Recommend
36 
 Thumb up
 Hide
15 Posts

Yanks: ASL Module 3» Forums » Reviews

Subject: ASL Noob Review: Yanks rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: asljr_rsp [+] [View All]
Boots
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yanks is the second ASL module I've chosen for my review series. You can find links to the others at the end of this post. The aim of these reviews is to explain a little bit about what each individual ASL "core" modules offers to the new ASL player, to give you a sense of what's worth buying ASAP and what you can get away with leaving for a while.

I chose Yanks for my second review for a number of reasons. The first is the ubiquity of Americans as an OB choice for ASL scenarios. Sometimes, before I got my hands on my copy, I felt like fully half the ASL scenarios used the Americans. Now I know that's not true, but it can be how it feels. Secondly, as I mentioned in my BVIII review, it comes with the second set of System Counters. The Yank OoB is also part of the "big four" OoBs from the days of Squad Leader, with the British making up the fourth. The Americans are a core part of the system.

So, what's in the box?

Thanks to Original_CorPse and an unknown ex-user for the images used in this review

Yanks was never reprinted by MMP - in the first print Avalon Hill made so many copies that it never sold out, and MMP inherited the stock when Avalon Hill went under. It's now sold out, so new ASL players are pretty much out of luck if they want Yanks. There are copies floating around, but expect to pay 2x RRP. The good news is, there's only one version, so you don't need to worry too much about compatibility. In the box, you get the American Western Front OoB, four of the old-style mounted mapboards - 16, 17, 18 and 19 - some system counters, and eight scenarios. It also includes Chapter E, but as that now ships with the second edition rulebook, you won't need it unless you're still playing with a 1st ed rulebook.



The OoB seems small at only three countersheets, and that's because it is. There are some oddities about it, however. First, there are loads of Americanc ounters not included in Yanks - the USMC and early war Philippino troops are currently unavailable, being originally released in Gung Ho, and "soon" to be re-released in Rising Sun (expect at least a one year wait for Rising Sun, possibly more. It's ready to go, but it needs to go up on preorder, reach preorder numbers, then go to be printed). The moral of the story is - leave room for four USMC squad types and their halfsquads, as well as one early war squad type, and some other odd counters like early war LMGs in your storage case for the Yanks. The Americans also ship with twice the number of half squads compared to other nationalities. I don't know why, but you'll need more space to store those extra halfsquads.

The other thing about the OoB is that it's the old Avalon Hill counters. The text is smaller, and the counters are often not square as die-cutting machines were less accurate in the 1980s. This is not necessarily a problem; you really won't notice the difference in play, but it is worth managing your expectations - they counters are not quite as nice as the new MMP ones.

Another thing is that these counters were printed in 1987, and may have been slowly decomposing in warehouses/on store shelves/in some guy's cupboard for decades by this point. My copy arrived, like my copy of Croix de Guerre, with the die-cut edges degraded. I don't want to make too big a deal of this - my counters are completely serviceable, both from Yanks and Croix de Guerre. All that happened was that a tiny sliver of cardboard near the edge of the die-cut had dried out on most counters, leaving the edges brittle, and with the individual sheets of paper that had been laminated together to form the cardstock slightly separated and visible.

On the worst ones, all this took to fix was shaving the tiniest bit of the counter off with an Xacto knife, so it's not a big deal. The main problem is that there are a lot of counters, so if a lot of your counters are thus degraded, it will take time to fix them all. In old AH style, some of the counters are also attached along the edges of the counters rather than the corners, so you'll get some odd edges on occasional counters.



They system counters consist of night counters, gliders, boats, and a variety of pillboxes and fortifications. The night counters have been computerised, up-sized and included in BVIII, so no need to cut those out. The gliders, boats etc haven't, so you'll need those. The pillboxes and the like will need to be cut out and trimmed, because BVIII doesn't ship with enough of them! I've come across at least one scenario that needed more bunkers than BVIII provided.

The first thing you'll notice about the Scenarios is that they are on smaller sheets of paper, and that they are bound together by the same sort of gummy plastic they use on office pads - this is quite different to MMP's packing methods. The Scenarios suffer from their age in the same way as the BVIII ones do - they are perfectly fine scenarios, but they aren't great for noobs, and while some of them look like classics, they are long, and feature large OoBs or complex rules. Remember that Yanks was never reprinted,and at that time there were scenarios for noobs available in the form of Paratrooper, the now defunct module 2. But it does mean, again, that there aren't any particularly short or simple scenarios in Yanks.

This is fairly typical of scenarios from the 1980s. Modern scenarios tend to be much shorter, catering to a playerbase that is much more time-poor than the ASL players of two decades ago. According to the ASL Scenario Archive, only two of the Yanks scenarios appear to be of playable length for an afternoon: Backs to the Sea and Under the Noel Trees. Backs to the Sea would be my pick of the scenarios - simple OoBs, infantry only, no night rules or OBA, no mines. Kurhaus Clash might also be OK for someone just starting to use Armour in ASL, and at 5.9 hours might suit a weekend day of gaming.

There's another thing to think about with these scenarios - they will introduce you to the wonderful world of ASL dependencies. To play all of these scenarios,you'll need maps 2, 7, 12, 20, 21, 22 and 23. With just BVIII and Yanks you'll still be short map 7 and map 12 (both available in For King and Country II). That means you can't play 3 of the 8 scenarios, including the one best-suited for noobs - Backs to the Sea. This is by no means particularly bad on the scale of ASL dependencies - only needing one extra product is a relative boon!

The maps are also the old version - they are mounted on 2mm thick cardstock, and hand-painted rather than computer-generated. Personally I prefer the newer maps - they're lighter, the colours match better between maps, and many of the Yanks maps in particular had one major flaw - the white center dots for the hexes were printed off center on quite a few of them. Luckily, you can buy individual maps from MMP through their website's online store for $5 each - I did, to replace the sub-par mounted ones from Yanks.

Conclusions

Yanks is an odd module. It's such a central part of the system that you cant' really afford not to get it, but it's so hard to get and when you get it it's got quite a few niggling issues - mis-printed maps that don't match the rest of your kit, crumbling counters and a smaller OoB than the other of the "big four". The scenarios are not particularly interesting-looking, and the shortest and most noob-friendly needs maps most noobs won't have yet! On the upside, it contains four of the most-used maps in the system (even if they are mis-printed and don't match), and having the Americans opens up a range of scenarios. If you don't feel particularly enthused about the Yanks, then i'd at least suggest buying the maps direct from MMP. Even then, I would still put this near the top of your "watch out for on the second hand market" list.

Pros:
+ American OoB
+ More system counters

Cons:
All the 'cons' are really dependent on the age of the module:
- possible poor condition of counters
- length/complexity of scenarios
- hard to find/expensive

Links to my other ASL Noob Reviews:
The Rulebook
Beyond Valor III
For King and Country II
Croix de Guerre
Doomed Battalions III
Armies of Oblivion

The ASL Noob Review Index Geeklist
38 
 Thumb up
1.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jay Richardson
United States
Lindsborg
Kansas
flag msg tools
mb
Boots01 wrote:
The other main problem is that these counters were printed in 1987, and have been slowly decomposing in warehouses/on store shelves/in some guy's cupboard for decades by this point. Even a copy bought from the most careful archivist will still arrive with degraded cardboard.
I don't really agree with this... maybe you just got a really bad copy of Yanks?

I purchased my copy of Yanks shortly after AH released it, and the counters are still in great shape. Granted, MMP's counters are certainly better than AH's, but, to put this in perspective, I have no plans to purchase a copy of the MMP reprint of Yanks once it becomes available because my AH counters and maps are still good enough.

Boots01 wrote:
...and the Yanks maps in particular had one major flaw - the white center dots for the hexes were printed off center!
Again, I don't think this applies to every copy of Yanks.

Boots01 wrote:
The Scenarios suffer from their age - while some of them look like classics, they are long, and feature large OoBs or complex rules. This is fairly typical of scenarios from the 1980s. Modern scenarios tend to be much shorter, catering to a playerbase that is much more time-poor than the ASL players of two decades ago.
One thing to keep in mind is that when Yanks (and ASL in general) was introduced, the vast majority of the people buying it were long-time Squad Leader players who would not have been put off by big, complex scenarios. Yanks was never intended for beginners. AH kept the original Squad Leader in print – and later introduced Paratrooper – to serve as introductions to ASL for true beginners. It was assumed that no new player would tackle Beyond Valor or Yanks until they had first gone through SL or Paratrooper.
15 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Boots
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for your comments Jay, constructive criticism always appreciated.

richfam wrote:
I don't really agree with this... maybe you just got a really bad copy of Yanks?

I purchased my copy of Yanks shortly after AH released it, and the counters are still in great shape. Granted, MMP's counters are certainly better than AH's, but, to put this in perspective, I have no plans to purchase a copy of the MMP reprint of Yanks once it becomes available because my AH counters and maps are still good enough.

I think the important factor is the time between being packaged and being opened. My copy of CdG had the same problem. I might also have over-stated the degree to which these counters degrade. "crumbling edges" don't meant he counters are unusable, just that the cardboard has dried out and warped ever so slightly int he process. Where the layers of paper in the middle of the counter are still flat, at the edges they tended to be a little bit crinkled, leaving the edges of the counter a little bit brittle and liable to rub off.

Again, it hasn't affected my use of the counters even a little bit, and you can fix it by shaving a tiny bit off the edge of a counter with an Xacto knife - but that takes a lot of time. I'll edit the review to explain this, I think. Re-reading it this morning I realise it sounded a lot harsher than was intended.

I didn't realise the map issue was not on every copy - I have two sets of Yanks maps, and talking to some other veteran ASLers in Sydney I was led to beleive it was a ubiquitous problem. Again, will edit the review.

richfam wrote:
One thing to keep in mind is that when Yanks (and ASL in general) was introduced, the vast majority of the people buying it were long-time Squad Leader players who would not have been put off by big, complex scenarios. Yanks was never intended for beginners. AH kept the original Squad Leader in print – and later introduced Paratrooper – to serve as introductions to ASL for true beginners. It was assumed that no new player would tackle Beyond Valor or Yanks until they had first gone through SL or Paratrooper.

I'm well aware there is a mitigating factor, and I personally find the changes in scenario design nothing short of fascinating. I was wondering whether to digress and explain Paratrooper, but since I don't own it and only have digital copies of its scenarios, and have never played any of them, I thought it might be better to stay on message.

The reason for me sounding so down on them is that I am trying to maintain a noob perspective - how do I come at what's in the box as someone learning ASL int he Starter Kit environment rather than the SL environment. It is really interesting tome how that shift in perspective changes your view on modules that were printed in 1987 and have never been reprinted, so are expected to fit into a very different ASL system than they were designed for.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert Wilson
Canada
Riverview
New Brunswick
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ive owned 2 copies of Yanks! and both had the brittle counters, 1 was used and 1 was in shrink

Like you said jay,the MMP counters are a lot better
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martin Vicca
msg tools
mbmbmbmb
With regard to the US OB it's not that small. Remember you are only dealing with three years worth of war and as a result there are much fewer vehicles since the US did not produce as many pieces of junk that the Brits and soviets did. You have a good mix of sqd types, 2 elite, first line second line and green and quite a few support weapons. The lack of an LMG removes yet more counters.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jay Richardson
United States
Lindsborg
Kansas
flag msg tools
mb
Boots01 wrote:
I didn't realise the map issue was not on every copy - I have two sets of Yanks maps, and talking to some other veteran ASLers in Sydney I was led to beleive it was a ubiquitous problem.
It maybe depends upon how picky the player is. Here's a scan of part of board 18 from my 1987 copy of Yanks:



If you string a thread horizontally across the center of a hex in this image, you'll notice that the center dot is slightly off-center: the string will just touch the top of the dot, instead of bisecting it.

I doubt that anyone would notice this unless they are actually looking for it (I certainly never noticed it before), and I can't see that it would have any effect on game play. It could maybe affect LOS traced along hexsides, but you don't even need the center dots for that kind of LOS.

While I'm at it, here's a scan of some of my 25-year-old counters from Yanks, all of which are in great shape for their age and the amount of use that they have had:



The slightly lighter color of the MMG suggests that it probably came from Paratrooper, as I have the Americans from Paratrooper mixed in with the Americans from Yanks.

And before someone chimes in with inevitable smart aleck comment, no, I would never mutilate my counters by trimming their corners, which I feel is both useless and ugly as sin!

yuk

And finally, here's a comparison image, with counters from AH's Yanks on the left, and counters from MMP's ASLSK #3 on the right:



You can see how the newer MMP counters have slightly larger images and type. Note also that AH counters were not always square, as shown by the M4 Sherman in the upper left. MMP can use larger images & fonts because their diecutting is more precise. If you look at the 9-2 leader in the previous image, you'll see how close the diecutting came to the art, even though the art was centered on the counter layout. AH counters had to allow that much free space on the edges of the counters to compensate for inaccurate diecutting. (The AH squad in the lower left appears tilted only because I did not have it lined up straight on the scanner.)
10 
 Thumb up
6.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Craig Smuda
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmb
So with the heavy speculation going on with Yanks now that it's out of stock, what's the best way to move forwards if you need the US components? The starter kits have a bunch, which might help in a jam, but is MMP planning an update/reprint at some point?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
The Mighty Greedo
United States
New Jersey
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Boots01 wrote:
The aim of these reviews is to explain a little bit about what each individual ASL "core" modules offers to the new ASL player
I like these write-ups, but I thought I'd request that you not use any undefined acronyms in future reviews.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Roundhill
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
mbmb
csmuda wrote:
So with the heavy speculation going on with Yanks now that it's out of stock, what's the best way to move forwards if you need the US components? The starter kits have a bunch, which might help in a jam, but is MMP planning an update/reprint at some point?

Yes, Yanks will be reprinted, but it may not be until 2015 or later. According to the update I can find, for core modules, Rising Sun is next, then Hollow Legions, the new Finnish module, and then Yanks.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
alex w
Singapore
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My old copy of Yanks is still holding up pretty well even after countless plays now.

One thing of note are the tank silhouette. They do hinder LOS and provide some defensive benefits.thus, I'm not sure if the counters are interchangeable in the proper sense. But seriously, I don't think it changes very much.

I too have copies of ASLSK but had never notice the difference in counters.

I only dreaded the map boards with map sheet combo problems. The brown edges poses a LOS irritation. laugh
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Craig Smuda
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmb
Roundhill wrote:
Yes, Yanks will be reprinted, but it may not be until 2015 or later. According to the update I can find, for core modules, Rising Sun is next, then Hollow Legions, the new Finnish module, and then Yanks.

I both can and can't see the logic behind this. All the boards have been redone SK-style at this point, right? Most of the work should be done on the counters as well. Given how essential this unit is for later stuff, I would think that a reprint would be a high priority, and not too hard to do...

...except that it wouldn't provide the cash bolus that new stuff does. It might sell a little better than Yanks used to for a while as those who will upgrade do so, but not like a new module will sell with those who have been into the game for years already. You would have to keep a lot of stock around and wait for a while before it pays for itself.

It sure is frustrating for anyone who wants to get into the system, though, and potentially deprives MMP of future income from new players who go on to grab the new shiny things too. Ah well. I'm personally most interested in reprints of SK 1 and 2 before I would consider taking the leap to the big version.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Boots
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
csmuda wrote:
I both can and can't see the logic behind this. All the boards have been redone SK-style at this point, right? Most of the work should be done on the counters as well. Given how essential this unit is for later stuff, I would think that a reprint would be a high priority, and not too hard to do...

...except that it wouldn't provide the cash bolus that new stuff does. It might sell a little better than Yanks used to for a while as those who will upgrade do so, but not like a new module will sell with those who have been into the game for years already. You would have to keep a lot of stock around and wait for a while before it pays for itself.

It sure is frustrating for anyone who wants to get into the system, though, and potentially deprives MMP of future income from new players who go on to grab the new shiny things too. Ah well. I'm personally most interested in reprints of SK 1 and 2 before I would consider taking the leap to the big version.

The unavailability of Yanks serves as the best reason to deconstruct the core modules rather than consolidate them. That is, sell them by the OoB, as 3-6 countersheets in shrink, maps individually or in small packs, and scenarios digitally or in small themed packs. Consolidate the rulebook, make it digital even, and no boxes (which nobody uses anyway because they don't fit anything once you punch the counters).

If the system was further granulated in that way, MMP could do large orders of everything like they did with the map pack, but only when needed. New players and old players would be one market, instead of two, because you'd buy components when you needed new ones, rather than assess boxed sets according to relative value of the assorted components compared to the rest of your collection. And dependency issues would receded as people constructed their own collections. You'd also save money on staff costs through packing, and shipping costs to the end consumer, especially if scenarios were digitally available.

There's probably some significant factor getting in the way of this sort of plan - like warehouse space, printing timelines or something similar. I know there have been colossal legal wrangles over digital distribution of Hasbro's IP. If they could do it, however, it'd make the system a lot easier to get into.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Boots
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Greedo wrote:
Boots01 wrote:
The aim of these reviews is to explain a little bit about what each individual ASL "core" modules offers to the new ASL player
I like these write-ups, but I thought I'd request that you not use any undefined acronyms in future reviews.

Which particular acronyms are a problem? I'll edit for clarity.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Perry Cocke
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
flag msg tools
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Boots01 wrote:


Cons:

- length/complexity of scenarios


The ASL Noob Review Index Geeklist

ASL Classic scenarios help here, just as they did with BV. The T-series scenarios featuring the Americans are all newbie friendly: Gavin Take, Ranger Stronghold, and The Poupeville Exit.

Available for free download at:

http://www.multimanpublishing.com/Support/ASLASLSK/tabid/64/...
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Perry Cocke
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
flag msg tools
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Roundhill wrote:

Yes, Yanks will be reprinted, but it may not be until 2015 or later. According to the update I can find, for core modules, Rising Sun is next, then Hollow Legions, the new Finnish module, and then Yanks.

I am hoping for RS in early 2013, the Finns in mid 2013, HL in early 2014 and Yanks later in 2014.

I am an optimistic kinda guy, but that is doable.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls