Sunday, December 7, 2014

Episode 129: Why Knott PBEM?

Ken doesn't let his wilderness
home keep him from playing plenty
of ASL thanks to VASL
After much delay, avoidance, postponement and procrastination, we finally took the time to learn the facts, physics and fun of PBEM (Play By EMail), and for this we turned to experienced VASLer and loyal T2HS fan, Ken Knott. If your spouse hasn't already questioned your sanity regarding your sad devotion to Advanced Squad Leader, wait till she finds out about the virtual friends you're playing with.

17:30 - Letters
36:20 - What Have You Been Playing Lately? A Tarawa AAR
46:45 - VASL and PBEM talk with Ken Knott
1:34:20 - Total Running Time

Hit the Beach SoCal ASL Newsletter

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  1. Loved the "sound of texting..." hope you can cover Cardboard via SKYPE sometime for those of us who don't play via VASL.

  2. I'll agree with Ken on his reemergence in ASL.
    Availability of VASL and the Greatness that has kept that alive and thriving AND the 2 Half-Squads Podcast.
    I haven't played the 80 games in the last 18 mos. as Ken, but about 20 in a year is good for me.
    I'd hate to see the ASL world (SK especially) without the existence of the 2hs podcast

  3. Another excellent show!! The comedy is back, as is the theme music for "what have you been playing lately" Well done. The interview with Ken was outstanding. I too, am strictly VASL player... due to lack of FTF opponents. I played PBM back in the early 80s. Not ASL or Squad Leader, but other wargames. I purchased a "play by mail kit" for the game to be played. It consisted of a pad, for each side, with representations of the counters. Under each counter was "space" to write down the hex numbers for that counters movement, and a set of instructions. After marking on the sheet each units movement for the turn, you listed your combats.
    You would give your opponent a future date, and a stock(s) to resolve your combats. On the specified day, you would take the sales in 100s figure and divide by 6. The "remainder" would be your die roll with "0" = 6. Great Fun!!!

  4. I did find it interesting that the basic comment was - 'PBEM is not as bad as you think you should try it before giving opinions' and then all concerned promptly give an opinion on something else they have not tried (playing over skype) including a total lack of knowledge over what is involved. For those who don't know skype play does not necessarily even involve a webcam (and when it does it is usually pointed at the die tower to stop the players having to individually list the dice) and if you are imagine a face to face game against someone whose hands have been bandaged so you have to move all their pieces when they tell you as well as your own then you are practically there.

  5. Well stated Joss. Indeed, the camera is aimed at the dice cup and dice tower at each respective end of our SKYPE session. And because you move both sides, you are involved in every phase of the game. It's like the guy is right there with you. Been doing Cardboard via SKYPE since 2010 and absolutely love it. And yes...I want to use the boards and counters...guess that makes me old school.

  6. Twern't my intention to disparage the fine arte of Cardboard ASL via Skype... I simply described it as best as I understood it (if incorrectly) and then commented that, in my opinion, I find the advantages inherent in VASL regarding efficiency, convenience and customization make it my preferred method.

  7. I am a huge PBeM player myself .. I have 9 games running concurrently.

    Here's a blog post to get other folks started if they are curious about PBeM

  8. I agree with Kenneth the two things that bring me back to ASL are the 2 Halfsquads and VASL. Jeff I hope you will give VASL a full try and teach Dave own to use it. Can’t wait to hear back from your experience with VASL.

    Keep up the good work


  9. Re: playing scenarios more than once, back in the late 90s I challenged myself (and my long suffering opponents here in Canberra) to play each ASL scenario published in the modules (starting with "Fighting Withdrawal" in Beyond Valor) at least twice by winning with each side before moving on. I set a limit of 3 failures with one side but didn't invoke it. Halfway through The Last Hurrah, I decided to take a break from ASL for a couple of years to play other games. I wrote up strategy guides for a lot of the scenarios so if you think it is not possible to win a scenario from BV to TLH, email me for tips.

  10. Great interview with Ken! I appreciated the blow-by-blow on PBeM VASL. So many posts stop after the installation details. But I could not help but wonder how the PBeM game with Ken that was proposed at the end of the interview went. How did it go?