02 April 2017

AAR - Advanced Squad Leader for Noobs

David and I have been eager to try out ASL since we both picked up starter kits in recent months. Saturday night we got a chance to give it a go. He brought his son Anson which provided enough peer pressure for my son to play as well. It's not often he plays these days - 14-year-olds typically have "better things to do." 😉

Because ASL is not a simple game and even the most basic published scenario can include all the bells and whistles, we took one map board, eight infantry squads per side and just had a shoot-em-up. The kids took the Germans - Anson commanded four 4-6-7s while Junior got four 4-4-7s. David and I were the British commanders - he led four 4-5-7s and I had four 4-4-7s under my command.

The mission - learn the flow of the game and get it figured out. Both sides were highly interested in occupying the 2-hex stone building in the center. The grain was not in season so was just a wide kill zone.

David and I did some hex-counting and decided the best spots for his longer-range squads was right here with LOS at the two hexes most likely to be used to enter the stone building. My squads would hook around (for some reason).

One well-placed shot and two terrible morale tests later, two of David's squads had been broken.

A few minutes later, David's got his boys rallied (we allowed all squads to self-rally) and seeing the writing on the wall, figure we may as well make a mad dash to the building. I sent out one of my squads to draw fire.

They were followed by two of David's squads. Some poor German shooting and terrific British  morale tests helped our case considerably.

But Anson gives his guys a swift kick in the rear and they hustle into the building. Bollocks.

Squad "Neo" braves a wall of defensive fire to reach the building. It is reduced to a half-strength squad but passes its morale test!

Another withering hail of fire is miraculously evaded and the building is now occupied by both sides!

David gets his two squads into LOS of the German pile in the building in an attempt to rattle them. it doesn't work. The squads at the top of the map duel to keep the other side from reinforcing the fight at the building.

My half-squad got run off. David jumped a squad into the building - again, German defensive fire was unimpressive.

A scrum erupted.

The Germans took the upper hand.

At that point we called it a draw, but the Grenadiers were in a better position that the Brits.

It took a couple hours, with quite a bit of rulebook referencing but dang if that wasn't a lot of fun! Importantly, the kids enjoyed it - there's a lot to be said for keeping them off their iPhones for that long. Their tactical plan and performance wasn't bad at all. They were in a more favorable position, terrain-wise and used it to their advantage.

What did we do wrong?
1) Allowing all squads to self-rally. Didn't really do it wrong - this was a conscious decision to allow it, given the absence of leaders. This affected both sides equally.

2) Completely forgot about FFMO and FFNAM bonuses for defensive fire at troops moving across open ground. We Brits would likely have had a bigger problem crossing that open gap. We were very fortunate as it was - the shooting bonuses the kids would have enjoyed could have doomed us.

Ready for another game, that's for sure!


  1. One for the Miscellaneous 6x6 category?

    1. Yes - "owned in 2016 but didn't play it in 2016"