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Subject: Don't Be Intimidated rss

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Brian Blad
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Advanced Squad Leader Rules, a Three Ring Binder filled with more than 100 pages of material. You're freaking out thinking what the crap was I thinking! This is way too much, too time consuming, too complicated! I'm crazy!

NO! You're not, and it's not that complicated. Really it's not.

The ASL Rulebook is divided into chapters and includes:

Chapter A - Infantry
Chapter B Terrain
Chapter C Guns
Chapter D Tanks
Chapter E Night, airlanding, weather, and more
Chapter H Historical information on Tanks and Guns by Nationality and design your own information so you can create your own scenarios.

The Rulebook is three-ring because you will add additional sections to it as you purchase additional game modules, Desert Rules, Pacific Theater Rules, and more.

Please note that you can not play ASL with just the rulebook unless you are going to be playing with someone who owns the game modules. The rulebook is just that, a rulebook. In order to play the game you will need to purchase at least one of the game modules that are available in order to get maps, counters, and scenarios to play.


Sounds like a lot to learn and it is. However, the basic concepts of the game can literally be learned in an hour. The basic rules take up a small amount of space. The cases and examples that deal with exceptions, and adjustments depending on terrain, weather, etc. are what take up a large portion of the rules.

The Rulebook is currently in it's second edition and includes clarifications on items from the the fisrt edition, larger fonts, and extensive examples of play to help new and grog alike better grasp the concepts presented. There is additional help in learning to play ASL through the ASL Internet Mailing List, The ASL Forums, Various conventions and tournaments around the world, as well as online play through VASL.ORG. Don't be intimidated, it is not difficult to learn to play, although it is difficult to master. If you are truly a wargamer and want an amazing experience set in WW2 at the squaf level this is the game system for you.

Yes, ASL is the most extensive SQUAD level game in existence. There is a ton of chrome, all included to give you a solid feel for Squad level tactics in World War 2.

ASL is flexible enough that there have been products produced that cover The Spanish Civil War, The First First French-Indo China Conflict in Vietnam, The first Arab-Israeli War, Korea, and there are other projects in the works. There are thousands of published scenarios, both official and third party that will keep even the most dedicated player busy for several lifetimes. There truly is not enough time for anyone to play everything that has been published for use with the ASL Rulebook and Module System.

It seems pricey at first, but trust me, the hours of entertainment will more than pay you back, especially if you compare playing ASL with a friend to the cost of going to or renting/buying movies, purchasing books and music CD's. ASL is a system that constantly provides new challenges and oportunities and there is a world wide community of players eager to help you learn the system and play the game with you.



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Jorge Montero
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Get a geek badge in 3 easy steps:

1-Write a decent article that should go into the 'general' forum
2-Post it as a review.
3-Go to 1.
 
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Brian Blad
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Actually I was not trying for a geek badge, don't have one actually and am away away from being able to purchase one. did not know I could instantly earn one based on reviews in the general forum.

As for not commenting on the game play itself, I was reviewing the rule book not the entire system. Since BGG keeps each of the products separate and there are reviews on a lot of the modules, I felt that this was the best way to review just the rulebook and give some insights to the game.
If you'd like me to write another review discussing the gameplay in detail, I'd be glad to. Just let me know.
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Lighten up. No, it wasn't a review, but he wrote more text (and more intelligently thought out text) than half the reviews out there.

If it were just someone looking for a lazy badge, it could be obtained in a lot easier way than that.

EDIT: Okay, on second look, the Pig game review was kind of sad.
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Ken B.
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Quote:
NO! You're not, and it's not that complicated. Really it's not.



Yes, it is. I've read excerpts from the rule book and it's practically undecipherable for the uninitiated.


I mean, it's okay for fans of ASL to like it, even love it. But I often wonder why they feel compelled to claim loudly, "It isn't that complicated!" Either they are in denial, or are so steeped in the rules of ASL they have no perspective on how complex it really is.



"Not that complicated" would be the Columbia block games, as a reference point.
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Michel Boucher
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franklincobb wrote:
Quote:
NO! You're not, and it's not that complicated. Really it's not.


Yes, it is. I've read excerpts from the rule book and it's practically undecipherable for the uninitiated.


The solution is simple. Buy and play the Starter Kits instead. Each one has a complete set of rules (under 20 pages with lots of graphic examples), six to eight scenarios, required maps and counters. I read the rules then played a scenario from start to finish.

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Slyvanian Frog
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franklincobb wrote:
Quote:
NO! You're not, and it's not that complicated. Really it's not.



Yes, it is. I've read excerpts from the rule book and it's practically undecipherable for the uninitiated.


I mean, it's okay for fans of ASL to like it, even love it. But I often wonder why they feel compelled to claim loudly, "It isn't that complicated!" Either they are in denial, or are so steeped in the rules of ASL they have no perspective on how complex it really is.



"Not that complicated" would be the Columbia block games, as a reference point.


Because once you've played actual wargames for a few years (no, not Euro games like Twilight Imperium that pretend to be wargames, but actual wargames), the stuff becomes second nature and it really is not that complicated, because you are so used to all of the conventions. You actually (I believe) forget how you learned the stuff gradually itself, and how difficult it is for someone completely new to the genre to learn cold.
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Jim Cote
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Wargames are different from Euro games. They have hundres of rules, not a dozen. They have so many concepts that rather than spelling each one out every time, it's better to use an acronym. Once you internalize the concepts, the acronyms almost become symbolic. You don't even have to remember the words any more, just the meaning.

When I started learning ASL SK#1 not too long ago, the following paragraph would have been gibberish:

"Any unit entering (or expending MF in) a location containing a Residual FP counter is attacked on the IFT with the FP represented by that counter, a new IFT DR, TEM of the target location, and any applicable FFMO/FFNAM DRM. A unit expending MF to leave a location is not subject to Residual FP attack in the location it is leaving."

Now it makes perfect sense, and I find it very readable.

If ASL rules were written conversationally as a learning aid, they would be 10x as long. You only learn the game once, but you will refer to the rules 100's of times. Believe me, they are better the way they are. If you are not willing to stomach the initial learning curve, then ASL is probably not the game for you.
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Ken B.
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Quote:
They have hundres of rules, not a dozen.



My point exactly.


My statement wasn't a bash on ASL at all, merely the notion that it isn't complicated. It is. That's fine, you know? But to try and tell people it ISN'T complicated is a disservice to someone who wouldn't otherwise want to get into something quite so complex.


Nothing I'm saying is intended to be negative. Merely that there's no need to say that this game isn't complex when it clearly is, that's all. To say otherwise is fairly misleading.
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Jay Richardson
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The complexity issue is not as simple as it seems...

The ASL rules are fiercely complicated, even for experienced wargamers. When I bought the ASL rulebook in 1986, I had been playing complicated wargames for over 15 years... but even so (and similar to Jim's experience) I felt I was reading a book written in a foreign language. I was just stunned! This puts ASL in a class of its own: I don't know of any other game with rules this difficult to read... nothing else even comes close.

But the game play itself, once you learn it, is not really complicated at all, which I think is the point that Brian was making in his review. I've never had any problem with taking people who have never played anything more complicated than Risk and getting them involved in a game of ASL. As long as at least ONE player understands the rules, and is willing to be a teacher, just about anyone can play ASL (even the full game) and enjoy the experience. Of course, when you are teaching a new player, you do choose scenarios that do not use the many special rules... and playing one game of ASL does not guarantee that the new player will ever want to play again.

It is the quality of the game play, the elegance and the immersiveness, that keeps ASL as popular as it is, even 20 years after its introduction, and with increasing competition from newer, simpler game systems. Those of us who love the game do so in spite of its unavoidably complicated rules; and NOT because of them. Once you learn the game, much of that complexity disappears.

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Stephen Stewart
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richfam wrote:
The complexity issue is not as simple as it seems...

The ASL rules are fiercely complicated, even for experienced wargamers. When I bought the ASL rulebook in 1986, I had been playing complicated wargames for over 15 years... but even so (and similar to Jim's experience) I felt I was reading a book written in a foreign language. I was just stunned! This puts ASL in a class of its own: I don't know of any other game with rules this difficult to read... nothing else even comes close.

But the game play itself, once you learn it, is not really complicated at all, which I think is the point that Brian was making in his review.



Agreed!

Any newbies out there...just remember, DON'T spend 30 minutes digging in the rulebook for some obscure ruling. Go with the flow, then after the game, GO BACK AND CHECK IT.
1) It will SPEED up play.
2) you won't feel stupid when you dont' know a rule. No one does even after playing all the scenarios. IF they do know them all hide your children from them. (that part was a joke for you Ubergeeks)
3) you will "research" the rule, and when doing so will come across 500 other rules you will learn.
4) ROLL the DICE first! then check the confusing modifiers. An 10, 11 or 12 will usually miss.
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Nelson Moutinho
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franklincobb wrote:


But I often wonder why they feel compelled to claim loudly, "It isn't that complicated!" Either they are in denial, or are so steeped in the rules of ASL they have no perspective on how complex it really is.

"Not that complicated" would be the Columbia block games, as a reference point.


I would even arugue that Columbia's games are not the reference point. Perhaps Memoir 44... or Risk...


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