Sunday, November 16, 2008

Prep Fire! Getting Set Up Part 1

Alrighty, your ASLSKs just got plunked into your mailbox and you're ready to play. Hold up there partner! There are some things that you probably want and should do to help increase your enjoyment. (Read: time to spend more money!)

Firstly go through the contents of the box, there should be a small slip of paper that MMP uses as a manifest. Make sure everything is there. I've heard some people have missing items but I've heard even more that MMP and wargame companies like them have excellent customer service. Just give them a phone call or email explaining the problem and they'll rectify it quick -- just one of the advantages of the hobby that is so small.

Next, get out a hobby knife (XActo or whatever) and carefully run it along the die cuts in the counter sheets so they will detach easier. Some thought should be given to where to store these guys ranging from "throw them in the box" to "custom-made storage solutions". The most common method is Plano brand tackle-boxes. Model 3701 is the box of choice here as they are cheap (about $4-5 each), have a lot of space and spaces, stack, and generally are perfect for the anal retentive wargamer. You might want to sort by nationality and separate out the informational counters.

Now, go read the rulebook.

Back? Ok, so you're going to have to push counters around on a geomorphic mapboard while consulting a few charts, the rules themselves and a scenario sheet. How are you going to get organized? Well, after about a half-dozen solitaire scenarios through which I learned the rules I have a nice system all ready to show you:

Here it is all on the dining room table (mental note: must get wifey to OK purchase of new dedicated gaming table...).

THE WORKSStarting at 12 o'clock and going clockwise we have (1) informational counters in a small tackle box resting on top of a binder with richfam's ASLSK Tutorials all printed up insider, (2) the Plano boxes for the US and German orders of battle (OBs) from the Starter Kits only, (3) Starter Kit #3's rulebook as the latest and greatest SK ruleset, (4) the Quick Reference Display Chart from SK3 in a page protector, (5) miscellaneous player aids printed up from the Internet (like the ASLSK3 Sequence of Play chart from BGG), (6) the other SK rulebooks and charts for reference, (7) a binder with all the published and downloaded scenarios I own in page protectors, (8) and my recently acquired ASL Rulebook 2nd Edition, of course in its own binder and custom front cover art and page protected contents, (9) and finally, the map I'm playing on in its own little display sleeve/condom with some two-coloured dice in the middle. Let's go through these and you can decide what's worth doing and what's not for you.

The Binders


I SWEAR I DON'T HOARD THINGS!To be perfectly honest you probably don't need these things around. I generally keep the red scenario binder somewhere away from my toddlers and remove only the ones I want to use/play when I need to. The page protectors are a good piece of mind thing for the investment you've made into the game. With the three SKs you're already looking at around 25 scenarios plus any others you've been able to download from MMP.

With the green binder is the richfam stuff and any articles and learning examples etc. I find on the Internet printed beside my bed for a little getting-to-sleep reading. Other stuff I've shoved in there includes the full examples of play from Tom Repetti's personal site, Tuomoland, here. Check out the infantry-only example first if you're a newb and move from there. I treat it like my own little syllabus of learning for ASL.

CONDOMED!The full ASL second edition Rulebook was basically an extravangance for me. You don't honestly need it at the Starter Kit level. But if you plan on getting to the full ruleset someday just keep a lookout for it -- better yet, get your FLGS to order you one and when it comes in use it as a sort of "super" rulebook or reference when you play SK scenarios. I've found it a lot less intimidating that way and especially fascinating when you see what we're missing "down here". And yep, it's in page protected glory. I don't keep this around when I play; it sits with the green one upstairs and the original RB binder holds the original Paratrooper training chapter K and sits on the shelf.



DA GERMANSStorage is a fun topic of conversation amongst ASLers, as some of you who frequent GameSquad's forums are aware of. One man's storage is another man's signs of impending mental disease. Here's what I'm doing storage-wise. As you see above, I've divided the nationalities of the SK armies into their own Plano (model 3820 if I can remember right). So far that's been doable since the OBs for the SKs are much smaller than full ASL. The infantry and guns and AFVs all fit into one Plano. Key things to look for in your storage solutions: enough dividers and a rounded bottom so you can easily swipe counters out of their little cubbies. On the right are the Starter Kit Germans.

WHERE'S THE TURN COUNTER?!On the left are the informational counters. Again, these are easy to keep in a smaller than normal Plano because SK games don't use the full info counter set. These you want to keep very handy while playing with the very commonly used counters easily in reach, or better yet, stack a half-dozen or so next to the map for both players.

All closed up, the tackle boxes are quite easily stackable together on a shelf somewhere.

Once again I've written waaaay more than I wanted to be able to fit into one post (and Blogger is starting to have fits with all the pictures I've shoved in here) so I'll split this Getting Set Up post into two and finish the write up tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget Repetti's awesome counter storage screed, another facet of the Tuomoland site you mentioned in your post:

And surely you don't sort your counters before you've clipped the corners ...? (shudder)

scrub said...

Heh, if you peer closely at my counter photos you'll notice some clipping. I'm actually going to grab that C4 Counter Cutter everyone's been going on about for Christmas.