Sunday, June 21, 2015

Some Thoughts on Cardboard via SKYPE

As I prepare for the Texas Team Tournament, I thought I would blog a bit about my preferred means of playing ASL these days. Of course that means the Cardboard via SKYPE method.

Now I didn't fall into playing by that method over night. It was a long journey that led me to eventually try it and find that it suited me.

The impetus for trying it out was the result of a 13 year drought...where my ASL collection languished in storage as I left my circle of ASL friends in St. Louis and proceeded to live and work in Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee and today Oklahoma. During that long hiatus, my children grew up and in 2010, I finally struck on the idea of trying a game via SKYPE. 

After much St. Louis buds finally warmed up to the idea and our first game "The Guards Counter-Attack" was played.

Of course after being idle for 13 years, it took us some time to shake off the rust. We used the Starter Kits to get us back up and running. 

 In the early years of playing via SKYPE, we aimed our cameras at our boards. As we had been playing SL and ASL since 1978, we never considered the need to see each each others Dice Rolls.  Naturally, aiming the camera at the board was also limiting in that you couldn't play large scenarios and have a camera that could capture all of the boards.

Today, I aim my camera directly at my dice cup and my opponents do the same.

 Now, once we discovered we could play ASL via SKYPE, it wasn't long before we also added Advanced D&D to our gaming list and for many Friday evenings, we returned to our D&D Campaign that has been ongoing since 1984.

 But as much fun as D&D can wasn't as 2011 rolled around, we focused solely on ASL and managed to get in a great deal of play time. In general, the average scenario takes 2-4 sessions depending on the speed of play. Some opponents are very swift in their game play and others can be a bit slower, which can affect the game whether you are FfF or playing FfF via SKYPE. Personally, I enjoy the faster pace of play

 By 2012, we had pretty well mastered playing ASL via SKYPE and were averaging about 12 games or so a year.

 But as with all things, life and work curtailed some of our gaming in 2013. My primary St. Louis opponent was forced to cancel more sessions than we played. 

 So in the summer of 2013...I stretched my wings a bit and journeyed to the Texas Team Tournament for my first tournament. It was a huge eye-opening experience as I learned how much of the game I didn't play correctly and how much I needed to relearn.

But the experience left me recharged and excited about taking my ASL to the next level. This meant finding new opponents who enjoyed playing the Cardboard via SKYPE method. 

Games Squad Forum helped with that search and from 2013 to the present, I have been fortunate to play with new opponents via this method. These players, most notably Big Kansas have also amped up my game and helped me become a better player.

And in 2014,  I got to experience the penultimate ASL game played over Cardboard via SKYPE. The Pegasus Bridge HASL played against my opponent, Big Kansas, was a huge gaming milestone and truly one of the most enjoyable games of ASL I have ever played.

I would not have thought it possible to play such a large and detailed game over so many months by the Cardboard via SKYPE method. But it was not only possible, but an absolute blast. And in 2015, Big Kansas and I took on the Purple Heart Draw Campaign Game with equal success.

 So these are my rambling thoughts this evening about my Cardboard via SKYPE journey. It has and continues to be a great one. This method has satisfied my need to play with the boards and counters and to play face to face with my opponent. 

So my hope with this long-winded post is to plant the seed in more potential opponents that this method is a great way to play and experience ASL. 

And with any luck, maybe I can convince the ASL Southwest Outpost to set up a SKYPE session during one of their future game days and let me join them for an afternoon.

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