Peter and gang, first of all, as an old ASL grognard from back in the 80's and 90's thank you, thank you! ! Finally! If there was ever a game that cried out for computerization, it was (A)SL!
I can see from the previous post's date, that I'm a bit behind here, but as I start to delve into the TotH world, I can't help but look back to the boardgame, and having watched some of idjester's YouTube, I hope it's not too late to add my suggestions and comments; although, I see that a lot has already been covered in this forum already.
I apologise for the length of this, and while I started to write thoughts on Idjester’s YouTube, perhaps it’s better if I leave that below and make my suggestions first, but the rationale for them is in the paragraphs below.
- The one thing I always imagined and prayed for in the computerised version was for the computer to replace all the table referencing with a ‘simple’ (not coding wise, or course!) highlight of the percentages of damage a potential shot had. Exactly the same way we mentally did when consulting all those die roll charts! In other words, I click on unit A, tell the game I want to know about shooting at unit B, and it will tell me I have an X% chance of MC, Y% chance of 1MC, Z% of KIA, or Pinning them, etc., etc. The same with AFV firing: X% chance of a hit, Y% chance of a kill, and so on! Wasn’t this the very essence of what made ASL what it was and governed our tactics and decisions therein?
- Also, imagine a future scenario with a para drop! Instead of 30min of die rolling just to positions all the counters, after which you needed a break just to recollect your “Now what?!” thoughts, it’s all done in a matter of seconds!! Same for amphibious assaults, etc., etc.
- And can it really be as fun without having to dis/re-assemble those heavier weapons? All that was a significant factor in turn-by-turn decisions – do you have the time for such a move or should you stay put or just drop the stupid thing and leave it behind!? For that matter, I don’t see where a unit can drop a weapon or decide not to pick it up; seems like it’s automatic?
Yes, it’s all complex, but nowhere near as much so when a computer is doing the number crunching and showing you what happens to your movement ability and range, etc. as you ask it for “What if?” answers. I’m sure most here are familiar with Talonsoft’s Campaign Series that McNamara and other, original SL designers went to after leaving Avalon Hill, so much of what I’m putting forward here was already done by them back in those games. Granted, for a one-man band, I’m unable to say how long it would take to re-create such efforts, but do y’all remember the rich details of Heroes, Human-wave charges, Berserk units, Sewer movement, Snipers that made every activity a risk, Bunkers, Wire, Minefields (never enough issued!), Entrenchment and Trenches, Hull-down and crest concealment, Concealment in general (could still be re-created in TotH, and even enhanced!), Commissars (do they still function in TotH as they did in ASL?), infantry smoke/WP, IFE fire with AP ammo, set v’s thrown demo charges, just to name a few(!)… ? I also saw an early reviewer of TotH suggest that routing should all be done by the computer rather than allowing player control – Yes! That was never possible with cardboard!
Lastly, why still bother with ‘boards’ at all? Why not just create scenario maps? The Kursk stuff looks fantastic by the way!
Idjester suggested in an early video that losing a lot of the complexity didn’t really impact the gameplay, but…really? Wasn’t it that very complexity that gave the game such realism, rich detail and variety? The same decision would never play out the same way twice! And wasn’t the numbers-crunching, the very thing that often made the difference between whether to fire or move? Another friend of mine, also new to the game but without the ASL background, is feeling the lack of not being able to gauge whether firing in many instances is worth it. I still have enough memory of the various units’ and weapons’ capabilities to still know, but for a newbie, he’s finding his decision making ability hampered and also frustrated by my descriptions of how it used to be, because he can see the potential for the fun without the dice tedium!
Please forgive the lengthy, but excited prose! Hope I didn’t lose anyone along the way!