good order without losing too many casualties to Japanese close quarters attacks and fire I'll be happy.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Playing again with a vengeance

I think I've rediscovered the fun element in ASL. For years it was almost a chore to play ASL, the effort required in keeping up with clarifications, Q&As, errata, even accessing the latest and greatest new scenarios seemed beyond me. In a way this mirrored my experience with miniatures. Too much effort required in the process compared to the enjoyment attained from the outcome.

But in the last few weeks I've got back on VASL, played in an online ASL tourney (lost in the 1st round even), and found that I don't need to be totally au fait with all the minutiae to play a competent game. Results are immaterial at this point (I'm on a fairly long losing streak) but with each game my interest is growing as I find it interesting to analyse the past games and look to improve.

I've found my comfort level in terms of ongoing games - 4 PBeM VASL and a live VASL game seem to work nicely in terms of scheduling and pacing. It will certainly fill the gap between face to face gaming as well. The main thing is that I've broadened my pool of opponents and look to be involved in regular games from now on.

I'm currently playing scenarios from a wide variety of publishers, designers and theaters of war:

  • Melee Pack III: MP17 Bagging Burcorps (Japanese vs British);
  • Windy City Wargamers' ASL Open'96 pack: WCW07 Eye of The Tiger (Germans vs Soviets); 
  • ASL Journal 3: J41 By Ourselves (Norwegian vs Germans); 
  • AH General: T09 Niscemi-Biscari Highway (American Paras vs Germans)
  • Friendly Fire Pack: FrF09 The Abbeville Bridgehead (Germans vs French).

Action Pack 4 is due any day now (I had hoped it would arrive this morning but no luck there) so that will probably dominate my ASL thoughts apart from the PbeM stuff until John arrives from Taiwan in the next couple of weeks. Valor of the Guards is still sitting on my desk, waiting for an opportunity to get on the table, but for now I'm happy to take my time bfore diving in.