My Albany AARs

Bill Cirillo

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Round 1 Mid Thursday (1pm start)

DB130 Tigers in Flames

Cirillo (defending German: G0) vs. Ron Duenskie (attacking Russian: R1)

Cirillo PBS A 1 Increase German SAN to 5

DB130 pic.jpg
I’ve had the good pleasure to play Ron on a couple of occasions over the past two years. Always a tough competitor, I knew my German defenders would be hard pressed from the get go, especially considering the quality of the numerically superior force that Ron would wield for the first three turns before my big cat reinforcements would arrive on Turn 3.

I decided to set up the majority of my speed bump forces in the middle of the play area along the 56G/57AA hexrow, hoping that my units in the village could provide some amount of firepower to keep them from getting encircled and crush for at least a turn or two.

Ron decided to go right at this middle, up front group by splitting his initial force into three, with one group advancing into the 56H/57Z tree line, while the other two groups enveloped the middle from the left and right flanks. Fortunately, the upfront German Stug IIIG was able to extract itself from this pending mess along with one of the German squads toting an MMG. By the end of Russian Turn 2, the majority of the remaining up front Germans had been eliminated, but not without delaying a large portion of Ron’s Russians from reaching the village and inflicting a few casualties, including the Russian SU 122.

During the top of Turn 3, Ron moved a number of his Russian AFVs along the stone wall on the southern side of the Board 1a victory village area. A fortuitous placement of the German 50L AT Gun ultimately resulted in the majority of these Russian AFVs being destroyed. With the arrival of the German Turn 3 reinforcements [3x Tigers; 6x 468s; 1x 9-2] the armor battle advantage shifted toward the Germans, while the reinforcing German infantry secured the back set of victory buildings.

I should note that while Ron spent a large portion of the game dodging the increased German SAN with a host of 4s & 6s, the German cause was greatly added by a stupid number of timely Intensive Fire Critical Hits from a variety of tubes.

I like this scenario, as both sides have a host of hard decisions to make. The three Russian OT-34s have the capability to destroy a significant portion of the German OoB before the Tigers can get in a position to counterattack. The challenge is how best to get a significant portion of the 24 Russian squads into the village before the German reinforcements arrive to secure the back set of buildings. 1-0


Round 2 Morning Friday (8:30am start)

FrF87 Mormal Forest

Cirillo (attacking German: G1) vs. Chris Chapman Cirillo (defending French: F1)

Cirillo PBS B 1 Delete the two concealment counters from the French OB

Chapman PBS A 1 Increase French Sniper to 4

FrF87.jpg
A couple of things about this game. One, Chris Chapman is a great guy. Great competitor. Great sense of humor. Two, the Friendly Fire guys have, year after year, produced awesome scenario packs. I don’t know if it’s the sleek European styling or what, but one scenario is more unique and enjoyable than the next. Third, the PBS bidding system is inventive, stressful, and important. I’m thankful for all of the effort that Steve puts into creating the PBS bidding for all of the scenarios. It’s unique to the Albany tournament and a testament to how much effort Steve puts into running this tournament. This scenario provides a perfect example of the importance and “game within a game” nature of the bidding. Whereas going with a SAN increase for the Germans, like I had in Round 1, would be a gift that keeps on giving, I felt here that a reduction in the initial French set up uncertainty was worth more than raising the German SAN from 2 to 3. By eliminating the 2 French concealment counters and Chris not adding four concealment counters to the French OoB, my Germans knew that all French units onboard were real.

Chris set up his initial French force by placing five squads in the Board 63 village area to protect the 63T6 victory hex, with the remainder of his French infantry set up toward the front of the Board 42 woods mass. His two AFVs were in 42U2 & U3, so as to prevent a German HT bum rush toward the two Board 42 victory hexes (U8 & Y6).

As I was soon to find out, Chris had placed his two Gun assets both on Board 63 to protect that board’s VC hex.

Not wishing to be too subtle about my German assault, I felt it was important to play fairly aggressively from the start. My plan was to commit a significant portion of the German OoB to assaulting the Board 63 village and capture 63T6 as quickly as possible, while destroying a third of the French Infantry, then do a hard pivot into the east side of the forest mass and make a real time decision as to which of the Board 42 VC buildings to go after.

I had placed the German 105 ART Gun on the Level 2 hill hex in 63I4 and the German 37L AT Gun right next door at Level 2 in 63I3. Things started well when I was able to place SMOKE in 63Q1, but then one of my three SPW 251/10s (with the 37L MA) found the French AT Gun the hard way. Chris had placed this great asset right up front in 63P5 and spanked my SPW as it tried to run along the Board 63 eastern most road. In a moment of genius, I had also placed an 8-0 leader with a FT in this HT. Fortunately, I was able to unload the leader/FT just prior to the HT going bye-bye, but I now had the torch in the middle of nowhere and was down an AFV killing asset.

Not being totally deterred, I figured now that the AT gun was pointing east, I would try and run the rest of my Germans along the western Board 63 road and along the forest edge. Needless to say, this allowed me to successfully “find” the HIP French ART piece, also the hard way. This time losing an SPW 251/1 and it 468/lmg passengers. Oh well, at least I knew where his guns were. By the end of the turn, I had successfully broken the ART Gun crew by taunting it into taking a FPF shot (DR = 9) and riding into CC with the AT Gun. Things took a great turn for the Germans when during the CCPh, the German HT and 238 passenger rolled snakes to eliminate the AT Gun crew and generate a German leader.

During German Turn 2, absent any significant anti-tank assets left on Board 63, my Germans went total sleaze freeze and eliminated the majority of the French Board 63 Infantry and capture the 63T6 VC hex.

With one of the two required VC hexes in hand, the majority of the German Infantry started to infiltrate the eastern side of the Board 42 woods mass while one SPW 251/10 went south around the woods mass as the other SPW 251/10 went north. This was necessary as Chris had now placed his two original French AFVs along with his two reinforcing AFVs in the Board 42 woods mass so as to protect both of the Board 42 VC hexes.

Over the next few Turns, the Germans were able to slowly grind down and eliminate the majority of the remaining French Infantry with a final last Turn bum rush securing the 42U8 VC building hex.

Chris played an awesome scenario, but got no breaks in holding the village area against the initial assault.

Again, I thought this Friendly Fire scenario was really well designed and a joy to play. I wouldn’t hesitate to give it another spin. 2-0


Round 3 Evening Friday (5pm start)

AP131 Crickets in Spring

Cirillo (defending Russian: R1) vs. Rob Loper (attacking German: G1)

Cirillo PBS A 1 Add three concealment counters to the Russian OB (not my finest choice)

Loper PBS A 1 Decrease the Russian SAN to 3


So, both Rob and I had played this scenario once before. What I remembered as important was 1) mud sucks for movement; 2) mud really sucks for no SMOKE; 3) the three HIP Russian ART Guns are nice, but are somewhat limited in available set up Locations; 4) the reinforcing Russian force is high quality; 5) German Panthers are tough.

My defensive thoughts went as follows. Set the two Russian MG assets up high and hope they can hold on for a few turns. Keep the initial Russian Infantry units as close together as possible and build an initial defense around the Board 64 hill mass. Try and hold on as well as possible until the Russian reinforcements arrive and then try and keep as many of the T-34/85s from getting destroyed as possible while bleeding out the German Infantry force. Bagging a German HT or two is also a nice thing to do.

From an initial set up perspective, hexes 64S7 and 64U7 make nice hexes for the two Russians MGs as they have a nice view of both the woods mass on their right front flank and the Russian left flank.

Overall, the Germans found the mud to going from both a movement point perspective and a channeling perspective. The Russians caught a break when they bum rushed the lead German Panther and took it out with a rear shot and then capped the game off when a Russian 237HS killed a German 10-2/658/LMG in CC at 1-4 odds.

I like this scenario, but the Germans pretty much need to play a flawless game in order to capture enough VC buildings and destroy enough of the Russian OoB without losing a lot of their own assets. 3-0


Round 4 Morning Saturday (8:30am start)

J167 Hart Attack

Cirillo (defending German: G0) vs. John McDairmid (attacking British: B1)

Cirillo PBS C 1 Replace one British 4-5-7 with a 2-4-7


So, two things about this Round. The first was Steve letting fate take a hand in determining the final two tournament pairings. With four of us left at 3-0 (myself, Gary Mei, John McDairmid, and Brian Wiersma), Steve decided to do a “roll off”, where the two high DRs would play each other and the two low DRs would play each other. Results were:

Bill DR = 8

John DR = 8

Gary DR = 7

Brian DR = 7

So, pairings were set.

Second thing was that neither John nor I were really crazy about the Round 4 scenario choices. Fortunately, John was thinking the same as I was, that going off menu would be a good thing. About two minutes later, after consulting last year’s Albany scenario list, John and I mutually settled on J167 Hart Attack, a scenario that we had both previously played and really enjoyed.

J167.jpg
Liking the defenders, my strategy was to limit initial losses, hold the three buildings on the German right flank as long as possible, and lastly, build an Alamo in the back three buildings for the eventual end game struggle.

Fortunately, the Alamo was never needed as the game took an awesome turn for the German right out of the gate. Hoping that the British would try and roll some number of units around the German right flank, I set the German 40LL AT Gun up with the ability to support the lone German 238 speed bump in 7aH3. By the end of British Turn 1, the 238 had become Fanatic, generated a Hero, and at 1-4 odds in CC, destroyed three full British squads. Needless to say, John was now behind the curve having lost a key portion of his Infantry force and most of his flanking force. By the end of Turn 2, John was also down his 9-2 and two more AFVs (one to Street Fighting and one Immobilized in the woods from a German mortar shot). At this point John graciously resigned as it became apparent that as long as I kept my German AFVs away from his remaining American AFVs, then it would be extremely tough to take the back three buildings and exit/destroy enemy AFVs. 4-0



Round 5 Evening Saturday (5pm start) “Whole Enchilada” Round

FrF89 Red Tears Shed on Gray

Cirillo (attacking Rumanian: Rum2) vs. Gary Mei (defending Russian: Rum1)

Mei PBS A 1 Add three concealment counters to the Russian OB
B 1 Add a 2-2-7 to the Russian reinforcements

FrF89.jpg FrF89 1.jpg

FrF89 2.jpg

FrF89 3.jpg

Sean Deller, Neil Stanhagen, Gary Mei. The three players that I have had the wildest games against over the years. Not to take anything away from any of the other players at Albany, but if I ever made it to the finals at Albany, the two guys I would want to play are Sean and Gary. Since Gary had taken Sean out earlier in the tournament, I would have the extreme pleasure of playing Gary for the title and the diorama.

The scenario selection phase was interesting as we had all of the scenarios from Rounds 5 & 6 available to us as well as any scenarios form a previous Round that neither of us had played. We pretty quickly settled on FrF89 as it provided combined arms on both sides and had a good buzz about it from a number of guys that had played it earlier in the tournament. Having said that, both Gary and I preferred the attacking Rumanians, mostly from the perspective that 12 attacking 3 FP squads seemed a little better than 11 defending Conscript Russian squads. During the bid, I was willing to go Rum 2 but not Rum 3 as that would have required the attacker to Capture an additional Factory Hex.

So, speaking of VC, the Rumanians are required to Control 10 or more of the 20 Factory hexes spread across half of Board 1 to secure the victory.

The Rumanians start with a nice force of 4x 537 Assault Engineers, 12x 347 Squads, and 3 LVT AFVs. While the Russians start with a couple 447s and 11x 426s, they are supported by a 37L AT Gun and a *76 ART Gun.

Gary set up with roughly half his Infantry east of the middle (Row I) road and half west of the road. Besides his Gun assets, the strength of the Russian OoB are his Turn 4 reinforcements combined with an ability to have the last Player Turn.

Now, Gary is an excellent player. Given this, my strategy was to play all in and try and secure the required 10 Factory hexes prior to the arrival of his reinforcements and then hold on with everything in the Rumanian inventory and try and weather the expected late game counterattack. And that’s what happened. Of course, before Gary’s final CC attack failed to take back the tenth Factory hex, utter madness ensued. Rumanian sleeze attacks, Russian counter attacks, a Russian AT Gun that took, on average, 10,000 shots per Fire Phase, a massively aggressive Rumanian attack that rolled through the eastern Factory hexes, and in the end a Rumanian armored counterattack that ended up crushing the reinforcing Russian force. There were laughs, there were ughs. The game had it all. In the end, Gary’s Russians needed to win two CC attacks, but fell just short.

In post-game discussions, both Gary and I were extremely happy that we had played another really awesome Friendly Fire offering. We were both glad that Peter Struijf was there to watch the endgame portion of his scenario.

Most of all, I’d like to thank Gary for his perfect balance of passion and sportsmanship.

5-0


As I posted earlier:

As always, the annual (14th in this case) New York State ASL Championship was a blast. This year’s version was run masterfully by Steve Pleva, while the always first-class raffle was a player favorite due to the tireless efforts of Joe Leoce to create a great prize pool. I’d like to thank both of them for all of the hard work that they put into making the Albany ASL tournament both a great gaming success and a very welcoming environment. I’d also like to acknowledge my appreciation for the amount of creative talent that Joe puts into creating the winner’s diorama each year.

I’d also like to acknowledge the competitive spirit, sportsmanship, and general awesome sense of humor of each of my opponents. If one has never been to an ASL tournament, I would strongly encourage then to attend as they are a great place to interact with a wonderful community.
 

boylermaker

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Great recap; thanks for putting up the maps, as it makes it much easier to follow along!
 

Bill Cirillo

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Great recap; thanks for putting up the maps, as it makes it much easier to follow along!
Thanks, but all the credit for making the maps goes to Sean Deller. Sean does this each year to prep for Albany. Strangely though, I couldn't find the map for AP131 Crickets in Spring.

Bill
 
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Bill, it was 3-13 attack in CC (1-6) that you blew up my 3 squads and leader for your second of 3 snakes eyes in a row on my units in that hex. Not that the extra odds column mattered of course.

Congratulations on winning this year. Next year I want rewenge (I think that is how you spell the word based on the Princess Bride pronounciation).
 

Bill Cirillo

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John,

Thanks for the clarification. I stand corrected. :)

And yes, rematch anytime.

All the best.

Bill



Bill, it was 3-13 attack in CC (1-6) that you blew up my 3 squads and leader for your second of 3 snakes eyes in a row on my units in that hex. Not that the extra odds column mattered of course.

Congratulations on winning this year. Next year I want rewenge (I think that is how you spell the word based on the Princess Bride pronounciation).
 
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