How Things (Really) Work: Smoke

Tuomo

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How Things (Really) Work: Smoke

Emboldened by the warm reception to the HT(R)W missive on AFVs, we turn now to a reader's request: Smoke.

Smoke in ASL is The Great Equalizer, the thing that one side usually wants and the other side usually hates. "Yes, we suck, but under the cover of Smoke, we suck less!". In any given scenario, chances are you're gonna be one side or the other, and you need to act appropriately.

Identifying which side you are should be relatively high up there on your List of Things To Figure Out. Allow us to help:

If you're American, you need Smoke
If you're attacking in an urban environment, you need Smoke.
If you have to move under fire through Open Ground, you need Smoke.
If you want to piss off your opponent, you need Smoke.

Make no mistake, Smoke pisses off your opponent more than bean burrito flatulence [EXC: when fired by Jazbutis]. You're basically changing the game right then and there, flipping the script on his well-laid plans and letting him know that even though you suck, *BAM* things are DIFFERENT NOW and maybe in this newfangled Smoke-filled world, maybe you DON'T suck. Maybe your weaknesses GO AWAY and his strengths become WEAKNESSES. Maybe he can't rely on ANYTHING anymore and he begins to question EVERYTHING. Black is white, up is down, Trump wins, who KNOWS where this may lead. Any way you slice it, Smoke makes your opponent "discomfited", and while nobody really knows what that means, we can all agree it doesn't sound good. For HIM.

Make no FURTHER mistake, many scenarios RELY on the use of Smoke in order for one side to have a chance. If I'm playing Steve Pleva and his side doesn't get Smoke... well, OK, I'm still losing but it's CLOSER than it would have been otherwise, you darn betcha. I still slink home in disgrace and defeat, but it's not UTTER disgrace and defeat, and coming from someone who knows that territory well, lemme just say there's a BIG DIFFERENCE between Plain Old Disgrace & Defeat and the Utter variety.

Ahem.

All of which is to say, Smoke plays a big role in ASL, and in any given game, at least 50% of the participants will be interested in it [EXC: three-player games, but those usually involve Partisans who generally ignore Smoke as being beneath their dignity and/or National Capabilities. If Partisans are gonna throw something, it's gonna be a Molotov Cocktail anyway]. Ignoring this fact will not make it go away. Either you're the Pisser-Offer or the Pisser-OffEE, but either way, somebody's gonna be pissed. This is ASL.

OK, so Smoke. There's lots of ways to make it, some of which are intentional [EXC: Jazbutis again]. Intentionally making Smoke garners big Style Points, and while those are always great to have, be careful to note whether the scenario's Victory Conditions actually mention Style Points or not. Many an intrepid ASL'er has come to the end of the game confident in their performance only to note with chagrin that Style Point Accrual receives little if any mention in the VC section of the scenario card, taking a back seat to the more mundane tasks such as "Generating CVP" or "Taking a Building". Harrumph, we say, but we press on.

Smoke's effect on the game is all out of proportion to the little +2/+3 on the counter. Depending on its duration, Smoke changes everything in its immediate vicinity, causing both players to think in terms of While We Have Smoke (WWHS) and Once The Smoke Clears (OTSC). WWHS, the Smoke-Laying side will use it to make up for its weaknesses in morale and firepower, since even a surly bunch of 2nd-line thugs are now a threat to run up Adjacent to the defenders and engage in CC (where they suck less). WWHS, the Attacker can negate all those beautiful Lines of Fire so intricately woven by the defense, waltzing through Open Ground under cover of the Smoke DRM and without fear of FFMO. WWHS, the Sucking Side needs to Make Hay and Suck Less, obtaining positional and firepower advantages that woulda been hard to do on a clear day. WWHS, the Non-Sucking Side is anxiously waiting for OTSC.

(Note the exception to the second WWHS thing above is Firelanes, whose RFP doesn't give a Tinker's Darn [EXC: Jazbutis] about Smoke. This is Yet Another Reason Firelanes Rule, and it's hugely entertaining to see an Attacker discomfited by an effective firelane running through Smoke. "Do they have lasers?", the Attacker will murmur to himself. "No, it's 1942, nobody's got Lasers yet," he will answer himself, and you will chuckle in the knowledge that whatever "discomfited" means, surely "talking to yourself" and "anxiously waiting for OTSC" have gotta be part of it.)

Once The Smoke Clears, the smoke-laying side is hopefully sitting in a better position. Their units have made it across the street, the VC position has been taken, the 2nd line thugs have one-upped the College Boys in CC, etc. Oh, and they have pissed off their opponent, whose mind can't help but dwell on the unfairness of it all, how they'd have made mincemeat of those puny attackers if it hadn't been for the Smoke, if the game were played Straight Up and Normal where their superior firepower and defensive positions would rule the day and the opponent would just advance in Standard Formation across Open Ground like the good old British Army used to do. Discomfited and out of touch with the reality at hand, they are losing without even knowing it. All of which is to say: the Smoke-Layers Suck Less. Maybe not enough to win the scenario outright, but perhaps enough to get close after another round of WWHS. So preserve those Smoke-making capabilities, my friends, and use them well, for this is the pathway to Victory.

[EXC: Jazbutis]
 

Robin Reeve

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How smokes works - I roll the dice - the result exceeds my smoke number - no more smoke

Think of something else.
Alternative : I roll the dice ; I remember that I am playing Russians ; I need coffee.
 

BattleSchool

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The Amis were masters at blowing smoke.

The Red Army faced twice as many fascist invaders as the chain-smoking West did. But Stalin didn't need no (stinking) smoke to take Berlin, all those (burning) lead-lease M4s notwithstanding.
 

Gunner Scott

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one thing to keep in mind about smoke is that it goes up to level 2, so if you at a level two location and you get smoked in, well the good thing is, you can fire at level two or higher locations without smoke effects and fire down wards but without the effects of the extra +1 from firing outside smoke.
 

xenovin

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Alternative : I roll the dice ; I remember that I am playing Russians ; I need coffee.
The best smoke making weapon the Russians have is a burning AFV so drive right up to that kill stack and let them do thier thing!
 

witchbottles

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Nov 10th comes along an "smoke" is now legal for recreational use from the Canadian border to the Mexican border along the Pacific seaboard.

:D Tends to mess up any comprehension of why one is playing ASL in the first place, much less the rules...

Does lend oneself to the new TPP " Smoke Pot Publishing" and their varied "product" lines.

Makes in-route transfers from Denver to LAX much easier.( unless you're the on responsible for stocking in-flight snacks aboard the planes.)


:D :D
 

TopT

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Nov 10th comes along an "smoke" is now legal for recreational use from the Canadian border to the Mexican border along the Pacific seaboard.

:D Tends to mess up any comprehension of why one is playing ASL in the first place, much less the rules...

Does lend oneself to the new TPP " Smoke Pot Publishing" and their varied "product" lines.

Makes in-route transfers from Denver to LAX much easier.( unless you're the on responsible for stocking in-flight snacks aboard the planes.)


:D :D
Yeah, there is a run on M&M's In Flight from Denver to LAX! :)
 

RevJJ

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Nov 10th comes along an "smoke" is now legal for recreational use from the Canadian border to the Mexican border along the Pacific seaboard.

:D Tends to mess up any comprehension of why one is playing ASL in the first place, much less the rules...

Does lend oneself to the new TPP " Smoke Pot Publishing" and their varied "product" lines.

Makes in-route transfers from Denver to LAX much easier.( unless you're the on responsible for stocking in-flight snacks aboard the planes.)


:D :D
How THAT smoke really works:
- Continuous stack examinations because you can't remember what you just looked at 5 sec ago.
- Infinite loop of "How many movement points has that AFV expended again? Oh hell, I'll just start over."
- Statements like "You know what this Polish OB is missing? Kielbasa."
- Excessive use of the word "dude". :cool:
 

Robin Reeve

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I reach all those objectives with no psychotropic stuff, I am afraid to say - except saying "dude" all the time, dude.
 

GeorgeBates

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How THAT smoke really works:
- Continuous stack examinations because you can't remember what you just looked at 5 sec ago.
- Infinite loop of "How many movement points has that AFV expended again? Oh hell, I'll just start over."
- Statements like "You know what this Polish OB is missing? Kielbasa."
- Excessive use of the word "dude". :cool:
And always a White Russian in hand?

Gotta get me some kielbasa...
 

Esquire

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i know the conventional wisdom is to use "a lot of smoke" when fighting in urban terrain and crossing the street is a necessity. It just doesn't work for me in "real life." Even when i throw smoke, it seems like my assaulting units still get plastered with PBF in the wide-open (but smokey) boulevard. I prefer to whittle the opponent away with endless rounds of perp fire of dubious merit--and then run out of time and lose the game.

but that's just my style...
 

Robin Reeve

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Compare the result with similar maneuvers without smoke...
 
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