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Subject: SK all the way? rss

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Obsolete Man
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I've been spending some serious time with my Starter Kit #1 lately, pushing some cardboard and digesting the rules. OK... so it's all going fine. But there are a lot of rules. I also really like the Conflict of Heroes games... I like something that gives me a result I can live with (in the realm of history and/or credibility), but too many rules and it starts seeming like a bit of a hassle.

Anyway... my question is, at this point, why not stay in the realm of Starter Kit and just live there? With SK1 and the Bonus Pack, that's 11 scenarios. Add in SK2, SK3 and SKEX1 and we're up to 35 scenarios, all for about half of what it would cost just to get the rulebook and Beyond Valor. And these run the gamut of West to East, including smaller players like Poles and Slovaks.

Further, SK will be having an historical campaign module coming out about the struggle for Elst in Operation Market Garden. Even better! Now we're up to like 39 scenarios + a campaign game. That's a whole lot of game, and at a pretty comfortable level of rules intensity for me.

So... I know that full ASL has lots of neat (if expensive) stuff. Some very involved modules and whatnot. But given that I would be playing at most once a month it seems like I could just milk enjoyment out of ASLSK for years. So really, what would I be missing? I mean, besides a bunch of fiddly rules I won't remember?

Don't be shy... feel free to sell my on full ASL if you want.


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Paul Franklin-Bihary
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Even though I made the jump to full ASL and don't regret it one bit, I suggest that you stick with SK based on your post. If you think it will hold you captivated for years, there is simply no need to go further. SK rules still make for a deep, realistic and enjoyable WWII sim/game, and I would hold nothing against anyone who decided to stick within that system.

ASL does have a lot more historical flavor and fun to offer. I wouldn't even say that the majority of the time it has too many more 'fiddly' rules. Most of the additional stuff just adds more layers of fun with minimal additional rulemongering. Snipers and Heat of Battle add some nice, simple, random enjoyment. Bypass movement adds a bit more logic to the game. The one bit that I always have problems with is the prisoner / no quarter rules, but even those make some sense over time. Everything else is 'optional' really; things like crazy weather and OBA and Gliders and whatnot are only in certain scenarios, so usually you can read up on a rule or six based on the SSRs and be just fine.

BUT...if you are happy with the SKs and see it as a reasonable place for you to be, stick there. I can't see any reason that MMP won't continue to come out with a pack here and there, and the SK is smoking good just the way it is.

Regardless, have lots of fun. I know I do, and will for the rest of my life.
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Jim Cote
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I suppose full ASL players have a hard time "going back". After playing ASLSK, I can't tolerate the half-baked combat systems of some other games myself. So you move forward as much as you can tolerate, and as you look back, you understand why it was worth it.
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Todd Pytel
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I was just posting about this very topic in this thread, which perhaps you were reading. I used to try to sell folks like you on full ASL, but I've since rethought that. I think you're exactly right in all that you say - you get a reasonably priced game with a steady stream of new content covering a variety of theaters at a manageable rules level. It's a great system at a great price.

What do you miss? Well, lots of stuff. Among the more notable items (IMO)...

* Snipers and Heat of Battle - great flavor with little rules overhead
* Concealment and Dummies - makes a pretty big difference to scenarios where intelligence is a factor
* Multi-level LOS - tall buildings assume their rightful role as tactical objectives
* Troop Carriers, Half-tracks, etc. - pretty important unit type
* Pacific Theater - it's half the war, and a lot of fun
* Comprehensiveness - the ability to find scenarios for practically any battle anywhere in the entire war

I'm sure there are others I'm missing that other folks will fill in. Is full ASL more fun than SK's? I think so. The added rules aren't even that big a deal - you only use the basics most of the time, and you get 95% of those from the SK's. The thing is that the added cost for all that is insane because everything is out of print, and I see no sign that it will ever get significantly better. So the question for me is not whether full ASL is better, but whether it's 10 to 20 times better - the cost difference of the SK's vs. full ASL. Not if you're only playing once a month, honestly. You can buy a lot of other fun with that money. If you're seriously going to play every week, have a special interest in a narrow slice of the war, or have more money than you know what to do with, then full ASL makes sense. Otherwise just stick with the SK's.
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Mike Kreuzer
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I think you probably can live quite comfortably in the starter kit universe now, without ever graduating to full ASL. Which is why I think ASLers should think carefully before buying/supporting any of the SK expansions after SK3. Very carefully. Bad for The Game for the starter kits to become the alternative kits. IMHO.
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G K
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mikekreuzer wrote:
I think you probably can live quite comfortably in the starter kit universe now, without ever graduating to full ASL. Which is why I think ASLers should think carefully before buying/supporting any of the SK expansions after SK3. Very carefully. Bad for The Game for the starter kits to become the alternative kits. IMHO.


Yes, bad for the game... I would hate to see the demand for full ASL products drop to a point where many of them are out of print for extended periods of time. [sarcasm /off]

I really don't think continued support for starter kit level of play is going to damage full ASL. Sure, some players will stick with SKs instead of "graduating" up- but many of these same players would not play any ASL without starter kits. The existence of the SKs bring more players into full ASL than keep them away. And bringing in new players(buyers) is the only thing which will keep ASL in print at all beyond the current generation.
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Mike Kreuzer
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speltor wrote:
mikekreuzer wrote:
I think you probably can live quite comfortably in the starter kit universe now, without ever graduating to full ASL. Which is why I think ASLers should think carefully before buying/supporting any of the SK expansions after SK3. Very carefully. Bad for The Game for the starter kits to become the alternative kits. IMHO.


Yes, bad for the game... I would hate to see the demand for full ASL products drop to a point where many of them are out of print for extended periods of time. [sarcasm /off]

I really don't think continued support for starter kit level of play is going to damage full ASL. Sure, some players will stick with SKs instead of "graduating" up- but many of these same players would not play any ASL without starter kits. The existence of the SKs bring more players into full ASL than keep them away. And bringing in new players(buyers) is the only thing which will keep ASL in print at all beyond the current generation.


I think that argument only really works for SK 1-3, and I'm not sure I'd draw as straight a line between demand and its supply as you do, but hey, sarcasm, there's no fightin' it.
 
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Robert Wilson
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I actually prefer the SK system over the full ASL system , I do miss the cool stuff like heat of battle and also the SAN effect, but they are easy to add to the SK ruleset if required.

One thing that I find, is thatthe SK games are a lot bloodier, because they are missing a LOT of terrain that gives cover( walls, hedges, bocage , cemeteries etc), plus its missing bypass movement too so the units dont get as far. I was surprised quite a few times at how far units could move in a short period of time in full ASL.

Butthe bottom line for me is: The SKs are SELF CONTAINED and most of the scenarios are small and quick to play . Ask Todd , 88s at Zon is great fun from SK2, S1 retaking vierville is a fave of mine from SK1 along with the pure armour slugfest S21 Clash at Borisovka from SK3.

Ive actually played a lot of ASL scenarios using SK3 rules , and even though they arent balanced properly, its still a lot of fun to roll the dice


In summary: Keep your money and buy the SK gear , and then later on if you want to take that stepup , grab the rulebook BV 3rd edition and VotG

Ive always said that the SKs generate 85% of the full ASL experience with about 30% of the rules ( and the SKs are normally about 25 bucks each!)

wow , that ended up being longer than I expected !
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Obsolete Man
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I've enjoyed all the responses so far. Thanks.

There do appear to be a number of cool widgets in full ASL, like the Snipers and the Heat of Battle. And a lot of stuff that it looks like I could live without. Probably the biggest draw to full ASL are the historical modules. But then there's the question of whether the additional material is worth the substantial increase in time and cost.

Still pondering it over. I'm glad there's a HASLSK module coming out. Next they should do one for Stalingrad! Call it "Valorously Guard the Barricades" or something.

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Obsolete Man
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Another quick question: does the current (2nd Ed.) ASL Rulebook have a bunch of errata? That's the impression I get from the MMP support page.
 
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Todd Pytel
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Binko wrote:
It's true. There is a lot of errata at this point in time for the ASL rulebook. And the errata is scattered around and can't be found all in one place.

Indeed. It's rather a pain to update the printed rulebook to the current status.

On the other hand, the vast majority of the errata only comes up in very obscure situations. You can easily buy the ASLRB and play many games with it before bumping into a game situation where an erratum makes a difference. I still haven't incorporated absolutely every erratum into my copy.
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Obsolete Man
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Do y'all suppose that they'll incorporate the errata in subsequent printings?
 
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Todd Pytel
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Requete wrote:
Do y'all suppose that they'll incorporate the errata in subsequent printings?

They've passed on a couple of opportunities do so already, so I doubt it. I don't know if they feel it's too much trouble to make the edits and adjust the layout where necessary, or if they don't want multiple versions of the same edition out there, or something else. Seems to me like an updated printing would probably sell copies even to old ASL'ers with already updated books just because they tend to be obsessive that way.
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Todd Pytel
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Requete wrote:
There do appear to be a number of cool widgets in full ASL, like the Snipers and the Heat of Battle.

Those would be really easy to add in, as Robert mentioned, if you're considering buying an ASLRB anyway (which I think is a good idea for clarifying rules). For Snipers, just give the attacker a SAN of 3 and the defender a SAN of 4, or 5 in serious sniper areas like Stalingrad. That would be good enough. And you can play the HOB rules almost straight except for the part about surrendering, where you could simply remove the units instead. You'd need to whip up Sniper counters and markers for Fanatic and Berserk, but that's not a huge deal.

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Probably the biggest draw to full ASL are the historical modules. But then there's the question of whether the additional material is worth the substantial increase in time and cost.

The HASL's are indeed very cool and impressive. However, I'm not sure most casual players would be interested in the investment. Every HASL has its own half-dozen or so SSR's, even for one-off scenarios - they're not usually especially complicated, but it's still more stuff to process. And campaigns are a much more serious time investment. I have all the official HASL's and several of the famous third party ones, but found I rarely played them even when I played much more regularly. In practice, all I usually wanted was a simpler, shorter geomorphic map scenario.
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Obsolete Man
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tppytel wrote:
Seems to me like an updated printing would probably sell copies even to old ASL'ers with already updated books just because they tend to be obsessive that way.


No doubt. Some companies seem to make a business out of selling the exact same stuff to the exact same gamers over and over again. I don't think it should be done all the time, but if the errata really is that extensive then in this case it would probably be warmly welcomed.
 
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Akiva
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I want to echo what some others have suggested: just add a few things from ASLRB to the SKs. My group and I started off with just ASLSK#1 but after a couple of months (and after BV was back in print), I slowly started introducing some ASLRB rules to our SK#1 sessions. Most notably, Heat of Battle, Snipers (with a SAN of Attacker 2/Defender 3 as suggested elsewhere on BGG), Encirclement, and Bypass. As we grew more comfortable with the rules, we added more and more features from ASLRB until we were playing full-on ASL.

This, of course, is an expensive addition (the RB plus BV) and you certainly don't need to go all the way but the difference in fun is astronomical between vanilla ASLSK and ASLSK with Snipers and Heat of Battle. Heat of Battle alone can elevate a scenario from a mere skirmish to a game that actually has a story that plays out. It's no longer just 'hey, that was a great scenario,' to 'hey, remember that time I had you Encircled in that building and I placed a DC which ended up creating a Hero for you that helped you blast your way out of there?'.

The SKs are a blast and I probably wouldn't be an ASL player now without them but the SKs are also essential ASL Cliff Notes; yeah, you get a good taste of what the game is like but until you play full ASL (or even mix-and-match ASL/SK), you're really missing out.
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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Binko wrote:
I can understand that MMP does not want the trouble of putting together a 3rd Edition of the big Rulebook. But, at some point, they will really need to consider selling some kind of consolidated errata replacement page package.

Wouldn't making them available as PDFs solve the problem? It's not like non-owners can make use of them, so there's not much of a security issue.

Edit: Some pages are available here:
http://www.multimanpublishing.com/Support/ASLASLSK/tabid/64/...
 
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Robert Wilson
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What they need is an EASLRB in PDF format!

iPad or laptop usage would be awesome , especially if everything was hyperlinked correctly!
 
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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dude163 wrote:
What they need is an EASLRB in PDF format!

iPad or laptop usage would be awesome , especially if everything was hyperlinked correctly!

While VASL exists, that will never happen.
 
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Akiva
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I don't think they have the licensing rights to begin with to release a PDF version.
 
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Obsolete Man
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Just as an update, I've decided to take the route of "ease into full ASL via the Starter Kits". So I'll collect ASL stuff as I have money and interest (and it's in print), and in the meantime work on mastering the material in the Starter Kits so that the transition is smoother.
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