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.


mdnowak said...

I can say that over the past few months I have noticed a rift developing between ASL and ASLSK players that really shouldn't happen. I only have played SK scenarios so for but do have a old ASL ver. 1 rulebook I purchased about 20 years ago. I am planning on getting back into full ASL but the my biggest stumbling block, especially in these economic times, is the $100.00 BV Baracade. The SKs where a nice cautious approach to reentering the ASL world. Spending $25 - $35 on a game was like taking the family to a movie. If you didn't like it, then you wasted some time and some money but it didn't make you smack yourself in the head and say "what have I done?". But jumping into full ASL and then next having to shell out over $100 for the required BV makes one somewhat hesitant. I think breaking Beyond Value into smaller, cheaper purhcases of 2 or 3 modules with each having fewer units and boards that can be added to by purchasing the next BV expansion module would help alleviate the hesitation of buying a full ASL game component.

Another useful item might be a rule book and some addition markers that can help convert the existing SK scenarios into full ASL scenarios. Again, at less of a cost than BV.

Sorry for the long post.

scrub said...

No need to apologize for the long post. You had something to say and said it well I think. That RB cost is definitely something that made me hesitate -- though in the end I justified it as an investment to playing Red Barricades and Valor of the Guards.

Fun point: You called it Beyond Value. Freudian slip? Hehe.

Luca Andena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luca Andena said...

I have a similar background as mdnowak, had my ASLRB 1ed resting on the shelves for 15+yrs and only recently picked up the ASLSK. I already moved to full ASL playing a few scenarios but I don't mind at all playing SK games - in fact, the reason I found this blog is that I played against Scrub in the first round of the VASL SK league.
Originally I had the same reserves about spending so much money for BV but at that time you also had Paratroopers available, a second, much cheaper module with all you needed to play clashes between Yankees and Germans in Normandy. It also had the plus of chapter K, a training guide which was the best tool available to learn playing ASL on your own. Now there's the SKs for that but I think it is still very useful for the two main points in the full rules that require some effort to take in: concealment and multi-level hexes and LOS.
Unfortunately, MMP does not plan to reprint it - but we already know their policies are senseless, with the ASLRB gone out of print again. If ASL wasn't such a great game, you would wonder how can it still be alive when the publisher does not care about allowing people to buy what is needed to play.

Bjoern said...

Yeah, my ASLRB1 was untouched for 10 years or so. Then MMP published the SK's and I had to buy them. After I played some SK scenarios, I went to Cologne (a little trip of 250 klicks :-7) to buy a ASLRB2. Now I'am back at full-ASL. I played always solo, because there are no other players nearby, but that is fine with me. I like to play slow, with much reading in the RB.

One or two times I tried to teach ASL to a friend, but it didden't work out. In europe it is even harder to find an ASL opponent or a teacher than on the other side of the ocean. Unfortunately my english isn't as fluid as it should be, so the language barrier keeps me from playing online.

The CSW dicussion seems quite pointless to me. There are some extrem positions and the only thing these guys can do is to agree to disagree. I agree with Mark Pitcavage, though. There is no need for more baby steps. But everything has been said about this in the discussion.

In my eyes the worst thing about ASL is the bad availability of the ASL stuff. What ASL really need ist a official eASLRB, because it can't be out of stock. This eASLRB wit a few scenarios and VASL is all newbies need to start learning and playing ASL. Maybe there could also be a medium size module, playable with full ASL and SK rules and with a decent price. Paying 200+ euro for the RB and BV is a pain in the butt. 200 euro equals my net income after all bills are payed (i'am a student). This leads me to a second thing. It's nearly unacceptable to sell a costly thing like the ASLRB and then deliver replacement pages in other costly products like modules. That is a annoying policy! If ASL is to expensive for younger people, how should they become addicted and buy this stuff when they are older and more wealthy?



P.S: But there is one good thing about the expensive ASL stuff. If I ever go bankrupt, I can sell my copy of West Of Alamein :-D

mdnowak said...

I didn't even notice I typed Beyond Value. I guess it was a Freudian slip. It certainly isn't a value in my opinion.

But the rulebook and Beyond Valor are currently out of stock anyway. MMP could use this as a ploy to boost sales. Since may people seem to have noted that the ASLRB is out, when it does become available again, it might make people who had doubts about the purchase, buy it when it is in stock thinking that it may be unavailable again. This happened to me when I purchased SK1 and saw SK2 was out of stock. I checked the MMP site every 2-3 days until it was in stock again and purchased it right away.

scrub said...

Great comments guys. I wonder if anyone from MMP checks this blog out.

I think that MMP is becoming a victim of their own popularity. The SKs are driving demand up but they are unused to this demand.

The eASLRB seems like such a no brainer too. From what I understand there's a bootleg one floating around on the torrents anyways. So, why not monetize this? It might not even be in MMP's control (Hasbro?).