- J168 Katyusha’s Embrace, Turn 3 of 6
- CH18 Raging Furnace, Finished
- Those Ragged Bloody Heroes CG, Nov 29 PM, Turn 5 Allied
- Final Day in CG1, BFP Objective: Schmidt, Turn 4
- 40 Fort McGregor, Turn 2 Allied
Instead of using one regiment in this Assault Period and the remaining regiment the last, I decided to go all in and land all the remaining forces in Assault Period 3. At least the IJA won’t be able to focus their fire on either one. Will it work? (Losing all those demo charges in Assault Period 1 continues to hurt us .. )
I started a new twitter feed today because there doesn’t seem to be a dedicated ASL twitter feed. Yes – all things ASL. I hope you will find it interesting! @HWargamer .. or https://twitter.com/HWargamer
Please let me know what you think!
VASL stands for “Virtual Advanced Squad Leader”, a platform created by Mr Rodney Kinney for the enjoyment of ASL’rs worldwide.
On one platform you have most if not all the mapboards, overlays and counters you need. You can play online versus anyone anywhere in the world (with Skype or Discord). You can also choose to play via email (PBeM). I have regular live games sessions scheduled with few of my buddies weekly. We pick up on a saved game and make a some progress every week. We also chat about our jobs, our families and our lives – just like face-to-face gamers do.
VASL accelerated the development of ASL communities in Asia Pacific for example, where ASL’rs are spread far and wide. No matter where you are, for as long as you have an internet connection, you will never run out of opponents. In fact, you can play some of the most experienced ASL’rs in the world, folks who are delighted to show you how it’s done. Before some Asia Pacific gamers even met each other in the Singapore, Manila or Siem Reap tournaments, we have already been talking to each other on a regular basis via VASL games. When we met, we are already old friends.
It’s interesting to note that VASL is (largely) NOT created nor maintained by the companies that publish our ASL modules. They are NOT part of our purchases. We don’t have ANY rights to it. We can’t expect any level of value but yet, it’s one of the best products I have ever used .. and it’s free, freely updated and lovingly maintained.
VASL program, maps, overlays and counters are made & maintained by a group of ASL gamers like you and me, not game company executives who also play ASL, ASL gaming consumers like you and me.
You know, ordinary people: Dudes. Bros. Blokes. Chaps.
Folks who have lives, families, jobs and aspirations. Folks who love, laugh and worry. Folks who sometimes struggle, like all of us do, to find time to play ASL.
Folks who feel compelled to give back to the ASL community, amidst all the conflicting priorities we all have.
Each VASL counter (substitute : overlays, maps) has to be created from scratch. Two graphics to each counter, four for a nationality that step reduces. Each piece of info : graphics and numbers are sized for visibility. After the graphics are done (and info properly put in), intelligence is coded in to make VASL extensions.
We want squads to ELR or Battle Harden properly. We want Chinese counters to go “Dare Death”. We want SMCs to go “Heroic” but not MMCs. We want IJA squads to stripe to the correct numbers. We want LOS strings to work from any point to any point. We want terrain to transform properly, or have entire sets of transformation built for specific scenarios. Should that gun unlimber when you flip it over? Can that support weapon dismantle?
We want NIGHT to look glorious and it does. We want SNOWscapes to look chilly. We want PTO to look unforgiving.
Someone somewhere decided to not do something else but to do VASL, for you and I.
Someone somewhere decided to do this day after day, and to do all this for free.
Versions after versions, bug fixes after bug fixes, modules after modules – one of the best things in life IS free. There IS such a thing as a free lunch.
Next time you deal with / report issues to the VASL crew, perhaps you can also offer to help?
This 1943 scenario offers the Russians a 200mm Rocket OBA with a preregistered hex. The 200 mm is a massive but a one shot deal and it wanders by half a dr. You can’t aim nor correct the thing (it’s automatically inaccurate)! I started the scenario off being less than thrilled about the usefulness of it.
Since Rocket OBA uses a Harassing Fire’s Blast Area, I figured this thing will touch a 5/6 hex area (the rules don’t say whether the error’s rounded up or down.) The GameSquad crowd pointed out there are certain merits to holding off on it so that the Germans will avoid crowding. I put my PreReg hex on 63Q10.
The Russians (I) pushed through the middle – first by largely Assault Moving on board to avoid damage from the various machineguns trained in my direction. Then the Russians executed a Human Wave to rush into the woods ahead. I’d love to say it’s a brilliant move but reality is that I benefited hugely from my opponent’s horrible die rolls.
Oh yes, the Russians get points for taking the multi-hex buildings and by rushing units into the circled area on the right of the map. The Russians win when they stack up 8 points.
Last Turn about the start .. the Russians have 4 points in houses, so 4 points to go .. 4 units, infantry or AFV, have to get into the magic circle and survive the ensuring Axis turn. Do I have a chance?
I’d like to share how I see Advanced Squad Leader (‘ASL’) as a vehicle to gain better insights to military history
First, let’s take a look at ASL’s shortcomings as such a vehicle:
1. Each scenario generally portrays 12 to 20 mins of fighting, offering only a glimpse into the whole battle.
2. Unless it’s a HASL (Historical ASL) module. Geomorphic maps used in most scenarios offer only an impressionistic approximation of the actual terrain.
3. Scenarios generally involve elements from actual fighting forces and not the whole.
With these in mind, let’s talk about how ASL offers a great window (translator: a “Hollywood version” notwithstanding) into historical events.
Allow me to build on the aforementioned “shortcomings”:
1. Precisely because generally each scenario involves less than 20 minutes of the most intensive fighting, ASL puts you right in the midst of the fighting. You get better insights into the actual conditions facing frontline units.
For example: We all read about the intensity at Stalingrad, but how miserable was it?
Operational / strategic games give you stacks of counters that represents thousands/hundreds of people, which gets quickly decimated.
ASL makes you learn what it means to have to battle for the first room and then having to regroup to clean up the next.
2. Yes, ASL scenario terrains are largely a combination of (translator: a huge number of) geomorphic boards and overlays (cost considerations?). However, like miniatures, terrain features are meaningful. Hexes are not all generically designated “Movement +1” or “Defense +3” etc. It’s important therefore to consider your routes in both assault and retreat (translator: routs).
You will also understand why it’s difficult to rally broken troops in the open and why it’s easier to gather your wits in woods and buildings.
3. Although only elements of certain units participate in our cardboard battles, determination of unit combat power reference their real world counterparts. Ordnance and vehicles are also based on real world parameters.
Perhaps ASL is a key to deeper insights into World War II battles.
Look and you might gain better appreciation for the nameless heroes therein – a window into their bloodshed and sacrifices.
Yes, I don’t like being Eisenhower but I really appreciate heros like Major Dick Winters (translator: of “Band of Brothers” fame).
If you hope to play ASL as “Eisenhower”, perhaps this game is not for you. If you look to play ASL as “Winters” or thousands of other unnamed heroes, then ASL is your game.
Here’s another thought: all war games are “simulations”, ie not real (translator: not even close simulations in most cases).
Real wars can’t be played. Only games can be played.
Play ASL as a game, with all that it brings.
War is not a game. (Translator: and ASL is not war.)
Find a game that suits you and have fun playing it. If nothing else, it’s a great platform to make friends all around the world.
ASL is not for everyone but I hope this will give new players proper expectations for what ASL will bring.
Note : Author TouMu is a leading member in the Taiwan ASLer Club, you can find their group on Facebook.