Around the middle of last year, Patch and I played a couple FtF games of “Siesta Time” from Festung Budapest, only to realize late in the day, we had gotten the directions ninety degrees off. So we decided to play a third game purely via email while continuing our regular games, running from November 2012 to February 2013.

I took the defending Hungarians again, and set up specifically to make sure the N31 victory building could hold out the required three turns, while positioning squads to be able to try and break and run for the east edge to claim the exit victory. In the face of Soviet firepower (including a DC and two FTs), I had no confidence in actually holding building N31 for 6.5 turns. Figuring that a fortified location was of no help against a FT, I actually fortified the rear of the building (N30), my one hex of wire went in P32 to keep him from advancing on the south face of the victory building down the road, and set my one hex worth of mines (6 factors) in Q30, as it looked like a likely jumping off point for the Russian pursuit of my forces in the second half of the game. The one hidden squad went in the cellar of N31 with the DC.

Patch entered over half his forces up on the hill, which is slightly surprising given that ground snow demands one extra MF going up or down a slope. He ran into fire from my outpost in O34 on his second move for a 2MC which he passed. Worse, the squad had cowered, undercutting my plans for lots of residual coverage. Another squad moved adjacent, and FPF could only manage a PTC, which he also passed (at least my squad did not break…). My MMG and 7-0 were in L33h1, which opened up when his second FT showed up in K35 with a FFNAM/FFMO shot, which generated a PTC (which he passed) and malfunctioned the MMG (darn ammo shortage).

Patch unloaded on what he could see, starting with the FT in K35 breaking the leader and squad in L33h1. His main line could only get a NMC against O34, which they passed, and then Patch lost his second FT when he turned that on O34. This left O34 to get piled upon by two squads while L33 fled across the way into the victory building (leaving the MMG, sadly). Luckily, Patch rolled a ’12’, allowing me to withdraw out to O33.

FB5-3 1R
Situation, Russian Turn 1. Red hexes are ‘offboard’ Russian entry hexes, or Hungarian exit (depending on the side of the board). Weather is ground snow, with heavy falling snow.

My 7-0 didn’t rally, but the squad did. For prep, I revealed the LMG and 9-1 in Q32 to break the adjacent squad, keep rate on the LMG twice, and then malfunction it on the third shot. Thankfully, all of Patch’s fire was ineffective. The rallied squad advanced into N31h1, giving me units on every level of the hex (other than the roof): L2 – Dummy, L1 – 447, L0 – broken 7-0 and concealed 347, cellar – HIP 347 and DC.

FB5-3 1H
Situation, Hungarian Turn 1.

Patch only had the one unit to rally, who naturally failed his 8 +4 1st MMC roll; my 7-0 rallied, but the LMG was eliminated. He played it very cautious for his second turn, with only one non-AM movement, to get his FT into range of N31. This left me with few shots, and none that did any good. I was surprised when he piled three squads and a leader into M33h1 in APh; I thought it was pretty obvious that I had a Dummy there, though Patch presumably did not want to take any chances on going out into the street, and taking encircling fire.

FB5-3 2R
Situation, Russian Turn 2.

I had nothing to do for my rally, and unsurprisingly, with a leader having made it over to S34, Patch got his squad back. Q32 tried to hold the south flank for another turn, but Patch passed the 1MC in Q33. I skulked everything (visible) out of N31 into N30 for the turn. Thankfully, Patch rolled a ’12’ on his return fire at Q32, and then malfunctioned a LMG on an ’11’ at O31, and followed that up with a ’10’ at L30. Q32 escaped downslope into the stone building in Q31, which already had a concealed squad at L1, and I shifted my Dummy from N31h2 down a level rather than putting it up front again (where a lack of fire from it might arouse suspicions to it’s true identity).

FB5-3 2H
Situation, Hungarian Turn 2.

The only activity for Patch’s rally was him failing to repair his LMG. His FT managed a k/2 against my concealed squad in N31h0, breaking the remaining HS. Patch then fired the rest of the stack at h1 (16FP), but couldn’t get a result. Movement concentrated on getting into N31… and dealing with Q31. A couple squads went into Q32, and I was unable to affect them. Much more worrysome, he sent the ex-broken squad+leader along the south board edge and behind my line. This is something I had worried about, but the initial set up area is so constrained that I couldn’t do much about it.

In the main action, N33 split up into three stacks and advanced on the victory building, I managed to break one squad as it moved out into the street, leaving a 458 and 8-1 adjacent, though my Sniper did reduce his SAN to a 2. Patch advanced into N31h0 to start claiming the victory building, and into CC in Q31h0. Thanks in part to my -1 leader, I Ambushed him, and stayed, killing one of the two squads, since I still had another squad still trapped at h1. Patch complained that he never does well in CC, and, given some of the screwups I’ve had in CC, I opined that there are no winners in CC, only losers.

FB5-3 3R
Situation, Russian Turn 3.

My freshly-broken squad naturally missed his rally roll, as did Patch’s who was also holding the malfunctioned LMG. With nowhere to go, Q31h1 prepped at R29 for no effect, but the squad in O31 broke his leader in N31, but didn’t affect the squad. Everyone in the building skulked. Patch continued to do poorly, and could not even budge the foxhole defenders in O31.

Two errors happened here, one mechanical, and one of intent: I had meant to reveal my HIP squad in AFPh, and toss the DC upstairs and either rout or advance away without Patch being able to fire back, but missed it due to email lag induced forgetfulness. And then Patch accidentally picked up the squad in N32 while routing his leader, and it went along for the ride. I think I noticed something odd had happened at the time, but couldn’t figure out what.

The squad in Q31h1 advanced into the melee, but I was only able to reduce the remaining Russian squad on a 2:1 attack, while they missed a 1:1 return on the just arrived 347.

FB5-3 3H
Situation, Hungarian Turn 3.

Patch rallied both his leader and his squad this time, while I missed getting my squad in O29 back. One of Patch’s first moves was an attempt to move down into the cellar of N31, where he promptly bumped into my HIP squad there. His end run group split up, with the squad heading back to the CC in Q31 and the leader going into O26 to DM my squad in O27.

Naturally the contents of M33 poured into N31. Or tried to. My defense was largely the squad in the cellar of that hex, but they got some good rolls, breaking a squad as they entered the building, wounding and breaking his 8-1 in the street (though the squad he was with was fine), breaking his FT squad. My squad FPFed twice to do that, and then rolled a ’12’ on the third FPF shot to reduce to a broken conscript HS (…and thinking about it now, the Ammo Shortage should have added a ‘Disrupt’ to their pile of woes…). The final squad that prompted this then continued down the road towards L27 but broke to fire from N30h1.

In AFPh, Patch fired on the Melee in Q31, got a PTC, and only my 447 pinned (not affecting his HS, my leader, or my 347…). I was surprised when he sent his 8-0 into CC against my 7-0 in O29, and quite annoyed when he managed to Ambush him and kill him. He sent the surviving squad in N31 upstairs, only to find my ‘?’ there was a Dummy. Patch also sent the extra squad into Q31 and managed to reduce my 347 on a 2:1 while I piled onto his HS and killed it.

FB5-3 4R
Situation, Russian Turn 4.

I only had a single broken HS, which refused to rally from under DM. Patch rallied his FT squad and wounded 8-1. Having survived Turn 3 with control of building N31, I now turned my attention to getting 6 EVP off the east edge. I was supposed to have three squads and a leader available outside the building to do this with some comfort. The bulk of this was now tied up in Melee, leaving me with one squad and the three intact squads at the victory building.

To my surprise, I walked through some heavy fire to no effect as I scattered away from N30. Two squads were well set to exit on the next turn, and the other two were in another strong position, with some cover from the first two. With any luck, I could hold him off again, and get one of them to exit. Also, the Melee had to end at some point soon, and I held the current upper hand. And, in fact, I did finish him off, at the cost of the HS, leaving the 447 and 9-1 free to act.

FB5-3 4H
Situation, Hungarian Turn 4. The finish is almost in sight….

Patch failed to repair the LMG, but got his only broken squad back, while I didn’t even have a roll, largely thanks to his leader’s assassination of my 7-0 who should have been trying to rally in M28 (not that it was likely to work…).

It was now time for me to roll poorly (and Patch to roll well), and I could not stop his troops moving up against building L29, only breaking one squad with my fire with multiple shots in the open. I took two shots at a squad moving to cut off the 9-1 group, and couldn’t get a result as they moved in.

And then he hit the mines in Q30, which promptly broke him. This was a surprise for both of us. Patch didn’t expect to see mines there, I didn’t expect the squad to go there, and I’d been worried for turns that I’d end up maneuvering around the mines in such a way that I’d give away their location. In fact, the only reason why that didn’t happen was being locked in Melee for so long.

However, that left his FT squad and leader to move up against Q31. Not liking the odds of surviving a normal range FT attack, I FPFed at them, and broke my squad while pinning the leader on a ‘9’.

AFPh proved my fear of the FT justified with a 4MC that reduced the squad and ELRed the 9-1. All this allowed Patch to go into CC with both squads in building L29… and send his 8-0 against the squad in Q26. Patch actually managed an Ambush in the latter location, but still couldn’t make a 1:3 HtH attack work, and the squad killed him. In the other two locations, there were no Ambushes, and no result in M29, while Patch managed to kill my squad for no result in L29.

FB5-3 5R
Situation, Russian Turn 5.

My 8-1 refused to self-rally on an ’11’, and M28 failed 1st MMC self-rally on a ‘5’ (if Patch hadn’t made it to M29, it would have worked, but then, I wouldn’t have needed it to). That left me two Good Order squads to exit for 4 out of 6 EVP. Given how things had looked a turn ago, the collapse had come fast. I did a quick run through of the turn to check the results of the Melee, since a miracle could still happen there, and give me a fighting chance. I missed, and Patch got a ‘2’ to wipe out the squad and generate a leader. With nothing but a broken leader and two broken HSes left, I conceded at that point.

Even with the 90-degree mistake of the first two runs, after three plays this little scenario is getting very familiar. It generally favored me a bit as I had some good defensive fire. The fact that the Hungarians can win by just running off the board, but have to keep the main building from falling for the first three turns creates some nice tension in goals. I don’t think I’m up for a fourth play of it anytime soon, but it is a good tight little scenario.

…and that’s it. This is the latest ASL scenario I’ve finished. So there’s no more weekly ASL posts. I must say I had no idea, when I started updating the old threads, that it would take so long to go through everything. But stay tuned, I’m still playing, and there’ll be more reports as I finish games.