Last night I headed out to Sentry Box to have a game of Advanced Squad Leader with a fellow, Dan Lepore, that I meet via the Game Squad ASL forums. Dan is a long time ASL player so he suggested that while I was still getting my feet wet with the full rules that we play a more basic scenario. The Guards Counterattack is actually a scenario from the original Squad Leader game that was reworked for the release of the ASL rules way back in the fog of time. It is an urban scenario with an elite force of Soviet Assault Engineers trying to retake buildings from German defenders.
This was my first ASL since getting my Battleschool precision dice so I also took the opportunity to take them out for a spin as well.
Dan’s plan appeared to be to try to rush the more lightly defended building at 1F5 as well as attempt to make a rush to take 1L6. I am not familiar with the scenario, having played it a total of 1.25 times now :-), but that does seem to be the safest approach for the Soviets.
Things went quite well for Dan initially as he was able toDash infantry across the streets near 1F5 and move around the corner of the building to approach from the west and limit my Defensive Fire opportunities. The 4-4-7 squads in G6 broke from Advancing Fire in turn 2 and I was left holding the building with a 9-1 leader, LMG and a single 4-4-7 squad.
Things began to go astray for Dan at that point. Not due to any particularly good strategy on my part but simply due to my ability to make most Morale and Rally rolls for the troops left in that building. Not only was Dan unable to dislodge then but the 4-4-7 squad battle-hardened at one point and then, prior to an assault the 9-1 leader went Berzerk and took the squad with him as well.
It wasn’t until the end of the game that Dan was able to finally push that one stack of troops from the building and his victorious Engineers were able to finally control it.
Dan then sprung across street as fast as he could to try to take I7 from me but some very successful Defensive Fire from that hex broke or pinned the attackers and also made his 10-2 leader and a 6-2-8 unit Berzerk. Dan actually rolled two 2s and a 3 for a series of successive morale rolls. But in this case the Bezerk status was not a benefit as it stopped him from advancing with those troops in the Advance Phase. Dan was a hex away from possibly winning the game.
On the other side of the map Dan’s Prep Fire broke one on the squads in the L6 building and I luckily managed to move a stack from M9 to O8 without getting them chewed up by Soviet fire. It was actually a pretty silly move on my part and I was lucky to avoid losing troops to Dan’s Defensive Fire.
That did give me a unit with an MMG to place fire down the O7-O3 roadway as well provide more fire into M6 and N6 where Dan was trying to cross to take the L6 building.
Dan’s fire was good enough to break one squad with an LMG in the building and he then sent across squads into the M6-N6 road which survived fire to get in the L6 building. Once there his luck ran out and the one squad he got into melee last after a two turn contest and I was able to bring enough troops back in to reinforce and secure it.
The biggest disappointment for the Russians must have been the Commissar in the N5 building who spent most of the game shooting Soviet squads who failed their morale. Dan mentioned the risk involved in using the Commissar in that fashion and this game was a real example of that.
By the end of the game I was able to solidify my hold on the L6 building and hold off, barely, his attack on the I7 building for the win.
Dan was a very good opponent and really helped me not only remember some of the rules I was foggy on but also helped with the rather baroque Defensive Fire rules. I still don’t really have them down pat but I have a much better grasp of them now than I did previously.
Dan has suggested that we play The Tractor Factory next so I will be checking out that scenario and looking into some more of the terrain rules for our next game. I will also be reading Chapter C to see if I can incorporate some Guns into my gaming in the future.