ASL verses ASLSK - A question

furgie

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I'm curious to know if people see ASLSK as part of the ASL "family", like HASLs and SASL for example?

Or do you see ASLSK as a separate game system?

And for those who raise concerns that ASLSK products distract MMP from the production of ASL products, do you also consider MMP producing other game systems a distraction and do you also raise concerns about that?

Thanks in advance.
 

von Marwitz

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It depends.

The original intent was surely for the 'Starter Kits' (sic!) to get people started with ASL. Learn and get familiar with the basic and most important rules first before you take the dive into Advanced Squad Leader with more detailed rules.

Slowly but surely, though, it is my impression that SK is developing into something like a parallel world and is also becoming increasingly different:

While I saw the point in first learning Infantry (SK1), then Guns (SK2), and finally Vehicles (SK3), I don't see any benefit for a SK Pacific Expansion, with 'light' versions of some ASL elements for those that want to get into ASL. 'Lite' versions of some ASL-rules might - if you intend to move on to ASL - turn into a burden rather than help, because you might have to unlearn things, and that is always a PITA.

SK1 through SK3 do get you started and are fit for the job. Everything beyond that is IMHO really only for the people who linger and who think that real ASL is too much for them.

Put more pointedly, things beyond SK1-3 do exactly the opposite of the label: They do not get you started with ASL, rather they prevent you from doing so.

I say this without judgement about ever more SK stuff beyond the SK1-3. For some, ASL is simply too much while they can enjoy the lower complexity level of SK rules. That's fine. But it is not ASL.

To those who do not want ASL, Pacific 'Lite', Desert 'Lite' or Whatever 'Lite' might make sense. Those who have drawn blood after SK1-3 should move on to ASL and never look back.

von Marwitz
 
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dlazov

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I could not agree more with von Marwitz.

Originally SK were okay for SK1, SK2, SK3 and even the expansion and maybe even Elist, but now it's just ridiculous with SK : PTO, and SK AP and SK Journals (the last two I heard on Discord).

I think the original intent of SK has been set and done, but then the cry of those that have no intention of moving on to ASL demanding more SK only content. I have been in group meetings and tournaments where a lot of the SK crowd outright refuses to move to ASL.

To me that is sad.

I weaned my son off SK1, SK2, and SK3 in about 3 months and 'forced' him into ASL. About a year later I dragged him to ASLOK and set him loose in the wilds and he did just fine (I think he went 0-9 or something, but he had a blast and learned a lot), for his first time at ASLOK he played DTO, DASL and stuff from MMP, BFP, LCP and ESG.

So I think it's the folks that only want to stay with SK and no move to ASL which is causing the divide.

In a way it kind of reminds me of the old days of 1985-1988. Back then there were die hards that screamed only SL and no way to ASL. I along with 80% of the rest of the good folks sucked it up and learned ASL and moved on.
 

lt_steiner

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Playing ASLSK4 PTO helped me a lot understanding concealment rules.
And overall, it made me want to acquire the Rising Sun module. I am waiting for a new reprint desperately.
I enjoy playing both ASL and ASLSK scenarios. The first needs intense thinking and the latter puts my brain at rest (most of the time but not always ;)).
 

von Marwitz

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I think the original intent of SK has been set and done, but then the cry of those that have no intention of moving on to ASL demanding more SK only content. I have been in group meetings and tournaments where a lot of the SK crowd outright refuses to move to ASL.

To me that is sad.
I wouldn't say that it is sad. It is just different.

Personally, I'd say SK is just like only one position when having sex. Very enjoyable, but you're missing out on something... ;) Yet there is nothing wrong if people want to limit it to that.

Overall, I think that SK were a touch of genius.

Without any doubt whatsoever it brought many people into ASL. I personally know quite a number of these and I suppose that most experienced ASLers can say the same. So SK has been a boon to ASL because every single additinal player for our beloved extreme-niche game is a bonus. I am pretty sure that SK has also been a commercial success for MMP. The Starter Kits each went OOP more than once I believe.

Maybe MMP has not forseen that success nor the desire of numerous players that want to keep it at an SK-Level of complexity. Eventually, MMP has realized it, though, and as such it now caters to the needs of players that are after 'intermediate complexity' wargames, developing SK more or less into a parallel product line beside ASL. Still, with SK1-3 the Starter Kits can fulfil the role of preparing players for ASL or of 'testing' if the basic principles are fun enough to kindle a desire for the 'real thing'.

von Marwitz
 

hayman

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SK has been a boon to ASL because every single additinal player for our beloved extreme-niche game is a bonus. I am pretty sure that SK has also been a commercial success for MMP.
MMP is a Gaming company that produces many games that aren’t ASL, this is to cater to players that enjoy different forms/scales of war gaming. Economically, the company shouldn’t have to rely on one game format to turn a profit (i.e. only produce ASL).
SKASL has breathed new life into our hobby (full ASL) by bringing in the next generation of players at an introductory level who may then ‘step up’ to ASL; players who otherwise may never have looked at ASL due to its complexity/start up cost.
In my opinion, SKASL was a necessary addendum for both MMP (economically) & the ASL hobby (for longevity), because, without the ASL-lite game, our game may have faced a fading death due to the hobby dying out with its ageing player base.
 

Robin Reeve

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Whatever one can think of the SK line deviating from being an introduction to ASL, to become a hobby in its own way, it brings money to ASL.
So new full ASL products can be developed thanks to the SK.
And I would not blame some SK players who don't want to move to full ASL too much, as I see quite a number of full ASL players strongly denigrate the SK as a learning tool and discourage newbies from purchasing the SKs.
Those guys could be doing more harm to the hobby than anyone else.
 

klasmalmstrom

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Without any doubt whatsoever it brought many people into ASL.
Agree, more (would be my guess) than ASL has "lost" to SK. I.e., I have not heard of many former-ASL players than now only play SK. Some who only play SK would not have played ASL anyway.

The SK line does compete with ASL with regards to production resources (layout, proofing, play testing, printing, packing, etc.).
 

lt_steiner

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I was wondering if the number (or the annual publishing rate) of official ASL products (from MMP) is higher or not since the availability of the first ASLSK starter kit (2005-2019) compared to the previous fifteen years (1989-2004). Assuming that published ASL material in 2004 when ASLSK#1 is first available was already scheduled and in press.
I tried a first count estimate based on the BGG list (https://boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/ASL_Modules#) with the number on the left from 2005 to 2019 and on the right from 1989 to 2004. Reedited modules are counted as well.
2005-2019 / 1989-2004
  • 6 / 6 core modules
  • 12 / 2 Action packs (the numbers are biased as it appeared only since 1997, but the annual rate of publication is now 12/14 and it was 2/3 before).
  • 4 / 8 Historical modules (8 in the previous period but only 4 published or co-published by MMP the others were from AH)
  • 7 / 5 ASL journals (annual rate is 7/13 and was 5/6, and not considering the 9 ASL Annuals from the previous period).
  • 15 / 1 Other ASL packs including WO
  • 44 / 20 total ASL products (or 29 when counting ASL Annuals)
It seems we have now more Action pack and other packs releases than before but slightly less historical modules and ASL journals (including ASL annuals). Is this somehow related to ASLSK competition for production resources? It is really hard to tell using the numbers above and putting all products as equivalent. There is no real trend here but the possible variation of the production ressources during these two periods should also be taken into account.

[Edit: I forgot to add the other packs and WO packs. They are now added. Forgot although to count Operation veritable and watchtower. It is now corrected.].
 
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lt_steiner

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I believe that in 1989-1996 (1997?) - Avalon Hill was still "in charge" so to speak.
True with probably different available resources.
So I defined 3 new periods almost equivalent in number of years to compare : 1997-2004 (before release of ASLSK) / 2005-2012 / 2013-2019.

From left (newer period) to right (older period) : 2013-2019 / 2005-2012 / 1997-2004 and only counting full ASL products (and no Operations or Spec Ops mag)
  • 4/2/2 core modules
  • 6/6/2 Action packs.
  • 2/2/4 Historical modules
  • 2/5/5 ASL journals
  • 9/6/1 Other ASL packs including WO
  • 23/21/13 Total ASL products
Using this new configuration, we can see that the total number of full ASL products released has increased since ASLSK products are out, mostly Action packs and WO packs. The publication of core modules has increased in the last period since 2013. However there are less ASL journals available and slightly less HASL.
I cannot tell from these numbers if this is somehow related to ASLSK or not. On the opposite, the numbers do not show a form of competition unless MMP publication resources have also increased during these periods (maybe Klas you know about that). In that case, we could have expected more full ASL releases. Cash is also a publication resource and I think that the ASLSK products contribute to it and help get more full ASL products.

So all of the long talk above reflects my own opinion based on assumptions and available data I could get. I do not want here to question the choices of MMP, that's for them. I am satisfied with the current situation with both full ASL and ASLSK products available.
 
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Craig Benn

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It might be an issue if MMP was the only ASL producer.

But how many magazines, historical modules and scenario packs are there from high quality 3rd party producers? Theres far more stuff than anyone can play.
 

David Reinking

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Larry's point is well-taken. Success with the ASLSK and other line of products brings revenue into MMP-- which allows them to remain a going concern and produce more products. ASLSK is here is to stay.
 

Carln0130

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The late Patrick Ireland and I were having a conversation online along very similar lines one day a few years back.

Most people here knew Patrick and the yeoman's work he did on VASL bringing players through the SK line of games. For those not familiar, Patrick was a educator by trade and once retired, he brought that with him to teaching people SK.

By his estimation, over the years, his students numbered a few thousand, which is an astonishing number. OTOH, Patrick could be found daily on VASL for years, doing this very thing.

I asked him how many of his SK students went on to ASL, how many stayed with SK and how many just threw up their hands and left.

He felt it was roughly divided into thirds. Indeed even if half had quit and 25% each did ASL and SK respectively, that is a huge benefit to the ASL community.

With as large a sample size as Patrick had, it seems likely, in rough terms, the one third each category split is accurate. I would definitely have to say SK is a huge benefit to the hobby. Certainly a great deal better than a liability, for the reasons others have stated above and for its ability to infuse new players into ASL.
 

furgie

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True with probably different available resources.
So I defined 3 new periods almost equivalent in number of years to compare : 1997-2004 (before release of ASLSK) / 2005-2012 / 2013-2019.

From left (newer period) to right (older period) : 2013-2019 / 2005-2012 / 1997-2004 and only counting full ASL products (and no Operations or Spec Ops mag)
  • 4/2/2 core modules
  • 6/6/2 Action packs.
  • 2/2/4 Historical modules
  • 2/5/5 ASL journals
  • 9/6/1 Other ASL packs including WO
  • 23/21/13 Total ASL products
Using this new configuration, we can see that the total number of full ASL products released has increased since ASLSK products are out, mostly Action packs and WO packs. The publication of core modules has increased in the last period since 2013. However there are less ASL journals available and slightly less HASL.
I cannot tell from these numbers if this is somehow related to ASLSK or not. On the opposite, the numbers do not show a form of competition unless MMP publication resources have also increased during these periods (maybe Klas you know about that). In that case, we could have expected more full ASL releases. Cash is also a publication resource and I think that the ASLSK products contribute to it and help get more full ASL products.

So all of the long talk above reflects my own opinion based on assumptions and available data I could get. I do not want here to question the choices of MMP, that's for them. I am satisfied with the current situation with both full ASL and ASLSK products available.
May I quote your figures in an article I'm writing for publication?
 

furgie

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The late Patrick Ireland and I were having a conversation online along very similar lines one day a few years back.

Most people here knew Patrick and the yeoman's work he did on VASL bringing players through the SK line of games. For those not familiar, Patrick was a educator by trade and once retired, he brought that with him to teaching people SK.

By his estimation, over the years, his students numbered a few thousand, which is an astonishing number. OTOH, Patrick could be found daily on VASL for years, doing this very thing.

I asked him how many of his SK students went on to ASL, how many stayed with SK and how many just threw up their hands and left.

He felt it was roughly divided into thirds. Indeed even if half had quit and 25% each did ASL and SK respectively, that is a huge benefit to the ASL community.

With as large a sample size as Patrick had, it seems likely, in rough terms, the one third each category split is accurate. I would definitely have to say SK is a huge benefit to the hobby. Certainly a great deal better than a liability, for the reasons others have stated above and for its ability to infuse new players into ASL.

And may I quote your figures too?
 

Carln0130

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And may I quote your figures too?
Sure. They were Patrick's of course. Given the amount of time he spent on bringing SK players into the hobby, he was certainly the best placed person I knew to have an opinion on the matter. I certainly placed great belief in them.
 
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