Wild Bill's ASL Simple Solitaire module--first impressions

thedrake

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Bought this off ebay recently as I play mostly solo so wanted to check out how this system looks/works.Have not had a chance to play it yet but from reading the two pages of rules it definitely looks to be a simple system for playing standard ASL scenario.

First you choose which side you play then the system side is set up,then you place Concealment counters on units not in direct LOS of your units (even states "use a little sense and thoughtfulness in setting them up.Don't make it a duck shoot.")

Next there is an adjusted sequence of play:
1-Rally phase (conduct normally)
2-Random Event phase
3-Initiative phase
4-Rout phase
5-Close Combat phase

DFF/DFph has been done away with as it is now included in the Initiative phase,where both sides fire and move.The side going first is determined by rolling 1d (assume 1d6 here) and higher roll performs an action.This is done by drawing a "Move-Fire" card to determine what action it will perform in this phase.After each action is completed you roll 2D and on result of1-6 player retains Initiative,on result of 7-12 Initiative reverts to the other side (adding +1 to die roll after each action is performed----assume typo here as shouldnt it be DR instead?)
After all units have completed all they actions they can/wish to do Initiative phase ends.then Rout and CC phases take place normally.

The next section gives a brief description of Enemy Units.First all units set up on board are covered by Concealment counters,except 5/8" Guns and Vehicles (why??? not explained.) If an Enemy unit is to move after drawing its Fire-Move card then the amount it may move is determined by rolling 1d (again assume 1d6.) next two bullets cover when Concealment removed on Enemy units,and last bullet says Enemy reinforcements entering the mapboard are covered by Concealment counters.

Last section covers Random Events,which are on their own cards.These are drawn once per turn at beginning of RE phase and implemented prior to Initiative.

Short and sweet isnt it? Seems simple but would have to try it out as I am not clear how units will interact in the game.My first impression is that most unit actions will be determined by the Move-Fire cards,especially as it is not clearly stated how units may conduct Prep/DFF/DF/AF during the Initiative phase.

After reading thru this I am inclined to agree with Pitman's asessment that this is an incomplete product,where the player will have to fill in the gaps.I suspected as much from the get-go (especially after reading Pitman's page on Wild Bill's products) but was interested enough to try this one out to give me some possible ideas on my SASL gaming.Here is the link to Pitman's page on Wild Bill's products:
http://www.desperationmorale.com/worldofasl/worldfirsttofight.html#simplesolitaire

Some examples of how I find this to be not complete:
1-use of stating 1d/2d--yes I know ASL uses d6 but this really should be clearly stated.
2-seeing some of the entries on the Move-Fire cards and RE cards;one M-F card states an AFV will fire using 2/3 of its FP,and one of the RE cards for Sniper! states placing a 1-8-8 Sniper counter on board! Now tell me this isnt left over from the days of original SL (possibly from the On All Fronts variants of Wild Bill's?)
3-how is unit interaction affected in the game by use of Initaitive phase? Seems Prep/Defensive First Fire/Defensive Fire/Advance Fire phases are all rolled into one phase,and even then only if the Move-Fire cards say so--will have to play it and see if this is the case.

Was not expecting it to be a complete solitaire system a la SASL but I believe I can find some utility in this product for my personal SASL games.That is the only reason I chose to purchase this product.Would definitely classify this module as buyer beware.
Enclosed some pics.

Mark
 
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micky

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giving you a 'A' for ASl dedication for being brave enough to try one of his products AFTER reading Mark's comments haha.
 

rdw5150

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giving you a 'A' for ASl dedication for being brave enough to try one of his products AFTER reading Mark's comments haha.
Agreed you are a brave man......

I commend your dedication to try to play solo. You should give VASL A shot, with VASL And SKYPE its almost as good as being there live.

Peace

Roger
 
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Michael Dorosh

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Great review, thank you. Been curious about this product.

Some examples of how I find this to be not complete:
1-use of stating 1d/2d--yes I know ASL uses d6 but this really should be clearly stated.
I always found it elegant that ASL could distinguish easily between the two by using dr and DR nomenclature. This should be easily accomplished in a halfway competent rules set.

2-seeing some of the entries on the Move-Fire cards and RE cards;one M-F card states an AFV will fire using 2/3 of its FP,and one of the RE cards for Sniper! states placing a 1-8-8 Sniper counter on board! Now tell me this isnt left over from the days of original SL (possibly from the On All Fronts variants of Wild Bill's?)
Fascinating.

Looking forward to further reflections if you decide to stick with it.
 

Vinnie

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I don't know what you paid for it. I'd hope it wasn't that much. After Reading this review and playing SASL proper I don't think I'd splash our on this as it seats very much to be something you could cobble together I'd you were so inclined.
 

Paul M. Weir

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The 1-8-8 sniper counters are indeed a leftover from SL. There were 4 variants with DRMs from -1 to -4. I believe they first came with CoI.
 

Kevin Kenneally

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The 1-8-8 sniper counters are indeed a leftover from SL. There were 4 variants with DRMs from -1 to -4. I believe they first came with CoI.
Yes the sniper counter did start in CoI; came in German and Russian counter mixes.

Just looked and the Black SS (-1 to-4) and Romanian counters (-1,-2) are also there in CoI.

In CoD, the French (-1 to-4), the Allied Minor (-1 to-4), British (-1 to-4).

In GI;AoV, the American (-1 to-4).
 
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ASL Maineiac

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...and one of the RE cards for Sniper! states placing a 1-8-8 Sniper counter on board! Now tell me this isnt left over from the days of original SL (possibly from the On All Fronts variants of Wild Bill's?)
If Pitman's reviews weren't enough to keep me far far away from these products, the fact that Wild Bill -- while purporting to be an ASL designer -- thinks there are 1-8-8 Sniper counters in ASL certainly sealed that deal!
 

Michael Dorosh

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thinks there are 1-8-8 Sniper counters in ASL
A more likely explanation is that he is updated some old draft of rules he did 25 years ago and didn't bother to proofread or playtest it with the new game.
 

Michael Dorosh

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Which really isn't good.
I tried to add his "stuff" to BGG so that people could put reviews on that site, but the administrators there have a circular logic way of thinking. I can understand it, to be honest. They don't want every little thing that gets created in some dude's basement posted on the site - however, given the attention these 'modules' are getting, it would be helpful if reviews like thedrake's above were easier to access than just buried in the middle of internet forums. BGG's problem was they need to believe the products are legit, and you have to "prove" it to them somehow first.
 

Quanntum

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I share their way of thinking......the only attention these money-wasting private projects should deserve is public humiliation.
 

Pitman

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WBW claims that his products can be played with either SL or ASL rules, thus the sniper counter.
 

Gunner Scott

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Ha ha-

You guys must think the ASL world revolves around GS or CSW, man how wrong you guys are. Sometimes I think there are more people that collect ASL stuff then play it, go figure. As for WBW stuff, hey, its a free market so buyer bewere is all I can say on this tired old subject.


Scott
 

Michael Dorosh

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I share their way of thinking......the only attention these money-wasting private projects should deserve is public humiliation.
Catch 22, though, don't you think. How do you give something "public humiliation" if you're denying something a true public forum? :hmmm:

If the products are truly a rip-off - and I've "invested" in one of the Vietnam ASL modules incidentally - then what better way to alert others than via a review site where public feedback is encouraged? The ebay feedback forum is certainly a start, but that pertains to the mechanics of the sale rather than the quality of the product in isolation.

I don't want to sound like I'm defending WBW or his products, but I'm also not rabidly "anti-WBW" either. They are what they are and as gets pointed out in each thread, there are people who enjoy either collecting or otherwise making use of these things. I dipped my toe my toe in chiefly to be able to comment in a more informed manner. I love that thedrake has taken the same position and look forward to hearing more from him. If you make use of the tag feature at the bottom of the thread, you will see at least one other member of this site has taken the plunge and professes to enjoy their experience with some of the modules. To each his own. I'd expect that kind of thing to come out in the wash of a public review site as well. As it is, the comments are so vitriolic that I think there would be a tendency not to come forward and admit to even owning, much less enjoying, anything about these modules. An anonymous, if tepid, 5/10 on a review site would be another story. ;)

And food for thought, but didn't Valor of the Guards start out as a "private project" in a home-made ASL newsletter produced via photocopier? It would only take one person with some energy and drive and persuasive skills to decide to work with WBW, invest some time, and... It could be going on as we speak - this is not a confession, nor a prediction. But one never knows.
 

Quanntum

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I agree with you to a certain point. Trashing everything from WBW because he is the author may seem over the top.
The main reason though to be against his products is the fact that they arent intended to reach a big audience (something I hope every designer wants i.e. his scenarios being played), but instead focus on reaching rare collector's item status through ebay 1 on 1 sales.
If WBW would produce a product for a modest price and offer it as a download/buy to everyone...heck, I would even provide webspace for free! Amen! :cool:
 
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