On March 14 2015, Ken Knott aka “esprcorn” started a genius of a thread on Gamesquad : “Things I’m noticing the ‘experience’ players doing more than me …”. The response was overwhelming.
I went through 11 pages of posts, extracted what was said (newbies and grognards allke), applied some basic categorisation and present them to you for your reading enjoyment. These snippets are simply TOO good be left in Forum Purgatory.
.. and this is from Jim “Sparafucil3” Bishop, Master Yourself
I play Fort a lot. I have had the pleasure of playing Pleva, JR Tracy, Paul Sidhu, Toby Piling, Lars Thuring, Bob Bendis, and many other “top-notch” ASL players. What I notice they do better than anyone is not letting the bad luck get to them. They accept it and move on. It’s like the game starts over again right at that point, as if it never happened. When they are ahead, they are willing to take a few more chances to go for the kill. When they are behind, they tighten up and look for better opportunities. Anyone can read the rules, learn the tactics, study the odds tables, etc to find a way to play more effectively. The true champions are masters of themselves first and foremost. My best ever run at ASLOk (last year, three mini wins and 3rd overall in the GROFAZ), this is what I worked on more than anything else. Master your own emotions and you’ll often find that things eventually break your way and its your opponent who will be tested by his. If he can’t pass that, you have him where you want him. — jim (still a struggle to master myself consistently)
See also ::
British Turn 3: The British were in general retreat .. erm .. retrograde. The idea here was to stay ahead of the Germans and get to the next building before the Germans get their guns on and to keep the inside lines open. On the right, a rallied British green squad switched a second liner out as the rear guard. These guys would see a few medals before the day is over.
German Turn 4: The action heated up on German Turn 4. On the British left, a German tank tried to get to the back field. The British ATR team held their shot until the tank went to the other side of the building. However they bounced a second round off the German tanks even when they had a side shot. The 18 pounder (typo in the picture) on the British right “appeared” and wrecked the German tank in the Defensive Fire Phase.
British Turn 4: The British green squad on the right dispatched the German first liners who held them in melee!! The rest of the British squads got to the last line of buildings. They cut it quite close, as the Germans shot some of them between the gaps. The British continued to get to positions that were a little out-of-the-way but cover grounds the Germans would move into.
British Turn 5: The Germans started building a death star on the British left and the left British gun appeared!! It promptly put a round of white phosphorous into the building. The British ATR teams repositioned towards buildings where they could prevent the German tanks from exiting. On the right, the malfunctioned British gun couldn’t be fixed and was eliminated from the game. The Germans sent another squad in on the right flank and killed the pesky British green squad that was holding up traffic but these heroes had already saved their brothers.
German Turn 6: The Germans were almost of top of the British now. A German tank got inside the British lines but one ATR team was broken and the other one couldn’t get close enough. Good thing the white phosphorous forced the German death star to move.
German Turn 7: The Germans got up to the right ATR team and was wrecked at pointblank range! The Germans rushed up on the British left as well. They advanced up and captured the gun hex in the CC phase!!
British Turn 7: The British couldn’t let the Germans have a fire phase to spike the left gun. The British squad fired pointblank and KIA’d the squad! This led to an interesting revelation after a few rounds of discussions on the forums. There’s no way to kill the gun by small arms fire without a crew / possessing infantry (A9.74) present! So the only chance of the Germans getting a tie is to kill it with the tank ordnance.
We never got to that so here we go. It’s a three hex range with an infantry target. The base TH is 8. The gun was emplaced, so there’s a +2 DRM.
SNAKES!! The Modified TH# is 8 .. rolled a 2+2 which is not less than half but it’s an original 1,1 nonetheless.. so we need a subsequent roll .. That’s equal to half the Modified TH# of 8!! CRITICAL HIT!!!
As AZslim pointed out to me on GameSquad, guns (and crew) are automatically destroyed on Critlcal Hits. So both British guns were gone. This game went all the way to the last roll – and it’s a DRAW!!
Gotta admit, this is some finish!! Witness the narrative power of an ASL game – and that’s why we love it.
I was chatting online about Gary Fortenberry’s new Advanced Squad Leader Action Pack “ASL Action Pack 9: To The Bridge!” when Sam Tyson offered to play. The next thing I knew, I was experiencing a truly action packed scenario, well designed and well “interpreted” by Sam. This was February 1942 in Burma. Patrols from the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry discovered IJA roadblocks around Danyingon. So elements from the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and the 1/7th Gurkha Rifles set out to evict the IJA from the area.
There were 2 roadblocks in predestinated positions on the map. The British goes from the bottom of the map to the top. They get an instant win when they clear both roadblocks or if there are no good order IJA troops around either roadblock after five and a half turns. The British got a mix of armoured cars and (scary) Gurkha ladened carriers. The IJA got to hide (always good) plus a Mountain Gun.
British Turn 1 : You can see where the IJA gun was hidden and where it was bore-sighted. There was an MMG on the hill to the top left bore-sighted to a path through the jungle. There was an IJA half squad hidden in the brush hoping that the British would pass him by and another IJA half squad near the first roadblock in the middle of the map. There’s a scenario special rule that requires all hidden IJA to reveal themselves via Banzai attacks in Turn 4. I figured that might be where the British would be by then. The British were very aggressive in their first move given the short time frame. My foxhole on the hill on the bottom of the map was immediately overran. Nothing but a human speed bump! The carrier hooked around the foxhole and made sure there was no escape for the IJA half squad therein.
British Turn 2 : The British methodically beat down the brush and found our first hidden IJA half squad. A British armoured car headed straight for the defending IJA at the roadblock. IJA’s LMG scored a hit and a lucky kill. The IJA started backing off.
British Turn 2 Rout Phase : The IJA started melting away before the British could engage them in close combat. The IJA looked to delay and to collapse into the last roadblock gradually. They formed a line right before the tree line where the hidden IJA half squad was.
IJA Turn 3 : The end of the turn saw the IJA melting away again, collapsing towards the last roadblock. Before the MMG team on the hill on the middle of the map did, they vaporized a British half squad coming down the jungle path. The Brits then decided to use a carrier to create a trail break in the jungle nearby.
IJA Turn 3 : The IJA MMG team from the middle of the map repositioned to around the last roadblock, MG trained onto the road. A big stack of British troops successfully removed the first road block. A British 9-1 and a Gurkha squad walked into the hidden IJA half squad in the last turn. The half squad should have popped up in the earlier British Turn when this happened. Hand to hand fighting nonetheless ensured immediately and they were all killed.
British Turn 4 : The Brits were out to chase down the routing IJA squads. The first carrier sped down the road and the IJA gun roared from behind the second roadblock. The carrier was hit and immobilized. Meanwhile the hidden stack on the bottom of the map tried to get the British armoured car’s attention by slowly creeping towards the British backfield.
British Turn 4 still : The action heated up as the second carrier comes running down the path. The MMG managed to score a hit but the bullets bounced off. This carrier managed to hook around and cut off the IJA brokies’ rout path. The third carrier went straight for the roadblock! The gun crew intensive fired and killed that one too. The rest of the British troops moved in quickly. This was Turn 4, the British had 2 more Movement Phases to go.
IJA Turn 4 : The IJA mortar crew laid a white phosphorous (WP) round on the carrier but the Gurkhas were too tough for it. The WP round did allow the IJA troops to slip by and escaped back to around the second roadblock. The IJA gun killed the immobilised carrier, taking more of an interest in its Gurkha crew. However, I should have left the gun pointing towards the right for the next British round. The British were consistently great at cutting rout paths and taking prisoners. The IJA realised they need to stop the British from getting behind them if they were to survive – hence the line.
British Turn 5 : While their comrades held the line, the IJA on the left melted away so they could counter attack against the British troops at the roadblock. The armoured car on the bottom of the map finally verified that we had a moving stack of dummies. It was a miracle that the IJA kept this armoured car out of the battle for so long!
British Turn 5 still : The British were unlucky in that all four close combats started with IJA ambushes. However the IJAs were killed around the gun and 2 of the fights resulted in melees. Only on the right did we see a solitary but concealed leader slaughtered a British half squad and slipped deeper into the jungle.
IJA Turn 5 : The routed IJA again rallied and attacked towards the roadblock. The British were assembling around the roadblock at this stage. If they manage to clear the roadblock, they get an instant win but if not, they would need to makes sure there were no good order IJA troops around the area marked with a big red hexagon. IJA Turn 5 – Game End : The close combat phase was a good one for the IJA, they reclaimed two of the hexes around the last road block. However, the British were able clear the roadblock by rolling less than 10. (You need to roll 2 or less on a pair of dice, but the Brits had enough people to get a -7 modifier.)
Mr. Sam Tyson won!!
This scenario from Fanatic Enterprises describes a situation in Bataan in January 6 1942. The Americans fought a delaying action that saw the gunners from both sides exchange shells for shells. Carl Nogueira played the defending American and I the attacking IJA in this after action report (AAR). We actually exchanged sides and played this twice, with me getting my teeth kicked in both times. This is already the less ugly version, rated PG-13.
The side that gained the most Victory Points (VP) wins. You can gain Casualty Victory Points normally and you gain 1 VP for controlling each Level 2 hill hexes on your opponent’s side. The Americans set up on the bottom of the map and the IJA on the top. We get 5 and a half turns.
IJA Turn 2 : You can see where the IJA guns were. Line of sight (LOS) to the American hill tops were limited due to jungle terrain. You can also see two hidden 2nd liners to slow down any sort of American counterattack. The big stack in the middle of the top map were two IJA medium machine gun (MMGs), but their leader, a 9-1 who’s also the best leader in the IJA order of battle (OB) was killed by a sniper early in the game. You can see the 3 lines of IJA advance on the American side. The left most IJA rush would have been the most threatening but I failed to capitalise on the situation properly before they got wiped out. The middle advance would be stuck for a while and in retrospect I should have strike out through the swamp towards the right to put the squeeze on the Americans on the hill on the right of the American positions. On the right, the IJA caught and took an American 8-0 and a squad together with it in a flurry of hand-to-hand action. At this point I expected the American guns to be towards the bottom of the map.
American Turn 3 : The IJA found the first American gun on the left by walking straight into it. There was nothing left of the squad. The attack on the left was also wiped out and the Americans started moving towards the right. The attack in the middle was floundering as well. The IJA on the right kept pushing towards the bottom of the map, fully expecting to find the second American gun there.
American Turn 4 : The American gun on the left malfunctioned! The IJA forced their way through the bamboo to kill the gun crew before they had a chance to fix the infernal contraption. You can see a blotch of red on the hilltop to the right where once again, the IJA found the other American gun the wrong way. You can also see the pair of IJA MMGs moving in during the last turn as it didn’t look like the Americans were going to make a push to the north.
IJA Turn 5 : The IJA troops surrounded an American 8-0 and a 2nd liner in a 3 point stance. The IJA were of course, feeling very pleased with themselves. There was an IJA demolition charge laying on the ground in the middle. That was the aftermath of an IJA half squad’s attempt to blow up the American MMG stack. On the right, the IJA made another attempt up the hill and caught more Americans in close combat. Unfortunately this IJA half squad could only take half of the American squad with it. On the bottom right of the map you can see the Americans on a reverse slope defence configuration, looking to get the first shot in if any IJA pop over the crest line. The probing stack of IJA troops however decided to move back up to their leader for a last push as time was running out.
American Turn 5 : The “ring of fire” on the left broke the American squad but they failed to encircle the Americans properly. Apparently you need to fire at the target sequentially for encirclement to happen (A7.7, note to self).
American Turn 5 (still) : On the left, the broken American squad surrendered and the IJA picked the weakest (a 1-2-7) amongst the trio to be the guard. That was the last mistake they would ever make. The American 8-0 promptly jumped on the otherwise occupied IJA half squad in close combat …
American Turn 5 (aftermath) : The American 8-0 singlehandedly killed the IJA guards, rescued his men and found enough weapons to rearm half of his squad. (Note to self : encircle properly & be mindful about who’s to play guards).
Final IJA Turn : The IJA decided that they wouldn’t go down without a proper Banzai charge. Therefore they targeted the gun crew who ventured out to retake a hill hex. Just to be professional about it, they even short-strawed a poor chap to be a DC hero as well! He was well perforated, his DC satchel went flying but he drew enough fire from his “friends” for them to jump on the American gun crew.
Final IJA Turn (still) : An IJA leader in the middle rushed in and tried to grab the DC pack. He got shot and was wounded as he picked it up and he never managed to place it.
Final IJA Turn (almost done) : An MMG crew from the original “Ring of Fire” caught up with the American leader and squad on the left, knives drawn …
Final : The banzai’ing IJA came victoriously out of the close combat on the right. The folks on the left however would be locked in perpetual mêlée. You would know I lost the game a long time ago if you can see the huge stack of IJA casualties. Carl was nice enough to play this through to the bitter end!!
Learning jungle terrain in ASL153 Totsugeki is one thing. Learning about Marine Raiders in the dense jungles of Guadalcanal is another matter entirely.
This is HS8 Bailey’s Demise, from MMP’s Operational Watchtower Historical Study. The date is September 26 1943. This scenario as with the whole History Study, is centered around Guadalcanal. The river depicted on the map represents the Matanikau river. The Marine Raiders were looking to cross the river to the west bank to complete an encirclement. Unbeknownst to the Marines, the IJA had crossed the river and was on the east bank when the engagement occurred.
The Marine Raiders came in from the top left into a wholly hidden (HIP) deployment of IJA troops. The Marine Raiders, like the IJA 1st-liners, were also stealthy. They were to cross at least 6 CVP (3 squads or other combinations) to the west bank of the river in 7.5 turns.
All interior jungle hexes are dense jungle. All jungle hexes next to non jungle hexes are light jungles. The difference being while light jungle are similar to woods, dense jungle has a terrain effect modifier (TEM) of 2, does not permit fire groups and allows a stacking limit of only two. This map’s marked with “crags” (4 point stone formations) merely to remind ourselves that the marked hexes were dense jungles.
The map above was my IJA setup, units unhidden for your perusal. The mortar team down on the bottom left was largely ineffectual against American counter-battery fire. I should have spread them out.
This was the Marine Turn 2. The Marine made contact with the defenders and withstood IJA fire rather well. Taking the risk to move in stacks (given the +2 cover of the dense jungle) their Advance Fire was devastating round after round for the IJA. The IJA looked to block the Marines as much as possible, rout back (squads breaking “automatically” into half squads in the process) when in doubt and take advantage of their leader’s “Commissar-like” ability to rally them without (DM) penalty.
As I expected, the Marines avoided the bamboo patches on the right and came in from the top down.
Please keep in mind that IJA counters in faded yellow were hidden units that the Marine player couldn’t see.
This is the IJA Turn 2. Some of the frontline IJA routed back. The IJA mortar team on the left was completely shot up.
American Turn 3. The rallied IJA put up a fight in face of the advancing Raiders.
IJA Turn 3. The IJA rallied and reconstructed a respectable line of defence. In retrospect this approach didn’t work well. The IJA, even concealed, could hardly withstand the withering Marine gunfire. Perhaps a better strategy is to pair up the half squads. One half squad would go aggressive, knocking off US concealment counters and drawing fire. The other concealed half squad will close and either hope for an ambush in close combat.
Talking about close combat, the Marines with their overwhelming firepower are deadly in normal CC (plus the IJA has no favorable modifiers). Here you have a HIP squad that sprung out in the hopes of assassinating the Marine 8-0, they were promptly killed in CC.
I should have avoided normal CC with Marines to start with. Hand to Hand (HtH) combat, when done with sufficiently lopsided odds (IJA half squad vs one or two Marines squads) offer a good trade for the IJA since the results of most are mutual annihilation! Other than that, I should have ran!
Marine Turn 4 : here you can see how the Marines were already crowding the last passage way towards the river. A Raider squad jumped a concealed IJA half squad and was ambushed and killed. That was unfortunately the only time when close combat went happily for the IJA in this game!
IJA Turn 4 : The situation doesn’t look good for the IJA but they were still fighting hard. Here you can see a Marine stack breaking voluntarily and routing away from possible IJA close combat. Here’s a thought : had I not used the hidden IJA units in close combat, they could have sprung up now and kill the whole stack!
Marine Turn 5: the Marines started to cross the river!! A repositioned IJA machine gun put the west end of the bridge squarely in its sights but it couldn’t stop the flow.
IJA Turn 6: This was how it ended for the IJA, decimated and encircled.
The next time I play as the IJA against Marines, I will try :
What’s your experience with fighting cardboard Marines in the jungles? What are your thoughts?
Lastly I want to share something from the tourney with everyone. John Charles Knowles, who’s teaching me jungle warfare through Operation Watchtower at the moment, wrote a cheat sheet for the PTO for our benefit. Here we are :