GUARDS I

btbroot

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In the effort of gathering Russian-speaking players (at least in Saint-Petersburg area) and bringing this community to some shape and linking it to the rest of the worldwide ASL network, we announce this new tournament is going to be held in SPb, Russia at January 27-28, 2018.

The tournament bracket is on CHALLONGE and the registration is open.

Most information is in Russian, of course, but here are some important details:
  • Swiss system
  • 4 tours in 2 days
  • Scenario selection shall reflect the actual participants level of knowledge (thus, Starter Kit scenarios are going to be present to the pools as well as normal ones)
  • 1000 RUB (~17 USD) tournament admission fee
  • Kindly sponsored by (and our great appreciation to them!):
    • Mattias Rönnblom @ Friendly Fire
    • Dave Mareske @ Kansas City ASL Club
    • Xavier Vitry @ Le Franc Tireur
    • Vic Provost @ Dispatches from the Bunker
    • M-86, informational and recreational center
So... Russia. It's cold as #uck and still hostile to everyone around. But the food is cheap, and ppl are warm once you get closer.

Welcome!
 
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von Marwitz

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Interesting. The first time I heard of ASL players in Russia or an ASL hobby there that is broad enough to support a tournament. I reckon, I am not the only one.

Could you please let us know more about the ASL scene in Russia?

von Marwitz
 

btbroot

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Interesting. The first time I heard of ASL players in Russia or an ASL hobby there that is broad enough to support a tournament. I reckon, I am not the only one.

Could you please let us know more about the ASL scene in Russia?

von Marwitz
Well, what do you like to know?

Let me be a witness, in 80s one could hardly buy anything in Russia but chess, checkers, backgammon and playing cards. I was a lucky one who get acquainted with Go. Hence, you won't see any long term Russian ASL players in their 40s as elsewhere. And being of this age now it might be impossible to change your habits already.

In general, I believe, younger people from everywhere massively prefer spinal brain entertainment, but whoever enjoys playing Combat Mission, winSPWW2 etc, usually also plays some kind of board games, often wargames. The issue here is the language barrier. There's a lot or board games and wargames in particular currently on Russian market, and they are either translated well, or initially created in Russian, or at least not so damn difficult to learn (and consequently not so deep) as ASL is. If you look at the photos taken at one of local gaming clubs (actually this one is going to host the tournament), you'll get the picture of the diversity.

https://vk.com/albums-54696931

I'm aware of just one commercial dealership attempt, made few years ago by one Russian company, including unofficial translation of Starter Kit rules added into MMP boxes (I doubt that they have got a permission for that), some educational materials and a tournament. I understand these efforts went nowhere. (Moreover, I dislike their inadequately offensive attitude towards anyone else's efforts so much that I won't even name them!).

Partially, this all is a "chicken and egg" problem. For years, I'm reaching to Russian-speaking ASL players one-by-one, trying to build this community, and this upcoming tournament has raised the awareness already, and some dormant players have waken up, and some fresh cannon fodder is to come, apparently. If I could fill up 3-4 tables as a TD, I'd count it as an achievement. But I'm not going to halt, no, Sir!

Today's reality is that you cannot say anymore: "There's nobody in Saint-Petersburg who I can play with an ASL or ASLSK game on Saturday", there's handful of people!
 
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btbroot

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And, to throw some #hit to the fan's general direction, the GameSquad itself blocks Russian users by geographical criteria, which I'd call an overkill. I have tried to approach the issue in a constructive manner before this site reincarnation (it was powered by BBcode or something), and the official response I'd get was (to quote by notion, not literally): "We don't have such a capability to deal with hackers". Admittedly, a typical Russian GS user is a hacker, can't argue.
 
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von Marwitz

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Thanks for these insights, which are very interesting.

A year or two I posed the same question to a player from China. Whatever was going on there has been more or less completely unknown to the community. More or less, the situation seems to have been similar to Russia. Still, not very much is known about the ASL-scene there, though Hongkongwargamer (of this forum) might have the best overview.

The language barrier and - of course - the ASL rulebook lingo - seem always to be the greatest obstacle followed by finding players. I still remember the exhausting effort to teach ASL to myself and played mostly solitaire vs. myself for many years.

What did the trick for me was VASL, Virtual ASL, which you will very probably be aware of. It provides a virtual game-board and counter and allows to to find and play opponents easily around the world. In combination with Skype, it is almost as good as face-to-face play. It might be the tool to connect Russian ASL players.

http://vasl.info/

As far as I know, the Chinese have recently purged Skype from their App-Stores, which might be a setback to connecting Chinese ASL players with the rest of the world (though I believe that there are other tools that could replace Skype for the purpose).

von Marwitz
 

btbroot

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Thanks for these insights, which are very interesting.

A year or two I posed the same question to a player from China. Whatever was going on there has been more or less completely unknown to the community. More or less, the situation seems to have been similar to Russia. Still, not very much is known about the ASL-scene there, though Hongkongwargamer (of this forum) might have the best overview.

The language barrier and - of course - the ASL rulebook lingo - seem always to be the greatest obstacle followed by finding players. I still remember the exhausting effort to teach ASL to myself and played mostly solitaire vs. myself for many years.

What did the trick for me was VASL, Virtual ASL, which you will very probably be aware of. It provides a virtual game-board and counter and allows to to find and play opponents easily around the world. In combination with Skype, it is almost as good as face-to-face play. It might be the tool to connect Russian ASL players.

http://vasl.info/

As far as I know, the Chinese have recently purged Skype from their App-Stores, which might be a setback to connecting Chinese ASL players with the rest of the world (though I believe that there are other tools that could replace Skype for the purpose).

von Marwitz
Yes, Sir! VASL comes totally handy for, specifically, those sole souls residing in distant cities, to connect to each other. (And I probably shall engineer something to facilitate this connectivity even more, for usual people's attempts to find an opponent via social networks aren't very effective).

But I think the important part is to actually own the physical playing material, to give it some use, and to meet each other face to face, breaking the wall. Within one large city it should not be an issue. Hey, whole Finland where I live is only 5 million people (and 24 players), there's more residents in SPb area, we can do it!

As for Skype and the famous Great Firewall of China, I suggest everyone suffering to check out uhm... a little bit more contemporary means of audio/video communications. Such as WebRTC. It's basically peer-to-peer, can be handled by any modern web browsers themselves, without any additional software, plugins and so on. It requires an initial service of establishing the signalling between peers (http://talky.io/ for an example), but since the protocol is open, everybody can host such a service, and as a result there's plenty of them. One can even establish his own, provided that he has skills. It's not 100% workable solution but it's quite impossible to block every possible way of communicating even having whole China to overwatch and deny the traffic. Keep trying!
 
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hongkongwargamer

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This "Great Firewall" thing exists but is greatly overblown. China players are regular participants in the regional Asia Pac VASL tournament over Skype. Domestically they like to use a chat software from Tencent call QQ. We usually use direct connection when playing on VASL, although getting on the VASL room is not an issue for China players.

The QQ chat (it's an instant messenger with chat rooms) rocks - it connects domestic China players with people around the world. There's an ASL chat room with 120 members and most days it is NON STOP from dawn til dusk .. we are talking LIVE chats!!

Rgds Jack
 
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Gunner Scott

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what would be really kool and something I would save my money for is an ASL tourny at Stalingrad. Now that would be awesome.
 

btbroot

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what would be really kool and something I would save my money for is an ASL tourny at Stalingrad. Now that would be awesome.
I spent once 2 weeks of driving in sleep deprivation and staying in cheapest automatic hotels Formula (non-existent anymore) to drive through the lands of Ops Overlord and Market Garden and the Maginot Line, so who am I to judge about your perversive values?
 

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if there is someone experienced enough with VASL, although ASL newbie, he could try to join VASLeague to start.
 

btbroot

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if there is someone experienced enough with VASL, although ASL newbie, he could try to join VASLeague to start.
I'm thinking the same way, too. Actually, today I reposted the VASLeague 12 edition announcement to my Russian pals, and hopefully, some brave souls will appear, but I couldn't ignore the language barrier's existence mentioned above, so...
 

btbroot

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if there is someone experienced enough with VASL, although ASL newbie, he could try to join VASLeague to start.
I suddenly realized, who am I talking to :)
Will gladly convey this welcoming message from the VASLeague TD to folks behind the iron curtain! Cheers, Mr. Enrico!
 
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MoriQuessir

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Dear gentlemen!

Well, I'm a long time GameSquad member (more reader than writer though), ASL player and co-owner of brick & mortar wargame shop in Moscow. It's not as bad situation with ASL in Russia as this "gentleman" says. Actually, we have quite a community here in Moscow, that play ASL since the beginning of 90s. After we started to sell ASL in Russia, number of players grown rapidly. We already conducted two ASLSK tournaments (https://www.facebook.com/groups/118345772087981/permalink/135557783700113/) with 4 and 8 participants based on our proWargames shop and Moscow Wargamers Club (https://www.facebook.com/groups/118345772087981/), there were also participants from other cities. We sold about dozen sets of Rulebook + Beyond Valor, and several dozens of ASLSK, translated ASLSK rulebook and gave Russian translation of ASLSK rulebook only to our clients, who had problems with reading in English. Very soon, we are going to officially ship ASL in Russia once again. Our community created a bunch of educational ASL materials. I personally created several videos with rules explanations and the game process itself. It's very funny to read, that these efforts went nowhere (of course they didn't. Even this person used my video in his social group without proper reference).

It's sad to see, that someone writes us a letter with words "We all love your shop and appreciate contribution" and then backbiting us here, in hopes that we never see it. I'm wondering, why this person mentioned us in context of his planned tournament at all. As for the "inadequately offensive attitude towards anyone else's efforts", well... this gentleman knew our experience in ASL, as we were first who had it in Russia. Nevertheless he sent us a mocking request with link to Wikipedia, trying to explain what ASL is (and I doubt he did the same with other potential sponsors). We just can't afford ourselves to support and tolerate such kind of attitude, so we decided not to be a part of this tournament. Anyway, we wish it good luck and all the best. Frankly speaking, we are not always willing to support every activity in Russia, we glad if something got organized without us, and there's nothing of offensive attitude, just non-participation. We wish that the tournament will be successful and popularize our beloved game.

Best Regards,
Dmitry Klyuykov

P.S. Gentlemen, if you are going to visit Moscow, please feel free to contact me, if you need an ASL opponent in 24/7 wargaming club.
 

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In the effort of gathering Russian-speaking players (at least in Saint-Petersburg area) and bringing this community to some shape and linking it to the rest of the worldwide ASL network, we announce this new tournament is going to be held in SPb, Russia at January 27-28, 2018.

The tournament bracket is on CHALLONGE and the registration is open.

Most information is in Russian, of course, but here are some important details:
  • Swiss system
  • 4 tours in 2 days
  • Scenario selection shall reflect the actual participants level of knowledge (thus, Starter Kit scenarios are going to be present to the pools as well as normal ones)
  • 1000 RUB (~17 USD) tournament admission fee
  • Kindly sponsored by (and our great appreciation to them!):
    • Mattias Rönnblom @ Friendly Fire
    • Xavier Vitry @ Le Franc Tireur
    • Vic Provost @ Dispatches from the Bunker
So... Russia. It's cold as #uck and still hostile to everyone around. But the food is cheap, and ppl are warm once you get closer.

Welcome!
I won't be able to make it this year, but St. Petersburg is on my list of places to travel to for a long time. (I was thinking going there in the summertime, though. As you may know we Germans are not fond of the Russian Winter.). Can you give some more details about the tournament site and maybe on nearby hotels ?
 

btbroot

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I won't be able to make it this year, but St. Petersburg is on my list of places to travel to for a long time. (I was thinking going there in the summertime, though. As you may know we Germans are not fond of the Russian Winter.). Can you give some more details about the tournament site and maybe on nearby hotels ?
That's too bad, it would be awesome...

Our kind host is a club named "History through wargame" being run by the Mayakovsky library. I don't know much about hotels/hostels nearby, but in case of a privately sent request will get some quotes and conditions.
 

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That's too bad, it would be awesome...

Our kind host is a club named "History through wargame" being run by the Mayakovsky library. I don't know much about hotels/hostels nearby, but in case of a privately sent request will get some quotes and conditions.
I enjoyed the photos in the link. It appears that your group has a variety of wargaming interests. I always suspected that wargaming and especially ASL would have an appeal in Russia.
I wish you and your comrades all the best.
 

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In the effort of gathering Russian-speaking players (at least in Saint-Petersburg area) and bringing this community to some shape and linking it to the rest of the worldwide ASL network, we announce this new tournament is going to be held in SPb, Russia at January 27-28, 2018.

The tournament bracket is on CHALLONGE and the registration is open.

Most information is in Russian, of course, but here are some important details:
  • Swiss system
  • 4 tours in 2 days
  • Scenario selection shall reflect the actual participants level of knowledge (thus, Starter Kit scenarios are going to be present to the pools as well as normal ones)
  • 1000 RUB (~17 USD) tournament admission fee
  • Kindly sponsored by (and our great appreciation to them!):
    • Mattias Rönnblom @ Friendly Fire
    • Xavier Vitry @ Le Franc Tireur
    • Vic Provost @ Dispatches from the Bunker
So... Russia. It's cold as #uck and still hostile to everyone around. But the food is cheap, and ppl are warm once you get closer.

Welcome!
Saw your post regarding the Guards 1 tournament. Our humble group in Kansas City, USA would like to support with a couple of prizes of our latest packs. Please email me privately, dmareske@gmail.com with an address to send to and I will take it from there.
Dave Mareske, marketing director of KCASL Club
 

btbroot

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Saw your post regarding the Guards 1 tournament. Our humble group in Kansas City, USA would like to support with a couple of prizes of our latest packs. Please email me privately, dmareske@gmail.com with an address to send to and I will take it from there.
Dave Mareske, marketing director of KCASL Club
Wow, much obliged!
 
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