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  • Solo play?

    Hi everybody,

    Never played board war games in my life (there's nobody to play here with...) but I was thinking about picking it up (looks intresting enough) the problem remains-no one to play with...
    Does ASL/SL/Other boardgames have a solo-play option?how does it work?is it any good?

    Thanks guys.

  • #2
    There is a Solotaire ASL module but it's out of print. ASL and ASL Starter Kit are quite poor for solo play. People still do it though. You may want to take a look at Ambush, which is out of print but avaialble on Ebay. It's a solotaire game. But check it out first to see if it's something you would like.
    AHIKS - Play by (E)mail board wargaming since 1965.
    The Blitz - Play by Email computer wargaming.

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    • #3
      A lot of people play ASL over the net with VASL. You should be able to find someone to play against.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Golani View Post
        Hi everybody,

        Never played board war games in my life (there's nobody to play here with...) but I was thinking about picking it up (looks intresting enough) the problem remains-no one to play with...
        Does ASL/SL/Other boardgames have a solo-play option?how does it work?is it any good?

        Thanks guys.
        MMP (Multi-Man Publishing), besides publishing the ASL stuff also publishes The Gamers old lines of tactical level WWII, American Civil War and Napoleonic games where the players write their own orders (although, in most cases, the historical orders are provided at the games' beginning). You cannot implement those orders until the dice say you can (simulating orders delays and the time it takes for the troops to get prepped, etc.). This facilitates solitaire play because the player gets to put his best foot forward in planning. Then you move precisely as you wrote the orders (without the rigidity of plotting).
        I come here to discuss a piece of business with you and what are you gonna do? You're gonna tell me fairy tales? James Caan in the movie "Thief" ca 1981

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        • #5
          In discussing solo play, one has to remember, some games are made to be solo capable and some merely can be played solo.

          ASL has a number of rules features that just don't work in solo.
          You can't use 'Hidden Initial Placement' rules design against yourself, and you can't use 'Concealed' rules design against yourself. And as a lot of scenarios revolve around the idea that one side's outnumbered forces are set up concealed in some fashion as a scenario balance concession, you can't not use Hidden Initial Placement and Concealed rules.

          But ASL does of course have the SASL module ie Solo ASL. It's a module meant intentionally to allow you to play the base game solo.

          Of course the only reason to play ASL solo, is if you can't find another human to play it against. That's where VASL comes in. This program links two players via their computer, and removes the problem of not having that extra human to play against.

          But as Golani has never played board games before, one has to ask him, how full is your wallet Because ASL is likely the most expensive board game wargame in existence.

          You might want to consider looking into Lock n Load, a good alternative squad level board game wargame.
          Life is change. Built models for decades.
          Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
          I didn't for a long time either.

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          • #6
            I'm not locked on ASL (it's just what I know)

            So I understand VASL will still require the boared itself etc. right?

            How about other board games? what solo options do they have? (or is it pretty much the same?)

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            • #7
              Vasl, which is really just a pet name for VASSAL used by ASL, also has Cyberboard as competition. There are also custom programs like Warplanner made specifically for Third Reich.

              All of these programs require both players to actually own the real thing. They are just interface tools on the system and are in no way a playable option.
              They shouldn't be confused with a board game turned into a computer game like the recently released Computer War in Europe 2 which I believe comes with no manner of AI.

              There are a few board games made intentionally for solo play though.
              They have varying degrees of quality.
              I have the now plenty long out of print game Patton's Best, which has you driving a tank through many actions. I also have Pegasus Bridge which is the capture of the bridge over thre Orne during the Overlord Invasion.

              But intentionally solo made wargames are few out there to my knowledge.

              A lot of operational scope wargames can be played credibly in solo as long as the player makes the most logical moves possible each turn. But that comment likely applies to board games more than computer wargames, as a lot of board games will be designed on the assumption the player has the ability to see all the forces on the board and account for that.
              A lot of computer wargames will be taking advantage of the ability to hide forces from the player's view. if you played both sides in a hotseat game, it is uncertain if some of the game's design would be affected by knowing where both sides forces were.
              Then again, computer wargames being able to do that might well be an asset.

              I've only experienced a few board games that were flat out incapable of being played solo. I had for a good long time the games put out by Columbia Games called Front games ie West Front, East Front Med front. They used wood blocks to conceal identity and status of the units. To be unable to hide them from yourself, the games simply won't work properly.

              Up Front is based on card play, and has really no solo play capacity. Picture trying to play poker against yourself essentially. Doesn't really work.
              Life is change. Built models for decades.
              Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
              I didn't for a long time either.

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              • #8
                Alright, I get it, I'll drop the idea.
                Thanks though.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Golani View Post
                  So I understand VASL will still require the boared itself etc. right?
                  Nope. The boards are part of the interface. You need to download them seperately. It's a little confusing at first. It's free though - nothing to lose by trying it.
                  AHIKS - Play by (E)mail board wargaming since 1965.
                  The Blitz - Play by Email computer wargaming.

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                  • #10
                    Hmm that could have been clearer Duncan

                    In order to play ANY game in this fashion, you will need downloads of a good many graphics, and ASL likely has more to download than the average.

                    There are a lot of files involved actually. Not complicated, just time consuming from a standing start.

                    In the case of ASL, you will feel like you have downloaded everything but the rules. But considering the program needs to have visual representations of anything you move around on your actual boards it's logical to assume you will have a near total set of graphics.
                    Life is change. Built models for decades.
                    Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
                    I didn't for a long time either.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Golani View Post
                      Alright, I get it, I'll drop the idea. ...
                      I wouldn't drop the idea, it's just that your fun and learning milage will vary based on the game you try to do it with.

                      For a free board game experience without the board game try the excellent Steel Panthers games (WWII and MBT) from Shrapnel games. These games are what computer ASL should have been and both are free downloads.

                      (You'll need to Google it. I'd provide a link but I'm at work and their site isn't accessible throught fire-wall )
                      Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Roadkiller View Post
                        I wouldn't drop the idea, it's just that your fun and learning milage will vary based on the game you try to do it with.

                        For a free board game experience without the board game try the excellent Steel Panthers games (WWII and MBT) from Shrapnel games. These games are what computer ASL should have been and both are free downloads.

                        (You'll need to Google it. I'd provide a link but I'm at work and their site isn't accessible throught fire-wall )
                        I got SPWAW-to be frank, I couldn't really get the hang of it and gave up(There's no manual, couldn't figure out all the buttons, not really into the 'buying units' thing).
                        I read somewhere that Close Combat is kinda like the PC version of ASL, that's why I specificly gave ASL as an example, Close Combat is my all time favorite.

                        How do you guys feel about squad battles?

                        Now with that aside-I wanted a board game for the experience, I don't know, touching the board, seeing it from my POV, can't really explain why, I just wanted to give it a try...
                        Last edited by Golani; 11 Apr 09, 12:18.

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                        • #13
                          Hmm can't resist.

                          Both Close Combat and Combat Mission DO have direct linkage to ASL as realised on a computer, while Steel Panthers technically does not. It's really just that Steel Panthers genuinely LOOKS just like ASL that it gets the credit.

                          That might sit well with the die hard Close Combat and Combat Mission crowd, but there's little they can do about it

                          Now to return directly to the question of a board game, not a computer game, but an actual board game, and the ability to play it solo.
                          Well in the final analysis, just about any board game can be played solo.

                          The true test of one's interest is 'how badly do you want to play any one specific board game?'. Because you can play original Squad leader just fine ie the original box and the original rules, which worked just fine in the late 70s and still actually work just fine now.
                          Or you can go and jump in with both feet and play any of a number of operational titles which will also include quite a few counters to push around. Not to mention you will be pushing around both side's counters. I see nothing wrong with playing The Longest Day (AH) solo, but it's a game with a minimum 6 hour long set up time (I know from experience) and we are talking about a game with about 10k counters on a 5'x5.5 map.
                          Yes it is playable solo, and not really a complicated game, but it is after all a large game all the same.

                          Now if you require simple, that's the real issue.
                          You can get games like the rather nicely done Axis and Allies designs. They have the full war edition, the Europe and the Pacific editions, and the Normandy, Bulge, Guadalcanal editions. Capable of being played solo, but they are so totally like going to a party and no one shows up feeling when played solo.

                          If the gamer has little or no desire or capacity to scare up an opponent, a better version of the solo question is, which computer wargames are the most fun when played solo. And that's really just a question of 'what games have an AI that is at least a real challenge?'.
                          I have found that in computer wargames, the hardest thing to find, is an AI that is any good at amphibious warfare. So if you pick games that have zero naval activity, you are likely ahead there.
                          Thus far there is only ONE design where the AI is at least a problem to beat. Panther Games makes a design in real time, which is battle specific routinely somewhere between tactical and operational scale. I think you will want to look into them if you must insist on an acceptable solo experience.

                          Otherwise you will simply need to accept you need a human opponent somehow some way.
                          Life is change. Built models for decades.
                          Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
                          I didn't for a long time either.

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                          • #14
                            O.K
                            Wer'e getting somewhere now...
                            Firstly, thanks for the deep analysis.

                            Now, a couple of follow-up questions:

                            1.Say I'm interested in a tactical level, simple and fairly played in solo, what would you suggest? (I'd rather check the water before I dive )

                            2. By 'Panther games' do you mean the PC game (as I said, I couldn't really handle SPWAW) or is it a board game company?

                            Agin, thank you.

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                            • #15
                              Hmm tactical board game, simple, fun nothing beats Squad Leader. Original Squad leader though, the first box, the one called SQUAD LEADER, and don't let anyone tell you it's a mistake and that you want the ASL Starter kit.

                              ASL is a fanatics game and costs a small fortune (actually a large fortune) and all the ASL Starter kit is, is a taste of a hard core drug when you think about it carefully

                              The trick is, Squad leader is only going to be found on something like eBay for the most part. But if you ask around, you might be able to locate it here or over at Gamesquad. Just be prepared to have an avalache of people telling you that you don't want Squad Leader you want the 'better' ASL.

                              I've been playing Squad Leader and ASL since the 80s, and I know what I am talking about And the game became famous from Squad Leader, not it's ASL derivative 7 pages of light reading and you are in playing the game.

                              It's a shame you gave up on Steel Panthers though, it's actually worth a second try. But even though I am a die hard fan, I can say in honesty, the AI is not too bright in it. The Mega Campaigns (sold by Matrix Games) for the SPWaW version are about the only way to play great Steel Panthers.

                              The Squad Battles design sold by HPS are worth your time.
                              http://www.hpssims.com/
                              The games are more infantrycentric and not as intensely tankcentric like Steel Panthers is. And they have many more time periods to pick from.
                              They are as easy to play solo as anything else.

                              Panther Games
                              http://www.panthergames.com/
                              Their first main title is Market Garden based called Highway to the Reich. Was followed by Conquest of the Aagean. And they are working on a title for the Battle of the Bulge (due soon).
                              What makes their games good, is the command and control is realistic.
                              Normally in RTS games you can re direct units each and every turn at no penalty. You can't do that here. You have to make wise choices knowing that once the men get them, undoing your commands, like in real life, won't be so rapid. Graphically the games are nice and easy to work with too.
                              There are no games that get higher AI remarks from me than Panther Games.

                              My last best item for you to consider is Lock n Load.
                              http://www.locknloadgame.com/
                              It's new product (so no ebay stupidity)
                              It's considered as good as Squad Leader in many ways.
                              It's likely just as solo playable as Squad Leader too.
                              And the graphics are very nice on the eyes.
                              Life is change. Built models for decades.
                              Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
                              I didn't for a long time either.

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