Ideas for Starter Kits?

Actionjick

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In the day of few boards, and mounted ones at that, the WoA deferred to overlays to probably cut costs/weight-of-the package. As has been verified by many on this forum there is a natural tendency for aversion to the use of overlays in the first place and the lack of any aesthetic terrain features as a second was probably a turn off for many players. The engagements in the desert/arid areas were fairly interesting but I do believe the rules were unnecessarily overburdened with too much chrome/bling to be wholeheartedly accepted by a significant number of players as normal fare in their games. Many designers found they could easily adapt ETO geo boards as terrain applicable to desert/arid engagements (Tunisia/Tobruk-area) with just a few terrain modification SSRs with little difficulty and therefore the "desert" scenarios have not really gone by the wayside, but have been modified as to lose their "desert" look [EX: Hart Attack]. The more recent appeal for desert scenarios using the 4 desert boards in particular may well be because of the ease of using overlays on VASL. As always JMHO.
Nice observations. I had been considering the extensive use of overlays as a contributing factor to the DTO's lack of appeal. An interesting thought. I wonder if it was that significant?
 

Stewart

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Not really a great metric to use. After FKAC replaced WOA, the desert module was entwined with the Italians, who have not proven to be the most popular of nationalities.
The only metric we have....Has it been reprinted? Since the Brits were Ripped from the DTO...that goes to show the Interest in it.
 

owenedwards

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The actual best metric we have is recent recorded plays, because that measures better current interest and serves as proof or disproof of the very clever hypothesis above.
 

Michael Dorosh

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Reprinting means little either. YANKS had to wait 30 years for a reprint. There's no way anyone will believe that was because it was unpopular....
 

Michael Dorosh

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You can reprint while stuff is still in print, too, technically, though IIRC the Yanks print run was ginormous and outlasted all the other original AH modules.
 

62nd Army

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Gentlemen

Overlays of course have arrived in SK, I think they are a very useful feature for the ASL/ASLSK system.
It seems a little goes along way for most players, so designers need to think long and hard about using "to many" in a scenario.

I certainly hope more overlays are on the way for SK, as they can used to freshen up some of the early boards in the system.

Thanks
Joe
 

owenedwards

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I think a very limited number of overlays would be a good inclusion - but as Joe say, "a little goes a long way". If after hypothetical SK5&EP3, there were a total of 3-5 overlays (inc RW1), that'd be enough - with design rules limited to one per scenario, etc. What sorts of overlays might be most useful? A funny challenge there is the limited terrain palette and the need to avoid funny combinations of terrain otherwise avoided in SK.

A Hill or two seem the most basic addition, particularly helpful for maps y and z. Beyond that, simplified "special terrain" seems best to me, to spice up scenarios with quirky objectives/obstacles - a small multi-storey building (drawing on DaE) or rowhouses, a stream, etc.
 

Eagle4ty

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I think a very limited number of overlays would be a good inclusion - but as Joe say, "a little goes a long way". If after hypothetical SK5&EP3, there were a total of 3-5 overlays (inc RW1), that'd be enough - with design rules limited to one per scenario, etc. What sorts of overlays might be most useful? A funny challenge there is the limited terrain palette and the need to avoid funny combinations of terrain otherwise avoided in SK.

A Hill or two seem the most basic addition, particularly helpful for maps y and z. Beyond that, simplified "special terrain" seems best to me, to spice up scenarios with quirky objectives/obstacles - a small multi-storey building (drawing on DaE) or rowhouses, a stream, etc.
To the best of my knowledge there is no such thing as a Multi-Story building in ASLSK (at least not in the standard ASLSK 1-4 and EP 1 & 2). There are multi-hex buildings but I haven't been able to find a multi-story complex yet. Did DaE introduce a multi-story complex to ASLSK?
 

Matt Book

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How about SK's for OBA, Night, Water-Seaborne Assaults/Evac's, Caves?

I still think you should issue new SK scenarios with full ASL compatibility denoting the difference on the scenario card.
 

atago44

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Hi all,

I have done a fair amount of playing "full" ASL, but I've been out for a few years, and as a way to refresh myself on the rules I have been reading through the ASL SK rules, as well as looking at scenarios. I also have done a fair amount of reading on this list. At this time I've got ASL SK 1-3 and Expansion Pack 1, I've looked through the ALS SK 4 rules post on the MMP website, dug out my old Squad Leader rules, and done research on the other products on Desperation Morale.

First, I think the Starter Kits are great, and despite anything I will say, don't think anyone has to go full ASL if they don't want to. I personally think the full system is so much richer that it would be a great experience, but people get out of the game different things, and the bottom thing is to have fun.

So, having given a long winded preface, one of the things I really noticed about the ASL SKs is that, as great as they are, they have simply lost touch with their SL/ASL roots. In this regard, one thing I have noticed is that even with 50+ scenarios, there are only 7 Russian vs. (at this point always German) in the game system. This includes only 3 infantry scenarios, and 4 AFV/combined arms scenario.

Now I get that some people don't like [X]. In full ASL, there are people who would not touch a Western Theater/Eastern Theater/Desert/PTO/SS/Night/OBA/etc. with a ten-foot pole. But the truth is, as someone who has gone all the way from SL (1980) to now (no, I am not abandoning full ASL for ASL SK--but I am reviewing and hoping to bring new people into the game), the thing that strikes me is just how far from ASL tradition the Starter Kits are.

The truth is, any new product takes an investment of time and resources, often taking years (how long between Starter Kit 3 and 4?) to come out. The problem I see here is that the strategy has been to "reinvent the wheel;" not literally of course. And I am not criticizing that; having looked over the scenarios, I see a lot of fun, and, as ASLers are obsessed with getting more (not a criticism--I am an ASLer, too), there's nothing wrong with new boards and scenarios (what is it now--like 6,573?). I am sure in five years there will be boards a-z, and in ten years a-zzz. By then I am sure we'll have Boards 1-400 as well. (People are probably thinking by now, "shut up, and get on with it!")

What am I proposing? It's simple--take the scenarios published in ASL Classic, adjust them to ASL SK (which really shouldn't be hard--almost all of them are SK compatible), package them with Boards 1-4 (or if we're generous, Board 5 so we can throw in Paw of the Tiger and Hube's Pocket). Sell it as an Expansion Pack (you will need a lot more Russians!), and voila!, a product that is quick and cheap to produce. After all, Boards 1-4 (5) are already available on the MMP website in the same format as ASL SK's board for $6.00 each.

These are the best of the scenarios from the old Squad Leader (and the Board 5 scenarios does a more limited sampling of the Cross of Iron). The only scenario lost from the list would be The Puma Prowls! (Board 22), and there is Scenario S21, which is essentially TPP with Tigers and T-34s in place of armored cars and Russian junk tanks.

ASL SKers will finally get to experience iconic scenarios like The Guards Counterattack and Hill 621, and find out why (or not) they are so iconic. There are very few rules that need to be learned--essential rules like terrain, sniper, fortifications are all really simple, and some are essentially identical to rules already used. And they will be playing on Boards 1-4, which are the first boards all ASLers play on. Also, there will finally be Russian scenarios (hey, if you don't like Russians, remember a lot of people don't like PTO, and most people don't care for desert--I personally am good with both, by the way). Although I don't have my ASL Classic at hand (you can download the scenarios for free at the MMP website and the whole magazine from Wargame Vault for $8.00), but I think this pack will more than double the number of SK Russian scenarios. And yes, there are a whole bunch of American vs. German scenarios as well, if you really need any more.

This product would integrate ASL SKers into the SL/ASL game in a way that additional rules can't. Rather than expanding a product line that a lot of people believe is in direct competition with ASL, it will be a simple way to integrate both groups, at least at a more spiritual level (yeah, you can't please everyone). So there it is. (I am really bad about writing long posts, by the way.)
 
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Ken Dunn

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Hi all,


So, having given a long winded preface, one of the things I really noticed about the ASL SKs is that, as great as they are, they have simply lost touch with their SL/ASL roots. In this regard, one thing I have noticed is that even with 50+ scenarios, there are only 7 Russian vs. (at this point always German) in the game system. This includes only 3 infantry scenarios, and 4 AFV/combined arms scenario.

There are about 18 scenarios that involve Russian forces out of 80~ish total scenarios.
 

Perry

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There are very few rules that need to be learned--essential rules like terrain, sniper, fortifications are all really simple, and some are essentially identical to rules already used. And they will be playing on Boards 1-4, which are the first boards all ASLers play on.
I am not saying it couldn't be done.

But integrating the terrain rules for non-SK terrain on boards 1-4, not to mention Snipers and fortifications, would be a lot more work and a lot more rules than you make it sound.
 

atago44

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Now Ken, I realize your role in developing the ASL Starter Kits, and by all means think you and your team have done a great job. And by no means do I feel I am in a position to contradict you. And as I stated above, I only have Starter Kits 1-3 and Expansion Pack 1. If they are located in SK 4 or EP 2, please understand that I do not have access to either and certainly missed them.

Now I have my scenarios in front of me, and here, by product, are the scenarios with Russians:

SK 1: S 2; S 6 = 2
SK 2: None
SK 3: S 21; S 24; S 25; S26 = 4
EP 1: S 46 = 1

Total: 7

I am basing my count on the red star displayed in the OBs.

The truth is, I really think overall y'all have done a great job in offering scenarios with a large diversity of nationalities (don't think I mean this in a politically correct sense). The two Pole-Slovakian scenarios looked especially intriguing. But based on what I see with what I have available, I stand by my statement and will say that the scenarios selection, at least in these four products, are especially American heavy (I am not going to bother to count them).

If I missed something, I would be happy to know what it is.
 
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atago44

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I am not saying it couldn't be done.

But integrating the terrain rules for non-SK terrain on boards 1-4, not to mention Snipers and fortifications, would be a lot more work and a lot more rules than you make it sound.
Perry, Thanks for your reply.

I have no interest in arguing with you, and as you are a veteran designer and our esteemed keeper of the rules, I am an armchair general, so to speak, I certainly defer to your opinion.

Nevertheless, I do think there is a lot of stuff that can be done with already existing ASL products. And I certainly think that by finding a way to associate the SKLers to these products specifically--the ones that we original SLers cut our teeth on, and the boards in the first ASL module--they will gain an identity that links them to ASL in a way that what is essentially a separate product line doesn't allow for.

This sort of thing might even encourage more SKLers to take the final leap. By the way, with the various rules that have now appeared in the latest releases, I personally don't feel that leap would be that hard. Between the hill and steeple rules, it's pretty easy to do upper level floors; level 1 hill, higher levels; hedge rules, wall rules. Shell holes aren't that hard.

That's just my opinion. As I said, I think the SKL product line is great, and I don't have any real problems with more stuff. I also perfectly understand that there are people who just don't care for a bunch of rules.
 
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atago44

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The many scenarios published in Special Ops magazine and its predecessor Operations.
Thanks for the info.

Still, in terms of accessibility, you have to have purchased those magazines to have access to them, and that is especially hard when they are OOP (I don't know their status, but I have bought enough MMP products to know that dilema--not meant as a criticism). I won't argue they don't exist, but most SKLers are probably unaware of their availability.
 
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