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How are you supposed to play........

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How are you supposed to play........

Postby HansBolter » May 23rd, 2020, 9:39 am

An old wargaming buddy turned me on to this site and I got really excited at the prospect of replaying some old classics.
I downloaded several modules and set about trying to figure out how to play.

The one game I wanted to play most was Invasion of Malta.
The module has absolutely NO instructions on how to play.
The only instructions are how to use the Vassal engine to set up online games.
No instructions on how to deploy units to the map, move units or attack with units.
Nothing about how to actually play the game.

My buddy pointed out that it is a 1.0 module and first releases of modules are often buggy or lacking in basic infrastructure.

My question is this: How can you post games for download that can't be played?

He has been waiting for weeks now for me to decide to try another module, but I have such a sour taste in my mouth from the first horrible experience that I have no desire to waste more time on another unplayable game.

You could have had a devoted fan here, but have driven me away.

HansBolter
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Re: How are you supposed to play........

Postby uckelman » May 23rd, 2020, 2:26 pm

Thus spake HansBolter via messages:
> An old wargaming buddy turned me on to this site and I got really
> excited at the prospect of replaying some old classics.
> I downloaded several modules and set about trying to figure out how to
> play.
>
> The one game I wanted to play most was Invasion of Malta.
> The module has absolutely NO instructions on how to play.
> The only instructions are how to use the Vassal engine to set up online
> games.
> No instructions on how to deploy units to the map, move units or attack
> with units.
> Nothing about how to actually play the game.
>
> My buddy pointed out that it is a 1.0 module and first releases of
> modules are often buggy or lacking in basic infrastructure.
>
> My question is this: How can you post games for download that can't be
> played?

Note that I have never played Invasion of Malta myself, but it looks like
it's a 1970's-era Avalon Hill game, so I can give you some general hints
about how to use VASSAL to play the game:

There appears to be one organization chart for the Allied player where all
of the Allied units sit, awaiting setup, a similar org chart for the Axis
player, and also a Battalion Substitution chart for the Axis which looks
like it's for handling breakdown units. (These seem to be scans, so if you
have a physical copy of the game to hand, I expect you'll see charts which
look just like them.) These charts are available via buttons in the toolbar
at the top of the map window.

The Allied and Axis charts where all of the units are appear to be locked
by side, so that if you've selected a side (rather than "Solitaire Play")
on starting a game, you'll have access only to the setup chart for your
side. You can drag units from the setup charts to the map, just like you
would with the physical game.

There's a button for rolling a die in the tool bar, as well as a button
for showing common charts (such as the CRT and the terrain chart), and
a button for showing a pane from which some markers you might need can
be pulled.

With that information in hand, perhaps you can tell me what you're still
missing for being able to play?

--
J.
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Re: How are you supposed to play........

Postby Profit » May 23rd, 2020, 3:33 pm

Interestingly enough, I played a match of this very game today! (and have fiddled with the module a bit, if you are interested I can send you a copy)

You do know that you need the actual rules for the game too, right? They are not included in the Vassal module.
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Re: How are you supposed to play........

Postby HansBolter » May 24th, 2020, 2:49 am

Thanks for the responses.

Yes, I played the living snot out of the original boardgame with this same buddy.
That's what drew me to the module.

I figured out that I could drag units from the set up chart to the map, but when I got to the decoy counters which are stacked to the sky on the chart, the entire stack moves, not one unit. I found no way to move a unit off of the stack and no instructions how to.

There are limited scenario notes, which state that when playing online, you need to first flip units to the hidden side (no idea how) before you deploy them to the map or your opponent will see them as they are deployed. This is a MAJOR handicap as there is no way to review your overall deployment before deciding it looks good. You are as blind to your own deployment as your opponent.

There is no explanation of how to move units, select units for defensive fire, allocate units for an attack or begin and end a turn.
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Re: How are you supposed to play........

Postby uckelman » May 24th, 2020, 10:32 pm

Thus spake HansBolter via messages:
> Thanks for the responses.
>
> Yes, I played the living snot out of the original boardgame with this
> same buddy.
> That's what drew me to the module.
>
> I figured out that I could drag units from the set up chart to the map,
> but when I got to the decoy counters which are stacked to the sky on the
> chart, the entire stack moves, not one unit. I found no way to move a
> unit off of the stack and no instructions how to.

"To unstack pieces, double-click on a stack and the stack will expand,
accordion-style. You can then select and manipulate the individual pieces
in the stack, to drag them away, use their command menus, or otherwise act
on them."

User Guide, p. 14

> There are limited scenario notes, which state that when playing online,
> you need to first flip units to the hidden side (no idea how)

"Most pieces in a VASSAL game are interactive: by right-clicking on a
piece, you display a command menu that lists commands specific to that
piece."

User Guide, p. 14

> deploy them to the map or your opponent will see them as they are
> deployed. This is a MAJOR handicap as there is no way to review your
> overall deployment before deciding it looks good. You are as blind to
> your own deployment as your opponent.
>
> There is no explanation of how to move units, select units for defensive
> fire, allocate units for an attack or begin and end a turn.

How would you do those things with the physical game? I suspect that's
going to be the same in the module.

--
J.
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uckelman
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