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Re: (TFT) Classification of monster games. Defence of ASL

My experience with Campaign for North Africa was more or less similar, thou
gh I actually played a month or so of the initial Italian invasion of Egypt
.  I stopped when I suddenly realized I'd been launching Italian aircr
aft from a British base, using British ground crew and British supplies to 
keep the Italians in the air.  It was so complex that you quickly lost
 Situational Awareness on a multitude of issues that were absolutely vital 
to game play.  Even with teams, it wasn't much better....  A beau
tiful game, though, and the research was valuable throughout my subsequent 
college and military careers!  Decision Games is in the midst of a red
esign and plans to publish in the next year or so -- supposedly the logisti
cs game is completely redesigned to actually be manageable.  But I thi
nk my days of playing monster games (other than on the computer) are pretty
 much done.  Among other things, I lack the available space and time.
I loved TSS.  Played it so much that my original copy became seriously
 bedraggled.  Again, for me, that hit a sweet spot -- just complex and
 realistic enough to permit me to suspend my disbelief and really get into 
it, but simple enough that it was actually playable.
Like you, ASL pretty much ended my interest in SL and moved me on.

      From: David Carter <clumsyspider@hotmail.com>
 To: tft@brainiac.com 
 Sent: Thursday, October 22, 2015 12:24 PM
 Subject: Re: (TFT) Classification of monster games. Defence of ASL
I actually bought a copy of War in North Africa when it came out. We even p
unched the counters for the first turn units and that was all she wrote. Wa
y to complex to play. Terrible Swift Sword was another monster game but it 
played well. One of the cons had a 5 day 24 hr multiple player TSS campaign
. DNO/Unt and War in the East could be played if you had the time. Took me 
and a friend 3 months to play WIE.

For my little group Advanced Squad Leader killed our enthusiasm for SL. 


Sent from my iPad

> On Oct 22, 2015, at 3:17 PM, Rick Smith <rick_ww@lightspeed.ca> wrote:
> 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 
> 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 fi
> rules and starshell rules.  But in 99% of the scenarios, you do not 
> any of those elements.  If you are playing an exotic scenario, (with
> 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, becaus
> 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 
> 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 an
d 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 Canad
> Army) played ASL with his fellow officers to get a feel of the ebb and fl
> of real battles.
> ASL plays cleanly.  But there is a considerably larger learning curv
e to
> get to the point where it CAN play cleanly.  But again and again, I 
> 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 war
>> 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
>> play) in, say, Advanced Squad Leader.  Others prefer to use nothing
>> 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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