Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Prep Fire! Getting Set Up Part 2

Player Aids

Last post I talked about the binders and counter storage solutions I had for my ASL Starter Kits. In this post I'll just finish off talking about other handy gear to have if you're going to be a "serious" ASLer... or at least a serious ASL-newbie.

If you have a single Starter Kit it's a good idea to check the errata on your particular version. SK1 errata is here, and (unofficial) SK2 errata is here, SK3 is here. Print these out asap and leave the printouts with your rulebook.

If you have multiple Starter Kits use the latest one and just print out the latest errata. For example, I have all three SKs and just use the rulebook from SK3 as it has the latest incorporated errata and all the rules from SK1 and 2.

Along with the rulebook you'll want to also keep the QRDC and To-Hit Player Aid Charts handy -- page protectors again. Of course there are amazingly useful non-official player aids out there and I'd recommend:REAMS OF CHARTS!
  • A good Sequence of Play chart which breaks down the exact timing of the game turn elements. My personal favourite is the ASLSK3 SOP at BGG here. Just ignore the bits that do not apply if you are playing SK1 or SK2-only scenarios.

  • The official QRDC not good enough? Try these QRDCs for the full ASL on Ole Bøe's website here. Desperation Morale also has a big set of player aids and "cheat" sheets here.

I keep all of this stuff organized by SK level with the most recent stuff I use repeatedly on top and stored in the SK1 box (the other boxes fit maps and other ASL stuff) so if I need to play I'll just grab the one box, counters and my map condom and go!


Map Protection/Storage

Everyone has their own preference in this regard, almost to the degree of fanaticism that counter storage ellicits. Some people prefer getting a piece of plexiglass or Lexan and getting it chamfered and cut to the size of their regular gaming table or space. I've been told that heading down to your local Home Depot or the like should be the most economical option -- just get them to cut you a piece to size.

My current means of map protection is a "map condom" of sorts. Here's what it looks like in action:


UGH, LOOK AT MY HAND!The map condom is basically a poster/art display sleeve that is of archival quality. I purchased it in an art supply store where they had differing sizes. Notice that I've put two geomorphic maps side by side here (the most common configuration) with dice for scale comparison. I also bought a larger one for my other wargame maps and when you need to place ASL maps lengthwise. I really prefer this method as the sleeve itself is very portable, relatively inexpensive and was made primarily to show off and protect art and maps. Some ASLers and wargamers use poster frames and these I found are cheap but best only for games where you won't be switching out the maps often.

What Else?

There are a couple of things I didn't talk about like dice rolling mechanisms, clipping and maintaining counters. These things become a concern when you get a little more "into" the hobby. You'll eventually find that rolling dice into your little cardboard piles gets a little tedious and the boxtop of your SK a little cumbersome -- check out dice towers or use a fancypants dice cup (it's a cup...). Later you might find your counters themselves are getting a bit ragged or catching each other on the corners as you push them around. Perhaps it's time for a "counter-clipper"?

Where do you find this stuff if you can't make it yourself? Check out Cabela's or Walmart for the tackle boxes. Home Depot or Lowe's for the plexiglass/Lexan. An art supply store for your map condoms and eBay for your dice towers. And finally, Staples/Business Depot for your umpteen page protectors and binders. Look at it this way, you're doing your part to stimulate our flagging global economy.



Vidal said...

Great Blog. It's great to see people excited enough about their hobby to start blogging. It's too bad you live in Toronto. I live down the 401 in Cambridge. I'm getting back into ASL and decided to start with the SK games. What I'm really glad about is that I never sold off my collection of ASL modules! Some of those suckers are impossible to get!

scrub said...

Hi Vidal, thanks for the comment!

I'm actually in the 'burbs and not in the Big Smoke itself. I have a feeling though that there's a big hidden contingent of closet ASLers in the GTA and southern Ontario that just hasn't been able to garner critical mass until the SKs started to show them how to play.

Any other Ontarians playing ASL out there?