Billy Riley, 18 February 2021 ~ #UnboxingDay
You might well ask what’s a 53 year old man who is no more than 3 years into a board gaming hobby doing buying into ASL.
Who knows why we buy the games we buy? I’ve heard people rave about it – that it’s the best of the best. I’ve heard people say it’s a lifestyle. I’ve heard people warn “Steer clear”.
But here I am with an unboxing of the ASL Starter Kit #1. It was something like £30 so lost investment wasn’t going to break the bank if I didn’t like it.
So let’s see what’s inside the box.
Here’s a German soldier with a potato masher. I’ve seen some cracking art work on game boxes – but sometimes simply just wins… I like.
click images to enlarge
Box – Rear
This explains the mission statement of the ASL Starter Kit. It gives a run down of what’s in the box, a bit of a story regarding the Squad Leader and says it is medium complexity and medium for solitaire play.
The rule book is only 12 pages front to back. I know the back of the box says there’s a lavishly illustrated manual in there. Yes – there’s illustrated examples of the rules and they’re very clear and in colour. However – I just can’t get over the fact that the rule book is walls of text. I think that’s partly down to the size of the font which is quite small – readable – but small – and also that there are 3 columns of text on each page – which kind of highlights the size of the font even more and just gives a feel of “lots of text”.
What I would say is it’s well laid out and has my favourite layout – a Sequence of Play with the rules actually laid out as in the Sequence of Play…that’s always nice I think to help you just pick up and play.
Two 6 sided dice
Player Aid Cards
There’s one double sided Player Aid Card. One side shows
- Infantry Fire Table (IFT)
- IFT DRMs
- IFT FP Modifiers
- A very small box showing the Sequence of Play
- Close Combat Table
- And an Ambush results box
- A terrain Effects Chart
- MF/PP Chart (Movement Factor and Portage Points)
- A Leader Creation box
- A CX box (Counter Exhausted)
- Examples of counters and their values
These are, for the most part, in black and white – a splash of red here and there. There are 6 of these. I counted 4 Normandy/western scenarios and 2 Russian missions
Yep – there’s only one. These are small – very small. They are ½” counters (or 13mm). Honestly – I will struggle with these on the map. The Squad Leaders have their names on them and I honestly cannot read their names without a magnifying glass.
There are 2 geomorphic maps with the game and they are on decent card stock. These can fit long ways together or side to side. They are clear and you’re in no doubt about the terrain…functional and not without some charm.
And that’s it.
It’s probably worth pointing out here that the ASL Starter Kit #1 is infantry only – and some support weapons. But no armour.
It seems straight forward enough. The manual is laid out nicely, if somewhat small in font. The Player Aid Cards and Mission cards are fairly basic, map card – and quite thin. I would imagine I will laminate these.
I have to say I read through the first half of the manual and I wasn’t overly blown away with any uniqueness in mechanics. I could see how other games have perhaps borrowed and built on the ASL rules though.
The counters are terribly small and I imagine – unless I’m totally hooked on the game mechanics – that I wouldn’t buy another one simply because of the counter size.
What I would say is this is a complete game and it was cheap. The components are nowhere near the quality of some other games I have – but they are more than functional (with good eyesight or a magnifying glass) and is a great starter kit for someone wanting to get into wargame board gaming.
Whatever the outcome – it seems I have a small piece of history here…having one small section of a board game legend that’s been around for a very, very long time.
Thanks for joining this month’s #UnboxingDay with the Armchair Dragoons and we hope you enjoyed our recon of our recent acquisitions.
You can always leave us your feedback in our #UnboxingDay thread, or in the comment area on this article, below.
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