Thursday, 29 November 2012

GamesReport: 18/25-Nov-12 AGOT, Mansions and Light Nights

At this time of year the weeks seem to pass quickly and I haven't found enough spare time to blog about our KoffeeKlub evenings. In part this is down to the heavier blog pieces on ASL Starter Kit after-action reports, but they're fun to play and write about and are likely to stay.

Our Sundays of late have been taken over by bigger games such as Mansion of Madness, Eclipse, Battlestar Galactica, A Game of Thrones (AGOT) etc. and on Sunday the 18th of November numbers were big enough for us to run both Mansions and AGOT on the same night. GaryB hosted AGOT on one table and we played a Mansions scenario, The Green-Eyed Boy on the other.

Stark's strategy to conquer Westeros isn't too clear...
Chris. Ready to beat-on fellow players with his guitar.
On the 25th of November we'd decided to take a short break from the bigger games and to roll-out a few lighter games in our first Light Nights session.

Light Nights
During the evening we played:

Zombie Dice
A very light push-your-luck dice game. The players are zombies trying to find brains and avoid getting shot-up too much. Fun for a couple of rounds, but then we shuffled on...

Game 1 - Zombie Dice
GaryG 16-2 (1st)
AndyA 16-0 (2nd)
GaryB 5
DaveB 0

Game 2 - Zombie Dice
AndyA 14 (1st)
GaryB 5 (2nd)
DaveB 3
GaryG 0

For Sale
A short auction game where the players bid for property cards in phase one and sell them off for big profits in phase two. A lot more fun than it sounds and too long since I last got a chance to play. 

Game 3 - For Sale
GaryG - 48 (2nd)
AndyA - 42
GaryB - 37
DaveB - 58 (1st)
ChrisG - 34
ChrisB -35

Game 4 - For Sale
AndyA -60 (1st)
GaryG - 55 (2nd)

A firm favourite of ours that never seems to grow old. Highly recommended.

Games 5 to 8 - Bluff
GaryG (2x1st)
AndyA (1x1st and 1x2nd)
GaryB (1x1st and 1x2nd)
DaveB (1x1st)
ChrisG (2x2nd)
Karl (1x2nd)
Ca$h & Gun$
Not much to this one, but you do get to point foam guns at each other!

Game 9 to 10 - Ca$h & Gun$
GaryG (2x2nd)
ChrisG (1x1st)
DaveB (1x1st)

6 Nimmt!
An entertaining trick-taking game. It takes a little while to get use to and bye that stage you've probably lost already! :)

Game 11 - 6Nimmt! (low is good)
GaryG 50 (2nd)
AndyA 87
KarlW 50 (2nd)
ChrisG 77
GaryB 56
DaveW 36 (1st)

Overall Scores

GaryG 3x1st and 5x2nd
AndyA 3x1st and 2x2nd
GaryB 1x1st and 1x2nd
DaveB 2x1st
ChrisG 2x2nd
KarlW 2x2nd

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the first Light Nights session!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

KoffeeKlub Evening 2nd of December

"This is the Commander. Moments ago, this ship received word of a Cylon attack against our home-worlds is under way. We do not know the size or the disposition or the strength of the enemy forces, but all indications point to a massive assault against Colonial defences. Admiral Nagala has taken personal command of the Fleet aboard the battlestar Atlantia following the complete destruction of Picon Fleet Headquarters in the first wave of the attacks. "How? Why?" doesn't really matter now. What does matter is that as of this moment, we are at war. You've trained for this. You're ready for this. Stand to your duties, trust your fellow shipmates, and we'll all get through this. Further updates as we get them. Thank you." - Commander William Adama

Last time, in the simulator, the Cylons enjoyed a resounding victory. This time it's real, so book your place on Galactica and help us fight against the toasters.

We have six seats at The Black Knight this Sunday between 7pm and 11pm, all are welcome.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

AAR - ASL SK Scenario #S43 - Clearing Carentan

Moving into Carentan
S43 Clearing Carentan
Attacker: American (506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division) (GaryB)
Defender: German (Fallschirmjäger Regiment 6) (GaryG)
Turns: 6 Players:
OBA: None  
Night: No
Date(s) Played: 20/11/2012
Carentan, France 1944-06-12

Starting Board Position
For full details on set-up, please see our introduction blog entry for S43.

Turn #1
A very tough first turn for the Americans who as yet are unaware of the immediate German threats from their hidden squads (D6 and F5) and artillery markers (G7 and F7). They open up with some area [A] fire vs. building hex J5, trying to uncover and hidden units there. The roll has no effect and they remain uncertain of who or what is in J5.

During the movement phase they CX (double-time) an 8-0 leader with and 7-4-7 squad crossing open ground at B5 to the east of Carentan [B]. It was early in the game, but I had to reveal one of my hidden units, an 8-1 leader / 5-4-8 with LMG, in D6 to fire on them. I score a hit and break both his leader and the 7-4-7 squad [B]. 
American Turn #1
The Americans have an easier time in the west of Carentan [C], advancing their 9-1 leader and two 7-4-7s through building hexes to close in on J5 (where GaryB believes I have a hidden squad). They take some light fire from my German 2-3-8 squad, but it has no effect.

Centrally [D] the Americans move into position to cross the street and settle into F7 and G7, critically my hidden artillery targets. With movement over, I defensive fire at the American 7-4-7 / 3-3-7 stack in G7 breaking both of his units with heavy fire from my 5-4-8 / MMG / 2-3-8 in I4. Not a great start for the Allies as nearly half of their squads have been broken already!

In my German turn I call in my artillery during prep fire targeting building hexes F7 and G7 [E], but both rolls have no effect. That could have been a game finisher if the rolls had gone the German's way. Other fire during the turn had no effect, but I did manage to move my 8-1 leader / 5-4-8 with LMG from D6 and initiate close combat in B6 [F]. The Americans lost a 7-4-7 and an 8-0 leader in this assault.

German Turn #1
Turn #2
In turn #2 the Americans licked their wounds and rallied some of their troops creating an 8-0 leader with a 1,1 roll during rally phase. In movement they evacuated [G] building hexes G7 and F7 to avoid further artillery hits, leaving only the broken 3-3-7 half-squad behind. Needing to keep the pressure up and counter some of their losses, they advanced a 10-2 leader and 7-4-7 squad with DC into building hex D6 under the cover of smoke [H]. Again though the German defence was strong (with a 1,2 DR) and they broke both units as they entered the building. Disaster for the Allies as their best leader was broken!
American Turn #2
I wanted to press my advantage and used more artillery fire on G7 [I] to eliminate the broken American 3-3-7 half squad there. From the east I assault moved my 8-1 leader and 5-4-8 with LMG into C6 to force his broken stack out of the building hex D6. During advancing fire I managed to casualty reduce the broken American 7-4-7 in D6 [J] and they used low crawl to flea into an open hex at D7.

The American stack in building hex E8 was still strong (the new 8-0 leader 2 x 7-4-7s and 1 x MMG) and they continued area-fire vs. E5 to try and uncover my final hidden unit, presumably before attempting to cross the street [K]. Other fire was exchanged in the centre of Carentan, but with no effect.
German Turn #2
Turn #3
Turn #3 saw the 10-2 leader escape to join his friends in E8, but the 7-4-7 with him was killed under heavy PBF from my German stack in D6 [J]. Otherwise exchanges of prep fire and defensive fire had no effect. The Americans were running out of time and bogged down in repeated prep-fire due to the losses they had sustained so far.

Turn #4
More prep fire from the Americans broke the German 8-1 leader in D6 [L], but held up their strongest squads for another turn. In movement phase a 7-4-7 crossed the street successfully into building hex J3 [M] taking ineffective fire from the German 4-4-7 in N3. Buoyed up by this success the 9-1 leader / 7-4-7 in J5 move to follow them, but are broken by MMG fire from H4 and forced to stop in building hex K5 [N]. Nothing seems to be working out for the Americans.
American Turn #4
I'm sorry to say that this game looked ripe for the German plucking and it pushed me into some questionable moves as I tried to finish MrBingers off... :)

I began with some prep fire from my 5-4-8 / MMG / 2-3-8 in H4 [O] at his broken units in K5*, but malfunction my MMG in the process with a 6,6 roll. In movement I pushed two fairly weak units into positions really close to the enemy and in one case [Q] directly into close combat.

A 2-3-8 was moved into I3 [P], but took fire on the way at I2, fortunately for me the Americans missed. Separately I moved a 4-4-7 from N3 into L5 to prepare for close combat with his broken units in K5 [Q]. The resulting close combat would fail for both sides.

German Turn #4

Defensive firing the Americans successfully broke (and casualty reduced) my 5-4-8 in D6 [R]. Nothing terrible here for the Germans, but the moves in turn #4 would cost them heavily in turn #5...

*I need to make a rules check as I believe that firing here from H4 to K5 was enough to automatically DM the American units there. We played that it didn't, but I need to review.

Turn #5
The game was really closing out now and we both knew that it was all but lost for the Americans, but they did have a few parting shots to deal with first. During rally phase they successfully brought back a 9-1 leader / 7-4-7 in K5 completely swinging the balance in that building hex [U]. 

American Turn #5

Forgoing prep fire for once they moved their big stack (10-2 leader, 8-0 leader, 2 x 7-4-7s, 1 x MMG and 1 x DC) from E8 to C7 under the cover of smoke [V]. They also successfully fired on D6 breaking the half-squad there and forcing them to rout across the street to safety [W].

Three very winnable close combats at [T], [U] and [V] played out in favour of the Americans with the Germans losing a 4-4-7 in K5 [U], an 8-0 leader in D6 [V] and a 2-3-8 in I3 [T].

These final few close combats couldn't however change the result and the Americans surrendered at the end of American turn #5.

RESULT: The Americans (GaryB) conceded to the Germans (GaryG) at the end of their turn #5.

Historical Aftermath
Once established in the town, the paratroopers divided up into small groups each of which began neutralizing German positions in buildings and alleys. Major von der Heydte, commander of the Fallschirmjägers and in charge of the defence of Carentan, had withdrawn most of the defenders from the town during the night to avoid being surrounded. The rearguard that remained, however, were seasoned troops a fought skilfully, including the pre-registered key positions for artillery and mortar bombardments. 

Through the course of the morning, the paratroopers took position after position until the remaining Fallschirmjägers were forced to retreat out of town. While the next day would bring another German counter-attack, this time featuring the feared SS, they would never again control Carentan.

GaryG - A good scenario, which was more than slightly impacted by the poor first few turns that the Americans suffered. We did get it closed off in one evening's play though, which is good. We intend now to play the same scenario again this time switching sides.

GaryB - I will have to mark this one up as a learning game. I was happy enough with my set-up but made a critical mistake CXing the units on the left in the first turn. My original intention was to move the units to D6 to support the main force crossing the road in the centre. The right flank went better and I was able to move them to the J5 building where I was concerned Lt Gardner had deployed a hidden unit. It was a couple of unfortunate rolls which scuppered my progress early on, these were in response to errors on my part however ASL SK punishes you severely and I got knocked about very badly. I was very lucky in hindsight to survive the beautifully targeted artillery blasts in the most part. I did much better in the later stages of the game when perhaps GaryG felt he had the game won and was able to be more adventurous. On the round, I have to report, "Must do better - See me after class"

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

KoffeeKlub Evening 25th of November

This week at KoffeeKlub we're chilling out and playing some lighter games.

Light Nights will hopefully introduce you to a couple of fun short games that you haven't seen before... if you get the chance please join us at The Black Knight this Sunday between 7pm and 11pm.

"Why don't we just wait here for a while... see what happens." Childs - The Thing

Light Nights @ The KoffeeKlub

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Intro ASL SK - #S43 Clearing Carentan

Assaulting Carentan
Our next starter kit scenario takes us to Carentan in June 1944... 
S43 Clearing Carentan

Attacker: American (506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division) (GaryB)
Defender: German (Fallschirmjäger Regiment 6) (GaryG)
Turns: 6 Players: 2 OBA: None Night: No
Carentan, France 1944-06-12

RESULT: The Americans conceded on turn #5

The key in the initial assaults on the Cotentin Peninsula was the town of Carentan. Control of this vital town of approximately 4,000 people would allow the Utah and Omaha beaches to be securely joined. At approximately 0530 on June 12th elements of the 101st Airborne under the command of artillery commander Brig. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe deployed for the attack scheduled to start at 0600. The initial assault instantly bogged down with well-sited machine gun fire pinning the paratroopers along the road into Carentan, but company commanders rallied their troops and quickly grabbed a foothold in town. Now came the difficult task of capturing the town as well-trained paratroopers began clearing building after building.

Victory Conditions 
The Americans win at game end by controlling all buildings on/between hexrows D-J in hexes numbered </= 5 (Highlighted by yellow boxes on the map below). The Americans set-up below the blue line and the Germans above it.

Set-Up Rules & Victory Locations

German Initial Set-Up

Initial German Set-Up

In setting up I have:

> a 7-0 leader in building hex H3 to rally any broken unit withdrawals in the centre.
> a 2-3-8 and 5-4-8 with MMG in building hex I4 covering the central N/S road and West towards N4
> a 2-3-8 in building hex L2 helping to cover the open area ahead in K4, L4,M4 etc
> a 4-4-7 in building hex N3 covering the N/S road West towards N8

I also have the support of an 8-1 leader / 5-4-8 with LMG and an 8-0 leader / 5-4-8 with LMG all set-up with hidden initial placement. The 8-1 Leader / 5-4-8 with LMG in hex D6 and the 8-0 Leader / 5-4-8 with LMG in hex F5 (marked with a green circles in the map above).

Two hexes have been nominated as artillery attack points for the Germans to use at any time during the battle. These were F7 and G7 (marked with a target on the map above).

The Americans begin with the following squads and support and will set-up >/= hex-row "8" between A and P

Initial American Set-Up
In setting up the Americans have:

> an 8-0 leader and a 7-4-7 squad in hex A8
> a 3-3-7 half-squad in building hex E8
> a 7-4-7 squad with DC in building hex E9
> a 7-4-7 squad in building hex D8
> a 10-2 leader and 7-4-7 squad with MMG in building hex G9
> a 9-1 leader with two 7-4-7 squads in building hex M8

From a defensive point-of-view, I'm quite happy with the American set-up as they are very likely to encounter both of my hidden stacks in D6 and F5 and are very close to my artillery targeted hexes F7 and G7.

Let's see how this one plays out...

>>>AAR for S43

Thursday, 15 November 2012

KoffeeKlub Evening 18th of November

The Green-Eyed Boy
This weekend at KoffeeKlub Mansions Of Madness returns for another mythos flavoured tale. 

Last time the heroes suffered at the hands of The Inner Sanctum cultists, but how will they fare when investigating The Green-Eyed Boy?

Why not come and join us?

KoffeeKlub meet at The Black Knight from 7pm to 11pm every Sunday. 

 I also believe that AndyA will be hosting A Game Of Thrones for some of the LGC guys.

"By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes." - William Shakespeare

Learning ASL Starter Kit Part 4

As we move into Turn #4 things are balanced quite well, but the British forces are due to arrive from the South to support their American allies. Will it be too little too late?

American/British Turn #4
I needed to get my arriving British squads into action pretty quickly and double-timed them to take up positions to the South, South-South-West and South-West of Avola. I wanted to attack GaryB's Italian positions from a number of directions and try to water-down his fire-power as much as possible.

GaryB's positions still looked quite strong, but I felt that I could take advantage of some of his squad positioning in the South and exploit hexes not covered by his fire-lanes.

British Advance in Turn #4
The British would need to be quite reckless in their movement in order to take these Southern buildings, so I needed my American squads to breakthrough in the North and get into supporting positions as quickly as the could.

As it turned out the Americans did much better than I'd expected. They supported the melee at (A), broke units in the buildings around (B) readying a close combat opportunity for Turn #5 and eliminated the Italian squads and leader to the West of town (C).

The Italians take heavy losses in the North of Avola

These were major losses for the Italians and I was beginning to feel confident about the final result for the first time in the game. Further progress around (B) and (C) would cut-off Italian fall-back options for their Southern squads.

Italian Turn #4
Licking their wounds the Italians dropped PREP PHASE FIRE into a number of British and American positions and were unlucky with their rolls. They did however manage to recover a 3-4-6 Squad at (D), coupling it with an 8-1 Leader, but their MMG in this area was still broken. Elsewhere they recovered and retreated a 1-2-6 squad creating a 6+1 Leader in the process (E). 

British defensive fire at (F) broke the Italian squad there and it fell back a hex awaiting the onslaught.

American/British Turn #5
The squeeze was on! Again forgoing PREP FIRE I assaulted from the South, squad by squad to take up positions around (H), (I) and (J). The British took some heavy fire here, but came away with only two broken units, a 4-5-7 and a 9-1 Leader. By the end of the turn I had engaged the Italians in close combat in both (I) and (J) and forced them to break and flee from (H). (J) resulted in the Italian squad's elimination.

"The Squeeze!"

Meanwhile my Americans took up positions to fully cover the town's square and eliminated an Italian Leader at (G). Things were looking great for me, but I still had to break of destroy ALL Italian units to achieve a victory.

As we closed out Italian Turn #5 the American's were picking off fleeing squads and readying themselves to take the final few buildings holding Axis troops. The final turn of the game was American/British Turn #6 where the Allies focused their assaults into two areas shown on the map below. The resulting close combats, although not conclusive were enough to break/eliminate the remaining Italian units and the game was called. Victory to the Allies!

Last Stand of The Italian 146th Infantry in Avola, Sicily
S9 Ambitious Assault 
Result: Victory for the British/Americans (GaryG) vs. the Italians (GaryB) in Turn #6.

GaryG - The scenario is a good one and I especially enjoyed the mixture of terrain available and the two-flank attack from the Allies. You really do have to push hard from the very start when playing the Allies. I was lucky with some of my rolls around Turn #4 and still only managed to beat the Italians in my final game turn. 

I'm fairly happy with my coverage of the rules. We did get a few small things wrong, but on the whole the sessions played smoothly without too much downtime to check the rules book. We'll probably play one further infantry scenario before moving up to first artillery and then vehicles.

GaryB - Pending

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

GamesReport: 4/11-Nov-12 Battlestar Galactica and Eclipse

On a stag trip this weekend past so just a few pictures from our last two KoffeeKlub evenings at The Black Knight, which both had full tables of six players. 

First up on the 4th of November was Battlestar Galactica by Fantasy Flight Games. I ended up running rather than playing the game as we had seven players in all with the humans tripping over themselves to eventually lose the game quite comfortably to the Cylons. 

The 11th of November gave us our first opportunity to host Eclipse by Asmodee. Eclipse is a 4X game (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) and has a killer amount of stuff to set-up. Not good, but fortunately the game itself is fairly straight-forward, although we played the combat phases slightly wrong.

Hope to play it again soon. 

I expect both to get played again soon at KoffeeKlub.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

KoffeeKlub Evening 11th of November

The galaxy has been peaceful for many years and a Galactic Council was formed to enforce it... ...time passes...  ...tensions rise... ...old alliances are shatter and discord grows amongst the seven major species...

...confrontation seems inevitable, but which faction will emerge victorious and lead the galaxy under its rule?

KoffeeKlub will be at The Black Knight this Sunday between 7pm and 11pm, all are welcome to join us for Eclipse. (it takes up to six people)

"...and the Sun has perished out of heaven, and an evil mist hovers over all." - Homer, The Odyssey.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Learning ASL Starter Kit Part 3

Moving into Turn #3 of starter kit scenario S9 - Ambitious Assault and every move for my Allies seemed to becoming more and more critical. With only four full turns ahead, I had to keep up the pressure and give myself a fighting chance at victory.

American Turn #3
It took us a full evening on VASL last night to complete turn #3, an indication of the amount of careful consideration we were putting into each move and the amount of fighting now taking place. The British still wouldn't arrive until turn #4, so it was down to my strong American parachute infantry to build on their early momentum.

Board Position At The Start Of American Turn #3
The map above shows the board position at the beginning of turn #3, with the green arrows indicating the positions that my American squads would try to assault this turn.

A Miserable Assault Attempt From The Americans
The Italians had failed to recover their broken leader in N7 (above) and I elected to have no PREP FIRE instead moving straight into the MOVEMENT PHASE.

From the East side of the map (left) I needed to move down to Close Combat his 3-4-6, so I sent my 3-3-7 across the street and into the building beside the 3-4-6 Italians (A). I had cover from the units at (C) and knew that the building would give me good protection against his 3-4-6 despite the point-blank shot. He rolled a 1,2 (2D6) and I failed my morale check breaking the 3-3-7 and leaving 2 residual fire-power in the hex.

I still had an 8-0 leader and a 7-4-7 squad to move and stupidly decided to avoid the residual fire-power and moved them as a stack (to get leader movement bonus) over the edge of the hill at point (B). This of course brought them into line-of-sight for his groups on hill (C).

A Couple Of Pinning Shots Couldn't Slow The Americans
The 8-0 leader made it to the building, but the 7-4-7 got pinned on the hill by his 3-4-6 squad with a LMG. His other roll from (C) with 3-4-6, 8-1 leader and MMG would fail and malfunction his MMG in the process, so I figured I'd gotten off lightly for my mistake... Not so as GaryB would later target this isolated unit, PREP FIRING from (C) during his turn to eliminate my 7-4-7. Nightmare!

I need to be more careful when moving.

Board Position At The Start Of Italian Turn #3
I had better success in the West of Avola although only after a shaky start. I assault moved a 7-4-7 squad into the trees at (D) only to see them pinned by a fortunate shot from the hill at O9. Close Combat there would need to wait. Elsewhere I assaulted squads across the street (E) to take the units and building around (F). The Italian squad there malfunctioning their LMG in a desperate defence.

By the end of Allied turn #3 the board postion was as follow:

(G) - American 3-3-7 had routed back to building hex L2

(H) - The (soon to be eliminated) 7-4-7 sitting exposed on the hill, with my 8-0 leader hiding in the adjacent building.

(I) - GaryB's central Italian squads had a malfunctioned HMG and failed to repair it in the RALLY PHASE of turn #3.

(J) - An American 7-4-7 squad, with MMG and a 9-2 leader have all but taken buildings in this area.

(K) - A 9-1 leader with two 7-4-7 squads waited to fire on O9.

Italian Prep Fire Phase
Italian Turn #3
During the Italian RALLY PHASE they failed to repair their HMG and the Americans recovered the lost Italian LMG in M8 only to find it unusable. The Italian 7-0 leader in N7 also recovered from his broken state.

Most of the Italian action was concentrated on PREP FIRE (right) as they gained one major success in eliminating the American 7-4-7 at position (L) on the hillside. The rest of their fire that phase was largely ineffective.

During MOVEMENT they assault moved their 7-0 Leader into O8 (M) in view to moving him into the buildings on the opposite side of the street.

In his eagerness to put pressure on my broken 3-3-7 in building hex L2 (below) GaryB moved his 1-3-6 from P2 to try and move towards Close Combat. He missed my LOS from the 7-4-7 / HMG stack in M6 (O) and took heavy fire, breaking just as he left the building (N). His unit missed it's ELR and dropped to a 1-2-6. Looks like we both need to be more careful when moving :)

Italians Caught In The Open
Heavy Fire From The Americans
It would be the DEFENSIVE FIRE that would prove most costly for the Italians as the Americans used some heavy fire-power targeting (P) and (Q) forcing both units to break. The 1-3-6 at (P) low crawling into O7 and the 3-3-6 at (Q) routing into the relative safety of hex P9.

By the end of Turn #3 my Americans had made a little progress and were in a reasonably good position. How critical would the loss of the 7-4-7 on the hillside to the North prove to be?

In Turn #4 the Americans will have the support of a significant British force made up from elements of the British 50th Infantry Division. They arrive at beginning of Turn #4, but have some distance to cover before reaching Avola.

British Forces Arriving On Turn #4
 With just three full turns left here is the board position at the end of Turn #3.

Board Position At The End Of Turn #3