$10.00
Recommend
39 
 Thumb up
 Hide
106 Posts
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »   | 

Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: ASL vs. Combat Commander vs. Fighting Formations rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: asl [+] [View All]
Adam Cirone
United States
Alliance
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Over the past year, I have fallen further and further into the world of wargaming. I enjoy Paths of Glory, want to learn how to play Rise and Decline of the Third Reich one day, and will eventually get Rommel in the Desert on the table (my first block wargame).

But what I haven't figured out is which tactical system to invest in for the long term. I want to play one of these three games, but I am having trouble deciding which I should go for.

Out of all three, I have only played the ASL Starter Kit #1 a few times. I would just play all three and then decide, except that I am the only strict wargamer in my circle of gaming friends. So I don't get many opportunities to "try before you buy."

From my research, here is what I understand:

Advanced Squad Leader is the grand daddy of them all, the big one. Lots of rules, lots of chrome, and I imagine lots of fun. However, my biggest apprehension is price and availability. I would want to get Yanks to play as the Americans early on probably, but it is hard to obtain. This is also a very expensive system to get into in general.

Combat Commander is simple and short, but I don't know how I feel about the limited options with the card play. What attracts me to the tactical level of wargaming is moving all the guys around in buildings and through woods, taking defensive fire shots, and just controlling a lot of guys running around, doing detailed things. CC seems to lack this "everything" element, and ASL embraces it. Also, no tanks.

Fighting Formations seem like it could be a good middle ground, but for some reason, every picture I look at on BGG of FF doesn't really do anything for me. Now, how a game looks on the table isn't everything, but you know what they say... a picture is worth a thousand words. Cliche, but in this case it reflects how I feel. Something about the look of FF doesn't sit well with me. Perhaps it is counter density (too low?), or something about the map scale. Also, I don't know if I am crazy about the scaling dice mechanics for combat.

Ultimately, I want the complexity of ASL, but with the support that games like CC and FF receive... along with the less prohibitive price tag. If you have a recommendation for something other than these three, then by all means do share. Any insight into my conundrum is appreciated.

An additional note... I own a copy of Panzer Leader that I have yet to really dig into. I would say that this would be my tactical wargame, except that out-dated rules and the need sub counters for some of the scenarios makes it seem less like a long term option. I want something a little more polished.
22 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hi diddle dee dee. Goddamn. The pirate's life for me.
United States
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Jayne Starlancer wrote:

Ultimately, I want the complexity of ASL, but with the support that games like CC and FF receive... along with the less prohibitive price tag.


This screams "ASL Starter Kit #1".

ASL has a huge fanbase, both for SK and full-blown rules. It's a neat little system. You can buy it for yourself for about $30. There's a strong community on VASL to play with, and it's also just a good game to have for the sake of having.
29 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
"L'état, c'est moi."
Canada
Vancouver
BC
flag msg tools
admin
designer
Roger's Reviews: check out my reviews page, right here on BGG!
badge
Caution: May contain wargame like substance
mb
Lock 'n Load: Band of Heroes might be an option to consider. I haven't played it, but it gets lots of positive comments here.

The new kid on the block that's making waves is Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles.

I love CC:E, and I've invested the play time to be able to play it pretty seamlessly now and I really love it.

Fighting Formations is good, but somehow it's just missing a certain je ne sais quoi that keeps on my shelf. I think the big appeal of a tactical system is the myriad possible scenarios you can play, and FF seems somehow constrained to me in comparison.
13 
 Thumb up
0.03
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Perrella
United States
Anoka
Minnesota
flag msg tools
with a purposeful grimace
badge
and a terrible sound
mbmbmbmbmb
Second vote for Lock 'n Load: Band of Heroes

Combat Commander is a great game system, but it does not have armor. It's also expensive. For me, it really works the best in the Pacific version, as the lack of armor isn't as annoying there.

Fighting Formations looks interesting (haven't played it) but there is only one game out so far.

LnL is fun, easy to learn, easily available, reasonably priced, has a lot of expansions/variants/scenarios/support, is absolutely beautiful, and it has a wide variety of units (including armor)

If you're looking for an established "system" to get involved in, it's the way to go, IMHO. To be honest, I'm surprised that it's not a bigger game and/or system than it seems to be.

(note: unless you get a screaming deal on the 1st edition, make sure you get the 2nd edition- the 1st edition maps are kinda ugly)

6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
"L'état, c'est moi."
Canada
Vancouver
BC
flag msg tools
admin
designer
Roger's Reviews: check out my reviews page, right here on BGG!
badge
Caution: May contain wargame like substance
mb
big_ragu wrote:
Combat Commander is a great game system, but it does not have armor.
Oddly, I don't miss it.
21 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Perrella
United States
Anoka
Minnesota
flag msg tools
with a purposeful grimace
badge
and a terrible sound
mbmbmbmbmb
leroy43 wrote:
big_ragu wrote:
Combat Commander is a great game system, but it does not have armor.
Oddly, I don't miss it.


A lot of people agree with you, that's for sure. It is a great game and I'm a vocal proponent of it, but it seems that it would be incomplete as a "system" to invest in.

Maybe it's just me, but it feels rather odd to slog through Europe without any armor- though the scenarios I've seen do make the best of it.

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Malcolm Cameron
Australia
Sydney
NSW
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Jayne Starlancer wrote:
Over the past year, I have fallen further and further into the world of wargaming. ...

But what I haven't figured out is which tactical system to invest in for the long term.

Advanced Squad Leader is the grand daddy of them all, the big one. Lots of rules, lots of chrome, and I imagine lots of fun. ...

This is also a very expensive system to get into in general.

...

What attracts me to the tactical level of wargaming is moving all the guys around in buildings and through woods, taking defensive fire shots, and just controlling a lot of guys running around, doing detailed things. ...


Ultimately, I want the complexity of ASL ...

... I want something a little more polished [than Panzer Leader].


You have just described ASL. Great game. Enormous community, both analogue and digital.

Obviously not the only game in the space but still a huge amount of fun.




8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Igor Kwiatkowski
Poland
Warszawa
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm a big fan of Combat Commander, because I like my games random and dramatic, and CC has that in spades. I gave ASLSK #1 a shot and it felt too scripted by comparison (I mean, a specific phase for Prep Fire?), but by all means do give it a shot. Fighting Formations is a different beast in that it is at a different scale. I like it, but probably not as much as squad-level games.

LnL fell completely flat for me, with too much chrome where it adds nothing for me, a poor rulebook (compared to CC and FF) and a reputation for less than stellar customer support which is big in my book (not to open a can of worms here, but I worked for a FLGS for a while and whenever there was a problem with an LnL product we just told the customer to be patient and hope for the best, whereas with GMT we told the customer to just come back next week and it will be fixed by then).

I also recommend taking a look at the new Band of Brothers. I've only played it twice so far, but it seems to deliver realistic situations with a very thin rulebook.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Fabio Malakai
Italy
flag msg tools
Why dont't you consider Conflict of Heroes serie too?
Less detailed than ASL, that's for sure, but I think it's one of the best tactical level wargames i've ever played. I'm fond of it!!!
IMHO it's better than Combat Commander and Fighting Formations.

It's an above average detailed game, fast and with simple rules... All at the same time.

It's a quite new serie of games so you'll have in the future tons (i hope) of expansions (the next one will be Guadalcanal).

Try it!
18 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Piero
Italy
Florence
flag msg tools
Life and death come and go like marionettes dancing on a table. Once their strings are cut, they easily crumble.
badge
What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror. Then we shall see face to face.
mbmbmbmbmb
If you want complexity ASL is for you.

If you want a little less complexity, but maybe a cheaper entry point retaining some of the complexity (80 pages of rules), you could go for the Advanced Tobruk System. It has IMVVVHO a little more interactivity than ASL, since the fire&movement phase is played by both players alternating impulses of one unit/firegroup each.

Alternatively on a simpler side, Valor & Victory, is an ever-growing reality.

CC cannot work for you if you like to move a lot of stuff at once.

FF is an eurowargamer's dream. I like the game a lot. If you like PoG, as I do, you will be torn by the choices you'll have to face.
14 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eoin Corrigan
Ireland
Wexford Town
flag msg tools
designer
ASL Fanatic
badge
Royal Dublin Fusiliers "Spectamur Agendo"
mbmbmbmbmb
I haven't played Combat Commander, as the card focus is a turn off for me.

I have played ASL and Fighting Formations. FF is a good game - the order/initiative system is very novel, however I couldn't help but think that the range of outcomes in the game are narrow.

ASL, for me, is king. Massive, comprehensive, flexible, incredible gameplay, a thriving community...
9 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jay Richardson
United States
Lindsborg
Kansas
flag msg tools
mb
Jayne Starlancer wrote:
Advanced Squad Leader is the grand daddy of them all, the big one. Lots of rules, lots of chrome, and I imagine lots of fun. However, my biggest apprehension is price and availability. I would want to get Yanks to play as the Americans early on probably, but it is hard to obtain. This is also a very expensive system to get into in general.

Is ASL lots of fun? Absolutely!

But you are correct that availability is an issue: MMP is a tiny company that is probably both understaffed and underfunded; things happen very slowly with them. Yanks will be reprinted, of course, but nobody can say when this will happen... an optimist might suggest two years from now, but a pessimist might say five years.

One of the things that sets ASL apart from the competition is the sheer scope of the system: in addition to everything that AH/MMP has produced, there are over 200 third party expansions available for ASL:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/tag/asl_other/user/richfam

When you consider both official products and third party products, there are over 80 geomorphic mapboards, at least 68 historical maps, and over 5000 different scenarios available for ASL. The scenarios range from tiny, quick-playing firefights to massive campaign games (and everything in between).

Many tactical wargamers might be thrilled to see an expansion or two get published for their favorite game, but the popularity of ASL drives it to a whole different level of support. Here's a brief list of just the items that were published for ASL in the course of a single year (2011):

10 ASL Newsletter issues

2 ASL Newsletter issues with Scenarios

8 General Wargaming Magazine issues with at least one Scenario

2 ASL Magazine issues with Scenarios

15 Scenario Packs

3 Scenario/Map Packs

11 Historical Modules

Source:
http://www.desperationmorale.com/worldofasl/worldrecent.html

Only five of those products were official publications from MMP, and a few of the others were updated reissues of earlier products, but it's still an impressive list. Also in 2011 the ASL Rulebook, the British module For King and Country, and the ASL Starter Kit #3 were all reprinted, and the ASL Starter Kit Expansion Pack #1 was introduced. ASL players truly have an embarrassment of riches to choose from.
12 
 Thumb up
0.30
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Markus Pausch
Germany
Frankfurt
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I wouldn't start with full ASL: it is a intimidating ruleset and not written very user friendly. More like a technical manual.

I think many ASL players started back in the days with Squad Leader, which had a nice rulebook explaining everthing step-by step. So to them it was not difficult to switch to ASL, which is an improved and better structured version of the old SL and it's various expansions. It least this my assumption.

For a complete beginner ASL it is very hard to digest.

So to start with ASL I would reconmend to start with ASLSK. Or find an ASL veteran, who can introduce the game to you.

At the moment I'm playing a scenario from the Starter Kit#1 solo. I really don't mind the "scripted" structure. It is very suitable for solo play.



10 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
mbmbmbmbmb
leroy43 wrote:
The new kid on the block that's making waves is Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles.


I'm loving this one. I just created a VASSAL Tutorial log for it. If you shoot me a Geekmail with your regular e-mail address (cuz Geekmail doesn't do attachments), I'll send it to you. That way, you can take a look at it, see what all the hubbub is about and see if it's something you would be interested in exploring more.
8 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Val Ruza
Canada
Elmira
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I like all three games listed but for different reasons and also play them with different people. I do agree with the number of ASL fans that learning ASL is worth the effort. I personally am still making that effort and am enjoying myself!
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Piero
Italy
Florence
flag msg tools
Life and death come and go like marionettes dancing on a table. Once their strings are cut, they easily crumble.
badge
What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror. Then we shall see face to face.
mbmbmbmbmb
airjudden wrote:
leroy43 wrote:
The new kid on the block that's making waves is Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles.


I'm loving this one. I just created a VASSAL Tutorial log for it. If you shoot me a Geekmail with your regular e-mail address (cuz Geekmail doesn't do attachments), I'll send it to you. That way, you can take a look at it, see what all the hubbub is about and see if it's something you would be interested in exploring more.


Wow, I'd give it a shot. I'm fairly interested in this game.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eoin Corrigan
Ireland
Wexford Town
flag msg tools
designer
ASL Fanatic
badge
Royal Dublin Fusiliers "Spectamur Agendo"
mbmbmbmbmb
Helmet Lampshade wrote:
I think many ASL players started back in the days with Squad Leader, which had a nice rulebook explaining everthing step-by step. So to them it was not difficult to switch to ASL, which is an improved and better structured version of the old SL and it's various expansions. It least this my assumption.

For a complete beginner ASL it is very hard to digest.


It's a project, alright, however I'm one of those ASLers who is relatively new to the game (I've bbeen playing since 2009), and I think the difficulty of learning ASL is often overstated.

Firstly, the core mechanics and principles of the game are fairly simple. It is reasonably easy to learn these - Starter Kit 1 is a great introduction. Making the shift to full infantry ASL is a step-up, but a relatively shallow step. After that, it's simply a matter of pacing, of reading and learning the rules and progressively introducing more elements (guns, vehicles, weather, new nationalities, cavalry, OBA, PTO etc. etc.)

I'm no genius and I've managed to move from a position of total newcomer to solid play in a couple of years. A thriving community and VASL are a huge benefit.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Bishop
United Kingdom
Lytham St. Annes
Lancashire
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb

Great, I love this ASL, CC, COH, LnL bunfight every now and then and now we can throw BoB in too, fantastic.

devil

9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Jayne Starlancer wrote:
Advanced Squad Leader is the grand daddy of them all, the big one. Lots of rules, lots of chrome, and I imagine lots of fun. However, my biggest apprehension is price and availability. I would want to get Yanks to play as the Americans early on probably, but it is hard to obtain. This is also a very expensive system to get into in general.

An additional note... I own a copy of Panzer Leader that I have yet to really dig into. I would say that this would be my tactical wargame, except that out-dated rules and the need sub counters for some of the scenarios makes it seem less like a long term option. I want something a little more polished.


ASL is one of my favorites. I started off with Squad Leader, but ASL blew that away. If you can become a good bargain hunter ASL is not as expensive as you think. I think a lot of people bought it, not knowing what they were getting into and then dump it for cheap not knowing what it is worth.

Panzer Leader is also a goodie. There are a lot of online resources to fix the outdated rules. It is also easy to home-brew a few rules and scenarios. Panzer Leader, Panzer Blitz, and Arab Israeli wars are all similar in rules and scope so if you like one you can usually adapt the others to fit your gaming fix.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Art Bugorski
Canada
London
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Jayne Starlancer wrote:
Ultimately, I want the complexity of ASL, but with the support that games like CC and FF receive...


You might want to take a look at Advanced Tobruk System. It probably comes closest to ASL while being a streamlined version of it, has lots of product, and it much cheaper than ASL. Really, featurewise, I'd say it's ASL's closest competitor.

Though personally I suggest Conflict of Heroes since it is accessible and you'll never regret buying it and if it turns out you want more chrome getting in another series won't negate this investment, but starting here guarantees you won't bite off more than you can chew.

It took me a long time to realise that ASL isn't what I actually wanted despite the strong appeal.
9 
 Thumb up
0.10
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jay Sheely
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I vote for Fighting Formations as it's one of my favorites and is exactly what I want in a wargame. (Although CC:E I've found to be very fun and replayable).

ASL is good, but required way too much effort to try to comprehend the poorly written rules. ASL is everything in every theater and as a result has a huge, highly adaptable rulebook. The problem with that is that it's easy to be too big!

ASL trends mightily towards the realistic side of the spectrum and is close to unplayable as a result.

I found that even Starter Kit #1 couldn't turn down the volume. Within several sentences, the rules devolved into a mess of non-stop shorthand, dense examples of play in small font with no paragraph breaks, very little color...

In short, I think MMP missed a great opportunity to really introduce the ASL system to a lot of other people. Starter Kit = the right idea with the wrong execution.

Now, I respect ASL and will probably really like it. I just found the rules to be a swamp. I'll gladly play it with someone who knows the rules.

Otherwise...

Fighting Formations rules could not be clearer with clear prose and sharp clean graphics in the book and throughout the game.

Both games ask both players to be constantly engaged.

I'ld try hard to find someone near you who owns and knows the game and play their copy to get a taste.

Then there's Combat Commander - a very different game from ASL and FF. It feels to me like a three player game with the third player being the game itself. Each scenario plays differently every time and unfolds much like a chapter in a story. It is totally card driven. Plenty of expandability (but with just CC:E, you can play it 30 times at least before you feel the need to expand).

Edited because ... I had to.

7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Di Ponio
United States
Warren
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree with Jay! Fighting Formations has held my interest for quite a while compared to the counterparts mentioned. The rules a nice and clear with lots of examples and its supported on BGG very well. It has the strategy and tactics I like at this point. Sure, I still love my ASL and will play CC when asked, but this is the game that I pull out most often when I want a good battle.

ASL Starter packs are a close second for a suggestion.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Keith

Apex
North Carolina
msg tools
mbmbmb
leroy43 wrote:
big_ragu wrote:
Combat Commander is a great game system, but it does not have armor.
Oddly, I don't miss it.


It is absolutely not missed. The system is fantastic.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lucas Emery
United States
Charlottesville
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
I think ASL is your best bet for a couple of reasons.

1) you say you're the only strict wargamer in your circle of friends.
This implies that, in order to get in more wargaming than you currently enjoy, you would have to step outside that circle. You're 100 times more likely to stumble into someone in your area that knows how to play ASL than any other tactical wargame.

2) you say you want to invest in a system long-term.
There's already been more ASL material produced to date than you could possibly play in a lifetime, with more coming out every year. It's by far the most popular tactical system. Additionally, the complexity of the system learning to play well will take some time so you won't get bored of it. I learned to play over a year ago and still find stuff in the rulebook to improve my play or to try out in my next game.


Yes, ASL is expensive. But if it's the game you really want to play then you should. Buying ASL stuff now is much less expensive than buying CC, then a month later FF, then an ATS module or two, and then finally breaking down and buying Beyond Valor because what you really wanted all along was to play ASL; believe me, I know

Yes, it can be frustrating when that module you really want is out of print and won't be reprinted for awhile, but there's so much you can play with just Beyond Valor while you wait that you won't really mind. Seriously, BV3 has two dozen scenarios, plus Valor of the Guards, plus Festung Budapest, that's *years* of gaming, right there.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eduardo
Brazil
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I played ASL and FF, and i´d go with FF. (but read bellow)

I loved ASL, had a great collection but ended up selling it. Why? ASL needs to be played on a regular basis, it´s not a game you just pick up and play. You need to play it A LOT, and I mean A LOT.

I´d only go with ASL if had some regular opponents and a lot of time to play it regularly, almost exclusively.
If you have those, i´d say it´s the best out there.

-Eduardo
9 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.