Nor'easter III: After-Action Reports
Last weekend was the 3rd annual Nor'Easter ASL tournament, with this year's event held at the Citadel in Groton, CT. First of all, I would like to thank Pat Flory, owner of the Citadel, for hosting us at his store, which is really a throwback to the salad days of gaming, with a huge stock. Pat was also the guy who helped me find a copy of Doomed Battalions during the Panic Days last fall. And I would also like to thank Carl Nogueira, the tourney director, for putting the entire event together. Thanks guys!
My first game, after the infamous trip to the neighoring Ponderosa, was against Ralph "Banzai" McDonald, designer of the Brasche scenarios in the Dispatches from the Bunker. Ralph and I have had several matches in the past. We choose Le Herisson, which is the first time I have played this classic. Dice give me the attacking Germans. My attack plan is to go right at the French center and left. Apparently, my attack was a little too aggressive, as after 1.5 turns I was down to 7 unbroken squads out of the original 12.5. This provoked a modest little French counter-attack on the German right, which kept some brokies running. Luck with the SiGs was poor, 1 recalled by a sniper, the other going low ammo on its first shot, while the 3rd did get off 3 smoke rounds before low ammo'ing. My Germs paused to regroup but were hindered by poor rally dice. Finally, I broke into the large center building, which held both MMGs (the HMG malf'd and X'd on its second shot) and the fortified building. My 9-2 kill stack cleared it out, but by now I was well behind in the time department. Going into the last turn, I had 6 of the 11 needed buildings. Some fancy deploying and running got me into melees in 5 more buildings. If I could win all 5 low odds melees (2-1 to 1-1), I would win. I won 0 of the 5, and took the well-deserved loss. The early turn losses set me too far back, timewise.
After a good night's rest at the swanky Econo-Lodge (their motto: "We have no hourly rates."), Sat morning found me paired against fellow BAASLhole Steve "E-Mail Impaired" Johns. Through extremely hot dice, I had been undefeated against Steve. We chose the old RB classic "Turned Away", and I got the Russki defense. I picked as the HQ building the level 1.5 building in the center, which was a mistake. It can come under German fire way too early, as they can muster an 8 +2/+3 IFT attack against it to find the HIPsters at an early date. I should've ignored the lure ofthe 2 levels and selected the stone building at the map edge as the HQ. No matter, as my dice were quickly turning my ammo-shortaged Russkis into a bunch of conscripts with malf'd weapons. Steve's main attack was on his left, with a smaller force + dummies on his right. I did manage to win a CC on his right to slow that advance, and had a great plan to whack his DC-toting HS with a concealed stealthy squad and capture the Candygram, but Steve remembered the thrown DC rules, which broke everybody involved. The dice got so bad that at 10:30 AM I cracked open my first beer. I took a drink every time I rolled 10 or higher, and within 30 minutes and 1.5 turns, my Russkis and my Sam Adams were gone. 0-2 and looking tough to meet my pre-tourney goal of a 3-2 record. So I made the crucial decision of the weekend: I switched from my red & white BV dice to my blue & yellow BV dice, aka the Swedish Dice.
3rd round I was paired against Scott "Chronology of War" Brady, from Hartford, CT. We had never met before, but it was a pleasure to thank him in person for the fine CoW database. We played Death at Carentan and the dice gave me the Americans. The Amis swept into the town without losses, aided greatly by the fact that Scott only set up 1.5 of his 2.5 squads in his at start OOB. The counter counter in me didn't realize that, of course, and I was artfully encircling his last concealed stack and marveling at the 548's incredible fire discipline. When my Advancing Fire revealed it was a dummy, that's when we realized Scott's mistake. So the Amis had all the victory buildings and awaited the German counter-attack. Scott used the traditional German attack from all 4 corners, trying to use encirclement and limited rout paths as his friends. But with the Amis in control of all the victory buildings, I was able to counter-attack and crunch 2 corners of his attack, 1 with the OBA and another with the 747s. Scott fought gamely until the end, but could not overcome his early mistake. We discussed this situation afterwards, and agreed that given the fact all initial Germs were lost, the counter-attack probably should've been concentrated from 1 board edge. Carentan is one of my all-time faves, for I'm now 3-0 in it with 2 tourney victories.
Next round I was paired against Dr. Rob "Not Insane" Seulowitz. We had played once before, at the previous Nor'Easter, where Dr. Rob won a close game of Scout's Out. I was under enormous pressure for this game, since travel companion and regular FtF opponent Bob "Waldo" Walden had beaten Dr. Rob earlier in the tourney, and would've crowed incessantly if I had failed to knock him off, too. We chose Rocket's Red Glare, another classic I had not played before. I basically won the game with the DR to pick sides, as I got the Ami 747s again. ROAR rates this as pretty even, but the consensus around the tourney was that the Amis are favored. Dr Rob set up the 9-2/HMG in R5L1 (everybody knows R5 is the key to board 3), HIPd the ATG on the Germ right, and placed the Whirblewind near the I1 entry hex. The ATG got off its shot at the Ami TD entering at Y1, and would've hit except for the fact we forgot the Germ depletion numbers were elite. Well, we remembered late in the game, after the ATG was well out of play. The ATG also slowed up the 10-2 platoon which was circling behind the hill on the Germ right. The TD got into a little dance with the FlakPz and the PSK, and by all rights should've lost, but the PSK X'd itself and the FlakPz went down to a captured PF. The center was the gang that could not shoot straight, as huge piles of FP blasted each other with nary a break for a result. Well, at least for a turn or so. After a couple turns, my Amis were bottled up and broken up, unable to take R5, which was reinforced at ground level with the MMG. But all the -2 leaders with the high broken morale restored the Amis to good order quickly, and I regrouped and spread out, stretching the Germs by attacking up my right as well, past the burning FlakPz. The Germ 9-2 finally went down to a hail of fire, after malf'ing the HMG, and I boldly (rashly?) jumped into CC with his MMG/658, even after I created a hero in his stack. It paid off, as I won the CC and broke the back of the Germ defense. Dr. Rob resigned shortly thereafter. He'll get a chance for a rematch at ASLOK, as he is just as fun (and sarcastic and biting) face-to-face as he is via faceless e-mail.
My final game is against Vic "Mr. Bunker" Provost. We are fairly evenly matched and have pretty much split our previous games. We select Broich Bash, a favorite of mine which I haven't played in years. I get the Germs, and predictably set up the 9-1/HMG in one level 2 hex, with the MTR spotter in the other level 2 hex. The Amis choose to enter the board edge closest to the level 2 buildings, as that is the quickest way to the victory buildings. I use Turn 1 to scramble my remaining forces to face him, and we are on. Vic gets the Amis on without incident, using the blind hexes on the board 24/16(?) border for cover. The Ami tanks bring little smoke, but just enough to blanket the level 2 hexes. The Amis attack towards the brush/woods mass. Choking on smoke, the 9-1/HMG moves into the woods to meet the Amis, but I pushed a little too much force towards my right. Some clever use of HTs, plus all my PFs missing by 1, allowed the Amis to swing around and get between me and the level 2 building. Plus, the sniper KIA'd the 9-1, and his accompanying squad failed the LLMC and dropped the HMG for the Amis. Uh-oh, things are looking bad, as it's only halfway through the game. But the main Germ force is intact, the spotter HS in the level 2 building holds out in melee for a couple turns, and I squeeze 4.5 squads and 2 leaders into the level 1.5 building in the center of board 24. Ami Turn 4 sees him set up some potent FP across from that building, and it certainly looks like there's too much time for me to hold out. I take a shot with a PSK at his kill stack (miss by one, naturally), but otherwise skulk. I debate driving my HT into his kill stack, either to VBM freeze it or to become a burning wreck in his hex, but decide to be sporting (it's a fine line between sporting and stupid) and take the long odds shot against an Ami tank. And, of course, missed it by one. His DFire does nothing more than turn the HT into a burning wreck in the street, which gives me some protection against his kill stack, but also makes it easier for him to break into town. His Turn 5 sees an and seize victory buildings well in the rear, a tactic burned into Vic's mind by Bob "Sleazebag" Walden earlier in the tourney. But, either my earlier sportsmanship paid off, or Vic has a lot more character than Walden, or both, but he just stopped the HT behindme for some PBF and skulk denial. His Prep broke 1.5 squads of mine in the point of the building, and he broke into it with 2 squads. 2 346s were broken in the streets by other Germs in the building. In my next to last turn, I have to decide between skulking and prepping against the encroaching Amis. I decide to take the 30 +3 shot (3 squads + LMG, PBF) and luck into a 3MC. His 8-1 pins, the 2 squads break, and Vic concedes, because he won't be able to gain control of the building in his 1 remaining turn.
So I am able to reach my pre-tourney goal of 3-2, my first ever winning tournament, WooHoo! Thanks again to Pat & Carl for putting on the show. Congrats to Mick O'Shea, the Nor'Easter champion. And I look forward to next year's tourney, location TBD, but hopefully it will be held near a restaurant that serves stuffed peppers.
So I made it to the Nor'Easter tournament after all. My job was threatening to inflict overtime, but I managed to evade it. Some people might wonder why I drove 600 kilometers to attend a small, short tournament. My answers are that I am finding I prefer small tournaments that have 30 or less participants. I have found, too, that I like to be able to drive so I can bring my game equipment. I don't like to rely on other people's stuff. The main reason I went to the Nor'Easter was to meet the players that would be there. I know many of them by reputation, or by brief meetings at Avaloncon, or through the mailing list.
This is a laid-back tournament. Despite the 6 o'clock start time, a bunch of us went for supper at the neighboring Ponderosa restaurant around five-thirty. I think even Carl, the TD, was there. I guess the first round started around six-thirty. I had chosen the Finnish scenarios. I was paired with Eric Redstone of Rhode Island. I knew Eric a bit, because he has visited Montreal to play in my tournament, the Montreal ASL Festival. This was my first opportunity to play a game against him, however. We both had Haake Palle as our first choice. All my first choices were for things I had not played before, because life's too short to keep playing the same scenarios and winning the tournament wasn't my primary reason for being there.
We both bid Finns, but I won the dice roll for them. The Russian balance allowed them to use all their MF on turn 1. The Finns must end the game with 10 CVP more than the Russians. The Russians are allowed to exit the board edge opposite their entry edge without being or CVP for either side. Eric decided to concentrate on running away from the Finns, so he sent most of his troops straight down the road when he entered. As a result, I could enter the Finns out of range of all of his weapons, if I chose. I sent one platoon, MG and 9-1 leader running up the board edge farthest from the Russians to try to "head them off at the pass". I entered all my single squads after that, moving into the long-range effect of his LMGs. I believe Eric took a few shots. Lastly, I entered my MG toting squads, one of whom was stacked with a 10-1. These fellows all moved close enough to start shooting in the AFPh. This game saw tons of tiny shots like 1 even, 2 even, 1 down 1, 2 down 1, 1 down 2 and 2 down 2. I targeted only his MG units when he started to move and I got lucky, breaking two of them. Eric also had some bad luck with MG breakdowns. I kept the Finns in long range for the Finnish weapons (six hexes for an 838), but out of range of the Russian squads inherent weapons (628) during the early turns. Eric ran a lot of his squads north, but made a stand in the center of his board with the leaders, MGs and a few extra squads. When I started to close in, there was no manned Russian MGs remaining. A turning point in game was when I took a 6 down 1 attack on the Russian 10-2 MG stack and rolled snake eyes. Until then we had been trading casualties close to even, but after that I started to build up a lead. I actually kept my Finns in contact one turn longer than I should have when I was ahead by about 15 CVP. Eric turned his remaining troops around to attack, but it was pretty much a suicide charge at that point. Two interesting things about this game: we had no CC attacks, and none of our troops ever removed their skis! We both enjoyed this scenario and would recommend it. We finished it in five hours.
Saturday morning, I was in the minority that wished to play desert scenarios. I was paired against Mr. Q&A, Scott Romanowski. We both had Khamsin as our first choice. We decided to let the dice decide sides and I received the Germans. This is a pretty neat scenario. The Heavy Dust in effect means the shooting doesn't happen until both sides are within 10 hexes. The Germans must move as one big platoon moving blob until they can see a British unit. That is somewhat time consuming, but it still makes for fast turns. It would have been even faster had Scott and I realized before turn 4 that there is no Vehicle Dust with Heavy Winds! Scott defended like a veteran, putting only one token unit on each of two hillocks and everyone else on the third (on the left of the board from the German point of view). I sent my Germans up the right to attack with the Heavy Wind not in their face, to avoid the DRM. The reinforcing British tanks parked right amongst their infantry. I think I made a mistake, though, by stopping to shoot at about 6 to 10 hexes away from the main British positions. Even though I parked four Pz3s HD, the Grants are practically unbeatable from the front. I took out 1 Crusader, then lost 2 Pz 3 tanks and then a couple of empty HT. Then I took out a Stuart. I felt I was running out of time. I realized I must charge. The charge unfortunately did not go all that well. His ATG opened up from behind the hillock, shocking a Pz2 that I had sent on a scouting adventure. My HT and unloaded infantry moved up against his sangared front line infantry. The HT did overrruns then stayed in the hex to lock the British fire, which included the HMG, while the German squads moved up. My remaining tanks moved in to mix it up at close range with the 2 Grants and 1 Crusader, but the bounding fire shots were all ineffective. After breaking the British HMG squad and making the accompanying leader heroic, my squad and leader advanced in for CC against the SMC. The presence of the HT made the CC sequential, so Scott rolled a 1 to 4 attack, down 1, first. He rolled a 3 to kill my troops with no attack back at the leader from my infantry! I was incredulous. On a secondary hillock, Scott actually retook the summit from a German HS using only a concealed squad. With the losses I had taken, I was in a big CVP hole. Part of the victory conditions include CVP, so I decided to concede so we could move onto the next round, even though technically I still had a chance. We played about six hours. When we stopped, the other Khamsin scenario was still going on, so I didn't feel too slow.
In the third round, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to play Carl Nogueira. We chose the deluxe scenario, Royal Marines. I bit British and he bid German, so we played straight up. Carl set up an imposing defense. He used the level two locations on the map very effectively to limit the safe entry points for the British to a very small number. Carl had put his 9-2 with both HMGs operated by HSs on level 2 in the big building in the back of the German lines with a good view of the British lines of advance. I don't believe I would have thought to put two HMGs together. It feels like all the eggs in one basket, so to speak. My lack of rate with heavies also would have influenced me to separate them to have two dice rolls for HMG attacks rather than one. That said, this arrangement worked absolutely fine for Carl. I sent in half squads first to draw fire, which they did, but Carl saved his HMGs for final fire. He managed to nail my MMG team with 8-1 leader. Most of the left flank got in undamaged, but also could not damage the forward German units. I made a mistake with the CS tank. Instead of sending it immediately to smoke the German heavies, I positioned it to provide smoke for the brits assaulting in the first street. When my right flank guys came in on turn 2, including Mr. 10-2, the German heavies hit them hard. I forget which attack nailed the 10-2, but he boxcar'd the MC then died and the resulting LLMC+2 on already broken infantry took some infantry with him. I did not let this discourage me, since the British have lots of good leadership. Soon after, however, the sniper claimed the other good leader on the right flank, leaving only one 8-0. As my units moved forward VERY slowly, I found out what a great defense Carl had set up using the A-T ditches, rubble, wire, roadblock and mines. On turn 3, I had a lucky tank shot that I was doing just for acquisition, break the 9-2 and one HMG HS. Then things started to improve a bit. I mentioned my unenthusiasm for CC when the first opportunity presented itself and I found out that Carl and I share a dice weakness (tm). We both usually roll lousy in CC. In this game, however, we both took turns rolling well in the few CC attacks that occurred. On turn 4, my first tank malfunctioned both its MA and CMG. This is a long game. If you play it, remember the British have a fair amount of time. Mid-game it felt to me like I didn't have much chance of winning, but I kept playing, hoping for a break. It came near the end, when gusts gave me a unhindered 16+2 shot that broke up the German 9-2 and company. I had found all the fortified hexes, six of which were in the large central building. The seventh however was on a far away flank. In the end game, after over six hours of play, I was starting to zone out. This led to several errors on my part that contributed to an inability to get the remaining squads where I really needed them. Two things I remember missing: I forgot to keep a broken German HS DM and it self- rallied in the next turn. I missed taking a Snap Shot at a German squad that assault moved from an open ground hex to a fortified building hex. I could've taken a 4 down 1, but took an 8 up 3. Carl told me about that one after the fact, which is a good thing. I like to learn from my mistakes. It's the little things that kill you in the long run. So my little mistakes, combined with Carl's excellent error free play, gave him the victory. All in all, I had a lot of fun playing good scenarios against some fun and skillful players.
I almost forgot. Carl uses a sugar bowl from a restaurant for his "dice glass". It has a chrome lid that opens exactly half. The bowl is faceted, which makes it darn difficult to see the dice when they stopped rolling. When I asked why he used that, he said it was because of the good dice action and the lid. We looked like a couple of courting birds sometimes when we were bobbing our heads trying to look through the different facets of the bowl to read the dice.
This was my second Nor'easter, and I had a great time. Thanks to Pat Flory, Carl, Bob and everyone who organized it.
Round 1 - Fighting Withdrawal vs. Randy Knight
Before we diced for sides, Randy claimed that he never played this against a live human. Scenario 1? Could it be true? He got the Russians, and set up a pretty standard looking rearward defense with a few units in LOS to keep me honest. I set up a kill stack on the far left (in the open, sort of behind the wall) with the idea that I could chase him out of the wooden buildings. Dumb idea #1.
I hadn't thought it through too well, and wasted those guys for a couple of turns. The rest of my group ran up into the wooden buildings, doing some searching, and drawing fire. Things looked OK, but I got bogged down, and didn't concentrate my attack, trying to change directions a couple of times.
Randy executed a perfect withdrawal, and hadn't lost more than a half squad by turn 4, at which point I conceded. Randy is a great player, and he taught me a few things about patience, which I don't have. All his HIPsters were up front in upper level buildings. He held off firing at stacks running around adjacent in the street until a leader stack bypassed his hex. NOT PRETTY. He also let a couple of guys run past a squad masquerading as a dummy stack (I can't count either). Randy is a great player, and a real nice guy. I had fun as he handed my head to me. 0 - 1
Round 2 - Khamsin vs. Dr. Rob
We diced for sides, and I got the Brits. I had a fairly spread defense, with about half my force and the HMG on the large hillock. I had a HIP squad with a mortar in some scrub and a squad/ATR by the left hillock, hoping to take out a half-track or two. In retrospect, this was too much. I had my ATG in the scrub on the large hillock, giving it a nice LOS to everything.
He came up my left side, obviously hoping to overrun the left hillocks, and take the large one from upwind. I brought on my tanks, with some taking HD positions behind the small hillock, the large hillock, and one or two venturing out toward the left hillock. He came with everything, giving me more targets than I could deal with, and a couple PzIIIs came up the middle to keep me honest. These guys tied up my Stuart (with AL), eventually taking it out, after I couldn't hit squat with it. I had more luck on the other side, taking out both PzIIs, a couple PZIIIs, and immobilizing the Marder pointed in the wrong direction.
We then went to lunch, and I got to know the infamous Dr. Rob. He's a nice guy, but going to lunch with him was a mistake, because when we got back, my luck (which had been pretty damn good to this point) and brain turned to crap.
I left my infantry on the left hillock too long, and they got captured (instead of taking out his shocked, BU halftrack with a broken squad and pinned hs). This sucked, because I was up about 30 DVPs, and this would have put me up another 10 or so. At this point I settled into a turtle-like defense, losing far too many squads to capture, and trading shots with an enemy which outnumbered me. Dr. Rob got snakes on an unlikely TK on mone of my Grants, and smoked the other one on a CH. I then watched as he put on a clinic by swarming me with halftracks (I did get a lucky kill on his 9-2/squad laden halftrack, after repairing my ATG that RPh, but I was toast at this point). I conceded on turn 5, I think.
I think the lesson here is to avoid poisonous Burger Thing food for lunch. It causes all blood to be drawn away from the brain into the liver to fight off the toxins. It also seems to kill off your luck. I'm guessing that Dr. Rob developed some kind of antidote in his doctor's laboratory that allowed him to continue using HIS brain.
Dr. Rob was a pleasure to play against, and is a really good player. Looking forward to a rematch sometime. 0 - 2
Round 3 - Schloss Bubingen vs. Scott Brady
We went off the board for this one, because we were looking for a quick scenario. I got the Germans, and set up fairly heavily adjacent to the two corners where the US wounded leader & half squad can set up. Stuck the HIPster in a woods hex, hoping for maybe a PF shot against the 155. Also put a token force on level 2 to keep the US forces from getting too close too quick.
Scott's PFPh didn't do much, what with me being concealed, and I broke a couple of approaching squads. The BK poisoning was apparently still in effect, as I FORGOT to pound the wounded leader/HS in DFPh. Oh well. I broke them in my PFPh, and skulked around, trying to stay clear of the 155.
Turn 2 was more of the same. I was able to keep Scott off balance enough to keep him from getting too close. His FT toting squad managed to do some damage. Turn 3 found me with a -1 shot on flame-boy, but I couldn't break him. Also the behemoth 155 moved up, and got me in his sights.
The last turn started with a few US squads on the ground floor, but I had enough good order units on the upper levels, and I had the stairwells blocked pretty well. However, some good luck on Scott's part could have taken it. He started out well. The 155 got a CH on a half-squad on the ground floor (of a fortified stone building location). That turns out to be a 36 -7 shot. Yeah, baby! Amazingly, he didn't rubble the building, but the 6KIA was more than enough to take out the HS. I managed to break enough guys that he conceded on the last turn MPh.
Scott was the third good player/good guy I got to go up aginst of the tourney. Looking forward to a rematch. 1 - 2
I didn't stick around for Sunday, taking my win and going home. Thanks again to the folks that hosted this.
Round 1: 77 le Herrison vs. Carl Nogueira
We both wanted the Germans (silly me despite losing with them twice before). Carl got the Germans with the balance. I set up a squad and two HS at level 2 in building U2, a squad in X3, a squad and a dummy at level 1 in building FF1, two squads at level 2 of building Z2, a squad in CC2, and the 9-1, HMG/squad in FF6. I fortified FF6 and HIPped HS in Z4h2 and V7h1. Carl pushed on both flanks. His sIGs all shot smoke (and all rolled < 9!). He got into U2 quickly, but my units upstairs kept him there for a couple turns. Meanwhile I fell back on the right. Carl moved the 9-2 with the HMG, MMG and two HS to 22F3h2. Carl's attack in the center fell apart after he failed some key MC. One sIG was recalled by my sniper (twice! It was hit in Carl's AFPh, then again in his PFPh.), and a second was taken out by CC. I broke through in the center while holding on to the right rear. On the last turn I just had too many units in too many buildings and Carl didn't have enough MMC.
Round 2: 39 Khamsin vs. Michael Rodgers
I set up pretty much as Mark Nixon suggested in his WOA scenario review article. Everyone was set to defend hillock H3. Michael took the slow route along the south edge to avoid the wind. He came forward and we traded shots. I missed in turn 4 despite my -2 acq while he managed to kill a Crusader. But I turned it around and had about a 20 DVP lead by about turn 6. Michael made a rush to try and inflict major losses on me then, but it did not do much. He had many vehicles stopped one or two hexes away from my Grants (both with malf 37LLs!) and remaining Crusader, and the AT Gun had targets at 3-6 hex ranges. Even with the heavy dust, a 1-hex shot with -2 acquisition tends to hit. That would have left him with the Marder (on Hillock H1), 3 hts, a Pz IIF and about 3 squads on hillock H3 facing two Grants, about 6 squads and the AT Gun. He had another 2 squads and 2 hts that he could bring forward. Michael conceded at that point, but I would have played on to see how my PFPh went.
Round 3: A59 Death at Carentan vs. Tom Morin
I set up a dummy in O6, a HIP 238 in P2, a LMG/548 in S4, MMG/238 in R5, and the 8-0 and last 238 in S6. Tom's smoke came down accurately in O5, and he sent 1.5 squads into building P2 and 1.5 with the 9-2 to O6. In turn 1b I advanced S6 to R5 (German units can't expend MF in MPH1b), then combined the HS in RPh2a. Tom promptly rolled a 2 in PFPh to eliminate the squad and break the 8-0. Coupled with a HS getting into P2 and killing my 238 in CC, things were looking pretty bleak. By turn 3b Tom had two squads each in O6, P2 and R5, and five squads in building P2. He had captured my MMG in R5; his 9-2 was leading this stack in R5, while his 8-1 and 7-0 were in building P2 and the 8-0 in O6. But through all this the LMG/548 in S4 held on. It shrugged off 12FP+1 shots, 8FP+2 shots, passing NMC and 1MC with ease. I set up 4*548, 8-1, 7-0, LMG, PSK to enter at N0/O1; 4*548, LMG, 9-1 to enter at R10; 8-0, MMG/548, 548, LMG/548 at K10. I was going to make Tom pay for not covering both sides of the bocage. But first the LMG/548 broke the 9-2, one squad, and pinned the other in R5! I rolled in behind the bocage and woods, then advanced into LOS. At the end of turn 3b I had: 8-1, LMG/548, 548 concealed in R8. 548s concealed in S8 and S9.LMG/548 concealed in K7. 8-0, 548, MMG/548 concealed in M8. 8-1, LMG/548, 548 concealed in N1. 548 concealed in O1. 7-0, 548 concealed in N0. LMG/548 in S4. Tom had routed the 9-2 to building P2, risking Interdiction. I kept it DM for the rest of the game. In the west I pushed into S6. We both refused to accept surrender and eliminated an enemy squad. He ended up with a hero manning the MMG in R5; I had 9-1, LMG/548, 548 in Q8 and a broken 548 in S9. I encircled O6 with fire from M8 and S4. Tom advanced all the units out (747s in O5 and P5, leader in P5) and I broke both squads with Prep Fire. In the east I managed to break the squads holding P2, and my firegroup was moving slowly along the bocage. By turn 6 Tom had everyone in the P2 building. But only three or four squads were unbroken and all the broken units were kept DM. I would take back O6, meaning he would have only 4 "points" of buildings, and would most likely also take R5 from the hero. He had nowhere to hide, and his units had to survive six more phases of 12FP+1 and 8FP+2 shots. Given those bleakprospects he conceded. And throughout is all the 548 in S4 never broke.
Round 4: SP11 Pomeranian Tigers vs. Mick O'Shea
The less said about this the better. I lost; the dice turned what should have been a good game into a rout. I conceded on turn 3. My ATG had a chance for Deliberate Immobilization on King Tigers. I rolled a 12. It was a fun tournament, and I'm very happy with second place. Carl organized the tournament out of the chaos of random arrivals; and Pat did a great job as host. I look forward to playing there again.
Brief NorEaster AAR (I'm at home today, much to do - laundry, housecleaning, downloading porn - busy busy busy!): As I'm sure has been announced by now, our lovable NYC mascot and amiable weekly game night host, Mick O'Shea, at his FIRST EVER TOURNEY, kicked serious ass and WON THE PLAQUE! Yessir, 5-0 he went, and, to quote the man himself, "No one lasted past turn 4." The joke was: "PULL! BANG! Another clay pidgeon." Mick rolled over Romanowski in the final in "Pomeranian Tigers" so quickly that he had the exit VP before the Stalin tanks even showed up. Manly and awesome. I soaked up the glory of being the Alpha Geek's prom date, sharing vicariously in his thrill.
Myself, I split 2-2, but only because I made poor Carl Nogueira ("E before I and don't ask why") stay till 3:30 Sunday afternoon to finish "Stand and Die" for my second win. I started off Friday handing Waldo a mercy win, though I had to show him howto do it. Every phase it was, "Sure you want to do that? That guy's lax, Bob." and "That will make you CX - still want to advance there?" and "Why are you rallying those guys on the last turn when I only need one CVP to win? You roll boxcars and it's mine!" It was pathetic. Then he went around boasting what a big man he is for beating me. Such a tragicly insignificant life he must have to crow like that.
Saturday I played two execellent games. Got to play "Khamsin!" again, really for the first time since the previous time I'd only been playing a few months and didn't know the game. My opponent was Charlie Hamilton - he had the Brits and put I think too many squads on the small hillocks; he also held off firing the HMG too long and ended up taking it out of his own OB. I swung the Germans underneath to come at him from the wind, and at first it looked grim as he popped off a few tanks easily. I failed to revive nearly every Shock result, so he killed about 5 tanks on glancing blows! On the southern hillock the momentum changed radically when my overrunning ht got whacked hard - a squad broke, a hs got pinned and the crew Stunned - it looked bad but I rolled two other ht's over to Encircle it (PRC can't be Encircled) and he BLEW THE CC! Only immobilized the ht despite a bunch of DRM. I ended up capturing his Squad and 8-1 in that hex, so instead of losing 9 CVP, I gained 8, a 17 pt swing! After that, I got lucky and popped the Grants, one on a TK DR of snakes and the other from an immobilized Marder that had no other targets!!! It was a very satisfying game, a true desert furball. Charlie played well, and the whole experience reinforced "Khamsin!" as one of the greatest of all time.
In the nightcap, I gave Mike Allexenberg a rematch from last year. We chose "Rocket's Red Glare" and I got the SS. The balance report on this is even, but I've played it and seen it played 5 times now, and the US has won every time. I think it's the two -2 leaders that negate the TEM and make rally pretty much automatic. I made some setup mistakes, throwing the Wirlwind away and gacking a gimme PSK shot, but with no CVP issues for the Yanks and SS subject to cowering it's almost impossible to stop them if they spread out. It was a good game, though, and Mike did his best to keep me in the game. The first few turns, no one could hit anything. I had a 12 -1 on his 9-2 and two MMG/747s and pinned the Leader; he answered back with a 36 +3 and had NO EFFECT! Too stupid.
Then Sunday I played the Great Carl Nogueira in "Stand and Die" - a very, very cool scenario that forces the Japs to play counter-intuitively because the VC are based on CVP! No crazy Banzais! Berzerk is bad! Carl had the Chinese and put too much emphasis on one side - both MMGs and the ART on his left flank, expecting his crappy tanks and six squads to hold down the right. I sent a token force up that side, a reserve force up his left flank (with the FT) and my main force up the middle. He took quite a toll on me early, Shocking two tanks with HE and ATR shots, and K'ing squads with alarming regularity. Then he started rolling 11's and 12's and the toys broke. His 8-1 AL ("A Chinese Armor Leader?" "He's the one who knows the pointy end of the shell goes in first.") rolled 11 on his first shot from the PSW 222 then Yahtzeed the RS roll - both the MA and CMG down! Between Stunning 1MT AFVs and gacking guns, he recalled almost as many tanks as I killed. Best moment for me was when I popped off a 2+1 Recon-by-fire shot at a woods hex "just in case", rolled a 3 and found his HIP 9-2 and MMG/447! He twelves the 9-2 down to a wounded, ELR'd 9-1 then breaks the squad. Neither of them got back into the game. What a howl! Carl is a terrific player and one hell of a good guy - he ran the show this year, did a first rate job, had a plaque and prizes for the winners and still got in a few games. He's one of the best players in the northeast and an extremely entertaining guy to sit across the table from.
Waldo smells bad and cheats ineptly. I let him beat me out of pity. That's all for now. More later!
I would first like to thank Pat Flory for hosting the tourney (BTW was cool to see all the wargames in the store...memory lane) and also Carl N. for running the show.
Game1- Bread factory vs Scott Brady I got the Germans via dice, do the usual assault with HS and dummies leading the way, the 9-1 w/ DC by his lonesome, the 9-2 w/ the kill stack. The 467 and 548 assault the VC buildings along with assistance from the main force and actually take them within a couple turns; the 9-1 actually doesn't berserk until turn 4, allowing me to use him to attack thru bldg J43 in the rear, placing the DC on a 447/MMG, blasting them into conscript land, allowing my other 467 to take up a blocking position there to interdict reinforcements. The 9-1 then helped take G43, after which he finally went ballistic and charged bldg G41 where the main Russki strongpoint was holding out (458, HMG and 10-0....interesting trading in the 8-1) this position shrugged off my kill stack's 16+1 attacks all game long, however they also never once got ROF for the HMG, and Scott's average DR had to be a 9. The German onslaught finally cleared out bldg G41 (incl the 45L) and with many units in position to interdict the reinforcements and being firmly esconced in bldgs F42/G43, Scott conceded. What a great sport he was, what with the horrible DR's and he never got upset, smiling and having fun...Scott it was a pleasure to play you, maybe next time your dice will give you a break. 1-0
Round 2- Gavin Take vs Jim Torkelson I get the Germans via dice (shit!)..it's bad enough that I have to play someone of Jim's calibre, and now he's got a 10-3 and 10-2 leader to boot. My fears were justified as Jim took apart my defense piece by piece, with the 10-3 group attacking the S3 and T3 bldg area and the 10-2 group fanning out in the M2 building area. By mid game things looked bleak for the Germans, but a few things had helped, such as a 447 holding out in T4, killing a 747 in CC and another in S5 failing to rout. My main position I fell back to was bldg R5, with flanking units holding T4 and O5. Jim's key error was failing to stop a few of my units from getting across the road @ R7, allowing them to setup a final defense line around Q10, with units in Q10, O10, P8, and the woods from R8 to T9. He mounted a furious assault that just came up short and I came out with a hard won victory. What a blast! This scenario is such a manouverfest. I felt very lucky to pull this out against Jim, an excellent player ( he crushed me @ Noreaster 98) and I might add just a great guy to play ASL with. 2-0
Round 3- Death at Carentan vs Scott Romanowski Dice gives me the Amis in a scenario I've heard lots about but never played, and once again facing a top shelf opponent in Scott. He setup in a rearward defense, and my plan was to blitz in, quickly clear out the few defenders and then expand the perimeter and wait for the counterattack. BIG MISTAKE. The 1st part of the plan went well, the smoke on target in O5, my troops quickly securing bdlgs P4, O6 and a lucky KIA clearing out R5. Here ended the good karma. his one remaing 548/LMG had holed up in S4, and i really needed to/tried to clear him out, but he weathered everything I threw at him (kitchen sink included) and thus remained firmly in the rear of my postion. Scotts attack came as i expected from both board edges, and he made good use of bocage and fire/manouver to encircle my units, and one by one they broke (never to fix), soon filling bldg P4 with lots of DM units, the noose ever tightening. My attempts to get my OBA going were rewarded with an initial red chit draw, followed by a black chit which I promptly red chitted and lost trying to hit his "?" units behind the bocage. This proved to be the last straw, my personal morale plummeted and I subsequently resigned. Scott played a super game, had a smart plan which he executed flawlessly, aided by the stalwart 548 holdout in S4 and his deft use of the bocage/?. What a helpless feeling watching someone methodically rip apart your defense...good job Scott, I tip my hat to you. In retrospect I should have had an expanded defensive perimeter to delay him closer to the board edges, also should have used the MMG for this, i.e. firelanes (instead of trying to make kill stacks which ended up killing nothing). Oh well......... 2-1
Round 4- Operation Nordwind vs Bob (BAASL Boss) Walden. Dice gives me the (black- yippee!) SS, 2 Flammhetzers and a StuH42, a really nasty force, to be the last to occupy w/ a MMC the 2 bridges. My main worries are the 57L and 2 bazookas, as with them out of the way my AFVs can romp. The .50cal and mortar are also tres formidable what with mainly woods and open ground to approach through. The bulk of Bob's Amis are setup around the CC5 bridge, with a smaller force around the Y8 one. A (dummy) unit on the causeway in Y6 makes me avoid the open hilltops in my advance, and i quickly push my SS towards the woods around the road in Y1, with the intent of moving through the orchards and taking the AA3 and W4 buildings and the Z4 wall from which i can assault the bridges proper. My StuH42 moved quickly on to bd18 hilltop, from where it's first attempt @ smoke results in an 11 (i.e. no smoke....a friggin smoke # of 10 and NO SMOKE!). The hetzers move along the left board edge toward his main position (MTR in GG4, 57L in FF4, .50cal in EE5 and 666/MMG in DD5). The MTR and .50cal show their ugly heads and in a brutal hail of fire break just about every SS unit trying to get to the orchards, followed by the StuH getting bazzed near the pond, and topped off with (this is the cherry on top...ENJOYING IT BOB?....sorry, it was very painful to watch) FlammHetzer #1 getting whacked by the 57L as follows...it approached the MTR/.50cal postion along row GG, and of course up pops the 57L, 2 APCR shots bounce off the thick armor, with a hot (n' hearty) reply breaking the 227 crew....good news, right? WRONG. He rallies on a 3 (DM, self rally, brush) and promptly critical hits the hetzer. This leaves me with 1 hetzer and everyone broken, causing me to take a personal 4MC which I fail (of course...didn't pass any MC yet, why start now?) offering to resign. Bob, being the super guy and great sport that he is (and just enjoying beating the shit out of me too much) refuses to accept it, giving me the ol ra-ra-sis-boom-ba booster speech (c'mon man, YOUR SS!) and I decide to stay.Things definitely got better, my SS rallied and my hetzer cleared out the 57L and .50cal position, weathering CC attacks and bazooka teams on skates. My final assault came up a hair short, although I managed to get the CC5 bridge, Bob managed to hodgepodge a defense together for the Y8 bridge, making my SS run a gaunlet of fire on the elevated road, pinning or breaking all of them ( managed to get to Y7). I had to use the hetzer to sleeze freeze a unit in Y9 and I deployed and ran no less than 4 MMC at the bridge, but consecutive DFF shot DRs of 5, 4, 3 and 2 raked my beloved Black Eddie Z specials, puttin the serious hurt on them. The game was over, and it was not only as close as they get, it was FUN! THANK YOU BOB for a super game. Bob did a masterful job of switching his defense to the Y8 bridge when he realized the CC5 bridge was becoming untenable, and it proved to be just enough.
final record 2-2 (missed friday noc)
Had a blast, great bunch of guys, am looking forward to next year.
Here's my AAR for the Nor'easter. I must say up front that the /only/ thing that was disappointing was the poor turnout, which happily was more than made up for by the enthusiasm and bonhomie exhibited by the group. We had, I believe, ~20 people; we had expected between 30-35. I'm not sure why the numbers were so low, and I would appreciate any feedback that might help us increase attendance next year.
However, I had a blast. Much thanks to Pat, who hosted us this year at the Citadel game store in Groton, CT; go there for your game and hobby supplies. It is an excellent gaming resource. Pat's been running the place for 22 years, and has a super stock of all types of games. Also a great gaming area downstairs. And thanks also to Carl Nogueira, A-1 rightous dude, for organizing and conducting the event. First one there, last one out every day. The man is a rock.
The action started Friday night. First arrivals were Rob Seulowitz and Mick O'Shea from NY, Vic Provost and Ralph MacDonald from the Bunker crew of western Mass, and Mike Allexenberg plus myself from eastern Mass. Also showing up early was Mike (?) from Montreal, getting the "longest drive" award. We all headed over to the Ponderosa for dinner; after taking antidotes and emetics, we recovered and began to play.
I owed Rob a takedown after 3 straight losses to him. In a magnanimous gesture, I allowed him to choose the scenario; he chose "Suprise Encounter." We diced for sides and I got the Finns. Fine by me; I was feeling aggressive. The VCs are flexible; to win, the Finn can exit points across the board (mostly woods), or gather CVP. There is a CVP cap that makes things a bit tricky for the Finn. My plan was to go for the CVP win; I set up to attack pretty much up the middle, but tried to stay open to a flanking move and run for the exit if needed.
The game was unglamorous: Rob's lack-luster defence was uninspired and predictable. My Finns ground slowly right through his center, then, after attaining the needed CVP, we camped in the woods for the rest of the game, bitch-slapping the weak girly-boys of the Soviet Union whenever they came near. I was suprised to find he took a Commissar; it certainly made my job easier. 5 of the 12 CVP I needed to win came from this Finn sympathizer. I think Rob learned a lesson here (although it's hard to tell;) don't try to use a commissar when your ELR is 2.
My attack was hampered mainly only by poor dice and the gullies, which can really slow the attack down. Due to low animal cunning or serendipity, Rob had strewn his Russkis in such a way that I had to go into woods+gully hexes a few times, but even CX the Finns are killing machines. I taught Rob a thing or two about failure to rout and the ability of concealed attackers to destroy broken units; dispite a few Finn losses due to very poor MCs on my part (2 boxcars), the game was never in doubt.
I think in retrospect Rob was terribly ashamed of his pathetic performance; I tried to bolster his sagging spirits by buying a round after the game, but he slunk off to the hotel early, whining about his dice, unrealistic Finns, and unbalanced scenarios. What a pity people can't exhibit a little backbone when they lose (God knows I have plenty of practice losing graciously!) 1-0
Next morning, and I was matched up with Mick O'Shea in Bread "Factory #2". I suggested the scenario and had played it before, whereas Mick had not seen it previously, so we agreed that he should pick sides. He chose Germans. I set up with a HIP 458+MMG on the roof of the factory nearest the objective hexes, with LOS down the road the berserker german leader must cross. I put 3 squads, LMG & leader in the objective buildings, and put the trench in the shellhole intersection adjacent to the rear objective hex, with a squad in it (this was an error; this squad should go in the rubble adjacent to the factory the HIP 458/MMG is on.) The big MG nest went in the large building across the street from the objectives, and one 458+LMG set up outside the building and adjacent to the gully. The gun went in the large building, facing the objectives.
Mick's attack was very well planned and conducted, with dummies soaking off the fire lanes and a suprise attack v. the apparently empty factory near the objective buildings. I wasn't expecting this; that's why I now think there should be a guarding 447 in the rubble near the objective hexes. My HIP 458+MMG did get a 16+0 shot, breaking a squad, but the 4+1 back at him caused a HOB roll of 11, which at that time we assumed distrupted him. It was pointed out later that this result should have actually battle-hardened him, since surrender/distrupt results are N/A in no quarter. If this unit hadn't broken first turn, he would have added another turn at least to the game.
Mick's big suprise for me was his wide swing with ~2 squads + leader around the far side of the large building, down into the gully, and into the rear of my setup area. This maneuver definitely cost me the game. I wasn't prepared for it and could not scrape together enough material to hold them off and defend the objectives. It was all over on turn 4. Mick went on to win the tourney, so I don't feel too bad; he's a great guy and an excellent ASL player. 1-1
I next faced off with Vic Provost in "Faugh A'Ballaugh" (or whatever). Vic and I have traded wins before, and he's always a fun opponent. We diced, I came up with Germans. The rubble rolls were unhelpful for me; no roadblocks at all up front. I set up with the JP in the orchard hex on the front line of buildings, my MMG looking down the long diagonal road (where else?), and the 3 LMGs looking out through the grain fields.
Vic came on close, first with the Churchills, getting one hex of smoke, then with the squads near board center. The obligatory 1FP fire lanes were laid, and Vic skipped whistling through them, laughing at the 1MCs he kept triggering, rolling nothing but 3s and 5s (the German SAN is 4). I think Vic had the best MCs I'd ever seen during the first 3 turns; I kept hitting him with 1&2 MCs and he kept rolling 3s & 5s. He came on fast in turn 2, ignoring the 1FP FLs, making incredible MCs, and attacked stright into the grainfield and boardedge woods, trapping one of my squads in CC. 2.5 squads and a leader did a reverse, cutting across the board and then on turn 3 attacking into the other side of the town. It was hard to fall back in good order; I got real lucky not to get overrun by these low-rolling Irishmen in turn 3.
I decided to try a scattered defence; I put one or two squads in each VC building and fell back as slow as I could. I hoped that Vic wouldn't be able to split up his forces effectively in time to deal with the distributed, skulking defenders. At the end, Vic's dice deserted him. He couldn't make the IFT or MC rolls he needed, and came up, as usual in FaB, one building short at the end. The next to last turn it was looking grim for me, and I sunk to the level of driving the JP (which had destroyed all 3 churchills in the center of town) back out to the original front line of buildings, threatening a last-turn unload and sleazy crew recapure of a building. I felt dirty doing this, but as it turns out it was not needed and the crew never got out. Vic didn't send any MMCs back to deal with that sleaze move, but did try to send a 8-0 back there, who got pinned before he made it. It had no effect on actual play, but I think the threat of the sleaze irked Vic and demoralized him; I must apologize for it but I'd probably do it again in a tourney if I thought that was the only way to win. In this case, Vic's poor dice (at the end) lost it for him; I held on in two buildings with infantry and won the match. 2-1
Round 4 was a matchup with Ralph MacDonald, who (I think) I've played once before and lost to. Ralph's most fun when he's playing the IJA; his "BANZI! BANZAI! BANZAI!" scream always reduces me to rolling on the floor laughter. But he's always a good opponent. We chose "Rocket's Red Glare" and I won the SS from the dice. I set up with the FlakWagen on the hill on the german right, the stug in woods near the rear objective building, 9-2/HMG/658 in level 1 of the large central stone building, and the gun in the woods adjacent to the central objective building. I was set up mainly v. an attack up the middle and from my right; of course, the attack actually came up the middle and from my left.
Ralph set up strongly on board, including X3, which turned out to be a BAZ SWAT force with a leader and 2x747/BAZ45. The GMC entered on I10 with a platoon led by the 10-2. I had the road covered on that side by the crew with an LMG and a 658/LMG combo; they slowed this flanking force down and forced it into the center. The GMC went up on level 2 and assumed overwatch; my stug was too busy with infantry support in the center to deal with the GMC.
My FlakW had to declare motion & boogie out of his preset; it rolled down into bypass of the central objective hex. Between it, the HIPed gun, and my 24-2 kill stack, the center was secure; I even managed to break an entire platoon (9-2/3x747) with the HIPed gun and subsequently run around behind it with a HS for the capture. Next turn, the HS picks up one of the prisoner's BAZ, then gets attacked by a 747+leader. My guard HS uses its FF opportunity to massacre the prisoners (what the hell: they're already ELR 5, and I've never done a massacre before.) I couldn't take the chance of a CC liberating these prisoners right next to my objective building.
However, as is probably usual in Rocket, the real action was at the rear objective building. During my turn 2, I pulled one squad back to it and pulled my left-side units into the center, leaving my left flank without interdicting fire. on turn 3, Ralph capitalized on this, maneuvering out of the town with the 10-2 and 1.5 squads and double-timing for the rear objective, getting into the woods near the rear objective on turn 3.
In hindsight (always so clear afterwards!), you really need at least an HS/LMG to stay outside of the town on the german left, interdicting the road/hillside, and a 658 _IN_ the rear objective. I had only the latter. The US can be real mobile when they need to: on turn 4 Ralph used his motion GMC to VBM freeze the occupants of the rear objective, and I had no option but to whack it from the stug. Of course, it smoked. The smoke blinded the 658 in the building, and on turn 5 the 10-2 with 1.5 squads and 2 PFs assaulted up adjacent to the rear building. The smoke hampered their attack but of course reduced my defence as well.
I did manage to pin the 747, keeping Ralph from advancing in that turn. Next turn I moved as much stuff over there as I could risk away from the center (there were still several active US squads in there), but my big mistake was leaving the FlakWagen in the center. It really wasn't needed, but I idiotically used it to grease a HS in prep. It should have moved adjacent to the 10-2/1.5 squads and soaked up one of the PFs, the stug could have charged in and either sleaze-freezed them or soak off another PF attack; one of these would generate more smoke to screen my infantry moving in for the kill/reinforcement of the objective. In the end, my timid play on the last turn lost the game. I really have to stop playing war and start playing ASL: it doesn't matter if your preserve your armor and your infantry if you lose the scenario. 2-2
The last game on Sunday morning was a rematch between me and Tom Morin. Tom's a fantastic player, won AvalonCon a couple of years ago and is always a lot of fun to play. We pulled out "Operation Nordwind;" I had never seen it before. We diced for sides and I got the US. I did not like the look of this at all; I hate defending against flame tanks and the US doesn't really have anything good to use against them. I set up insipidly: my plan was to hold the right bridge (by the pond) at all costs, with only a token force in the gully by the other bridge (it was too exposed). The gun went in the brush hex near the pond on the extreme right; The MTR went in the woods next to the gun, and the M1 went in a foxhole on the edge of the pond. The MMG went in a FH next to the M1 and right behind the bridge. One HIP HS/BAZ went in the central orchard; one went in the building near the pond bridge. Both of these were terrible locations.
Tom came on and did the obvious march across 18 on turn 1 (what's the point? Let the SS set up on 18 and shorten the game by one turn instead.) His infantry came right up the middle in turn 2, withe the stuh42 in support from a hill, firing smoke. The hetzers (god DAMN them!) came on straigt down the US right board edge and right at the gap between the pond and the edge (obvious, Bob!), soaking up 2 APDS hits that both bounced before I ran out of the good stuff. Turn 3, the lead hetzer flamed my ATG crew, which failed its MC. But the bottom of turn 3 was all /mine/. My dice went red-hot: the crew auto-rallied and CH'd the hetzer, and the HIPd HS/BAZ in the orchard smoked the stuh42, which had come down off the hill. My M1 _hosed_ a stack of 3 SS+leader, firing about 5 times and leaving 1.5 broken squads in their place. Infantry FP decimated the SS front line, breaking about 2/3 of the attacking force. Tom failed his personal MC and offered a surrender; I talked him out of it (!) and the game went on.
The next 2 turns were all Tom's. The one remaining hetzer (I freeking HATE those things!) rolled all over my back field, frying everything in sight, while Tom rallied his broken force and crept closer with a few stalwarts. My ATG went down to the hetzer and the M1, and Tom's dice heated up, with SS IFT fire breaking most of the US force. Now I was ready to fold. Most of my force was broken and cowering in the gully, but I rallied one BAZ HS and a green HS near the hetzer.
The BAZ HS skated out from under the bridge onto the pond with an LOS to the hetzer, and the green hs ran at it from the side. If it turned to flame the greenie, it would leave its back to the BAZ. I had a side shot as it was. Instead, it chose to wait till FF to flame another unmoving 2nd line full squad into ashes, and then tried to use its AA v. the green hs: boxcars! Now it's unarmed for CCV. The BAZ shot comes in but thuds into the edge of the pond. The greenie HS must take the hetzeer out in CC! He rolls a 5 for his 1PAATC (!) and jumps on the hetzer, but fails to affect it. In his next turn Tom turns his VCA in prep without firing to put his tough front armor v. the BAZ, but does not fire or move. The BAZ shot hits, but NE! In AF, the hetzer flames the HS to atoms, and in the next turn flames the BAZ HS on the pond as well.
The last couple of turns went my way again: although I never got rid of the last hetzer (Arrgh!), I did manage to push Tom off one of the bridges and hold out with increadible dice (I rolled 5, 4, 3 for IFT attacks at one point: an onlooker shook his head and said: "snakes next?" yep: next roll was 2, on an MC, one of the defenders went berserk, held out v. the Hetzer 30+0 flame, and was instrumental in defending the elevated bridge with long-range fire.
In the end, it was the elevated bridge, not the pond bridge, that I held. Funny game, and real dicey. I knew the dice had won it for me, but I had fun and managed to finish 3-2.
Much thanks to all the attendees; it was way fun. Contrary to my ribbing in my aar for Suprise Encounter, I enjoyed having Dr. Rob around; he's a blast and the game was really very fun. Mick was a real suprise to us all; we'd never met him before and we were real suprised at his prowess. He comes out of the Manhattan gang, and gets regular play with JR Tracy, so I guess it shouldn't be suprising that he's as good as he is. He admitted to dicing Scott Romanowski unmercifully in the championship game; it was over before the end of turn 4 of "Pomeranian Tigers" (A truly gimpy mongrel; the designer should be shot;) Scott took it with good humor and a well-deserved second place.
Ok, ok. I've been remiss. So here is my Nor Easter AAR as beaten out of me by the AAR commissar, Bob W. :-)
Scenario 1 Le' Herrison vs Scott Romanowski. I've played this 3 times prior, each as the Germans. Winning 2 losing one. I feel the French have a slight edge, which can be maximized by using the proper defense for the situation, and by having the right mindset. Which is definitely not to swap punches with the Germans. Rather to hide a couple of Hipsters, to pop out and reclaim bldgs at the last moment.
Scott and I both bid for Frogs. I lose, and get the Germans with balance. Which gives me an MMG for an LMG. This is a helpful balance, as it gives the -2 ldr a better firebase to pair with the hmg.
I position myself to attack up both the left and right sides, with an eye toward converging on the middle dominant bldg.
Smoke making goes well early. I have smoke with all three SP guns, and they don't run low on ammo. This aids the advance greatly, and the first couple of turns go well.
Once into the bldgs the French hold, I get bogged down in the main bldg., and his sniper kills a SP gun commander, not once, but twice. Same guy each time. Sick Frenchmen. I get a little to close with another SP Gun and he is killed in CC.
The right flank continues to go fairly well, but with the center bogged down, and being unaware that a broken mmc can hold a bldg. (this came as a news flash). I just didn't have time to get to all the spots I needed to be. The common problem for The German in this. Not enough force, given the time allowed. While I think the Germans have a good shot vs a Frenchman who plays any combination, save the right defense, vs the right defense, this is a tough one indeed. Scott had the right idea from the outset. Spring his HIP units only when necessary, and play the swap control game, as the Germans just don't have enough to garrison all they take. If the French try to fight, I think it favors the Germans. 0-1
Next I play Charlie Wilmer in Desert Citadel. Free Frog elitists vs 3-4-7 ities on Motorcycles supported by 5 M13/40 tanks (used lightly here) and 3 Sermoventes. The Free Frogs also have 2 75mm Guns and a trench line to set up in, though no more than three trenches may be adj to each other. There is a large hillock in the middle of the board for the Ities to hide behind. Light dust is in effect. The Ities have a dozen squads the French 9 or so.
Charlie opted to hide most of his armor behind the hillock either HD Sermovente's or out of sight entirely. Unfortunately he did put an M13/40 on top of the hillock. Boom. The sermoventes tried to smoke me. One malfing, and subsequently disabling, one with no smoke, one with and successfully placed on one of the 2 Guns. In the interim, another tank ventured too close and got whacked.
When the Itie infantry came on, he pressed the tanks forward, with the infantry following. This probably needed to be in platoon movement, the tanks staying in motion for optimum effect. ( a tactic pointed out by Mike Alexenberg as we discussed the game later. who says he's TB boy?) As it was, there were gaps in the dust for me to snipe at the inf as they came up, breaking cring some, and the Guns were able to swivel and blast the two lead M13/40's in that dfire too. That broke up his attack pretty bad. With little left to prosecute the attack, Charlie resigned.
I have to agree with Mike. There is only one attack plan for the Ities in this. Hide the tanks HD the Sermoventes. Fire what smoke you have on one turn, then everybody over the top, for an 8 hex wide dust screen as the cycles ride in behind it. Anything else just falls to the two guns, and the infantry is on its own, which it can't be. (no balance in this game) 1-1
Next I play John Winslow in Gavin Take. I get the Americans. We play this one straight up, no balance. I opt to encircle the town rather than plow through. 10-2 around the right with a platoon, 10-3 pinning the center with a platoon, remainder around the left with the 8-0. John opted not to run anyone off early to make me exit more troops. Perhaps an error, perhaps not. It was a tough defense even with all hands on deck. The attack around the flanks progresses well, and I am on the hills flanking the town by turn 3. The 10-3 actually becomes fanatic in the center, (talk about embarrassment of wealth) and I begin to make good progress, as some of John's troops get shot up by long-range, good mod shots from the hilltops as they try to reposition themselves. By turn 4 The 10-3 and friends are across the road in the center. and the the two flanking forces have met in the middle. I just have to reduce the pocketed defenders to get off. An uninspired prep fire by John (bad rolls) and devastating PB fire with great mods breaks his defense, and the game ends. 2-1
The next round is Royal Marines vs Mike Rogers from Montreal. Mike has the Brits, I the Germans, no balance here either. I hide 6 of my 7 fortified locations in the main rear, circular building in the rear of the German position, and tuck another away in the right rear, where he will need to be adjacent to see it. By SSR, if you see a fortified location, it comes out. Exchange for tunnels is n/a. I also get 24 ap mines and 8 wire, 3 at ditches, the ability to rubble a few bldg hexes, and a partridge in a pear tree. The Germans are pretty ordinary 2nd line scum, the Brits are 6-4-8's supported by two smoke throwing 94 mm British freak mobiles, which come on separately turn 3 and 5 if memory serves. About 14 Brits, well led, vs about 12 Germ's also fairly well led. I do have a 9-2 and 2 HMG's so they, manned by HS are placed in the central bldg 2nd lvl. The wire and mines I use to cover the left, I place the wire where it will not be seen until he is fully committed to that side. The at ditches I plug into rubbled bldgs on the extreme flanks, to deny that area to his vehicles. I put a couple of squads forward of the mines/wire on the left to slow that advance, they are not expected to survive. The right has slightly more force, with a leader positioned just rearward with a catchers mit, waiting for routers to come down the pipe. The left center has a MG nest with LMG's and a 8-1 directing. He has to come in split. Half his force on the right turn 1, half on the left, turn 2. The right flank is slowed by the HMG nest, and a unit or two breaks. I do a lot of skulking there and generally try to slow him. His right runs into big trouble fast, and, in retrospect, this probably costs him the game. Several units break under hmg fire, that just won't lose rof, and to add insult to injury, his 10-2 gets smacked in the head by my sniper, resulting in further death/breakage from the llmc. As a result the speed bumps there are going to last longer than they should, with the delaying effects of all the mines/wire, the right flank is out of the game, but since he doesn't know thats where the wire/mines are, he continues to press there as well. His first tank comes on and gives me some smoke to gag on, up in hmg land, and his left flank begins to make progress. The right too, but it has been badly thinned out.
The tank 12's its next shot then disables itself, just in time for the new one to arrive. The end game comes down to him running out of time as the right hits the wire/mines and gets stopped, and the left is harassed and slowed, just enough by the German resistance. He has to take all the fortified locations by scenario end, and, despite a last minute banzai style, grab the vc charge, he can't do it. This is a good DASL scenario, and I recommend it highly. I have played it twice now, once each side, managed to win both. Each side has unique challenges and problems. 3-1
Sunday morning I play DR Rob in Stand and Die. I have the Chinese, DR Rob the Japanese, I think there was no balance. The Japanese have to kill Chinese and grab bldg., the Chinese, kill Japanese and hold buildings. The defense I set up was with the arty piece and MMG/sqd/9-2 forward, Hyped on the left, the quickest way in, with some needed support to keep the gun from getting captured (4X the normal value instead of 2X when Chinese lose their Guns, them warlords love them their big Guns :-)) The Center I place a ldr with 3 sqds to react to either flank depending on the attack direction, and hope my tanks can help shore it up. ( to call them tanks is a gross injustice) He comes in with two of his three gun armed tanks (37's) on the left with a light infantry screen of a platoon or so, heavy in the middle with his remaining armor and a platoon with a ldr and FT on the right ( as I face the board).
The early ambush on the left goes well, as I shock both tanks and shoot up a little infantry. The center and right develop unopposed. One tank succumbs to its shock but the other lives. NP say I, I have a one hex away rear shot with an atr. I roll 12. The tank survives, and keeps me from turning my back on that flank for the duration. To make matters worse it fires blind into the hex with my 9-2 and 4-4-7/MMG and rolls a 3 for a 1 mc. I 12 the ldr and elr the squad. Things take a turn for the bleak. I fire my armored car w/the al at his infantry and roll an 11, malf, then yatzee to brk both cmg and MA. The MA eventually came back, the CMG DAed itself . I really was very unsuccessful stopping him in the center and right, as more weapons malfed, tank/ac got blown up, and infantry died to various causes. One thing I do have to do next time I have the Chinese, is make better use of the dare death squads. Their capabilities are interesting, but you must be very careful not to get them plastered b4 they can use them. It takes some forethought. While he remained held up on the left throughout the game, this did very little as it was just a diversionary attack any way. It really held me up more than the other way around. With a turn or two left, it was obvious he was going to get what he needed to win. So I concede 3-2
All and all a good time with all the usual suspects. Hope to see everybody, plus a couple of the no showers next year.