Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I MUST be crazy...

Well, one of the interesting side effects of participating in a mostly fan-based community such as the ASL community is that there are, by nature, more opportunities to contribute.  People playtest new scenarios, edit articles and rules submissions, work on layout, write code, and so on.  The game owes almost as much to these volunteers as to the big funders like Mr. Schilling.

For a while now, I have been pondering how I could include myself in this effort.  I used to playtest for MMP and was even credited in AP5 and possibly AP6 (not sure).  I attended tournaments and helped when I could.  Here in Texas, though, as I have said, there's really nothing and no one close.  Out of necessity, to play, I have turned to PBEM.  And now we come to the crux of the issue.

There was, at one point, a tournament run by Chris van Wyk from South Africa where the default format was PBEM.  It was a tournament for "the rest of us".  Quite suddenly, however, he dropped off the map.  I have tried contacting him to no avail.  This absence leaves a hole for those that want the competitiveness of tournament play, but can't afford to get to a tournament or can't make their schedules fit.  Enter naive me.

I am going to try to resurrect this tournament as my way of giving something back to a community that has provided me with hours of enjoyment and many wonderful friends.  My primary PBEM opponent, Spencer Armstrong has even agreed to help.  We're still in the beginning steps of the process.   Look for more information on GameSquad and here in the coming weeks.

For those of you who PBEM, we welcome you.  This tournament is for you.  Roll low, and have fun.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

ASL by baby steps

Time for a new post.

So here in Lubbock, TX, as I have posted before, there are no ready opponents.  Attempts to interest other members of the community have struck a thick wall almost exactly the size of the ASL rulebook.  No one wants a challenge anymore.  No one wants complexity.  Don't get me wrong.  There's a place for games like Catan, and Pandemic (which I LOVE) and Munchkin and others.  My gaming "bride", my "old woman" if you will, the one I'll always come home to at night, will ALWAYS be ASL, though.

With that in mind, I have embarked on a "new" method of play since all previous attempts at setting aside amounts of time required to play VASL or finding a F2F opponent have failed.  In fact, saying that they have failed miserably is actually insulting to those that fail miserably.  There's no word in the English language for the amount of suck those efforts have attracted...

So I have begun to play via email using VASL logfiles.  I come to this method desperate for my fix.  The monkey has grafted itself on to my poor back and I am helpless against its power.  It has been my hope to find an answer.  I am not and have not been disappointed.

I have been able to average almost a log a day.  It takes between 10 and 20 minutes to put one together.  I can do this after I put the kids to bed and before I get incredibly tired.  All told, I am pushing 4-6 logs out a week right now.  Play is in chunks I can wrap my head around.  I have time to investigate rules as I need them.  I can think about tactics and strategy.  Most importantly, however, is the fact that I am PLAYING again.

I've even posted for a second opponent over at the GS forums.  I should easily be able to keep up two games and in doing so, will get a wider view of playing style.  Something else to sharpen the pencil...

On top of that, the opponent I have is one that is worth knowing as a friend outside of ASL.  Not that I am particularly surprised.  Most of my best friends have come from some form of gaming, whether RPG's as a young adult and college student, to ASL in my adult life.  I love hanging around people that game.  There is an almost inherent acceptance in us, for we are almost always outcasts.  We know what it is to be misunderstood - we play a game with a manual that rivals most computer language technical specifications in complexity for pity's sake.  Who DOES that?!?  But we look at it and don't even flinch.  That's a special breed and the people that do that are often the most generous around.  Hopefully, the second one turns out just as well as the first.

In short, the monkey has his banana, and all is right with the world...