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Subject: ASL Is NOT a Game That Can Be Played Casually. rss

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Akiva
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Find other players. Either the game will click with people and they'll want to learn it or it won't. If it's the latter, you can't force it and it's a waste of your time to try (and to get upset about it).

Find other players.
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Jeffrey D Myers
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No, not unreasonable, but if a dog were a canary bird, it would whistle instead of bark.

Speaking as a newbie, I was long shy of ASL because of the committment that I knew that it would require. Happy that I made the plunge, though!
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wrote:

he simple fact is that ASL is a difficult and demanding game. You can't play it in a casual and passive manner, the way you can just plop down and join in some random Eurogame.


That's what happens when you take a Euro-gamer and give him a real wargame. Most Euro-gamers think they can learn anything on the fly and play half decent. ASL is not that beast.

Eurogames are like going to high school. you can get by on half the attendance and even less than half the effort.

ASL is a full PHD in Wargaming. Learn it or sink.

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markgravitygood wrote:
wrote:

he simple fact is that ASL is a difficult and demanding game. You can't play it in a casual and passive manner, the way you can just plop down and join in some random Eurogame.


That's what happens when you take a Euro-gamer and give him a real wargame. Most Euro-gamers think they can learn anything on the fly and play half decent. ASL is not that beast.

Eurogames are like going to high school. you can get by on half the attendance and even less than half the effort.

ASL is a full PHD in Wargaming. Learn it or sink.



Guys please, don't start the snobbery. I really want to play ASL, but this kind of comments are what make me think more carefully about it. If I ever get into it, I promise I will do my best to learn it and reach a competitive non pathetic level of rules knowledge and execution. But for now I must admit that if learning ASL is as though as getting a PhD, then I'd be better off doing something more productive(like that). Games are meant to be fun.
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Michael Tisdel
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Now I'm curious about these opponents - what is the win/loss average? I would imagine they don't win often if at all. Do they want to play or do you have to talk 'em into it? Do they play other war-games or is this it?
 
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James
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Unless a person is willing to read the rules and make an effort to learn the game, it's not worth the effort. This also applies to many other games, not just ASL.Personnaly I don't like to be the one others depend on to know all the rules to every game we play.
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Jeff Thompson
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But saying you want to play a game, then not knowing how to play... and worse, not caring, is rude, not casual.

I haven't played ASL in about 2 years because I simply don't have the time to "get good" at it. If I were to play now it would be on a casual basis (not rude).

I think it can be played casually. However it can't be "learned" casually. I'd say if you have played 500+ games, you could probably sit down and play casually after a hiatus.

But yes, the student needs to hold up his end of the bargain, read the rules, etc. I always instruct guys learning ASL to read the rules AFTER the game and not before.

OP is correct, ASL is not enjoyable if both players don't put forth the effort. And the effort is high.


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Spencer Armstrong
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ASLNoob wrote:
Increasingly I seem to be encountering ASL opponents who want to play the game casually without investing any real effort into understanding even the basics of the rules.

I've been playing ASL for less than three years. But I can remember how eager I was to really learn how things worked. Even as a noob I was constantly scanning my rulebook and charts during play. I would try to run all the calculations myself and then learn from any corrections my more experienced opponent would make.

But now I'm finding a new breed of ASL player who really seems to never read the rulebook at all. They also don't study the scenario before play. If the SSRs of a scenario call out for cavalry, mist and OBA then I just take it for granted that each player will familiarize himself with the relevant sections before play. But these guys don't. They just sit there completely missing important aspects of the scenario unless I laboriously explain it all to them.

I'm actually a very patient and understanding teacher, AS LONG AS I FEEL THE STUDENT IS MAKING AN HONEST EFFORT. But I get really internally unhappy when the less experienced player just sits there passively expecting me to run all the calculations, do all the rules lookups, explain all the special rules and pretty much everything else.

Is it unreasonable for me to expect somebody who has moved from SK to full rules ASL to be able to run basic to-hit calculations? I'm not talking about the oddball stuff but just the basic range, BU status, hindrence, motion effects etc.

Is it unreasonable for me to be unhappy when I remind my opponent that he could have used Armored Assault to move his AFVs and Infantry together and he replies "Armored Assault? Never heard of it!" and then just looks sheepish. In my day I would have said "Damn, sorry I missed that, here let me take a minute and re-read that section".

Invariably these guys play a lot of other games. There's nothing wrong with that. But I don't really believe that you can play ASL with the idea that you will dedicate no more time to it than you do to other more casual games. The simple fact is that ASL is a difficult and demanding game. You can't play it in a casual and passive manner, the way you can just plop down and join in some random Eurogame.

In the world of ASL there is a common belief that we all need to help nurture newcomers. But what should we expect from these newcomers in return? I personally expect that once they see how difficult and complex ASL is they either knuckle down and make a fairly committed effort to learn or they back away and play something simpler. Is this unreasonable?


I agree with you. You can't play ASL casually or half-heartedly. This is why I never try to convince anyone to play ASL. I'll show it to anyone, but you have to invest yourself. It's simply too big to get anywhere with a casual attitude. This isn't snobbery, it's just experience and observation. The rules take work. Playing decently takes work. If you don't enjoy the mental challenge, you won't really get much out of ASL. ASL requires you to invest. It also richly rewards you for doing so.

There are lots of games that are fun played casually. ASL just isn't one of them. I'm not saying one way is better or worse, but "casual" is just not something ASL is.

S
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grahamj wrote:
Unless a person is willing to read the rules and make an effort to learn the game, it's not worth the effort. This also applies to many other games, not just ASL.Personnaly I don't like to be the one others depend on to know all the rules to every game we play.


+1
 
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Todd Pytel
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I've barely played ASL over the last couple of years, in part because I haven't had the time to devote to studying it and playing it and in part because my local opponent pool got disrupted. But back when I played regularly, I certainly approached it just like you did. I always studied scenarios before games and made sure to read up on relevant rules sections. Usually I would at least lay out the maps to get a sense of the scenario as well. My rulebook lived on my nightstand so that I could spend 15 minutes every night reviewing some random section of it. So I hear you.

However, I do think there's a valuable "Just Play It" school of thought that I would often hear from the older ASL players. It's not that you should be sloppy or thoughtless, but that if it comes down to playing or not playing, you should always just play. Their take was always that you shouldn't worry too much about missing rules or tactical mistakes - just play, a lot, and it will come together. I think there's value to that point of view. Studying the ASLRB is not especially fun. Prepping for a scenario is not especially fun. Keeping your energy and motivation up is important and if you take preparation too seriously, you can lose that. Those guys would tell you that you're going to learn more playing 100 loose scenarios a year than playing 20 immaculately prepared ones. I was always skeptical of that myself. But then, those guys are still playing 100 scenarios a year and I haven't touched the game in a while. So maybe they were on to something...
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Eoin Corrigan
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Spencer Armstrong wrote:
This is why I never try to convince anyone to play ASL.


Absolutley agree.

It's tempting to be evangelical about one's favourite game. Spread the love, right? With ASL, there's very little point. The people who play the game are those willing to invest the time and thought to familiarise themselves with a rules set that requires effort.

It seems to me that most ASL players sought the game out and had a strong desire (compulsion?) to learn to play well.

That said, the 'PHD' comments are wrong. ASL isn't that challenging or conceptually difficult [EXC: Paddy Fields ].

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Morten Hjelme
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Tompy wrote:
But saying you want to play a game, then not knowing how to play... and worse, not caring, is rude, not casual.


+1

and: I´m going to use this quote. It happens a lot, not just ASL as someone else mentioned. Thanks.



 
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brodemir wrote:
markgravitygood wrote:
wrote:

he simple fact is that ASL is a difficult and demanding game. You can't play it in a casual and passive manner, the way you can just plop down and join in some random Eurogame.


That's what happens when you take a Euro-gamer and give him a real wargame. Most Euro-gamers think they can learn anything on the fly and play half decent. ASL is not that beast.

Eurogames are like going to high school. you can get by on half the attendance and even less than half the effort.

ASL is a full PHD in Wargaming. Learn it or sink.



Guys please, don't start the snobbery. I really want to play ASL, but this kind of comments are what make me think more carefully about it. If I ever get into it, I promise I will do my best to learn it and reach a competitive non pathetic level of rules knowledge and execution. But for now I must admit that if learning ASL is as though as getting a PhD, then I'd be better off doing something more productive(like that). Games are meant to be fun.


There is nothing snobbery about it. Its a fact. You can skate through any Eurogame with half an ear on the rules, semi-paying attention as the game clicks on, and by the end of the game, you got it. ASL is not that game. And it was a comparative, not an absolute. I was trying to make a point. I guess you whiffed on it.

ASL IS fun to play and learn, but if you approach it like your average Euro learning experience, you are on the wrong path. You SHOULD go off and do something more productive and not waste your opponent's time. That's all, and I think that is what the OP is saying.
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No, I got your message and I agree with the OP because I also ask commitment from my opponents when I play any game(not only a board game)

But then you said that:
markgravitygood wrote:
Eurogames are like going to high school.

and
markgravitygood wrote:
ASL is a full PHD in Wargaming.


That might be roughly an accurate analogy, but there is no need to make it.
It sounds pretentious, and as I said, It makes people like me (who are willing to get into the system) be doubtful about it.
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It certainly was not meant to be. Sorry you took it that way. An analogy was all it was.
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Scott B
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hi,

You should consider directing players who aren't cut out for ASL to Squad Leader (the original.) It still has enough active players that they'll find a game/training. I'm sure a BBG post would find them an opponent.

I think all three are excellent games (Pre-ASL, ASLSK & ASL); the question is not which game is better but which game is best for the particular player.

I've tried ASLSK and reading ASL - it wasn't a good fit for me. But i found the original SL much more abstract and manageable - I play it all the time.

not trying to be contentious, just suggesting options.

Scott

 
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Sanity Lives!
 
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Stephen Stewart
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markgravitygood wrote:
You can skate through any Eurogame with half an ear on the rules, semi-paying attention as the game clicks on, and by the end of the game, you got it. ASL is not that game. And it was a comparative, not an absolute. I was trying to make a point. I guess you whiffed on it.



Depending on the Eurogame, skating is a possibility. However, most Euros take a couple of plays to get the "optimum" strategy to be able to win. Once that is accomplished and all the players have the same level of understanding can the game be somewhat of a challenge. I say somewhat, because I feel that most Euros are journeys of solitaire/optimum play without regard or influence of the other players mostly.

ASL is the furthest thing from the EUROS.
EVERY action you perform in the game has a direct impact on your opponents choice of reaction. Each game of ASL is like a peculiar jigsaw puzzle that you are putting together as you play it. You'll be missing some pieces here and there, but it the PUTTING together of the puzzle that brings the enjoyment! One player may put more of the puzzle together than oneself, but that usually doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the event.

Quote:

ASL IS fun to play and learn, but if you approach it like your average Euro learning experience, you are on the wrong path. You SHOULD go off and do something more productive and not waste your opponent's time. That's all, and I think that is what the OP is saying.


I disagree with the OP only to the extent that players have to COMMIT to ASL. The Starter kits are a prime example of not having to commit. As is the SL series of games. They bring the tactical beauty of the squad level combat in a neat trimmed up package. You don't need to know what's in the cake to enjoy it. Just take a bite and you don't even need to eat the entire thing to be full.

I understand where the OP is concerned with players that don't commit. Frustration sets in when you commit an extensive, ardous, and never ending amount of time learning and enjoying the game. I was the same way. The only problem that I found with that method of enjoyment (always seeking players that know at least as much as you do and commit themselves to the game) is that you are limiting yourself to fewer and fewer players to play with.

That is why VASL is a life saver. It allows us to hold on a little longer...

ALSO, the OP(and anyone else for that matter) should consider/judge his ASL opponents level of commitment and play scenarios (of which there is no shortage of) which reflects the level of commitment of the players.

Playing a PTO or Desert scenario with players with
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Martin Vicca
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I don't think an allencompassing knowledge of the RB is needed. I dont think I've ever fully read the RB in my playing career. However you are right, some form of commitment is required from an opponent.

I've played both experts in the game and beginners and rules knowledge while it helps, is no substitute for situational and tactical awareness.

Ian Daglish, God rest his soul, was an excellent scenario designer whom I played three times. I never broke a sweat beating him. His knowledge of rules and situations was excellent but his tactics were not the best. I played a chap from Liverpool three years ago in his fifth game of ASL and whilst I won, he pushed me so very hard because he used his troops and units well, in the way they were supposed to be used. He may not have fully exploited all the possibilities of all the weapon systems but he kept coming up with questions like "I want to get cover from this AFV, what are my options?"
I'd then run through armoured assault and smoke discharges along with a brief statement of the risks associated with them. He was, primarily a wargames rather than a board gamer so used his knowledge of how fighting occurred to boost his chance of winning.
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Martí Cabré

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Vinnie37 wrote:
He was, primarily a wargames rather than a board gamer so used his knowledge of how fighting occurred to boost his chance of winning.


I like it when a game allows to use some real world knowledge to improve your gameplay.
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brodemir wrote:
Guys please, don't start the snobbery. I really want to play ASL, but this kind of comments are what make me think more carefully about it.
I fully agree with you.
I have been playing ASL since it came to existence and I am an Eurogamer too.
Brushing aside all Eurogamers with a global negative statement is discriminatory.

Eurogames ask for quite an effort to be well played too.

Now, there are - in all human groups - psychological profiles of people who will be approximative, not interested in learning, lazy and who, at the same time, want to be rewarded by success.
In the world of gaming, I keep away from such people, because they are not trying to offer an interesting challenge to their opponents and beating them doesn't even feed the motive of being usefull for their progress.
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Martin Vicca
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It can depend on the person too.
This summer we shared a house with a large number of others all of whom played board games (euros, the closest to a wargame was Memoir '44). After the first three days of playing games that they'd played but were new to me, I made the conscious effort to play well but not win. I'd not dropped a game to that point. Winning is important to me, but I refuse to be seen as an arse who goes all out to win all the time.
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Hofrat Behrens
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The original Squad Leader does work with only one person caring about the rules.

For ASL, if a person is not eager to explore the depth of the game, and enjoy that exploration process, I wonder what he gets out of it.

Maybe SL is way better then.
 
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Michael Tisdel
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tppytel wrote:
Studying the ASLRB is not especially fun. Prepping for a scenario is not especially fun.


Let me speak to this point. I'm not taking a swipe at Todd, but this point jumped out at me.

I think the point is true, but personally, I do enjoy reading/studying the ASLRB and reading up on the scenarios. I will pull out the rulebook sometimes when I have a few minutes and a cup of coffee and read through some rule sections. It is sometimes esoteric ones that I've rarely used, sometimes common ones to see if I've missed something, and sometimes ones that I've seen discussed on BGG or in one of my games. After playing over 30 years, I still uncover things that I've missed or see interactions I've not noticed before.

I do the same with scenarios, some will be interesting to me on a read-through that I've thought uninteresting before. This usually gets me excited to play that new found gem.

And its not only ASL that I do this with; I also tend to read over the Federation and Empire rules in the same manner for the same effect.

I guess that is the difference between the "casual" player and the more dedicated one. And given the complexity of ASL, the casual player doesn't get the full flavor and enjoyment of the game.
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Martí Cabré

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It happens all the time with high art. Beautiful but complex music, movies difficult to comprehend... there's always some human creation that can be taken at skin level or can be mastered (or tried to) in a deeper sense.
 
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