TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR'S PACK

sebosebi

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2016
Messages
300
Reaction score
589
Location
Rome
Country
llItaly
Advancing Fire normally works only on deeply historical games, but this time we are proud to produce a game from an important external developer, and a friend, that is a unique and very interesting release.
๐—ง๐—ข๐—จ๐—ฅ๐—ก๐—”๐— ๐—˜๐—ก๐—ง ๐——๐—œ๐—ฅ๐—˜๐—–๐—ง๐—ข๐—ฅโ€™๐—ฆ ๐—ฃ๐—”๐—–๐—ž is the collection of ASL scenarios designed by ๐—˜๐—ป๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ผ ๐—–๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜‡๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ผ (known in ASL community as ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐˜‡). He has an experience of about thirty years as ASL player, being one of the toughest between Italians, and TD of ASL tournaments (e.g. VASLeague), as well as wargamer and chess player.
The scenarios are ideal for use in tournaments or to practice competitive ASL, even if they maintain a very high adherence to the war events they represent (on that AF is, it is well known, quite maniacal
๐Ÿ˜€
).

Stay tuned!

22622
 

Honza

The Art Of Wargames
Joined
Dec 30, 2005
Messages
13,946
Reaction score
2,691
Location
Oxfordshire
First name
Jan
Country
llCzechia
You've piqued my interest....
 
Reactions: ecz

ecz

Partisan Captain
Joined
Aug 31, 2003
Messages
4,433
Reaction score
600
Location
Italy
Country
llItaly
yeah, the passion of a life, I'm working on this since when Steve Swann started the Monkey with Typewriters project.
"The Bet" (later published as FT181) was actually my first scenario as amateur designer. It took lot of time to develop these 16 scenarios along a common red line. In 2019 I was almost ready to end but I stopped ASL for a pair of years. Today I resumed the work to finally complete it (thanks to Advancing Fire and Seba Caltabiano).
 

sebosebi

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2016
Messages
300
Reaction score
589
Location
Rome
Country
llItaly
Do you think that this will be available at the same time as Orsogna?
No, this pack will be available on November, together with the possible reprint of Biazza Ridge, that will have thicker maps and CG slightly modified. Orsogna is previewed on May-June 2023.
 

Steve H

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2018
Messages
453
Reaction score
548
Location
Ottawa Ontario
Country
llCanada
No, this pack will be available on November, together with the possible reprint of Biazza Ridge, that will have thicker maps and CG slightly modified. Orsogna is previewed on May-June 2023.
Ah, understood. Unfortunately you can expect that many of us overseas will not immediately purchase just the scenario pack due to the high shipping costs. I will wait till Orsogna is ready to make the combined shipping more worthwhile.
 

sebosebi

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2016
Messages
300
Reaction score
589
Location
Rome
Country
llItaly
Ah, understood. Unfortunately you can expect that many of us overseas will not immediately purchase just the scenario pack due to the high shipping costs. I will wait till Orsogna is ready to make the combined shipping more worthwhile.
The pack will be ditributed in US by some shops, if it could be useful.
 

ecz

Partisan Captain
Joined
Aug 31, 2003
Messages
4,433
Reaction score
600
Location
Italy
Country
llItaly
well, time to tell something about this pack. I do not have a specific experience as designer but over these decades of ASL, I have played about 1000 scenarios.
There are many categories of players, I play from the perspective of a child that open a toy to see what hides inside.

The toy I open is the scenario by itself. If you look carefully you see the link between OBs, SSRs and VCs. It's fascinating how these basic elements can interact and influence each other. But looking inside the scenario is also the way to discover when these ingredients are well assorted and when they do not operate in the right direction.
For each scenario played I have tried to figure out how the scenario could have been improved and which are the things I liked and disliked most as player.
Then, bearing in mind all this, it has been easy design a family of scenarios containing all the good things I have appreciated in the years. The pack of my dreams where all the good I can imagine are concentrated. Not having dead lines or anyone asking for the final product, I had lot of time to create these scenarios one by one starting from 2006.
But the main reason why I begun to create the pack was the need to create universal and easy system to balance scenarios. I feel this need as player and as TD not being that kind of player available to play everyday everything. Stopping the post-match lamentation phase was a priority.
So why not let the players choose by themselves sides and VCs via a pregame-bid?

Amazingly one of the my favorite Wargames, Paths of Glory ( GMT) had the perfect solution. .. more tomorrow
 

ecz

Partisan Captain
Joined
Aug 31, 2003
Messages
4,433
Reaction score
600
Location
Italy
Country
llItaly
the perfect soluction is a system self balancing, where VCs and sides are assigned after a bid. In Paths of Glory works, and I do not see reasons why it should not work for ASL.
How the this works is easily explained through an example taken from one of the scenarios (ecz2 - Liberating Bukovina):

โ€œVictory Conditions: The Romanians, provided at Game End there are no Good Order Russian non-crew MMC within 4 hexes from 56P5, win by exiting a number of Infantry non-crew Exit VP (A26.2) [EXC: exited Prisoners do not count] off the east edge on/between 57Y10 and 57I10 โ‰ฅ the number bid (see SSR2).โ€

All scenarios in this pack have a special scenario rule (SSR2) showing the terms of the bid. In our example SSR 2 is:

โ€œSSR2: To determine sides, Players secretly bid a number of Romanian Exit VP โ‰ฅ 7 and โ‰ค 14 they believe can exit. The higher bidder takes the Romanian side; resolve ties by dr.โ€

The mechanism for determination of the VC using SSR2 works in the same general manner in all scenarios.

During the pre-game bid, players decide in this way the side and the Victory Condition required. Depending on the scenario, it could be a number EVPs (as in the example), a number of buildings to control, a number of CVP to amass, etc... Invariably both players must bid a number representing the achievement they believe they can reach playing the bid side, usually the attacker side. The higher bidder wins and gets that side. Ties are resoved by a dr.

more tomorrow...
 

ecz

Partisan Captain
Joined
Aug 31, 2003
Messages
4,433
Reaction score
600
Location
Italy
Country
llItaly
Why such a peculiar way to set the VCs? The pack could be used by expert players and for tournament use. The bid system allows players to prove their ASL skills even before any die is rolled simply figuring how reasonably high should be the bid within the fork given in SSR2, even at their very first playing. Care is required in pondering your bid accurately. If one bids too much, he plays that side, but could be unable to reach the objective. If one bids too low, he probably plays the other side, but risks that his opponent takes VC that are easy to accomplish. Bids are secret and revealed simultaneusly

When both players reach a good familiarity with the situation, and have a clear idea about the optimal bid, then any small variation will be an expression of their particular aptitudes at attacking or defending. Itโ€™s where players prove they can attack or defend better than their opponents that did not dare as much as you during the bid phase.

But the scenarios are created also for non-competitive use. Any number bid around the middle of the fork given, allows a challanging game for most players.
Thus anyone can still start to play any scenario immediatly with no preliminary study. At any rate, after a pair of playings, most players will be able to find an "ideal" bid level in tune with their skills and preferences with small adjustments.

basically whoever is able to better calculate before the bid, which victory conditions he can reach based on his own abilities and those of the opponent, will make an appropriate offer and probably start the game in the best possible conditions (i.e. playing a side with a doable objective that fits your ASL skills)

(more tomorrow...)
 
Last edited:

ecz

Partisan Captain
Joined
Aug 31, 2003
Messages
4,433
Reaction score
600
Location
Italy
Country
llItaly
Other peculiarities of this bid system to assign sides and set the VCs are:

  • one scenario, many scenarios! the same scenario changes radically when played at different VCs level. Higher or lower VCs requires different tactics suited to the potentially very different objectives (and skill level of the players ).
  • High replayability at least till the player finds the โ€œoptimalโ€ bid. But even then, optimal is subjective and temporary. It's always possible to find an opponent trying to show you how play better the attacker and safely offer an higher bid. May be he's right, may be not...
  • The the Lamentations Phase for unbalanced scenarios is gone! The pre-match bid avoids any post-match recrimination. Both players play the game they want with the difficulty at the customizable level they have set. If they understimate or overstimante the chances of the attacking side, they can blame only themselves. A different bid next time will help that player.
  • The scenarios tend to be ethernal because any change in rules, tactis, or style of playing over the decades can be absorbed by a simple adjustment of the bid. Scenarios never become obsolete just because the ASL around changes.
  • if used in a Tournament, the TD leaves the pleasure and the responsibility of setting their VC to the players, making obsolete and useless at the same time the classic โ€˜balanceโ€™ written in the card or any โ€˜ABSโ€™ or โ€˜PBSโ€™ variation of the OB. These scenarios are balanced by definition.
  • There's no risk that a scenario is ruined by a playtesting that misses by one the right number of buildings to control, or squad equivalent to exit from the board. The ideal number that makes perfectly balanced the scenario certainly hides somewhere in the range provided by the bid fork. The player must find it. If a scenario sucks, it sucks for other reasons, not because unbalanced!
  • once a scenario has been widely played and analyzed, and the suggested bid is well known, you always have a the chance to leave the attacking side to the opponent ( offering under the suggested bid) or to play the attacking side ( offering over that level). Unless the opponent has the same plan!
(more tomorrow)
 
Last edited:

ecz

Partisan Captain
Joined
Aug 31, 2003
Messages
4,433
Reaction score
600
Location
Italy
Country
llItaly
That said it's clear enough I'm little mad if I dare to change the classic VC scheme used thousands of times in many decades of ASL altering the typical routine: 1) Players decide the scenario and 2) the sides by dr or by mutual agreement.
The bid mechanism instead forces the players to begin the match in advance, before the first DR, and to think activley about plans and strategies at least one moment before the bid. A major change in the approach for most ASLers.
If this is acceptable by the mass of players I don't know. For sure I was not interested to create 16 scenarios similar to the other 8000+ . I do not see a reason to add another bunch of scenarios exactly like the others as style and concept. Instead I'm much more interested to make something completely different.

It's the best way I found to give everyone a good reason to try this pack and, at the same time, the only good reason for me to start such a crazy project.

I didn't see the point to create 16 brand new scenarios that could be fun or boring exactly as thousands before. And perfectly balanced only by chance.

(more tomorrow)
 
Last edited:

ecz

Partisan Captain
Joined
Aug 31, 2003
Messages
4,433
Reaction score
600
Location
Italy
Country
llItaly
To better understand the style of the scenarios and what I have tried to achieve we can look closer to one of them. let's take again Libertating Bukowina.
We have already seen its VCs:
โ€œVictory Conditions: The Romanians, provided at Game End there are no Good Order Russian non-crew MMC within 4 hexes from 56P5, win by exiting a number of Infantry non-crew Exit VP (A26.2) [EXC: exited Prisoners do not count] off the east edge on/between 57Y10 and 57I10 โ‰ฅ the number bid (see SSR2).โ€

and SSR 2 is:

โ€œSSR2: To determine sides, Players secretly bid a number of Romanian Exit VP โ‰ฅ 7 and โ‰ค 14 they believe can exit. The higher bidder takes the Romanian side; resolve ties by dr.โ€

22852


here's the board
 

ecz

Partisan Captain
Joined
Aug 31, 2003
Messages
4,433
Reaction score
600
Location
Italy
Country
llItaly
Russians setup in the village in the middle of boards 56, Rumanians enter using trucks and sidecars from any one road in board 4, while the Rumanian Cavalry setup on board 4.
It seems pretty simple in theory: the attacker must storm the village and then exit enough EVPs crossing the board 57 edge on/between 57Y10 and 57I10, and all must be done in 7 turns. Both sides have a small armored force (armored cars and ultra light tanks).

But the intent is to create opportunities and options for both players and to shuffle the cards.

For this reason the Russian has three wagons, he could carry immediatly a few units to the exit zone to interdict the Rumanian, OR he coud stay static and try to defend the village to the last man OR a mix of the two options. The Russian ACs entering later (from the top edge in the picture), could support the units in the village OR guard the exit zone, but they are wheeled and aren't very mobile. On the other hand if the Rumanian dismounts with everyone and attack the village, he could lose his schedule and forfeit the chance to exit all the EVP necessary. If he immediatly sends a pair of trucks loaded with infantry and/or Cavalry off the board bypassing the village (to be ready to fullfill the Victory requirements), he risks to have too few units to seize the village. Besides, trucks and cavalry are very vulnerable, so a couple of Russian units detached from the village could be a nightmare for the exit force. But is also true the Russian are so few that every single squad is crucial...

Playtest confirmed that it's hard to find the perfect balance of units attacking the village and units sent to exit. Much depends on:
  1. the number of EVPs required, i.e. the Rumanian bid
  2. if the Russian move something from the village to guard the exit
  3. how the Russian ACs are used
  4. if the Rumanian armor force beats the Russian's one and when
  5. if the Russians try an all out defense or a fighting witdrawal
  6. if the Rumanians are aggressive enough in the village.
about this last point ( Rumanian aggressiveness), as I like create new tactical problems and force players to change their habits, Vehicular Bypass Movement is NA in building occupied by enemy units. So even the more aggressive attacker on Earth, will conduct his attack without the freeze/sleaze tactic. This is not just a Designer's trick, it's a particular situation where the Rumanians, early in Barbarossa, didn't use their tankette in close quarters vs infantry in urban combat. An historical reason perfect to improve the scenario and add an element of variety.

Today I'm still in doubt about the suggested bid, perhaps someting around 10, but much depends on the ability of the opponent. The scenario for sure requires different tactical choices dependig on the level of the bid, and this adds difficulty to difficulty

This variety of tactis -strictly connected to the level of VPs required to win- is the main trait of all scenarios in the pack.
At least in my intentions...

(more tomorrow)
 
Last edited:

ecz

Partisan Captain
Joined
Aug 31, 2003
Messages
4,433
Reaction score
600
Location
Italy
Country
llItaly
here's a short description of the 16 scenarios. All use the bid system, all - in theory - should have a modern puzzle-like design, where intersecting defensive and offensive tactics are largely common. The different level at which the players set the victory conditions, the presence of multiple ways to seek victory and the very structure of each scenario should ensure ample replayability.

ecz1 The Bet, Trรธgstad, Norway, April 1940. An old classic first created for a scenario design contest on the Game Squad forum and later published by Le Franc Tireur (LFT 181). It's the scenario where this bid system made its debut. The Germans must control a village defended by a Norwegian MG company. 5.5 turns on two boards. I consider this scenario as the "father" of all the following 15. It has already been used many years ago at Albany, getting various playings and good reports.

ecz2 Liberating Bukovina, Bukovina, July 1941. 6.5 turns and three boards for a Romanian attack vs Russians in the first stage of Barbarossa. Cavalry and tin cans in the OB. We have already discussed in detail about the hard choices both players must front to balance their strenghts (and weakness)

ecz3 Turf Wars in Mongolia, Mongolian-Manchurian border dispute in May 1939. Two boards and 5 turns for this all-cavalry action. In this scenario Steppe terrain and Sun Blindness are in effect. There aren't many scenarios where two cavalry forces fight, now I understand why! It has been an hard challange, I hope the final result is appreciated. The structure of the scenario makes it look a bit like a game of chess, where both players need to have clear on what to do before they move. Who first takes a wrong decision, could lose quickly.

ecz4 Flash and Thunder, Neuville-au-plain River, Normandy June 1944. In the first hours of the D-Day a company of Paratroopers tries to find their officers, regroups (all units starts as HS), and move toward its objective, avoiding the German garrison patrolling the area and increasing its presence turn by turn. Three boards and 7.5 turns for this scenario where movement is crucial. Flash and Thunder has a very peculiar SSR. The orientation direction and position of two boards on three are decided by the German player after the American off board setup. This simulates the lack of knowledge of the terrain of the scattered paratroopers entering from off board, that cannot optimize their path toward the officers waiting for their arrival.

(more tomorrow)
 

ecz

Partisan Captain
Joined
Aug 31, 2003
Messages
4,433
Reaction score
600
Location
Italy
Country
llItaly
ecz5 The Good and the Bad, Montefiorino Italy, July 1944. The final action of the largest Partisan battle fought in Italy. In this scenario (three boards and 7 turns), Fascists and SS using Armored Cars, Flamethrowers, OBA and a lot of firepower, jointly attack a small town defended by elements of the Partisan Division โ€˜Modenaโ€™. The Defenders must stay in the town as long as possible to prevent the Fascists from making a large scale encirclement but they also try to save their lives by retreating into the woods before it is too late. The dilemma for the defenders is: Should we Stay or Should we Go ?
for this scenario there's also a three player's version.

ecz6 Diurnal Assault, Central Stalingrad, late October 1942. 7 turns. This time the Russians are on the attack around the area of the Bread Factory, but they must watch for a German counterattack. In this scenario, setup is sequential, counter by counter. Both players have the chance to attack in depth or to play more conservatively to parry the enemy offensive blow by blow. Itโ€™s played using part of the RO board. Russians have Rocket OBA but it's use is problematic!

ecz7 Clash of Cans, Guadalajara, Spain, March 1937. The first attempt of a large scale armored blitz by the Italian army during the Spanish civil war in this all (tin can) armor scenario. Six Italian L35s face 4 Light Russian tanks in a three board, 6 turns scenario. Clash of Cans is a complementary scenario to โ€˜The Puma Prowlsโ€™ that could easily be used as a teaching tool for AFV rules, particularly the platoon-movement rules which arenโ€™t used in the Puma Prowls scenario. Likewise Turf Wars in Mongolia, the dynamic of the scenario resembles Chess. A wrong move causes defeat.

ecz8 A Hot Week in Sicily, Sicily, August 1943. This time in Sicily for the crucial moment of the battle for Troina. The men in Monte Basilio were isolated, flanked and were suffering ammo and water shortage, but they held heroically against the final push of the 15th Panzer Granadier division in this 6 turn, three boards scenario.

(more tomorrow)
 
Last edited:
Top