ASLSK2/3 or just go full ASL?

DVexile

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I did a little SL way back in the late 80's, but as a kid it was difficult to get anyone to play with me, so abandoned after playing just a few scenarios. But boy did I like fondling the counters and maps as well as reading the rule book!

So now 35 years later I've been going through ASLSK1 with tutorials and solo games. Enjoying it! And with VASL/VASSAL it seems the "no one to play with" issue is resolved. Plus I can drive now, am in the Baltimore area, and often commute to DC/VA, so I presume I could even find FtF games.

So the question is, should I continue with the ASLSKs by getting SK2 and SK3 (MMP is reprinting right now) or would it make more sense just to go full ASL at this point?

A few specifics on my situation:
  • Fortunately cost isn't a big issue for me, getting eASLRB, BV, Yanks and maybe RF is an OK expense.
  • Looking at the sample PDF for the eASLRB in some ways I prefer its organization to the more "narrative" form of the SK rule books.
  • I'm an engineer, so complicated but organized is fine with me.
Besides general advice (which would be greatly appreciated), two specific questions:
  • Is it easier to find ASL players willing to put up with a noob under ASL rules than folks willing to play under ASLSK rules?
  • It seems Chapter K and various other tutorials can do a bit of ASL "Programmed Instruction". While not perfect, would this be an adequate substitute to going through SK2 and SK3 assuming I find patient ASL players to tolerate my early games?
Thanks in advance for any advice!
 

hongkongwargamer

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Heya - fellow engineer here. You don't need SK.

The important bit about learning ASL is not so much what you buy. The important bit here is to get some games going (plenty of people who are willing to teach). Once you start playing, all those rules come alive (you have context). Plenty of experienced players put up with me when I started. I had only read a 3rd of chapter A when I started my first game.

I went straight into ASL. First game 2 months after I bought the rulebook and perhaps BV .. hadn't stopped playing or learning since. Unless you look to stick with ASLSK (a perfectly fine life choice), you don't need to go SK.

Having live games, however, is absolutely necessary.
 

Robin Reeve

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In 1986, I had to go full ASL.
I had no choice.
But if I had had access to SK1, I would have gladly used it.
SK1 allows to grasp the fundamentals of infantry combat (the heart ofcthe system). It was made for that and works fine in that role.
It is cheap and contents are compatible with full ASL: you cannot go wrong starting with it.

But if you are very smart, you of course go directly for full ASL.

And if you are super smart, choose a PTO Seaborne Assault with Caves and Panjis as your first scenarios.
 

lluis61

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I began with SL, then went to ASL then after years I returned to ASL, beginning with ASLSK, but I missed the details and nuances of full ASL so I went straight to it. Now I'm not playing SK anymore... Too many things to "forget" from full ASL. SK1 has given you the basics to infantry combat, SK2 will give tou the basics of gun combat, and SK3 will give you the basics of Vehicle combat and movement. But when you go through all this, I'm sure that you will miss the nuances of full ASL. It's up to you, but I went to re-learn the full ASL rules and I never repented. Just, when you make the step, don't go for the full-FullASL. Begin with infantry combat scenarios, then escalate to a couple of guns, then to scenarios with a few vehicles. Take it easy and, if you can, play with experienced players willful to teach and clarify the rules (and there are many in the ASL community). ASL is a harsh mistress, but when you have tasted its pleasures, you always will miss a good game of full ASL. You may get stuffed of ASL... for a while. But you will ever return to it.
 

Faded 8-1

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I did a little SL way back in the late 80's, but as a kid it was difficult to get anyone to play with me, so abandoned after playing just a few scenarios. But boy did I like fondling the counters and maps as well as reading the rule book!

So now 35 years later I've been going through ASLSK1 with tutorials and solo games. Enjoying it! And with VASL/VASSAL it seems the "no one to play with" issue is resolved. Plus I can drive now, am in the Baltimore area, and often commute to DC/VA, so I presume I could even find FtF games.

So the question is, should I continue with the ASLSKs by getting SK2 and SK3 (MMP is reprinting right now) or would it make more sense just to go full ASL at this point?

A few specifics on my situation:
  • Fortunately cost isn't a big issue for me, getting eASLRB, BV, Yanks and maybe RF is an OK expense.
  • Looking at the sample PDF for the eASLRB in some ways I prefer its organization to the more "narrative" form of the SK rule books.
  • I'm an engineer, so complicated but organized is fine with me.
Besides general advice (which would be greatly appreciated), two specific questions:
  • Is it easier to find ASL players willing to put up with a noob under ASL rules than folks willing to play under ASLSK rules?
  • It seems Chapter K and various other tutorials can do a bit of ASL "Programmed Instruction". While not perfect, would this be an adequate substitute to going through SK2 and SK3 assuming I find patient ASL players to tolerate my early games?
Thanks in advance for any advice!
I think the biggest advantage to the SK is cost. It's a good way to dip your toes in the pool without getting soaked.

However, if you are pretty sure you really want to get into ASL, then I agree with everyone else - go full ASL.

You are astute to have noticed the difference in how the rules are organized/presented. To my thinking, the full ASLRB is FAR superior to the SK rulebook. I find it a PITA to find anything in the SK rulebook. Almost everything in the full rules is subtitled, indexed, and therefore fairly easy to find. None of that is true with the SK rules.

As for Chapter K - I remember stepping through much of it way back when. I found it both helpful and enjoyable, although I didn't make it to the end (can't recall why). It is a good way to learn some of the concepts and rules by actually moving pieces around, which helps reinforce what you've read.

I think you will be able to find willing teachers whether you opt for full ASL or ASLSK, assuming you don't mind playing on VASL.
 

Hutch

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If you are able to drive to MD/VA which you stated, you might consider Playtesting for MMP. There are regular announcements on their CSW ASL Blog.
 

footsteps

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I think the biggest advantage to the SK is cost. It's a good way to dip your toes in the pool without getting soaked.

However, if you are pretty sure you really want to get into ASL, then I agree with everyone else - go full ASL.

You are astute to have noticed the difference in how the rules are organized/presented. To my thinking, the full ASLRB is FAR superior to the SK rulebook. I find it a PITA to find anything in the SK rulebook. Almost everything in the full rules is subtitled, indexed, and therefore fairly easy to find. None of that is true with the SK rules.

As for Chapter K - I remember stepping through much of it way back when. I found it both helpful and enjoyable, although I didn't make it to the end (can't recall why). It is a good way to learn some of the concepts and rules by actually moving pieces around, which helps reinforce what you've read.

I think you will be able to find willing teachers whether you opt for full ASL or ASLSK, assuming you don't mind playing on VASL.
I can't resist...
21012
 

Old Noob

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I started with SL in 1977, and progressed through GI: Anvil of Victory. Then went head first into ASL, when it came out in 1986.
It was easier to digest one set of rules than having to cross-deck four different sets of rules. Dive right in, your opponent can
help if you find yourself struggling to stay afloat in understanding the rules.
 

Robin Reeve

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Then went head first into ASL, when it came out in 1986.
It was easier to digest one set of rules than having to cross-deck four different sets of rules. Dive right in, your opponent can
help if you find yourself struggling to stay afloat in understanding the rules.
You know that the SK didn't exist in 1986.
All veteran players, like you and me, had no choice.
So taking ourselves in example, while the situation has changed, is not very relevant.
Quite like saying not to use a smartphone to look at movies because when we were young, we only could go to theaters to see them.
 

Kijug

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I did a little SL way back in the late 80's, but as a kid it was difficult to get anyone to play with me, so abandoned after playing just a few scenarios. But boy did I like fondling the counters and maps as well as reading the rule book!One engineer to another....go full ASL
Amen!!! (Was there, did that, too!)

Either SK or Full ASL...choose, but choose [Full ASL] wisely.
 

kcole4001

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I think it will depend mainly on how you realize and retain information the easiest.
Judging by the engineering background, I'd say full ASL shouldn't be too much to take on. There will still be a learning curve, but you're likely very well equipped to handle that.
Like many things, learning the basics is relatively simple, and mastering is a lifelong journey.
Enjoying the trip is the main thing. 👍

For me, I found that seeing the context of the rule during play was the best way to really grasp the concept and retain it, but I'm not an engineer.
I could read and re-read rules all day long, but if I couldn't visualize the application of it, it could sometimes remain a fairly vague concept until someone thrashed me via competent use of said rule.
I suppose it's better to say that each rule is a small piece of a puzzle, but lacks context without a group of other pieces to place along side of it.

I should add that reading AARs posted in various ASL publications can help greatly in seeing these examples of context, probably quicker than having someone hand you a lesson in person.
And they're great reading besides. :)
There are many available online, and here's a link to PDFs of the old General mags which contain some nice AARs : https://www.vftt.co.uk/ah_mags.asp?ProdID=PDF_Gen
 

Actionjick

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You know that the SK didn't exist in 1986.
All veteran players, like you and me, had no choice.
So taking ourselves in example, while the situation has changed, is not very relevant.
Quite like saying not to use a smartphone to look at movies because when we were young, we only could go to theaters to see them.
You had no choice if you wanted to evolve along with the system. I know there were those who made the choice not to move on and either quit SL entirely or kept playing only SL.

Personally if I had not met Fish in '82 I most likely would have just stuck with SL, assuming that there were opponents readily available. Or maybe not. It's hard to remain enthusiastic about a game when there is nobody to play against.
 

Jwil2020

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You had no choice if you wanted to evolve along with the system. I know there were those who made the choice not to move on and either quit SL entirely or kept playing only SL.
You sparked a (repressed) memory...

My friends and I were among that group who decided not to jump to full ASL after having invested so much time (and $$) into the original SL-GIA system. Like many others, we stuck with SL/COI. It was our way of rebelling against what we felt, admittedly unfairly, was an elaborate bait-and-switcharoo.

Nevertheless, it was obvious to anyone playing the game back then that the hot mess SL had become by GIA was in desperate need of a major overhaul. The wisdom behind AH's decision to make that move is undeniable given the continued success and growth of the system including, IMHO, the now DeFacto stand-alone SK.

When I finally decided to give the big game a try, my background in SL gave me a starting point which I think made the transition easier. In a sense, SL was the original Starter Kit. Which, of course, is not surprising considering that in 1985 the new-improved ASL was being marketed to the former SL players.

How far we have come since the days of yore! :)
 

DVexile

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Thanks everyone for the helpful advice, what a great community!

I'm certainly happy to have SK1 and the various tutorials folks have written for it around these days. It is a nice "programmed" way to get the basics of infantry movement and turn phases down. With that foundation it seems easier to begin to bolt on all the details of full ASL.

As to dipping one's toe into ASL that seems to be like dipping one's toe into the Weddell Sea. It may be quite an undertaking to even get to the point of being able to dip one's toe in, due to the 30 foot swell one may end up significantly more immersed than expected when trying to dip a toe in, and due to extensive and variable sea ice one might not be even able to dip one's toe into particular parts of it for years on end.
 

Actionjick

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Thanks everyone for the helpful advice, what a great community!

I'm certainly happy to have SK1 and the various tutorials folks have written for it around these days. It is a nice "programmed" way to get the basics of infantry movement and turn phases down. With that foundation it seems easier to begin to bolt on all the details of full ASL.

As to dipping one's toe into ASL that seems to be like dipping one's toe into the Weddell Sea. It may be quite an undertaking to even get to the point of being able to dip one's toe in, due to the 30 foot swell one may end up significantly more immersed than expected when trying to dip a toe in, and due to extensive and variable sea ice one might not be even able to dip one's toe into particular parts of it for years on end.
Well the sea level is rising as is the cost of ASL. If you want the most bang for your bucks full ASL is the way to gun.

Have fun and good gunnin to you.
 

Actionjick

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Well the sea level is rising as is the cost of ASL. If you want the most bang for your bucks full ASL is the way to gun.

Have fun and good gunnin to you.
Meant to say " the way to go " but gun works out very nicely.
 

von Marwitz

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I did a little SL way back in the late 80's, but as a kid it was difficult to get anyone to play with me, so abandoned after playing just a few scenarios. But boy did I like fondling the counters and maps as well as reading the rule book!

So now 35 years later I've been going through ASLSK1 with tutorials and solo games. Enjoying it! And with VASL/VASSAL it seems the "no one to play with" issue is resolved. Plus I can drive now, am in the Baltimore area, and often commute to DC/VA, so I presume I could even find FtF games.

So the question is, should I continue with the ASLSKs by getting SK2 and SK3 (MMP is reprinting right now) or would it make more sense just to go full ASL at this point?

A few specifics on my situation:
  • Fortunately cost isn't a big issue for me, getting eASLRB, BV, Yanks and maybe RF is an OK expense.
  • Looking at the sample PDF for the eASLRB in some ways I prefer its organization to the more "narrative" form of the SK rule books.
  • I'm an engineer, so complicated but organized is fine with me.
Besides general advice (which would be greatly appreciated), two specific questions:
  • Is it easier to find ASL players willing to put up with a noob under ASL rules than folks willing to play under ASLSK rules?
  • It seems Chapter K and various other tutorials can do a bit of ASL "Programmed Instruction". While not perfect, would this be an adequate substitute to going through SK2 and SK3 assuming I find patient ASL players to tolerate my early games?
Thanks in advance for any advice!
Looking at what you write and reading your description about having already worked through SK1, my assessment is that you are better off with going for ASL instead of SK2 / SK3.

If you are intrigued by ASL, in any case I would not go beyond SK3. SK, originally devised as an intro for ASL has developed into an 'ASL Light' by now. Fine for those that are looking for exactly that, but going beyond SK3 is wasted time IMHO if your aim is ASL.

But as you have spent considerable time with SK1 already, are not disencouraged by complicated rules, cost for components/rules is not an issue AND you have found this forum (as an excellent resource for rules issues if used in conjunction with google search (site:gamesquad.com [your searchword]) AND you are open to VASL, I see ASL as the clear path before you.

VASL changed everything for me when I discovered it back in 2010. This forum, discovered at the same time, helped a lot as well with tricky rules issues, because if you post these, grognards and rules gurus will usually answer in short order.

The best advice I can give you:
Go for ASL, try VASL and find "real" opponents to play.

Especially playing "real" opponents (via VASL or face to face) will speed up your learning curve immensely and it is more fun than solitaire attempts, too.

I can assure you that, because from roughly 1995 til 2010, I was on the "teaching myself" path solitaire as well. With VASL, I suddenly had experienced opponents and mentors around the world. I never looked back.

von Marwitz
 

von Marwitz

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For me, I found that seeing the context of the rule during play was the best way to really grasp the concept and retain it.
I could read and re-read rules all day long, but if I couldn't visualize the application of it, it could sometimes remain a fairly vague concept until someone thrashed me via competent use of said rule.
This!

von Marwitz
 
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