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Subject: A short review from an unqualified reviewer. rss

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しんぶん赤旗
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1) Intro
I started playing hex and counter wargames in 2007. Before that I had played some of the older GW games and a few other random board games like roborally and machiavelli.

The first hex and counter wargame I bought was B-17. The third was squad leader. I played squad leader a few times and loved it. It took a bit of work to teach myself how to play but it was worth the effort. I read about it and saw advanced squad leader. I read a lot about ASl but it didn't seem my thing. Too expensive and too difficult to learn to play without someone to teach you (at least that's what people on the web seem to say).

A few weeks ago I saw beyond valor for sale on the local Ebay equivalent and bid twenty-five dollars thinking that the boards might be good for squad leader. I was also surprised to see any ASL stuff for sale here as wargames in general aren't very common and I had never seen any ASL stuff before. I won the auction and ended up getting the first edition rules folder for another twenty-five dollars.

When it arrived I thought what the hell, I may as well give it a go. A spent a few hours reading/skimming the rules and then another hour or two sorting counters into plastic trays (I think Americans call them Plano boxes). I then played through the first scenario (from 1st ed BV) which has a bunch of Finns trying to sneak past some soviet soldiers and escape of the far board edge.

2: Playing the game
The Finns faced off against the soviets across a road that divided two large groups of buildings. Slowly they advanced north behind a stone wall (which was the cause of much confusion regarding TEM and hindrance issues). A small rearguard managed to cover this movement fairly well and casualties were light on both sides. The Finnish troops ultimately defeated themselves as they gained the upper hand after a four turn fire fight which left them with superior numbers but insufficient turns to exit from the northern board edge.

3: Was it fun?
Hell yes. The rules are pretty full on but allowed for troops to interact with the environment and each other in a way which seemed realistic to me. I was able to use what I thought were sensible tactics and they worked reasonably well. I would have enjoyed the game much less (and may have even struggle to finish it) if I hadn't stumbled across the flash tutorials created by Russ Gifford (http://www.russgifford.net/asl_training.htm) sometime after the second turn. These incredible tutorials are probably the best resource ever created for any game. They talk the viewer through the most important parts of ASL and have animated illustrations explaining the many rules that might otherwise be a bit difficult to get your head around. Basically, they are like having an experienced player sit down and explain how everything works. If MMP had links to them on the front page of their web site then I think a lot more people would decide to give ASL a go.

Anyway, after watching these I was able to play thought the rest of the game in 2 - 3 hours feeling like I had a slight understanding of what was happening. Did I make some mistakes? Yep. Did I forget a bunch or rules? Of course. Did it matter? Not really, just more reading/watching to do before the next game.

3:Conclusion.

This diagram stolen from a random web page best represents how I feel about ASL.


Just imagine the coloured beams of light are all the good things about ASL like the world war 2 setting, the incredible range of units, the range of actions that units can take, the range of maps, the millions of scenarios. They pass through the prism, representing the mighty tutorials created by Russ Gifford, and combine to form a blazing beam of gaming awesomeness (yeah, I think that this is using the diagram backwards but who cares).

I will keep playing (and reading and learning) ASL and feel that I have taken my first step on a challenging but enjoyable journey. I also recommend the game to others that have considered playing but were discouraged by the complexity of the game or the comments read on the web (if you were discouraged by the price then fair enough). Give it a go.

Also, can someone please explain how wall advantage works!
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Jakob Schneider
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bolter wrote:


Also, can someone please explain how wall advantage works!


Take a look at this article here: http://firstfire.blogspot.com/
Under articles on the left side you will not only find an explanation of WA, but also of Bocage. YAY!

BTW, Welcome to the fold!
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Iain K
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How would you compare ASL and SL?

Having played ASL do you see yourself ever playing SL again?

Thanks.
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Jason Johns
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Congrats on coming over to the borg...

The two hardest things are:

1. the rules
2. finding players

I've known ASL for many a year, but have had a lot of trouble finding players. (I'm in England for all of you who would like to play ... VASL and Skype???)

There is an ASL forum over at http://forums.gamesquad.com/. Lots of good info and news.

Once again, welcome aboard.
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Hugh Grotius
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Yes, welcome to ASL! I enjoyed the original poster's post, and after reading it, I hardly think you're an "unqualified reviewer." You summed up my thoughts about ASL pretty well. I've been playing on and off for twenty years, and while I do take breaks from it, I keep coming back.

VASL is what has pulled me back stronger than ever this time. It's a terrific implementation of ASL, and it gives us access to opponents from around the world. But heck, I even prefer VASL to playing solo-ASL with my boards and counters and all that physicality. The VASL boards don't get knocked over by kids or cats, and my clumsy fingers never knock over stacks. And they check LOS for me too.

As for SL, I have never felt the urge to go back to it now that I have ASL. ASL just has a lot more to offer -- a more coherent ruleset, more modules, more scenarios, more everything.

Anyway, welcome!
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Andrew C
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Welcome to the club from another recent entrant.

Now go get yourself an ASL microbadge.
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Brian B
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I'm with you! Just the name 'ASL' sounded so dry it put me off, but once you start rolling those dice it's a blast!
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しんぶん赤旗
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Cleitus the Black wrote:
Welcome to the club from another recent entrant.

Now go get yourself an ASL microbadge.


I now have the microbadge (it was my birthday present from myself) so could someone please teach me the ASL secret handshake.

Ian K wrote:
How would you compare ASL and SL?

Having played ASL do you see yourself ever playing SL again?

How would you compare ASL and SL?

I will keep playing squad leader despite jumping into ASL. I just taught my neighbour to play so that is the only chance I have to play wargames face to face.

I also like the bloodthirsty nature of the IFT results in squadleader - big piles of cardboard can disappear in a single DR. Good for a laugh occasionally.

Comparing the two I would say that the programmed instructions makes SL very beginner friendly. It is an excellent game and when you think how cheap a copy of SL and CoI are then it is hard to beat the original in terms of bang for your buck.
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Andy Beaton
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Quote:
I now have the microbadge (it was my birthday present from myself) so could someone please teach me the ASL secret handshake.


You shake hand and roll dice. On a 2, one of you turns out to be a beautiful woman. On a 12, one of you gets a surprise kick where it hurts.
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The Mighty Greedo
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bolter wrote:
the flash tutorials created by Russ Gifford

Nice resource! Though, that guy sounds a lot like Dr Phil. Hmmm...

I'd like to play this game someday, but it seems too difficult. I'd need incentive to try it. Perhaps a Star Wars mod? The Battle of Hoth using ASL rules? I'd be right there!

G
 
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James Lowry
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Greedo wrote:
I'd like to play this game someday, but it seems too difficult. I'd need incentive to try it. Perhaps a Star Wars mod? The Battle of Hoth using ASL rules? I'd be right there!

It is not too difficult.

Quote:
It is not too difficult.

You are fascinated by WWII.

Quote:
I am fascinated by WWII.


[/jedi style="mind-trick"]
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Jason Johns
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I'd just like some consistent freakin' opponents... GRRRR. I need that Jedi mind trick thing...
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David G. Cox Esq.
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You seem like a nice enough sort of person. How sad that you have gone over to the dark side.
 
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しんぶん赤旗
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da pyrate wrote:
You seem like a nice enough sort of person


I wish this were so but evidence of my diabolic nature can be found all over the geek! For instance, I still haven't sent you those Man o war pics (this weekend I hope).
 
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Russell Gifford
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bolter wrote:
They pass through the prism, representing the mighty tutorials created by Russ Gifford, and combine to form a blazing beam of gaming awesomeness


Wow! Thanks for the review, and the plug!wow And yeah, I'd like a link from the MMP page, too, but I'm guessing that it isn't going to happen. (Actually, I'd like them just to host them, go give me the ok to do them in general, so I am not sucking up so much bandwidth, but hey. I'm just glad people find them useful.)

Thanks again!


---Russ
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しんぶん赤旗
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Russ G. wrote:
bolter wrote:
They pass through the prism, representing the mighty tutorials created by Russ Gifford, and combine to form a blazing beam of gaming awesomeness


Wow! Thanks for the review, and the plug!wow And yeah, I'd like a link from the MMP page, too, but I'm guessing that it isn't going to happen. (Actually, I'd like them just to host them, go give me the ok to do them in general, so I am not sucking up so much bandwidth, but hey. I'm just glad people find them useful.)

Thanks again!


---Russ


No worries, your tutorials made the difference between learning the game and going back to squad leader.
 
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Todd Reed
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Russ' powerpoint tutorials are incredible. Those, in hand with richfam's ASLSK 138 page tutorials, the EOPs on the ASLSK page, and The 2 Half Squads podcast (26 episodes so far?) I'm slowly getting sucked in. I've contacted a local player who's given me some dates and I ordered the ASLSK1 via an online retailer while buying an XMas present for my son.

Anyway, the enthusiastic fan base is what is selling me, even though I've never played a game yet. We'll see.

And yes, MMP needs to post links to Russ'tutorials, richfam's "book", and The 2-Half Squads resources. The more you "giveaway" the more you will get - it works in life and in business. These resources help push those that are hesitant...like me.

Jedi mind tricks work too.
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David Schofield
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Looking for opponents?

http://www.vftt.co.uk/index.asp

Opponent locator.

Also 3 annual tournaments each year.

cheers David
 
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