Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Got my first game of Vassal in yesterday, tested out my tourney SW list.  Had a good time with this dude from Denver and his virtual Tau.  It was a close game up until the end, but some lucky breaks got me a W.  I didn't take any pics cuz it was my first try and also at 5am, but next time I'll save some.

I don't think Vassal is equivalent to normal 40k.  There are a lot of things you do IRL that aren't possible or feasible in Vassal.  The obvious one is movement, as it's tricky to get the full range of motion and your full distance.  LoS is another big one, you really have to discuss things with your opponent beforehand to avoid any problems down the road.  Never assume anything, always talk it over.  We never had a problem, but I can see how that could break down real quick.  It's also possible to get models in weird places like overlapping or fitting in places they wouldn't normally.  Judging distances is also tricky, at least it was for me.  I was surprised that my TWC had such reach.  Precision can be a big deal in 40k, and Vassal doesn't do it as well.

There's also the whole factor of actually physically being at the table, interacting with an IRL person, seeing actual models and terrain, and of course rolling dice.  This is what makes games fun, Vassal is just a simulation of it :/

That said, Vassal has its benefits.  I can't go play Normhammer with folks in Denver, Australia, England, or middle of bumfuck nowhere every day.  I also don't have access to every model under the sun barring proxies.  I'm also not limited by local business practices of closing obnoxiously early (10pm?  The fuck is that?  The night is young!).  I think it's a great way to test stuff out, get familiar with builds or armies, and connect with people you wouldn't normally get the chance to.

So, while I enjoyed myself and will definitely use Vassal in the future I have to say that I'd rather play Normhammer every time.  Vassal is a simulation, and substitute, and it just barely passes at that.  All the basic elements are there: models, measuring, and dice, but it lacks what makes table top gaming really fun: having people around you can actually physically see, touch, smell (maybe not) and interact with, same with models, tables and dice.

So, who wants to play?


Mobious said...

Fucking shit Chumb! If you would have posted this last week, I would have eaten a cock to get a game in. But finals are lame and consume my life, so dick licking for me.

You are right on with your article though, it is not the 40k we know and love.

Chumbalaya said...

I have the week off, so I can do whatever I want, ha!

Dethtron said...

Here are some tips for movement. use ctrl+arrow keys to rotate and move forwards or backwards 1". use shift+ up/down arrow to move 6" for/backwards with your current facing. you can select entire troops squads and as long as you have them facing the same way (which you should), moving is quick, easy, and hard to gyp yourself out of cm worth of movement.

agreed on the distance issue. I'm batting around 75% for judging charge distances on vassal versus about 98% IRL. I'm still trying to figure out how to get a reference point, but the sprites sizes are often different than the model sizes. check out the landspeeder and you'll see what i mean.

I've got a busy week as well w/ dr. girlfriend's bday tomorrow, and midterms this week, but hit me up for a game some time.

Farmpunk said...

Chambers and I tried a Vassal40K game last year, and were going to post it to the blog.

then the Cease and Desist hit V40K, so we didn't.

I fully agree with you've got to define EVERYTHING before playing. We had a Fuel tank on our board, and Chambers thought we were counting the square base as area, not the tank itself as LoS blocking, and the base as diff.

long story short, my TLLC/ML Dread immobed his Plas Cannon dread behind some LoS blocking terrain, and it was out of commission for the rest of the game. Meanwhile my GK's messed it up with his DeathWing.

if Vassal could be in 3-D it would be AWESOME.

John Laubersheimer said...

totally agree on all points. I find that sometimes you end up going to 4th edition rules to deal with area terrain - especially trees. Way to much additional abstraction in general with vassal.

4.5the edition?

MorbidlyObeseMonkey said...

I'd love to play you Chumb!

Vassal is really not bad once you get used to it, but it's not as fun as the real thing either.

I'm on Pacific time and you're in New York right? I could play you tomorrow because I'm free from 4:00 to 10:00 Pacific.

Kirby said...

Your 2nd last paragraph is spot on :P. I generally sit on vassal whilst at home if I'm working on assignments so you can hit me up for a game sometime (if I'm not busy or painting).

I also just for giggles roll my dice when I play for funsies. Mrs. Kirby will tell you I have a problem (what dice are so awesome. No one can ever have too many dice. I don't have a problem! I have blue ones. Yellow ones. Orange and black ones. Purple ones. See through purple ones [they are the devil]. White ones. A see through red one. Orange ones. Pink ones. Um okay right).

Actually, some little kid (12ish?) at my last GW visit first asked why I had so many tanks (wtf!?) and then why so many dice (I brought all 250 at the time)...

I'm going to go now.

Chumbalaya said...

Jeez, who knew this would be popular.

dethtron, I use the hotkeys and it does make taking back moves quite easy, but if you're changing direction a lot you can lose some distance. I'm gonna be online usually when I get home from work (10PM eastern) or pretty much any time I'm home bored Saturday and Tuesday.

Farmpunk, I'm definitely with you there.

Lauby, 4.5 ed it is. Area terrain and size categories are a must. Not my cup of tea though :/

MoM, I'll play you any time. I get out by around 10PM my time, so 6ish for you.

Kirbs, I don't know what you just said, but I fully support it.

HolyCause said...

Would like to try a game, perhaps sometime this weekend?

Mercer said...

I tried Vassal and I just couldn't get my head around it. Seemed way too many windows and other stuff going on.

The_King_Elessar said...

I'll play you cheesemonkeys sometime. It's a lot more difficult for me, what with being across the globe from half of you...and it'd almost be easier to fly to Mercer than play Vassal with him! :p

My captcha today is 'rearpi' - which I think is a polite way of saying 'shit'.

Chumbalaya said...

If I can drunkenly berate MoM and kirbs on a semi-regular basis, you can too.

Brother Loring said...

Man, I've just had a play with Vassal and I think I was more confused than my Nan is on the internet - she bought a PC just to play spider and use MSN.

I didn't get it at all. There were just a few boxs on the green board and I could find no options to add terrain. Am I being a total idiot or do these options only get added when you're actually having a game with somebody??

I can see this is a gonna take a long time to learn. Maybe Prof. Chumbalaya can give us all a tutorial??

Chumbalaya said...

I'm still learning the system, especially gauging distances effectively, but I'll see what I can do :/

Mercer said...

Like I said TKE, if you can get a cheap flight to East Mids airport I'll pick you up and we can go to Warhammer World for a game on mutual grounds and visit ;)

Chumbalaya said...

Oh snap, Friday Night IRL fight! You guys have football hooligans over there, invite them to the game.

The_King_Elessar said...

LOL. It WILL happen, just timing is the issue. Gatecrash the Home Nations event in Firestorm Games, Cardiff, in June (26/27) and we'll play then. lol

Brother Loring said...

@TKE - Are you going to that?

There is an extremely high possibility I'll be there !

Oooohhh funsises!

Brother Loring said...

Scrap, that. I thought it was going to be a 40k event. May well crash it anyway.

It's a great shop, and has a great owner though!

Good night out too! :p

The_King_Elessar said...

??? I was told there would be 40k :S