Menage a trois ASL, blind play, team play, etc.

Actionjick

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In the ASLOk/thoughts thread I brought up the idea of blind play and asked if anyone had ever done it. Von Marwitz said he had and suggested the topic might be better in a different thread. Good advice so here it is.

Have you ever tried a blind scenario? What about team play? Are there other options where three or more players can play?

I've played some team scenarios and found them quite enjoyable. One at Oktoberfest was also semi blind, you didn't know what the other team had for forces. Unfortunately that led to a major faux paus by the other team. They entered from offboard under Concealment. We were Concealed.There was Snow. After their Concealment was lost we discovered the vehicles we assumed were AFVs were actually trucks and had not been paying the correct MPs, they forgot to flaktor in the Snow. We let it go and played on, a fun time.

Also recall playing Timoshenko's Attack as team play. A scenario I enjoyed so found it interesting as a team effort.

I'd like to hear other peoples experiences with multi player or blind scenarios.
 

Nineteen Kilo

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I was involved in a blind play game with a referee decades ago (it may have even been SL actually). It becomes a very slow game; only able to move at the speed of the ref. It also alters play. Due to not knowing where the enemy is, the Attacker is naturally much more cautious. Scenario Card time limits therefore become out of balance due to the increased time needed to accomplish goals.

Fun to say you've done once, other than that you haven't missed anything.
 

Actionjick

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I was involved in a blind play game with a referee decades ago (it may have even been SL actually). It becomes a very slow game; only able to move at the speed of the ref. It also alters play. Due to not knowing where the enemy is, the Attacker is naturally much more cautious. Scenario Card time limits therefore become out of balance due to the increased time needed to accomplish goals.

Fun to say you've done once, other than that you haven't missed anything.
Thanks! I figured it would be slower. Since I like to play fast in sure it would have been a one time thing for me.
 

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Have you ever tried a blind scenario? What about team play? Are there other options where three or more players can play?
Yes, yes, and yes.

The comment that blind refereed play alters the game is very true. I'd go so far as to say it makes it almost a completely different game. You're using the ASL mechanics, but you're not really playing ASL. I don't say that to imply it's a bad thing -- to the contrary, it's a huge barrel of fun. Your whole mental outlook is different. Yes, the game is a lot slower, and yes, players will tend to become ultra-cautious (thus slowing down things even more). You also need a lot of space -- each player needs a full complement of boards and counters where they can't see or overhear their opponent. (The referee can get away with a laptop with the scenario set up on VASL; otherwise you need a third set of boards and counters.) Scenario balance becomes a bitch; I recommend some form of DYO rather than try to adapt a normal scenario. I have refereed several blind games, using a home-grown set of rules (still evolving) based on the article published in the General decades ago (written for SL, not ASL). The key component is the LOS rules -- working out what you can and can't see at any given moment, and at what ranges. Typical Blind ASL fun (that simply can't happen in regular ASL): "I know I have hit that enemy tank. It's not burning, but otherwise I don't know if I've KO'd it, Stunned it, Shocked it, or not affected it at all. The only way I'll know is if it shoots back at me, or I see it move away. Alright, it isn't moving away and it's not shooting back at me. Should I shoot at it some more to make sure? Or can I just assume I've killed it and move on? If I guess wrong it could be disaster."

As for "other options for three or more players", there are several three-player scenario designs that have been published. I haven't played all of them, but of the several that I have played, all were terrific fun. "The Dogs of War" is so much fun that it should probably be illegal. Typical 3-player scenario player conversation: "Don't shoot at me! Shoot at him!" "Oh yeah? And what have you done for me lately? You killed my tank!" "Oh, just a little bit of battlefield misunderstanding. It won't happen again. I promise." <bats eyes seductively>
 

Actionjick

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Yes, yes, and yes.

The comment that blind refereed play alters the game is very true. I'd go so far as to say it makes it almost a completely different game. You're using the ASL mechanics, but you're not really playing ASL. I don't say that to imply it's a bad thing -- to the contrary, it's a huge barrel of fun. Your whole mental outlook is different. Yes, the game is a lot slower, and yes, players will tend to become ultra-cautious (thus slowing down things even more). You also need a lot of space -- each player needs a full complement of boards and counters where they can't see or overhear their opponent. (The referee can get away with a laptop with the scenario set up on VASL; otherwise you need a third set of boards and counters.) Scenario balance becomes a bitch; I recommend some form of DYO rather than try to adapt a normal scenario. I have refereed several blind games, using a home-grown set of rules (still evolving) based on the article published in the General decades ago (written for SL, not ASL). The key component is the LOS rules -- working out what you can and can't see at any given moment, and at what ranges. Typical Blind ASL fun (that simply can't happen in regular ASL): "I know I have hit that enemy tank. It's not burning, but otherwise I don't know if I've KO'd it, Stunned it, Shocked it, or not affected it at all. The only way I'll know is if it shoots back at me, or I see it move away. Alright, it isn't moving away and it's not shooting back at me. Should I shoot at it some more to make sure? Or can I just assume I've killed it and move on? If I guess wrong it could be disaster."

As for "other options for three or more players", there are several three-player scenario designs that have been published. I haven't played all of them, but of the several that I have played, all were terrific fun. "The Dogs of War" is so much fun that it should probably be illegal. Typical 3-player scenario player conversation: "Don't shoot at me! Shoot at him!" "Oh yeah? And what have you done for me lately? You killed my tank!" "Oh, just a little bit of battlefield misunderstanding. It won't happen again. I promise." <bats eyes seductively>
Really like the enthusiasm you have for blind play! Maybe others will try it out.
 

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...there are several three-player scenario designs that have been published. I haven't played all of them, but of the several that I have played, all were terrific fun.
Second that! Recently played J164 Aiding the Local Constabulary and it was an absolute hoot (how often do you get to play with two 6+1 commissars?). Very narrow victory for the South Africans over the Italians, with the Mutineers the meat in the sandwich. "Why did you kill my armoured car?" "Well, you moved it towards my guys in the railway station." "But I was just trying to get away from those other dudes!" "That's what you say." Currently playing J171 Whom Gods Destroy, looking like the SS will prevail despite giving the balance to both Greek factions. No pan-Hellenic brotherhood in this game! Best fun I've ever had in ASL.
 

dlazov

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Way back when (if you recall the stories I had of Red Barricades where Mike and I played that for 3 years), at one point during our breaks we coaxed Kurt into playing ASL with us. Mike and Kurt took the Russians in some old SL transition monster Budapest scenario and I took the black SS. Well Kurt had the gist of the rules of ASL and used to play SL, but he always was trying to get Mike to play Advanced Third Reich or some Civil War game, and Mike would always say "Real men only play ASL you sissy". But Kurt would appeal to my sensitive side and I'd play ATR and Europa games with him from time to time (Mike used to call me a two timing ... um ... traitor ? ... well you get the picture).

Anyway, Mike gave Kurt the 9-2 AL and Kurt stuck him in a T-34/85 and Kurt had like 10 of those ugly things and a bunch of 5-2-7 and 6-2-8 riders on top. Mike took the 4-5-8's and was attacking my SS on board 1 I think and Kurt also had a 10-2 and for some reason (that both Mike and I could not figure out) he gave him the Radio with the 150mm OBA. Well Kurt got BA and as Mike was patrolling the streets looking for ? SS dudes and as I was waiting for my AFV reinforcements (a JgPz V (with my 9-2 AL) and a platoon of JgPz IV/70 (I think I had 3 of them) and 5x 251/1 with 5x 6-5-8 SS guys in them) well during Kurt's Prep he unleashed that 150mm OBA on some of my city dwelling ? SS dudes and although he rubbled one hex with a ? 6-5-8 SS he was getting disheartened in seeing my SS units pass 2 and 1 MC with ease, and then he got a 4MC on a ? 9-1, 2x 6-5-8, 1x HMG and 1x MMG, well he thought he got me this time, and I lucked out and 1,1 on the leader which created a Hero, and then the HMG squad BH to fanatic and lastly the MMG squad passed the 4MC. Well Kurt was starting to get frustrated and drank a long slug off his beer and Mike was thinking the tables will soon turn and also finished off his beer.

So the next turn my toys came on board (I am pretty sure it was that big old hill board 4) and I drove my JgPz V with that 9-2 AL right up on top of that hill BU, Kurt fired like 4 or 5 T-34's at me and they all missed. I stopped and then moved the rest of my JgPz up and then the 251's sort of hiding behind the hill in motion. Well during my APh I took a shot from my JgPz V with my 9-2 AL at Kurt's T-34/85 with his 9-2 AL at 17 hexes. Well I rolled 1,1, and Kurt started freaking out, and Mike said "Don't worry about it, Don needs to roll again for IH and " so I tossed the die and rolled, yep 1, and then, I think Mike had me roll again and I rolled a 1 again and from my foggy brain it was a burning wreck.

At this point Kurt just threw up his hands and went and laid down on the couch and said forgot it. Mike was pretty pissed at Kurt for about four years after that.

I guess I posted this because it was a team (kind of) game.
 

von Marwitz

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Back in the days before Klaus Fischer was involved in the release of HoB's "Onlslaught on Orsha 1st. ed.", at Grenadier tournament he used to host some "special events".

Among these were two team-double blind games. Each team had 3 or 4 players. The playing area was something like a good dozen of geo-boards or so. The double blind ran for the entire duration of the tournament (i.e. outside the tournament). Teams were set up in separate rooms, each with a playing area set up. Klaus Fischer was walking from room to room relaying to the opposing team what they saw and heard (sic!).

There was much more Fog of war. If you were in a tank stopped, you could 'hear' tank noises approaching possibly before seeing any tank. If your engine was running, enemy sounds were swallowed up by the noise. If you were BU, you saw not much at all. In one of these games, the objective for the Geramans was to capture an enemy airfield. Each player in each team commanded part of the OoB of a given side. Some motorcyclists were sent ahead as scouts - and did simply vanish... So we know that 'something' was in the area the Germans had to cross, but not where or what it was. I remember that the Germans drove a Panther up a Woods road stopping at some crossroads to interdict another section of that woods roads. The report we Germans got was that we could discern a column of black smoke rising from the area of the crossroads which caused loud cussing on our part. When Klaus went next door we heard the allied team cheering. After the game, it turned out, that next to that crossroads some US infantry had lurked with a BAZ that the Panther never percieved before he went up. In another situation, we were informed that shells in between 50 and 75mm were falling around our units. However, we could not "see" from where the fire was coming, which surely created an eerie feeling. Later, it turned out to be a Russian 57L Lend-Lease Halftrack at looong range. But before we found out, it was a tough decision for the Germans of whether to push down the open road in the open area despite the fire (and who knew if more was in stock) or to take cover and lose time. In yet another situation, our units were approached by a truck. When it came nearer, it turned out to be friendly. We were absolutely confused because our OOB did not list such a truck at all. Then one of our players said to Klaus: "My 8-1 here is located in the road. He steps out, calls to the Truck to stop it to inquire what this is all about." Splendid idea! The Truck stopped and the 'driver' (played by Klaus) told the 8-1 that he was from Supply Detachment 123 searching for unit XYZ to deliver a load of 75mm APCR shells but had lost his way. Our 8-1 answered (again splendid idea!) that the road to unix XYZ were blocked by the enemy but that our tanks in the treeline over yonder were short on APCR. So he talked the supply truck to dump the ammo there, raising our APCR-Depletion for the game by 2. During the further advance, we found a woods-road full of wagons and unarmed units. We were informed, that civilian refugees were clogging the road. We could either push trough relentless, likely causing some casualties in the process or to slow down to avoid just that. Our commander decided to push through. Bad idea! After our behaviour had caused some forseeable civilian casualties, some of them turned Partisan and began to attack our column with a few Panzerfausts. We had to place to go with our vehicles in the woods...

All this was great fun. It was ASL with a lot more fog of war without the omniscience we are otherwise used to. Furthermore, it contained some roleplaying elements.

The biggest issue was, that play was veery slow because Klaus had to move to and fro between rooms. Otherwise, exceptional fun.

Nowadays, play could be sped up in the following configuration:
Two teams in two separate rooms with physical kit. Three laptops, VASL & Skype connected. The referee "owns" all pieces, i.e. he can decide which counters both sides see. The other two laptops are one for Axis/Allies each. The Axis 'computer man' reports (but not moves himself) the move of a unit as directed by the players that move it on the physical board. The referee in the middle will handle the moves of all units in VASL. That way, the referee can decide, which units of which side can see/hear the enemy (which was handeled by DRs and DRMs in our setting). The Allied 'computer man' sees the referee's moves and reads them out to his team, which move the physical pieces.

Cheers,
von Marwitz
 

Actionjick

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Back in the days before Klaus Fischer was involved in the release of HoB's "Onlslaught on Orsha 1st. ed.", at Grenadier tournament he used to host some "special events".

Among these were two team-double blind games. Each team had 3 or 4 players. The playing area was something like a good dozen of geo-boards or so. The double blind ran for the entire duration of the tournament (i.e. outside the tournament). Teams were set up in separate rooms, each with a playing area set up. Klaus Fischer was walking from room to room relaying to the opposing team what they saw and heard (sic!).

There was much more Fog of war. If you were in a tank stopped, you could 'hear' tank noises approaching possibly before seeing any tank. If your engine was running, enemy sounds were swallowed up by the noise. If you were BU, you saw not much at all. In one of these games, the objective for the Geramans was to capture an enemy airfield. Each player in each team commanded part of the OoB of a given side. Some motorcyclists were sent ahead as scouts - and did simply vanish... So we know that 'something' was in the area the Germans had to cross, but not where or what it was. I remember that the Germans drove a Panther up a Woods road stopping at some crossroads to interdict another section of that woods roads. The report we Germans got was that we could discern a column of black smoke rising from the area of the crossroads which caused loud cussing on our part. When Klaus went next door we heard the allied team cheering. After the game, it turned out, that next to that crossroads some US infantry had lurked with a BAZ that the Panther never percieved before he went up. In another situation, we were informed that shells in between 50 and 75mm were falling around our units. However, we could not "see" from where the fire was coming, which surely created an eerie feeling. Later, it turned out to be a Russian 57L Lend-Lease Halftrack at looong range. But before we found out, it was a tough decision for the Germans of whether to push down the open road in the open area despite the fire (and who knew if more was in stock) or to take cover and lose time. In yet another situation, our units were approached by a truck. When it came nearer, it turned out to be friendly. We were absolutely confused because our OOB did not list such a truck at all. Then one of our players said to Klaus: "My 8-1 here is located in the road. He steps out, calls to the Truck to stop it to inquire what this is all about." Splendid idea! The Truck stopped and the 'driver' (played by Klaus) told the 8-1 that he was from Supply Detachment 123 searching for unit XYZ to deliver a load of 75mm APCR shells but had lost his way. Our 8-1 answered (again splendid idea!) that the road to unix XYZ were blocked by the enemy but that our tanks in the treeline over yonder were short on APCR. So he talked the supply truck to dump the ammo there, raising our APCR-Depletion for the game by 2. During the further advance, we found a woods-road full of wagons and unarmed units. We were informed, that civilian refugees were clogging the road. We could either push trough relentless, likely causing some casualties in the process or to slow down to avoid just that. Our commander decided to push through. Bad idea! After our behaviour had caused some forseeable civilian casualties, some of them turned Partisan and began to attack our column with a few Panzerfausts. We had to place to go with our vehicles in the woods...

All this was great fun. It was ASL with a lot more fog of war without the omniscience we are otherwise used to. Furthermore, it contained some roleplaying elements.

The biggest issue was, that play was veery slow because Klaus had to move to and fro between rooms. Otherwise, exceptional fun.

Nowadays, play could be sped up in the following configuration:
Two teams in two separate rooms with physical kit. Three laptops, VASL & Skype connected. The referee "owns" all pieces, i.e. he can decide which counters both sides see. The other two laptops are one for Axis/Allies each. The Axis 'computer man' reports (but not moves himself) the move of a unit as directed by the players that move it on the physical board. The referee in the middle will handle the moves of all units in VASL. That way, the referee can decide, which units of which side can see/hear the enemy (which was handeled by DRs and DRMs in our setting). The Allied 'computer man' sees the referee's moves and reads them out to his team, which move the physical pieces.

Cheers,
von Marwitz
The thing that intrigued me about blind play was the fog of war. Sounds like a great time!!
 

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Played "Whom Gods Destroy" in 2019 against Sam Belcher and Brian Pickering at Enfilade. They were the Greek partisans and I
had the SS. I was picking off partisan squad as they came down off the hill {I got to the village first}, but over-extended my luck
and was eventually ground down to nothing. But still Fun!
 

Actionjick

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Russ Hall was my teammate at the Oktoberfest scenario. I can't recall our opponents.
 

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Also recall playing Timoshenko's Attack as team play. A scenario I enjoyed so found it interesting as a team effort.
I never thought of this scenario as a team-play piece, but on reflection, it makes ideal sense.
If I recall correctly, it involved separated boards for play, but you had to spread your given force between the playing areas. I really like the split objective/limited manpower/multi-area that adds great Fog of War to play. It’s an original concept that has never been repeated, to my knowledge.
 

Actionjick

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I never thought of this scenario as a team-play piece, but on reflection, it makes ideal sense.
If I recall correctly, it involved separated boards for play, but you had to spread your given force between the playing areas. I really like the split objective/limited manpower/multi-area that adds great Fog of War to play. It’s an original concept that has never been repeated, to my knowledge.
I always really enjoyed this scenario. It worked well as a team play.
 

pj norton

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At Officefest, Kurt Martin refereed a six player game of The Grain Elevator. Three players per side, each player had a position to defend/attack. Co-belligerents were not allowed to communicate with each other, if you did, Kurt made a sniper check. If you touched a game piece and didn't move/shoot, sniper check. If you held the dice too long...sniper check. If you took too long to decide what to do...sniper check. We breezed through the whole scenario in a few, hilarious hours.
 

Actionjick

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At Officefest, Kurt Martin refereed a six player game of The Grain Elevator. Three players per side, each player had a position to defend/attack. Co-belligerents were not allowed to communicate with each other, if you did, Kurt made a sniper check. If you touched a game piece and didn't move/shoot, sniper check. If you held the dice too long...sniper check. If you took too long to decide what to do...sniper check. We breezed through the whole scenario in a few, hilarious hours.
Sounds like it was a blast. Kurt the ref throwing out sniper checks for infractions! I love it.
 

M.Koch

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At Officefest, Kurt Martin refereed a six player game of The Grain Elevator. Three players per side, each player had a position to defend/attack. Co-belligerents were not allowed to communicate with each other, if you did, Kurt made a sniper check. If you touched a game piece and didn't move/shoot, sniper check. If you held the dice too long...sniper check. If you took too long to decide what to do...sniper check. We breezed through the whole scenario in a few, hilarious hours.
We did exactly the same at Grenadier many years ago, with Christian Koppmeyer as gamemaster... A lot of fun, with an uncountable number of sniper checks 😆
 
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