Basic ASL game patterns

jrv

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I was watching two very new ASLSK players play yesterday while one of my opponents set up, and I was struck by how they were unaware of fundamental game patterns like skulking, always using assault move when moving one hex, etc. If you had to teach a learning ASL or ASLSK player, what would you say are the fundamental game patterns/tactics that you would show him? These are seven that I have thought of, :

  1. Skulking (ASL & ASLSK)
  2. VBM freeze (no bypass in ASLSK, but it also applies when the vehicle does not use bypass even if misnamed)
  3. Always use Dash when your move meet the requirements (n/a in ASLSK)
  4. Always use Assault Move when your move meet the requirements
  5. Aggressive movement: using bypass (ASL only) & double-time
  6. Never stack (well, hardly ever)
  7. The firegroup amoeba
What are some more? Try to stay out of the bushes with ideas for air support against cavalry in caves at night. I am interested in principles you would show to a very new player.

JR
 

Spencer Armstrong

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Real Men Don't Prep Fire (The principle that as the attacker you want to do your damage in AFPh and DFPh because PFPh costs too much. You win moving, not shooting).

Related: The game has a clock. You have X turns to get something done. Too many new players don't get the pressure on turn 4 of 6.
 

Vinnie

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Move rather than prep. You can shoot in his turn but you can only move in yours.
Be willing to take casualties. You need to understand that sometimes you can live every single unit and still win.
Understand risk reward. If you take one action what hood will it do you and what do you lose by doing it. This one may be much more adcancer than just beginning.
 

Brian W

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Count the number of hexes in MF/MP to the victory area (e.g. offboard/buildings, etc.) to have a plan in place to reach the target.
 

Bill Cirillo

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Go Thread!

I would add:

1. Know your Rout paths relative to leader position. Losing an opportunity or two to rally one or more broken MMC can really be a deal breaker.

2. On defense, the ability to offer mutual fire support on key attack paths.

3. On Defence, fire discipline. Highly situation dependent, but important to understand the basics.

4. On the attack, pacing. Learning when to press and when to pause and bring a lot of fire power. To this end, learn when to break a few eggs, especially HS eggs or leaders with DC/FT eggs. On the attack, one is always going to lose some units, just try and maximize the up side of those loses.

5. Temporary cover. SMOKE and Vehicle TEM/Hindrances. Learn how best to work in concert with cover that you can create (including the occasional burning vehicle).

Bill
 

Robin Reeve

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When you are asking yourself if you shouldn't move back your defense line, move back - it already could be too late.
During the APh move some units in daring positions which could be good places to fire on an enemy (e.g. in adjacent open ground) to make his choice tough between Prep Firing or moving away.
Place your mediocre leaders (8-0) in "rally centers" behind your first line, to readily get the brokies alive and kicking again.
If possible, if a squad has an MF left at the end of its MPh, try to place smoke in its hex.
 

jrv

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Force your opponent to make difficult choices, e.g. the halfsquad scout that runs up adjacent or the 6+1 carrying a FT/DC.

Sometimes you have to sacrifice units to accomplish the bigger objective.

JR
 

von Marwitz

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7. Re-gain & Retain Concealment whereever the situation permits. (ASL only)
8. Consider Rout Paths and Rout havens.
9. Consider the order in which to move units. (I have seen some always moving in order from left board side to right board side.)
10. Be aware of the concept of Residual FP.

von Marwitz
 

vetsurg

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I wouldn't teach any of these to a new player. This is stuff they need to learn by experience.
Yes, us new players do need to learn by experience, I agree.
However, this is great information, in my opinion, for me to try to remember and keep in the back of my head. There are many items listed here that I routinely forget and kick myself later over.
I'm still getting beat up regularly, but I don't mind because I take away lots of learning points from every battle. Sooner or later these items will click in and I hope to actually win sooner or later.
I think this is a very valuable thread for all new players and I intend to study what everyone has listed here. Keep 'em coming!
 

jrv

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I wouldn't teach any of these to a new player. This is stuff they need to learn by experience.
I agree it might not be beneficial to give a lecture on all of these and expect new players to retain them all. What I have in mind is to draw their attention to these tactics and observations, perhaps a small number at a time. So for instance yesterday I was playing someone who was re-learning ASL after having played it more than a decade ago. He had either forgotten about skulking, or perhaps he had never learned it. Since he was the defender and I the attacker there was little opportunity for me to show him skulking by experience. What I did was point out that he ought to consider skulking for some of his defenders. The idea is so simple and obvious that he understood and took to it immediately. I am trying to find things that I can speed up the process where the player views the game as an experienced player does by drawing his attention to some wisdom. These will be most useful in the context of actual game play, but by drawing attention to them perhaps they can apply some of them in their current games from teaching rather than in later games after reflection. It won't work for all points or all people, but it will help some.

edit: when I learned to drive many years ago, I was told that to keep the car in lane I should align the center line on the road with the left corner of the hood. Perhaps I could have learned that by experience, and I certainly don't do that (consciously anyway) any more, but at the time it improved my ability to stay in the right place in the lane greatly and quickly.

JR
 
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Brian W

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He had either forgotten about skulking, or perhaps he had never learned it.
Yes, skulking is too important not to point out to a new player, although they should see you do it and make the connection pretty quickly. But there are some things like skulking that may not occur to a new player that will get them slaughtered too quickly if not taught as you go.
 

jrv

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As the attacker, overwhelm isolated parts of the defense. Isolation can be due to terrain, but it can be enhanced by tactics like firelanes.

JR
 

Robin Reeve

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I wouldn't teach any of these to a new player. This is stuff they need to learn by experience.
Even if you teach those advices, the new player will try to transgress them.
And when he experiments that they were good after all, you can go paternalistic and say : "I told you." ;)
 

von Marwitz

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Even if you teach those advices, the new player will try to transgress them.
And when he experiments that they were good after all, you can go paternalistic and say : "I told you." ;)
Exactly! And we wouldn't want to forego that, now, wouldn't we? :D

von Marwitz
 

jrv

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Speed bumps, setting up with LOS in interfere with the easy route forward.
Bump scout

JR
 

Eagle4ty

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I would approach this from a standard tactical approach based upon principles of General Use, Used for the Defense, and Used for the Attack. I really like the idea of bringing out the concept of Skulking, but would explain how it would be beneficial to both the Defender & the Attacker in their implementation.

Another I can think of of is when making initial contact, do so with the smallest effective unit and explain why it may be important. In General terms this is usually a HS (ASL) or the most expendable unit (ASLSK); Deployed forward in a defense, to either strip "?" early for ASL, or cause the attacker to disperse or redirect his movement for either ASL or ASLSK (i.e. the speed bump); In the Attack it is used to "bump" to strip "?", search (ASL) or find obstacles and fortifications as well as potentially giving the defending player a choice of firing upon them and thus potentially tying down a firing unit(s) or letting him go and giving him the option of establishing a good attack position (i.e. moving as to put the defender on the horns of a dilemma). Why is it important? Its loss though felt in either the attack or defense can be rationalized as a calculated risk that will not materially affect the overall plan, especially if the gain outweighs the loss (which should be the case).

Other items that come to mind are:
  • The use of MGs to segment the battlefield.
  • The use of Leaders when stacked with MMC (or shouldn't be stacked with them-e.g. the #-0 Leader is usually a detriment to the stack he's with, better used in the rear to rally).
  • Use of mutually supporting positions (don't be too sneaky in putting that guy out there by himself unsupported-it rarely works out for the best).
  • Try to keep your best units for the end game. If you put that 9-2 out there early when the enemy has lots of FP, he'll probably get a bloody nose (of course there are many caveats to this).
  • At least at game start, have a reserve force in mind (however small), and plan to use it at some point during the scenario, It does no good to plan to have a reserve but be so stingy in its use that it never gets into the fight. Timing is the tricky part.
  • Get a copy of Murphy's Laws of Combat. They may all be a bit tongue in cheek, but have a direct applicability to both combat and to ASL/ASLSK given some thought.
Good thread!:thumbsup:
 

Roy

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New players hell, I needed to read this and I've been fumbling around asl for 20 years.

Here are my two entries:

1. Learn how to count counters.
2. Read the SSR's and victory conditions, then read them again, then read the VC a couple more times during play

Oh, and great thread JR.
 
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