Progress Report: The Tractor Works

Part journal, part analysis, part recovery from deep trauma.

These are my insights from my second live VASL Game.

If you are reading this suggest you consider looking at:

Personal Journal

Dear Diary … Today I

demolition charged out of my factory

My Opponent

What Did He Do Well?

Chris is really in there to play, polite AND competitive.

  • Really strong use of prisoners as a trigger to deploy half squads without leaders. This allowed him to swarm them around the map to test out my defenses. (Much to their detriment often enough).
  • Always focuses on regaining concealment.
  • Strong flanking moves. Always forces you to keep your forces somewhat dispersed so they don’t get around behind you and start cutting off rout locations.
  • Also used flanking half squads to stop any radical road running moves from me.
  • Good assault across the road into the main factory, using half squads to probe then had already marked some killer stacks to take on whatever was exposed.
  • Used his engineers once in the factory to good effect.
  • Had his MG stacks work to isolate the factory with fire lanes.

My Performance & Learnings

What Did I Do Well

  • Correctly stacking my Russians so that their firegroups and light machine guns. So even on concealed units just hit the right number on the IFT without getting rounded down.
  • Ignoring low probability shots to avoid unnecessary sniper checks. Declined ROF attacks twice because of this.
  • Aggressive pushing to take buildings before I was sure that they were concealment counters.
  • Withholding premature defensive fire. Requiring the Germans to bounce half squads into my concealed units to identify real units versus dummies.
  • Questioned rules to get clarifications and learnings.
  • Asked for breakdowns of unclear IFT calculations. Wasn’t swayed by “maybe he knows best” thinking.
  • Asked some what if questions that developed out of the game situations.
  • Followed the rough ASOP well.
  • Cleared counters in the right phases.
  • Asked for honest feedback at the end of the game.

What Did I Learn, Relearn Or Practice That Was Valuable To Me

  • Rules:
    • Disruption rules.
    • CC and Melee.
    • Concealment stacks.
    • Factory rules.
    • ELR and remembering to check it.
  • Tactics & Play:
    • Schwerpunkt. Focusing on particular locations instead of spreading my setup.
    • Stick to the objectives. Beware the sunken costs of your decisions.
    • The power of retaining concealment.

How To Be A Better Player

How you play games is how you play life.

  • Should have spent more time considering my setup in the factory. Realised by end of 1st turn that putting HMG in the position I did made it highly vulnerable. Was also highlighted by my opponent at games end.
  • Made a sloppy mistake by moving 2 squads at once (by accident because of VASL counter selection). Didn’t call it. And reaped the whirlwind as a result. Call the mistake, don’t let it pass, especially when it wasn’t by your design. New default rule, only ever move 1 squad at a time. Make it habit and a no brainer.
  • Fearful of flamethrowers. Maybe overly so. Was lucky they didn’t play a major part in this game.
  • Annoyed by half squad probing. Get used to it. 🙂
  • Negative self talk when his sniper got cranking and killed a leader. “Ah, well here we go again!
  • Over invested in push him in the south. Felt I needed to take out those troops rather than just sitting back into a defensive footing and feeding the rest into the factories.
  • Felt a bit psychologically secure when after all the setup was done, I checked ROAR and found out that the scenario was bias in my favour. I wonder how well I would have performed if it was the opposite way. Would I have been more defensive, less prone to take risks? Does that mean I will be cowed if someone I play has a strong reputation?
  • Called a 5min break afer 2 hours of playing. Served me well.
  • Be OK with pausing to review your position. Don’t feel pressure to do something just because your opponent is waiting or there is too much silence.
  • Pushed back a few times when the movements were happening too fast for me to comprehend. Failing to do so cost me a final fire opportunity on the half squad placing a DC in a hex.
  • Remember to always grow concealment (and place yourself in positions to gain it).
  • Remember to use my units special abilities. My guards had spraying fire capability that I wasn’t using.
  • More forward thinking and planning of rout paths. Lost lots of units due to failure to rout because broken units were ADJACENT to me before I had to rout. Some for thought at the beginning of the turn would have saved them.

How To Be A Better Student

And some day a better teacher perhaps (remember everyone starts here).

  • Take control of your learning
    • Get permission from your opponents for being responsible for walking through ASOP.
    • Be responsible for the counter turn flipping.
    • Regardless of your opponent dictate outloud your own IFT calcs, MC calcs etc.
    • You can’t control your outcome but you can at least control your ownship of the sequence of play. That in itself will over time give you an increased feeling of learning and mastery. The internalisation of that will free your head space for a focus on other factors.
    • Apply the ASOP with rigor in both player turns till you know it inside out. Knowing this will free your mind for more important things.
  • Note down rules that you have more questions on, or that feel unfamiliar to you.
  • Be willing to say stop if things are moving too fast. Firepower calculations, moves on the board.
  • If the opponent isn’t clear in what action they are taking, ask. “I will shoot …”, hang on, who is shooting at what?
  • Be willing to ask about rules. Not from a place of disputing but understanding.
  • Are you OK with loosing 23 straight games but knowing this stuff inside out? For now process before result
  • Remember before the game ask, “What will consitute success in a game of outside of winning?”

How To Setup My Environment Better

  • Improvements from last time:
    • Single intergrated VASL window worked well.
    • Manual IFT card on lap worked well. Something about check the physical card is alot different to having it on screen. Maybe just as simple as running your finger down it.
    • Zoho PDF reader heaps better for bookmark navigation in rules.
    • Small room is better than large room. Just allowed me to concentrate better.]
    • Using skype on the phone allowed me more screenspace.
  • Improvements for next time:
    • Learn how to shift counters up and down in the stack without the mouise.
    • Get a super simplified IFT to allow for quicker reference and memorisation.
    • Check on how to properly removing concealment counters without them being left there unable to be deleted. It’s a bug I think.

What Do I Need To Learn Next?

  • Need to relearn the CC rules. Need to checkout ambush & HH. Also melee. Was really in my opponents hands for this one. Prep better.
  • Flamethrowers review rules. Didn’t realise leadership DRM apply.
  • Review smoke & flame rules. Didn’t happen but could have this game.
  • Cover arc placement. Was always sloppy on this in the past.
  • CX and the limitations it places on units.
  • LOS rules regarding bypass.
  • Picking up and swapping SW.
  • Heat of Battle results in CC A11:22 Lost a squad!

Be kind to yourself. 🙂


3 thoughts on “Progress Report: The Tractor Works

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