[messages] [Opponents Wanted] Turning Point: Stalingrad & Breakout: Normandy

Mattp mpavone at firstlegionltd.com
Wed Sep 5 06:29:03 CEST 2018

"Gryff" wrote:
> And Mattp, you are right, the order of 'appearance' can change for
> oneself the perspective of a game, but there are so many other
> factors, like: With whom you have played that? Was he experienced and
> showed you the ropes? Or a beginner like yourself ?
> Was that game long awaited?  Did you buy it solely or did you buy 4-5
> games at once and one of the others were just better or more popular
> amongst your friends ?

I couldn't agree more about this.   The "overall experience" you have
playing a game, particularly one in this case where I'm remembering back
30+ years, is probably far more important than the specifics of the
game.  I just remember having a great time doing it even if my memories
are better than the reality.  Two other games like that for me are
"Russian Front" and "Fortress Europa".  I used to play those two games
(and Breakout Normandy BTW) against one of my dad's lifelong friends
when I was kid.  He liked gaming and I did, my dad not so much.  So I
remember sleeping over at his house when I was like 12 and we'd
literally stay up until like 6am playing through these games.   I still
remember one game of Russian Front thinking how well I was doing and
then counting the 17 empty beer cans that had been consumed (not by me
of course) at 6am after he went to bed and I was reviewing the
situation.   And then his kids came down, who were probably about 7 and
4 at the time, chased each other around the table, and one of them
tossed a teddy bear at the other and you can pretty much envision the
cardboard counter Yahtzee that happened to my absolute horror.    The
point I make is that the overall experience you have playing a game
definitely colors your experience of the game.  

"Gryff" wrote:
>  However, in the end, I think, it only counts when you want to play
> that game. If ASL were 'the best game ever made' I see no reason why
> you shoudn't play it. I would guess from what you wrote, it fails,
> even for you, in the the 3rd category: Fun/work ratio.

You must not play ASL.  The story that you recount in the other post
about the guys never getting a game going is, in my experience, an
anomaly.   ASL is difficult to learn because of the depth and that it's
a system not a game, but once you learn it, it is ___eminently
playable___ and that is what makes it so great.   Once you know the
system, you don't find yourself referring to the rules much at all.  
The burn in period is long but the reward is so worth it.   Sure, if you
want to play a scenario doing a beach landing with landing crafts at
night attacking caves, you've got a few extra rules to read.   But
mostly it's not like that.   In fact, you could probably spend 10 years
just playing scenarios in cities which plays very differently than the
countryside.   It is to me the most elegant gaming system ever
conceived, provides endless hours of totally edge of your seat
enjoyment, has an incredibly interactive system that puts each player
having to make difficult decisions and weigh risk/reward every turn,
it's incomparable to any game I've ever played.   And it's very much
like poker in that it has a lot of variables and "luck" but 95% of the
time the better player wins because the better player is in position to
overcome the luck. 

Anyone who REALLY plays ASL (i.e. didn't just try it but really was
borg-like assimilated) knows that it is NOT work to play.   In fact,
knowing the rules is part of playing the game because you know what you
CAN do and thus I used to find myself curled up at night reading through
"cellars" or "rooftops" for the umpteenth time when contemplating my
Russian defense of the barrikady.   I meant what i said when i told you
why i stop - when i'm playing i play WAAAAY too much, it takes over my
life to some extent to the exclusion of doing anything else with a free
minute or two, and it burns me out playing hundreds of hours over such a
short period of time.   But no game ever has held my attention like ASL
nor do i think will there ever be one.   It is by far the greatest
boardgame ever created.    And i repeat, it's really not hard to play,
it just takes time to learn.  But once you learn it and it's burned in,
it's incredibly fun, tense, and a very worthwhile gaming experience.  
All of those ASL'ers can't be wrong after all - it has stood the test of
time and is still probably the most popular proper board wargame in the
world (i.e. not counting "Axis and Allies" type shit - no offense
intended!).   There's a reason that VASSAL was for years and years just
"VASL".   :lol: 

My .02 cents....all this ASL talk is making me want to bust it out.  ;-)

Actually, truth be told, my latest addiction lately is playing the John
Tiller Napoleonic PC games PBEM.   Currently have three games going,
Lutzen, Dresden, and the 2 hour per turn work like
Leipzig......…..Great fun!


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