I have written a bit about keeping things to their most simplist form for learning ASL. (Refer Ideas On How To Get Better at ASL Faster ).

The detail that ASL offers in gameplay is both a blessing and a curse. For fun, its a blessing. For learning … well its a curse.

So I thought I would distill this personal reductionist learning philosophy even further.

These are some of my principles, you may want to build or adapt your own for your own learning experience.

Infantry only

For a while anyway. Its the basis of 80% of the game. There is enough time for the rest later. No parachuting donkeys battling flamethrower tanks in sewers quite yet.

Not This …

But This …

ETO only

Stop my natural desires to do it all. No Dust Storm’s for me. Stay out of cactus patches. Just be good at the basics.

Not This …

But This …

Russians vs Germans only

No multiple colours to worry about. No unique national charactistics of Lithuanian Sheep Throwers. Keep it simple as much as possible. Besides I love commissars.

Not This …

But This …

Only look to the board not to the rules

It’s a game, not a litigation. Although the rules are crucial to understand the game excessive use can get in the way of fun gameplay. Focus on learning that gets you into the game, not the rulebook. Always referring to a couple of charts? Then know the charts and stop referring. It will speed up play and enjoyment.

Not This …

But This …

Use game aids that only remove complexity

Some game aids seem to stack complexities upon complexities. I don’t enjoy reading the tax codes, so … I will use game aids that remove complexity and don’t increase it. I don’t need to know what the panji stake die roll modifiers are! Cut out the noise.

Not This …

But This …

Only use pictures where possible to make it memorable

Try where ever possible to use pictures to describe what you are trying to learn. If your brain has to transfer from text to a picture in your head, it struggles. Our brains are built for pattern recognition with pictures. Use that to your advantage.

Not This …

But This …

Only start with the rule, don’t dwell on the exceptions

The brain remembers in positive not negatives. If I spend all my time cramming my brain with the individual instances of how that can’t apply, I am less likely to try it. “[EXCEPTION: Using this on the 4th Tuesday between the hours of 8-9pm will cause A42.813c to come into effect unless pinned or ADJACENT to a good order MMC wearing no underwear and juggling 3 small frogs]“. That will change as I build up my skill. I can deal with the what if’s then. The aim is to experience what can be done.

Not This …

But This …

Only practice actions you need

Break down the skills you wish to acquire to the lowest possible levels required. Then do drills (not games) of the actions to be learned, don’t wait for them to come up in a game. Create impossible situations.

Want to learn how to handle demo charges? Don’t play a scenario with a single demo charge in it! Create your own random scenario where everyone seems to be equiped with demo charges. Dumb it down and multiply the likelihood of your practice action happening.

Not This …

But This …

Play at high speed only to learn

Speed up the experience of play. Play some of your games at break neck speed. Don’t focus on what is perfect, optimal or even considered. Just trust your gut and go with it. Increase the amount of gameplay time by whatever way possible. For repetition also breeds familiarity. Conversely …

Play at slow speed only to learn

Slowdown the experience of play, by playing by email (PBEM). PBEM allows you to decrease play speed and allow for more considered gameplay that you can’t do when playing live. It’s useful for walking through some of the rules and mechanics to internalise them better. But don’t get hooked into a play style of paralysis by analysis. Use it wisely.

Only play against your worst opponent

Play against yourself. Although solo games won’t allow you to focus properly on tactics, it will help initially to internalise some of the game mechanics and rules.

It also allows you to experiment with certain rules that you may not be willing to pull out in play against a real opponent. A normally risky search move in movement phase now becomes no real risk (well to you reputation anyway) as you can have a crack at it and see what happens when it does come up against that concealed unit.

Now be careful that you don’t internalise the rules incorrectly. This is the advantage of the other player. They will call you on any mistakes you are making.

But they are a useful start. Just play them fast and with abandon.

Only play against opponents who are better than you

Get your ass kicked. Nothing deeply embeds the rules like the trauma of having some rule pulled out of the book on you that costs you dearly.

Only play against opponents who are worse than you

Kick some ass. Nothing deeply embeds the rules of the game like the fun of dealing out a punishment on someone else. 🙂

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