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Subject: ASL starters VS Lock 'n Load... help! rss

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Dan Mixer
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I am looking to get into this genre with my son, he is 12, (a smart 12!), (actually, all parents say that... but in this case it's true! For example... what? Oh yah.. sorry.. back to the question..), and I see 2 good looking games on the market right now.

ASL with their nifty starter kits, and the much heralded Lock 'n Load system. Any thoughts? suggestions? likes? dislikes?

Thanks for your input!

Dan
 
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Robin
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Lock 'n Load won the International Game Award, if that helps.

Check it out: http://boardgames.about.com/b/a/090198.htm

Good luck on deciding.
 
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A L D A R O N
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Lock 'n Load is much more fun to play, has nicer components, and is much less fiddly than ASL.

See: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/84217

LnL has a downloadable demo that might help you choose: http://www.locknloadgame.com/
 
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Dan,

I am a newbie with both these games. IMO both are great tactical wargames, but they are both pretty complex, expecially if you are new to wargaming. There is a significant learning curve for both. But if you and your son really want a meaty game to get into, these will deliver.

The ASL starter kits are probably more complex than LnL. However, the ASL system is tried and true, and leaves open the option of progressing to full ASL if you want later. These games will provide many years of wargaming enjoyment. You do have to buy separate starter kits for (kit #1) infantry, (#2) artillery, and (#3 - due out this year) tanks.

LnL is more visually appealing, and it's all combined into one game - you get infantry, tank, etc. rules. There are several modules - Vietnam, WWII, etc. and I suppose more will be released in the future. If you are learning totally on your own, this might be a better choice.

The rules and counters in both games have similarities. LnL is new and bears (ahem) "remarkable" resemblance to ASL at least on the surface.

Personally, I have chosen ASL starter kits over LnL. They are both significant investments of time and money and I wanted to choose just one. I had heard of some issues and complaints with LnL so I decided to go with the tried and true ASL system. I have the feeling ASL may provide more long-term value.

If you want to check out less complex tactical games, consider ones like these:

Seargeants! series
Target Arnhem
Axis & Allies: Miniatures
Memoir '44 (super light compared to ASL and LnL)
Tide of Iron (due out this year from Fantasy Flight Games)

Here are a couple threads that might be useful:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/689565
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/86752
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/102451


I am very much a newbie at wargaming, so take this all with that in mind.

Good luck and enjoy!
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Jeff Thompson
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ASL has thousands of scenarios and a following of players that meet all over the world to play. If you want a game that you will enjoy for a lifetime, ASL is the answer.

If you want to see if WWII tactical games are for you, then either would be fine. But if you find you enjoy this type of game, you will eventually find yourself playing ASL.

Even as an avid ASL player I'm curious about Lock 'n Load. It looks like a simple fun game. Also it seems that others find an excellent intro. Some day I will play this game.

My final answer is to recommend the ASL starter kits. If you find you don't like them you can nearly get your money back on ebay. How much does Lock n Load go for on ebay?

Later,
Jeff
 
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Dan Mixer
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Thanks for the info!

To your questions, I have never played ASL or LnL. My son and I have played Memior '44 (fun) Star Fleet Battles (basic rules) and many other games (Railroad Tycoon, etc.)

LnL certainly is the 'prettier' of the 2 games, that is for sure, and I like the idea of getting all in one. ASL has indeed stood the test of time, and looks like it scales very well. My question is which would a bright 12 year old take to?

How high is the 'fiddly' factor on ASL? Enough to glaze over the eyes of a 12 year old? How deep can you go with LnL? Enough to keep the attention of a hard core gamer like myself?
 
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Mike Pranno
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Quote:
My question is which would a bright 12 year old take to?

At age 12, the original Squad Leader was my first wargame, and I was able to handle learning the game without adult supervision and bribe my 11-year old brother into playing. ASLSK #1 seems to be only a hair more challenging than the non-armor Squad Leader rules. And this is only my opinion, but I thought that Lock N' Load (Vietnam version) was actually slightly more difficult reading than ASLSK once you get by the acronyms in ASLSK, but that could be because of my experience with ASL. So take that opinion with a grain of salt.
 
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Alan Kaiser
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I have also asked this question so I'll chime in with my 2 cents as well.

I decided to go with ASL starter kits for several reasons:

• Squad Leader was my favorite game back in high school. The system was complex but in a good way. There was enough detail available to keep a detail freak like me happy. ASLSKs have carried that level of play forward.

• Cost: The ASL starter kits are about $20 a piece or so. I picked up the #2 version and am waiting for #3 to come out in the future. Even with just both of these there are enough scenarios to keep me busy for a while and all for about $40 or so. LnL: Band of Heroes is $55 at an online discount store. If you don't like the ASLSK your out $20 and can probably easily trade the game away. Sure you could also trade or sell LnL:BoH but the initial outlay of cash is much higher if that matters.

• Several people have mentioned that there are some problems with some of the scenarios in LnL:BoH. I wish I could remember the threads where this was talked about so you could get an example. Someone had mentioned that a specific problem was replayability in that once you had played a scenario if you played it again you would know certain info about the upcoming game. I haven't played this one so I can't comment on this but I know the ASLSKs don't have this.

Some reasons why you might not like the ASLSKs:

• Rules: The rules for this one can be a bit dense to say the least. They are not long or overly complicated but they are written in such a manner that will leave you confused. Especially since the rules are full of tons of abreviations that will have you flipping back and forth between the rules and the glossary. It makes understanding the rules the first time or two through rather difficult. I haven't seen the LnL ruleset so I can't comment on those. If you go with ASL I'd recommend the 2nd kit. The 2nd version of the rules is supposedly better than the 1st and contains errata to fix any errors that were in the 1st kit. You can play the ASLSK#1 with the rules from the 2nd kit.

• Mapboards: In ASLSKs these are heavy cardstock not mounted so if you don't have a sheet of plexiglass it might be hard to keep them flat. I'm not sure about how the maps are in LnL but I seem to recall someone saying they were mounted but I could be wrong. Also I like the artwork in ASL better (map and counters).

• Content: ASLSK #1 is infantry only, SK #2 is infantry and guns including MGs, AT, AA, field artillary and squad weapons like bazookas and flame throwers. SK#3 will have vehicles, including armor. The starter kits also contain scenarios with all the major WWII players (US, Britian (I think they're there), Russia, Germany) and cover the entire war. LnL:BoHs covers just the US 101st and 82nd airborne troops for the most part vs the German defenders at Normandy and shortly after.

Hope that helps
 
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Michel Boucher
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Icedanno wrote:
ASL with their nifty starter kits, and the much heralded Lock 'n Load system. Any thoughts? suggestions?


A simpler introductory system (and quite inexpensive) is Lost Battalion's Sergeants series. The rules fit on three pages.

http://www.lostbattalion.com/t-ser_eastfront.aspx

http://www.lostbattalion.com/t-ser_desert.aspx

There is also a scenario book and a series of free (downloadable)scenarios with maps.

At 7,95$US each (the entire set with the scenario book costs 22,95$US), plus the cost of printing the extra scenarios and maps, it is certainly the way to see if this is a good direction without investing large amounts of money.

The scale is one counter one man, not squad but close enough, and certainly worth the investment.

 
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Francisco J. Piña A.
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I haven't played any of the two, but I think you may want to consider the Panzer Grenadier series. There's a free downloadable demo in the Avalanche Press site:

http://www.avalanchepress.com/PlayPG.php

 
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Thomas Granvold
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I would recomend Lock 'n Load over ASL. While both have a learning curve, I found ASL's to be steeper. By the why I have heard that ASL's Starter Kit #2 rules are better written than those in Starter Kit #1. Here are the pros and cons in my opinion.

ASL cons:

- Takes some effort to learn.
- Beyond the start kits, it can be expensive.
- To get the most out of ASL it takes quite an
investment in time, effort and money.
- Not all modules are in print.

ASL pros:

- Once learned there is a huge amount of scenarios and
other material available, i.e. probably has the most
replay value of any boardgame.
- There is an existing body of players.
- Lots of ASL material exists on the web.


Lock 'n Load: cons:

- The rule book could be better written.
- It has a limited number of scenarios available.

Lock 'n Load pros:

- I find it easier to learn than ASL.
- Lock 'n Load has a more interactive turn sequence
than does ASL.
- There exists, though currently out of print, a
Lock 'n Load game and expansion set during the
Vietman War.
- Free online demos of the Lock 'n Load games exist.
- There are new Lock 'n Load games in the works, one
set in the Falklands War and the other set is a
post nuclear holocost setting.

Also, you may want to check out an upcomming game,
Combat Commander by GMT,

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/21050

While not yet available, it looks to be a bit easier than
Lock 'n Load, and may have a lot of potential.

Enjoy,
Tom
 
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Gregory Smith
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I had a similar issue last year (My oldest son is 13 now, was 12 then). I am a bit biased because I have played ASL for about 2 decades now. However I bought Lock'n Load: Forgotten Heroes Viet Nam because I thought it might be a better introduction to tactical gaming. Both are excellent games, but ultimately I decided to sell Lock'n Load and stick with ASL. I like the game play in ASL better, and I think it is no harder to teach than Lock'n Load.

I have not bought the starter sets because (except for the starters) I already own every official module and most of the unofficial ones). When teaching the game, I just start with simple infantry only scenarios.

In the long run, with ASL, there is a huge system to grow into, if you and your son choose to do so. There are also many people around to play this game with, if you and your son decide to include others. Lock'n Load is a bit harder to find other opponents for. Also, although it will likely have other expansions, it has not got very many now.
 
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Don Heumphreus
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If you're both starting out fresh, I'd look into Lock N Load. I have both LnL: Forgotten Heroes and ASLSK#1, and I found the rules for LnL to be much easier to understand.

If you have somebody to run you through a round of ASL, that would be ideal, as you could jump into ASL without the confusion factor that can often be a showstopper.

If you don't have someone to show you how to play ASL and you're dependent on the rulebook, give LnL a look. You can download the demo, and at the very least there is a flash demo of the LnL game mechanics here:

http://www.locknloadgame.com

I found the flash demo to be well done. It goes into a number of different outcomes and the mechanics associated with each (i.e. spotting, unsuccessful rallying, a damage check that generates a hero, et. al.).

Lastly, LnL: Forgotten Heroes is recently out of print, but you can still find it for retail cost. You may want to get this before the prices on eBay get outrageous.

 
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Mark Ballinger
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To add a data point. My 9-year-old got going with Sergeants really fast. I highly recommend that game as a starting point.

We've also played a couple of games of Panzerblitz, which were no trouble.

He then found my LnL maps and has now read that rule book; so far we haven't played, but he gets the LnL system well enough.

He hasn't found my ASL starter kit yet!

To change the subject slightly, Quebec 1759 (block game, not tactical) has been a huge hit.
 
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Chip Saltsman

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The two games my son and I keep returning to are Memoir '44 and an old copy of Assault on Hoth by West End Games (long out of print, but can be found on eBay). He could easily play both by 12. He and his friends have evenings where they play Risk or Axis and Allies.
 
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Rio Chang
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Both are investments - monetary and time.

LnL has rules for infantry, guns and vehicles. The ASLSKs break them out. #1 for infantry #2 for gun and #3 for vehicles. So you will be spending the same for the whole enchilada.

Smart is one thing, but attention span or rather patience is the key. So questions to consider. How patient is your son and how patient are you? Have you test drived any of these games? Perhaps there's a wargame club which will allow you partake in a primer to these games. You can also browse on VASSAL for both games. I think LnL: Band of Heroes is available on VASSAL. Also, does your son like intricate concepts?

My opinion - ASL is more intense and a better learning experience. I would go with that. But I'm not a father yet so you shouldn't weigh my advice too heavily.

If it were me, I would buy the ASL Rule Book and the Beyond Valor module. Then download the programmed instruction guide off MMPs website.

the LnL counters are nice and cartoony, but not my cup of tea. I prefer the spartan look of the ASL counters.
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Have faith
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Yojimbo wrote:
If it were me, I would buy the ASL Rule Book and the Beyond Valor module. Then download the programmed instruction guide off MMPs website.
I have to disagree with this idea. The full ASL rule book is 200 pages, from what I have heard. (It also retails at $80, and does not include any maps, counters, etc., I believe. You have to buy those separately as a module; the Beyond Valor module is an additional $95 retail.)

Go with ASL Starter Kit #1 (12 page rules) if you decide on that over LnL.

However, I would also agree with what others have said: Both ASL and LnL are pretty hard to learn, even for adults. I would seriously consider trying a simpler wargame first.

To answer your "fiddly" question, both games are fairly fiddly. They are wargames, so it doesn't bother me as much somehow as it would with a euro game. ASL is maybe a little more fiddly than LnL (I've only played LnL online, on VASSAL.) In short, I don't think fiddly is a problem with either game. You will be glad for the extra counters to help you keep track of what is going on.
 
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Rio Chang
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cull wrote:
Yojimbo wrote:
If it were me, I would buy the ASL Rule Book and the Beyond Valor module. Then download the programmed instruction guide off MMPs website.
I have to disagree with this idea. The full ASL rule book is 200 pages, from what I have heard. (It also retails at $80, and does not include any maps, counters, etc., I believe. You have to buy those separately as a module; the Beyond Valor module is an additional $95 retail.)



I would disagree with myself too since he's not me.

I forgot to add a smiley.
 
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Marco
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Difficult question, so here come my 2 cents, though I haven't played Lock'n Load.
First I would seriously recommend to consider a few other wargames as introduction aswell because ASLSK and LnL both are a huge step with regards to rules. As other mentioned before check the sites for their tactical games too (though I'm already repeating what others said, I wanted to second their opinion ):

Combat Commander
http://www.gmtgames.com/combatcomm/main.html
available soon yet no vehicles in the beginning

Sergeants
http://www.lostbattalion.com/t-ser_sergeants.aspx
Both GMT and LBG offer good support and have easier rules.

Advanced Tobruk from Critical Hit
http://www.criticalhit.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=21_30&osC...
Wasn't mentioned here yet, but since you consider ASL, you should take a look here to, it contains all you need to play and rules are slightly easier (especially tank rules work nice). There are already a lot complete packages to choose from.

Panzer Grenadier from AP
http://www.avalanchepress.com/boardgames.php#pg
Free Demo Rules:
http://www.avalanchepress.com/PlayPG.php
Easy rules but not as lethal, though when using 1D12 instead of 2D6
and adjust the hittable accordingly it gets meatier if you feel the need.
Still tactical yet counters represent several vehicles, so scale is a bit higher.

Another option you have; and that is what I would do if you want to stick with ASLSK and LnL as the only options:

Buy ASLSK#2 and download the demo of LnL here:
http://www.locknloadgame.com/public/BoH/Vierville-LNL-BOH-Pl...
You then can still choose which path to go, but have much more insight into both worlds.
My personal feel is that ASL comes with a better scenario design possibility (design your own with points for each player, where already the selection of the forces could be fun for your son ) That is the advantage of the portfolio structure of MMPs ASL, you have to buy rules+module but you have then much more options than everywhere else!
With LnL and others you are stuck with some scenarios and a theater (like with others, in the long rung a customer spends more money if he sticks to those systems than with ASLs)


Ok enuogh summarized, you have to decide, nobody said its going to be easy , but maybe your son will help, show him all the options and decide together with him. He will surely appreciate it being involved and looking at all the different options

cheers
Abraxx
 
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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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Hi Dan,

WHY NOT GO FOR GMT's COMBAT COMMANDER??!!

It has elements of Card driven as well as Squad leader / Lock 'n Load and is far less difficult.

In my opinion it is the perfect hybrid between Memoir '44 and Squad Leader / LnL.

Once you have played Combat Commander and want more realism you can alwys consider SL of LnL but I think you will stick to Combat Commander!
 
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Luca Iennaco
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TedTorgerson wrote:
Oh boy I know your kid is smart, but these games are really tough to learn. Have you thought about a game with minis like Descent?


Seconded.
 
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Dow Jones
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Lock & Load: band of Heroes. it's a WW2 game it covers Normady tactial level battles. L&L is simple yet fun. Go to Matrix games site. There is a viewable demo of how this game plays out a turn.

The maps are mounted and well done great art on counters as well

DJ
 
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Mark Humphries
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I would recommend taking a look at the "What is ASL" pdf file http://www.vftt.co.uk/whatsasl.pdf

It introduces the core ASL infantry rules, and even includes an 8.5x11 color map and color counters for an introductory scenario.
 
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