Tim Benjamin
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In the effort to make the Advanced Tobruk system distinct from Advanced Squad Leader Ray Tapio has 'inverted' many of the game structures. (Note that I have just been getting into the infantry games via Advanced Tobruk System Basic Game 1a: Screaming Eagles and Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #1.)

1) 1d10 vs 2d6 CRT
2) Casualties producing moral checks vs morale checks producing casualties
3) Column shifts vs dr modifiers
4) No LMG in melee vs use in melee
5) Infiltration Phase vs Advance Phase
6) Simple Opportunity Fire vs layered Defensive & Residual Fire
and
7) Impulse Movement/Fire vs interleaved Sequence of Play

The issue I have with the Impulse system is as follows:

Meeting Engagement (approximately equal numbers of units):
Both sides want to attain some objectives but must move each unit individually so as not to give the opponent a number of free 'Panzerbush' moves later in the turn (unhindered moves because one player has exhausted his impulses by moving stacks). This 'centipede mode' slows the game down and as there is no Residual Fire from Opportunity Fire each stack can require 3 or 4 (or more) impulses to just move a 'stack' from here to there. (Firing is also more efficient in smaller increments as abundant casualties always cause morale checks.)

Defensive Scenarios (where an outnumbered defense awaits the attack):
Wanting the time limit to run out the defensive player will take as many Pass actions as possible so the attacker either ends the turn early (with 2 successive passes) or most/all of the attacker impulses are used prior to the defense using its impulses to conduct 'Panzerbush' optimization of the defense. Excessive passes and single unit attack movements again slow the game and, in the limit where the defender waits for all the attacker impulses are used, the game become IGo-UGo.

So what are the advantages of the slower, Panzerbush, IGo-UGo issues with the AT impulse system vs the interleaved SL/ASK system?
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Martin Gallo
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Note that no game is a perfect simulation of the battlefield (fortunately). These are just games. ASL is a very competitive game that will provide plenty of tension and extract some thought from the players (and not just because of the rules length). My "knock" against ASL is purely a reflection of my observations of it being more gamey than ATS. While I am not an expert in the system I played a fair bit of ASL before discovering ATS. Off the top of my head the main difference between the two that I found:

In ASL, if you want to win you use tactics and strategy as dictated by the rules. historically valid tactics and strategic can be used but you will get demolished by someone who knows how to play the game.

In ATS it is possible to win applying good historical tactics and strategy. If your opponent knows the rules better than you do you are at a disadvantage because you really have to know how the rules reflect the battlefield.

I think what you are "missing" is the nature of the leapfrog method of advance and the use of opportunity fire. Both ASL and ATS have a concept of ROF where some weapons can fire multiple times during the turn. Also, there is a concept of Residual Fire, it just looks different. An attack on the '6' column leaves a 'C' marker (for collateral damage) that causes a morale check for units entering that hex. If you are not careful with keeping your advancing squads together you can lose a few to getting broken along the way.

RaffertyA wrote:
So what are the advantages of the slower, Panzerbush, IGo-UGo issues with the AT impulse system vs the interleaved SL/ASK system?
Specifically, what you get from ATS is:

A better flow of unit action with respect to time. None of this silly standing around while your opponent moves and fires, occasionally taking an opportunity shot - You get to try and stop them as they come at you. As you enemy tries to outflank you or out maneuver you you have a choice to make about holding your position or adjusting to it "almost in real time". Think of it as a different time slice.

Better player interaction. You do not have to sit there while your opponent goes through all of his prep fire. He picks a stack, you pick a stack, etc. Both players are playing the same game a the same time. Of course, there are those defensive scenarios where one player sits and waits for the right opportunity to take an action, but that is a situation easily avoided if it bothers you by just not playing that scenario.

A better unit cohesion model (bonuses for morale rolls).

Now, having typed all that out, it is clear that not every game will appeal to every player. If you do not like the ATS style of play, go back to ASL and above all else enjoy the games.
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Tim Benjamin
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As I was comparing the 'basic' rules the 'C' result in ATS didn't come up. And as for the ability to respond 'realtime' in ATS I still see the Panzerbush issue. If side A has 20 units but moves them in stacks (on average) of just 2 and B has 20 units and uses them individually, then B will end up with 10 units that can operate %100 freely. If side A has 20 units and side B has 10 units then it is possible that A will have 10 units to move %100 freely after B has exhausted its impulses (ROF included). Also note that in the Basic ATS rules a LOS-blocked fire attempt is not considered a pass so things can get really gamey. (As others have noted, ATS Basic leaves out too many of the full rules.)
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Martin Gallo
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Do you apply such mathematical calculation to your moves in ASL? Do you Prep Fire exactly 1/2 of your units, then move exactly 1/2? No, you figure out the best way to clean the area so you can move the needed number of troops to better your situation.

Yes, given equal numbers of troops on each side the player who moves three at a time than the other will be done first. The secret to playing well is to realize that it is not always wise to be so predictable and that adapting ones tactics and strategies to the situation is a MUCH better idea.

Because the ATS turn sequence is less rigid the player's have more freedom to figure out how to accomplish the tasks. This means the opponent has more opportunities to screw that plan up. It is the interaction that becomes the game's greatest strength. Might not be your cup of whatever your favorite beverage is.

The point of the basic game is to help introduce the player to the idea of the impulse system and to help teach the basic mechanics that are used in the full game. As I recall I did not have to unlearn anything when going to the full game.

Note that I played ASL before the Starter Kits came out and I had a hard time unlearning ASL rules to play the SKs. My issue and not really a fault of ASL or the SKs. I am not even sure why I mention it - It has been so long that I do not recall if anything has to be unlearned when going from SK to ASL and I think they serve the same purpose - to teach mechanics.
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Tim Benjamin
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I do appreciate your input but I find that I'm playing ATS (Basic) with more of an eye on 'tempo' (gaining Panzerbush freedom) than following a plan. In fact, the game becomes more chess-like than ASL which actually increases the problem of excessive God's-eye-view co-ordination (and slower because of the need for continual tactical revisions of the strategic plan).

I'm thinking that ATS would do better with units assigned to leaders and then using a chit-pull system for those leaders.

(PS Started with SL in 1977.)
 
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Lindgaard
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Quote:
If side A has 20 units but moves them in stacks (on average) of just 2 and B has 20 units and uses them individually, then B will end up with 10 units that can operate %100 freely


1) Yes, If A doesn't use the word "pass".

2) Yes, there is a trade-off betweeen firing and moving. I assume this is true for ASL too. ( ah.. decisions ! )


Keeping your troops together is a good idea for the following reasons:

1)If a stack takes casualties, the owning player decides wich units takes casualties. That way you can use lower quality troops to protect high value units like Heavy weapon crews, engineers etc.

2)If a squad/MMC takes casualties, full strength squads and officers in same and adjacent hexes gives bonus to the morale check.

3)Troops in up to 3 adjacent hexes can form a firegroup. Thats up to 12 squads with LMG's, without overstacking !!

4) Moving your units one at a time might allow your opponent to get to an objective "firstest with the mostest".

The downside : Sometimes your opponent get a few free moves. . decisions, decisions


Quote:
If side A has 20 units and side B has 10 units then it is possible that A will have 10 units to move %100 freely after B has exhausted its impulses (ROF included


Yes, outnumbering your opponent gives you an advantage. I guess that's the case in most wargames.


Quote:
Firing is also more efficient in smaller increments as abundant casualties always cause morale checks.)


I'll agree that abundant casualties cause morale checks BUT

The more firepower you use the higer the chance of causing casualties.

The more firepower you use the higer the max. possible number of casualties.

The number of casualties a stack/hex takes is also the penalty to all morale checks taken.

So again there is a tradeoff between many low firepower attacks, and fewer high-power attacks ( argh ! more decisions laugh )
 
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Martin Gallo
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RaffertyA wrote:
I do appreciate your input but I find that I'm playing ATS (Basic) with more of an eye on 'tempo' (gaining Panzerbush freedom) than following a plan. In fact, the game becomes more chess-like than ASL which actually increases the problem of excessive God's-eye-view co-ordination (and slower because of the need for continual tactical revisions of the strategic plan).
Try playing against a live opponent. Solitaire play tends to be less fluid. It is great for learning most of the rules but not always goof for learning the game.

RaffertyA wrote:
I'm thinking that ATS would do better with units assigned to leaders and then using a chit-pull system for those leaders.
This has been tried and while it does increase the chaos factor from not knowing when units will activate it reduced the fun factor (for me). It seems to work well for some games (John Prados Third Reich) and fails miserably for others (The Ancient world).

RaffertyA wrote:
(PS Started with SL in 1977.)
I played SL from 1980 through 1986 then started playing ASL. I think I stopped in 2005??
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Mark Riley
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I really enjoyed the impulse system when I moved from ASL to ATS many years ago. It felt right once the two sides' units are up close or intermingled. I used to use chits rather than strictly alternating impulses so it was possible for one side to have 2 or 3 impulses in a row. The unpredictability increased the drama. Sadly I have returned to ASL as RT in his wisdom just keeps on b******g about with the ATS system and not always in a good way either - viz the recent TT rule and counter size changes complete with conflicting armament specs. I find ASL feels more chess like due to the rigid sequence of play which is not a plus for me but the system is stable and fabulously supported by the industry and players and those are the clinchers for me. I'll always have a soft spot for ATS though and I thought the 3.09 rules were pretty good.
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Todd Larsen
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Standard ATS also has opportunity overwatch. This allows units that have moved into position to Advance Fire at 1/2 GF. So units can take ground and have some def capabilities.
 
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larsent wrote:
Standard ATS also has opportunity overwatch. This allows units that have moved into position to Advance Fire at 1/2 GF. So units can take ground and have some def capabilities.


Please give us a rules reference.

I can't find that anywhere. A unit using assault movement may fire before, during or after it's move, but not in later impulses. Rule 11.3.12, rule version 3.09
 
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Todd Larsen
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Not sure of the section but it is in 4.0

I have used that rule for years, along with quite a few other house options.

edit to add

section 12.7.5

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Lindgaard
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Ah.. version 4.0

I wonder if it will be available as download ?
 
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Martin Gallo
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Section 5.88 of the TT rules insert.
 
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Lindgaard
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Thanks Martin.


I'm still confused.

Is there a difference between ATS 4.0 and the TT rules, or are the 4.0 rules just 3.09 + TT rules ?
 
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Martin Gallo
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The v4 rules are the v3 rules with the changes included in the TT leaflet. There may be other changes as well but the gist of the changes are the inclusion of the TT rules.
 
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Todd Larsen
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The confusing thing is that some of the TT rules were included but not all. The advance to contact SOP was added, which no one seems to use, but not integrated into the rules, just kind of cut and pasted in the general area. Things like shifts changing to DRMs were not added in the main rules.
 
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