Monday, March 30, 2015

Platoon Leader going out of print and switching to PDF format

Just a quick announcement: There are now only 4 copies each of Platoon Leader and Cold Combat and 3 copies of Red Devils left.  After these sell out, there will be no more hard copies for sale as all sales will switch to pdf format (in the near future).  All related EBAY sales will cease at 2:20 am this morning.  Thereafter, all sales will be relegated to the official website.



Monday, March 23, 2015


ASL ala Inglorious Basterds.


H&S News Update: 3-23-15:
The future of Platoon Leader-
We have good news and bad news. First, the bad. Platoon Leader will be going out of print, at least in its current form. There are five copies each remaining of the base game and both expansions. After those are sold, there will be no more. Our personal goal of reaching triple digits in units sold will be realized with a dozen more sales. This decision has been arrived at primarily do to printing costs. In an effort to keep these things affordable, we have refused to arbitrarily jack the prices up and as a result, have broken even which is good, but not good enough to continue indefinitely in this manner.
Now the good news, Platoon Leader isn't going anywhere. Our intention is to make this game system available via pdf format. What this does is eliminate printing costs, ensures continued availability, and will also guarantee even lower prices. Our dedication and support when it comes to this game system will not decline.
Now then, what's going on at H&S GAMES development wise? Well we have a number of designs on the drawing board. The Vietnam expansion is still intended but it is the D-Day expansion that is a bit more further along. This will also be the first product to debut as a pre-order. Ideas of a Che Guevera driven scenario pack have also been kicked around. This would include among other things the famous battle of Santa Clara in which an armored train was taken out and being outnumbered 10 to 1, column 18 emerged triumphant.
For now, you can still find Platoon Leader products on EBAY, but these will terminate on Tuesday, March 31 or sooner, pending selling out beforehand.
So there is your long winded update and to all you Platoon Leader's out there, keep gaming!

Monday, March 9, 2015

ATS Vs. ASL with Platoon Leader as Spectator...

Ok so i'm not going to actually cover the bout that would occur with these two in the ring, rather, i'm going to spout a "tail of the tape" in regards to ATS or Advanced Tobruk System as its formally known.

Being partial to ASL, i've occasionally ventured off the beaten path and tried other things.  In fact, i've come up with my own "thing" but to be honest, i've never found anything quite comparable to ASL, though i still look.

 For years i've been aware of ATS and scoffed at it but i've found  that as one gets older, he learns to appreciate that which he would at one time never have given the time of day.  If i might throw in a bad analogy, it isnt until later that you realize, your not in fact too cool to listen to the Beatles or Elvis and that a ton of that stuff is in all actuality pretty damn good music.

The original Advanced Tobruk was a game in and of itself from back in the day that dealt with tactical desert battles and it has since matured quite a bit.

So a few weeks ago i finally pulled the trigger on the ATS rulebook/2014 edition.  The amount of rules and charts are minimal and perhaps one selling point of this particular addition is that its offered in color and hole punched so you can pop it in a 3 ring binder.  So the overall rules length compared to ASL is like comparing Sports illustrated to encyclopedia Britannica but this is neither good nor bad.  This is also interesting when you consider that about 1/3 of the ASL rules deal with infantry, another third with guns and another third with armor.  ATS condenses all of this within the scope of 80 pages or easily less than a third of ASL.

Perhaps the similarities between ASL and ATS are greater than its differences but differences nonetheless are the focal point here.

The first idiosyncrasy of ATS is its impulse system.  Here is a simplistic mechanic of you-go-i-go that though may often be derided by new school wargamers, easily makes a strong case for itself within this system.

Perhaps the most outstanding difference is the CRT.  A quick glance yields a ton of Cx results.  Within ATS you have a system that works as such: Personnel units have a number of steps.  Each time a unit absorbs a c1 combat result in casualties, it takes one step loss.  As squads have four steps, for the first step loss, place a casualties marker on the counter.  The second step loss simply flips the counter over (no marker added) and the third step loss has you place another casualties marker on the counter.  For the fourth and final step loss you simply remove the counter from play.  Now, i applaud this system if for no other reason than i know first had it works as i use a similar system in Platoon Leader.  It may be interesting to note, that i had no prior knowledge of ATS and its step loss system prior to developing Platoon Leader.  The step loss mechanic was something that simply grew out of developing the Platoon Leader system.   Within ATS, the placement of a casualty marker effects are as such: a counter's gunfire factors and morale level is reduced by one.

Collateral fire, which seems like ATS' version of ASL's residual fire power is in here and so i'll skip over this.
Similarly, grazing fire, which also seems like ASL's fire lane is in here as well but i'll keep moving right along.

ROF:  Rather than needing to roll under a certain number to maintain rof as in ASL, rof is automatic within ATS.  Ex. ROF 2 means the gun fires twice, end of story.  Now there is an optional rule that allows for random rate of fire and perhaps this was added to appease ASL habits (as was gun jamming)?

Spotting: another interesting concept that was born via the original game is spotting.  Simply put, spotting helps determine what a unit can actually see and thus fire at.  It is suggested within the rules that spotting is an option but seems a worthy one, though others may find it fiddly.  A spotting range table helps iron out the mechanic and thus yields the hex distance between which one unit may see another.  Chalk one point for Fog of War on the board here.

Speaking of optional rules, there is a small mine of gems here including camouflage smocks, a truncated command control system etc.

So this is just a few of the things that make ATS ATS.  I've left a ton of stuff out and haven't found a stick to touch the armor stuff with yet but this should give some form to those of you whose image of ATS was heretofore formless.

So is ATS for you?  That's for you to decide.  What about ASL?  Same answer.  That said,
i'll leave you with another bad analogy; would you rather peer into the proverbial rabbit hole, or go in and see just how deep the rabbit hole can get?  My guess is at some point, your gonna wanna do the latter.

I have looked and looked and couldn't find a thing regarding routing within the ATS rules.  Herein lies an additional, fundamental difference and one that could cause many a barroom brawl.  To route or not to route?  That is the question.  I've always been a pro-router but never really considered it in depth.  Would a unit really, always route? Why wouldn't a unit "freeze"?  The old, "i'm not going anywhere" routine seems valid at least once in a while.  Or is it just me?