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Yesterday had a three player Fighting Wings game at my house using the Quick Start Rules and scenario five from The Sun against The Stars introductory package. This 20 turn action has two A6M2 Zeros vs. two F4F Wildcats in August 1942 in the South Pacific. Set up has one Zero followed by the two Wildcats followed in turn by the second zero.

In our game a swirling dogfight developed with the Zeros trying to slow the speed down of the engagement and turn the furball into a turning contest while the Wildcats tried to keep separation and speed up while maneuvering for shots. First half had a USN Wildcat advantage with four damage points inflicted, two on each Zero. This included a short range head on exchange where the Wildcat firepower and ruggedness trumped the weaker Zero's gunnery. In this half of the game the Wildcats, using opposite banks and turns (one in a right bank, the other in a left bank) kept the Zeros from tailing each other by clearing each others' tails. It was cool to see this historical tactic work in the game at least for a few turns until I bungled a move.

End game saw the advantage shift to the Imperial Japanese Navy fliers as a too wide of separation between Wildcats prevented mutual support and the Zeros both quickly, expertly maneuvered behind to tail one of the Wildcats. Devoid of support and once on the tail, the Zeros proved impossible to shake despite all the twists and turns and climbs. A series of Zero shots at decreasing ranges each turn failed to dent the desperately maneuvering Wildcat until an end game two hex range tail shot caused three damage points and an engine fire critical. The fire was eventually put out, as was the Wildcat ardor for tangling with Zeros on their terms. Both Wildcats began to dive rapidly away to end the game. Final VP had the IJN win by 1 VP for the single critical hit. A great, close game!

It took 6 hours to play 17 turns though speed of play increased significantly each turn as we rapidly picked up on the game mechanics and the rules questions dropped off.

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At 9:26am on May 16, 2010, Ryan Schultz said…
A great game. Joe is tenacious and an aggressive ASL player. He used the bocage cover very well in approach with a very good follow on combined arms assault on the hill at mid-game. I did do a semi-sleaze move and burn a four hex grain field to help block one avenue of approach to the hill. First time I did this in live play, not even in my Red Barricades CGs, though I have contemplated it many times in other scenarios. Here the defense seemed to scream out to do this.

I think neither of us realized how short the time is to actually take all the needed hills hexes for the Germans. It requires two turns for the approach, a couple of turns of suppressing fire to break up the American defense, leaving only two turns to physically advance and melee the remaining American defenders for the required hex control. All this with a VC that requires the Germans to have a CVP less than the defending Americans. I would play this again but perhaps switching sides as I think the American defense has only a few small choices while there are several approach routes the Germans might try to keep it interesting in the attack.
At 9:26am on May 16, 2010, Ryan Schultz said…
Yesterday played Joe Co. in an ASL scenario from Out of the Attic OA1 The Road to St Lo. This is a deluxe July 1944 action with German vs Americans in, as you might guess, bocage country. Twist here is the Americans, 10 dug-in first line squads strong with a heavy, a medium and a mortar, are defending the board e hill which is devoid of bocage by SSR. The attacking Germans, also 10 squads strong of the 5-4-8 para types, are backed by three Panzer IVs, the usually MGs assortments including a heavy, and two flamethrowers. The Germans have the tools and firepower needed to take the hill but can they do it in the six turns allowed while keeping their CVP below that of the Americans for the win?

In our action the early German assault rolled up the American picket line rather quickly. An American HIP half squad with Bazooka was easily found and broke with well placed recon fire while another full American squad with Bazooka surrendered to an adjacent German hero after snaking a MC then boxing the resulting HOB. Long range harassing fire from the American hilltop support weapons did not delay there German advance due to clever use of bocage on the approach.

Mid-game saw the Germans smoke then advance on to the hill with the three tanks in direct support though one did break its MA. One of the four required victory second-level hill hexes was captured and a second about to switch to German control. The Germans troops were on a roll. A desperate melee ensued in a key hill hex with both sides feeding troops to up the odds and keep the battle going over several turns. Stalled by the inconclusive melee, the momentum began to switch. One tank went under to a Bazooka shot while a second bogged when exiting a stream. Meanwhile withering American supporting firepower from nearby fire grouped squads broke up the German infantry advance leaving the third tank vulnerable to a CC attack. End game went to the Americans as the Germans ran out of time.
At 5:43pm on May 3, 2010, Ryan Schultz said…
A great day of gaming ASL with Steve G. today - two scenarios in seven hours of play. We really were pushing the cardboard hard near the end to finish the second game before quitting time!

First up was up was Scenario 6 Opera of Death from HOB's Berlin: Red Vengeance HASL. A Soviet infantry assault group backed by three AFVs take on a mixed bag of German infantry with a lowly 75L Pak 40 AT Gun defending Berlin's Kroll Opera House. This scenario is played on a historical map of downtown Berlin. In our action the AT Gun took down one AFV (a T34/85) while a second (one of those 122L late war models, very cool) was bogged in debris. Meanwhile the Soviet infantry, lacking smoke for cover and time to finesse, made a mad dash for one of victory buildings. A tough German defense backed by long range machine gun fire slowed the advance to a crawl after the key Soviet 10-2 leader was wounded. Game ended with the Soviets in possession of only eight of the required 15 victory locations.

Second play was Scenario 5 Himmler's House from the HASL (not to be confused with the recent Journal scenario with the same name but played on deluxe mapboards). This an all infantry action that is truly brutal. No finesse or flanking moves here - a straight up assault on a well defended stone structure. The first three Soviet incursions into the victory building were smashed and forced to retreat back out with little loss to the defending Germans while the fourth attack, stiffened by eight additional 6-2-8s and a 10-2, finally pushed into the building. Last turn of the game saw three close combats for the remaining three victory locations needed for a victory for the motherland. Alas, it was not be and all three CC's failed for a well deserved German win.

It feels great to get some ASL action in after not having played for so long. Steve's play has improved. His forte is defense in the city environment!
At 12:51pm on December 13, 2009, Ryan Schultz said…
Seven players showed for Little Stalingrad VII with eight games of ASL played over a full day starting at 0800 and ending late in the night. It was a treat to have us all gather and play the same game at the same time. This is what makes ASL very special to me – many gamers sharing a common experience.
While 11 had signed up to attend, four potential players failed to make the game day show up morale check. I am, of course, disappointed with the drop outs and understand that real life sometimes over rules best intentions. The seven that did show had, I hope, a blast. My wife went all out with food for the group and I am, as I write this the next day, still stuffed. I wish the attendees had eaten more as I am left with a huge fridge full of left over’s I will have to personally tackle this week.
Play choices this year focused on either Budapest scenarios from Bill Cirillo’s upcoming MMP HASL and/or a list of short, sharp scenarios with a US paratroopers theme. Six Budapest scenarios were played, including a very cool fight over para-dropped supplies that land between enemy lines. The quality of the Budapest scenarios is quite clear and this will be a top bang up product when released by MMP. Bill C. has done a superb effort with the creation and development of this forthcoming HASL. The remaining two scenarios were paratrooper actions (Zon with the Wind, Niscemi-Biscari Highway). At the end of the play-off rounds, Sean D. and Bill C. emerged undefeated and were thus matched for the championship game playing a somewhat meaty Budapest action. After a late night Sean came out on top and is the Little Stalingrad VII tourney winner. Congrats Sean! He wins bragging rights and a copy of From the Cellar Pack #2. He also knocked off a three-peat championship attempt by Mark Walz. Mark is a tough opponent who always hangs tough no matter the dice and, more often than not, makes the game go down to the wire.
At 2:39pm on August 2, 2009, Ryan Schultz said…
Played the same GCACW action (a longish seven turn Stonewall Jackson's Way scenario 5) from last week again this weekend but this time against Bill H. Rather then jump to On To Richmond, a new module, as I had planned I wanted to take advantage of a full day of Saturday play, starting at 0900.

This second play through was similar to first. Jackson went on a rampage though his flank march was cut shorter, eventually falling on Manassas Junction and Stuart's cavalry did most of the railroad station burning towards Washington DC. Longstreet's Corps, making a drive along the southern map edge, was stalled out by a tough Union stand and made little headway. Game end saw Jackson and Stuart, unsupported by Longstreet, making a run from two powerful re-enforcing Union Corps marching from Alexandria.

End game victory point count showed either a marginal Confederate win or marginal Union win depending on if you add the on-line rules suggested 30 VP balance points. Essentially a hard fought draw I think - no major breakthroughs on either side. Bill plays a great game and is very aggressive on the attack. His use of Stuart's cavalry was very effective. He also taught me a valuable lesson on the power of stacking several divisions in a hex for both attack and defensive purposes. Those artillery mods really start to add up.

I am in the groove on the GCACW game system. More play to come, this time with the On To Richmond module I hope.

Still working my August schedule. Have conflicting play requests from several of you. Let me see what I can come up with.

Upcoming Game Schedule
Aug (exact Saturday date TBD) Dan S. Alesia
Aug (exact Sunday date TBD) Gordon T. 1776
23 Aug Dave C. GCACW
12 Dec ASL Little Stalingrad VII (US paratrooper theme)
TBD finish PanzerBlitz Kursk scenario 10 with Tracy J.
TBD Double blind Midway or Bismarck with Tracy J., Brian M.

Looking to play
Great Campaigns of the American Civil War series (MMP)
Great Battles of the American Civil War (GMT)
American Revolutionary War series (GMT)
Rebel and Redcoats (DG)
Naval: VITP/WAS, Bismarck '79, Midway ’64, GWAS series
Nostalgia: Frederick the Great, Air Assault on Crete

Ryan
At 6:14pm on July 26, 2009, Ryan Schultz said…
John, Chris and I played the final scenario from GCACW Stonewall Jackson's Way, scenario five this afternoon. This action has Longstreet's and Jackson's Corps, led of course by Lee, taking on Pope' Army stiffened by troops from McCelland's returning Peninsula army on the in August 1862. It is a large seven turn action with Jackson getting a free turn's movement around the boys in blue to simulate his famous flank march. Civil war buffs will recognize that this is the campaign that leads to the Battle of Second Manassas / Bull Run.

In our play through, true to life, Jackson easily side-slipped the Union forces and ravaged the northern Virginia countryside burning four railroad stations and capturing the large Union supply depot at Manassas Junction. The Yankees were hard pressed to stop Jackson, always seemingly one step behind the swifter troops in butternut. Longstreet, widely separated from Jackson, was unable to make any progress and was stalled out by a series six straight Union initiatives blocking any possible breakthrough movement. Both Chris and John made some brilliant attacks, busting open what I thought were unbreakable defensive positions. My defensive game against raiding forces needs to improve while I was pleased with my ability to handle the main battle line with the large, ponderous Union infantry Corps. I also made better use of my cavalry I think. We stopped play at end turn five with two more turns to go. Victory point calculations and the always enjoyable end-of-game strategy bull session showed either a marginal Confederate or marginal Union win was possible if played to conclusion so perhaps it is a draw at this point. I will record the positions for play at a future date if Chris and John so desire.

As I have tackled all the scenarios from GCACW Stonewall Jackson's Way I am moving on to another module in this series, probably On To Richmond. This one simulates McCelland's 1862 Peninsula campaign in all its glory from Ft Monroe to the gates of Richmond and has a way cool factor, all the more so as this one covers the area we live in. If you ever wanted to learn this game system - this is the one to give it a try. Why not make some time in your schedule to join me? You will be glad you did.

My August schedule has firmed up somewhat with my trip to Minnesota delayed until early Sept or so. I will therefore begin to schedule my August matches and am open to your ideas and open play dates. Let me hear from you on what you are interested in.

Upcoming Game Schedule
Aug (exact Saturday date TBD) Dan S. Alesia
Aug (exact Sunday date TBD) Gordon T. 1776
23 Aug Dave C. GCACW
12 Dec ASL Little Stalingrad VII (US paratrooper theme)
TBD finish PanzerBlitz Kursk scenario 10 with Tracy J.
TBD Double blind Midway or Bismarck with Tracy J., Brian M.
TBD GCACW with Bill H.

Looking to play
Great Campaigns of the American Civil War series (MMP)
Great Battles of the American Civil War (GMT)
American Revolutionary War series (GMT)
Rebel and Redcoats (DG)
Naval: VITP/WAS, Bismarck '79, Midway ’64, GWAS series
Nostalgia: Frederick the Great, Air Assault on Crete

Ryan
At 5:44pm on July 12, 2009, Ryan Schultz said…
Bob S., Tracy J. and I grappled with the five turn scenario two from GCACW Stonewall Jackson's Way. I played this once before against Bill H. - this game had a similar end result - a Union Substantive win - though this action was completely different in play and position.

In this second play through the Union won a massive number of the opening initiative rolls with matching high march rolls, allowing three Yankee corps to skedadle away from the surprisingly slower moving Confederates and set up a solid Yankee defense. The Confederate attack stalled out on day four of the five day action. Of particular note was Sigal's I Corps, usually the whipping boy of any game, managed to stall out Jackson and even kick him in the shins twice - this due to Tracy rolling extremely well on two very low odds attacks. Tracy is much braver than I and this time it succeeded brilliantly.

All three of us would play this scenario again.

I truly love this game series - each person's playing styles comes out. Bob S. is strategic in thinking, looking for wide flank marches to obtain his objectives. Tracy is more aggressive, seeking low odd attacks to stall out the defender, then move in for the kill with supporting units for flank attacks. My conservative play style puts me somewhere in between Bob and Tracy, though I miss many opportunities that Bill and Tracy might have open to them. Too early to say whose is best, perhaps none, though I want to play more to refine and improve what humble skills I do have.

Next up is a double blind GM's game of Midway using the Guadalcanal variant from the AH General. Played at Tracy's house. Looking for another GCACW match for 26 Jul. Aug play dates in the air until I figure out my travel plans, sometime in Aug, to go back to Minnesota and spend some time with my folks.

Mark your calendar now for Little Stalingrad VII - our annual one day ASL mini-tourney. All our welcome, there is no fee, with a focus on scenarios with American paratroopers. Probably no paradrops as these take too much time bit instead short, sharp actions with the beautiful green 7-4-7 in the OOB.

All are welcome to any of these events - just drop me an email to let me know you are coming.

Upcoming Game Schedule
18 Jul Brian M., Tracy J., Midway '64 Guadalcanal variant (played at Tracy's house)
26 Jul GCACW looking for an opponent for Sunday afternoon play
Aug (exact Saturday date TBD) Dan S. Alesia
Aug (exact Sunday date TBD) Gordon T. 1776
23 Aug Dave C. GCACW
12 Dec ASL Little Stalingrad VII (US paratrooper theme)

Looking to play
Great Campaigns of the American Civil War series (MMP)
Great Battles of the American Civil War (GMT)
American Revolutionary War series (GMT)
Rebel and Redcoats (DG)
Naval: VITP/WAS, Bismarck '79, Midway ’64
Nostalgia: Frederick the Great, Air Assault on Crete, Alexander (AH)
ASL - back in the queu
At 5:18pm on July 5, 2009, Ryan Schultz said…
Played, with Bob S. and Joe O., scenario four of Stonewall Jackson's Way from the Great Campaigns of the American Civil War (GCACW) today. Scenario 4 is a three day action with Jackson's powerful three division Corps set up North of Pope's Army in Central Virginia. The game revolves around how much pillaging Jackson can do, with be able assist from Stuart's nearby cavalry (got to love the two dice up three for Stuart's cav movement), before the Union forces racing from the South to catch up arrive on scene.

We found it to be a tense struggle. Jackson, unopposed by scenario rule for the first turn, uses day one to maneuver, day two is a rebel raid and burn day with six different railroad stations to choose from for damage or burning, and the third day is a rebel fighting retreat as the Union forces begin to arrive and gather on scene in significant numbers. Sigel's I Corps, rather then getting demolished by Jackson as in other scenarios, did exemplary wok opening up the approach avenues by pushing aside the rebel cavalry screen while the following Union II Corps (Banks) and III Corps (McDowell) made the key finishing assaults. It was a blast to play and a close game till the end. The Union won by points on the last turn.

I am looking for an opponent to play next weekend - your place or mine. I am hoping for scenario 5 of this game (it is a large one, checking in at seven turns) though I am open to other possibilities. drop me a note and lets set up a match.

Scheduled one-on-one Games
12 Jul GCACW scenario 5 - need opponent (or can play another game)
18 Jul Brian M., Tracy J., Midway '64 Guadalcanal variant (maybe played at Tracy's house)
26 Jul Gordon Todd 1776 (tentative)
23 Aug Dave C. GCACW
Dec Little Stalingrad VII (US paratrooper theme)

Looking to play
Great Campaigns of the American Civil War series (MMP)
Great Battles of the American Civil War (GMT)
American Revolutionary War series (GMT)
Rebel and Redcoats (DG)
Naval: VITP/WAS, Bismarck '79, Midway ’64
Nostalgia: Frederick the Great, Air Assault on Crete
ASL - back the queu

Ryan
At 7:29pm on July 1, 2009, Ryan Schultz said…
New England returns to British rule

At 7:28pm on July 1, 2009, Ryan Schultz said…
Flat Top IJN CVs duck into a storm to avoid an approaching USN air strike

 
 
 

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