Mayhem in Manila, July 29 2016

People profiles

Benji at McDonalds

I got up rather early on the last day and so I checked out, took my luggage to the venue and went down to McD for a nice breakfast. I met Benji there. Benji travelled in from nearby via Uber. He told me how he’s been playing Mark Humphries every Friday evening. As a matter of fact John Knowles told me about Benji earlier and said he’s one of those guys who’s been picking ASL up really quickly. Apparently this is his first tournament and he’s enjoying it. He knows there’s a learning curve to be surmounted and he is focusing on getting through the first 100 games. I, on the other hand, is on my 123rd game and I am no where close to NOT feeling like a beginner. I didn’t tell him that.

The China crew

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One of the Dare Death editors with his BattleDice

The China crew showed up with 5 players this year (6 including myself). They have already been playing in regional tournaments so they are no strangers to most in attendance. These guys definitely held their own : after all Kyle, Johnny & Xavier are experienced players. Xavier, aka the X teacher, holds monthly ASL classes in a Shanghai game store. However, since he was never before ranked internationally, he is awarded “The Outstanding Newbie” award. Kyle & Zhen “Richard” Wang, are the two chief editors of the Chinese ASL magazine “Dare Death”. We even came in personalised team t-shirts, designed by Xavier.

Jamie Westlake’s Four Dice

One thing a lot of us noticed was Westlake throwing 4 dice at a time. He came in second in the tourney and so whatever he’s doing must have worked. Either that or it’s his superhero t-shirts. We asked him to explain this “Four Dice System”:

“Hi guys…..Aussie convention…..red and white first. Blue and yellow second. If multiple morale checks, top unit red and white, next blue and yellow. Then roll again for third and fourth etc. exception: if you roll HOB, blue and white become HOB resolution. If leader creation, yellow is next. When first introduced to this twenty years ago I hated it. Now I love it…..on a to hit roll, red and white is the hit, blue and yellow the kill. Instant gratification….whack!”

All the “other” folks I’d like to thank

Will Fleming

With so many players coming in from overseas and with a good number of new players, we knew there’s going to be an issue with maps and overlays. Will Fleming worked meticulously to put together good solid printouts of scenario maps on thick paper.

George Bates

George Bates couldn’t make the tournament because of real life issues. However, he’s instrumental to the success of Mayhem in Manila. He pushed through a lot of decisions and set the tone we want to bring forth in these tournaments. He was the one who went to Perry at Multi-Man Publishing and asked for sponsorship. That man showed me how it’s done.

Vlad See

Vlad See did the fantastic Mayhem t-shirts, amongst other things like driving players to airports. The graphics on the t-shirt is actually done by a professional design artist, not that it’s not noticeable.

The Sponsors

The sponsors! Oh my god, the sponsors!! They go such a very long way to make this a proper tournament. I can’t be more thankful of their support.

The Blog of Five Rounds

AP89 To the Pain, Bruce Probst

This is a Gary Fortenberry scenario from Action Pack 9 “To the Bridge”. The victory condition is a little out of the ordinary, there are multiple ways you can win. If you fulfil certain number of VC conditions at a certain point in time, the game ends. Otherwise it goes on to the next checkpoint until the 6.5 turn scenario is over.

Bruce Probst was my opponent on this first round. I played him in a Dare Death VASL tourney round before and he’s really one of the nicest chaps you can get matched up with.

If you look the picture above, the locations marked with a “V” are the places that allows the British to score. The arrows show where Probst’s Gurkha Rifles roamed. Probst was probing the left, centre as well as the right. My attention was draw more to the right because my asset allocation was more towards the middle. I don’t worry about the left as much since it’s a much harder terrain to traverse.

Probst took advantage of his mobility and shifted his weight from the left to the centre, where he started focusing on around Turn 3, our first “checkpoint” so to speak. I wasn’t setup very well and so I had no multi-man counters around the middle VC. However, I was confident that I could advance a MMG crew into the area and extend the game to the next checkpoint (from Turn 3 to Turn 5).

As luck would have it, the crew had to roll for an NMC on the Defensive Fire and produced boxcars. It’s easy for me to blame the dice for this but I shouldn’t be in this situation to start with. I should have focused much better on the Victory Conditions.

Focus on the VC!

J150 The Sangshak Redemption, John Knowles

This 5 turn scenario is from ASL Journal 10. Both the Japan side and the Indian / Gurkha’s side get to attack as well as to defend. All the buildings are huts apart from the building in the middle of the VC circle which is a stone church. The IJA wins by winning ownership of the church (even just briefly) and keep two building within the VC circle at game’s end. My opponent was John Knowles, John and I play every Thursday evening, from “Into the Rubble” scenarios to Campaign Game playtests.

Initially, the IJA faced off a weak India setup. I needed to capture the church as soon as possible and to kill those 2 guns, to get into the right positions and to preserve my forces for the Gurkha onslaught. I didn’t move fast enough, I don’t think. I also saw an opportunity to banzai through cover and take out his ordnance. Those ordnance weren’t even pointed towards the banzai’er. Well, that didn’t turn out so well. I was able to pile into one of the Indian squads but neither of the guns.

My guys were off position and then John got a CH on the church from his 76mm mortar.

The expert that he is, he took maximum advantage of the opportunity to push into the church. My IJA couldn’t shoot at all that day, the Gurkhas were stacked and unloading barrages after barrages into the huts that the IJA were holding onto for dear life. In the diagram above, the bottom two arrows were how the IJA made their initial push. The arrows on the top and on the right were the Gurkha reinforcements.

I could have conceded after Turn 3, which was 2 Gurkha Movement Phases after his reinforcement arrived but I fought on. I surprised myself when the battle lasted through to Turn 5 until the necessary IJA forces were KIA’d off the map. To me this is a terrific reason as to why one should never concede. You never know how things will go.

Never concede!

AP59 Taking Heads, Zhen Wang

This is a 6.5 Turn scenario by another Fortenberry pack, Action Pack 6 A Decade of War. My opponent was Zhen Wang. Zhen’s one of the chief editors of Dare Death, the Chinese ASL magazine. The IJA attack down from the top of the map pushing against some ELR2 Philippines Army (“PA”) personnel. They could either win by exiting CVPs off the board, or by a combination of killing US units / capturing buildings (largely to the left of the “Fake HT”.

My issue started before the game even began and is perhaps the key weakness to date in my game. The “weak” Americans also get a 37LL AT Gun and two M3 GMC’s which are halftracks with 75mm guns. If you look at the diagram above, the 2 “bright” red dots are where they were located. The 37LL gun was at the back and never got used. They never really got into the right and is a big reason why I failed to get as many IJA kills as I should when they advance down over the top part of the map. To prevent CVP losses by losing those halftracks, I took them out of play myself. It absolutely obvious but it never hit me until now.

Zhen was able to demolish my PA troops piecemeal all the way back into the village buildings.

Put all your assets into the fight!

 

ITR1 Debacle at Sungkiang, Akira Lu

I was the defending Chinese in this 6.5 Turn Scott Holst scenario from “Into the Rubble”. My opponent was Akira Lu who is a relative newcomer into the hobby. He came to the tournament with nothing, not even Beyond Valor, but he left the tournament with Mark Humphries’ old Raaco boxes & bag set. I guess he’s finally convinced!

Alan Smee had a quick chat with me about what he saw in my play. He said I need to get as many assets as possible into the fight. I can even fall back into Fortifications but don’t put my assets out of play by putting them the backfields. He told me how he’d do a A103 Mayhem in Manila defence and that point came through loud and clear.

The red points on the map are where I placed my two 76mm artillery.

I put most of my assets forward and engaged the attackers for half the game around the top part of the map. The IJA had to capture 11 of those multihex buildings I won this one by adjudication as we ran out of time. My opponent is a newbie but I could feel the difference from my change in approach.

Push your assets forward, you can always back into fortified positions

AP90 Smashing the Hook, Benji Dayco

This is my other favourite scenario out of Action Pack 9 “To the Bridge”. This is a fast 5.5 turn scenario. The British needed to either destroy both roadblocks or clear IJA units from around the roadblock area.

My opponent was Benji Dayco whom I met that very morning at McD!

I figured we will fight this one in front. I put my 75mm infantry gun on the hill overlooking the first ridge. I had a MMG there in case the gun needed support. I also had HIP units on both sides of the road in front just in case some of these British breaks or if a leader wandered to the wrong place.

This worked out every well. The British seemed torn between running for the first roadblock or fighting it out. I won this one by concession as I had to make for the airport.

Lesson learned.

Defenders can still choose to fight the attackers in the ground of their choice.

Siem Reap, Cambodia?

We did a quick vote towards the end of Mayhem regarding the location of the next tournament. Siem Reap came out to be the winner and Raphael Ferry can’t be more enthusiastic in taking that on.

Siem Reap, home of Le Franc Tireur, does seem to be a top notched idea.

Snake eyes in the shadows of Ankor Wat.

I was chatting with Witchbottles the other day. Given all the issues and problems we have in life, whether personal or professional, to be able to see each other once a year means the both of you probably didn’t have too bad a year. It’s a blessing really.

See you there, Summer 2017. Have a good year!

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Nor’easter XX Anniversary Pack & the Bunker crew

IMG_1514The ASL fanatics in New England got together two years ago and started building a scenario pack to commemorate 20 years of their involvement with ASL and more importantly, 20 years of their friendship via ASL.  

This is truly a pack built by ASL fanatics, for fanatics.  As such, standards are very high as these folks are well know players and scenario designers themselves.

One of the first ones that interests me is YASL#1 Full Immersion Baptism (Designer : Carl Nogueira).  I was involved in its playtesting.  This is the Spanish Civil War, replete with the Republican, the Nationalists, the Condor Legions and Moors with their ability to seek cover in the folds of the ground.  IMG_1226

YASL#4 The Twin Pimples (Designer : Andy Howard), it’s British regulars and commandos pitted against Italians in the desert and at night.  We are talking about 21 Italians & toys against 10 British squads and 9 commandos.  

My first game out of this pack will most likely to be YASL#5 Patrols on the Trail to Hell (Designer Vic Provost) perhaps for no other reason than that I have been a huge fan of Vic Provost’s & the Bunker crew’s PTO design.  This is a 5 turn USMC vs IJA jungle action that looks to be a good introduction for newer folks to the PTO terrain.  

Oh hey, gritty Ground Snow at Dusk, ’44 Eastern front action in YASL#6 Hein Olshana (Designer : Robert “Kedge” Johnson).  I know, you never get tired of ETO.  StuGs (with no radios) vs SU76Ms!  

IMG_1225YASL#8 Ass Backwards (Bob Tufano & Tom Morin) is the only other scenario in existence (according to ASL Scenario Archive) that features the British Archer.  The Archer is a tank destroyer with a 76LL gun pointing BACKWARDS.  This is a 6.5 turner that puts Panthers on the German side and plays on the Riley’s Road Map (from ASL Operation Veritable Historical Study).  

Tanks ONLY action?  You should take a look at YASL#9 Rack’em Up!  (Designer : Ted Wilcox).  This is German vs American (9 on 9), Jan 1945, Falling Snow and burnt out buildings (read : Open Ground).  It’s a fast one with 4 turns.  

Paratroopers on the IJA?  YASL#10 Dropping Topside (Designer : Michael J “Pooch” Puccio).   Two German tank destroyers vs SIXTEEN  T-34s?  YASL#11 Ja, Bix (Designer : Brian “Dr Death” Sullivan).  It’s a 5.5 turn where both parties can vary their OB.  

YASL13 Die to the Last Man (Designer : Joe Gochinski) features the CG style OB purchases that I was hooked onto since St Louis’s China-Burma-India The Lost Theater pack.  The IJA may run or they may fight.  It’s up to the British to figure out.  IMG_1227

Joe Gochinski is also the designer of one of my favorite scenarios – DB099 The Gin Drinkers’ Line, featuring Hong Kong.  

By the way, when I call them fanatics, they are real fanatics.  I don’t just mean they play like there’s no tomorrow.  This pack features some of the best ASL scenario designers.  Carl Nogueira is the designer for CH Dien Bien Phu and for the upcoming Dinant CG, Tom Morin is the designer for Valor of the Guards, Vic Provost (OB14 Pursuing Kobayashi), Stephen Johns, Ted Wilcox, Michael Puccio, Ralph McDonald and Joe Gochinski & the others have long lists of published scenarios in Dispatches from the Bunker, the New England ASL newsletter.  

Vic Provost – SSR: All Occupants of the Bunker Location are considered Fanatic [A10.8]

The Nor’easter ASL Tourney XX Anniversary Pack is truly a scenario pack designed by fanatics, for fanatics.  It’s product that these group of friends can all be proud of.  I am actually quite happy about the production (PDF) and the delivery (free & instantaneous).  I know a good number of these folks personally, out of which Carl Nogueira spent the most time teaching me how to play properly.  I just KNOW I am getting a top notched product.  I also wish to show my support and therefore encourage more of these publishing efforts from other ASL groups around the world.

IMG_1223Who knows?  We might even see a couple starting to come out of Asia!!  

To get your own copy of Nor’easter ASL Tourney XX Anniversary Pack:

The cost of the Pack is $15.00. Please forward your payments to the PayPal account of Carl Nogueira if paying by PayPal or to:
Carl Nogueira
7 Green Street
New Bedford MA 02740
If paying by check/money order, please make payable to Carl H. Nogueira.
If you have any questions regarding any aspect of the scenario pack, please contact Carl at chnogueira@aol.com, or here on facebook.

To get our own subscription to Dispatches from the Bunker:

Contact Vic Provost at aslbunker@aol.com

(I backordered all copies apart from keeping a subscription going forward, it IS that good.)

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ITR5 Fire Teams AAR

“Catalina Kid,” a M4 medium tank of Company C, 745th Tank Battalion, drives through the entrance of the Aachen-Rothe Erde railroad station during the fighting around the city viaduct on Oct. 20, 1944. Courtesy of First Division Museum

It’s Oct 1944.  The Americans were about to engage the Germans in what was to be their largest urban fight in the Second World War.  Aachen was also to be the first German city captured by the Allies.

In this “BFP Into the Rubble” scenario, 10 elite & 12 US 1st line squads teamed up with 3 Shermans and 2 tank destroyers faced off against a mix of 18 German squads with mostly 2nd liners, a pair of AA guns and 2 Hetzers.  The Germans also had 21 concealment counters, 8 Fortified locations and sewer movement capabilities.

There was a lot of rubble.

The Americans were to capture 7 buildings in 8 turns.

1

American Turn 2 about to start : The German Fortress troops had a surprise for me.  They stacked a few Fortified counters on each other and brought the 37L AA gun onto the 2nd level!  This flak gun didn’t have the 2cm FlaKvierling’s “20” firepower but it did have Stielgranate 41 ammo which offered TK# 26 within 11 hexes.  The high rate of fire from both AA guns were particularly disconcerting if only for Deliberate Immobilizations.    I am quite the novice with AFVs.  I decided to keep my tanks together in mutually supporting roles.  My AFVs would stick with the infantry (panzerfausts abound) and we would use MGs (and not tanks) against ordnance.

There were a couple more tactical things I wanted to do / get into the habit of doing:

  • Place a squad on high ground.  If nothing else to make it harder for my opponent to gain concealment.  Squads in high places could interdict as well.
  • Get to the center building (where the malfunctioned Flak gun was).  My opponent observed that the center building was the ideal jump off point to the latter portion of the American attack.
  • The German SAN was 5 and I got open top tank destroyers.  I got to make sure we got dedicated sniper shielding for our key units!

Credit : Photo Gallery of World War 2

I was on a tight schedule here as the Americans.  I pushed on, using smoke whenever possible, dummies or not.  One of the first things we found was of course the Flak tower my opponent constructed on my right flank (top of the map).  My AFVs then slid towards the middle of the map.

2End of German Turn 2 : The Americans managed to push to the middle of the board.  The AA Gun commanding the middle of the street immobilized one of the Shermans.  The American 10-2 (aka Jedi) Deathstar got taken out as well.  However while the other AFVs spun towards the middle of the board to avoid the Steilgranate wielding Flak tower, a lone Sherman remained to provide smoke cover for the infantry (Errata : The 37L AA gun’s actually on the 2nd level, not the 3rd).

The Americans deployed 4 half squads towards the back to screen off the German sniper, and they took a few hits.  Unfortunately the German sniper killed 2 out of 7 American leaders, something the Americans could ill afford with their lower morale.  The American sniper relocated to the vicinity  Before the game is up, the Germans would see their SAN reduced from 5 to nothing by Sniper-on-Sniper action!

4

In the midst of American Turn 4 : The Americans pushed forward and captured the lone AA gun in the middle of the board.  American leaders continue to be shot by the German sniper.  The latest victim was the radio guy who was in the midst of relocating this radio.  The Jedi Master and his HMG team took the chance to rush past the sniper.  Towards the sound of gunfire!

The Americans took the center building, we just needed to remember to get guys upstairs.  Towards the bottom of the map, the infantry continue to lead the way with AFVs coming in as support.

6

End of American Turn 6 : Two more turns to go and the Americans still got 2 or 3 buildings to take.  We were definitely running tight on time.

From the right flank (top of map), the American OBA put the Flak tower’s stairwell on fire!  The gun crew was therefore encircled.  The German brokies were blocking the approach from the American forces though.

On the left, a Sherman got blown up by a German squad who found a panzerfaust.  An American flamethrower squad hopped by and broke the half squad involved.  That gave the other American AFVs time to push the wreck out of the way and to get into position for an assault on the final VP building on the left flank (bottom of map).

The German Hetzers were about to enter from the left of the board.

7

After American Turn 7 : Encircled as it might be, the German Flak tower was still in the fight.  It blew up the TD that rushed over to help!  Nearby MGs were engaging it, as was the captured AA gun from the middle of the board.  We got a little thin on our right but the lay of the rubble made it hard for us to rebalance.

The wounded artillery observer brought fire down on the left flank target building to good effect.  The Americans on the left flank got ready to hit the building in the last turn.

End game

End Game : The OBA on the left flank (bottom of map) broke some German units and even killed a Hetzer as it tried to move towards the Americans.

On the American right (top of map), the US forces had nothing but open ground to traverse unfortunately.  We tried to shift as much forces as possible to the right but having to get around the German brokies proved to be fatal!!  The Americans therefore lost this scenario by one VC building!

Thoughts?  What would you have done better?  What do you think of the tactical choices?  Would you try this scenario  Please comment!

DB104 The Police Station – AAR – Canadian Valor in Hong Kong!!

Winnipeg Grenadiers in Camp Shamshuipo HK Credits : http://stpaulslestweforget.wikispaces.com/

The IJA landed on Hong Kong island near North Point / Aldrich Bay on Dec 18 1941 and proceeded to move inland through the middle of the hilly island.  The Winnipeg Grenadiers made a particularly heroic stand at the Wong Nai Chung Gap Police Station.

This is a rather interesting scenario in which part of the Canadian and part of the IJA forces started using simultaneous and hidden placement in an area in front of the Police Station.  The scenario began with a round of Close Combat between forces that started in the same location, two of which the IJA could designate “hand to hand”.  The IJA’s goal was to take the Police Station and to make sure that there were less than one squad equivalent of “good order” Canadians within a 4 hex area around the station, all within 5.5 turns.

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The game started off quite intriguingly as Carl Nogueira and I discovered where each other’s hidden forces were, where they “co-existed” and what the Close Combat odds were.  I designated two of the melees as “hand to hand” and off we went.  As expected, “HtH” battles both pretty much resulted in mutual annihilation.  The Canadians lost 2 leaders in addition but an 8-1 rise to the fore in the heat of battle!

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IJA Turn 1 : The IJA led off with their two offboard field guns putting Willie Pete on two corners of the rather well MG-equipped station.  Unfortunately the flamethrower team got ID’d early and was shot at.  Anxious that they’d never get to use their toy, they promptly went berserk.

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IJA Turn 2 : The berserk FT team rigged up their toy and in their blind fury, must had bent a trigger or something.  Flamethrower died without a shot.  The IJAs discovered the Canadian pillbox cross the front of the Police Station.  Fighting outside took quite a toll on both sides.  The IJA hoped to hook around the back (left) of the police station as “Failure to Rout” seems to be the only way to clear the station of Canadians.

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IJA Turn 3 : The IJA malf’d one of their two offboard guns and therefore proceeded to setup their mortars so as to provide smoke cover.  To the top of the map, the IJA piled on top of the pillbox while trying to hook around the left.  To the right, the IJA continued to navigate through the open field and hoped to advance though the pillbox laid fire lane.

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IJA Turn 4 : The berserk HS charged across the street and into the station!!  The maniacs survived fire that left 12 and 8 residuals, only to die later in Close Combat.  Their buddies took advantage to the situation and walked around the left.  The IJA on the right continued to hit the station in front.  The newly established deathstar had a malf’d HMG, true to IJA weaponry of the period.

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IJA Turn 5 : So the Berserker couldn’t stay in the station.  The IJA opened with a DC HS that got shot out of existence when they advanced to the MG nest. On the other side of the station, poor Toshi was volunteered to be the “DC Hero of the Day”.  They sent him to the front door, patted him on the back and stuffed a DC into his arms.

They couldn’t get the berserker either, they said.

Toshi popped out to the middle of the street and was promptly vaporised along with his DC.

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Canadian Turn 5 : With 1 Movement Phase left, there was not enough time for the IJA to clear the building (nor the 4 hex radius around it).  The IJA conceded.

Thoughts :

  • Forget about walking around the station.  Turn 2 is probably when I should just walk STRAIGHT UP to the station and get part of the gang into the house.
  • I used WP and smoke from the offboard guns.  I should probably have used my knee more for additional cover.
  • I should have protected my Flamethrower a lot better.

What else would you have done?  Please comment.

BPF30 Melee Near The Coast AAR – the superior mobility of the IJA

The time was 25 August 1937.  This was the second time the IJA attacked Shanghai.  The IJA Shanghai Expeditionary Forced landed troops around Liuhe (浏河), Wusong (吳淞) and Chuanshakou (川沙口) as a diversionary to draw GMT troops away from Shanghai.  This scenario depicts an engagement where the IJA troops pushed rapidly inland to encircle Shanghai.

This was a 7 turn scenario in which the IJA needed to control 10 or more buildings at the end.  The GMT (Chinese) had 13 first liners, 1 MMG and 1 LMG led by an 8-1 and an 8-0.  They were reinforced by 4 elite squads with 2 other leaders on Turn 4.  The IJA started with 13 first liners led by 3 leaders.  They were reinforced by a platoon of elite squads plus another leader on Turn 3.

There was an eastern approach for the IJA (top of the map).  That approach led through jungles paths and onto a hill before a group of target buildings.  There was also a western approach where the IJA had to navigate across a shallow stream and fight their way out of a depression.  I guessed the eastern approach would be guarded heavier as the trek was slightly easier and targets richer.

I deployed with 60% of the IJA troops on the east side and 40% on the west with 2 squads HIP’d.  Hopefully that would cause the GMT to lean a little towards the east.

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Chinese Turn 1: Calamity hit the attackers almost immediately.  An observant GMT sniper seek out the highest ranking (10-0) IJA officer amidst a concealed stack and put a round through his head.

Not that it bothered the troops too much, they stayed out of sight a little and continued moving on.

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Chinese Turn 2: As the IJA approached the Chinese forces, an IJA HS was indignant that these brothers of the Greater Asia Co-prosperity Sphere shot at them.  They went berserk but their target GMT squad routed away.  A concealed GMT squad then moved in but failed to ambush the fuming mad IJA berserkers.

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IJA Turn 3 : The IJA decided to Banzai through the bottleneck on the left flank around the lake.  They almost immediately ran into a dangerous “Banzai” trap – a previously concealed stack of high fire power GMT that killed the led Banzai troops and threaten to suck in more.  Good thing I was able to avoid having an IJA leader sucked into that hex.

IMG_1092IJA Turn 3 still : The IJA on the right flank begin the second Banzai to motor across the shallow stream!

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IJA Turn 4 : The turn would see the right flank of the IJA banzai the rest of their troops over the shallow stream.

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IJA Turn 4 still: The left flank answered with a Banzai to the center of the board and not directly up the hill itself.  This was where I channelled my inner IJA and looked to infiltrate!

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IJA Turn 5 (errata – picture is wrong): The right flank banzai’d over the hill and looked to encircle the GMT defenders.  Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out.  Always an issue banzai’ing in the open.

On the otherhand, the left flank got up (and around) the hill and encircled the defenders there.

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Chinese Turn 6 (errata -picture is wrong) : Quick as you might think the IJAs were, I began to run out of time. I shift the IJA troops from the right to the left in preparation for the final push.

But look – the GMT ran a couple of squads and a leader around the IJA right flank and threatened to reclaim the buildings again!

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IJA Turn 7 (errata again!) : The IJA did a massive Banzai charge on the left flank into the cluster of target buildings behind the bamboo forest.  GMT troops in the jungle to the west put up a ferocious volume of fire! The IJA couldn’t get into all of those buildings (missed 1, IJA pinned).

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The End : At the close of IJA Turn 7 – the IJA got 9 buildings but stood to lose a few more in the counter attack – plus looked to lose 2 to 3 more to the GMT troops reclaiming buildings to the north (left of board).

It was a great game played with Peter-James Palmer in Australia.

Game Designer Carl Nogueira was asked “What do you like about ASL?”

FullSizeRender-1Likes, damn near all of it, but I’ll try to focus:

The way in which the game is layered: The rules are complex, master that, the tactics are complex, master that, the psychology of the game can be challenging too. Even then, there is no one way to win at this game. I know many top players with very different styles, who all have had enjoyed a good deal of success with the game. There are many ways to skin a cat. Everyone can succeed by refining their own approach to the game.

Obviously, because it is fun: If it wasn’t for this, there isn’t a thing I could list that would make it worthwhile. Of course what is fun for one person may not be for others, but there is room for many at the table. I am a competitive cuss, so I love the challenge of competing against my fellow gamers. Others approach it from a beer and pretzels perspective, but everyone who comes to embrace the hobby, ends up having fun with it.

The people: The camaraderie in ASL is unparalleled in wargaming. It is a niche hobby within a niche hobby and you can strike up a conversation with any player from here to Hong Kong, and immediately be speaking the same language. Because the bond between players forms quickly, many of my closest friends over the years are fellow gamers. I do not hesitate if I can extend a helping hand and have not encountered many who won’t the other way around either. There really is a bond. Certainly not on a level of military compatriots or police officers or others who have dangerous occupations, but certainly more than most with merely a common interest linking them. Such has been my experience.

The game itself is varied and handles moving from theatre to theatre VERY well: If you play many operational games, the difference between playing in the desert or the hills of Italy is pretty superficial. Here, moving from the Winter War, to the desert to the jungle to the steppes is absolutely worlds apart and FEELS like it is worlds apart. Put simply, ASL is the ultimate triumph of design for effect and there are literally thousands of scenarios and well north of one hundred CG’s. If you can’t find something to play, then you would quite rightly be likened to a little kid sitting in his room surrounded by toys screaming “I’m Bored!!!”

Finally, to succeed at this game you have to be very detail oriented and know how to plan on the fly when the best laid plans go up in smoke. Very challenging indeed!

The accessibility of the hobby in terms of helping new guys: With everything from questions, advice on everything from purchases to game tactics.

What I don’t like:

Some of the rules can be gamey, but then, it IS a game. Also, there is always the magic of the SSR to fix that which truly galls you.

– Carl Nogueira, May 6 2015

Link to the Original Text on GameSquad