Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Weekend in WW2

Today we have a guest posting from my son Phil. There are many great things about Phil, one of which is his liking for tactical wargames. He also has his own blog. Today Phil brings us an after action report from last weekend when we played scenarion S3 "A Simple Equation" from the ASL Starter Kit.

It's a rare day when I call my Dad and tell him I "fancy playing a game". However, this weekend the call of the Nimrod was too strong, and I returned to the arena of many a triumph and failure to have a crack at ASL:Starter Kit, one of the least excitingly named games I have ever played.

Dad and I have played this lite version of ASL a couple of times before, and have always enjoyed it, so we had high expectations. Choosing the Aachen scenario, we set up, full of excitement and "Band of Brothers" quotes.

As the Germans, Dad had to defend a large group of buildings at all cost. As the Americans, it was my job to take control of these buildings in a pretty stingy time limit.

It is noteworthy that the first hour was wasted trying to get back to grips with the rules. If this is the simple version, I dread to think what the full, hardcore version is like. I doubt it's much fun.

Halfway through it looked distinctly like I was moving too slowly, probably taking a little too much care over the lives of my men, and worrying too much about maintaining a nice shape. Dad had taken some casualties, but was holding firm, and I hadn't even begun to take objectives.

However, in the last few turns the hard preparatory work paid off, and the Americans broke through the German front line. Once up close and personal, the superior equipment, leaders and morale of the Americans paid off, and with a quick scramble on my last turn I was able to secure the mandatory number of buildings to win!

This is a great game, of that there is no doubt. The rules are sufficiently detailed to challenge, not so crazy as to put you off for life. And the gameplay itself - well, it's fast paced, exciting, and realistic (as far as I can see). Particular respect must be given to the subtle distinctions in the rules: pinned versus broken; first fire, final fire, firing at range; rates of movement; it's all really great at capturing the decisions needed in the middle of battle (again, as far as I can see).

It is possible that the Germans have an impossible task in this scenario. I do think, however, that Dad didn't line up as effectively as he could have, and I think this led to his downfall. Still, he's a worthy adversary, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

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