Mike Barton
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Spring Valley
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YOU have had fun blasting squads and careening around in your T-34's and Panthers like a bunch of drunken privates with 3-day passes in Paris...

YOU have sat through hours of setup and play and...

YOU have gotten a taste of looking up rules and rolling dice...

And I JUST KNOW IT...

YOU are wondering if you have what it takes to plunk down a hundred-seventy clams on ASLRB + BV3E

AFTER ALL, is it really WORTH IT??? Isn't ASL SK# 3 da bomb?

Consider this:
You now know the majority of the terminology
You have a pretty good feel for the game
You know sort of what you're getting into

You DON'T know what you are missing... AIN'T IGNORANCE BLISS?

Here is what you are missing:

Concealment rules, the fog of war, rules for pieces being hidden and requiring Area Target Type fire (generally 1/2 FP) covered with concealment counters - greatly increases the realistic feel of the game. C'mon, this is WAR! Sneaking around is a MAIN CONCEPT! DECOY! CONFUSE! AMBUSH! ATTACK!!!

Night Action Rules - an extension of the concealment rules, some weapons place Illuminating Rounds (IR) that remove concealment and allow fire. Observed gun flashes, return fire on firing units.

Infantry riding stuff - Tanks, Trucks, Halftracks, Horses, Motorcycles, Parachutes, Gliders - as you might expect, they move faster and are more (or in some cases less) vulnerable to fire.

Weather Rules - usually amounts to a maximum visibility, terrain effects mods, and how fire spreads

Terrain types - more detailed elevation levels, mechanics for changing levels, more complex LOS, Crest lines, hull down, still pretty much just obstacle/hindrance movement cost stuff, sewer/underground movement, rivers, watercraft - take it AS IT COMES

Terrain Counters - foxholes, trenches, mines, wire, pillboxes, shellholes, rubble, fire, burning woods, burning buildings...everything...burning...*cough, cough* ... spreading [on an 8+]

Off Board Artillery [OBA] and Air Support/ Indirect Fire - rules for using radios and field phones to direct artillery and air support - just some mechanics for placing spotting rounds and converting the spotting rounds to artillery barrages in turn converting concentrated infantry into piles of DM counters. Airplanes wrecking your 'unsinkable' Tigers, its all very nice...

Taking prisoners/interrogation (reveals concealment, hidden units, etc)

Snipers - really this is a pretty random mechanic - occasionally is significant

More detailed rules for a lot of stuff you know already - bypass movement [moving around rather than through buildings/woods objects], hulldown positions for vehicles, reverse movement, enhanced uses for machine guns [fire lanes] - basicaly things that give you a few more options. Some things really add complexity but you get used to it, like locating vehicular hits, shooting to immobilize rather than kill, critical hits, heat of battle [random good and bad events].

More detailed rules for same-hex encounters - street fighting, infantry overrun, dash etc. Added chrome.

Beach Assaults like D-day and Tarawa, hey, just like the movies!

Desert Theater stuff like vehicular dust, sand storms, Hammada terrain, sun blindness - ya know, more details

Pacific Theater stuff - basically just different terrain types and some altered mods, cave complexes in rare cases

Look, don't be scared. You still learn the game just one scenario at a time, right? ASL dosen't keep you FROM enjoying the game, it helps you ENJOY IT MORE by giving you more options and freedom to try things.

The secret is not worrying too much about getting the rules perfect the first time. If you play with an experienced player then just don't get angry if he corrects an interpretation that you had about a rule. The experts are usually more interested in teaching you the game than they are in winning anyway, at first

I think it helps a lot if you also read some accounts of actual battles. That will help you accept how significant some of this 'chrome' was in reality, how hard it actually is for infantry to advance without armored support, or how VITAL OBA can be. Some scenarios are clearly set up so that the whole mission is to get the guy with the radio (forward observer) into position so he can bombard the static infantry dug in on the objective, a fight over an observation post - those were daily occurrences on the actual front lines.

If you are playing with a newbie gaming buddy then give each other a break. If you finish the game then quickly re-read the rules and remember it for next time if you think you did something wrong. Don't get bent out of shape about who wins or loses at first. Allow yourself time to get the rules down. Replay the same scenario over until you are confident that you got all the rules right. That lets you 'redo' the game so you can see how your new understanding of the rule changes how you play without drastically changing the environment.

Don't try to start with a totally advanced scenario that has some eccentric vehicle rules and OBA and Air support and funky terrain and a battalion of infantry apiece. That's just silly.

Learn the 'rule sets' one-by-one - first concealment, then maybe OBA, then maybe night rules, then maybe River Assaults, then Para drops, etc.

You know the basics! The big honkin binder just modifies these same basic rules for special events and actions. You will find that it is well written and has many examples to clarify how rules are applied. It generally settles, rather than creates, arguments. One important factor is to practice using the reference cards [chapter dividers] for rules. They work well. Lots of info is there. Stay out of the binder as long as you can. Use it only to settle arguments. Agree that once a turn has passed, play stands. Be nice. At first perfectionism is bad, but later as you get more confident...

Oh, and the reason there are so many noses in the binders is because even the experts DON'T have all the rules memorized. I know some people been playin' ASL a pretty long time - don know all da rules yet. Not gonna say who. [I don't know them all, fer sher]

Anyway, get thee to the other side of the ASL learning curve!
Pot o gold a-waitin' fer ye.
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Joey Jones
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Well, you talked me into it. I just ordered the rulebook. After I read through it a bit, I'll probably order Beyond Valor and Yanks, especially if I can talk someone into playing FtF with me. In the meanwhile I'll play through some scenarios using VASL.

 
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Todd Pytel
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Chicago
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Re: Aaaaallrightee then-you've had time. Don't be scared of
Good post. I would emphasize one bit I've mentioned numerous times here on the Geek - you don't need to play with everything to enjoy ASL. If you already understand SK3 and add in only the full ASL concepts that are "universal" (e.g. concealment, heat of battle, snipers, multi-level LOS) along with those that are further details for SK3 ideas (e.g. bypass movement, reverse vehicular movement, fire lanes), you immediately open up hundreds of scenarios that offer significantly more tactical depth than what's in the SK's (which are already fairly deep themselves). You don't need to learn the rules for Night, OBA, Beach Landings, or fancy vehicles if you don't want to - you'll still have hundreds of scenarios to choose from without them.

Of course, once you've started playing those you may well find a really interesting looking scenario that just needs one more rule you haven't used. So you'll probably find the time to read the relevant part of the ASLRB, find that it's really not that hard taken on it's own, and go ahead and play that scenario. Then you keep on repeating that process for another year or so and you end up knowing OBA, Night, halftracks and carriers, and snow rules and wonder what all the fuss was about - they seem so easy by now, and now you've got (literally) thousands of scenarios to choose from.

It's a great big rules binder for sure, but nobody learns it all at once, nor is there any reason you have to master the whole darn thing. You can start with the basics (which are only a bit more involved than SK3) and add in more when (of if) you feel the interest.


Finally, a nit - because I'm an ASL dork...

webbbarton wrote:

Concealment rules, the fog of war, rules for pieces being hidden and requiring Area Target Type fire (generally 1/2 FP)

Concealed units require Area Fire, not Area Target Type fire. You can fire Ordnance on a concealed unit with ITT just fine, except that you take the +2 Area Fire DRM and can't gain acquisition. And even if you fire ATT and get the acq you still take the +2 DRM as long as the unit is concealed.
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Robert Wilson
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Riverview
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Re: Aaaaallrightee then-you've had time. Don't be scared of
You could get by with just the 2edRB and VASL IMO , those huge stacks of counters are a lot more manageable on the monitor, and there are plenty of opponents available!

Now if only I had time..........
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Joey Jones
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dude163 wrote:
You could get by with just the 2edRB and VASL IMO , those huge stacks of counters are a lot more manageable on the monitor, and there are plenty of opponents available!

Now if only I had time..........




That's what I have in mind, at least until I have some opponents to play face to face. MMP has several scenario packs for download on their website, so I figure I'll use them to learn, before going on VASL. I have played a lot of SK games on VASL by email, so I'm familiar with it.

How thick is the rulebook by the way? And does the binder have room for all the extra chapters that come with the modules?
 
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Jay Richardson
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Re: Aaaaallrightee then-you've had time. Don't be scared of
Joey Jones wrote:
How thick is the rulebook by the way? And does the binder have room for all the extra chapters that come with the modules?

Check out this thread:

Just recevied ASL rulebook, need set-up & usage suggestions
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/199092
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