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Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #1» Forums » Sessions

Subject: S2: War of the Rats rss

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Kilgore Trout
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It’s been more than 20 years since I was into ASL - other priorities like jobs and family got in the way. However, I’m a great deal wiser now and been rethinking priorities. :-) and so have been giving serious thought to returning to the fold.

I’ve been tinkering around with the ASKSK #1 and have started working through the scenarios to lubricate the more rusty of joints. I certainly do not remember hardly any of the rules, so much of this feels new again. I am very much enjoying reading through the message boards. Both the folks asking and answering questions related to rules have earned my respect.

Hopefully during this play through opportunities will arise to question the rules, or learn just a bit more about how the rules apple to some circumstantial peculiarities.

On to the game. I’ve set up the Germans and Russians as per below:



I’m sure there are far better ways to get the game started. I figured that I’ll learn more from doing things the dumb way than trying to copy what others have done with the starting positing of this scenario.

Of note, I’ve got my 9-2 Major, MMG and squad sitting in N3 to hopefully have command of all they survey. Flamethrower in G5 flanked by the DC crews on each side. I put a couple of 5-4-8 units to the west to see how quickly I could punch through the conscripts and get into the building in F8.

The Russian strategy is to dig in, soak up as much damage as possible before falling back, and hope for reinforcements in Turn 2 or, at the worst, 3.


Turn 1

Quickly, all of my plans fell apart. The FT did put one squad into DM, but the rest of the line experienced completely ineffective PF. Most attacking die rolls were in the 8-10 range. When the Germans did get good rolls, the Russians (even those with Morale of 6) didn’t break.

One German squad in D6 did lay smoke and allowed another squad to get close, but was quickly pinned in defensive fire.

During the Russian Defensive Fire Phase, they got a great shot at the main stack in N3 and were able to put them all into DM.

Nobody was able to rally and the Russian Prep Fire phase was also largely unsuccessful.



Above at the end of Turn 1. The Russian conscripts in the West have been softened up a bit, but the rest of the board is largely unchanged. The Russians were able to keep the German leader in N3 under DM.

Rule Review: During the German’s turn, I really wanted to have a 5-4-8 in D6 lay smoke for the squad in C7. D6 would expend 2 MF for the smoke, allowing C7 to move to D7. Depending on the results of this move, I could use the remaining 2 MF retained by D6. As I learned several paragraphs into 3.3 of the MPh: “Once a unit moves, stops, and another unit moves, the original unit may not move again in that MPh”. I take this to mean that the original unit may also not expend any more MF in that MPh.




Turn 2

Things have started to go the German’s way. After a couple of successful rallies (including self rally), the Germans split Prep Fire (with good results) with the laying of smoke and forward movement. In the west, the Germans begin their end-around movement to cause mayhem beside and behind building F8.



Above is a shot near the end of the German’s MPh.

The Russian defensive fire, both the the MPh and DFPh didn’t amount to much. The Germans finished their turn with a flamethrower blast through the orchard and into L5, breaking the Russian troops. After advancement, they finished their turn as pictured below:




Rule Review: During the German MPh, I was eager to get that flamethrower back into the fight. After moving into J5 and surviving the defensive fire from L5 (remembering the -1 DRM the Russians get against the flamethrower), I was then confused as to what attack options yet remained in the AFPh. Distance is 2 Hexes = 12 strength. Into a building but flamethrowers ignore all that. However, I had to see if firepower is halved in the AFPh (it isn’t) and then how/if to modify the roll across the orchard hex-line at K6. In the end, I put the attack at 12/+1. Let me know if I missed something.

The Russians are in trouble at this point. The Germans were able to rally the stack with their 9-2 Major and MMG. Russians did not get their reinforcements. The Russians, largely stuck at DM across the board either failed their rolls our I dared not roll for fear of boxcars. During PFPh, the Russians did push back one 5-4-8 German squad. Otherwise, the used this turn for fall-back movements to buy them some more time.

During the Rout Phase, I encountered a situation I’m not sure I handled correctly:



In above, the squads in F8 need to rout. But to where? I believe their only choices were either E8 or F7. None of the squads in C9 or G6 were “known” previously. The squad in C7 is not in good order, but I’m not certain that matters here. I believe that moving to E8 is allowed and this is where they stopped. Let me know where I went wrong here..

The units finished up in the final photo below.. just before I pulled the Pin counter to end the turn and flip the counter over to Turn 3.





Turn 3


Everything is now falling the German’s way. They’re making rally die rolls, the Russian’s aren’t. It really highlights how much more advantageous an 8 is over a 6 (or a 7 over a 5).

The German FT is now causing all sorts of hurt, eliminating a counter in both it’s attack phase as well as in the form of defensive fire during the Russian turn. The Russian reinforcements still aren’t coming. The Russians lost several squads for failure to rout cleanly.



Above: At the end of the German’s phase of Turn 3. Now, it’s just a matter of mopping up.

What Russian counters are left in Good Order made a go at it, mostly at PB Range, but still didn’t make much of a difference. They were subsequently pounded during the Defensive fire phase. After routing and advancing, the Germans now have full control of 2 out of 3 Victory Condition buildings. This game will now come down to defending these buildings against the reinforcement squads when they finally arrive.




Turn 4

Now the Germans will focus on digging in and preparing to defend their turf for when the Russian reinforcements arrive.

The Russians in F8 were able to survive several PBF shots in the PFPh, but couldn’t handle the demolition squad that came down from G7. They moved to F7 and successfully placed the DC, as well as survived several rounds of defensive fire. After the DC went off, the leader broke and didn’t survive casualty reduction. The two squads broke, survived, but then were eliminated for failure to route in the RPh.

The balance of German forces moved into better position and took subsequent shots at what broken Russian forces they could find to keep them under DM as much as possible.

The Russians rolled another 6 for reinforcements and did little in their turn but continue to rout further away. The Russians are now devoid of any leaders to help rally what troops remain.

At this point the Russians concede. For me, this is a notable match in that I’ve had the Germans win both of the previous two attempts with this Scenario. I was beginning to suspect that (for my style of play or strategic choices/knowledge) I would need to adjust the balance.

Rule Review: Final matter that I’m not absolutely certain about. As part of the Scenario’s Victory Conditions, the Germans must control all 3 buildings at game end. Does this mean that there cannot be any Russian counters in any hex of the three buildings? Do the Russians have to be in Good Order? Could they be caught up in CC/Melee in just 1 of the 10 hexes (of the 3 buildings) and deny a German victory?



Final board (above) at game end. I need to get a sheet of anti-glare glass.

Thank you for reading. Any comments suggestions are welcome.. my main goal is to play through these earlier scenarios to work through and remember the standard sequence of phases for each side. Better tactics will follow once the mechanics become more second nature.
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Dan Cunningham
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Excellent AAR. Thank you for posting. It was an excellent read, and the pictures are great. I hope you enjoyed playing it out and putting together the post.

Just one questions, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR COUNTERS?!

Looks like you might have been a little overly enthusiastic with your counter clipping.

Dan
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Perry Cocke
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Look at the definition of Control in the Definitions section.

The Russians control all the victory buildings at start.
In order for the Germans to control one of them, there must be a Good Order German MMC in the building at the same time there is NO Russian unit in the building.

Once control has flipped to the Germans, they will keep it until the Russians wrest if from them per the above method.
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Perry Cocke
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Regarding balance and style of play, I think your Russians are too much up front. The German firepower is just too much, and I think the Russians need to hide from it a bit.

Look for places where the at-start Germans cannot attack the Russians but the latter can cover the street. Have some speed bumps up front that you expect will break but have paths for them to rout back to a leader.

Skulk. That is, during the Russian turn, instead of Prep Firing, try to hide during the MPh and then during the APh advance back into the old location that covers the street (or retreat farther into safer positions).

But I wasn't there, so I could be wrong.

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Tankboy
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perrycocke wrote:
Regarding balance and style of play, I think your Russians are too much up front. The German firepower is just too much, and I think the Russians need to hide from it a bit.

Look for places where the at-start Germans cannot attack the Russians but the latter can cover the street. Have some speed bumps up front that you expect will break but have paths for them to rout back to a leader.

Skulk. That is, during the Russian turn, instead of Prep Firing, try to hide during the MPh and then during the APh advance back into the old location that covers the street (or retreat farther into safer positions).

But I wasn't there, so I could be wrong.



Hope you don't mind, I'm taking notes.
 
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Kilgore Trout
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Hi Dan: I was wondering if someone might notice. They're pretty much even little octagons. A couple of years ago, I got a little aggressive with them using a homemade CD case and toe-clipper arrangement. I've since upgraded to a proper 2.5mm radius deluxe corner rounder - if I ever make it up to ASLSK#2 and beyond.
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Kilgore Trout
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Hello Perry. No, you're not wrong. Thank you for the suggestions and advice. It's why I posted in the first place. Cheers.
 
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perrycocke wrote:
Regarding balance and style of play, I think your Russians are too much up front. The German firepower is just too much, and I think the Russians need to hide from it a bit.

Look for places where the at-start Germans cannot attack the Russians but the latter can cover the street. Have some speed bumps up front that you expect will break but have paths for them to rout back to a leader.

Skulk. That is, during the Russian turn, instead of Prep Firing, try to hide during the MPh and then during the APh advance back into the old location that covers the street (or retreat farther into safer positions).

But I wasn't there, so I could be wrong.



It is very interesting for me to follow this scenario. I am actually playing it in PBEM with Robin since september and we are about half-way.

Up until now I only played 1 full SK scenario (my time is very limited) FTF lasts month. So War of the Rats is only my 2nd scenario.

What is the most interesting in this AAR is to see that I probably made the same error in positioning most of the Russians along the road, trying to cover it and hindering the Germans as much possible. Apparently that's not a good idea.

What I do not understand is Look for places where the at-start Germans cannot attack the Russians but the latter can cover the street. I really can't find any spot where the Russians would be able to cover that road without getting a hord of German placed opposite of it and obliterating that Russian squad that would dare to stick it's head out. I presume a building is meant. As the Russians set up first, the German is always able to concentrate on that 1 or 2 units along the road. My conclusion is that if the Russians should not put at least 1 unit in every building hex along that road, he better put everything at least one hex behind that row of buildings. But that will leave the German a free ride across the road.

Just a newbie's (probably) immature reasoning!

At the moment against Robin, I am still alive and kicking!
 
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Robin REEVE
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IIRC I didn't have good DR with my Germans at start - which saved your Russians some time.
I think that covering the road is not the most important, compared with saving your men: the Germans will eventually cross it...
Now, this is a small scenario, which can be more dependent on lucky or unlucky dice.
The Russian reinforcement timing can clearly swing the situation.
Our game is indeed uncertain : I flushed out the Russians from the two buildings on the right, but my situation on the left is more difficult : my rare troops there are coming from the north (some have had to rally beforehand).
But my forces on the right won't remain static, and the Russians will have to defend against both prongs of the pincer.
Nothing is decided.
Dice will tell.
 
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Kilgore Trout
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Robin's comment about reinforcement timing is important. In my previous two plays of this Scenario, the Russians won. They also rolled "1" in Turn 2 to allow for quick reinforcements. In the game I present above, reinforcements never arrived. The middle ground between the 2 extremes of my games is where things assuredly get more interesting.
 
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I think I was very lucky, as Robin said. On top of that he graciously corrected quite a few of my errors and let me start anew several times.

The Russian reinforcements came in in the 2nd turn and were very lucky not to be wiped away from the beginning and able to position themselves in the left building. With 2-3 turns to go, everything can happen. All of my forces on the right are all but wiped away. So the game will probably finish with very few Russians left.

Great game!
 
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Gary Logs
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kilgore234 wrote:
It’s been more than 20 years since I was into ASL - other priorities like jobs and family got in the way. However, I’m a great deal wiser now and been rethinking priorities. :-) and so have been giving serious thought to returning to the fold.

I’ve been tinkering around with the ASKSK #1 and have started working through the scenarios to lubricate the more rusty of joints. I certainly do not remember hardly any of the rules, so much of this feels new again. I am very much enjoying reading through the message boards. Both the folks asking and answering questions related to rules have earned my respect.

Hopefully during this play through opportunities will arise to question the rules, or learn just a bit more about how the rules apple to some circumstantial peculiarities.

On to the game. I’ve set up the Germans and Russians as per below:



I’m sure there are far better ways to get the game started. I figured that I’ll learn more from doing things the dumb way than trying to copy what others have done with the starting positing of this scenario.

Of note, I’ve got my 9-2 Major, MMG and squad sitting in N3 to hopefully have command of all they survey. Flamethrower in G5 flanked by the DC crews on each side. I put a couple of 5-4-8 units to the west to see how quickly I could punch through the conscripts and get into the building in F8.

The Russian strategy is to dig in, soak up as much damage as possible before falling back, and hope for reinforcements in Turn 2 or, at the worst, 3.


Turn 1

Quickly, all of my plans fell apart. The FT did put one squad into DM, but the rest of the line experienced completely ineffective PF. Most attacking die rolls were in the 8-10 range. When the Germans did get good rolls, the Russians (even those with Morale of 6) didn’t break.

One German squad in D6 did lay smoke and allowed another squad to get close, but was quickly pinned in defensive fire.

During the Russian Defensive Fire Phase, they got a great shot at the main stack in N3 and were able to put them all into DM.

Nobody was able to rally and the Russian Prep Fire phase was also largely unsuccessful.



Above at the end of Turn 1. The Russian conscripts in the West have been softened up a bit, but the rest of the board is largely unchanged. The Russians were able to keep the German leader in N3 under DM.

Rule Review: During the German’s turn, I really wanted to have a 5-4-8 in D6 lay smoke for the squad in C7. D6 would expend 2 MF for the smoke, allowing C7 to move to D7. Depending on the results of this move, I could use the remaining 2 MF retained by D6. As I learned several paragraphs into 3.3 of the MPh: “Once a unit moves, stops, and another unit moves, the original unit may not move again in that MPh”. I take this to mean that the original unit may also not expend any more MF in that MPh.




Turn 2

Things have started to go the German’s way. After a couple of successful rallies (including self rally), the Germans split Prep Fire (with good results) with the laying of smoke and forward movement. In the west, the Germans begin their end-around movement to cause mayhem beside and behind building F8.



Above is a shot near the end of the German’s MPh.

The Russian defensive fire, both the the MPh and DFPh didn’t amount to much. The Germans finished their turn with a flamethrower blast through the orchard and into L5, breaking the Russian troops. After advancement, they finished their turn as pictured below:




Rule Review: During the German MPh, I was eager to get that flamethrower back into the fight. After moving into J5 and surviving the defensive fire from L5 (remembering the -1 DRM the Russians get against the flamethrower), I was then confused as to what attack options yet remained in the AFPh. Distance is 2 Hexes = 12 strength. Into a building but flamethrowers ignore all that. However, I had to see if firepower is halved in the AFPh (it isn’t) and then how/if to modify the roll across the orchard hex-line at K6. In the end, I put the attack at 12/+1. Let me know if I missed something.

The Russians are in trouble at this point. The Germans were able to rally the stack with their 9-2 Major and MMG. Russians did not get their reinforcements. The Russians, largely stuck at DM across the board either failed their rolls our I dared not roll for fear of boxcars. During PFPh, the Russians did push back one 5-4-8 German squad. Otherwise, the used this turn for fall-back movements to buy them some more time.

During the Rout Phase, I encountered a situation I’m not sure I handled correctly:



In above, the squads in F8 need to rout. But to where? I believe their only choices were either E8 or F7. None of the squads in C9 or G6 were “known” previously. The squad in C7 is not in good order, but I’m not certain that matters here. I believe that moving to E8 is allowed and this is where they stopped. Let me know where I went wrong here..

The units finished up in the final photo below.. just before I pulled the Pin counter to end the turn and flip the counter over to Turn 3.





Turn 3


Everything is now falling the German’s way. They’re making rally die rolls, the Russian’s aren’t. It really highlights how much more advantageous an 8 is over a 6 (or a 7 over a 5).

The German FT is now causing all sorts of hurt, eliminating a counter in both it’s attack phase as well as in the form of defensive fire during the Russian turn. The Russian reinforcements still aren’t coming. The Russians lost several squads for failure to rout cleanly.



Above: At the end of the German’s phase of Turn 3. Now, it’s just a matter of mopping up.

What Russian counters are left in Good Order made a go at it, mostly at PB Range, but still didn’t make much of a difference. They were subsequently pounded during the Defensive fire phase. After routing and advancing, the Germans now have full control of 2 out of 3 Victory Condition buildings. This game will now come down to defending these buildings against the reinforcement squads when they finally arrive.




Turn 4

Now the Germans will focus on digging in and preparing to defend their turf for when the Russian reinforcements arrive.

The Russians in F8 were able to survive several PBF shots in the PFPh, but couldn’t handle the demolition squad that came down from G7. They moved to F7 and successfully placed the DC, as well as survived several rounds of defensive fire. After the DC went off, the leader broke and didn’t survive casualty reduction. The two squads broke, survived, but then were eliminated for failure to route in the RPh.

The balance of German forces moved into better position and took subsequent shots at what broken Russian forces they could find to keep them under DM as much as possible.

The Russians rolled another 6 for reinforcements and did little in their turn but continue to rout further away. The Russians are now devoid of any leaders to help rally what troops remain.

At this point the Russians concede. For me, this is a notable match in that I’ve had the Germans win both of the previous two attempts with this Scenario. I was beginning to suspect that (for my style of play or strategic choices/knowledge) I would need to adjust the balance.

Rule Review: Final matter that I’m not absolutely certain about. As part of the Scenario’s Victory Conditions, the Germans must control all 3 buildings at game end. Does this mean that there cannot be any Russian counters in any hex of the three buildings? Do the Russians have to be in Good Order? Could they be caught up in CC/Melee in just 1 of the 10 hexes (of the 3 buildings) and deny a German victory?



Final board (above) at game end. I need to get a sheet of anti-glare glass.

Thank you for reading. Any comments suggestions are welcome.. my main goal is to play through these earlier scenarios to work through and remember the standard sequence of phases for each side. Better tactics will follow once the mechanics become more second nature.


Thanks for the session report!
 
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Perry Cocke
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LionelR wrote:
perrycocke wrote:
Regarding balance and style of play, I think your Russians are too much up front. The German firepower is just too much, and I think the Russians need to hide from it a bit.

Look for places where the at-start Germans cannot attack the Russians but the latter can cover the street. Have some speed bumps up front that you expect will break but have paths for them to rout back to a leader.

Skulk. That is, during the Russian turn, instead of Prep Firing, try to hide during the MPh and then during the APh advance back into the old location that covers the street (or retreat farther into safer positions).

But I wasn't there, so I could be wrong.



It is very interesting for me to follow this scenario. I am actually playing it in PBEM with Robin since september and we are about half-way.

Up until now I only played 1 full SK scenario (my time is very limited) FTF lasts month. So War of the Rats is only my 2nd scenario.

What is the most interesting in this AAR is to see that I probably made the same error in positioning most of the Russians along the road, trying to cover it and hindering the Germans as much possible. Apparently that's not a good idea.

What I do not understand is Look for places where the at-start Germans cannot attack the Russians but the latter can cover the street. I really can't find any spot where the Russians would be able to cover that road without getting a hord of German placed opposite of it and obliterating that Russian squad that would dare to stick it's head out. I presume a building is meant. As the Russians set up first, the German is always able to concentrate on that 1 or 2 units along the road. My conclusion is that if the Russians should not put at least 1 unit in every building hex along that road, he better put everything at least one hex behind that row of buildings. But that will leave the German a free ride across the road.

Just a newbie's (probably) immature reasoning!

At the moment against Robin, I am still alive and kicking!


I am not setting up a defense here, but these are _kind_ of LOS I had in mind.
These hexes are not totally safe, but they are safer than the front line.
(I hope I wrote these down right.)

I am thinking E9 which can see D7 but not bee seen by D6.
F8 which can see E7 but can’t be seen by D6 or F5.
H8 an see F9/I5/J4.
J8 can see H5.
L8/L7 can see J4.
L6 might be able to see K4 depending on your string/board combination.
M6 can see L4.
O7 can see M4.
O9 can see P4 and N4.
M7 can see O4.
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Peter Kossits
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perrycocke wrote:

L6 might be able to see K4 depending on your string/board combination.


I don't think we want beginning players worrying about their "string/board combination". That's pretty hard-core.
 
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Perry Cocke
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peterk1 wrote:
perrycocke wrote:

L6 might be able to see K4 depending on your string/board combination.


I don't think we want beginning players worrying about their "string/board combination". That's pretty hard-core.


Sink or swim, baby. Sink or swim.
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perrycocke wrote:
LionelR wrote:
perrycocke wrote:
Regarding balance and style of play, I think your Russians are too much up front. The German firepower is just too much, and I think the Russians need to hide from it a bit.

Look for places where the at-start Germans cannot attack the Russians but the latter can cover the street. Have some speed bumps up front that you expect will break but have paths for them to rout back to a leader.

Skulk. That is, during the Russian turn, instead of Prep Firing, try to hide during the MPh and then during the APh advance back into the old location that covers the street (or retreat farther into safer positions).

But I wasn't there, so I could be wrong.



It is very interesting for me to follow this scenario. I am actually playing it in PBEM with Robin since september and we are about half-way.

Up until now I only played 1 full SK scenario (my time is very limited) FTF lasts month. So War of the Rats is only my 2nd scenario.

What is the most interesting in this AAR is to see that I probably made the same error in positioning most of the Russians along the road, trying to cover it and hindering the Germans as much possible. Apparently that's not a good idea.

What I do not understand is Look for places where the at-start Germans cannot attack the Russians but the latter can cover the street. I really can't find any spot where the Russians would be able to cover that road without getting a hord of German placed opposite of it and obliterating that Russian squad that would dare to stick it's head out. I presume a building is meant. As the Russians set up first, the German is always able to concentrate on that 1 or 2 units along the road. My conclusion is that if the Russians should not put at least 1 unit in every building hex along that road, he better put everything at least one hex behind that row of buildings. But that will leave the German a free ride across the road.

Just a newbie's (probably) immature reasoning!

At the moment against Robin, I am still alive and kicking!


I am not setting up a defense here, but these are _kind_ of LOS I had in mind.
These hexes are not totally safe, but they are safer than the front line.
(I hope I wrote these down right.)

I am thinking E9 which can see D7 but not bee seen by D6.
F8 which can see E7 but can’t be seen by D6 or F5.
H8 an see F9/I5/J4.
J8 can see H5.
L8/L7 can see J4.
L6 might be able to see K4 depending on your string/board combination.
M6 can see L4.
O7 can see M4.
O9 can see P4 and N4.
M7 can see O4.


Thanks for this very interesting example. It gives me a good insight into how grognards think. It did not come into my mind to try and use all those gaps in between buildings, especially those at a bit of a distance. It makes setting-up much more challenging, than just throwing a few counters in buildings here and there that seem to be covering the road and seem safe at first sight.

Thanks for this very informative analyses.

Btw, I prefer swimming.
 
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Pierce Ostrander III
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That counter clipping job hurts my eyes...
 
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