In the mid 70's I stumbled into the local hobby shop and a game called Richthofen's war caught my eye. Back then AH was the Cadillac of cardboard war games. As we played one we'd save a few bucs and purchase another off the shelf. Tactics II, AK, PB. But, one day by luck I bought a new game called Squad Leader. The box said it does for infantry what Panzer Blitz did for armor. I was hooked. Thankfully back then us kids (so long ago) didn't sit in front of video games, so FTF players were quite abundant. Since the late 70's SL/ASL was the standard of all games we played. Fast forward 30 years, I have that same problem most of us have. "Too many games. Too little time" For a good while there were a few of us in the Pittsburgh area that ASLed it often. However as with anything it gets old after a long time of solely playing it, and new titles were far and few between. About 2003 I dabbled into the ATS series of games. Though ATS had a better impulse movement system and a much superior armor Vs. armor system, it was never less just a semi lite ASL. Being a fan of PB/PL way back I gave PG a Look about that same time (2003ish) Production errors and rules nightmares seemed to have plagued this series. I always liked the naval games from AP so I figured that PG would be worth a shot. I picked up my first PG title "Desert Rats" in a bundle deal when purchasing a naval game from AP. At first look it had all the candy of a winner. Great counter art, tons of scenarios, and even Italian colonials. However the rules at that time was a killer to me. When AP released the 3rd ed. rules, I gave it another look. Though not perfect by any means the 3rd ed. rules cleaned up all the "Killer issues" I had. Since then I started filling the PG series in on my book shelf.
Now to compare ASL to PG is as comparing apples to basket-balls. Both are similar as in you must break up the opponents force via morale rather than out-right killing. Both function as games where leaders play a key role. Both are set during WWII. That's where the similarities end.
The scales are vastly different. An ASL scenario would be played in an area of maybe 5 PG hexes and in a time frame of one or two PG turns. In ASL firepower and maneuvering to effectively break the morale of the enemy force is one of the prime tactics of ASL. In PG the prime tactics are more of maneuvering over a large area while being countered by your opponent. Combat is very much slow paced as are results in shoot outs, as they should be at that scale. The key tactics in PG revolve around maneuvering while countering your enemy, deciding where to overwhelm any weakness or objective, and using bombardment to soften up objectives via demoralizing enemies. Then the key choice of PG. Where and when to I close for assault?. Timing is nine tenths of success in PG. Though scenario balance is not near as good as ASL, no scenario plays the same twice. There are more random elements to PG than ASL. Be it random events or your leader force pool.
For what it's worth I really do enjoy PG. Is it as perfect as ASL? No. Has it improved over its run? Yes. Remember ASL has been a work of art for 30 years. PG only has 8 under it's belt.
More random as what leaders you have.
Lower complexity results in more playability.
Company support for new titles 2 boxed a year plus many supplements.
Fast play using initiative and leader activations (always something to do).
Refined system with years of production.
Complete and comprehensive rules.
Detailed combat, leadership, and morale system.
Ability to play any situation anywhere during WWII.
Infant system with some rules contradictions.
Not best suited for urban warfare.
Map art not clearly hex identified. (But, improving)
Rules rules rules. There's a rule for everything. Game at times bogs down as you thumb pages of rules.
It's done it all. Though I look forward to new titles.
Ugo Igo. Non impulse movement.
In conclusion, it's hardly fair to compare both titles. ASL is a vastly superior game as far as neatness of the system (30 years at it). But, is it superior in playability and fun? I'll leave that to Yuinz (Pittsburghese for "You all") to decide. I myself would give PG the edge in funness, when you want to push cardboard around, and play out a large engagement in one afternoon. By no means have I shelved ASL completely. Every once and a while it's good to FTF it still.
Blaze, good post.
I love ASL and play it weekly if not a few times a week. My one problem is that large fights take a very long time to complete. I also get frustrated by the HASL rules convoluted on top of the core and earlier HASL/CG rules. But that can be overcome.
Because of my inability to get large ASL "battle" completed I stick to the small to medium "firefight" type scenarios where I think ASL really shines if the scenario is designed well. So I searched for on the tactical game on the "PB" scale to be able to fight fuller, "brigade level" actions. I had a love/hate relation with PG at first and shelved it a few times because of poorly written rules, poor scenario design and I couldn't really wrap my head arounfd the impulse system. But i kept giving it a try and have come back to it and it is now my "platoon level" game system of choice. but i still don't seem to have enough time to "get into it."
I would not agree to calling ASL's igo/ugo system a con. It is just different than impulse (albeit more of the standard). The one thing i thinnk ASL did successfully is make a very interactive igo/ugo system work that keeps both players engaged.
Impulse move/fire systems are not really anymore than micro igo/ugo anyhow in my mind so I'm not sure they "solve" anything. However, PG seems to make it work well in that one has to plan out activation/move/fire sequences and be ready to react to the enemy's actions as well and this makes for neat gameplay. But it did take me awhile to grasp that.
The Sherman: The best tank of World War II.
But I agree that none of the straight impulse-move systems I've seen really seemed to solve the problem. I keep trying to imagine a system that uses impulses but still preserves ASL's MPh/DFPh interactivity.
There's actually a game which sort of does what I'm thinking of, which is Conflict of Heroes. I've only played it once so far, but I think the way it worked is:
- Units are activated in impulses of one unit, or one command unit and those it can command. Each unit can be activated once per turn.
- Each activated unit gets 7 Action Points. You spend them to move (1 for clear, more for difficult terrain), to shoot (different costs for different units, allowing some to shoot multiple times per turn), and for special actions.
- You also get some command-level APs, which can be used to interrupt an enemy's action or to supplement a friendly action.
- A unit that has not been activated can also interrupt, but that counts as its full activation for the turn... and because it's only spending one action instead of 7 APs, that's usually an inefficient way to use your units.
The basic idea seemed to have a lot of potential, but playing the 1941 Russians, it didn't feel real at all compared to ASL's MPh/DFPh mechanics. Because the Russians got very few command APs, most of the time if one of their units was outnumbered 2 to 1, it was simply screwed. It could use its entire activation to shoot at one enemy, but the other would just waltz up adjacent to it and blow it away.
But again, that was with one playing, so there may be plenty of tricks we didn't catch on to.
Last edited by jwb3; 11 Sep 08 at 16:59. Reason: adding skulk example
I think the Ugo/Igo in ASL is a con myself. Not to take away from one of my favorite game systems of all time. It's just after playing it for so long you get into all the gaminess of Ugo/Igo. I always called it Rubik's Cube tactics. Move death stacks up, fire, kill, and advance away. Not that that's a bad thing, it's just stale to me. John, ATS has impulse movement. But, ATS isn't bend and break the opponent. It's kill kill kill. Not a bad thing, but not mu cup of tea. So ASL is still the best of the squad level games out there. PG has my vote for the best of the platoon levels. Though the Gamers have had a few neat titles at the level as well.
Impulse movement for PG may be misleading. It's rather more or less, "Activation" movement. Careful planning and set up makes it so you could actually activate all you have, through leadership subordination.
What is going to be interesting to see is the new WWII platoon level game by Lock n Load based on the WaW: EG system. I've playe Waw:Eg and the system is very interesting, no combat charts it used a die roll hit and armor saving roll concept. Plays real fast.
The Sherman: The best tank of World War II.
And this concept is neat in that you have to take the time to get units into postion and organized for the attack. This is just like the reality concept of moving into an attack position and doing the last minute things to get ready to launch the attack. Then there is the enemy trying to muck this all up.Careful planning and set up makes it so you could actually activate all you have, through leadership subordination.
The Sherman: The best tank of World War II.
"Then there is the enemy trying to muck this all up"
Yeah. My son and his ungodly lucky rolls with OBA.
>I do think ASL's form of igo/ugo is a con.
Not me. I think it's a huge plus. I love the system, especially the Defensive Fire principles. You can't leave the table in ASL, because there's too much going on.
PG fills a void for me, because it allows for bigger battles. I just don't have time for HASL CGs any more. PG is not perfect, but there is a lot there that is enjoyable and there are enough modules to keep the 'must have variety' part of me happy.
Now we just need another PTO module or two.
Last edited by RobZagnut; 18 Sep 08 at 16:35.