Giving odds

holdit

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I may get a chance over the holidays to initiate someone into the joys of ASL. This would have me running the game, interpreting DR results etc, with the other player mostly being asked "What do you want to do now?" and of course, pointing out options with a general (i.e. no rules reciting) outline of pros and cons.

The rules-knowing player in such a game would have quite an advantage in this situation, I expect, so I think some from of odds would be appropriate, similar to how queen, knight or rook odds can be offered in chess. If it's a question of adding some extra squads or AFV's, the specific odds would have to be different for every scenario, I think, so perhaps a negative DRM/drm for IFT/TH/TK/MC/TC rolls would be best... -1? -2?.

Has anyone ever tried giving someone odds before and if so what form did it take?
 

Justiciar

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I have not done the odds thing as you mention.

I usually play just straight up...the first 10 scenarios are about teaching, not winning or loosing. One thing you might try is taking the very unfavored side (based on ROAR) and let the new guy have the other side. But the game should be about fun and learning the mechanics. I would not* alter dice rolls beyond what the game mechanics already dictate. I allow "take backs"...EX he steps out into the street, and you say are you sure you wanna do that, this guy over here will shoot you 4 down 2...and allow him not to step in the street and take a different course. Also at this time saying if you want to do that, then use a "dash" or have this other squad that has not moved lay infantry smoke to cover the move...if he still wants to step out, then I always hope that the -2 creates a disaster result for him so he learns what "down 2" means.
 
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Gordon

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I usually play just straight up...the first 10 scenarios are about teaching, not winning or loosing.
Hmm, I'm in triple digits and haven't gotten the winning thing down yet, maybe "Risk" is more my speed. ;)
 
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I may get a chance over the holidays to initiate someone into the joys of ASL. This would have me running the game, interpreting DR results etc, with the other player mostly being asked "What do you want to do now?" and of course, pointing out options with a general (i.e. no rules reciting) outline of pros and cons.

The rules-knowing player in such a game would have quite an advantage in this situation, I expect, so I think some from of odds would be appropriate, similar to how queen, knight or rook odds can be offered in chess. If it's a question of adding some extra squads or AFV's, the specific odds would have to be different for every scenario, I think, so perhaps a negative DRM/drm for IFT/TH/TK/MC/TC rolls would be best... -1? -2?.

Has anyone ever tried giving someone odds before and if so what form did it take?
I have not done the odds thing as you mention.

I usually play just straight up...the first 10 scenarios are about teaching, not winning or loosing. One thing you might try is taking the very unfavored side (based on ROAR) and let the new guy have the other side. But the game should be about fun and learning the mechanics. I would not* alter dice rolls beyond what the game mechanics already dictate. I allow "take backs"...EX he steps out into the street, and you say are you sure you wanna do that, this guy over here will shoot you 4 down 2...and allow him not to step in the street and take a different course. Also at this time saying if you want to do that, then use a "dash" or have this other squad that has not moved lay infantry smoke to cover the move...if he still wants to step out, then I always hope that the -2 creates a disaster result for him so he learns what "down 2" means.
Thanks to you both, I'll try to lure a local player into the game this way. Hopefully, he'll turn into my face-to-face opponent.
 

RobZagnut

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I’ve taught eleven people how to play over 20 years. Started small and easy. Walk them thru each phase and each step. Ask lots of questions and point out possible moves;

“Are you sure you want to do that? How about this instead...”

“What is your reasoning for doing that? “

“Here’s what I would do in this situation.”

Stress the fun factor, the decision tree and excitement/angst caused by those decisions. The scenarios I usually start with:

Gavin Take - give him the U.S. with those super cool 747s, 10-3 and 10-2.

Defiance on Hill 30 - give him the attacking Germans as they’re favored, he can afford to lose units, and you show him how to use mortars and hills on defense.

Guards Counterattack - a fun, classic city brawl with SAN = 6 for both sides where anything can happen.

Then show him 10-15 all infantry scenarios and let him take them home and read thru them and let him choose what scenario and side he wants to play next.

I buy a bunch of Out of the Attic #2 during MMP’s Black Friday sales and give them one. Lots of great articles and tournament sized scenarios in there. Gets them hooked on owning their own ASL stuff.

If you live in the states send me your address and I’ll mail you a copy of OOTA2 to give to him.

Good luck and have fun!
 

djohannsen

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I have not done the odds thing as you mention.
When you first played me, you definitely didn't alter die rolls or anything. Still, you made the scenario come down to CC in the final turn (testament to your ability as a player). That is, you played the scenario in such a way that it stayed close. As someone who was the recipient of this sort of generosity/sportsmanship, this seemed an optimal way to initiate a new player. (Of course, you also gave numerous suggestions and discussed options - in fact, you graciously still do this.)
 

Fort

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I’ve taught eleven people how to play over 20 years. Started small and easy. Walk them thru each phase and each step. Ask lots of questions and point out possible moves;

“Are you sure you want to do that? How about this instead...”

“What is your reasoning for doing that? “

“Here’s what I would do in this situation.”

Stress the fun factor, the decision tree and excitement/angst caused by those decisions. The scenarios I usually start with:

Gavin Take - give him the U.S. with those super cool 747s, 10-3 and 10-2.

Defiance on Hill 30 - give him the attacking Germans as they’re favored, he can afford to lose units, and you show him how to use mortars and hills on defense.

Guards Counterattack - a fun, classic city brawl with SAN = 6 for both sides where anything can happen.

Then show him 10-15 all infantry scenarios and let him take them home and read thru them and let him choose what scenario and side he wants to play next.

I buy a bunch of Out of the Attic #2 during MMP’s Black Friday sales and give them one. Lots of great articles and tournament sized scenarios in there. Gets them hooked on owning their own ASL stuff.

If you live in the states send me your address and I’ll mail you a copy of OOTA2 to give to him.

Good luck and have fun!
Rob and Andrew have nicely summed up the process. Help the other person to understand the 'why's' of the game while letting them make their own, informed, decisions has worked out best for me.
Learning ASL is not easy and honestly answering how to carry out an ASL operation is key to grabbing interest. The winning can come much later, once your new game mate has gained a little footing.
 

Bad Dice

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Watch VASLing with Stew. He does that, the teaching thing. He doesn't teach the way I would teach, but that's strictly a matter of personal taste.

But past that, let your new player play, and don't look on the first dozen games or so as anything but learning for the newbie. And after the end of each scenario, ask your friend what the one thinks went right, what went wrong, what the one did right/wrong, etc. Then recommend some rules to read, if appropriate. Then again, there's no bad time to brush up on the rules.


BD
 

Justiciar

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I would not let the new player just "play"....I would do what Zagnut and I have noted in different ways..."why are you doing that"...etc...ASL learning is best done by a Socratic method....

One can dispatch a newbie in no time just letting him "play"...and then do a post mortem, but he will be so shell shocked that he will not retain much than the thrashing...and trying to say well on Turn 2 you should have dashed....

You have to slow the game down, and constantly assess his thought process and decision making, and praise a good decision, and let him hang by his poor ones, but having given him the option for a 2nd course...if he chooses "unwisely" (use the knight's voice from Raiders) then make him pay in spades...but just letting him "play" fumble his way through does not help him much. Or at least I have found that so in 20 years of teaching the game...
 
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RobZagnut

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Watch VASLing with Stew. He does that, the teaching thing. He doesn't teach the way I would teach, but that's strictly a matter of personal taste.

But past that, let your new player play, and don't look on the first dozen games or so as anything but learning for the newbie. And after the end of each scenario, ask your friend what the one thinks went right, what went wrong, what the one did right/wrong, etc. Then recommend some rules to read, if appropriate. Then again, there's no bad time to brush up on the rules.
BD
Yes, on reading rules. I have a pen and notepad handy that I give to the newbie. Then during the scenario when questions come up I’ll say, “write that one down; CC, rout, blind hexes, etc. because when you read it after we’ve played it will help solidify it in your mind. We’ve played it on the board and then after you’ve read the rules it will help you understand it.”
 

Sparafucil3

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Yes, on reading rules. I have a pen and notepad handy that I give to the newbie. Then during the scenario when questions come up I’ll say, “write that one down; CC, rout, blind hexes, etc. because when you read it after we’ve played it will help solidify it in your mind. We’ve played it on the board and then after you’ve read the rules it will help you understand it.”
I played my first hundred games or so having never read the ASLRB. When I finally did read it, I could relate to things in the past and it really made sense. I tell new players the same thing. Read what you need. Nothing more.

WRT odds, I find I lose a lot when teaching. It's a lot like playing solitaire. I like to ask why this defense or what does my defense tell you and how do you attack it? Is there an Alamo? How do you fall back? I tell new players to focus on routing. Every unit lost to FTR is a failure unless that was the result you planned for. I also focus on teaching VC and what that means. If you have a tank and don't need it to win, don't be afraid if it dies with a purpose. Lastly, and I know this is a heated topic, I teach only IFT. It's an easy habit to get into saying 5+1 and miss the 1+1 that could DM a unit that is about to come back. JMO, YMMV. -- jim
 

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I played my first hundred games or so having never read the ASLRB. When I finally did read it, I could relate to things in the past and it really made sense. I tell new players the same thing. Read what you need. Nothing more.

WRT odds, I find I lose a lot when teaching. It's a lot like playing solitaire. I like to ask why this defense or what does my defense tell you and how do you attack it? Is there an Alamo? How do you fall back? I tell new players to focus on routing. Every unit lost to FTR is a failure unless that was the result you planned for. I also focus on teaching VC and what that means. If you have a tank and don't need it to win, don't be afraid if it dies with a purpose. Lastly, and I know this is a heated topic, I teach only IFT. It's an easy habit to get into saying 5+1 and miss the 1+1 that could DM a unit that is about to come back. JMO, YMMV. -- jim
Well, it's two against one!;)
 

Bad Dice

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A lot of times, regardless of the experience level of the player in question, I'll recreate on the maps we've just used a situation that caught my attention during the scenario and recreate it after the game in order to facilitate a discussion about what happened in that moment. If I'm playing a relative noob, I'll do the same in order to facilitate a discussion about something that could have changed the game, for that other person.


BD
 

holdit

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Great feedback, thanks gents.

(VASLing with Stew looks very good.)
 

Bad Dice

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Yeah, hard to go wrong with Stew's videos. He knows the rules very well. Be sure to check out the Rachi Ridge video. It shows, at the very end of the thing, a little trick that you might not think of unless you're very experienced or very rules-savvy, or both.


BD
 

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If you really need a handicap I would do it with the victory conditions. Some can be altered easily enough. Say one side has to take 3 stone buildings - you could increase or decrease it by 1 to give a handicap. Or lengthen/shorten the game by a turn.

The balance is probably not enough by itself.
 

Steven Pleva

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With brand new players you are just teaching so any handicap is sorta meaningless. With a player that has some experience under their belt, pick a scenario that is unbalanced and take the underdog side and maybe even give up the balance. This can make for a better game without playing for the other player. People learn best by doing. After the game, give feedback about what they did right or wrong. At Albany a friend of mine who is a strong gamer, but not a lot of ASL experience played a really good game and lost it because he pooched (not to be confused with the ASL player of the same name) the endgame. After the game he asked if his defense made sense. I told him he played a great game and just made a rookie mistake at the end. That lesson will be far more indelible than if someone had told him the moves to make as the game played out. JMHO...
Steve
 
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