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Subject: Difficulty of alsk rss

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Nicholas Ghanayem
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I have experience with strategic wargames, and a little bit of experience with panzer grenadier. My question is how difficult would it be to learn aslsk 1?
 
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Runs with scissors
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Try reading Jay Richardson's tutorial and see if it makes sense to you. That will give you a flavor.

Jay Richardsons ASL Starter Kit tutorials properly typeset for printing

Don't get scared by the length, this tutorial is for all three starter kits. The first 60 pages are for starter kit one and it's long because it has lots of examples.

For me the Starter Kit #1 was pretty intuitive, I taught a friend the basics in about 30 minutes. The rulebook for starter kit #1 is 12 pages. Things start getting more complicated in kits #2 & #3. The hardest part is remembering all the acronyms. I already owned the rulebook, so I printed copies those pages with the definitions and kept them handy while I went through the tutorial.

I consider it easier than some of the more abstract euros because the steps in the turn make sense to me intuitively, but YMMV.

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Peter Kossits
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It's not that difficult a game - once you get used to it, you'll pretty much be able to play instinctively without referring to the rules, just like you do chess.

That said, there are many layers, and lots of things that can happen in rapid succession and it takes a bit of practice to begin to do things almost perfectly. I think you almost have to practice playing a little bit every day at the beginning, and read sections of the rules constantly.

You almost need to have an experienced player keep an eye on things at first. You should try to get an email game or two going, or watch a game or go through some VASL logs to double-check that you understand what is happening. You don't want to pick up bad habits/mistakes at first that take a long time to correct.
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Robin Reeve
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peterk1 wrote:
It's not that difficult a game - once you get used to it, you'll pretty much be able to play instinctively without referring to the rules, just like you do chess.

That said, there are many layers, and lots of things that can happen in rapid succession and it takes a bit of practice to begin to do things almost perfectly. I think you almost have to practice playing a little bit every day at the beginning, and read sections of the rules constantly.

You almost need to have an experienced player keep an eye on things at first. You should try to get an email game or two going, or watch a game or go through some VASL logs to double-check that you understand what is happening. You don't want to pick up bad habits/mistakes at first that take a long time to correct.
Ditto.
Finding an experienced opponent, Face-to-Face or online (Gamesquad forums is the best place to find one) really helps.
Many players are ready to help newcomers.
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Akiva
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The difficulty of ASL, the Starter Kits and the actual rulebook, is kind of a self-feeding mythology. People see the length of the rules and/or they see the language of the rules and just assume that it's a difficult game; but it really isn't true. The rules themselves are not only quite basic, they're, as pointed out above, intuitive. What people assume is difficulty is just the fact that ASL leaves no stone unturned; to be more precise, if there's a situation, there's a rule for it but you do not need to know that rule until that situation arises and calls for it. Basically, the rules are both the rules and the rules lawyer. It's funny to me that people have no problem playing an RPG which often has a greater page count than ASL (D&D, for instance, just begins at a 320 page rule book with many more to follow) but then accuse ASL of having too many rules.

The difference, I believe, is that ASL has no time for the chore of dissent. It wants you to play the game and not waste time discussing the game. My favorite example is Dash. It's one of the base rules and covers the situation where you have a unit that is under cover and wants to move out of that cover, across a hex of zero cover, and back into cover. Basically, you're in the woods (or behind a building) and you want to cross a road back into the woods (or behind a different building). Yes, there is a rule for that. There's no question; no argument; no discussion to be had. There's a rule for it and when you read it, it totally makes sense.

The genius of ASL (and the SKs, naturally) is that every rule you come across covers something you would have come up with on your own, as a house rule, to cover a specific situation. Every rule in ASL is specific, sometimes laughingly so*, but they are all reasonable.

*I was friends with Gary Gygax during the Dangerous Journeys era with GDW. He was very well aware of his ... verbal legacy and wrote into the rules a very specific description of a rock as a weapon. He described it as if no one had seen a rock before or how it could be used to harm someone else. It was almost Kaufmanesque, the level of self-honed deprecation just for a laugh. If you find that amusing, then ASL is the game for you; if not, you may have to work at it; and if not even that, you can at least say you tried. I'm saying you should try because it's a great game and the community around it is incredibly friendly and dedicated and made up of some very, very smart people. Best of luck!

Good lord am I verbose.
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Carlos Roig
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I really think that ASL is not a difficult game to learn. Not just that. I think that is an easy game to learn.

ASL has a lot of rules that you need to know, but you don't need to "understand". A lot of small and little rules.+

There are lots of other much more complicated games where you really need to understand how everything works. That does not happen in ASL. You UNDERSTAND everything from the first minute, you just only need to LEARN how much you can move, how long you can fire, why you cannot see a squad, why you cannot enter in a building, etc, etc.
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Ruben Rigillo
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Whar Akiva et alt Said. ASL is depicted as a huge monster hard to win. It is not. It needs time to learn but it is definitely manageable. The most important thing is NOT to know every single rules (they are a lot indeed) , but WHERE to find it when you need it.
I just stepped into full ASL from SK and I regret all the time I lost because "they" said it is a too complex game.
It is a very enjoyable reading instead!!!
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Greg Campagna
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As someone who is also intrigued by ASLSK#1, I can recommend the "learning game playthroughs" posted on YouTube by Late Night Gamer and Counter Attack.
In both cases these are very well-explained introductions to the game for those who are considering picking it up.

The game is now at the top of my wishlist.






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Dave W
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I find that the concepts in ASL(SK) are pretty straightforward. What I sometimes find difficult is the all the details, nuances, special cases, and interactions. For example, I understand that there is a turn-by-turn process to call in OBA and to correct it, which is intuitive, but it took me a while to figure out the difference between FFE:1, FFE:2, and FFE:C.

That's just one little example, but the other thing about ASL is that it is very vast. Multiply each of these mechanics you have to learn across the vastness of ASL, and I think this is why it takes a while to master. The SKs are a good way to master the vastness -- at first, the infantry and MG scenarios seem hard, but then they add guns and TH, the AFVs, and then OBA.
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Robin Reeve
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Happily, the second edition rulebook comes with an OBA Flowchart, as well as an OVR one, and an extended rout example.
They really help understand some of the less easy aspects of the rule.
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