A short vacation on Walcheren island has brought me into contact with a countryside similar to the polder land we encounter in the ASLSK historical module Decision at Elst. This low-lying land is comparable to the area south of Arnhem that was fought over during the Market-Garden opertion in Sept 1944. When you travel between towns the first you get to know about the settlement ahead is its church. The towers are clearly visible from kilometres away and its easy to understand their importance as observation posts.
I like ASL campaign games. They induce a sense of preserving fighting capability of ones force instead of sacrificing all you’ve got for a single scenario’s Victory Condition. I will play the campaign solo and report the results of each campaign game scenario. Here is the situation after the initial CG Scenario on the afternoon of September 23 1944.
This ASLSK scenario plays during the first day of the Battle of the Bulge. This specific action took place in Bleialf, a town located in the German Schnee-Eifel region. The 18th Volksgrenadier Division was one of the first German formations to infiltrate the American Defences. There is a very detailed account of the action of the 106th US Infantry Division in Bleialf at the C.R.I.B.A. site that I can very much recommend to read.
Lately I had my first ASLSK game involving Italians. My son and I played the game twice and we both found it very enjoying. I like SK a lot as it makes for a more relaxed game and it is definitely easyer to grasp for newcomers.
The scenario plays during the Allied invasion of Sicily in 10 July 1943. The Italians get to defend the town of Avola. Their 146th Regiment 206th Costal Defense Division defends against an attack from inland carried forth by elements of US 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
Last night my brother and I had a rare face to face game of ASLSK. We like to play the starter kit much, because of the reduced rules – in comparison to ASL. ASLSK remembers me in a very positive way of the old Squad Leader game. The limited number of rules are quite easy to recall during play and one can play a fast-paced game. The pace of a game imho is more important then the inclusion of every possible detail. A fast paced wargame will confront the gamer with a realistic frame for decision making under uncertain circumstances.
ASLSK lends itself well to solo games as one does not have to consider concealment. There is HIP setup for emplaced guns of course, so this one needs to use with discretion. Before going for a solo game I will try an evaluation of the situation and of the terrain. This will allow me to draft credible operational plans for both opposing sides.
In the mid 1980’s I first made aquaintance with the Squad Leader system. I liked it and consequently also bought Iron Cross and Crucible of Steel. Unfortunately in those days I couldn’t find anyone else interested playing. Most of my wargaming friends disliked the complexity of the rules. Playing mostly solo I felt quite limited enjoyment. When the 1st Edition Advanced Squad Leader rules where published I fetched a copy, but finally lost interest and ASL sank into oblivion.
In this scenario I will first use the solitaire play rules for ASL provided by Mike O’Leary. For each HIP (hidden in place) British counter I add a British ownership counter. They denote all the possible HIP locations between which the British hidden units can switch places.
Here they come! The Tommies are on their way to Arnhem.
Just today I got this new box, my first Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit. And my first British ASL counters. The idea is to get some easy to learn rules for our NGWP or better known as next generation wargaming project. And to add some more historical flavour to it. With the 7oth anniversary of Operation Market Garden around the bend, it may also serve well as a jumping-off poit for some reflection on history. There is a good account of the 2-day battle to be found on The Worcester Regiment.