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(TFT) Classification of monster games. Defence of ASL

Hi all,
  The discussion of Monster Games below prompted me to say 
what KIND of monster games are there?

--- The first type are games like Quazar, or War in the West
which had fairly simple rules.  They were monsters because they
had huge maps and bejillions of counters.

--- The second type are best represented by Advanced Squad
Leader.  Lots of rules, but most scenarios have a fairly low number
of counters and play quickly (if 2 to 4 hours are considered 
quickly).  Quickly at least, compared to the type one monster games
given above.

--- The third type of monster game are those that have huge maps,
tonnes of counters and really long, complex rule books.  I've never
played any of these, but from my readings, War in North Africa 
might fall into this category.   (I read that the designers admitted that 
they never expected anyone to play it.  The game was to bought &
admired for its research.)

I would like to take exception to the slander that ASL has poor game
play.  In many ways, it is more playable and more polished than the
game it was created from, Squad Leader.  The rule book is so 
amazingly thick, because it tries to have rules for EVERYTHING.  Do
you want to create a scenario, based on a real life battle where 
gliders landed at night on both sides of a river, and one side used
star shells?  Well that game has glider rules, river rules, night fighting
rules and starshell rules.  But in 99% of the scenarios, you do not see
any of those elements.  If you are playing an exotic scenario, (with say
Japanese tunnel complexes in the Pacific theatre), you read the page
of rules for that weird situation and add it on the rules you know well.

The basic infantry rules for ASL can be boiled down to 16(?), 18(?)
pages of rules and they play is fast and clean.  I know this, because
that is exactly what ASL starter kit does.  (I don't own Starter Kit 1, so
I can't check the exact page count as I type.)

And the rules for ASL are phenomenally well organized.  They are
indexed, cross indexed and logically laid out.  I can find rules in ASL
faster than in poorly organized games with 1/100 of the page count.

If you had asked me three years ago, I would have said that I admire
ASL, but never play it.  (Which would tend to give the lie to how
great it is.)  But I've recently found a guy who is into the game and we
will get together, about once a month, and play a smaller scenario.

Now ASL starter kit and Memoir '44 will appeal to different people.  
The latter has between 1/2 and 1/3 the rules of the former, and takes a 
lot less brain power to play.  But the former tries to give you the feel of 
tactics in WWII.  My friend Ben Pong (who was a Captain in the Canadian 
Army) played ASL with his fellow officers to get a feel of the ebb and flow 
of real battles.

ASL plays cleanly.  But there is a considerably larger learning curve to
get to the point where it CAN play cleanly.  But again and again, I see
people who have never tried it, look at that thick rule book and assume
it has poor game play, simply because it has a lot of rules.

Warm regards, Rick

On 2015-10-22, at 11:06 AM, Jeffrey Vandine wrote:
> How can any game, constrained as it is by the hex map, ...

> In the end, it depends on how you like to play.  Continuing the wargame
> analogy, War in Europe & Europa both simulate the same thing, but which
> one do you prefer, taking into account complexity versus playability? 
>   Some people love the brutal attention to detail (at the expense of game
> play) in, say, Advanced Squad Leader.  Others prefer to use nothing at
> all but a storyboard and their imaginations, while yet others think card 
> play, Fate Points, and the like are the be-all and end-all of gaming.  

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