The fires blazed in the distance. The wind didn’t make anything better; gusts blew the inferno in all the wrong ways. Where once stood a building was now a burning rubble.
The fires were not the main concern at this point: it was the Russian infantry blocking my troops way to escape and victory. They may not have been as well-trained as my Finnish first-line, but their leader was more than adept at tactics. For every road I had to dash a squad through, there was a stream of bullets. For every cautious step I took to exit, the Russians had a leg ahead of me.
Two turns away from the end, I knew my defeat was certain.
I played my first non-Starter Kit game of Advanced Squad Leader a few days ago. Amazingly, there was an experienced participant in the hobby in my area, and we met up at a local game meet to play out Scenario 1: Fighting Withdrawal. It was a glorious event. My opponent brought (part of) his travel kit, complete with labelled bead boxes organizing all of the game markers and squad counters needed for my first game and more. Thanks to such sorting, set up went quickly, and soon the game was under way.
My goal was race through a gauntlet of Russians to the opposite side of a narrow map. I started with many of my troops high up in buildings in order to have a high perch to fire from while at the same time providing some cover fire for my guys on the ground. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and in retrospect it was a good idea, but needed better execution. I made the mistake of implementing Prep Fire-that is early fire, when I should of had my Finns wait until an opportunity appeared to fire at any Russians that peeked their heads out of hiding rather than hope to hit them while they were concealed.
I felt I did an okay job at first to dash across unguarded streets and such, but my momentum died down a few turns into the game as I let my enemy have too much leeway into positioning his troops into great defensive spots that had me cornered at any direction I tried to get past. While I was advancing, I soon saw I wasn’t advancing fast enough, and indeed by turn 6 out of 8 I realized there was no possible way any of the Finns could dash to the ‘finish’* line to win.
My opponent and I shook hands, had some post-game chat, and now I have ordered even more ASL products, for I know I am going to play this game as much as I can get away with. Luck is with me, the winds of fate are strong, and the blaze in the distance is becoming brighter; my passion for ASL has kindled. Hopefully the dice don’t change that fortunate weather too much.
*That was a horrible pun. I am sorry.