What was your "moment?"

JoeArthur

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Enthusiasm is contagious.

A bloke I knew in the 80's came back from university stating he had played this great game with heroes firing bazookas and everything. That game was Squad Leader and its expansions. He went out and bought Beyond Valor and went looking for an opponent that proved to be me.

There was no real moment when I saw the game as a hobby for life. His enthusiasm drew me in and playing any other military war game just seems like a complete waste of time given the amount of man hours I have spent learning the rules (and still do not know them) and the man hours and love that has been poured into ASL by people to produce new scenarios, core modules, historical modules..................on that subject thank you for the Desperation Morale website:)
 

JRKrejsa

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I started SL, Orange Box, in high school. Stopped in college, (too busy with wine women and song....) Started in again after college. Been with it ever since.

For me, its also a great stress reliever.
 

Yuri0352

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As close as I can tell, 'the moment' for me was shortly after I had opened my Cross of Iron box, and I was amazed by the near total representation of the AFV's of the Germans and Russians. Several variants of the T-34, and even the 'tin cans' were included! Even at that early date (summer of 1980), I could see the potential in a game that finally had some appeal for an AFV buff like me, and I actually began to hope that the game would one day be expanded to include the battles in North Africa.

After ASL itself came to fruition, the deal was forever sealed with the game's representation of random events (HOB being a favorite), the USMC/Japanese, DTO (!!), and the amazing HASL's.
 

Scott_Blanton

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I never played much SL. I collected most of the module for ASL, but had not played. Summer of 1996 me and a buddy broke it out and started playing. Then we played Red Barricades. Has been all downhill from there.
 

Pitman

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You ask a question that I never thought about before. I'd say my commitment came in several stages. Although I owned SL, I had not played it. I started ASL in 1990 because it had the WW2 tactical level detail that I desired from reading WW2 books. Stage 1 was the the first Avaloncon (1991?) where I found out just how large a community ASL attracts. It inspired me to run an ASL tournament in my hometown of Montreal to have that feeling more often of being among like-minded people having fun. Stage 2 would be probably five-ish years later. I had a stressful job that could occupy my mind even when I was not at work. I noticed that when I played the game, my mind was so focussed on it that I did not think about anything else during the game. Even though ASL has its own stress, it was relaxation from work stress. As well, I find that my brain's horsepower is not high enough to be good at a lot of games simultaneously, so I stick with ASL. As an aside. in later life I developed tinnitus, but when I play ASL, I don't notice the ringing in my ears.
Great answer!
 

Rindis

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What I asked was basically at what moment did you realize this was the game you wanted to devote your gaming life, or at least a substantial portion of your gaming life, to. At what moment, basically, WHILE PLAYING THE GAME, did you realize you were addicted to it?
It's definitely been a process. I can't point to any one place, or even any number of places that really got me in. I've always been an omnivorous gamer, and no one game will ever consume my gaming life. (I spent a fair amount of time with just SFB once, and found I needed to play something else at one point.)

But SL/ASL has always had an attraction, and been one of the games I would spend some time with. Good scenarios in SL did a lot for that. The attraction of ASL, once I was into it a bit, was the fact that in a scenario, anything can happen. The amount of chaos is high, and yet feels manageable.

However, I'd cycle in and out, with some pretty low ebbs. I was at a low playing ebb when Festung Budapest came out, but I got it on preorder anyway. Got hit with a root canal a week later, and wished I had the money for that instead. The next gaming day at my place, I showed it off, and Patch was really impressed by what was a very impressive package.

So we arranged some FtF for several of the early scenarios, and did others on VASL, and that became part of an effort over the last eight years to keep my playing up. We play ASL on our weeknight Vassal sessions more often, and I usually have some PBeM games going.

So the main moment for 'keeping my hand in' was really seeing Patch light up looking at FB. The rest doesn't really have 'a moment'.
 

Pitman

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Interesting how many people are responding with an SL moment rather than an ASL moment. For me, ASL was more gripping than SL ever was.
 

holdit

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Interesting how many people are responding with an SL moment rather than an ASL moment. For me, ASL was more gripping than SL ever was.
For me ASL was just a continuation of SL. Better, bigger, deeper, more streamlined, etc, but still not different enough to be separated from the SL...AoO continuum. I think it's a bit like the first time you drive a car. There's a thrill the first time you let the clutch engage and the car moves forward, and once you're past that you never feel it again, no matter what kind of car you end up driving.

Not that I'd want to go back to SL, no way, but SL was where "the moment" happened.
 

boylermaker

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I dunno that there was a single moment at which I decided that I would give up other wargames and play ASL (although that's what I did). Instead I just got there fairly slowly and steadily. The moment at which I made the most progress along that path WAS before I actually started playing though (sorry Mark!).

I was looking for a game to get my brother for Christmas and saw ASLSK#1 in a game store. I thought, what the heck is this? I did some research and found the Jay Richardson tutorials, and that's when I thought wow, this is something else! Turns out it was, in fact, something else.

Runner-up moments:
Setting up Fighting Withdrawal on my dining room table and attempting to solo it.
Winning my first VASL game, which I had no business winning, on a final-turn-CC-snake-eyes.
 

Binchois

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I loved Squad Leader from the start, but I clearly remember playing a game (solo) while my brother was watching some war movie on TV. It was the late 70's. I don't remember what film - I wasn't exactly paying attention - though I think Peter Falk was among the members of a squad. The setting was a small village in Italy.

Anyway, I remember looking up from my game to watch Captain Falk lead his men up the stairs of a small stone building in order to sneak up on the Germans (?) inside. Simultaneously, my cardboard units were closely engaged, crawling carefully among the buildings of Board 3. Just then, it felt like my mapboard was being depicted on the screen. And gancing back down at my game, the flat map now seemed 3-dimensional, the counters seemed to have come to life.

That was the moment I realized why I was drawn to Squad Leader. It was that feeling that the game put you on the ground, somehow depicting what WW2 combat was like - at least some Hollywood version of it. This game tells stories, and no matter how unlikely (or even preposterous) those stories can be, they often could make great scenes in some action film.

Interesting how many people are responding with an SL moment rather than an ASL moment. For me, ASL was more gripping than SL ever was.
I agree, but SL hooked me first and each of its "gamettes" seemed to only make it better. As for ASL, it appeared to be just more of a good thing - so obviously a no-brainer purchase - but I never let myself think of it as a "new" game. Ultimately, it proved to be a huge improvement. But I don't think I'd have stopped playing SL/CoI/CoD/GI:AoV without it.
 
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holdit

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I loved Squad Leader from the start, but I can clearly remember playing a game (solo) while my brother was watching some war movie on TV. It was the late 70's. I don't remember what film - I wasn't exactly paying attention - though I think Peter Falk was among the members of a squad. The setting was a small village in Italy.
"Anzio"

11740
 

Robert Fabbro

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Reading an AAR of Hedgehog of Piepsk (in an early issue of F&M, circa '77 or '78?) was all it took.

Hooked from that moment on.

However to elaborate on Mark's question, the moment I KNEW WITH CERTAINTY was when Cross of Iron was released, and the (tolerable) generic armour from SL became a full fledged system unto itself!
 
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aiabx

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I'm another one whose magic moment was reading the back of the SL box way back when. ASL is better, but not profoundly different from the first time I tried to cross that street in Stalingrad.
 

TopT

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The back* of the SL box...the write up (seemingly right from Craig's "Enemy at the Gates") and the thumbs of the board and counters... That was 38 years ago...
I attended a weekly gathering of war gamers (late '70's). I saw SL & CoI, read the back of the box and that was it. I watched a scenario being played, at the weekly event, and was hooked. We still played larger games but I was always drawn back to the tactical level of SL. About 1 year later I joined the Marines and gave away all of my war games except SL/ CoI. I found ASL in '86 and eventually threw away all 3 SL modules. It is about the only war game that I have consistently played.

To this date I have only bought 6 other war games (2 ACW, 2 Area move, PGG, & 2 player Ambush).
 

Craig Benn

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I was never interested in tactical land combat. I played World in Flames and Achtung Spitfire mainly. Paths of glory too. A few others.

Some guy at our wargames club kept bugging me and a few others to play ASL. Eventually I said I would provided he'd do a full World in Flames campaign. He kept his side of the bargain. So eventually I played another newb at S3 simple equation from Starter Kit 1. Retaking Vierville had been mentioned, but we rebelled at that as we weren't eurogamers and the complexity didn't scare us.

Jonesey ran through the rules with us. I was the Americans. My initial attack came to grief with lots of brokies. I rallied them and infiltrated forwards using smoke grenades and covering fire. My half squad with a flamethrower moved adjacent to a German squad in a stone building and rolled snakes.

It got called there as ran out of time but I couldn't stop thinking about the game afterwards. I knew then straight away this was for me.

My next game was Lapitchi Fit - from Onslaught to Orsha. Jonesey thought after one game of starter kit the best thing to do was go straight to a 3 board combined arms with guns, OBA and lots of AFVs. He was right. Any remaining resistance to the addiction faded when my 45mm anti tank gun got a rate tear and knocked out four German PzIIIs and PzIVs in a single fire phase.

At that point, Jonesey left for South Africa. I had the rulebook and FKAC. Beyond Valor was out of print. For 9 long months I played starter kit and read every page of the ASLRB twice. (I believe that hiatus really helped me as a player. Got a much more thorough understanding of the rules than I would if someone had been teaching me.) But there was no chance of me losing interest while waiting for the reprint. SK2 got played a lot - it remains the only ASL product I've ever played all the scenarios.

I've been playing for 15 years but I've never fallen out of love with the game even slightly. Well maybe 11 dates into Red Barricades....when I was thinking of all the PTO I was missing out on....
 

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For me, I'll also say that it was not a moment, but a process. I had been self-teaching and solitaire playing SK#1. I was enjoying it, but wasn't yet committed to SK to the exclusion of all other hobbies. I reached out to the local ASL club and our own Justiciar (who is a member of the Fredericksburg Fire-Eaters) encouraged me to attend WO and said that he would give me a game and teach me (full) ASL. My first playing of ASL left me completely dazed - the three or four hours of playing just flew by and by the end I could no longer even remember my own name. After I got home and had some time to regain my wits I was convinced that ASL is a great game, but wasn't yet ready to pursue ASL to the virtual exclusion of other hobbies. It was Andy's generosity in continuing to mentor and encourage me (not to mention generously giving me an ASL Journal after our first game), helping me to see the depth of the game, that started the process. It was also the generosity of Chris Brackney who sent me his old sets of British and French counters and not allowing me to pay for them. It was Derek Ritter letting me attend his Iron Crosses tourney and being such a terrific host (Derek would throw himself on a greande for others - an incredible guy). It was Tim Brieaddy giving me a game at Iron Crosses (where I was more than a bit intimidated) and just being the most fun and gracious opponent (I've never laughed so much in an ASL game as that one). There was also the kindness of David Garvin, who was always happy to do a favor. It really took all these events to solidify ASL as the only game that I ever want to play and to make me want to try to become a decent player. I can't put my finger on any one event, but the generosity and warmth of the people who have helped me along has been so spectacular (and ASL's brilliance as a game) that I can't imagine that I'll ever not want to play ASL.

P.S. Good God, I feel like an ass! I forgot to mention Keith Spurlock, who has also been incredibly gracious and generous - he's gone way above and beyond in helping me get a foothold in ASL.
 
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von Marwitz

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Well, it must have been in late 1989 or early 1990.

I was just back from my year that I spent as an exchange student in the US and getting involved full tilt into roleplaying games (Rolemaster on Middle Earth) and Tolkien's world. Back then, I got close to being able to speak Sindarin...

In that game store where I sunk all my money, beside the roleplaying games, they also had a corner for wargames - a rarity for Germany. On one of those days, I pulled out the ASLRB v1, looked at the binder and saw this:

11744

At that point, I had never played a wargame beyond Risk or Stratego. I just looked at the counter depictions with all their numbers and symbols and the explanations such as:

Low Muzzle Velocity, Low Ground Pressure, Limbered Fire Capability, (a) = American Chassis, No trailer in tow, Smoke Discharger Usage Number, Radioless AFV, Gunshield provides +3TEM vs. Fire through Front Target Facing, One Man Turret, Inferior Turret Armor, Main Armament/CMG are AA capable, ...

Of course, I understood not much of the ASL-lingo part of it. But these few 'explanations' made it instantly clear to me, that if a detail such as an 'American Chassis' or 'Normal Ground Pressure' would justify reference even on a minuscule counter, then the system and rules behind it must be of utter depth and sophistication. Leafing through the rules with its very small font and rules references such as A11.672 (indicating no less than five sub-levels within a rule) this impression was quickly confirmed. I read some paragraph of the rules such as:

"D5.5 IMMOBILIZATION TC: An immediate TC is required of the non-Shocked, non-Stunned Inherent crew of a vehicle [EXC: one in a Water Obstacle; 16.3] that becomes immobilized by any non-CC attack, or that is already bogged/immobilized and is hit by Direct Fire ordnance which fails to destroy, Stun, or Shock it but that would have destroyed or Shocked it with an Original TK or IFT DR of 5. Failure of the TC results in the crew being immediately placed beneath the vehicle (expending all remaining MF) and subject to the Hazardous Movement DRM during that phase (see also 9.3). Place an Abandoned counter on the vehicle (5.41). A crew thus forced to leave its vehicle may not Remove (6.631) any weapons from it. If the TC is passed, the crew may continue to Inherently man it or may abandon it voluntarily (5.41) during its MPh."

A simple rule to us ASLers now. But imagine how this sounded to me when being exposed to it for the very first time! With all those abbreviations, crossreferences, and ASL-lingo seeping from every pore, it appeared like something of a mythical scroll to me. Like if you look at old Egyptian hieroglyphs, and KNOW they mean something that must be fascinatingly interesting could you but read and understand them. I mean, give it to your wife, have her read it and then explain to you what it means. I felt like your wife would feel - except that I was fascinated and wanted to know!

It was then and there, that this mythical attraction captivated me.

However, I just felt not up to the task. On various occasions of me visting that store, I pulled out the ASLRB again. And put it back. At first, it took me a while to realize, that BV wasn't a complete game but merely the gaming parts for this ASLRB. And that there were more than half a dozen of boxes such as BV. And that all of this was just forbiddingly expensive for a high-school student.

I kept playing my roleplaying games (eventually for decades), but this ASLRB kept nagging at me. Eventually, I resolved to buy SL, because it looked very similar and had that 'programmed approach' that added rules with each scenario. I thought SL might be something of a 'Starter Kit' for ASL.

It must have been around the summer of 1992, when I finally bought SL. I played the first three scenarios, that could be combined into one and that finally did me in. I concluded that it would be best to start with 'the real thing' from the start. Meanwhile I had also bought CoI,CdG, AoV, but actually never used them. By now, I had signed up at university and had some more funds than during my high-school times.

It must have been around the fall of 1992 when I bought the ASLRB and BV, the rest is history.


von Marwitz
 
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RickF

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When John Hill dragooned me into playing what was probably an early version of The Guards Counterattack in his hobby store, The Scale, in a strip mall in Lafayette, IN. We used counters scrounged from his previous games. Probably helped a lot that he provided a running commentary and sound effects, and I've always enjoyed how the game provides so many opportunities to construct a narrative, if you're into that kind of thing.

That being said, I stopped playing SL after GI and only recently started playing ASL. Now I'm pretty much playing it to the exclusion of all else. And again, I really enjoy how every game tells a little story.
 
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