Wild Bill Wilder/First to Fight’s: Fighting for the Freedoms: Operation Enduring Freedom #2

THE GOOD
A brave new world for ASL (modern warfare)
THE BAD
Designed for play with Squad Leader rules requiring ASL upgrades/research for units, vehicle and SW
ORIGINALITY
4.00 star(s)
PRESENTATION
3.00 star(s)
FUN
3.00 star(s)
PLAYER'S VERDICT

6 'Fair'

Michael Dorosh

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An excellent review by the way, and kind of a really great example of how to write one. Somebody posted upthread some twaddle about "coming to the right conclusions" or something, which is ridiculous on the face of it since it suggests there is only one way for multiple people to feel about any given product.

I'll pick out some things at random that spoke to me.

Firstly, the photo support for the review is terrific, and I like how they are integrated into the text.

WBW products always come with their own self-produced counters including all the nationality units, SW, AFV and air units. Here are a few examples from the pack:
They are covered with a plastic-type film that I’ve only seen from one other game producer.
I said in another thread here recently that the counters are the best parts of these modules - I like the plastic coatings and the artwork is good. Not great, but the counters strike me as probably the best part of the modules - or would, if not for the obvious unfamiliarity of the producer regarding ASL nomenclature, etc.

While some ASL review pundits make assessments based on an initial review of the product components only, I am providing a solo AAR of the first scenario in the module EF2-01 It Begins! pitting the US 101st Airborne against Isis in Fallujah.
I think this is a great thing to include also. "Unboxing" videos strike me as dull as dishwater at best and at worst just rob me of the joy of discovery of something I've ordered. But hearing from someone who has actually played the thing is a nice touch. Better would be a FtF AAR, but solo play seems to be more and more commonly discussed in wargaming groups, and I suppose more and more seen as a legitimate way to rate the quality of a game.

So, on the one hand it was fun to play modern conventional forces and enough guidance to get you moving pieces, but on the other there are editorial issues and a lot of SL rules and counters in this module suggesting this was balanced (and developed?) more as a SL module than an ASL module. But as I am a designer and natural tinker, these issues can easily be addressed but will require more play testing to balance the scenarios and updating the counters. My initial assessment is frankly leaving Isis fanatic and use regular ASL underline morale rules will even this up plus leave out two armed Hummers and a M2 Bradley. So if play testing turns you off, this product is not for you. This reminds of the WBW stuff he did way back in the day for Squad Leader where he made his own counters, scenarios, and guidance “rules” so players could explore areas untested by the current system. His methods continue allowing you to fight on the modern battlefield but will require you to take part in the design process making it your own and sharing it with others as I have done here. An interesting subject for ASL and about 75-percent there but will require a little research before you can pull a scenario out and start playing ASL.
Seems to make sense to me to review a game based on the designer's intent, rather than what the review wishes the publisher has done (or alternately, how well the product fits into the reviewer's notion of what ASL should be rather than what it could be). My own feelings about the WBW stuff mirror yours. I bought one of the Vietnam modules a while back (coincidentally because I was working on Meier's Modern ASL group and curious to see how WBW's rules compared). Was a bit surprised to see vehicles and ordnance counters, but no To Kill Tables for them. It looked like a great opportunity to develop my own, perhaps even market them or release them online say on FB or GS. Never got that far, but I do think there are opportunities here for others with an interest in the diverse time periods these modules are set in.

Great review, thanks for sharing it.
 

xenovin

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That's too bad. I would have been curious to see they handles some of the missile-type weapons but kinda moot in urban battles. I'll have to chat with Andy the next time I see him. Thanks for the info.

Yes, I was involved with that group. It was Frank Meier. The group died long ago, but Yahoo made it official by pulling the files.

As I remember, Frank simply moved on to other things. Andy Hershey had put some work into the group as well, notably IIRC the Falklands module, along with some other ASL luminaries. They may be working on it all quietly in another group, but Frank's is I'm certain effectively kaput now that yahoo groups has killed its file sharing service.
 

Michael Dorosh

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That's too bad. I would have been curious to see they handles some of the missile-type weapons but kinda moot in urban battles.
From a 2006 draft of the rules (I didn't write these, but I'm of the understanding they are not being moved forward by anyone - if wrong, I can delete this):

3.3 ANTI TANK GUIDED MISSILES (ATGM): Anti-Tank Guided Missile launchers are found in three forms: SW, Gun or Vehicular [EXC: X6.244 for Aerial ATGM]. An ATGM has one of the following five types of guidance systems.

3.31 MANUAL CONTROL to LINE of SIGHT (MACLOS): The firer manually steers the missile via a thin wire connecting the missile with the launcher to hit its target {EX: Russian AT-3 Sagger}. MACLOS are identified by the ATGM printed in red with an over scored line.

3.312 SEMI-AUTOMATIC CONTROL to LINE of SIGHT (SACLOS): The firer continuously aims at the intended target and the missile automatically follows this guidance {EX: U.S. M220 TOW}. SACLOS are identified by the ATGM printed in black with an over scored line.

3.313 LASER GUIDED (LG): The firer uses a laser beam to direct the missile. LG-ATGM fired from the MA (X3.342) of an AFV are always controlled by the firing AFV; they are always equipped with a vehicular GLLD. LG-ATGM are identified by the ATGM printed in red without any over score.

3.314 RADIO CONTROLLED (RC): RC-ATGM are guided directly by the attacker’s fire control system. RC-ATGM are identified by the ATGM printed in black without any over score.

3.315 FIRE-AND-FORGET (F&F): F&F-ATGM are equipped with a self-seeking warhead. They follow a target autonomously after launch without the need for any directing or targeting. F&F-ATGM are identified by the ATGM printed in blue.

3.32 RANGE: Each ATGM has its own minimum and maximum range as indicated by [#-#] on the counter.

3.33 RESTRICTIONS: ATGM, regardless of type, may only attack in the PFPh and MPh/DFPh [EXC: Opportunity Fire (A7.25)]. ATGM can only attack a unit on/in a Vehicle/Pillbox/Sangar/Bunker/Building/Cave/Rubble/Bridge or these features themselves. ATGM cannot use Intensive Fire (C5.6).

3.331 BACKBLAST ZONE: All ATGM [EXC: Tube-launched ATGM (3.342)] have a backblast zone as per C12.3, just as if they were RCL.

3.3311 As Ordnance an ATGM may never fire from inside a building [EXC: Factory], rubble, pillbox, cave or vehicle [EXC: Light ATGM (3.4)].

3.34 ATGM MOUNT TYPE: If a vehicular mounted ATGM is fired, no other MA/SA/CMG from that vehicle can fire during that phase. A vehicular ATGM may never use Bounding Fire. A Vehicular ATGM is either fired from an External Mount (X3.341) or via the main gun tube (X3.342).

3.341 EXTERNAL MOUNT (EM): Some vehicles have a special ATGM launcher installed externally or a specialized rail mount on the main gun barrel. An External Mount has its ATGM armament stated above the MA caliber. ROF is NA for EM. After an ATGM is fired from an EM launcher, the vehicle is marked with a “Launcher Empty” counter. No additional ATGM attack may be made until the launcher is reloaded.

3.3411 RELOADING: A vehicle marked with a “Launcher Empty” counter may remove this counter in any Friendly fire phase of the next Player Turn, provided the crew is CE and the vehicle is eligible to Fire but has not yet fired any weapon. Reloading prevents all Fire from that vehicle for that Player Turn, mark the vehicle with an appropriate Fire counter and remove the “Launcher Empty” counter.

3.3412 MALFUNCTION: On an Original EM ATGM TH DR of 12 the EM is permanently disabled and marked with an ATGM Malfunction counter. In addition any P.Shock/Shock (C7.4) result automatically Disables the EM.

3.342 TUBE-LAUNCHED ATGM: Some vehicles use Tube-Launched ATGM, with the ATGM fired directly through the MA gun. They need not be reloaded and are handled with normal Ammo Depletion rules (C8.1). Tube-Launched ATGM are marked on the counter with a small  symbol before the ATGM. ROF is NA for Tube-Launched ATGM and an ATGM attack prevents any further MA attacks for the Player Turn [EXC: Intensive Fire of non-ATGM MA].

3.3421 MALFUNCTION: Tube-Launched ATGM suffer breakdown based on the breakdown number for the MA. This MA Malfunction affects both the ATGM and the normal MA. Repair occurs normally.

3.35 ATGM REACTION FIRE (ARF): Whenever a non-F&F-ATGM to hit DR is announced, the enemy may immediately attempt to conduct ARF prior to the actual ATGM rolling its TH DR. Each enemy ground unit still eligible to Fire may conduct ARF by first passing a NTC (leadership applies). Passing the NTC enables the unit to fire at the unit wishing to launch the ATGM (or vs. the directing unit in case of LG-ATGM); failing the NTC has no further detrimental effect on the ARF unit, other than being unable to conduct ARF vs. that ATGM TH attempt. After conducting any ARF, the ARF unit is marked with the appropriate Fire counter. Should the firing ATGM no longer be in Good Order after ARF, it cannot attempt a TH.

3.35 TO HIT: An ATGM To Hit is resolved on the C3 To Hit Table [EXC: MACLOS use Red TH#]. The Area Target Type is NA to ATGM.

3.351 TH DRM: ATGM may neither Boresight (C6.4) nor use Target Acquisition (C6.5). In addition to all other TH DRM, RC-ATGM qualifies for a –1 TH DRM and LG-ATGM qualifies for a -2 TH DRM.

3.3511 CASE J: For MACLOS (only) the Case J DRM is doubled to +4 at ranges ≤ 6 hexes and increased to +3 at ranges ≥ 7 but ≤ 12 hexes.

3.3512 BUNKER BUSTING: An ATGM conducting a TH DR using the Infantry Target Type vs. Infantry claiming building, pillbox, sangar, cave, rubble, wall, bunker or bridge TEM ignores the Case Q TH DRM. However, Case Q TEM applies to the resolution DR (3.363).

3.3513 LEADERSHIP: The leadership modifier of a Good Order Armor Leader may be used to modify the TH DR of a vehicle mounted ATGM (EM/Tube).

3.36 RESOLUTION: After a successful ATGM TH DR the effect must be determined by a separate DR.

3.361 vs. AFV: An ATGM attack vs. an AFV is resolved on the MASL ATGM To Kill Table.

X3.3611 TOP-ATTACK ATGM: Some ATGM are classified as Top-Attack ATGM {EX: U.S. TOW-IIB}. These missiles attack their targets from above using Aerial AF. They are identified by a small ▼ symbol on the ATGM TK Table.

X3.36111 RESTRICTIONS: A Top-Attack ATGM requires a free “ceiling” in the target hex and the adjacent hex in LOF to that target. Such an attack is an automatic miss, if any of the following terrain exists in either the target hex or the adjacent hex in LOF: Building [EXC: Huts], Woods, Jungle, Swamp, Palm Trees, Orchard, Olive Grove or 5/8” Bridge counter.

{EX: The M2A2 in 2A2 wants to fire an ATGM in the PFPh. The T-80U in 2A2 is not a valid target, because of the Woods in 2A2. The M2A2 may fire on the BMP-3 in 2A2, as no terrain restrictions apply.}

3.3612 TANDEM WARHEADS (TW): Some ATGM have Tandem Warheads {EX: U.S. TOW-IIA}. A TW is identified by a symbol on the MASL ATGM TK Table. A TW negates the increased AF as a result of Explosive Reactive Armor (4.12).

3.362 vs. UNARMORED: Any ATGM attack vs. an Unarmored Vehicle is resolved with a Final TK# of 11.

3.363 vs. INFANTRY: Any ATGM attack vs. vs. Infantry claiming building, pillbox, sangar, cave, rubble, wall, bunker or bridge TEM is resolved on the (I)IFT with 24 FP and Case Q TEM (3.3512).

3.37 EMPLACEMENT: A 5/8” ATGM may set up Emplaced (C11.2) and HIP like a Gun (A12.34). However, all 5/8” ATGM are automatically revealed after a TH DR.

3.38 LIGHT ATGM: A Light ATGM (1/2” SW) is treated as a MMG for SW usage.

3.381 CREW: A Light ATGM is crew-served weapon (C12.2) and so requires an Infantry Crew of the ATGM nationality to employ properly. Any squad/HS using a Light ATGM does so with Captured Use and possibly Non Qualified Use penalties (A21.13).

3.382 LEADERSHIP: The leadership modifier of any one Good Order leader may be used to modify a Light ATGM TH DR.

3.383 MALFUNCTION: A Light ATGM is permanently removed from play if its unmodified TH DR is ≥ X#.
 
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