Monday, February 05, 2018

I've Moved! Finally!

Well, that took a while.

I have a new blog at, covers pretty much what I've covered here but with some more music notes, especially for younger players wanting to get into live work.

So you know, I've gotten into ASL over the past couple of years, also the excellent GTS games. I still play a lot of Euros, strategy games, and experiential games, but the Euros are slowly loosing their appeal as the hobby has exploded.

Come check out the new site. It is still a bit of a work in progress, but we're getting there.

Thanks for following me to the Blog Side.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Bye Bye Blogger

After several hours spent trying to figure out why my images weren't being loaded, and then dealing with the trumpster fire that is Blogger's web-based draft editor, I've given up on the platform. At this point, I am happy to hear what other people use. As far as I'm concerned Google has killed this blogging channel.

The worst part was by far how unfunctional the draft editor was. Select a draft post to edit, move your mouse across the screen, and watch your images, or at least the boxes where one might expect to see images, fly around the post. The watch as you can't scroll up or down the post! Ha ha!

Customer support kept telling me to contact the maker of BlogTouch, the editor I downloaded to allow me to, y'know, edit the draft, when I had told them repeatedly that the editor online didn't work. Despite the initial material having nothing to do with BlogTouch. 

Enough. My final post on this site will let you know where I've moved. Maybe the Geek, although I've found their image addition ability to be onerous in normal posts...

Monday, November 21, 2016

Crazy Year

What a year. I had every intention of being better about keeping this blog updated, but between open heart surgery in March, joining an R&B band as a keyboardist (not my wheelhouse, it has taken more work to prep for this band than any given year getting my master's), and the incredibly depressing US election (not a political statement, just a fact that we elected a man to the most powerful position in the western world who ran solely to get a good renewal deal for his reality show series, as documented by the person running the campaign when it started), putting out content just wasn't in the cards.

Now, I am actively trying to avoid political news after suffering a very mild and temporary stroke last week (doing fine now, just a couple of hours of wonky vision and a whole lot of medical tests to find out that, as someone on blood thinners, there isn't much I can do about a stroke if I have another). As part of that effort, it is my intent to focus on games that I'm interested in but that don't have a lot of coverage in the usual venues. Not a big fan of CSW because of the lack of threading, but I will cross post to the Geek.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

NRIF Turn 1 Weeks 3-4

Let's get this turn finished up.

Week 3 sees the supply situation for the Brits the Sam, with one unit out of supply. The US left their mech unit on its reduced side, which doesn't have the extra SP symbol, to allow them to have all units supplied.

The Brits take the airport and move to flank the HG panzer unit. They get one Reserve Point back. The Us units will try to reach the coast east of Palermo to force the 15th PG unit to have to retreat toward Messina, then they will try to take Palermo in the next turn to cut the Italians off and get the Axis Italy marker to the Armistizio! box. It will be very difficult to destroy a German square unit, although the 15th is in a bit of a pickle.

Here is the board state, including combat markers.


No CBs placed by the Axis, which keeps them from using their big CB Shock marker.

The first attack on the Italian unit east of Palermo results in an EX/CR result, which eliminates the Italian but loses on US step and leaves the 15th PG with an escape route! The other US attack results in a CB result, so the Axis got lucky on the US side of the island.

The Brits want to channel the HG unit to the west, so they start with the attack on the untried Italian. A DR result pushes it back up the coast road, and the 46th British follows it. The big battle is against the HG, and the Allies throw in their last Blitz marker as well. The result is a D, but the Axis would like to prevent units from blocking the supply road on the north coast, so they throw in their Veteran NCOs card to force a reroll, which gets the exact same result. HG loses a step to stay in place, and the shock/target marker requires a UK step as a result. The Canadians take the hit although there are better units to supply the 50th for next turn.

No second combats, and no units from the Reserve box for the Allies. Here is the map post combat...


The Axis are all in supply, as is the UK 50th North now that the Canadians aren't hogging all the petrol. The Axis sees the writing on the wall and pulls back while leaving a spoiling force in Palermo.

There is no combat, as the Brits choose not to use a CB against the FJ unit and the Axis wants to just slow the Allies down. Sicily is lost, but maybe the Italians can hold out in Palermo for the final week and mess up the US supply situation.


The Allies draw another useless card, spend one US reserve to draw a second card, which is immediately discarded without any effect. The US then uses a second reserve to draw a third, but it too is useless. The US used its reserves because Palermo will give them two more reserves without running into more than they can stockpile. This is seven cards, but the US will burn one to improve the 3rd. The Germans also draw a useless card as Forts aren't available for a couple more turns, and choose not to burn any reserves in what is already a losing cause. They burn one card as well to improve HG. On to week 4 and the last player turns of July 1943.

Everyone is in supply now for both sides. The US wants to take Palermo to give them port supply. They would be OK with using Catania, but it only supplies five SP, so better to take Palermo if they can. The U.K. Forces won't push as hard this turn, they just want to set up to try to sidestep the German units if necessary. An advance in either hex would put two German units out of supply, so worth the minor risk. No UK units attack, hoping th German burns CB to avoid the Mointain penalties.the Germans use the shock/CB marker to force combat with the slightly weaker Brit units on the SW flank of Etna.

Saving the best for last, the US first attacks the Italian adjacent to the 15th PG, receiving a DR that pushes it back to the coast road. Note that it has to retreat through the 15th PG but since stacking isn't enforced until later, this is legal as long as they aren't stacked at the end of the Results Step, this is permitted.  

The UK units use one Combat Supply Point to give them an extra combat factor, lowering ASP to 24, plus a shock marker, making this combat a 1-1. The result is a EX/CR, not the result they wanted. They can counterattack, not a great choice, or they can accept a D result by replacing the unit with a KG. If they do that, it moves the Axis Italy marker to Armistizio!, but the other option may give the Allies an advance to the coast to cut off the 15th. They figure that Palermo is falling anyway, so they place the KG. With Kesselring in command, they will get their LW unit back fairly cheaply, and they will have a junk card to burn anyway. 

Finally, the fate of Palermo, still important to the US forces. The defender is shattered and the US takes the town. Sicily is, for all practical purposes, Allied, and the Axis Italy marker flips. The Italians will capitulate when the Allies invade the mainland, so we are moving at a very historic pace.


I improve all of the Allied units that are reduced as I won't be able to keep those cards anyway.

The Axis Italians in the SW part of the map are now out of supply, so they are eliminated. Everyone else is in supply. The Germans prepare to move across the Strait of Messina next turn, or more likely be moved to their reserves. No combat, and no units moved from reserves.

For the Final Supply phase, there are no units or Landing markers in LZ hexes, and no No Combat markers, so nothing happens here.

As I look more closely at this rule, it seems clear that it occurs each week, which is a bit of a surprise. That means a couple of units would not have been in play for the Allies, although I would have been improving units instead. I choose to put the two OOS units, the 82nd and the 50th North, into the Surrendered units box for now. The second part of the phase is skipped until now. This is not at all clear from the example of play, which doesn't mention the rule at all, but I figure it wasn't going to be a big deal in this play through.

This ends the first full turn. It was a long one, and a bit of confusion around supply, but all in all successful, especially for the Allies. The next turn should be fairly easy, although we will discuss advanced game supply and possibly Attrition. This is the time for the Allies to set up for their mainland invasion, which I plan to perform at the historic site at Salerno on Turn 3 once I've gotten most of the units back to Reserves.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

NRIF HistCam, Turn 1 Week 1 Axis Move through Turn 1 Week 2

Back to the game. Let's see how far we get!

I set the Germans up more or less as they were in the EoP, with one near Palermo and the HG unit at the airfield. 

Some limits to the Axis this turn, no road bonus, no units coming in as Reserves. Nothing huge. However, they only have a single Blitz counter and their leader-generated CB marker is useless, so the key will be to avoid setting up a good Allied CB while creating a line that will be tough for the Allies to break through.

Also, just learned that I paid for Allied Port Supply (APS) in the first turn, but the Major Offensive is free so there are 25 points in the bank. This takes some pressure off of getting that second port in play the first full turn. We will look at the supply process in more detail at the start of the next turn, as sequencing will be important.

During the Supply phase, one Italian unit is OOS and is eliminated! Normally, a unit would get an out of supply marker, but since it's a round unit is is immediately eliminated and returned to the Italian draw cup. All other units, including the Allies, are in supply. I should note that APS does not play a role here, we are simply tracing a supply line to the Beachheads, and beach hexes are considered to have roads for purposes of a supply line to a Beachhead.

Here is a picture after Axis movement:


I decided to preserve as much Axis strength as possible, and even kept the HG unit at the airport as the line is so brittle. Once the Germans can deploy a couple more units next week that won't be such an issue, but for now it's critical to keep the airport in Axis hands. Note that I have kept a Italians in a couple of ports to prevent an easy grab if the Allied player happens to have the Naval Outflank card.

The Axis does not place any target markers, and the Allies used all of their targets, but the do get a free CB from Alexander, so they use it to force battle between the UK commandos and the Static unit north of Siracusa. That means the Italian NW of the US paratroopers gets a pass this phase. No cards, but the Italians play a Blitz marker. The rules are not crystal clear about which CRT the Italians use, but the term "player's CRT" is used at the start of the combat rules, so I will use the German table for them even though this seems counterintuitive. The odds are 1-2 up to 1-1 for the Blitz marker, no TEM because of the CB. The result is a counter attack, which happens at 2-1 with no modifications. The result is EX, and no way for the Allied player to improve that. Commando goes off to Destroyed Units, Italian static is removed. 

There is no reserve phase for the Axis, and no Second Combat, so off to the Weekly Prep. Allies draw a useless card, Germans get lucky. Allies use on Reserve point to draw an extra card which won't be useful until the next turn. Allies burn their useless card to improve the US 1st Mech, decline to improve the 82nd. Axis burn a card to flip the Italian next to the 82nd, allowed because it is a two step unit. The Allies decide against rebuilding the commandos for now. The week advances, and we return to player turns.

Here is the map after week 1:


Most units are in supply. One interesting wrinkle, the port is not acting to generate supply, and there are 7SP of US units and 7 SP of UK units, and the beachhead units have to supply one or the other. That means one unit of each faction will be OOS. Note the US commando is on the coast, so he's ok. I choose the US 82nd and the U.K. 50th North to be OOS for now. If there are losses there won't be a problem next turn. I just didn't count closely, I guess.

The Allies choose to press for Palermo with their US forces, with a screening force to protect their beachheads. The UK forces will press up the coast as there is little in the way to Catania. Once that is taken, the HG unit will need to decide if holding the airfield will be worth it. There are no good spots for that extra invasion yet, hoping to have US units closer to Palermo. 

Here is the map post Allied Move.


In combat, the 15th PG holds its position while the US loses a step. US attacks on Italian units result in no advances, and the British attack in the East results in the elimination of the Italians and the chance for a second combat, which they decline. HG is in some trouble, as is Catania and even Messina, so the Axis needs to reform their line in the east. Fortunately, they will get some help. The Allies choose not to place more units on the map, they have too many as it is.

Here is post combat for Allied Week 2:


Things have gone well in the west, but not so much in the east for the Axis. They will bring a couple of units on, but HG is at risk. The 82nd is back in supply after losing an SP step, but the UK unit is still OOS.

The Axis continues to pull back, trying to save as much time as possible. Here is their position post move:


The Allies put a CB on the 1st Canadians near Catania, but no other attacks. The static unit is a 0, so the Canucks get a free 6:1 attack that eliminates the unit and they move into Catania. This shifts the Armistice marker to the Viva Il Re box, and restores one UK reserve. The Canadians can't get a second attack as they advanced into a port. Still, they advance to threaten HG and the Axis may be having to consider abandoning Sicily after a very effective Allied invasion. 

The Germans bring in the reduced FJ unit from reserves, placing in the mountains near Etna.

Weekly prep sees the allies draw their card plus one more, both useless. The Germans do the same! At least they can use it for improving units.

Allies improve the 82nd, no others to keep in the Supply limit for the US. Axis improve the 1st FJ, the Italian west of the airport for a two value card discard. Allies rebuild the UK commando.

Here is the end of week 2:


Should be able to finish the turn in the next installment.