Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Whether 'tis better

The big question is: to ASL or not to ASL. I have over £100 accumulated in my games budget, and I'm wondering whether to splurge it on the ASL Rulebook and Beyond Valor. They are actually getting rather scarce in the UK - most of the online retailers are out of stock - but on Saturday, on the way to Iain's, I got off the tube at Leicester Square and had a peep in The Orc's Nest, and there they were, pristine in their shrink wrap. I reverently turned them over in my hands for a few minutes, while the following thoughts went through my head:

1. That's a lot of money.
2. It's so complicated, will I ever actually play this?
3. 14 counter sheets, for all love! How long will that take me to punch and clip?
4. And how will I store all those counters anyway?
5. This is only the start - I would also need For King and Country, Yanks etc etc.
6. These are both out of print at the moment, this may be my last chance to buy them for a year or two.
7. There are some other cool games I could get with my £100. What about EastFront for example?
8. I have plenty of other wargames on my shelf I haven't even played yet.
9. If I get into ASL I'll never have time for any other games, anyway.
10. That's a lot of money.

So I balked. Put them back on the shelf and walked out of the shop. Did I do the right thing dear reader? Maybe I'll drop by the Orc's Nest again next time I'm in town......


Anonymous said...

I am much more likely to play Eastfront with you.

Firestone said...

EastFront is a *fantastic* game. And it won't take over your gaming life. (Or make you feel guilty for not playing it since you dropped so much green on it.)

Chris Farrell said...

You know, up until about 1996 ASL was the primary game I played and the only wargame. It was a huge amount of fun, and I often wonder if I got a better deal when I stopped playing. When I moved to California I switched primarily to euros, and then got slowly back into wargames.

Honestly, I think the main reason I don't play ASL anymore is that my friends don't play ASL. When you consider the hassles of repeatedly learning new games (Here I Stand: 40 pages, Downtown: 40 pages, Musket & Pike: 20 pages, Shifting Sands: 20 pages, Empire of the Sun: 30 absolutely incoherent pages), the complexity of ASL all of a sudden doesn't look too bad, and once you know 'em, you know 'em, and there is an essentially infinite variety of scenarios. The various HASL modules are almost all a ton of fun; Red Barricades was about as much fun as I've ever had gaming, and while it's OOP now, Valor of the Guards just came out.

Plus, the ASL rules are actually well-written, a relative rarity. And they have an index.

Anyway, I'm not necessarily advising you to get it. I'm just saying I had a ton of fun during my ASL-playing years, and if I still had friends who played I'd probably still be playing, and while ASL is complicated, while I was wading through the morass of the Empire of the Sun rulebook - a game I am unlikely to play again - I could have gone a good way towards learning ASL.

James Crosfield said...

Do it. Peter, you know I got into ASL 7 years ago and agree with Chris that it is the best fun I have had gaming. The rule book is readable, in fact I lost hours immersed in it following the cross references and then finding scenarios to practice that area of the rules with.
The HASLs are great, I have played Red Barricades for a 5 day stretch and it was great. After HASLs there is PTO, then planes, then boats, then weather, then caves, then snow, then on and on and on.
I was in the Orcs nest this week and they had some Journals in there as well, pick those up whilst you are there as they have good scenarios and tactic articles and as with all of it, fall OOP after a while.

Marty said...

I have wondered about getting into ASL before now. The thing is, I have ASLSK #1 and have read & understood that, but still haven't played it. I have literally dozens of unplayed games, and I know you do too.

Point 9 is the one that is keeping me away from it.

They also have it in Leisure Games in Finchley, by the way.

skarper said...

Buy the rulebook and use VASL until you know if it's really your thing. All those counters are a lot of wasted cardboard in most cases - you only ever seem to use the same few pieces over and over again - and will probably want to use US and British forces - which are oop anyway.

I have had a lot of fun with ASL - but if I wouldn't buy the cardboard again. It's just too much money, too much space and too much trouble...