I normally post a nice AAR of my games after playing them, complete with pictures and whiny commentary. For a recent ASL scenario I played however, I won’t be making much fuss about it.
The reason is simple: AP34 Bocage Blockage went well enough, hell I almost pulled out a win. Steve Cummings and I were teeing this one up as part of the VASLeague and we were in our second live session on VASL when, just before getting back to it, I noticed something seemed off. I started counting my units and came up three short. That’s actually three SQUADS short. This was significant since there were only nine squads in my OB.
Steve was a trooper and offered to allow me to enter the other three squads from off board on turn 4, but I declined. If this was just me and my regulars getting together for some face to face ASL for fun, then sure, perhaps. But this was a tournament game and I felt that the mistake was mine and I needed to own it. Steve picked up the win and I decided to take a week away from ASL to gather my thoughts and reevaluate what I am doing.
I am not new to ASL. I have been playing for over 20 year now. Sure, there are a lot of old ASL grogs who have been playing since the old Squad Leader days, but 20 years is 20 years. I also play a LOT of ASL. You would think that with all the ASL I have played over 20 years that I would be better at it, but that is obviously not the case. For some reason, I have a retention problem. I find myself looking up a rule one turn, then having to look it up again a couple of turns later. I forget SSRs, victory conditions, repair rolls, how to figure assault fire, what the TEM of a wall is, what the cost of movement into and out of a gully is. I don’t just forget them once, but repeatedly, over and over. Basic stuff. I can’t tell you how many times an opponent has asked me after a game “Why didn’t you use smoke? You have a lot of smoke assets.” Smoke is as important to ASL as a glove is to baseball, yet I can’t seem to remember it.
So I am going to work on ways to remember, at least the most basic, most important stuff, even if I have to use props.
I also seem to have a confidence problem. Not with everyone, but I can definitely say I can psyche myself out of a game in short order.
My best friend Mike and I have been playing ASL for all of my 20 years of the game. He is the one who introduced me to it. Got me addicted, helped me get the components, and showed me how to play. We played virtually every Saturday for probably 10 years and then regularly, but not as frequent for the past 10. I can actually count on one hand the number of times I have beat him. I had a game with my old friend Randy Shurtz a while back and surrendered on turn 2. When I go to a tournament I avoid playing playing the “name” players. Over the years, I imagine I could have had games with Pleva, Sidhu, Tracy, Shostak, Nogueira, but always avoided the opportunity. Now that my tournament days are over for a while, I wish I had taken the opportunity to meet these people and perhaps get a game in.
I really want to get some D-Day at Omaha Beach and Skies Above the Reich done. I have read the DDOB rules now three times, got ready to play and something came up. There is always something that comes up. I thought that when my kids grew up and moved out, that I would have some time to do some other things. Apparently that is not the case. I got one half turn into DDOB on VASSAL on my laptop the other day and had to stop. At this rate I’ll get the introductory scenario done before 2025. Look for a complete recap of it here in 2026.
Dien Bien Phu: The Final Gamble 2nd edition has been shipped! I should have it in my grubby paws very soon!!!! This is without a doubt, my favorite non ASL wargame. This edition has apparently had many changes from the original, and the claim is that it is even better than before. Not sure how that is possible, but I hope so! I hope to replay this historic, vitally important historical simulation between the French Paratroopers and Legionnaires and the determined Viet-Minh soon! Thank you Kim Kanger and Legion Wargames.
Ramble over. Back to ASL.