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Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #1» Forums » Variants

Subject: Solitaire ASL Bot rss

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Peter Kossits
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Have you ever wished you could sit down and play a few turns of ASL after dinner and a hard day's work? You could head over to VASL and hunt up a game, but you don't want to spend 3-4 hours playing, you just want to play for a little while. There's PBEM, but it always takes so long to see what happened after you send in your moves and the chances of errors and having to redo parts of the move over again is a little high. You have SASL, but that's a ton of additional rules and charts and depending on how the rolls go, you might spend most of your evening with your nose in the rulebook reading up on stuff you don't use very often. You just want to play a few turns of your favorite scenario but don't like playing both sides yourself.

You're in luck! This card driven solitaire system can take the place of a regular opponent and will play either side of every scenario in Starter Kit #1 (eventually, but not quite yet).

====================================

I've been working on this for a couple of weeks and thought I would make it available for people to fool around with if they like. The rules still need some illustrated examples and some of the SK scenarios need to be checked out, but so far I've played both sides of Retaking Vierville and War Of The Rats several times by using this system and it's working out well. I have Simple Equation set up now and don't see any problems with that one either.

Cards and Rules
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ssr1rray8ktwp7g/AACVTa_wDgeXdfSqY...

==================================

And credit where credit is due. I began work on this after seeing what an immersive experience the Solo Expansion for Conflict Of Heroes resulted in. I bought CoH quite a while ago, but it never really felt good playing solo and I put it aside. Then the solo expansion came out recently and it is amazing. The problem for me was that the scenarios were a little on the small side and I always wanted more pieces to play with.

I tried to capture the same feel of suspense when flipping a card over for the bot that I got from CoH and I think I succeeded pretty well.

===============================

There will be a session report for Retaking Vierville versus the bot posted in the Sessions folder along with annotated VASL logs to help people out. The first installment hasn't been approved yet, but should be soon. I plan on posting one turn every day for the next 4 days.
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R. Marsh
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Um, heck yes! I'll be giving this a try over the weekend. Thanks for sharing!
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Christopher Taylor
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Gary Krockover
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Peter,

Once you've finalized the cards and if you'd like, I'd be happy to make a pdf with a spruced up set of the cards for you. These would be ones that someone could have printed at artscow or the like.
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Peter Kossits
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Hi Gary,

Much appreciated. Yes, definitely!
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Jack Barnette
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This is great! Thank you!
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Peter Kossits
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jrrb2k wrote:
This is great! Thank you!


My pleasure. Looking forward to reading some session reports.
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Pete Frederick
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Very awesome Peter. Thank you for taking the initiative. I was hoping someone could figure a "Bot" out for ASL. This may be the right path for it. Very excited.
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Gary Krockover
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Peter: A question on the "Risky" moves. How are you indicating or remembering if a unit made a risky move the previous turn/time?

Also, and I'm just curious, but is there any calculations to the cards? Meaning did you specifically assign a certain target or move type if the firepower needed to equal or exceed "x" amount (for example)? The reason why I ask is I can database and make a web app for the cards but was thinking that if the cards are all purely random values, I could just have the program randomly determine each value while keeping the Target Types and the Movement Types unique in each "draw". This way, there would be an unlimited amount of "cards" (in fact, no cards at all which would prevent a player from "card counting" as it where - for example realizing that both the 8+ firepower cards had been drawn this half turn).
 
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Peter Kossits
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Hi Gary,

GaryJK wrote:
Peter: A question on the "Risky" moves. How are you indicating or remembering if a unit made a risky move the previous turn/time?


Don't do that. Previous move means the last unit that you just moved, not the previous move for the unit you are trying to process.

The thinking is that since you are processing units in stacks, there is a chance that moving units are leaving from the same hex just used by the last unit. If the last guy to leave the hex tried a risky move and is still in good shape, then the bot thinks that things are not so dangerous after all and will try another risky move, possibly even using the same path as the last guy. If the last unit got shot up, then the bot has a higher chance of playing it safer for the current unit.

Mimics human behavior a little bit I think.

I realize that two bot moves have a chance of taking place in wildly different areas of the map and it might not always make logical sense, but it's simple this way and is working out pretty well so far in all my playtests.

GaryJK wrote:
Also, and I'm just curious, but is there any calculations to the cards?


There's no real science between the combinations that appear on a single card (so far). I never said to myself "this card is an 8FP, so the Target Types should be X and Y". So yes, an app is perfectly feasible if you want to do it - just respect the distributions of each possibility for each of the 4 categories for your random choice. Later on though, I may have something where I change the bot's behavior for a specific scenario by removing/adding cards and I may have to rethink things a bit.

If the deck composition doesn't change I may double/triple that set of cards to form a 40 or 60 card deck. That will help with the card counting as well as making it easier to shuffle. I'm thinking about adding a "Reshuffle the deck" card in as well, but am hesitating because it really disrupts flow of play (see Fields Of Fire).

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Ruben Rigillo
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It's amazing how the CoH Solo expansion inspired so much players of other tactical systems.
Lock 'n Load is about to release their solo system CoH based, after a fan user tried it. And now ASLSK.
It's time to open that box.....
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Jason Kruse
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Intrigued by your ideas. I found that rolling 2d10 (one red die, one white die) and using one die as the ten's and one die as the ones works fairly well as you then don't have to mess with cards or reshuffle. Simply ascribe each card a number beginning with 1-5, 6-10 etc. so that if you rolled 34 (red die 3, white die 4) you would consult the 31-35 card.
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Peter Kossits
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You can do that too. But flipping the card and seeing the result immediately is much more suspenseful/exicitng for me. Part of the reason I did this is to get away from things like SASL chart lookups. Hated it. I'm trying not to have any charts at all - although there is one for CC.

You only have to shuffle once every player turn for the most part, so that's every 10-15 mins.

==============

Seems that people are trying to get away from the cards. I just printed them up on normal printer paper, cut them and I can still do a riffle shuffle fairly easily. You can also sleeve 20 cards off a normal deck of playing cards and slide these inside.
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Gary Krockover
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Cards would be my preference for when I use it with the actual boardgame but if I try it via VASSAL, I'd have the database (or spreadsheet or similar) open on my 2nd screen while using VASL.
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Peter Kossits
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I was just wondering if any SASLers could refresh me on what the procedure was for FPF in that module. I lost my SASL stuff in a hurried house move a few years back. I remember something about checking if you would get a result on the IFT if you rolled the firing unit's morale (basically, do you have a statistical edge on the shot), but I seem to remember there being a pre-FPF check? I don't need the details - I just want to know if the chances go up as the enemy units moving adjacent start to pile up.

Has anyone else played a game using the bot yet? Just curious. I just played turn 4 of the match I'm posting, and I am getting a royal butt kicking. And I do play half-decently. Honestly. At least I thought so up until now. whistle

I'll be getting v0.3 of the rules posted before the weekend.
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Gary Krockover
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This might be what you're looking for Peter:

Quote:
8.613 Final Protective Fire: An ENEMY unit eligible for FPF vs an ADJACENT Target uses such only if it passes a NTC, using the Target's TEM and any FFMO/FFNAM modifiers as TC DRM [EXC: if Panicked; 6.212].



EX: A FRIENDLY non-berserk squad uses non-Assault Movement to enter a wooden building Location ADJACENT to an ENEMY squad marked with CX and First Fire markers. The ENEMY squad must conduct Final Fire at the FRIENDLY squad (8.61). If this attack fails to cause the FRIENDLY unit to lose its Good Order status the ENEMY squad then takes a TC in order to make a FPF attack (since the Target used two MF to enter the ADJACENT building Location), with a +1 DRM to its TC (+2 building TEM; -1 FFNAM; the +1 for CX does not apply as it is not a TEM). Failure of the FPF TC has no effect other than to disallow the FPF attack by that ENEMY unit vs that specific Target.
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Gary Krockover
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peterk1 wrote:


Has anyone else played a game using the bot yet? Just curious. I just played turn 4 of the match I'm posting, and I am getting a royal butt kicking. And I do play half-decently. Honestly. At least I thought so up until now. whistle

I'll be getting v0.3 of the rules posted before the weekend.


Definitely on my "to-do" list for the weekend. Looking forward to 0.3 of the rules!
 
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Peter Kossits
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As always, thank you for getting that for me.
That's a nice elegant little rule. I probably won't use it though because the FP on the card that gets flipped is sort of serving the same purpose. I think the time to start considering FPF is once you realize that so many guys are moving adjacent, that you can't win the CC any more.

GaryJK wrote:
This might be what you're looking for Peter:

8.613 Final Protective Fire: An ENEMY unit eligible for FPF vs an ADJACENT Target uses such only if it passes a NTC, using the Target's TEM and any FFMO/FFNAM modifiers as TC DRM [EXC: if Panicked; 6.212].
 
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Jason Kruse
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Thanks again for sharing your design. Please consider posting a turn or two using your BOT via video/Youtube.
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Peter Kossits
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JASONMKRUSE wrote:
Thanks again for sharing your design. Please consider posting a turn or two using your BOT via video/Youtube.


I'm posting VASL logs for an entire game over in the sessions folder. It's a little easier that way - you don't have to suffer through watching me do LOS checks and I don't have to suffer through editing video, which I don't enjoy that much.

However, if you do a Screaming Eagles avatar for me I'll consider doing a quick video once I get some nicer looking cards ready. devil
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Jason Kruse
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The video you will be doing doesn't have to be elaborate, just half a turn showing your ingenuity in action. I'm sincerely curious and taken in by your clever bot system.
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Peter Kossits
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Thanks Jason, That looks great! I'll probably just use the game I'm playing on VASL right now for a vid. i'll see what I can come up with, but in the meantime I'd just give it a try - it's pretty easy.
 
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Markus Klaas
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Hi Peter,

thanks for sharing this - I am extremely curious how you did this for ASL...

I am already using the CoH Bot for CC games - which also works well.

Hope to come back to you soon - with 1 or 2 games played solo!

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Markus Broecker
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Hey Peter,

I took your bot for a spin today at 'Retaking Vierville' -- in fact, your bot made me break out ASLSK again! I made it through 3 turns with the bot playing the US and firmly holding onto the objective hexes.

The rules overhead is small enough that I actually used the bot to learn the ASLSK rules! Thumbs up for that alone!

At first I thought the cards were a bit on the small side but once glued onto cardboard (cut up a cereal box) they were fine. I actually prefer the cards more than rolling on a table.

I have some questions though:
Your rules just say to 'compare the card's FP value'. That should be clearer; especially, what happens if the condition is not true. Also, do I use the same card for all stacks or do I draw one card per stack?

The cards list two locations to move to and two targets. Is this a priority? Eg try the first, if not possible, try the next?

The bot does not deploy smoke during movement -- that could be an addition to the cards. Eg risky movement & smoke exponent >2: try to deploy smoke.

Card #6 -- move type: "Risky if Last Move Risky & Last Unit Good Order" What is the move type if this condition is not met?

Anyway, great work so far and I'm looking forward to the 0.3 rules.
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Peter Kossits
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Hi Markus,


mbroecker wrote:

The rules overhead is small enough that I actually used the bot to learn the ASLSK rules! Thumbs up for that alone!


Excellent. It's nice to hear that it's not to difficult for a beginner to the game to use. That was one of my goals.

mbroecker wrote:

I have some questions though:
Your rules just say to 'compare the card's FP value'. That should be clearer; especially, what happens if the condition is not true. Also, do I use the same card for all stacks or do I draw one card per stack?


Can you point me to the place that was confusing? If I look at PFPh, for example, I say to draw a card, look at the firepower value, then try to form a shot using it, and the next sections have steps for what to do if you can't make a shot.

You definitely draw a new card for each stack.

mbroecker wrote:

The cards list two locations to move to and two targets. Is this a priority? Eg try the first, if not possible, try the next?


Exactly. It's more "use these in order to bring the possibilities down". If the first value results in there being only one possibility then you don't have to use the second value. If there are still more than one possibility then you would try adding the 2nd criteria to filter out a little more. So you wouldn't throw the first value in the garbage if you use the second one.

As an example if I have Target Type Leader/Closest, I check for all stacks with leaders that the bot's stack can shoot at. If there are more than one, then I would pick the closest but I am still trying to shoot at a hex with a leader. If there's still more than one target then you do RS.

mbroecker wrote:

The bot does not deploy smoke during movement -- that could be an addition to the cards. Eg risky movement & smoke exponent >2: try to deploy smoke.


Yes, it does. There's currently a badly worded rule in the Bot's MPh section. It is in entry #5 that gives the impression that I want smoke to be possible on almost every shot.

You have pretty much guessed the way I want it to happen. If you take a shot on a bot unit:
o with a smoke exponent
o moving in open ground
o it is a Risky Move type
o he has at least 1MF left
Then he will try to use a smoke grenade to ruin your shot. If a stack is moving where more than one MMC has a smoke exponent, then each MMC can try without spending more MF until a 6 is rolled and movement for the stack stops or they successfully get their smoke.

mbroecker wrote:

Card #6 -- move type: "Risky if Last Move Risky & Last Unit Good Order" What is the move type if this condition is not met?


Always cautious is the default.

v0.3 should be coming out in a few hours.

Glad you enjoyed it. Now try switching sides or try War Of The Rats! I've found that the bot can defend competently as well as attack.
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