Since we had a bit of delay getting our next ASL game going, Patch and I played a game of Up Front on Vassal during November. I had found the two-round ‘Elite Troops’ scenario interesting when we first played it, and wanted to try it again. This time, I ended up defending (again) as the Germans versus Patch’s elite Americans.

Unfortunately, I forgot to record a log for most of our first session, so I can’t give a lot of details for the bulk of the first round. Patch split into two groups, while I split into three (partially for the extra range from his A to my C). For once, I had movement cards, and started all three groups forward, but had trouble finding terrain cards. I had intended to stop and entrench if need be, but largely forgot that. I mostly held up under pressure, and managed to get one of Patch’s men to rout (sadly, not what I really needed, as he’d be back), and ended up with A in Brush, and C in a Marsh (I accepted when Patch played it on me as it was still terrain of some kind), while B was in open ground. Patch had only moved his B up, getting to Woods at range 2.

Just to make things more complicated, as I tried to get back out of the Marsh, Patch put Wire down on my B, which was the central firebase with the LMG. A Hero helped my A Fire on his B and pin four men and kill one outright (my only kill of the first round, sadly. I finished moving out of the marsh into open ground, and Fire 1 from A pinned his SL in B, but couldn’t touch his pinned men, while I put Smoke down on my B since I couldn’t get from under the wire.

Patch Rallied most of his B, and then Fired 2+2 to pin two men in C even after Concealment. I Rallied them, and Patch Fired 3+2 on my B to pin the entire group. I Rallied the MG crew, and then Patch Fired 4 at them, killing the ASL (and LMG crewmember) outright, and panicking one of the others. Both of us Rallied the one pinned man we had left, and I Moved C up to range 3 (a mistake, really). This allowed him to Fire 8 at C (after getting into Brush) to kill two men outright and pin the third. I Rallied the last man and re-crewed the MG, and then Patch Fired 6 at B to kill the new crewman, leaving just the LMG pinned, which I then Rallied. A Fire 7 pinned the last man in C, who I Rallied. I Moved up A to try and get my last multi-man group in to effective range, and Patch Fired 3 at them, but did nothing but malfunctioned the BAR.

Patch Moved up his A, while I slipped into some Buildings and Fired 2 at them to pin one man and malf the LMG. Patch also entered Buildings and I repaired the LMG. Patch sent most of B to Infiltrate my C, and got two men in. I Fired 3 on them, hoping to pin some of them, but merely malfunctioned the LMG again. C Moved back to keep Patch from getting CC against the lone man there, and accepted the Marsh that Patch discarded on him to keep from being forced back into CC. He then Rallied A and B and repaired the BAR in B over the next couple turns, before pinning the LMG with another Fire 5, and panicking him with a follow up Fire 3.

That broke my squad, so we reset for round two. Patch kept pretty much the same split as last time, minus the one man I killed, while I went for a simpler two-group setup this time.

Patch started B forward, while I rushed both groups forward again. He moved into Woods while my B went into some Brush, and my A stopped in open ground when no other terrain showed up  after a couple of turns. Patch used a Hero to get a Fire 5 off, and pinned most of B. I Rallied the ASL/assistant MG and Fired with A, but Concealment spoiled the shot. Fire 3 at my B routed a member, and pinned another.

We both had to cycle for a while after that, and then when I Moved A up again, Patch Fired 5 to pin three of them even after -3 Concealment. A follow-up Fire 1 panicked one of them. He then Rallied his one pinned man and Fired 4 for no effect thanks to more Concealment. His A Moved forward, and I Fired 3 to pin two of them right before they ducked into a Gully. A Sniper killed one of the pinned men in my B, and then my LMG malfunctioned when I tried a Fire 1 at his B, only to be repaired a turn later.

After that I finally saw a Rally card, and got A into good order. Patch followed that by Rallying his A. My A Fired 3 on his B, followed by a Fire 2 from my B, for a grand total of one pinned man, who immediately Rallied. Patch returned fire, pinning a man in A again, but malfunctioned a rifle. Patch repaired the rifle, and we ended up churning through the rest of the first deck. After that, he had a Fire 1+4 at my B to pin the LMG assistant. Thankfully, another Rally showed up for me before Patch made any more mischief, and a Fire 5 from him instead pinned two more men in my A, but a Rally 2 got one of them, and the man who’d been pinned for some time.

Hoping that Patch had burned through his available Fire, my B Moved forward, and took a Fire 2+2 before getting up a Hill, though thankfully no one pinned until his next attack after that. I still managed a Fire 4, and pinned a man in his B, but lots of Concealment kept more from happening. Patch got his A onto a Hill (quite a climb from a gully!), and then put Concealment -3 on each of a pair of attacks I made on that group (pinning one with the second). He then had a pair of attacks at my hilltop, and pinned two of the three men there. The next turn saw a Fire 6 from him to pin the third man, but do nothing more.

Patch’s B moved forward after that (to relative range 5!), and fire from my A pinned three of his men. I then put a Stream on his B, but Patch immediately Rallied All and Forded it, ending in Woods. I Rallied the LMG team, and Fire from my A pinned a man and killed two while he forded (two black 6 RNC in a row…). I rallied my one pinned man in A, but Patch panicked my third man in B, and then sent two men in to Infiltrate the LMG’s position. I didn’t have anything I could do, and he attacked in CC with one man on each of mine. Not only did he have good odds to begin with, but he drew a +6 vs my LMG gunner, to bag both men with no trouble (an assistant gunner has a 0 CCV; with more experience, I might have thought to de-crew in the between-turn). That left me with four men in Group A, and a broken squad for Patch to get the win.


As ever, Up Front is a fun game, but the cards certainly lead to their own brand of frustration. In the Commands & Colors games, the cards are flexible enough that it’s hard to be truly unable to do something. Here, the cards are so single-purpose that it can be easy to be painted into a corner. Usually, my frustration has been a complete lack of Move cards, rendering me immobile, and unable to get to any terrain. Worse, this time, was the second round, where I went the entire first deck with only one Rally card showing up. That was deeply frustrating, and left me with very little to do, as I had little firepower, and no ability to move, while Patch slowly chipped away at me.

The second deck started making up for it, with rallies, and moves, and wire, and nearly anything I could want, but it was all way too late. My force was so attenuated that I couldn’t get going with what was left… and Patch’s luck was almost as good.