FrF2 Maczek Fire Brigade

This is September 4 1939, Poland.  The Poles rushed the Maczek brigade to plug gaps in the defense.  The Germans win this scenario by taking 12 buildings in 5.5 turns.

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Here are some of the AFVs involved by the way (from the wonderful site – Tanks Encyclopedia) :

Polish

Vickers Ejw(b)

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The Ejw(b) is armed with a 47* (TK8) and a FP6 CMG.  AF2/1.

Vickers Edw(b)

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The Edw(b) has twin turrets (6×2*), each with a wz.30 7.92 MG which can be fired independently of each other.  AF 2/1.

TKS

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The TKS is armed with a FP2 BMG and the TKS(L) with a 20L  (TK6).  AF 1/0.

German

Pz IIA

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The Pz IIA was the main battle tank in Poland, spotting a 20L (TK 6 IFE 4) and a FP5 CMG.  AF 1/1.

Pz IB

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The Pz IB has a FP6 CMG that does 2 TK DRs per hit.  AF 1/1.

PSW 222

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The PSW 222 is an OT armored car with 33MP.  It has a 20L (TK 6 IFE 4) and a FP6 CMG.  AF 1/1.

1 Fighting Withdrawal

I finally get to play one of the most oft played ASL classic, the first scenario in Beyond Valor: 1 Fighting Withdrawal.  I see almost 600 games reported on ROAR!

I got the Finns and my new-ish opponent got the Russians and the balance – ie the Russians do NOT suffer from ammo shortage.  The Finns need to exit more VPs than the Russians in 7 turns!

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My Year in ASL

IMG_6244I finished 14 scenarios this year and won 5 of them. I also finished the BFP Objective: Schmidt CG, done the first CG “day” in Suicide Creek and the 2nd CG Assault Period (Night) in Gavutu-Tanambogo.

I had more experience with Night fighting, especially interesting are the night landing at Gavutu-Tanambogo and 40 Fort MacGregor (haven’t finished, also my first foray into Desert). I also gained more experience with AFVs although that’s not saying much as AFV waters run deep! I have also started playing BFP Operation Cobra front to back. Bocages can be frustrating but infinitely entertaining.

I am blessed with a terrific group of friends around the world. Weekly chats and emails (PBeMs) with these folks made a challenging year SO much better.  I even met one of them for dinner earlier this month!

I am particularly psyched to see my name listed as a proofreader for Forgotten Wars. I also made the graphics for all the CPVA counters under my apprenticeship with Al Cannamore. Al’s adding VASL ‘smarts’ to the counters and is putting the extension together. Without the VASL crew, I wouldn’t be playing ASL.

I am carrying these games into the new year:
Live
– 3rd CG Assault Period, Gavutu-Tanambogo
– BPF16 Snake Charmed (bocage!!)
– DBP16 Under Old Baldy (Dien Bien Phu)
– FrF98 Amerikanskaya Suka
PBeM
– 40 Fort MacGregor
– DB002 Sochaczew
– FrF2 Maczek Fire Brigade
– FrF45 Totensonntag
– DB132 One Last Victory

I have these games on “Pause” :
– Those Ragged Bloody Heroes CG
– Dinant CG PT
– Berlin CG PT

These are my 2019 ASL objectives :
– Learn to play AFV better, with all its delightful nuances (BFP!)
– Learn Bocage
– Play more Dispatches from the Bunker
– Play more Friendly Fire
– Play LFT4 Russian Civil War (and looking forward to LFT14)

I wish to see great successes in both the ASL tourney in Chengdu and the Malaya Madmen in Singapore.

Lastly I wish you all the very best. I wish you all the very best in life, and to your family as well, so much so that we continue to see each other across our mapboards in the year ahead.

(Credit to Michael Rodgers for prompting the thought via his thread on GameSquad)

The Last Wargame Store in Town

Screenshot_2018-12-29 戰棋類現貨Today I was first in line at the closing sale of the last wargame store in HK.

They were selling big box games for $13, medium for $6.5 and small packs for $3.

Boy, once everyone rushed into the warehouse there was hardly room to turn. I had a look at their remaining inventory online last night and was looking for C3i 18 (Dragon’s Jaw), GMT Ran and perhaps Compass Games’ Warstorm series.

I unfortunately (or fortunately), I couldn’t find any wargames. They were all pretty board games (Catan, Star Wars). There were folks who dragged in huge bags and started stuffing them the second they made it through the door.

I am glad to report that no ASL games had to suffer such undignified ends. As a matter of fact I didn’t see any wargames, no MMP, no GMT, no Compass Games.

Perhaps they should have stocked more wargames?

Too bad eitherway as this is the last wargame store in HK, serving both China & Taiwan as well.  They were getting me ASL modules at a discount to MMP’s retail prices plus only $5.50 for delivery.  What are we to do next?

(I think they will continue to sell whatever’s left on one of China’s e-commerce platforms).

 

BFP16 Snake Charmed

It’s July 25 1944, the 83th Infantry Division “Ohio”, tried to pushed through a bocage area held by a few SS squads and some REALLY good guns.  They are to push from the green dotted line to the red dotted line with 37VPs (minus German CVPs) in 7.5 turns.  The action came hot & heavy on Turn 1 where all German HIP units (apart from the Raketenwefer) were revealed and the “Ohio” lost 3 out of 8 AFVs .. IMG_3754

BFP15 Cobra’s Venom

Advanced Squad Leader scenario BFP15 Cobra’s Venom

You are going to see a lot of bocage country. We are going to play the whole of BFP Operation Cobra front to back. We already did BFP14 Opening Phase, so this is the second one ..

I started a New Twitter Feed!

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I started a new twitter feed today because there doesn’t seem to be a dedicated ASL twitter feed.  Yes – all things ASL.  I hope you will find it interesting!  @HWargamer .. or https://twitter.com/HWargamer

Please let me know what you think!

J168 Katyusha’s Embrace

This 1943 scenario offers the Russians a 200mm Rocket OBA with a preregistered hex.  The 200 mm is a massive but a one shot deal and it wanders by half a dr.  You can’t aim nor correct the thing (it’s automatically inaccurate)!  I started the scenario off being less than thrilled about the usefulness of it.

Since Rocket OBA uses a Harassing Fire’s Blast Area, I figured this thing will touch a 5/6 hex area (the rules don’t say whether the error’s rounded up or down.)  The GameSquad crowd pointed out there are certain merits to holding off on it so that the Germans will avoid crowding.  I put my PreReg hex on 63Q10.

The Russians (I) pushed through the middle – first by largely Assault Moving on board to avoid damage from the various machineguns trained in my direction. Then the Russians executed a Human Wave to rush into the woods ahead.  I’d love to say it’s a brilliant move but reality is that I benefited hugely from my opponent’s horrible die rolls.

Oh yes, the Russians get points for taking the multi-hex buildings and by rushing units into the circled area on the right of the map.  The Russians win when they stack up 8 points.

This one’s an interesting scenario.  I read the VC wrong though, or really, I didn’t really understood the VC.  The VC called for 8VPs and the Russians can achieve it in one of two ways:

  1. Get all the buidings in the middle of the board, rubble or not, they total to 8VPs;
  2. Move 8 units into the circle, AFV or squads.

The defender has to get the right balance between defending against the two – defend the buildings and risk getting surrounded or backup to the rear and risk losing the buildings.

Thoughts?

Advanced Squad Leader as a Window into Military History

An ASL newbie (but a veteran wargamer) from Taiwan shares his newfound love for ASL

Author: TouMu / Translator: Hong Kong Wargamer (The original in Chinese starts at the bottom of the translation.)

I’d like to share how I see Advanced Squad Leader (‘ASL’) as a vehicle to gain better insights to military history

First, let’s take a look at ASL’s shortcomings as such a vehicle:  

1. Each scenario generally portrays 12 to 20 mins of fighting, offering only a glimpse into the whole battle. 

2. Unless it’s a HASL (Historical ASL) module.  Geomorphic maps used in most scenarios offer only an impressionistic approximation of the actual terrain.  

3. Scenarios generally involve elements from actual fighting forces and not the whole.  

With these in mind, let’s talk about how ASL offers a great window (translator: a “Hollywood version” notwithstanding) into historical events.  

Allow me to build on the aforementioned “shortcomings”:

1. Precisely because generally each scenario involves less than 20 minutes of the most intensive fighting, ASL puts you right in the midst of the fighting.  You get better insights into the actual conditions facing frontline units.

For example: We all read about the intensity at Stalingrad, but how miserable was it?

Operational / strategic games give you stacks of counters that represents thousands/hundreds of people, which gets quickly decimated.  

ASL makes you learn what it means to have to battle for the first room and then having to regroup to clean up the next.

2. Yes, ASL scenario terrains are largely a combination of (translator: a huge number of) geomorphic boards and overlays (cost considerations?).  However, like miniatures, terrain features are meaningful. Hexes are not all generically designated “Movement +1” or “Defense +3” etc. It’s important therefore to consider your routes in both assault and retreat (translator: routs).  

You will also understand why it’s difficult to rally broken troops in the open and why it’s easier to gather your wits in woods and buildings.  

3. Although only elements of certain units participate in our cardboard battles, determination of unit combat power reference their real world counterparts. Ordnance and vehicles are also based on real world parameters.  

Perhaps ASL is a key to deeper insights into World War II battles.

Look  and you might gain better appreciation for the nameless heroes therein – a window into their bloodshed and sacrifices.

Yes, I don’t like being Eisenhower but I really appreciate heros like Major Dick Winters (translator: of “Band of Brothers” fame).   

If you hope to play ASL as “Eisenhower”, perhaps this game is not for you.  If you look to play ASL as “Winters” or thousands of other unnamed heroes, then ASL is your game.  

Here’s another thought: all war games are “simulations”, ie not real (translator: not even close simulations in most cases).

Real wars can’t be played.  Only games can be played.

Play ASL as a game, with all that it brings.  

War is not a game.  (Translator: and ASL is not war.)

Find a game that suits you and have fun playing it.  If nothing else, it’s a great platform to make friends all around the world.  

ASL is not for everyone but I hope this will give new players proper expectations for what ASL will bring.  

Note : Author TouMu is a leading member in the Taiwan ASLer Club, you can find their group on Facebook.  

(以下是原稿)

分享一下我怎麼從ASL學到歷史

先說它一般的缺點:

1、幾分鐘的戰鬥,無法一窺全貌。

2、除非是史實模組,否則地圖是用拼的,接近而非真實樣貌。

3、參戰只有某部分單位,而非全部。

有了這些先備知識,進一步來談,怎麼從「毛線棋」學到東西。

一樣是從缺點去思考

1、因為是幾分鐘的戰鬥,當你不是坐在後方,看著投影銀幕決定策略時,你更能體會前線士兵的真實感覺。

例如:我們都耳聞史達林格勒的慘烈,但怎麼慘?

戰略棋的呈現方式:就是投入了好幾萬人的算子

然後丟棄很快。

可是,ASL會讓你體會:才剛佔領客廳,卻又要清理廚房,那種寸土不讓的激烈。

2、雖然地圖是拼的(成本考量),但跟微縮模型一樣,地形是有意義的,不是抽象的移動力花費+1,防禦+3這樣而已

你的進攻與撤退,都是要考慮路線的。

你也會明白:為何潰散士兵,士氣很難重整,但在樹林與建築物,為何可以冷靜下來。

3、雖然是部分單位參戰,但戰力的設計,卻是有參考真實世界,武器、載具,也都是完全參照史實去設計。

而這一切,不妨想成是一把鑰匙,幫你打開通往該次戰鬥的故事大門。

去查,就會發現更多我們不知道的無名英雄事蹟。

而戰爭,正是他們去打,流血犧牲的。

所以,我不愛艾森豪。

我很敬重溫特斯。

當然,如果你是喜歡當將軍的,那麼,這遊戲也不太適合你就是。

還有一個很深刻的體會:所有的戰棋,都只是「模擬」,假的。

真實的戰爭,是不能玩的。只有「遊戲」才可以玩。

所以,就當遊戲去玩,其他,都是附加的。

戰爭的本質,不是遊戲。

找到適合自己的遊戲,開心的去玩它,並非勸退。

不玩,一樣可以是朋友聊天啊!

我是會希望留下來的人,知道自己在玩什麼遊戲,就不會用錯誤的想法,去要求它給你的感覺。