Now I’ve created this blog, I might as well talk a bit about why I did it and why you should care. Short version: I like ASL, and if you stumbled upon my blog, you probably do so as well.
Long version: About a year ago, probably a bit longer, I searched for a replacement of BattleTech because I got kind of bored of our weekly gatherings here at Dresden, Germany. At that point, I had been playing BT for about two years, and I liked the feeling of having a game that’s so complex you can play it for such a long time and still be interesting and at times surprising. But the way we played it, it slowly started to get monotonous for me, as we always played Tech-Level One, and always with ‘Mechs only. In ASL terms, think playing “The Guards Counterattack” over and over again.
Parallel to that, I played a lot of World of Tanks, a great tank-based MMO video game set in an alternative universe where WWII makes even less sense than it did in real life. By a mixture of casual research and in-game osmosis, I assembled a bit of geek knowledge about armored vehicles of WWII. I’m studying to be an engineer, so the technology of these vehicles is really fascinating to me.
So, when I finally thought I might as well search a replacement for BattleTech – a game with more different facets, I instantly knew I wanted a game set in WWII and with tanks in it, and I also knew I did not want to argue with anybody if I can use my T-34/76 miniatures to represent a T-34/85. Besides, I looked for a game that’s not too obscure inside the already quite narrow field of Wargaming in Germany (for obvious reasons, everything war-related is frowned upon over here).
Also, I wanted a game that’s rather lightweight. I got ASL instead. How did that happen? Well, at first it was because ASL was the only game that somehow fit all my criteria above. My first impression of ASL was so bad I temporarily just gave up my search. But then I decided to at least give the Starter Kit a try, and it completely changed my opinion.
In contrast to most other complex games I played so far (mostly in the role-playing game genre), the ASL rules don’t just make stuff complicated, but they actually offer depth and immersion in a way I did not expect. I am still stuck with the Starter Kit, though I hope I’ll finally make the jump to Full ASL in the next couple of weeks. And I think my journey down the rabbit hole will continue.
I love the asymmetrical, scenario-based game play. I love the plethora of ways both my opponent and bad luck can foil my best-laid plans and I love how scenarios always turn out in a way that you wouldn’t have thought was possible beforehand. I also love the amount of different topics a scenario can cover, from simple infantry grinds in a small block of houses to pure tank combat to great three-board combined operations where four things and a lizard are always happening simultaneously, to cavalry surprise attacks to guerilla combat, a frontal assault on a fortified roadblock and so on. I don’t think this game will let me get bored, ever. Surprisingly, I even like the long playtime where even smaller scenarios tend to take six or more hours, because the game actually manages to stay interesting for all that time.
So, what will I be writing about? Mostly AARs of what I’ll be playing, but maybe also some tangential topics like me ranting about how the PzKpfw IV looks better than the M4 Sherman (and yes, I know, it’s not supposed to look good, but I don’t care) or some game design-related stuff or interesting tidbits of information related to WWII I happen to come across.
By the way, I have another blog (in German) about role-playing games which you can find at http://rpgbash.wordpress.com/ in case you are interested.