Monday, April 30, 2012

Theory and Practice: Those two imposters

"Theory is when you know everything but nothing works.
Practice is when everything works but no one knows why.
In my games of ASL, theory and practice are combined:
nothing works, and I have no f%&$ing idea why."

The job hunting continues, which has had an impact on my motivation to post AARs to the blog as supposed to succinct posts on Gamesquad. Things look to be improving though, more of that as matters coalesce.

I've been playing a fair bit of ASL lately via PBeM and especially live on VASL. Since the beginning of April, I've completed 8 games of Live VASL and have two PBeM games in varying stages of completion.

With John Knowles, we've completed our run through of the Winter Offensive 2011 pack scenarios but i haven't won any of them despite being in contention for at least 2 two of them right to the end. Aaron Cleavin and I are almost finished with our playing of the Melee Pack III scenarios, the last of which will probably be started and finished this coming weekend. Again, no wins from the 4 scenarios played so far as could be expected but some close games.

Of these seven scenarios, there are a few that stand out, in fact I would say that MP17 "Bagging Burcorps" is probably the highlight so far, It's a scenario that I have played before as both attacker and defender and enjoyed thoroughly despite losing both times. Suffice it to say, Aaron thought well enough of it to include it in the scenario list for the JunoBear tournament.

Of the other standouts, none features from the Winter Offensive pack sadly, mainly from the point of view of being enjoyable and interesting situations with a perception of balance. Facing three HIP 88LLs with good LOS to expected AFV movement channels is not something I expect to find that interesting given the Hit = KO equation, let alone facing 16 flat HE with 7 morale troops.

Some of this may be coloured by my failure to win a game, but given that the outcomes were close, the enjoyment factor during the games was paramount and I can remember feeling I was just going through the ASL motions in some games, not in terms of my tactics,, but purely because I could not see a way of avoiding expected outcomes.

They say bad ASL is better than no ASL. I now think that is a false equation. If the game is not enjoyable for me, I am at a loss on how my opponent might be enjoying it. For me, part of the intrinsic attraction of ASL as a game is that both players participate in a mutually enjoyable pastime/hobby. 

The other game I played was in Gary Fortenberry's AP9 Playtest Tourney where I faced Randy Shurtz in AP83 Take Two, a good little infantry only PTO design with some small but interesting tweaks on regular ASL fare. A little Pro-Japanese as it stands before fine-tuning after the first round of results, but with minor polishing and some clarifications, this looks to be a very solid tourney playing.

Now Randy is a very strong player, having beaten the Plevanator in a toruney himself, so I was very pleased to pull off the win. the disparity in our skill levels evened out nicely with the scenario, but I am pleased that it was not my dice that dominated the game (although my last turn Defensive First Fire was as usual, rather good) but rather my initial setup and patience in the opening turns. A significant factor was a misdirect involving a HIP squad and leader that did real damage to one of Randy's stronger probes.

So 1 and 7 so far, with one PBeM likely to be decided in the next week or so. I have kept reasonable records of the games so far via VASL so when I have the intellectual energy, I will try and provide some detailed AARs here.

P.S. You know you've been out of the loop ASL wise, when you forgot that you had bought Crucible Of Steel and declined a game on VASL because of this.

Monday, April 9, 2012

ASL Games in Progress update For April

So far so good in my return to active ASL-dom. I have A single PBeM game running as part of the eASLeague PBeM tourney, which is a good starting point. I've restarted my series of Melee Pack scenarios with Aaron and we're getting through one a week on VASL which is good by my standards, while John and I are working our way through the WO series at our own speed. Additionally I'm lined up in Fort's Live VASL AP9 Playtest tourney against some pretty heavy hitters including Randy Shurtz and Gary Trezza.

I should have some AARs by the end of next weekend, but these take time as I forgot to take screenshots and log stuff on a tyurn by turn basis.