Patch and I finally got back to Festung Budapest for our latest ASL game. FB has a lot of unusual scenarios, and that’s definitely true here, as there’s a four-hexrow overlap in the opposing setup areas, and anyone who sets up in the same Location starts in Melee (setup is simultaneous and secret). This is probably easier in VASL than FtF. Right after that is worked out, a die is rolled to see who goes first, and is effectively on the attack, as they will have to Control five out of nine ground-level victory Locations at the end of five turns, and both sides have a limit of 35 CVP.

Pre-game rubble checks knocked down most of building YY30, but did nothing to four other buildings. I had the Russians, who start with nine squads (three each 628, 458, 527), a MMG, DC, a 75mm INF, and three T-34/85s. There’s also six OB-given “?”. I mostly used those to conceal the bulk of my forces, but also put a Dummy in EEE27. My main concentrations went on the VC Locations of ZZ27 and CCC28, but the MMG went further out in XX26, where it could cover most of the north side. I put two squads across the main north-south road, with a 628 on the VC Location in ZZ25, and a 527 + 7-0 next to a VC Location in EEE25. Most of my concentration was in the south, and I hoped to take and keep DDD25. The INF was in AAA29, where it was out of the Axis setup area, and could cover most of the area being fought over, especially to the south.

The Axis has three SS squads (two normal 658s and a 468), three regular elite squads (a 548 and pair of 468s), and three Hungarian 526 squads. They’re at Ammo Shortage 4, and only have two LMGs, but also have a DC, 75L AT, Pz IV H, StuG III G(L), and a SdKfz 251/9 (with a short 75mm gun), as well as six OB-given “?” and initial Control of all victory Locations. On the west-side of the main street, he had what turned out to be a dummy in YY27, and two Hungarian squads in building CCC28, one of which was instantly in Melee with my main stack with a 9-1 and 628 (the remaining Hungarians were in BBB26, with the leader in BBB24), while the ATG was in ZZ24. The rest of his squads were in a line along the east side of the street, with two of them in cellars. In one case, this meant we were in the same hex, but not in Melee, but my force in EEE25 did end up in Melee with a 468. His Pz IV was in bypass of FFF24, adjacent to the Melee, though actually out of my setup area, the StuG was in CCC24 looking down the street, while the SdKfz 251/9 was in ZZ23, where it could cover the central building.

The scenario also has purchasable reinforcements, where each side gets three points every turn, and there’s a schedule of what you can buy, from leaders and squads, a few tanks, or even eliminate the next player turn. (You just go through your turn and then do your next turn right after, costs 8 points.) The start went to the Axis, and Patch skipped buying anything, and went straight to Prep. He only fired his group in YY25 at my guys next door in ZZ25, getting a MC that I passed. Movement consisted of skulking in the center and preparing to rush into EEE25.

I didn’t want to reveal too many “?” for fear of making them vulnerable, but I did reveal the INF, which missed a shot at DDD25, but behind-the-lines fire at DDD28 broke that squad. Patch had forgotten his squad in ZZ25/c, and I pounded it, eventually breaking it with a shot from a T-34. Patch declined to advance into CC in ZZ25, though he would have had an edge in leadership and FP (he’d still be attacking at 1:1 -1, unless he could get the Ambush; too chancy). But CC went poorly for me, with the Hungarians wiping out a 628, 9-1 and DC in CCC28 while taking no losses, and he CRed my 527 in EEE25 for no losses.

Situation, German Turn 1 showing the full playing area. The red hexes are the Russian entry area, and the blue hexes are the Axis entry area. North is to the left. German setup was xx28 and above, Russian setup xx25 and below, but not in/adjacent to building BBB26.

I purchased an 8-1 leader for my first turn (1 point), so that my main concentration would have a leader again, and nothing else happened in the RPh. I pounded CCC28 with a T-34 and the INF, breaking the Hungarian 526 before he could try a PF shot at my lead T-34 (Patch commented that he should have tried for one with the other squad on his turn but forgot about it.) The 628 in ZZ25 and the MMG across the street fired on YY25, but had no effect beyond a passed PTC.

Patch had a unit threatening the INF from behind, and I sent over a 527 and T-34 to try and deal with him. I figured at the least the 527 could man the INF if he got the crew, though with him to help in CC it shouldn’t come to that. Meanwhile, the third T-34 moved up to a bypass position where the Pz IV was in its front arc, but the T-34 was just in its side arc, giving it an extra -1 TH on the first shot. (As it turned out, LOS was blocked by the corner of FFF26. I spent a lot of time working that move out. >.<)

His DF broke the 628 in ZZ25, who started Low Crawling across the street. His 75L AT Gun opened up on my T-34 still in CCC29, and hit, but only caused a possible shock, which the crew passed. The Melee in EEE25 finished with my HS+7-0 being killed for no return. (Annoyingly, having bad odds anyway, I went for 1-4 attack vs everything, and Patch rolled the ‘3’ I would have needed to cause a CR.)

Situation, Russian Turn 1.

Patch purchased an 8-1 (1 point) MMG (2 points) and 658 squad (3 points) for his second turn and entered them at YY20. His squad in ZZ24/c self-rallied. The ATG fired again, and this time did shock my T-34 in CCC29. He fired on my routing 628 in the road with YY25 but malfunctioned his LMG. Patch generally just skulked with everyone else, but my INF still had LOS to a couple units, and wounded his Hero. Actually, I had a number of good shots during DFPh, but Patch’s rolls were just as good, so that’s all that happened. Despite another shot at him from a squad that had moved adjacent, my 628 successfully got out of the street, while the two Hungarian squads continued bouncing around building CCC28. While his reinforcements came up to the main line, my INF and the T-34 in EEE27 had forced him out of an entire corner of building DDD25. If only I could find a good way to take advantage of it….

Situation, German Turn 2.

I purchased nothing for my second turn, saving towards skipping a German turn. The main goal was to try and keep forcing Patch away from the south end of the street with good firepower while keeping him from attacking in the north, near the end of the game, I’d cause him to skip a turn, so I could have a two-turn assault without him repositioning. I had been worried that he’d make me skip my turn 4, but his six-point purchase (which I could guess at this point, and saw soon after) meant he couldn’t make me skip anything other than my turn 5, and that wouldn’t happen if I made him skip his. Everything came back during rally as I rallied my 628, the T-34 recovered from shock, and Patch repaired his LMG.

Since I was mostly skulking in the north, it was easy to bring a lot to bear on his “?” in YY29. The T-34 in there backed out and set itself to help fire on the ATG, which promptly took out my first T-34 with a solid hit in DFPh. His combined MMG+LMG group fired through the orchard to cause a 2MC on YY28 to ELR my 8-0, but had no effect on the two squads there. My fire was ineffective, but at least the Hungarians were finally eliminated for FtR. I was worried that Patch would try to take ZZ27, giving me an even bigger headache, so instead of piling on YY29, I set up defensively in the north, and refused to go into CC with a CX squad who would probably get Ambushed.

Situation, Russian Turn 2.

Patch skipped buying anything for his turn 3, so the only RPh activity was the failed self-rally of my 7-0. Patch opened fire on the T-34 in bypass of DDD29 with his ATG, but rolled a ’12’ to eliminate the gun, relieving me of the worry that I’d lose both tanks to it. Patch skulked in the north, and effectively already was in the south, so there wasn’t a lot of movement. I was surprised that YY29 didn’t back off, but Patch pointed out that it would make him CX…. None of my fire did anything, and the turn passed very quickly.

Situation, German Turn 3.

With Patch largely backed away from a lot of the victory areas I was looking at, it might have been best to cause him to miss his turn 4 at this point, and spend two turns taking one or more locations that he would have one turn to retake. But I didn’t think of that, and skipped any purchases this time. My leader failed to self-rally again, and Patch reshuffled EEE24 a bit. My first shot in Prep finally got a result on YY29, eliminating the Dummy. Patch had put on a good show that had kept me convinced, though he also said it had nearly been one of the 526s. After that, I did a move I’d been considering since early on, but couldn’t due to the threat of a PF from the rubble: the T-34 in DDD29 moved to the Kiralyhago ter (with a possible rear shot from the Pz IV, which Patch didn’t take, probably because of the time in LOS penalties and the other T-34 close by), squeezed around the rubble and into the gap between XX27 and YY28, where it could cover the victory location in ZZ27 and maybe force him away from ZZ25.

Patch’s big 24FP firegroup opened up on YY28 again, but rolled a ’12’ to eliminate the MMG and reduce a 658 to a 548. It was still a big danger, but it took some pressure off, though I continued being spread out on that end so he couldn’t rush it.

Situation, Russian Turn 3.

Patch bought a Panther for his turn 4 (6 points, and only at Ammo Shortage 2 for that price). My 7-0 finally rallied for the only activity of Patch’s RPh. Patch’s main stack fired for a 1MC on ZZ27, but my 628 passed it. Seeing that this was his last turn, he reoccupied the victory areas, and sent the Panther and StuG to directly contest any street crossings, while the 251/9 circled around to take a position in WW25 so it could fire down the Boszormenyi ut.

The INF got an ATT hit on DDD24. While the resulting PTC didn’t do anything, it still revealed the stack, which was the main hope.

Situation, German Turn 4.

Having built up 11 points, I spent 8 to eliminate Patch’s turn 5, giving me the final two player turns of the game, and then 3 to buy a 628 squad. The INF turned out to have no smoke when I tried smoking in the StuG, so it got acquisition on DDD25, though it didn’t manage to hit. The MMG went for Op Fire so it could remove CX before firing, and a couple other units fired without effect.

And then I smoked in the MMG by using the T-34s sD as it started up. The Panther fired at it and missed only because of the smoke. The T-34 circled around to ZZ28 where it could fire on the central area, and even the Pz IV, but was out of LOS of the Panther. My efforts at reinforcing the south for the big push failed however. I attempted to move the 527 back south, but Patch got a KIA as it bypassed BB30, and the new 628 was broken as soon as it came in view. Patch got a couple more good shots in DFPh, but I passed the resulting MCs, though Patch’s sniper went off… and reduced my SAN to 3. For APh, I advanced into position, and even went CE with ZZ28 so it’d have a better chance to hit.

Situation, Russian Turn 4.

The problem with the final turn purchase is most any unit I could buy wouldn’t be able to get in on the assault. It might have been wise to buy a leader last time and then air support (5 points) this time, though that also seems fairly chancy. As it was, I bought an 8-0 (1 point) and lowered Patch’s SAN to 3 (2 points). My squad from last turn failed to self-rally. ZZ28 did a pair of ATT shots on BBB26, and hit the unconcealed units in the cellar both times, and managed to pin the Hungarian leader on the IF shot. The INF got two hits on DDD25 (with ROF, and then missed on the third shot and missed the IF shot), but the effects were ’11’ and ’12’ for no effect. The MMG got another PTC on BBB26/c, with no effect.

After that, it was time to try and get someone across the street and into one of the victory Locations. First a 628 moved into AAA27 and pinned to fire from the Panther. I figured my best shot was to Dash into EEE25 and move into DDD25 from cover, but the squad died to fire from FFF24h1. A 458 was my first survivor, passing a 1MC as he moved into CCC27, and a shot at him from the StuG malfed the CMG. A 527 moved into DDD26, and was reduced to a HS by fire from DDD25. However, the 2MC the HS took produced a Hero and Battle Hardened them into a 328. The other 628 moved out of ZZ27, and they broke in AAA28, though Ammo Shortage also reduced another 658 to 548. The 7-0 from there tried moving over to help the guys who were making it, but he broke to the residual. My 8-1 went to help the Hero+HS, which was looking like the most likely for me to win a CC, but he pinned from the residual.

I had meant to move the other T-34 on the previous turn, and very nearly didn’t this time, force preservation being something of an instinct of mine, but even with all the carnage, Patch was still only at 19 CVP, so I tried to use him for some extra cover. The Pz IV bounced a shot off the side of the turret as it got onto the main street and then missed a ROF shot as it moved into DDD26 and stopped, took a shot at DDD25 (no luck), tried for sD (nope), and then started and moved into Bypass of BBB26. (Patch pointed out idea of just driving into the building—if it rubbled, all I had to do was move in. But either way, it stripped “?” from BBB26, which is what I was worried about.)

For DFPh, the StuG got a CH on CCC27, but rolled a ’12’ for effect, which was merely a NMC that the squad passed. The CH itself also set off my Sniper, which broke the 468 in DDD25. The Pz IV took its IF shot at DDD26, and hit for a 1MC that pinned the HS there, and wounded my Hero. He managed a few other 1MCs, but the only one that failed was the pinned 628 in AAA27 (hit by the 251/9).

That just left the 458 in CCC27, who didn’t manage anything in AFPh. The two wounded Heroes got into CC in DDD25 (even though a SMC can’t take Control), and they killed each other. I had a bad Ambush roll in BBB26 on top of the penalty for the vehicle, and got Ambushed, but Patch missed his 1:1 CC roll, while I got mine (he could have gotten me with HtH CC, but you have to decide that before Ambush, and he declined). The Russians won at the last second on a CC roll with CVP at 19 vs 8.

Situation, Russian Turn 5. …I think I forgot to move the new leader in the rush to finish.


This was a really fun small and fast scenario. Both Patch and I enjoyed it, and it’s not often I actually see something go down to a final CC roll. The overlapping setup allows for a lot of early chaos, and the fact that the side who goes first has the tougher objective (5 of 9) certainly counterbalances the ability to reinforce any starting Melees.

The ability to delete an opponent’s turn is really nasty, and Patch didn’t think about the implications until partway through the game, by which time it was too late for him to do anything but prepare for the inevitable. I imagine most games have both players at least trying for that option, though the ability to put in a couple extra squads would probably help a lot. The main problem I see with the purchasing is that it’s really hard to get anything of use on the final player turn.

Our game actually became somewhat calm in the middle as I waited for the big push, but I assume a lot of plays of this scenario feature a good amount of chaotic back-and-forth, though the heavy terrain may mitigate that. Certainly one where the Russians go first will see more fighting, as they have fewer good options on Location control, since they can’t set up to contest the middle two.