Point Blank! NorCal’s & SVASL’s Newsletter is here. Yes – THE set.

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Gents, Witchbottles made his set of “Point Blank!” available!

In here, you will find gems like :

  • ASL rules for Vietnam
  • Discussions on the “reverse slope defense” in Red Barricades
  • Indepth study of the Waffen SS
  • A look at Edson’s Ridge (Operation Watchtower)
  • Attacking on a Timeline: Planning an Assault
  • A SASL CG involving “Tiger Ace” Otto Carius
  • A review of the excellent (and free) Provence Pack
  • Defending at Night
  • Scenario Analysis & AARs

.. and obviously much much more!!

Get the set here : https://www.dropbox.com/sh/kuvhe53eqjxn1ua/AADjM4622xPieSCzcBRW5zTaa?dl=0

 

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BFP Corregidor: The Rock, a photo essay

 

Le Franc Tireur 14, a Photo Essay

The Truth About VASL

 

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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?

Product Review : Broken Ground Design Vehicle Counters

IMG_4491H35 ScanAlan Findlay at Broken Ground Design, followed his sample sheets of German, Polish, Partisan and Axis Minors counters with a sheet of French vehicles last week.  In case you are not aware, Mr Findlay is looking to release an big suite of redesigned Advanced Squad Leader counters which includes “standard” nationalities as well as “new” nationalities.

I took a careful look at the Vehicle counters this weekend.  In the process I placed a few of my Avalon Hill French counters side by side for comparison.

Let me show you a few photos first:

 

 

My first impression is that the vehicle graphics are too small.  When I put the Broken Ground vehicles next to the old Avalon Hill counters, the graphics are indeed smaller.  The smaller graphics is unfortunately combined with a camouflage pattern that completely, well, camouflaged the outlines of these vehicles.

My next thought is then, can I tell which vehicles are Open-Topped ?

You can see for yourself from the upper set of photos where I compared the Avalon Hill counter for the Open-Topped AM Dodge against the Broken Ground one.  You can still tell that the AM Dodge is Open-Topped from the Broken Ground counter but it’s not as easy.

I wonder if it will help if the vehicles are made bigger, the camouflage tuned to a lighter saturation and shading added to bring out the vehicle contours.  Then again, I would be asking Mr Findlay to conform to a different style and would probably be asking too much.  A way to better communicate “Open-Topped” will help though.  Perhaps we can make the Movement Points a light blue (it’s on a white background anyway) like certain SS vehicle counters.

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Flipping over the counters, I like the fact that Mr Findlay decided to use a bold font on the back to improve readability.

The improvements to readability are even more pronounced on the front.  Mr. Findlay decided to put a black outline around the white symbol that is the background for the Movement Points.  Now it’s much easier to tell whether a vehicle is Fully Tracked [D1.13], Half-Tracked [D1.1.4], Armored Car [D1.12] or Truck [D1.15].

OutlinesMr Findlay has also made it much easier to tell, by accentuating the difference and adding black outlines, the difference between Fast Turret [D1.31], Slow Turret [D1.32], Restricted Slow Traverse [D1.321] and a One Man Turret [D1.322].

Both of these improvements will certainly speed up play.

These vehicle counters and the infantry counters that I have previously reviewed are both very well made.  I would even suggest that the printer did a better job with these vehicle counters than it did with the sample batch of infantry counters – evidence that previously mentioned issues are addressed.IMG_4517

Pros

  • A much more readable set of symbology and text on the counters
  • Quality components
  • An affordable way to gain access to full sets of counters

Possible improvements

  • Make it easier to discern Open-Topped vehicles
  • Tone down the camouflage so we can see the vehicles.

(All Photos are Copyrighted to the Hong Kong Wargamer.  Do not use without permission.)

Broken Ground Design

Enlight7

Looking for Wargames in Toronto? (Part 2)

Looking for Wargames in Toronto? (Part 1)

I visited the “remaining” of the 4 Toronto game stores today (Hairy Tarantula @ Gerrard & Yonge’s closed).

Hairy Tarantula North

This is the right place.  Take the door to the right.

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.. and this is what you will see on your right ..

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… further down the stairs ..

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The shop itself is a cavernous (big & dark) basement, focused primarily in comics and games like Dungeons & Dragons, Magic etc.  However, if you turn left and go all the way to the back of the store, there are a line of racks with some wargames.  Years ago I found a couple of Operation Watchtower here.  Today there are less than 5 copies of GMT games (There’s a dusty copy of Nightfighter stacked up top.).  The folks there thought they have a couple of ASL magazines but I think he’s confusing other games with ASL.

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Starbucks nearby.

Looking for Wargames in Toronto? (Part 1)