Sunday, September 4, 2011

Episode 55: Round Table II

Had a hard day at work? Difficulties with that job search? Neighbor's dog left a doo-doo on your lawn? Well times are tough, so give yourself a little break, pull up a seat at the table and enjoy the conversation, as we discuss all things ASL.

Today's knights of the round table are:
Jack Murphy
Rich Spilky
Dave Kleinschmidt
Jeff Hallett

George Clooney wanted to be here but had to cancel at the last moment. No matter. We do the subject justice without him.


2:40 - How to store your rules and how they should be made available
13:02 - Why We Hate ASL
21:00 - Cave Rules and Their Complexity
29:00 - ROAR
41:00 - Should Publishers Fix and Re-Release Bad Scenarios?
46:00 - Winter Boards
53:00 - Speed of Play
1:03:00 - Gaming Etiquette
1:16:00 - Passing on the tradition of ASL
1:25:00 - Total Running Time

Listen Now:

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  1. Brent Pollock (WBRP)September 4, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    Why We Hate ASL - real problems with the game engine itself, just belly-aching about certain physical aspects of play/storage and rules editorialising. No concerns with the command-control-communications aspect. No remarks on OBA mechanics. Nothing on Special Ammo depletion mechanics or ROF. Just Fan-Boy stuff (which is still fun to listen to and not really a surprise).

    Winter Boards - count me out, but I'd score a point for VASL on this.

    Speed of Play - drives me nuts - the deed to the property has not been bet on the game nor has your first-born. Just DO SOMETHING - GAWDAMMIT!

  2. A lot of talk of hollywood superstars tonight - but you know even though I've seen Jeff now on your video posts, I can't get it out of my head that he is Michael Moore. In my mind, it's Michael Moore doing these podcasts. Baseball cap, glasses - it's you isn't it?

    Another interesting show guys, thanks.

    Rob (Lowe that is;-) )

  3. Yes the control, communications part is not very historical. Believe that we discussed "not enough fog of war" in a previous roundtable or episode. OBA Problems Brent? Dave thinks they are just fine, but what does he know?

  4. The only real thing that bothers me is the guy who has that subtle constant complaining. "My my dice just suck today" or " I'm Hungry" or better yet "Must be nice you have (fill in the blank)set" Just not happy playing the greatest game in the world.
    Keep up the GREAT WORK and roll low!!

  5. Hey guys, great cast.

    Reasons why I hate ASL. Ok, I think you can call me a non ASL player - I have actually played a half dozen times, different scenarios. Played before the starter sets, and also played one of the starter sets.

    I am a hardcore wargamer, always have been, and of that I have an interest and good grasp of WW2 history, and I like all sorts of games with a WW2 background or theme.

    So you would think ASL is a no brainer like for me ?

    Its not. So Reasons why I hate ASL.

    Abstraction. This drives me bananas. Of course every ruleset for a wargame is an abstraction of reality, but in ASL - and this is pretty much the only game where I feel this - the abstraction feels like its the be all and end all. ASL to me feels like an abstract game with a WW2 theme tacked on, as opposed to a WW2 game with some abstract rules.

    Mostly I am talking about the nuances of stacks, which phase to fire in and not fire in, and the effects of fire here. This combined with some wacky dice rolls can pretty much turn a game on its head. For me it just doesnt meet my expectations of what should happen - the abstraction fails to meet my expectation of reality. I think a little of the problem is its slightly odd level of detail - it sits at the platoon / company level, which for me has it leaning somewhat on strategic mechanisms, but also tactical mechanics, and it doesnt seem to sit very happily in that place. For me it doesnt do either very well.

    Slow play time. Generally the thing is a beast. And for someone that gets slowly rubbed the wrong way by the abstractions, the time ends up being a killer.

    A rule book that is worse than a library of legal references. I know what AH rulebooks can be like. But ASL takes the biscuit. But on the whole I can live with the rules - its not a deal breaker.

    Its an odd thing. I can look at ASL and think that looks great. I can hear about it and think it sounds great. I can read the rules and think its cool. I sit and play it - I think its an abstract clunkfest, and bizarrely the dice rolls can loom large in whether a 4 hour chunk of time was well spent playing an interesting tactical challenge, or an exercise in who can roll the lowest dice roll wins. Dice and luck can factor nicely in a game, depending how they integrate with the rules will determine whether they will at one end of the scale trump all attempts at tactical play - a complete randomfest - or at the other end they only subtly influence the outcome of your plans. For me the abstractions of stacks and fire phases tends to emphasise the randomness of the dice over tactics.

    The two things together kill the game for me. And there are plenty of other games to choose, so I end up walking away - for another year, until I figure that I really should like ASL and get enthused to play it. Rinse and repeat.

  6. Well I guess we can place this guy above squarely in the non ASL category. Oh well.

  7. Great show - you should do more roundtables!

    Can't remember who brought this topic up about that there might be several scenarios for each day of the war - went to the scenario archive and did a search on several days as an example - June 6, 1944 - 131 scenarios; July 6, 1944 - 5 scenarios; August 6, 1944 - 5 scenarios: September 6, 1944 - 1 scenario; October 6, 1944 - 8 scenarios; and November 6, 1944 - 5 scenarios...

  8. Wow! A pack of cigarettes here is about $6

  9. Sorry, I meant a CARTON of cigarettes is about $6 here.