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Subject: Which way to jump? rss

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Paul Curlin
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To Starter Kit or not to Starter Kit?

I have just received ASL Starter Kit 1 and a small 4 scenario pack. I am barely scratching the surface of the ASL juggernaut but am wondering if I should just go ahead and get the main ASL rule book and Beyond Valor. Instead of investing time with the Starter editions and then possibly switching to the Advanced options would it be better to wade right in?

Things I assume:

1. Some but not all I learn in the Starter Kits(SK) will carry on to the full game. There seems to be some firing rules etc that change between the SKs to the fuller edition?

2. More scenarios and nationalities and fuller O.B.s are available with full ASL.

3. If I am swift enough intellectually to pick up the SK rules I can pick up the full ASL rules. (Yes that is a big assumption )

4. Full ASL will burn a much bigger hole in my pocket.

5. I do 98% of my gaming solo, though I have heard of vassal and that could possibly be an option.

Feel free to point out the pros and cons and thank you in advance for taking the time to give some input.

Thank you much,
Paul(Mmookk61)
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Jay Richardson
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Paul Curlin wrote:
1. Some but not all I learn in the Starter Kits(SK) will carry on to the full game. There seems to be some firing rules etc that change between the SKs to the fuller edition?

The ASLSK rules are a subset of the full ASL rules, so most everything you learn in ASLSK will carry on to ASL. A few ASLSK rules will change slightly in ASL, and many will be expanded (example: routing units never surrender in ASLSK, but they might in ASL).

Paul Curlin wrote:
2. More scenarios and nationalities and fuller O.B.s are available with full ASL.

Yes!

Paul Curlin wrote:
3. If I am swift enough intellectually to pick up the SK rules I can pick up the full ASL rules. (Yes that is a big assumption )

Yes... but learning ASL from scratch poses a much bigger challenge. Learning ASLSK is much easier, and it then makes learning ASL easier.

Paul Curlin wrote:
4. Full ASL will burn a much bigger hole in my pocket.

Oh yes!

Paul Curlin wrote:
5. I do 98% of my gaming solo, though I have heard of vassal and that could possibly be an option.

ASLSK works slightly better for solitaire gamers, as there isn't nearly as many concealed/hidden units are there are in full ASL. That said, a dedicated player can certainly play full ASL solitaire.

Vassal is very popular with both ASLSK & ASL players, so you'll have no trouble finding opponents if you want to try it out.
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Stephen Stewart
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Solo players in ASL is a choice not a result of not finding players.

Regardless of your work schedule...

I've had plenty of Aus/NZ opponents. based on my Graveyard schedule years ago...

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Gary Logs
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Might help if you can describe the wargames you are calibrated to over the years. I assume no Squad leader?
 
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Jeff Thompson
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mmookk61 wrote:
To Starter Kit or not to Starter Kit?

I have just received ASL Starter Kit 1 and a small 4 scenario pack. I am barely scratching the surface of the ASL juggernaut but am wondering if I should just go ahead and get the main ASL rule book and Beyond Valor. Instead of investing time with the Starter editions and then possibly switching to the Advanced options would it be better to wade right in?

Things I assume:


Never assume.

mmookk61 wrote:

1. Some but not all I learn in the Starter Kits(SK) will carry on to the full game. There seems to be some firing rules etc that change between the SKs to the fuller edition?


I would say most but not all. Firing rules? I'm not sure of any differences. Perhaps some rules are left out of SK1 because the counters/weapons involved are not included. If anything some aspects may be left out, but I'm not sure you'll have to unlearn anything.

mmookk61 wrote:

2. More scenarios and nationalities and fuller O.B.s are available with full ASL.


Correct. For all practical purposes an infinite number of scenarios (and they keep designing more).

mmookk61 wrote:

3. If I am swift enough intellectually to pick up the SK rules I can pick up the full ASL rules. (Yes that is a big assumption )


Yes, big. The full ASL rules are not "picked up", but absorbed over time. I have read the ASLRB a number of times. And even when I played a lot I would refer to the rules during a game. These rules lookups were usually not "can" I do something but some subtle modifier that might sway me in my quest to answer "should" I do something. And of course in a more casual setting or time sensitive setting I'd make my decisions without looking up rules.

Playing solo and or via VASL (by email for sure) you can take your time and look up those rules and understand the situations in detail. This is an excellent way to learn the game. There is no doubt that you will receive a number of offers to play a learning game, probably right in this thread.

Hey, do you want to play a game via VASL?

mmookk61 wrote:

4. Full ASL will burn a much bigger hole in my pocket.


Remember, though, that ASL is the Honda of boardgames. I wouldn't call it a financial investment, but you aren't really losing money either. I have no idea the cost as I have all the original modules and haven't purchased anything new since AP #5 or so.

mmookk61 wrote:

5. I do 98% of my gaming solo, though I have heard of vassal and that could possibly be an option.


See #3 above. If you teach yourself via solo play you will learn something incorrectly. It's not a matter of being smart, it's just a matter of size. If you learn SK first, it will likely be easier to step up to ASL from there. It's not necessary because I did it, and most of the people I know that play did it. (No SK in the 90s)

Setting up and playing ASL scenarios solo is a rewarding experience if you enjoy that type of thing (some don't, I do in small doses). VASL is an amazing way to play both live and "PBeM" (aka using log files). It is not difficult to learn either.

I hope that answered some of your questions.

My advice (for what it's worth) is that starting with the SK gives the advantage of "trying before you buy". You will get the experience of ASL. The next question is do you go to SK2 and then SK3 before heading straight to ASL? Honestly I think if you are playing the infantry scenarios and you want more (Snipers, concealment, bypass movement, et al) or are even just curious what more is, get the ASLRB and BV. You will not regret it. There are plenty of scenarios that use only the most basic rules (which are still quite a bit more than SK).

If you then decide that ASL is for you, then you can skip SK2 and SK3. If you decide ASL is not for you, then you can sell your ASLRB and BV for close to even money and then maybe go for SK2 and SK3 as your interest dictates.

But I would bet real money that I know what's going to happen.

But seriously once you get either SK or ASLRB/BV and want to try out VASL, give me a shout here on BGG and we can set something up.

Enjoy the rest of the responses!
 
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Brian Sielski
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Jump into ASL ....

You read just as much with the different starter kits as you would the regular rules.

Look at it this way ... Play infantry only first with only MGs. You read chapter A and blow past all the support weapons. And then just read the chapter B sections on terrain that are applicable.

Play that and expand when ready to chapter C.

Then expand to Chapter D.

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Yogi Bear
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I am starting down this road myself, and am both a semi-veteran wargamer and also an OCD collector. I started with Starter Kit #1, but quickly bought the full rule book to use as a reference tool and to skim for the heck of it. I have also started buying core modules and such because I cannot stop myself.

Almost everyone agrees that Starter Kit #1 is the best place to start, but opinions diverge from there. If you have access to a local group of ASL opponents, most seem to believe your best bet is to get the rule book next (possibly along with Beyond Valor) and begin playing full ASL games with experienced players. If you don't have a ready source of opponents, you can try VASL (if you like it). If you don't have FtF opponents and don't enjoy VASL, then you will be learning solitaire, in which case I would suggest getting both Starter Kit #2 and #3. Only after mastering those would I jump to full ASL.

Even though I have been buying most of the modules, I enjoy solitaire gaming and do not have time to enjoy FtF ASL (I also play miniatures, and use my free time for that). ASL is basically going to become my solitaire game of choice, so I am going to stick with the Starter Kits until I have worked through all of them. But, from skimming the full rule book, I cannot wait to play full games using bypass movement, taking prisoners, and all those other intricacies. That is why I sold my Combat Commander collection and have moved on.
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Yogi Bear
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I think my whole post boils down to "buy everything" and play it all!
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Paul Curlin
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I think so far I am leaning toward learning SK1 for infantry and basics then jumping into the full rules etc. A gamer wants what a gamer wants
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Paul Curlin
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ncree wrote:
Might help if you can describe the wargames you are calibrated to over the years. I assume no Squad leader?


Good question Some 40 years ago when I was a teenager I was able to actually work my way up to The Highway to the Reich solo, on a ping pong table. Over the years I have wasted a lot of time on CCGs and computer games. I am now slowly buying back into some of the game types I miss but haven't played much yet.

I use to be an SPI kind of guy but now GMT, Compass Games and MMP are the kind of game companies that are siren calling me.

I mainly need to re-learn how to learn a new game.
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Gary Logs
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mmookk61 wrote:
ncree wrote:
Might help if you can describe the wargames you are calibrated to over the years. I assume no Squad leader?


Good question Some 40 years ago when I was a teenager I was able to actually work my way up to The Highway to the Reich solo, on a ping pong table. Over the years I have wasted a lot of time on CCGs and computer games. I am now slowly buying back into some of the game types I miss but haven't played much yet.

I use to be an SPI kind of guy but now GMT, Compass Games and MMP are the kind of game companies that are siren calling me.

I mainly need to re-learn how to learn a new game.


I think you are right to start with ASLSK1. Then get infected by the bug and see where it leads. I will admit I've spent less time on ASL as I've gotten older, primary reason has been being a mostly solo player (double the AP risk), counter stack densities, and time for rules refreshing. I'm also not a VASSAL type (which surely opens up a world of play) but I will say that the "bug" to set up and play ASL has never left (I love reading the unit/scenario intricacies and chapter H notes). The battle of table space with "newer" acquisitions seems to be the main enemy. For now anyway...whistle

You'll do well with the ASLSK intro.
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Todd Pytel
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There's essentially zero relearning required going from SK1 to full ASL. SK1 is extremely close to a strict subset of the ASLRB. You just have to learn Guns and Tanks from the ASLRB, along with the extra infantry rules (Bypass, etc.). SK2/3 are still technically subsets of the full rules, but they're explained in a different way (tables of individual units instead of generic tables and modifiers). If you do SK2/3 before full ASL, you'll spend some time relearning different versions of rules for the same ultimate effect. It's not a huge deal in the long run, but I don't feel SK2/3 are nearly as necessary as SK1.

IMO, if you've played SK1 and really enjoy it, just buy the ASLRB and BV. It will certainly cost a bit more upfront, but SK2/3 are nearly deadend investments financially.
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Marc Hanna
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Don't waste your time with any ASLSK. Why? Because thousands learned how to play the game without it before they came out with ASLSK 20 years after original publication of the game. It's absolutely unnecessary to do that transition from ASLSK to ASL. Now, you have players who only play starter kit. Don't risk it

However, that being said, you will have trouble finding modules, as many need to be reprinted. There are other threads out there that discuss this unfortunate issue.

Whatever you decide, good luck.

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Adam Lunney
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Find someone to play with - live or on VASSAL/VASL and go for full ASL.

They will help you. Skype is your friend. I play against people from all over the world.
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Gordon Watson
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ASL - other tactical wargames call it Sir.
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Get SK#1 - it's inexpensive and a good tutorial for full ASL, especially if you have no one to teach ASL to you, but is a good game in it's own right. If you enjoy it then jump straight to full ASL - by the time you get to SK#3 it's complex enough that you might just as well be playing the full game anyway.

Even if you never go back to SK#1 after you have made the jump it is still a useful stepping stone to help teach someone else the game.
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Wu Wei
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You already have SK1. Don't wait. Start playing! Install VASSAL and Skype and go!

The Starter Kits lack a few options, but so does every ASL scenario ever published. There is no scenario that uses the full ASL rules.

But when you have played a few SK games and you like it, don't hesitate and buy the big rulebook and all the modules you can get.
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Brian Sielski
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Honosbinda wrote:


It's absolutely unnecessary to do that transition from ASLSK to ASL. Now, you have players who only play starter kit. Don't risk it



I ran into ASLSK #1 this weekend for the first time. I was willing to help someone that wanted to play ASL. He mentioned that there are people that only play ASLSK ... so sad to see that they didn't take the ASL route and just stopped before having the opportunity to play the whole game.

I have to say playing the ASLSK was NOT playing ASL. The feel was "different" for me, and yet it only seemed like a few rules were missing (i.e., bypass, Snipers, HOB, and concealment). I couldn't use the tactics I wanted to use.

But with only a few simple rules missing, you just may as well play ASL for the full experience, as well as learn the tactics that work in ASL ... not ASLSK.

I looked at the ASLSK rulebook, and it was 28 pages long ... with very fine print. #2 and #3 likewise... SK #1 is shorter than the real deal of Chapter A ... but you can IGNORE many sections in the ASLRB ... which is ACTUALLY WHAT THEY DO in ASLSK ... so just get the ASLRB at that point and ignore the same sections if you must .... or just read the 4 or 5 extra sections and play full ASL infantry only scenarios.

And yes, for whatever reason ... some don't progress past ASLSK and just want to play SK ... but I'm not willing to play SK anymore after experiencing it this weekend ... it is not ASL ... I have limited time to game ... and I'd rather take that time and play something more in my wheelhouse ... but that's me.

Doc
 
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Wu Wei
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Dr Brian wrote:

I have to say playing the ASLSK was NOT playing ASL. The feel was "different" for me, and yet it only seemed like a few rules were missing (i.e., bypass, Snipers, HOB, and concealment). I couldn't use the tactics I wanted to use.


But that's true for all of ASL.
Night scenarios play different than day scenarios and require different tactics.
PTO plays different than ETO.
Scenarios with air power, or OBA, or cavalry play different than those without.
Allied Minors play different than Marines.
Early war tin cans require different tactics than late war land leviathans.
And yes, ASLSK can play different than "full" ASL. But in my opinion it still is ASL.

That said, if I had to choose I would take a "full" scenario every day over a ASLSK scenario, and the only reason I went back to SK was to teach newbies. "Retaking Vierville" is a much easier and more pleasant introduction to the game than "Fighting Withdrawal".
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Jim Fardette
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Here's a slightly different take on the question. ASL is ridiculous to learn solo, so if you don't have a regular opponent or want to get into VASL/Skype, you might want to get a copy of chapter K. That chapter walks you through the basics in 6-8 bite sized sections. Highly recommended for a new player to help understand basic concepts. I haven't checked, but I would bet that chapter K is available for download here on BGG. Good luck!
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Paul Curlin
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Does chapter K comes with the latest ASL full rules? I was thinking it does but I am not sure.
 
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Klas Malmstrom
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mmookk61 wrote:
Does chapter K comes with the latest ASL full rules? I was thinking it does but I am not sure.

Yes it does.

One do have to take note of the fact that Chapter K was written when the SK-style boards did not exists, so there are some LOS described in Chapter K that aren't quite right when using the SK-style boards.
 
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Daniel Takai
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I'd recommend to play SK 1 and 2. After having mastered Guns, the move to Vehicles is a very big leap. Getting a teacher is highly recommended at that stage.
 
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Dave Terhune
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klasmalmstrom wrote:
mmookk61 wrote:
Does chapter K comes with the latest ASL full rules? I was thinking it does but I am not sure.

Yes it does.

One do have to take note of the fact that Chapter K was written when the SK-style boards did not exists, so there are some LOS described in Chapter K that aren't quite right when using the SK-style boards.

I think the only difference is the one-hex building on board 2 (I want to say hex F6, but I'm not certain the exact hex - it's in the neighborhood, though). On the original maps, the building did not cover the LOS down the hexrow from the unit's location in the tutorial, because it was to one side of the center dot.
 
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Klas Malmstrom
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Volfield wrote:
I think the only difference is the one-hex building on board 2 (I want to say hex F6, but I'm not certain the exact hex - it's in the neighborhood, though). On the original maps, the building did not cover the LOS down the hexrow from the unit's location in the tutorial, because it was to one side of the center dot.

IIRC, there might be some difference where LOS along a gully is described as well.
 
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Brian Sielski
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WuWei wrote:

Night scenarios play different than day scenarios and require different tactics.

But what if a few rules were missing (i.e., bypass, Snipers, HOB, and concealment).
WuWei wrote:

PTO plays different than ETO.

But what if a few rules were missing (i.e., bypass, Snipers, HOB, and concealment).
WuWei wrote:

Scenarios with air power, or OBA, or cavalry play different than those without.

But what if a few rules were missing (i.e., bypass, Snipers, HOB, and concealment).
WuWei wrote:

Allied Minors play different than Marines.

But what if a few rules were missing (i.e., bypass, Snipers, HOB, and concealment).
WuWei wrote:

Early war tin cans require different tactics than late war land leviathans.

But what if a few rules were missing (i.e., bypass, Snipers, HOB, and concealment).
WuWei wrote:

And yes, ASLSK can play different than "full" ASL. But in my opinion it still is ASL.



These are my thoughts, and I understand where you are coming from ... but my opinion is more basic ... in each of your examples ... I get to use all of the rules that make tactics work in ASL ... I am not making new tactics for SK. In ASL, bypass is not eliminated because it is a PTO or Night scenario. Rules are different than Tactics.

To expand my thoughts further I ask ... Is SL the same as ASL? In my opinion, it is a different game. Yes, some parts are interchangeable and some rules are the same, but it is a different game. Movement works the same. Counters have the same 4-6-7 meaning ... IFT is generally the same ...

Perhaps you would agree that Waterloo and Stalingrad are different games. But like SL and ASL, they have similar rules (move .. attack ... defend ... counters ... CRT), but we would not consider Stalingrad = Waterloo.

For those same reasons, I do not consider Starter Kit close to being ASL.

If someone wishes to learn the Starter Kit and stop there, as Marc indicated, that is their choice ... and they are fine playing that game. More power to them! I tried SK and didn't like it. Every individual has only so much spare time to game, so I'm choosing not to play SK, because there is a better game out there (i.e., ASL) that I enjoy.

Overall though, I see all the games we play share the same elements ... and some share with each other more than others ... but they are different games.

ASLSK is ASLSK.

Doc
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