Patch and I both like DASL, and always mean to play more of the big hex scenarios than we do. Combined with my efforts to actually play more of the early scenarios, we ended up looking over the set from Streets of Fire. Patch suggested a couple, headlining with D8 “The Schoolhouse”, and I agreed, and ended up with the defending Russians. We got started in October 2012, and didn’t finish until January, so get ready for a long tale….

It’s a big scenario. Set during the Battle of Kursk, it’s about three DASL boards in physical scope (all of b and d, and just under half of a and c), the Germans start with twenty-six squads (mostly 467s, but with some elite 468s and and 838s mixed in), a bunch of toys, and four Elefants (PzJg Tigers). The Russians get twenty-three squads (mostly 447s with some 458s) and four smaller AT Guns. They also get fifteen more squads and six KV-1S tanks as variable-entry reinforcements.

This last is actually a fairly nice touch. The entry is the usual ‘roll a die and get under a target number which gets better each turn’ that shows up in a fair number of scenarios. However, the German VP goal (mostly measured in stone building hexes) is equal to three times the turn the reinforcements enter. Also, the scenario ends five turns after the reinforcements arrive (well, ROAR shows the scenario unbalanced towards the Russians, so we used the German balance, which shortens that to four turns). Tying the victory conditions and game end to the reinforcements is something I haven’t seen elsewhere, and I think it’s a very neat idea and needs to be picked up by other designers.

In addition to 1VP for each stone building hex on boards b and d, building bI3 is the titular Schoolhouse, and is worth another 3VP if the Germans can hold both hexes, building bE2 is the Tractor Station, and is worth an extra 5VP for holding all five hexes, and dF3/G3/G4 is the Crossroads, worth 7VP for holding all the building hexes adjacent to it (only two of which are also stone; they’re outlined in yellow in our maps). This is a maximum of 52VP, if the Germans held everything at the game end, out of a maximum needed 27 VP if the reinforcements enter on the last possible turn (9). The terrain is a little less ‘urban’ than normal, since rowhouses don’t exist (and infantry Bypass is allowed along the black bars), and buildings are restricted to two levels (0 and 1), with inherent stairwells for every multi-hex building. Also, hex dL3 is considered to have a ‘water tower’ inside the roundabout which blocks LOS and causes all movement in the hex to be Bypass only, and all infantry in the hex to be occupying a particular vertex.

I set up hoping to delay Patch for the first couple turns and fall back (of course), with the final line of defense being the various ‘bonus’ buildings, notably the the Schoolhouse itself, which got two of my fortified building locations, and the Crossroads got my last fortified location. With everyone needed to slow the approach to these locations, I only had one unit in the three fortified locations, and I was a bit worried that a disaster could see Patch get into one for free, and then I’d have to dig him out of the fortified location. Two of the AT guns went in the rear where there was plenty of long LOS down the roads, one went on a flank in the hopes that he’d drive by, and one went in the brush in the center, where it could contest his inevitable advance away from the open roads.

Patch’s first shot revealed my 9-1 and a squad in aA1 on a PTC, and he kept firing on them until they both broke. This had been a worry, but I had hoped the nearer stacks would absorb the shots and let me get off a -1 shot during his MPh. Both of our Snipers were active, with mine breaking a squad in the street, and his pinning one of mine. Thanks to some aggressive movement and searching, Patch revealed a couple of Dummies well before I had hoped, and he escaped any harm from Search Casualties on ‘6’s. Much of my defensive fire was ineffective (Cowering abounded), pinning four units, though I got one HS on a K/1 that activated his Sniper and nearly wounded my 8-1, pinning the squad with him instead.

DFPh was better, though Patch passed a couple of 1MCs in aD3, only for one squad there to pin from my Sniper when it activated later in the phase (we were both two-for-tw0 on Sniper activations this turn), and I managed to break the squad and a half that got into cC4. Patch’s AFPh was much more effective, breaking three squads, and reducing two of them, though he could not manage to break the two squads in aC3, and between that and the pin, he had to avoid going into CC there. In fact, the east flank was proceeding substantially more slowly than the center, or especially the west, where he was already racing onto board d.

D8 1G
Situation, German Turn 1, showing the full map and my setup. North is to the left.
↓ Read the rest of this entry…