Opinions on 'skulking' or 'going to ground'

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marchanna
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Re: Opinions on 'skulking' or 'going to ground'

Post by marchanna »


It's useless complaining about skulking in ASL and equally useless detesting it as some kind of cheesy play. Good players are going to do it to win games and I've seen arguments which bolster that it realistically represents defenders keeping their heads well down and out of sight, limiting exposure. Who is to say there are not back rooms in a given building hex or wooded areas in the rear of forest hexes that wouldn't be immune to some kind of fire? These hexes don't fully represent the terrain here, and there is no need to pretend they do by whining about skulking.

The way to handle skulking is to get a bead on the hex(es) the defenders are skulking to, so they can be shot at in the defensive fire phase instead of the PFPh. It's always better to take on the enemy in defensive fire anyway, because there is no sacrifice of maneuver options, which does happen when a player preps or op fires.

Doing that requires a basic ASL tactic, called flanking and move/fire. Nobody wins this game blasting away in prep fire. Mark Nixon once pointed out 'if they are shootin at ya, at least they are not runnin at ya.' And that sums it up. If a player is prep firing -- and sometimes it's necessary - they better be doing it to free up other units to move more safely. But getting into that discussion is a digression from skulking.

How can we possibly fix ASL to prevent people from moving out of LOS to avoid getting shot?? Is this not a valid tactic, are you guys who hate skulking trying to say that units shouldn't be allowed to move out of LOS, in case it happens to be skulking!? What if they are doing it to reposition themselves after the advance phase in a better spot? Is that skulking then?

My suggestion is don't complain about how the game works unless you are going to offer a meaningful proposal in how to fix it. I'd love to see how a fix on skulking isn't going to make matters 10x worse! cheers Marc
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Prester John
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Re: Opinions on 'skulking' or 'going to ground'

Post by Prester John »


I remember when I first encountered this in about my tenth ASL game (a huge approximation) so long ago. I said to myself I need to remember this and apply it frequently. To me it seemed to define the difficulties the Germans had trying to defeat the Soviets in close urban combat. Also in my mind games back then were about ten turns long and were a day's play, 9-5ish. Now I'm playing starter kit to get back into things and they are what I feel are smaller short games, five or six turns playing out in three or so hours on VASL, or faster. Same-ish rules but a game played in a full evening rather than a day. Anyhow lots of memories but not bad. Short games require a higher tempo, and the rules must be considered in scenario design and testing.
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nekengren
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Re: Opinions on 'skulking' or 'going to ground'

Post by nekengren »


Esquire wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:36 am I am the contrarian here. I skulk, every time.
Agreed. Skulking is just part of the game. Any ASL tournament everybody uses it.

If your enemy is going to blast you with their kill stack.................skulk out of LOS.................skulk back concealed.
He either fires (if you are firing you aren't winning) or he moves.
no brainer.
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Kopfdorfer
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Re: Opinions on 'skulking' or 'going to ground'

Post by Kopfdorfer »


I realize this is an old thread , but I'd like to take a whack at my thoughts on skulking.
I don't believe skulking is a realistic modelling of actions in combat , and as someone said well in an earlier response
it is a leveraging of the rules.
If you and your mates like it then go for it. I won't play you more than once.
I look at game rules ( at least in a game as complex and modelling complex actions as ASL) and ask my self what is the spirit of the
rules ; what are they trying to model. I think skulking got through because it is not what the rules model , but rather what they don't.
I am not a soldier , thank goodness for me and my country , and don't pretend to be , but in my mind skulking makes no realistic tactical sense ,
and is not what a soldier would do. Remember that the Phased Turn system of ASL breaks instances of combat into artificial segments
in order to allow the rules to model combat which in reality is a lot of shit going down at the same time. The phased nature of the
game is an artificial separation of the moment into "phases" , an unreal concession in order to manage the complexity of those instants.
The game turn is said to approximate 2 minutes , so one player's phase would represent about one minute.
Lets say you and your squad were in a building taking heavy fire from the enemy - enough that you had to get out of there.
You didn't just bolt from cover because you weren't sure of the enemy's positions around you , so you sneak out on your bellies.
I think it is ridiculous to imagine turning right back around and crawling right back in there where your 2nd Louie just bought it and Jimmy
took one in the leg ; especially if you put the ASL time stamp on it and all this is happening in 15-30 seconds of realtime.
I am not a guy who believes with criticism without constructive offering. My mates and I implemented a simple anti-skulking rule which states
simply that no unit may advance out of a hex/location in their movement phase and then advance back into their hex of origin UNLESS they are fired upon in the hex they assault moved into. It worked quite well , and was simple enough to be easy to remember for those who played with us who didn't know the House Anti-Skulking Rule.
Another simple rule change (that I came up with while thinking about this this week - no I'm not quite dead yet ) that might help this out is simply not to pick up residual fire counters until the last action of a given player phase , so that skulkers might find themselves subject to a residual fire attack as they Advance back into the hex they left seconds before.
It might not stop them , but it might have them think about it.
I just finished watching Neal's video segment on the colour coding of the action markers ( been playing this game a long time and never
noticed that - doh ) and I realize that this screws up the green residual fire counters. Oh well.
And to the fellow who said the rules will never be changed , what the hell is errata for then ?
And who doesn't have a bunch of old Original Squad Leader Boxes on a shelf somewhere ?

Anyhow , I am old and cranky and I don't like rules that are carefully followed beyond the spirit in which they were written , or in this case , unwritten.

Any thoughts on my walk , or anyone else have workable anti-skulking legislation.
We're all just spitballing because we love ASL after all.

Kopfdorfer
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ejm1333
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Re: Opinions on 'skulking' or 'going to ground'

Post by ejm1333 »


Skulking is for tossers, it’s not realistic in any sense. GtG is. Fire -cover-fire, not fire -move -fire. We all know that’s BS 😉
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Prester John
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Re: Opinions on 'skulking' or 'going to ground'

Post by Prester John »


Any efforts to treat ASL as a realistic simulation for the players is a complete waste of time. Once you are over that hump then ASL becomes a lot more fun, and sometimes downright hilarious. If you want to go on and on about realism, then put on a uniform and boots and a body harness with laser sensors on it and grab a rifle fitted for blank firing and laser designation. I'm not going to tell you to man up and enlist, that would be counterproductive. But the only way you are going to get small unit realism in war is by doing it, like some of us have done. And don't forget the pyrotechnics to deafen you and burn your lungs with smoke and disorient you. And veterans of the "old wars" from last century will tell you a simulation just won't happen with a board game on this scale. So step one - give up on the "simulation" and "realism" things. It's just not happening on a board game no matter the rules. If you really want simulation move up to operational level with a game that uses orders.

ASL is just a rewrite of Squad Leader which is a board game implementation of what was going to be a WW2 miniatures game, the rules of which are influenced significantly by John Hill's previously designed award winning (lots of fun in their time) ACW miniatures rules. This is the true spirit living in the ASL rules, so remember that when complaining about realism in ASL.

Perhaps the one mistake in the ASL redo was to allow the advance phase move for all infantry and not just those infantry units "advancing to contact", a term which miniatures players will recognize. More than a few ASL players will appreciate the flow in miniatures battles where the charge occurs, counter-fire is received, then the survivors may complete the charge and advance into contact where the resulting close combat is resolved.

If you want to house-rule something, don't go crying about "realism" and skulking, just simply allow Advance Phase movement only for entering CC. Then you can honour the true spirit of John Hill's ideas.
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ray
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Re: Opinions on 'skulking' or 'going to ground'

Post by ray »


glad to see someone mention the Germans on the eastern front withdraw out from under any imminent barrage and then move back in to waste the Soviet ground assault. I believe the army hired SPI to come up with an infantry simulation for training troops. I think it turned out to be their game Patrol. if ur not playing ASL tactically no wonder ur stomping the board with kill stacks. must still be a ZOCer. anyway no matter the time frame of the game sequences it's a way to unpack what u might do if it was u facing the circumstances. so instead of living to fight another day it's live to fight another turn.
RAy.
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