Thursday, April 30, 2009

2 Half-Squads - More stuff!

Just checking up on my favourite ASL Podcast by the 2 Half-Squads and they've been mighty busy.

Two new episodes since the beginning of the month, a video of the ASL Open in Chicago and something intriguing for the newbie ASLer -- a Newbie-Do (Part 1) where the boys walk through S1 Retaking Vierville.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

VASLeague Round Two Completed!

Woot! Let's just say it was another barn burner. More details and AAR soonish.

In the meantime, here's the Quote of the Match:

scrub - dude, im not sure why you fired on your own men...
LTC Paul - Because they SUCK!!! LOL!
scrub - OMG LOL

LOL indeed. It was another great scenario and a gracious and awesome opponent -- sorry for being such a sloppy player (though I think I improved by game's end).

Sunday, April 26, 2009

More from VASLeague 2...

We finally caught each other in a big match of Computer Tag. Tonight we ripped through 2 turns in almost 3 hours.


1. Turns out we may have royally screwed up the HMG last week. Units that expend only 1MF get shot at only once in the MPh. I may have shot more than once with the HMG of Doom last week. It's ok, I think it had ROF once tonight. Damn you dice gods!!!

2. Speaking of dice, the ASL Scenario Archive has an awesome VASL Analyzer. It's at and rocks. Now you can definitively prove your dice were crapola. For what it's worth I was averaging 6.3 and opponent was 6.9 (4 snakes and 1 boxcar for me, 1/3 for him) if I remember correctly. I do NOT want to play tomorrow night when I will regress to the mean... if you know what I mean? Haha, I'm funny.

3. Prep Fire has demonstrated to us that it SUCKS in terms of getting people to move out of houses. But I think we knew that.

4. I almost forgot my reinforcements in turn 2. The SK and full ASL has rules for this! Unlike other games (I'm thinking SCS and whatnot) if you do not put the guys on the board on that turn you LOSE THEM! [Check 3.3] Wow, luckily I forgot them in MPh but was able to Advance them in APh. Lucky lucky boy...

5. If you know S18 - Baking Bread, Sgt. Esser, who leads the first squads nearest the "Bread Factory" has now been renamed in our game, Sgt. Luckypants McRabbitfoot. Nothing phases him. NOTHING. Now he has a machine gun...

6. The Commissar ate his first victim today, some schleps from the Ukrainian steppes refused to stop peeing their pants so he perferated them. Nice. His name is Ivan actually. Awesome at parties...

Remember, roll LO....

Saturday, April 25, 2009

World of ASL Updated!

Mr. Mark Pitcavage has updated his extremely useful World of ASL resource on his Desperation Morale website. Go check it out:

Good work sir!

Friday, April 24, 2009

I like Keith Dalton...

Let me get to the point of all these posts and summarize: You are all wrong. I am right. Whatever the topic. As long as we're all down with that, won't be any trouble.

What the --?!

I AM COOL!!!Seriously, the MMP folder has EXPLODED again. I'm pretty sure I was caught up earlier this morning but now I'm staring at 250 more messages in the folder at CSW.

I'm afraid.

Hold me...

Also, this seems fun:

Ok, I'm getting caught up in the CSW folder now -- sometimes it becomes a chore. It seems to be a lot of hubbub about skulking. Skulking is the "gamey" tactic of assault moving your squads out of enemy LOS and advancing them back into the original hex later in the turn. Essentially you are trading the ability to Prep and AdFire for "invincibility".

I hate these kinds of discussions. Especially when people invoke the "realism" argument, i.e. How realistic is it for troops in war to run away and back to avoid fire blah blah blah?!

ASL, like others of its kind is a warGAME. Stop being dumb. Here's how you can handle it:

1. Don't do it. Get shot up. Prove to the world that you are dumb.

2. Do it but picture any number of visualizations that help you deal with it.

3. Just do it.

I suppose you and your opponent can agree not to "cheese" it by skulking but c'mon. Really. It's a game. And as soon as I figure out what VBM sleeze is I'll make the same argument. War-G-A-M-E.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A nice summary from the CSW discussion...

Well I've caught up to the current posts on the MMP folder. [See last post made minutes earlier!!!] It only slightly deviated into stupidity near the end. Here's a nice post I cherry-picked from Todd Pytel (he was quoting Mark Pitcavage as well). I think it a nice succinct post and summarizes some of my thoughts as well:

---If you have played all the way through ASLSK3 and you are still afraid of ASL, then it is not for you. Stay satisfied with ASLSK or seek out some other game. Don't look for endless baby steps.---

Perhaps I could rephrase Mark's point more diplomatically and provide some further justification for it. To those people that want SK4+: You want to play ASL.

Great! Now, here's the thing. Nobody knows every ASL rule by heart. In fact, there are a bunch of relatively common ASL rules that I'd guess only maybe the top 10-25% of ASL regulars remember completely - stuff like Airpower, Deep Snow, Spreading Blazes, Canister Fire, etc. They're not that far-out or difficult as ASL rules go, butyou just don't use them every game. I'd say that nearly every scenario I play has at least one thing in it that I don't know off the top of my head, and often that I've never seen before. If you want to be an ASL player, this will happen to you. So, you're going to have to look them up. In the ASLRB. And understand them well enough to apply them in the scenario. This is an unalterable fact of playing ASL.

Now, there are only a handful of significant rules in a basic full ASL scenario that aren't in SK3. Those rules are your first test. You have to be willing to find them in the ASLRB and spend some time and energy parsing the sentences and understanding them, because that's what we all have to do nearly every game. If it makes it easier, trim that step down a little more and choose to ignore some rules. For example, play a full ASL scenario without HOB and Snipers so that you can focus on Concealment and Bypass movement - the scenario isn't going to come crashing down around you.

But at some point, you have to come to grips with the rulebook. There is no other way. If you can play SK3, you're well, well past the point of dealing with dozens of interlocking, fundamental rules. You can play scenarios and learn just one or two more rules at a time, just like the majority of regular ASL players do when they play a scenario.

When Mark says that ASL is "not for you" if you can't go from SK3 to full ASL, it's really not an "are you tough enough?" comment. The nature of the game is that you're always learning something new about the system. You simply don't "know how to play" full ASL in the same way that you "know how to play" SK3. You're always using the ASLRB to improve your imperfect knowledge. An SK4 would only delay your recognition of this fact. It wouldn't make dealing with it a lick easier.

If you're truly uncomfortable with digging into the ASLRB to learn something new, then (sadly) ASL is probably not the game for you, because that is, to some extent, what ASL is all about.

Nicely said sir.

The "Future" of ASL...

I AM COOL!!!There has been a mini-tempest brewing up in the MMP folder on Consimworld.

A gentleman by the name of Lonnie Anderson has posted a short and impassioned plea to MMP about the accessibility of ASL. Here is the start of the discussion:

As of this moment there are approximately 200 responses and counters to this posting. It's so long and involved I'm only halfway through it. (To be honest, it's been good discussion so far -- the occasional lapse of CSW into unremitting trashtalk has not yet occurred.)

Of course, I asked myself what I thought and here it is so far:

1. I think the idea of a ASLSK4 is awesome. I love ASLSK and the idea that it could extend in perpetuity is exciting but, in the end, is not realistic. ASLSK will continue in action packs and HASLs -- but honestly, if you want more you're not that far from full ASL and the great stuff available there. If MMP never does more for ASLSK I still think it's enough for us to go on.

2. HOWEVER, MMP must see the merit of perhaps doing something about reducing even more the Herculean learning cliff that getting in full ASL entails. MMP must have another mind-think and ask what could ease the transition from ASLSK3 to full ASL? I suppose they could wait for another Jay Richardson-type to show up and do it for them but really, why not a transition product. There's no question it would sell like hotcakes.

3. Newbies to the hobby, it's not that hard to learn ASLSK. Really it isn't. I've said this before and I'll say it again... In the event you can't find a mentor, the richfam tutorials are your tutor. There's no way anyone with any wargame experience or who can handle the intricacies of the more complex Euros can't handle ASLSK. Having now been more immersed into ASL I can see that just a leeeetle bit more effort from the new player to learn will work wonders. Stop expecting the beauty of ASL to magically manifest itself for you within seconds of pushing a counter across a hexside. Play a few games before giving up.

4. Hardcore/Grognard ASLers, do yourself a favour and don't make getting into ASL harder than it is. You certainly aren't expected to grow the hobby or be evangelizing or even friendly. But seriously think before you put down a newbie on CSW, BGG or wherever. I'm positive many have taken up the challenge of ASL(SK), then having found a literal wall of opposition to their presence on a forum or convention, decided that this stuffy old hobby didn't need them crowding out everyone else's style. Now that I think about it, yes, BE FRIENDLY. You don't have to mentor anyone but being nice costs you nothing.

5. As for the ASLRB2... in my humblest of opinions, that rulebook is a fantastic gaming achievement. It's a reference of epic proportions. But as I've said before, it's a dictionary for when you're learning a new language, not a bloody instructional course of study. Stop expecting this thing to teach you ASL. That's not going to happen.

Secondly, as good as it is, there's something wrong with having to learn ASL from a person rather than a manual. There must be something that can fill the gap between pushing cardboard around and approaching the ASLRB2 without having a personal tutor around. Alas, brighter minds than I need to solve this problem (or has it already been solved?).

Blah, back into the CSW stream...

[UPDATE: I've found that the posts I'm still reading are a fascinating cross-section of the kinds of people and learning experiences that would be interesting to anyone who enjoys ASL... as nutty as CSW sometimes is, this is a golden moment here.]

Monday, April 20, 2009

Did you know...?

Hmmmmm... Did you know... ... the Rally Phase?

Some stuff about the Rally Phase (RPh) that are frequently done incorrectly:

1. Both players are active during the Rally Phase, not just the ATTACKER. I remember my first playthrough I thought that the RPh was active player only. Yes, noobs, that means that everyone gets to rally that's stacked with a Good Order leader!

2. All self-rally attempts get a +1 DRM. That's just self-rallying leaders right? Wrong! The ATTACKER may attempt to self-rally one additional MMC without the boxed morale who is not stacked with a leader. The key is additional -- you can't try the same unit twice! (In fact, no unit may attempt to rally more than once a RPh.)

3. All rally attempts may receive a TEM of -1 if done in woods or buildings. It's apparently safer in these sorts of terrain.

4. Leaders may not use their leadership modifier on themselves to self-rally! They are good, but not that good.

5. The +4 DRM for Desperation Morale only applies to Rally Attempts, NOT Morale Checks! Sometimes players like to add that +4 when doing MCs from the IFT. Don't!

6. Don't forget that a natural boxcar on a Rally Attempt (DR of 12) means Casualty Reduction! Your men just went to pieces trying to get it together. Roll low!

I've been meaning to piece a few of these "nuggets" of learning together from the crappy notes I take when playing. Hope they help (and I hope I didn't screw them up!).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

VASLeague 2 OR HMGs -- I love them!

It's been a while since I've played some ASL(SK) so I was a bit rusty tonight versus Paul, my opponent in the VASLeague.

Yep, we just started our game in the last 10 days of the two months we had. I laughed -- LAUGHED -- when I heard the VASLeague gave 2 months a round. Now I know why. If it wasn't me then it was my opponent who couldn't scrap together the time. I think that face-to-face play is less likely to be disrupted but for some reason, as soon as ASL moves online all bets are off.

So, we decided at the last moment to play S18 - Baking Bread. (MMP has the map here. ) It's set in my favourite of hotspots, Stalingrad. To make things even crazier, the map is a fraction of the whole in an intense built up area. What is more, special scenario rules put every non-building terrain hex as rubble (+3 TEM, inherent terrain, breaks LOS etc. etc.). So the map is pretty busy. Here's a shot from the middle of the action:

So far it seems pretty even; the balance seems to see-saw between the two of us (I'm German). The HIP Russian gun tore me a new one but my HMG seems to be handled by some German Davey Crockett -- first Allied turn he eliminated two units, CRed a third and, broke two more. That's what I call a severe beating.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

TPBF1 Errata

As inevitable as the tides and the phases of the moon, errata has now been issued for TPBF1. Though our testing procedures here at Triple Point Blank Fire are first rate and thorough beyond belief heavy play of the scenario has resulted in a few clarifications:

1. First, NO UNIT may leave the map for any reason. You cowardly Trainees must face the wrath of Ross Geller or else.

2. Secondly, the Captain Sobel counter has proven to be tricky to balance and we've decided that his current incarnation is too powerful. The above counter should be considered officially superceding all previous versions. Note that Sobel now only passes NMCs and self-rallies on SNAKES! Finally, no HOB applies to Sobel. You cheaters! Good news, those who pre-order the TPBF 10 Year Compilation will receive the reprinted Sobel counter for a mere $4.59. Don't wait, counters don't grow on trees you know... Oh yeah, some git complained about the glitter so it's gone now too.

TPBF is committed to the wholesome enjoyment of shooting others with cardboard proxies. That is all.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Scenario TPBF1 is RELEASED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The reason I've been so busy and haven't been playing as much ASL is that I've been working on a secret project. The finishing touches are done and I'd like to proudly present my very first self-designed ASL (SK-compatible!) scenario:

TBPF1 - Where The Hell Is Everyone?!

Designed to appeal to grognard and total Euro-newb alike, TBPF1 takes the heroism of TV's Band of Brothers' David Schwimmer's Herbert Sobel's crazy antics to new heights of gaming ecstasy. Playtested rigourously ZERO times, this scenario comes with a Bonus, Limited Edition, DTP counter of the infamous Captain Sobel himself (see above -- just right-click and choose the option: "Print As: Die-Cut Counter"!).

Don't be left in the dust as the hordes of wargamers stampede to download their copy here.

Stay tuned for TPBF2 - Curra-Friggin'-Hee, coming SOON!

[EDIT: Here's a link to the file on MediaFire, no logins to GameSquad required: Enjoy!]