Fumbling in the Night

Photo by Raul Tskrialashvili on UnsplashI have been playing a lot of Night scenarios (especially) lately.  Yet, I was thoroughly thrashed again in my last game, you wouldn’t bear to see the AAR.  Instead, I decided to write down my thoughts so as to do better next time!

  • You can generally expect Attackers to follow Gullies, Streams, Roads, the edges of Illuminated locations etc.  Until you let them see an unconcealed or a broken unit, either within NVR (Night Vision Range) or Illuminated.  The moving unit will otherwise likely need to roll for Straying.  
  • Whether to try for Star Shells is a tricky business.  The upsides are:
    • you can shoot Illuminated units and you might lose some of your “No Move” counters,
    • you can prevent them from moving Cloaked/ Concealed inside illuminated areas
    • you can “blind” KEU so they can’t see you (except your Gun Flashes)
    • and you can prevent KEU from gaining Concealment.  
  • The downside is that:
    • you might blind your own units,
    • allow enemy units to shoot you without losing Concealment,
    • you provide a nice edge around which they can move without straying,
    • you illuminate your own units for them to put more accurate Method 2 Star Shells on you (as opposed to Method 3).  
  • If you think since KEU’s are within NVR and you can do without Star Shells, think again.  Having no Illumination allows Cloaked/ Concealed units to come right up to you without losing cover.  They can Ambush you on a difference of 2 in the dark (along with the -2 Concealed modifier).    Method 1 Star Shell is generally a great thing.
  • You can target Gun Flashes for a Method 2 Star Shell.  That generally means you should keep some Leaders (hexes) from doing Star Shells at the start of your opponent’s Movement Phase.  Don’t forget you can target your own Gun Flash – ie your unit some distance away First Fired, your Leader can Method 2 on that Gun Flash so everyone else can fire at the same target as well.
  • PRC should be aware that because of NVR differences, an enemy unit can shoot a vehicle at 1.5 the NVR (or 2x vs tracked vehicles) without the PRC/vehicle being able to “see” it back.
  • Jungles & Bamboo are great: they can’t be Illuminated (until someone fish out a Trip Flare).  So they can do a Method 1 on themselves and shoot OUT of a Jungle/Bamboo hex without losing Concealment.   All good unless the KEU is within NVR and also in Jungle/Bamboo.  
  • As an attacker, stay with Cloaking for as long as possible.  You can break off Concealed units from Cloaked units but those with Cloaking gets 6 MPs and no penalties moving into Concealment Terrain (and in Korea, Steep Hills are Concealment Terrain).  

What are your thoughts? Practises? Tactics?

Game Designer Carl Nogueira was asked “What do you like about ASL?”

FullSizeRender-1Likes, damn near all of it, but I’ll try to focus:

The way in which the game is layered: The rules are complex, master that, the tactics are complex, master that, the psychology of the game can be challenging too. Even then, there is no one way to win at this game. I know many top players with very different styles, who all have had enjoyed a good deal of success with the game. There are many ways to skin a cat. Everyone can succeed by refining their own approach to the game.

Obviously, because it is fun: If it wasn’t for this, there isn’t a thing I could list that would make it worthwhile. Of course what is fun for one person may not be for others, but there is room for many at the table. I am a competitive cuss, so I love the challenge of competing against my fellow gamers. Others approach it from a beer and pretzels perspective, but everyone who comes to embrace the hobby, ends up having fun with it.

The people: The camaraderie in ASL is unparalleled in wargaming. It is a niche hobby within a niche hobby and you can strike up a conversation with any player from here to Hong Kong, and immediately be speaking the same language. Because the bond between players forms quickly, many of my closest friends over the years are fellow gamers. I do not hesitate if I can extend a helping hand and have not encountered many who won’t the other way around either. There really is a bond. Certainly not on a level of military compatriots or police officers or others who have dangerous occupations, but certainly more than most with merely a common interest linking them. Such has been my experience.

The game itself is varied and handles moving from theatre to theatre VERY well: If you play many operational games, the difference between playing in the desert or the hills of Italy is pretty superficial. Here, moving from the Winter War, to the desert to the jungle to the steppes is absolutely worlds apart and FEELS like it is worlds apart. Put simply, ASL is the ultimate triumph of design for effect and there are literally thousands of scenarios and well north of one hundred CG’s. If you can’t find something to play, then you would quite rightly be likened to a little kid sitting in his room surrounded by toys screaming “I’m Bored!!!”

Finally, to succeed at this game you have to be very detail oriented and know how to plan on the fly when the best laid plans go up in smoke. Very challenging indeed!

The accessibility of the hobby in terms of helping new guys: With everything from questions, advice on everything from purchases to game tactics.

What I don’t like:

Some of the rules can be gamey, but then, it IS a game. Also, there is always the magic of the SSR to fix that which truly galls you.

– Carl Nogueira, May 6 2015

Link to the Original Text on GameSquad