Patch and I returned to ASL and Budapest recently with the eighth (our tenth, after playing FB18 and 19) Festung Budapest scenario, “For Want of Crust or Crumb”.

It’s an odd one. The Germans are trying to resupply the city by air, resulting in a fight over parachuted canisters of supplies. At the beginning of the game, the Axis performs rubble checks, and then scatter checks on nine canisters (4PP objects that can only be picked up during MPh). Then both sides take turns placing one squad at a time (plus SW/leaders, and dummies are possible), with the randomly-determined player who placed first going last. Victory goes to the side possessing the most canisters at the end, with ties going to the side with the higher CVP total. In addition, the first three turns (of six) have a +1/6 hexes LV and the Axis forces are at Ammo Shortage Level 3.

I took the Axis forces and ended up placing second once the initial setup chores were done. There were five canisters in open ground near the center, and two each on rooftops in the north and south. We both started in the center, with Patch going to the east, and me to the west, near the open ground that dominates that edge and the canisters scattered around. Patch put a unit to the north of that block, and I then put two units nearby, planning on covering the northernmost canister. I concentrated the Hungarian part of my forces in the rail station, where they could back up the center. We also ended up with a jumble in the center south, but my guys were all Dummies.

For my first turn I largely skulked, but managed to pick up the canister in the street at HH17 where no Russians could see me. I also advanced on the one at DD15r, and planned to hold the center building while I grabbed some out of the field. But first, I swarmed the Russian stack in GG16, which turned out to be a Dummy.

FB8 1A
Situation, Axis Turn 1, showing the entire board. Supply canisters are represented by parachute counters. North is to the left.

The first shots were fired during Patch’s MPh when I tried to nail a squad and his 8-1 shifting from the west center to the south flank. But, thanks to being at a higher elevation and seven-hex range, I couldn’t touch them. However, I got a lucky shot as he advanced on the center block and broke his 9-1 and ELRed a 527. Sadly, the 458 in the hex came through fine, but refused to advance. Meanwhile, he advanced into CC with OO17 and NN17, which were both Dummies, and piled two units into LL17, where they Ambushed my 468 and killed him.

FB8 1R
Situation, Russian Turn 1.

Sadly, Patch immediately rallied his 9-1, even if he was nicely out of the way for the moment. I recovered the canister at DD15r during my MPh, and started a squad from the north to fetch the one at JJ14, and one from the south to get KK14. I tried Dashing a squad+8-0 across the Varosmajor utca to get at FF19, but Patch Pinned him in the street.

FB8 2A
Situation, Axis Turn 2.

Patch naturally got his squad back for his rally, and took a couple shots at my guys in the open, but couldn’t affect them. He mostly cautiously moved forward with AM, but had to change plans a bit when he realized there was no staircase in NN17, and started running a squad up the staircase in OO17. My Hungarians took a shot at them, but couldn’t do anything. Worse, my point-blank shot at KK17 only managed a PTC vs the unconcealed squad, which he passed. However, his return fire also failed, and Patch declined to enter CC against a 658 and concealed 9-1.

FB8 2R
Situation, Russian Turn 2.

My turn was a mix. The Hungarians managed to grab the canister in KK14, only to take a K/3 to be reduced to a HS… and then go Fanatic and generate a Hero on the 3MC. But the German squad in JJ14 failed to recover their target, and when I moved out of JJ16, my 9-1 died to a wound on a ’12’ on a 1MC, and the SS squad broke. So I only got one out of three possible canisters (total 3), and completely missed on the one that I was most likely to keep. However, my Sniper did go off and wound Patch’s 9-1.

FB8 3A
Situation, Axis Turn 3.

My SS squad failed to rally for Patch’s turn, despite needing a 6 or less. Patch took one shot at JJ14 (1MC, both units passed), before going on to movement. His squad in OO17 reached the roof and headed over to the canister in NN17, but failed to pick it up; which was good, since my fire was completely ineffective. The squad in MM16 reached the roof, passed a 1MC and then picked up the canister there (his first). I spotted another shot during DFPh, and they passed the 1MC from that too. Return fire from Patch broke my Hungarian 7-0 down to a 6+1, but the only other result he got was a malfed LMG.

FB8 3R
Situation, Russian Turn 3.

I got my SS squad back for my turn, but not the 6+1 (no hurry…), and Patch lost his LMG. I took another shot at OO17r, to no effect, and missed that FF17 could see the location. I grabbed the canister in JJ14, and promptly ate a 1KIA. After some discussion of the legality, the Hero there tried to grab it and failed, and then died to the residual when he rolled a ’12’ on a NMC and failed the wound dr. the fanatic HS in JJ13 AMed towards cover, and then broke to a NMC (forcing a drop in the RPh). This left us at 2 canisters to 1, with Patch much more likely to get two more than I was to get any, and Patch had the lead in CVP; 7 to 0. Stuck either way, I pushed a 658 squad out into the field to make another attempt at II12.

FB8 4A
Situation, Axis Turn 4.

The 658 managed to survive two morale checks with no more than a pin, but the broken Hungarian HS was eliminated. Patch recovered the canister at NN17r, and moved back to the stairwell at OO17, and both of my shots did nothing. The squad in FF19 moved up to level 1, but was pinned in DFPh. (This was probably just as well for him, since that hex is actually just a two-level rowhouse, instead of three level like the surrounding hexes.)

FB8 4R
Situation, Russian Turn 4.

The Hungarians continued to pour fire at OO17, but now that the Russians were back in the building, they couldn’t do much. The 658 AMed to II14, and broke to the first MC (I was hoping that he’d at least force a bunch of fire at him…). With a canister still on the roof of FF21, the Russian squad on level 1, and rowhouse bars in the way once I got there, I tried Dashing across the street, and broke when a LMG in JJ16 set up a Fire Lane. They then reduced on a subsequent shot to leave residual there.

With really no other option but to find some way to have three canisters, I went for broke: my squad in the rubble at HH16 moved out and survived a 2MC, only to break on a follow-up K/2. At this point, all that was left was they guys who already had canisters. I tried anyway with DD18, who pinned on a K/1, and then broke on a following 1MC. With that forcing a drop to one canister, I conceded as there was just nothing left to do.

FB8 5A
Situation, Axis Turn 5.

It’s certainly a very wild scenario, and plays very fast. My ‘plan’ more-or-less came apart in the first turn, when Patch got into the center block easier than I had thought. I still figured I had a good chance at dragging a third canister away from the sheer number of attempts I could make, but the dice were not with me at all. I only rarely passed MCs, and the early Ambush really threw things off, since it started a CVP edge I could never hope to match. Patch really enjoyed the scenario; I couldn’t shake a feeling of being outplayed and outdiced the entire time, though the tension level was nicely high for both of us. >.>;