Bitter Ender Live Updates

Bill Cirillo

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Wes,

So, the Bitter Ender Championship game with Doug Sheppard came down to a scenario choice between DTF-4 Death to Fascism and FrF98 Amerikanskaya Suka. Doug felt that FrF98 would provide for more of a freewheeling affair than DTF-4, so we went with that. No knock on DTF-4, which I played at ASLOK (Steve Pleva kicked my Rumanian butt in that playing, but I digress).

Doug had played the scenario once and Sean Deller and I had noodled around with potential set ups while prepping for the Albany tournament last December, so we both felt comfortable with the choice. We diced for sides and I got the defending (/potentially counterattacking Germans) and Doug got the Russians with a boatload of AFVs including four American M10 GMC tank destroyers and five (5) T-34/85s.

For those not familiar with the scenario, the Russians are required to hold building 71Y7, which they Control at scenario start, while capturing one (1) or more multi-hex buildings in the German set up area. There are a total of 7 multi-hex buildings that the Russian has to choose from; five (5) stone building on Board 71 and two (2) wooden buildings on FrF Board A.

Given the VC and the fact that the Russians set up half their OoB within Rider distance of all 7 VC buildings, the Germans are pretty much required to set up at least one (1) MMC in all 7 buildings so as to hopefully avoid an easy early Russian strategy of riding into the German backfield and seizing a bunch of VC buildings. Doug shared with me after our game that that was what he did in his first playing after his opponent played more of an upfront German set up. If the Russians are able to secure a couple of buildings early and at little to no cost in terms of losses, it becomes very tough for the Germans to win in my opinion.

The other issue that the Germans have at set up, especially after thinning out their defense from having set up in all seven (7) buildings, is that VC building 71N4 is pretty easily reachable/approachable by the Russians at start onboard forces AND re-enforceable by the Russians Turn 1 off-board reinforcements. The one issue the Russians have is that they need to still Control 71Y7 at Game end, so they can’t be completely cavalier about not protecting this building against a strong counterattack from the German Turn 1 Reinforcements. One other major factor impacting the German set up is that any Germans set up in Concealment Terrain set up Concealed AND the Germans receive four (4) Concealment counters in their at start OoB. So, the Germans pretty much MUST use the four (4) Concealment counters to provide some uncertainty as to where their two (2) JgPz IVs are at start, even IMO if it means giving up potential hull down set up Locations (also, AFV may not set up in buildings).

So, with all of the above in mind and the German ability to set up concealed, I decided to place two (2) MMC and the MMG in building 71N4 and hope that they would either hold on until German reinforcements could arrive or that they could inflict enough damage to aid the most likely necessary German counterattack. I also went with one (1) JgPz IV on the board edge over by the 71N4 building and the other three (3) Concealed 5/8” units around the village area where Boards 71 and FrF A meet.

Doug’s strategy in response to my set up was:

  • Forgo trying to get mounted Riders in the German backfield of Board 71,
  • Start all of his on-board infantry; a 9-1, five (5) 6-2-8s, and a DC in row 71S in the Orchard hexes (thus giving them at start Concealment as they were out of my LOS),
  • Start a T-34/85 in hex 71T8 to square off against my Concealed 5/8” counter in 71K10,
  • Bring three (3) T-34/85s in to directly support the attack on the 71N4 VC building and command the southern entrance to the Board 71 village area.
Doug then used his off-board infantry to:

  • Secure the 71Y7 VC building with a portion of his infantry against any potential German Turn 1 Reinforcement counterattack,
  • Use the remainder of his infantry to initially screen against a building 71Y7 German counterattack by placing them in the FrF AJ1 woods mass along the two board seams so as to block the German Trucks.
  • The four (4) reinforcing American Lend-Lease M10 GMC tank destroyers were also placed in a screen near the 71Y7 VC building with one (1) of them Concealed behind the hedge in 71X7.
So, as with most scenarios the key to victory is rolling stupidly low. Now, to be fair, my dice had either been fairly neutral or down right disappointing for the majority of my attacks and CC’s so far, but what ensued over the next two Game Turns was downright stupid.

Doug started strong by getting all his 9-1 directed 6-2-8s into the 71O4 woods mass that fronted the 71N4 VC building from the south. Having limited to no LOS, they mostly arrived still Concealed. As stated before, they were also supported by a majority of the T-34/85s. Doug also chose to start his T-34/85 in 71T8 with the hope that I might reveal one (1) of my JgPz IVs, but I held tight during the movement phase, so Doug left that T-34/85 where it was and then rolled one (1) of his American M10 GMC tank destroyers into 71X7. So far, so good for Doug’s attack. Then my JgPz IV opened up in the Defensive Final Fire Phase. Hit (with rate) on the T-34/85 in 71T8 on a DR = 1,3. Hey, that’s my APCR number! Hey, I didn’t declare the shot! Idiot! So, off course it was a bounce. So, with the ROF I declare, “APCR”, DR > APCR, no shot. Quality play all around! So, back to AP. Hit with rate. This time the boys were a little more focused on shot location and the T-34/85 goes down. Sweet. Got rate, let’s try the Concealed M10 GMC in 71X7. Hmmm, Concealed, let’s try the HE = 7 shot at the exposed crew. Hit, no ROF, stunned. Strong German start.

Doug, shrugs it off and advances 6-2-8s into 71O4, O5, and O6. Ugh.

On to German Player Turn 1.

My strategy was:

  • Reinforce the 71N4 VC building as quickly as possible with both infantry and armor,
  • Use a Panther to threaten the flank of the three (3) T-34/85s in/around 71P2, P3, and Q3,
  • Kill the stunned M10 GMC tank destroyer.
  • Skulk the hell out of my two squads in 71N4.
The only real issue I had with Doug’s strategy was that he didn’t threaten anywhere along the FrFAY10, FrFAZ6, FrFAX3, FrFAX1, 71I3 road network. This allowed the Germans to truck all of their reinforcing infantry into the Board 71 village area near the 71N4 VC building. In the end I had German reinforcing stacks in 71K2, 71K3, and 71I7. Along the way I also had Panthers in FrFAT1, 71L3, and 71L4. Did I mention that the Panther in 71L3 was probably about 1000 degrees Fahrenheit? Yep, failing its Motion Attempt in 71P3, the T-34/85 did the next best thing and scored an APCR Critical Hit on my Panther. Yes, ouch. The last move I made in Turn 1 was to reinforce building 71N4 with a 4-4-7 toting a PSK. So, at the end of German Turn one, building 71N4 looked like: 4-4-7 in N4, 4-4-7/MMG in N5, and 4-4-7/PSK in M6, all Concealed.



So, on to Russian Player Turn 2.

Doug’s objectives for the Turn were to:

  • Crush my troops in the 71N4 VC building;
  • Use his superior armor numbers to go after my Panther in FrFAT1.
Doug’s strategy to accomplish the first task was to Opportunity Fire his 6-2-8s in 71O4, O5, and O6 while reinforcing O5 with a second 6-2-8 and the coup de grace, have a 6-2-8 attempt to place the DC on my guys in N4. Fortunately, the DC squad ended up broken and all of my guys survived the Russian fire attacks. Unfortunately, this brings us to CC. Two (2) 6-2-8s jump the 4-4-7/MMG in N5 at 3:1 (no ambush), down goes my MMC and the Russians gain a perfectly functional MMG. Two (2) 6-2-8s jump the 4-4-7 in N4 and miracle of miracles, do not get him. Melee. Sweet.

On the AFV end of things, Doug masterfully extracts the two (2) T-34/85s in the LOS of my Panther in FrFAT1 by bringing three (3) of his American M10 GMC tank destroyers around to flank my Panther, which shows the better part of valor by first failing his Motion Attempt and then hiding in SMOKE. Well played Doug, ugh played Bill. My Defensive Fire Phase ends with me getting my Panther faced the correct way against his American M10 GMC tank destroyer, but facing three acquisitioned shots.



German Player Turn 2 (AKA: the turn I wish I could have in all my games)

So, my objectives are:

  • Break the two (2) Russian 6-2-8s with my MMG in 71N5 and reinforce the Melee in 71N4,
  • Save my Panther in FrFAT1.
Sounds simple enough.

So, Panther CMG into 71N5, no effect.

Panther MA into N5, hit. One (1) broken 6-2-8.

4-4-7/PSK in M6, Inherent FP 8+3, no effect.

I’ll fire the PSK and eat the Backblast. DR = 2,2. Hit! 1MC on me which I fail. Even better though, Doug’s Good Order 6-2-8 in N5 breaks. Sweet!

Over to the T1 Panther. And this is where I end up apologizing for dicing Doug. First shot, hit with rate. Burning American M10 GMC.

Pivot the turret. Second shot, hit with rate. Burning American M10 GMC.

Third shot, hit, no rate. Burning American M10 GMC.

Three shots, three kills, same Panther. Never done that before. Stupid, Stupid luck.



Back to the 71N4 VC building. With all of the Russian 6-2-8s either broken or in Melee, I am able to put a 9-1, 5-4-8, 5-4-8/LMG, 8-3-8/FT all in 71M5. 9-1 directed 24+2 into the Melee. 2MC, my 4-4-7 Pins, his two (2) 6-2-8s go down hard. FT 24 Flat into 71N5. DR = 1,1. Another apology to Doug. 9-1, 5-4-8, 5-4-8/LMG reinforces the Melee. 1:1 down 5. Two (2) dead 6-2-8s.

Throughout this mess, Doug is nothing but an absolute gentleman and consummate gamer. Utmost respect on my part.

Doug asks to take 5, have a smoke, and call a friend.

Five minutes pass, Doug returns, shakes my hand and thanks me for the game. Absolute gentleman, consummate gamer, no mention of getting diced. Utmost respect on my part. Already looking forward to playing him again. If not at ALSOK, then some tournament down the road.



Takeaways from this playing.

I like the scenario, but wonder if it will most likely always come down to a slug fest for the 71N4 VC building.

Russians need to do something to bring FP on the FrFAY10, FrFAZ6, FrFAX3, FrFAX1, 71I3 road network or the Germans can get their infantry into the Board 71 Village.

I think that if the Russian do go after the 71N4 VC building, that some portion of their Turn One Reinforcements need to also support this attack.

Again, quality scenario against a quality opponent.



Bill


8362
 

wesvaughn

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Wes,

So, the Bitter Ender Championship game with Doug Sheppard came down to a scenario choice between DTF-4 Death to Fascism and FrF98 Amerikanskaya Suka. Doug felt that FrF98 would provide for more of a freewheeling affair than DTF-4, so we went with that. No knock on DTF-4, which I played at ASLOK (Steve Pleva kicked my Rumanian butt in that playing, but I digress).

Doug had played the scenario once and Sean Deller and I had noodled around with potential set ups while prepping for the Albany tournament last December, so we both felt comfortable with the choice. We diced for sides and I got the defending (/potentially counterattacking Germans) and Doug got the Russians with a boatload of AFVs including four American M10 GMC tank destroyers and five (5) T-34/85s.

For those not familiar with the scenario, the Russians are required to hold building 71Y7, which they Control at scenario start, while capturing one (1) or more multi-hex buildings in the German set up area. There are a total of 7 multi-hex buildings that the Russian has to choose from; five (5) stone building on Board 71 and two (2) wooden buildings on FrF Board A.

Given the VC and the fact that the Russians set up half their OoB within Rider distance of all 7 VC buildings, the Germans are pretty much required to set up at least one (1) MMC in all 7 buildings so as to hopefully avoid an easy early Russian strategy of riding into the German backfield and seizing a bunch of VC buildings. Doug shared with me after our game that that was what he did in his first playing after his opponent played more of an upfront German set up. If the Russians are able to secure a couple of buildings early and at little to no cost in terms of losses, it becomes very tough for the Germans to win in my opinion.

The other issue that the Germans have at set up, especially after thinning out their defense from having set up in all seven (7) buildings, is that VC building 71N4 is pretty easily reachable/approachable by the Russians at start onboard forces AND re-enforceable by the Russians Turn 1 off-board reinforcements. The one issue the Russians have is that they need to still Control 71Y7 at Game end, so they can’t be completely cavalier about not protecting this building against a strong counterattack from the German Turn 1 Reinforcements. One other major factor impacting the German set up is that any Germans set up in Concealment Terrain set up Concealed AND the Germans receive four (4) Concealment counters in their at start OoB. So, the Germans pretty much MUST use the four (4) Concealment counters to provide some uncertainty as to where their two (2) JgPz IVs are at start, even IMO if it means giving up potential hull down set up Locations (also, AFV may not set up in buildings).

So, with all of the above in mind and the German ability to set up concealed, I decided to place two (2) MMC and the MMG in building 71N4 and hope that they would either hold on until German reinforcements could arrive or that they could inflict enough damage to aid the most likely necessary German counterattack. I also went with one (1) JgPz IV on the board edge over by the 71N4 building and the other three (3) Concealed 5/8” units around the village area where Boards 71 and FrF A meet.

Doug’s strategy in response to my set up was:

  • Forgo trying to get mounted Riders in the German backfield of Board 71,
  • Start all of his on-board infantry; a 9-1, five (5) 6-2-8s, and a DC in row 71S in the Orchard hexes (thus giving them at start Concealment as they were out of my LOS),
  • Start a T-34/85 in hex 71T8 to square off against my Concealed 5/8” counter in 71K10,
  • Bring three (3) T-34/85s in to directly support the attack on the 71N4 VC building and command the southern entrance to the Board 71 village area.
Doug then used his off-board infantry to:

  • Secure the 71Y7 VC building with a portion of his infantry against any potential German Turn 1 Reinforcement counterattack,
  • Use the remainder of his infantry to initially screen against a building 71Y7 German counterattack by placing them in the FrF AJ1 woods mass along the two board seams so as to block the German Trucks.
  • The four (4) reinforcing American Lend-Lease M10 GMC tank destroyers were also placed in a screen near the 71Y7 VC building with one (1) of them Concealed behind the hedge in 71X7.
So, as with most scenarios the key to victory is rolling stupidly low. Now, to be fair, my dice had either been fairly neutral or down right disappointing for the majority of my attacks and CC’s so far, but what ensued over the next two Game Turns was downright stupid.

Doug started strong by getting all his 9-1 directed 6-2-8s into the 71O4 woods mass that fronted the 71N4 VC building from the south. Having limited to no LOS, they mostly arrived still Concealed. As stated before, they were also supported by a majority of the T-34/85s. Doug also chose to start his T-34/85 in 71T8 with the hope that I might reveal one (1) of my JgPz IVs, but I held tight during the movement phase, so Doug left that T-34/85 where it was and then rolled one (1) of his American M10 GMC tank destroyers into 71X7. So far, so good for Doug’s attack. Then my JgPz IV opened up in the Defensive Final Fire Phase. Hit (with rate) on the T-34/85 in 71T8 on a DR = 1,3. Hey, that’s my APCR number! Hey, I didn’t declare the shot! Idiot! So, off course it was a bounce. So, with the ROF I declare, “APCR”, DR > APCR, no shot. Quality play all around! So, back to AP. Hit with rate. This time the boys were a little more focused on shot location and the T-34/85 goes down. Sweet. Got rate, let’s try the Concealed M10 GMC in 71X7. Hmmm, Concealed, let’s try the HE = 7 shot at the exposed crew. Hit, no ROF, stunned. Strong German start.

Doug, shrugs it off and advances 6-2-8s into 71O4, O5, and O6. Ugh.

On to German Player Turn 1.

My strategy was:

  • Reinforce the 71N4 VC building as quickly as possible with both infantry and armor,
  • Use a Panther to threaten the flank of the three (3) T-34/85s in/around 71P2, P3, and Q3,
  • Kill the stunned M10 GMC tank destroyer.
  • Skulk the hell out of my two squads in 71N4.
The only real issue I had with Doug’s strategy was that he didn’t threaten anywhere along the FrFAY10, FrFAZ6, FrFAX3, FrFAX1, 71I3 road network. This allowed the Germans to truck all of their reinforcing infantry into the Board 71 village area near the 71N4 VC building. In the end I had German reinforcing stacks in 71K2, 71K3, and 71I7. Along the way I also had Panthers in FrFAT1, 71L3, and 71L4. Did I mention that the Panther in 71L3 was probably about 1000 degrees Fahrenheit? Yep, failing its Motion Attempt in 71P3, the T-34/85 did the next best thing and scored an APCR Critical Hit on my Panther. Yes, ouch. The last move I made in Turn 1 was to reinforce building 71N4 with a 4-4-7 toting a PSK. So, at the end of German Turn one, building 71N4 looked like: 4-4-7 in N4, 4-4-7/MMG in N5, and 4-4-7/PSK in M6, all Concealed.



So, on to Russian Player Turn 2.

Doug’s objectives for the Turn were to:

  • Crush my troops in the 71N4 VC building;
  • Use his superior armor numbers to go after my Panther in FrFAT1.
Doug’s strategy to accomplish the first task was to Opportunity Fire his 6-2-8s in 71O4, O5, and O6 while reinforcing O5 with a second 6-2-8 and the coup de grace, have a 6-2-8 attempt to place the DC on my guys in N4. Fortunately, the DC squad ended up broken and all of my guys survived the Russian fire attacks. Unfortunately, this brings us to CC. Two (2) 6-2-8s jump the 4-4-7/MMG in N5 at 3:1 (no ambush), down goes my MMC and the Russians gain a perfectly functional MMG. Two (2) 6-2-8s jump the 4-4-7 in N4 and miracle of miracles, do not get him. Melee. Sweet.

On the AFV end of things, Doug masterfully extracts the two (2) T-34/85s in the LOS of my Panther in FrFAT1 by bringing three (3) of his American M10 GMC tank destroyers around to flank my Panther, which shows the better part of valor by first failing his Motion Attempt and then hiding in SMOKE. Well played Doug, ugh played Bill. My Defensive Fire Phase ends with me getting my Panther faced the correct way against his American M10 GMC tank destroyer, but facing three acquisitioned shots.



German Player Turn 2 (AKA: the turn I wish I could have in all my games)

So, my objectives are:

  • Break the two (2) Russian 6-2-8s with my MMG in 71N5 and reinforce the Melee in 71N4,
  • Save my Panther in FrFAT1.
Sounds simple enough.

So, Panther CMG into 71N5, no effect.

Panther MA into N5, hit. One (1) broken 6-2-8.

4-4-7/PSK in M6, Inherent FP 8+3, no effect.

I’ll fire the PSK and eat the Backblast. DR = 2,2. Hit! 1MC on me which I fail. Even better though, Doug’s Good Order 6-2-8 in N5 breaks. Sweet!

Over to the T1 Panther. And this is where I end up apologizing for dicing Doug. First shot, hit with rate. Burning American M10 GMC.

Pivot the turret. Second shot, hit with rate. Burning American M10 GMC.

Third shot, hit, no rate. Burning American M10 GMC.

Three shots, three kills, same Panther. Never done that before. Stupid, Stupid luck.



Back to the 71N4 VC building. With all of the Russian 6-2-8s either broken or in Melee, I am able to put a 9-1, 5-4-8, 5-4-8/LMG, 8-3-8/FT all in 71M5. 9-1 directed 24+2 into the Melee. 2MC, my 4-4-7 Pins, his two (2) 6-2-8s go down hard. FT 24 Flat into 71N5. DR = 1,1. Another apology to Doug. 9-1, 5-4-8, 5-4-8/LMG reinforces the Melee. 1:1 down 5. Two (2) dead 6-2-8s.

Throughout this mess, Doug is nothing but an absolute gentleman and consummate gamer. Utmost respect on my part.

Doug asks to take 5, have a smoke, and call a friend.

Five minutes pass, Doug returns, shakes my hand and thanks me for the game. Absolute gentleman, consummate gamer, no mention of getting diced. Utmost respect on my part. Already looking forward to playing him again. If not at ALSOK, then some tournament down the road.



Takeaways from this playing.

I like the scenario, but wonder if it will most likely always come down to a slug fest for the 71N4 VC building.

Russians need to do something to bring FP on the FrFAY10, FrFAZ6, FrFAX3, FrFAX1, 71I3 road network or the Germans can get their infantry into the Board 71 Village.

I think that if the Russian do go after the 71N4 VC building, that some portion of their Turn One Reinforcements need to also support this attack.

Again, quality scenario against a quality opponent.



Bill


View attachment 8362
Great in-depth AAR Bill. I don't think I would have reacted as well as Doug did after a dicing like that. Anyway,, things like that happen in ASL. I'm familiar with the Scenario. I played it with Jim Taylor at Callen's Bash last February and we had a great game. I played the Russian. Both sides attack and defend with good re-playability for the scenario. Thanks for the AAR Bill. Wes
 
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