So what Starter Kit Scenario have you played recently?

kempenfelter

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Played S21 Clash At Borisovka recently. I'm a big fan of the SK for a number of reasons. It's ASL without the mind-numbing complexity of the Big Red Book. With very few exceptions, tactics that work in full ASL work at the Starter Kit level. Plus, it doesn't have some of the problems of the regular version. Bothered by Foxholes, Vehicle Bypass Sleaze, or Random Selection Yahtzee? They're not part of the game. And it plays faster. My opponent and I got through two scenarios in about five hours the other day. Now that's some speedy ASL fun.

The plain English in Starter Kit is also beneficial when it comes to understanding the game. I've lost track of the number of times it's corrected a misinterpretation of the rules for me, and even some veteran Squad Leaders.

10 Russian tanks square off against 6 German and whoever scores the most points by knocking out opposing AFVs, or for the Russians exiting them, is the winner. The challenge for the Red Army is how to handle the two Tigers in the German OOB. Barring a Critical Hit, the T-34s aren't likely to harm the PzVIs, so they're better off ducking them, and the wide-open nature of the Starter Kit boards makes that difficult.

Another thing to consider is Mechanical Reliability. 6 of the T34s can stall or immobilize starting up. It's better to keep them moving, and use the remaining four in an overwatch capacity out of LOS of the Tigers.

On the German side the low armor rating on the PzIVs mean they have to be wary. They will want to stay 7+ hexes from the enemy.

In our game the Russian player divided his forces trying to exit six and duel with four. The duel didn't go his way, even though he managed to immobilize a Tiger with a CH on the ATT. Then he attempted to slip by the blocking force. There was a moment of drama when a PzIV malfed his MA on a Defensive(First)Fire Intensive Fire shot, and then sixed it out on the repair die roll. Luckily, two other PzIVs got Prep Fire Smoke, enabling the vehicle to Recall out of danger.

The "beat feet" maneuver almost worked when a PzIV bogged on entrance of a woods hex and broke its gun on the Advancing Fire shot, and it took the mobile Tiger two tries to take out one T-34. But the remaining PzIVs were able to get behind the fleeing Russians and take them out.

ROAR has the scenario at 50:30 pro-German. It would be a good idea to give the Russian player the balance, especially if he's new to the game.
 

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S22 Another Summer's Day has the appeal of variable forces and arrival on the German side and adjustable forces on the American. The game kicks off with a simplified paradrop procedure but first the American player has to allocate the extra forces to either his first or second groups. One squad armed with a bazooka with an LOS and in range of the main road wins the game. Is it better to spread out and give the Germans a number of objectives, or concentrate and try to defeat the assault?

Before he chooses his OOB and entry hexes the German player gets to see where the first American group lands, and its composition. He can delay one or two groups until Turn 3 and acquire more troops, but he risks running out of time. Once the selection is made the second American group lands and the game begins with the paratroopers adjusting their positions.

In our playing I had the Germans and when I saw my opponent had taken a central position I opted for the Infantry company and the Tiger entering from the south, and delaying the engineer platoon until Turn 3 in order to add the two armored cars to the mix. To cover my bets I decided to bring them on east and north. When the second group dropped on the eastern hill mass I knew I had my work cut out for me.

The first couple of turns I was chasing the 504th and maybe being a little too casual about it. I didn't think the Tiger had to worry about the Bazooka '43s, but a 6 + 1 IFT shot caused a morale check on the exposed crew which it promptly failed. So much for rolling 9 or less. On turn 3 the armored cars showed up and had to step on the gas. Surprisingly, the engineers survived the hail of fire that greeted their arrival. Still, it was a down to the wire affair with the +1 Tiger crashing through Woods heedless of Bog, and the armored cars hurling themselves at Bazookas, which their operators obligingly broke on their To Hit rolls.

The scenario has a lot of replay value, I think. I would like to try an American defence on opposite sides of the map, or hunkering down in the village. As the German I would probably swap out the Tiger but keep the armored cars. Also, it might be interesting to try three groups entering on Turn One.
 

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I've tried S23 Monty's Gamble a few times, once even on the wrong half of the board, and I've found both sides to be interesting to play. Kampfgruppe Harder has to exit 17 VPs off the west edge in 5 turns, which seems straightforward enough until you look at the SSRs.

Unusually for a Starter Kit offering the defenders, the South Staffordshire Regiment, set up hidden which means you can't look at the map and choose a safe route to victory. Also, and this is rare even for ASL, one of the Brit leaders can apply his leadership modifier to AT gun To Hit rolls. This is a big deal when directing a 3ROF gun which can take out any of the AFVs front, side, or rear. The standard "Elite and 1st Line British MMC do not cower" SSR is included because that rule is not part of the Starter Kit set. Finally, an SSR the British player might want to take special note of is that the Coax MGs are disabled on the STGIIIG(L)s.

ROAR has the contest pro-British. Not really surprising because with average luck the defenders of Oosterbeek can take out two of the SPGs and that makes things more challenging. What the German player has to do is use his infantry to find the ATGs and take them out. Until the guns are revealed the AFVs could be kept in motion and employing smoke dispensers to keep them harder to hit.

As for the British side of the equation I favor one AT gun up front to ambush the attackers, one back to cover the exit rows, and two infantry groups each with an 8-1, 2 458s, and a SW.

In my last playing I gambled on my opponent taking the northerly route and placed an AT gun in close support of the infantry group toting the PIAT. He wasn't expecting that and I got lucky with the gun when the StuH tried to slip past. He'd split his infantry and that cost him when the platoon on the other side of the board failed to make an impression on the Brits stationed there. Even though the 6-pounder in support ran out of HE it was hitting, and getting MCs, with AP. With the infantry attack stalled and down one AFV the opposition threw in the towel when a plucky 458 survived Defensive Fire, advanced into CC and took out another AFV.
 

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Here's an AAR from a few years ago with S23. I had played this earlier as the Brits and won so switched sides against another guy in our group (Mike Nowak). So here we go:

View attachment 52091
(Mike) This scenario has a rather small British infantry force, armed with two AT guns, attempting to prohibit a combined German armor/infantry force from exiting enough VPs to win. The German area of entry is anywhere along the short width of the board so the amount of terrain to cover is not overwhelming but does require some stretching of resources.
In setting up, the British placed most of their infantry so as to form a defensive line in the middle of the playing field. The two 6 pdrs were set up to the rear, each on opposite sides of a hill where it was hoped the German tanks would try to go around instead of cross in order to save time. They were aimed in a way as to take advantage of a LOS that could view as may open road hexes as possible. The biggest asset to the allies was their HIP setup. This, however, may also sometimes backfire as the attacker may setup and move based on hunches instead of what he sees. His hunches may not be anything like your hunches which can really mess up a defenders plan.
(Vin) I had played this one once before as the British and though a single flank attack would be the way to go – concentrate by forces while Mike would have to spread out his meager forces to defend the entire front. The southern flank had more open space and I was pretty sure there would be an AT gun in K7 brining flanking fire down on my STUGs. The northern flank would force an advance down a restricted road but would provide more cover for my advancing infantry. I wanted to avoid the center of the town where I figured the most defenders would be located. So, weighing the options, I decided that the northern flank would be my advance route.
Game Start
(Mike) In an attempt to weed out the ATs, the German infantry double-timed on their Turn 1 MPh and left their armor behind. This required less than half of the defending infantry to reveal themselves, which forced some skirmishes, and slowed down their progress. A British leader broke during the action but this did not have a major affect. It seemed that the +1 CX penalties on the advancing Germans had a bigger impact in the fighting than the defending fire. If urn 1 turned out to be a probing attempt, not much was revealed.
Turn 2 saw the Germans further trying to sniff out the British 6 pdrs with forward infantry movement and the tanks still laying back. Another squad, with a PIAT, and leader was revealed. The Germans attempted to advance on their left flank to get around the British line and open up a lane for the tanks to advance quickly down a road but the attack stalled. The broken British leader, from the previous turn, managed to rally and rejoins his squad. Still no casualties on either side but at this point the German infantry was slowed, no tank movement, and this quick scenario is about half way through.
(Vin) – I started my infantry out on a broad front but started my convergence on the northern road. I CXed my guys through the buildings trying to find the defenders and the locations of the two AT guns. I wasn’t sure if Mike had his guns up front to blast my tanks as they entered with nowhere to go and saw phantoms in every building hex that I did not occupy/pass through . I was pretty sure there was a gun in K7 and I3. I was pretty aggressive with pushing my infantry forward but only revealed 2 British squads by Turn 2. I left my tanks back until the enemy was revealed – this was a huge mistake…..
(Mike) The enemy armor moved out in Turn 3. However, the infantry seemed to move back. The German squads trying to force their way around the British left flank were forced back across the street. The Stugs had to force the issue.
A Stug III/75 advanced up the southern road. BAM!. An APCR shot from a British 6 pdr inside a building 3 hexes in front of it. The To Hit at this point had a good chance of success and it did, striking its frontal armor. With the special ammo at this range, some damage was almost guaranteed needing a DR of 10 or less to have some affect. Blimey, the To Kill DR was 11, but only a possible stun resulted which the crew avoided. The gun made ROF and fired again, having missed and a To Hit DR high enough to negate further use of APCR, it would be AP only from here on in.
With one gun exposed and having not effect, it was the PIAT’s turn. With the tanks creeping forward, the PIAT was fired at a range of one. Being adjacent has no benefit to LATW FP but helps the To Hit. No problem though as a critical hit was made on the German assault gun, leaving it a total wreck (clean-up in aisle 3). With this outcome, it would seem that the remaining tanks would have to move out. And they did.
The remaining two tanks followed the same path as their destroyed counterpart and, being BU, were able to pass the through the British infantry defense and any frantic shots AP shots from the 6 pdr. A German half-squad, an outcome of previous infantry fighting, managed to sneak around the German tanks, engage in CC, eliminate the British gun crew, and capture and destroy a British artillery piece. It only took about 5 men to do a job that an assault gun platoon could not.
(Vin) in trying to push my guys forward to reveal enemy units, I Advanced Phased them either adjacent to the British infantry (and was promptly blasted the next turn) or advanced into CC and lost miserably. I was 1 for 5 in CC this game. With only a 2.5 squad advantage, they CC losses soon beat my infantry to dust. It did not help that most of my attacks suffered by CX penalties.
On Turn 3 things were desperate so I had to rush in my armor to break up the beating Mike was putting down on my infantry. The beating my guys were taking was due to not brining in my armor and now I would pay from concealed AT locations. Sure enough the PIAT fragged one STUG but most of the British defense was now revealed. I used my remaining armor to storm the north flank AT gun and break through.
(Mike) With one gun down and leaving the German armor with an easy path to exit, the British had to act fast. The remaining 6 pdr revealed itself and left its crew to try to manhandle it down the road to slow down the moving enemy armor. The attempt to move the gun was successful and it was set with a CA that would give it side shots if the tanks decided to make a bee-line to the exit hexes.
Even with the newly positioned gun, the situation now looked bleak for the Empire but for one fact, exiting the remaining armor alone would not win the game, some infantry had to follow.
The British, realizing that the German infantry was now the key to victory, held firm. With most of the enemy soldiers forced back to rally or reorganize, it was tempting to go after them to seal the deal. However, the British decided to hold most of their positions and let the enemy come to them; not giving them even a slight chance with some lucky DRs and a chance to double-time with a leader using road movement.
(Vin) – I tried forcing mike out his strongpoint in I3 by massing my limited infantry but he put the big hammer back on them. While I initially did not want to enter the middle of the board, I was sucked in and those guys fell back as well. Now I was stuck with my armor up front and by broken infantry in the back….
(Mike) In Turn 4, instead of racing off to acquire some VPs, the two remaining German assault guns turned in an attempt to blast the enemy occupied buildings and give their infantry some breathing room. The Germans attempted ATT fire at the buildings instead of ITT hoping that, with at least a hit, a good IFT DR could disrupt the British somehow. This, however, did not come to fruition and the chaps held on. Upon seeing that they would have to fight their way to victory and that it would be a tough fight, along with time running out, the Germans conceded victory.
(Vin) realizing I had to save my infantry, I turned by armor on the defending British. Unfortunately my guys did not rally and by armor prep fire did no good. The only shining star for the Germans was a lone half squad that advanced around the flank, entered CC killing one AT gun crew, CXed across the board and entered CC with the second AT gun crew – put perished. I realized that with my infantry force was mostly smashed and routed in the rear and was unable to get them forward to win by the end of the next turn. I threw in the towel on one of my worst defeats. Not a single British squad was reduced or killed, I took foolish risks with my infantry and left my armor out of the game for 2 complete turns.
Just Some Thoughts
(Mike) I felt good that the German tanks still had not moved after two turns but quickly realized how much ground a vehicle can cover in a turn.
When facing a mostly infantry based defense within a town or urban setting, why would you move your tanks CE. My opponent did not and his tanks could just roll by my infantry, probably with their crews flipping my forces the bird.
When defending against armor, it is best to keep your moving target in continuous LOS for as long as possible before firing.
The British 6 pdr/American 57 mm is not a bad AT weapon having above average FP, excellent manhandling, and possible special ammo. Against infantry is another story.
I wish I had the opportunity to try some side shots at the Stugs if they darted to the exit side near the end of the scenario. The Stug side armor is pretty week and I would have them in my LOS for a few MPs (see photo of turn 4), It would have been interesting.
There was a scenario SSR that allowed leadership modification on the To Hit DR for the ordinance in this scenario. I ignored this during initial setup, hoping the leaders could help the infantry and quickly fall back to help the guns later in the game. After seeing what transpired, I don’t think the leaders would have made it back to the guns.
Speaking of leaders, I had used two leaders when setting up my forces for this scenario. After the game, I was informed by my worthy opponent that the British OB called for three leaders. I should have paid more attention to the scenario card I guess. I never used the third leader since I believe he was shot for cowardliness while attempting to rout without having a DM.
I decided to setup my infantry in the middle of the board, even if HIP, as opposed to being up front to pound the enemy as they first entered. My reasoning behind this was that I needed to see how the Germans would enter and, if needed, would have some time to adjust my position. Fighting up front had the possibility of the enemy forces breaking through or going around my defense in which case their priority would be to move as fast as they can towards exiting and I would be left with just chasing them (S10 – Paper Army anyone).
(Vin) Mike’s concealed setup had a few units in unexpected locations throwing me for a loop. I was seeing his AT guns in every building hex paralyzing my tank attack leaving my poor infantry out to dry by attacking alone. I went off plan and was drawn into the center of the town where Mike’s concealed kill stack in the unexpected J5 hex blasted my own 9-1 leader and took him out of the game for a few turns. While I was a bit unlucky in CC, I was too aggressive with my slim infantry force (moving out into streets or adjacent to British hexes while unsupported) and was way too timid with my armor.
Mike had a nice setup, defended in place when had to and didn’t reveal his squads too quickly keeping me guessing, and was aggressive when he needed to – like at the end pushing my infantry rabble almost off the edge they entered! I was soundly thrashed by my worthy opponent!
 

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Gentlemen

Played S3 Simple Equation last week with my my ASLSK/wargaming partner.

Great scenario!! Can down to last of my American turns, my Flame Thrower
managed to stay "active" and zapped a German group on turn 6. With the german
flank turned I managed to get the required number of buildings on turn 7.

My opponent had a solid defense in the "corner" of the village, I think what hurt him was he did not
place any speed bumps on my approach to the village, even one squad would have caused me to be
somewhat delayed, not saying this effects the outcome, but it would have been harder for me
as the Americans.

Regards
Joe
 

kempenfelter

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ROAR has Simple Equation favoring the Americans and that seems right. They have a 9-2 leader and two MMGs in the OOB. 20 down two at six hexes? Yikes! Their 3 ELR can come into play though. With some fancy shooting courtesy of the HMG the germans can be defending against 546s instead of 666s. I do wonder about the German balance, adding an MMG seems like a big deal.

In a recent playing Dapper Dave rolled boxcars on a MC for Lt Richardson. Witnessing that failure of nerve caused the accompanying machine gun squads to lose their enthusiasm for the war. When the dust had settled his key firegroup had turned into a 12 down one at six hexes.

I think speed bumps are an essential part of the German defence, and that's what Conscripts are for. The 404th has a lot of leadership. You can cover the flanks with the 7-0s directing the 436s to prevent an American sweep right or left.
 

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I just finished S21 Clash at Borisovka solo. This was my first game with AFVs, so it took me a long time to play it through. I had to look up a lot of rules, and I wanted to make sure I was getting everything correct. One situation that I had a lot of trouble figuring out was how to handle defensive fire from a motion AFV. There is a lot of discussion of firing while under motion status in the MPh or the AFPh, but not D1F or DFPh. I eventually got it sorted out and now feel pretty good about AFV vs AFV. Next step will be to add infantry and guns. My first game when I bring it all together will be slow, but I'm looking forward to the combined-arms battle.

Anyway, in my play of S21, the Germans had some bad luck, including a malfunctioned MA that came at a bad time and in a bad place. It looked like the Russians were going to narrowly win by exiting a group of tanks down the right side of the board. But then a Tiger rolled a TH 1-1 giving a CH (not that it needed it), but more importantly, retaining ROF, which allowed it to chase down the escaping tanks. That tipped the balance to the German side and they won.

I did want to ask about that very last case. The Tiger fires during the PFPh, and rolls a 1-1. This kills his target and he retains ROF. He doesn't have any more targets, so he stops shooting. Since he retained ROF he doesn't have a Prep Fire counter on him, so does that mean that he's free to move in the MPh? I'm pretty sure that's right, but would appreciate confirmation. And if I got that right, it shows how one lucky roll can really tip the balance in unexpected ways - it's not the CH that helped, but that he could move after shooting in the PFPh.
 
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jrv

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I did want to ask about that very last case. The Tiger fires during the PFPh, and rolls a 1-1. This kills his target and he retains ROF. He doesn't have any more targets, so he stops shooting. Since he retained ROF he doesn't have a Prep Fire counter on him, so does that mean that he's free to move in the MPh? I'm pretty sure that's right, but would appreciate confirmation. And if I got that right, it shows how one lucky roll can really tip the balance in unexpected ways - it's not the CH that helped, but that he could move after shooting in the PFPh.
Although you might not mark a unit that keeps ROF with a prep fire marker because it is still eligible to fire again, it has fired. Per 3.3, the ATTACKER may move units "provided they did not fire during the PFPh...". It would be a good idea to put a prep fire marker on the counter that keeps ROF, perhaps askew or something, to remind yourself the unit may not move.

If you had known you were going to roll a CH you might have not fired in the PFPh and instead used bounding first fire (3.3.2.2). Because using bounding first fire adds a couple DRM and restricts the unit from firing again in a different hex if it doesn't get rate, you have to be really, really sure you are going to get a CH before you select that option.

JR
 
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trailrunner

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Although you might not mark a unit that keeps ROF with a prep fire marker because it is still eligible to fire again, it has fired. Per 3.3, the ATTACKER may move units "provided they did not fire during the PFPh...". It would be a good idea to put a prep fire marker on the counter that keeps ROF, perhaps askew or something, to remind yourself the unit may not move.
Ah, thank you very much! Now I feel silly for not being able to figure that out on my own. My intuition kept telling me that the German shouldn't be able to move, but I couldn't find the appropriate rule. I think part of learning this game is knowing where to look in the rulebook.

If you had known you were going to roll a CH you might have not fired in the PFPh and instead used bounding first fire (3.3.2.2). Because using bounding first fire adds a couple DRM and restricts the unit from firing again in a different hex if it doesn't get rate, you have to be really, really sure you are going to get a CH before you select that option.
If I had 20-20 foresight into what I'm about to roll, I'd probably never lose a game :)

Thanks again.
 

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Ah, thank you very much! Now I feel silly for not being able to figure that out on my own. My intuition kept telling me that the German shouldn't be able to move, but I couldn't find the appropriate rule. I think part of learning this game is knowing where to look in the rulebook.
I suspect there is a bias (in all players, not just you) to gloss over rules that are going to get in your way. Unintentionally, of course ;-)

If I had 20-20 foresight into what I'm about to roll, I'd probably never lose a game :)
If you needed to chase down a second enemy unit with that Tiger you would have to take the bounding first fire attack anyway no matter the odds, because that would be the only way to win. It would be a long shot, but it would give you a shot.

JR
 

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I played S1 "Retaking Vierville" tonight. I think it was my fourth time playing this scenario. It was a teaching game, FtF, with a friend who wanted to learn how to play.

We had fun and he asked to play again next week, so that's a good sign!
 

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ROAR has Simple Equation favoring the Americans and that seems right. They have a 9-2 leader and two MMGs in the OOB. 20 down two at six hexes? Yikes! Their 3 ELR can come into play though. With some fancy shooting courtesy of the HMG the germans can be defending against 546s instead of 666s. I do wonder about the German balance, adding an MMG seems like a big deal.

In a recent playing Dapper Dave rolled boxcars on a MC for Lt Richardson. Witnessing that failure of nerve caused the accompanying machine gun squads to lose their enthusiasm for the war. When the dust had settled his key firegroup had turned into a 12 down one at six hexes.

I think speed bumps are an essential part of the German defence, and that's what Conscripts are for. The 404th has a lot of leadership. You can cover the flanks with the 7-0s directing the 436s to prevent an American sweep right or left.
Good points! The only 12 in the game came on a NMC of the American 9-2! He was an 8-1 from that point out, but the Americans
were already where the needed to be, so movement was not a real issue. I was VERY careful with my FT shots, I saved it for that
critical shot and it worked out well. No Malfunction and I even managed to get a few more shots with it. IMO if this goes early on the Americans
it will be tough for them.

Regards
Joe
 

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I purchased SK1 on the weekend and have played Retaking Vierville 4 times in the last 4 days. Wonderful little scenario.

And what an amazing package SK1 is. I used to have a modest ASL collection but a few years ago I moved houses in a hurry and was under a great deal of stress and I was basically throwing stuff out left and right to reduce the number of boxes and make things easier on myself. I had a "haven't used it in the last 2 months? It's gone" rule and unfortunately the ASL collection went.

Lately I've been missing it a bit, but am definitely failing my RMC - "repurchase morale check" - but I saw that a local game shop had a 10th anniversary edition of the first starter kit. I love the scenarios, the new style maps and I how self contained and compact it all is. The rules are good but a little tough for lookups once you've become used to the "big book". This is a lot of game for a very small price and probably my biggest bang for the buck gaming purchase ever.

Why am I playing retaking Vierville over and over? I had a crazy idea of trying to see if a card driven solitaire system would be possible and am having a ball testing my prototype on it.

Hmmm....seriously thinking about getting the new Beyond Valor THIS weekend. I saw 2 on the shelf at a price that might be a mistake.
 
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kempenfelter

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Sat down to play S31 Going To New York the other day as part of my quest to play every official Starter Kit scenario. I had the Italians and when I looked at the OOB--no minus leaders, ELR of 1, and 1/3 of the force being Conscripts, plus SSR 2: All Italian MMC are subject to Inexperienced penalties--I nearly failed my PMC. Still, all the Coastal Defense Division had to do was get a couple of squads next to the SSRd "railroad" in 6 turns and that didn't seem impossible.

The battleground is less than half of board x with the Americans starting on map and the Italians entering on hexrow T or on the 1 side of the board. Dapper Dave placed two squads, one with an MMG plus the 9-1 in stone buildings DD3 and EE4 with the rest of his troops manning the woods along row X.

I decided on a two-pronged assault with 4 Conscripts and a 7-0 taking a slow approach to the woods-line and the rest of my troops attempting to swarm the buildings. Cleverly, or so I thought, I waited until the Advance Phase to move onto the map in order to avoid a -1 or -2 during Movement. At the start of the American Turn One there was a menacing grey line along the north edge of the map. What I was hoping for was my opponent would gack his first MMG Prep Fire, which he obligingly did, breaking the weapon on a 12. But his first target had not been the 8-0 and the 346 manning the MMG in the woods at X0 but a closer LMG-toting 346. He had kept the squad out of it and so was able to fire 6+1 on my kill stack. Both units promptly went down on the resulting morale checks failing ELR as well. Now I had a broken 7-0 with a broken Conscript squad milling about in the forest. After another couple of 6+1 attacks sent a Conscript and the 7-0 scurrying for cover, Dave pulled back two squads and the 8-0 to the embankment, figuring two 666s could handle the Conscript threat. My game-in-the-balance 8+3(two 346s with LMGs) Defensive Fire attack against the DD3 building failed to achieve a result and we were on to Turn Two.

Nothing much happened for the rest of the game--Dave promptly repaired the MMG he'd broken in the next Rally Phase--on the northern axis of advance except for Italians failing to Rally and/or ELRing. To the west the march of the Conscripts made some progress, breaking one of the left-behind 666s and moving to the tree line. However, that hope for Victory was crushed by the return of the troops that had moved to the railroad embankment.

In retrospect, the better move would have been to switch forces--the 1st Line troops, the SWs, and two of the Leaders moving through the Grain to the woods, and the Conscript diversion trying to secure building EE7. Also, this scenario could be useful as a training exercise, giving the less-savvy commander the Americans and the challenges facing the defense, while the cagey veteran attacks with less than stellar Italians.
 

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Played S35 The Volga Is Reached! against my regular opponent last week and had my doubts about the scenario confirmed. Basically it's S2 War Of The Rats with extra goodies in the form of armor and SSRs to mimic Rubble, Shellholes, a dug-in AFV, Commissars, SAN, and Air Support.

In order to win, the Germans have to evict the Russians from the last line of buildings along the east edge of Board z. They've got 7 turns to do it, so there's no need to rush. In fact, an Assault Move then Advance approach might do the trick.

Perhaps if I'd seen that before setting up I wouldn't have spread out my troops. Making larger fire groups might have given the Germans more problems. Then there was the decision to place the 8+1 Commissar behind the lines in order to rally the Conscripts when they broke and ran away. The math doesn't add up. Yes, there's no DM to worry about and the morale is one higher, but you're still looking at rolling a 5 to rally due to the not-so-inspiring leadership. If the intent was to eliminate my own troops that was the way to go about it. Mr. 8+1 would have done a lot less damage assigned to the 628s, especially with their broken morale SSRed one higher. As it turned out, my opponent solved the problem for me with a pseudo-Stuka attack on the building hex where the Commissar was CRing the brokies. He needed a five or less to deliver a 36 FP attack and rolled it up first try. The leader was Randomly Selected to receive the 1KIA that followed thankfully.

As for the Sniper effect, that much ballyhooed balancing mechanism, there wasn't any. In S35 it is available only to the Russians and is not dependent on German DRs. As an extra bonus the Russian player can select the hex where the attack occurs. But first he has to roll a 1 or 2 during the Defensive Fire Phase. Was he able to do that? No. It could have a big impact on the game, I guess, though not this time around.

There are a couple of things to remember as the Russians concerning the German's Stuka SSR. The dug-in T-34 is a small target and HD, so it might survive to do some damage. As for the reinforcing KV, you could run it into a building on its turn of entry so that the German is +4 to hit initially and +2 thereafter.

For the end game, setting up the 76*INF gun in one of the Victory Condition hexes could work, though if it runs out of HEAT the StuGs could stand off and shell it into submission. However, I was able to bag an unwary StuG when my opponent assumed I'd done that and I'd set it up in the N9 rubble instead.

I'll have to play this again before deciding if I'm pro or con.
 

Perry

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Played S35 The Volga Is Reached! [...]

Then there was the decision to place the 8+1 Commissar behind the lines in order to rally the Conscripts when they broke and ran away. The math doesn't add up. Yes, there's no DM to worry about and the morale is one higher, but you're still looking at rolling a 5 to rally due to the not-so-inspiring leadership. If the intent was to eliminate my own troops that was the way to go about it. Mr. 8+1 would have done a lot less damage assigned to the 628s, especially with their broken morale SSRed one higher.
If you learn nothing else from this scenario, that is a valuable lesson to take away: Elite troops do well with the Comiczar, who can keep them in action on the front line. Conscripts do better with normal leaders behind the lines.
 

jrv

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Then there was the decision to place the 8+1 Commissar behind the lines in order to rally the Conscripts when they broke and ran away. The math doesn't add up. Yes, there's no DM to worry about and the morale is one higher, but you're still looking at rolling a 5 to rally due to the not-so-inspiring leadership.
Typically that should be a six to rally: broken side conscript squad morale = 5 plus one for stacked with a commissar, +1 "leadership", -1 building (or woods). That doesn't affect your basic conclusion, but it is not as bad as a five. The same math applies to the 6-2-8's except that with their broken-level morale being one level higher they rally on a ten (again in a building; why would you not be in a building: it's Stalingrad).

JR
 

jrv

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As for the Sniper effect, that much ballyhooed balancing mechanism, there wasn't any. In S35 it is available only to the Russians and is not dependent on German DRs. As an extra bonus the Russian player can select the hex where the attack occurs. But first he has to roll a 1 or 2 during the Defensive Fire Phase. Was he able to do that? No. It could have a big impact on the game, I guess, though not this time around.
You can get through seven turns without rolling the sniper about 5.8% of the time. A sniper 2 isn't especially useful unless it hits a leader. So you should expect--roughly speaking--one sniper 2 and one sniper 1 per game. That might give you some idea of how much help it might be. If your opponent has his 10-2 all alone or a CE tank...ah, but he won't. In short, the sniper probably won't win the game for you. The sniper should force him to BU his tanks at least, and that is not a small win.

JR
 

xenovin

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Played S35 The Volga Is Reached! against my regular opponent last week and had my doubts about the scenario confirmed. Basically it's S2 War Of The Rats with extra goodies in the form of armor and SSRs to mimic Rubble, Shellholes, a dug-in AFV, Commissars, SAN, and Air Support.

In order to win, the Germans have to evict the Russians from the last line of buildings along the east edge of Board z. They've got 7 turns to do it, so there's no need to rush. In fact, an Assault Move then Advance approach might do the trick.

Perhaps if I'd seen that before setting up I wouldn't have spread out my troops. Making larger fire groups might have given the Germans more problems. Then there was the decision to place the 8+1 Commissar behind the lines in order to rally the Conscripts when they broke and ran away. The math doesn't add up. Yes, there's no DM to worry about and the morale is one higher, but you're still looking at rolling a 5 to rally due to the not-so-inspiring leadership. If the intent was to eliminate my own troops that was the way to go about it. Mr. 8+1 would have done a lot less damage assigned to the 628s, especially with their broken morale SSRed one higher. As it turned out, my opponent solved the problem for me with a pseudo-Stuka attack on the building hex where the Commissar was CRing the brokies. He needed a five or less to deliver a 36 FP attack and rolled it up first try. The leader was Randomly Selected to receive the 1KIA that followed thankfully.

As for the Sniper effect, that much ballyhooed balancing mechanism, there wasn't any. In S35 it is available only to the Russians and is not dependent on German DRs. As an extra bonus the Russian player can select the hex where the attack occurs. But first he has to roll a 1 or 2 during the Defensive Fire Phase. Was he able to do that? No. It could have a big impact on the game, I guess, though not this time around.

There are a couple of things to remember as the Russians concerning the German's Stuka SSR. The dug-in T-34 is a small target and HD, so it might survive to do some damage. As for the reinforcing KV, you could run it into a building on its turn of entry so that the German is +4 to hit initially and +2 thereafter.

For the end game, setting up the 76*INF gun in one of the Victory Condition hexes could work, though if it runs out of HEAT the StuGs could stand off and shell it into submission. However, I was able to bag an unwary StuG when my opponent assumed I'd done that and I'd set it up in the N9 rubble instead.

I'll have to play this again before deciding if I'm pro or con.
There's an article discussing the defensive setup for S35 here: http://texas-asl.com/banzai/banzai20_1.pdf

PS - my German opponent surrendered on turn 4 or 5 as he didn't have enough troops or time left to win.
 
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