In an earlier post, a commentor asked why people continue to play ASL when there are computer iterations of it like Combat Mission. It seems to me that there are a number of factors that I think speak to ASL's continuing popularity in the face of computer gaming.The simplest is just the texture of technology. Some people would much rather take out a paper or cardboard map, sort out the pieces, look over the scenario card, set up their troops, drop their dice down the tower or into the cup, and feel the experience of playing a game instead of staring at a computer screen for yet more hours. (I know that, with all the wonderful dice I've scored from the good folks at Battleschool, I want nothing more than to find opportunities to try them all out in different, nationality-appropriate scenarios!)
|Some of Battleschool's awesome 16mm dice|
And that brings me to my last point. The reason I don't play any of the Combat Mission games (and I bought, owned, and at one time played several of them) is simple: they *aren't* ASL. They may have started out as ASL, or with someone saying "I'd like to take ASL and port it to the PC," but playing them is nothing like playing ASL. They're a different game. I own lots of different games; I play as many as I can. But I already *have* ASL. Why would I want another, if I don't feel it gives me a better game? (This, for the record, is why I don't own or play GMT's Combat Commander. I bought it, tried it, and found it far less interesting, appealing, or fun than ASL.)
And frankly, when I played Combat Mission, I didn't enjoy it. The AI was far too tough; I'm sure that just means I'm a dunce, but when you play the same scenario over and over, trying to find a variation in tactics that will result in anything but a total slaughter, and just get cut to pieces every time...no fun, no insight, no entertainment or learning process, just a slap in the face... well, that game has failed, in my book.