BPV analysis...

T34

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I have been really down lately and taking a break from playing ASL. However, I have compiled a data file which some may find interesting. I tried to develop variables about all aspects of ASL counters and then ran a factor analysis to determine the components of their value. For those not familiar with factor analysis, the idea is to allow statistics to tease out common traits within variables and distill them into common factors. Probably the most familiar use of factor analysis is the Meyers-Briggs personality survey. To be honest, I did this for Jo Bader's Second Front game, which if you haven't looked at yet is da bomb.

Because some units in ASL (SMC and SW) don't have BPV, I had to estimate these through the use of a preliminary iteration. All factors were then used to create point estimates for all counters (At least, for German, Soviet and US counters, but all infantry counters). These were then compared to the BPV (and the preliminary estimates for SMC and SW.) This gives an idea of the difference between the characteristics of the counters and the BPVs provided.

Certainly, counters have value that I did not measure (e.g. only infantry units can "occupy" buildings for victory conditions and armored vehicles can bypass freeze, etc. There may be a lot of noise in the variables I used. So I do not hold this up as "proof" of anything, rather more something that is "interesting." There is no "weight" to different variables, so keep that in mind. It's probably reasonable to argue that one point of morale is worth four points of firepower or even more of range.. I don't know. But there is no way to capture that without making arbitrary decisions, which is something I was trying to avoid.

I found some pretty significant differences between BPV and the sum of the variables of these counters. Especially with regard to elite vs. second line infantry units. Is the BPV too arbitrary? I wouldn't say that, but I do think there is room for adjustment based on this analysis. In any case, you may find this useful when you are making purchases in DYO scenarios... does anyone even DO DYO scenarios?

In any case, send all hate mails, flames and nasty comments to Tom Jazbutis, as it is really his fault.
 

Honosbinda

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Strictly speaking, the Big 5 Personality Model is the original example of factor analysis (on personality traits). MBTI tries to measure up🤓

Ask around if anyone does DYO's and wait for the looks of shame!

Great idea, though, to see how well these units are factored point-wise.
 
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Just checked out Second Front, looks good, do we finally see a decent tactical WW2 computer game on the horizon? I hope they make the graphics less cartoonish though.
 

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As an update (since I think a lot of people won't download the data file and look at it themselves)I just wanted to go over the complete package of what I found, again with the caveat that I'm not trying to prove anything and using this as exploratory factor analysis.

13696
What does this show?

Overall, this shows that BPV are not too far off from what we would predict given the counter characteristics. However, there does appear to be a significant amount of arbitrariness in them. In other words, it isn't random, but it isn't very good either. One I would particularly like to point out is the American 90L AA gun. One version is about 15% more expensive than the other, even thought their counter numbers are virtually identical. How often in a scenario, do you unlimber, move and limber a gun anyway and is it worth a 15% premium?

13697

Overall, low quality infantry is consistently undervalued and elite infantry is overvalued. Flamethrowers and FT vehicles are overvalued while heave metal (Tiger II, IS2) are consistently undervalued.

I think BPV is used in ASL, whether for DYO or by scenario designers, only slightly more than battlefield integrity, so all of this is, perhaps, a bit pointless. But, then, so is most of my life.
 

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Very interesting.

I always found the so-called precision of the DYO BPV allocations decidedly overblown. It never really rang true, these unit values, except as some kind of ball park number someone came up with. The methodology was never presented, as far as I know.

Year after year, they pump out these modules with the DYO charts with each module same old, same ol.. The thing is, they must spend a lot of time on it!!

I haven't glanced at all those carefully prepared DYO pages for years.

The reason DYO isn't any fun is the boring calculations, the horrid way SWs are figured out, the torpid way leaders' values are allocated and the fact that one usually gets stuck with common AFV choices unless there's a lucky roll on the rarity and then maybe you can get something unusual. Otherwise, no no!

Who wants to be hamstrung like this? It's DYO, remember?? You know, the DESIGN YOUR OWN part of DYO???

That's why nobody plays DYO unless they are really hardcore and old school, it's not worth the trouble to get the vanilla milkshake. Nowadays there are too many scenario choices and campaign games to make DYO worth the time and trouble to get some run of the mill scenario that, by the way, one has to figure out beforehand what the scenario VC are. Be creative, then put your force creation through this sausage machine! Gee thanks, guys!

The whole thing needs gutted, revamped and given a shiny new and fun paint job so people might look at it again.

And hey if they are tons of DYO people out there I've just dissed, my apologies, then, dang it, tell me why it's so fun to play DYO and how I've missed the boat! :)
 

Michael Dorosh

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The reason DYO isn't any fun is the boring calculations, the horrid way SWs are figured out, the torpid way leaders' values are allocated and the fact that one usually gets stuck with common AFV choices unless there's a lucky roll on the rarity and then maybe you can get something unusual.
And hey if they are tons of DYO people out there I've just dissed, my apologies, then, dang it, tell me why it's so fun to play DYO and how I've missed the boat! :)
Played this way a lot back in the day, and found it preferable to the 40 or so published scenarios we had available to us at the time. How things have changed, eh.

I think the system is quite elegant, and when paired with the Schmittgens-Kibler DYO system published in Vol 20 No. 1 of THE GENERAL, can generate some pretty fun matchups. The SW allocation charts seem very good, ditto the leadership generation numbers. Yes, a Russian force in a small company-sized game will be brittle due to the small number of leaders you get, but that's realistic. Realism and fun don't always go hand in hand.

Ditto the AFV choices. Yeah, it can be fun to play with a King Tiger or a Crocodile, but that usually devolves from the stated objectives (CVP or Control, usually) to "kill the tank."

The point purchase system can be fun, but also abused and tedious to do all that often. SASL might have some solutions.

Adding in the random reinforcements from Solitaire ASL can introduce some fun, and - your suggestion of breaking it down from the ground up could be achieved by just using the SASL company lists as the basis for any DYO. I've even played DYO while using the SASL command-control rules. Lots of things you could do with DYO - but MMP won't ever touch it because they can't sell scenario packs that way. I submitted an update of the S-K system to include all theatres and published boards at the time, there didn't seem to be any interest.

Maybe if someone were able to present a business case that suggested there was money to be made, they might take a look. An entire DYO kit in a box? Critical Hit had a similar product in the Platoon Leader which let you build Campaign Games. Did it fly?
 
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Michael Dorosh

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Just checked out Second Front, looks good, do we finally see a decent tactical WW2 computer game on the horizon? I hope they make the graphics less cartoonish though.
To add lustre to the title, freakin' MICROPROSE will be publishing it.

I believe the skins will be moddable, though the 3D models will likely still be 'cartoonish'.
 

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Played this way a lot back in the day, and found it preferable to the 40 or so published scenarios we had available to us at the time. How things have changed, eh.

I think the system is quite elegant, and when paired with the Schmittgens-Kibler DYO system published in Vol 20 No. 1 of THE GENERAL, can generate some pretty fun matchups. The SW allocation charts seem very good, ditto the leadership generation numbers. Yes, a Russian force in a small company-sized game will be brittle due to the small number of leaders you get, but that's realistic. Realism and fun don't always go hand in hand.

Ditto the AFV choices. Yeah, it can be fun to play with a King Tiger or a Crocodile, but that usually devolves from the stated objectives (CVP or Control, usually) to "kill the tank."

The point purchase system can be fun, but also abused and tedious to do all that often. SASL might have some solutions.

Adding in the random reinforcements from Solitaire ASL can introduce some fun, and - your suggestion of breaking it down from the ground up could be achieved by just using the SASL company lists as the basis for any DYO. I've even played DYO while using the SASL command-control rules. Lots of things you could do with DYO - but MMP won't ever touch it because they can't sell scenario packs that way. I submitted an update of the S-K system to include all theatres and published boards at the time, there didn't seem to be any interest.

Maybe if someone were able to present a business case that suggested there was money to be made, they might take a look. An entire DYO kit in a box? Critical Hit had a similar product in the Platoon Leader which let you build Campaign Games. Did it fly?
Your remarks are thoughtful and appreciated. But as you've presented that the system only seems to be truly elegant when paired with alternative DYO systems, it's as if you agree the system needs restructuring.

1. I think there is a niche for SASL to be published without MMPs involvement. You should consider reviving this S-K update. Let's work on it and see if it can be published. Let's work on that business case. There are some amazing one-man shows out there filling niches that MMP doesn't dream of touching or are not allowed to touch by Hasbro. Have you seen the new modules Brevity Assault and Biazza Ridge by Advancing Fire, for example? The publisher needs to get that going on VASL for it to become more useful to play in this current environment and doesn't appear to be moving in that direction, unfortunately.

2. MMP is not interested in a lot of things, like fixing rules that have been broken for nearly half a century (prisoners, chapter E, etc). I wouldn't look to them for innovation.

Nearly every new module is the brainchild of an ASL fan and/or revived vaporware and/or a rework of an old module. Don't get me wrong, I love the new French module, very glad it's out. But all of their stuff is reworked lately; MMP forsook SASL with Hakkaa Päälle , when they reneged on their promise to provide SASL charts for all the new wacky Finns. Maybe because some of those vehicles would need a rarity factor off the charts....nah, that's no excuse, MMP.

3. Honestly, who cares if a scenario is realistic if it's no fun and not competitive? It's just not the point of DYO -- 'boy this scenario was no fun, but thank God it was realistic due to the DYO system! Let's do an AAR of this slaughter and post it on Gamesquad.'

That's exactly why it's not used out there... hardly any published scenarios are designed to portray realism specifically, and when they are, they seem to be failed bores -- the historical study series by MMP comes to mind, some of those scenarios in Operation Watchtower are unbalanced dogs. Though maybe I am biased because I lost my copy when I left it at a tourney in Raleigh in 2014. Ha!
 

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To add lustre to the title, freakin' MICROPROSE will be publishing it.

I believe the skins will be moddable, though the 3D models will likely still be 'cartoonish'.
I just recently bought and checked out Steel Division. I was stunned to fined out it represents squad/platoon/single vehicle level tactics scaled up to the divisional level! Not exactly the look and feel of ASL, but i was very pleased with it. At least so far. It looks like it will take hours to master it.
 

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MMP forsook SASL with Hakkaa Päälle , when they reneged on their promise to provide SASL charts for all the new wacky Finns. Maybe because some of those vehicles would need a rarity factor off the charts....nah, that's no excuse, MMP.
Just to set this bit of history straight, it was a honest promise. Originally we did not have SASL as part of the HP! submission. I as one of the primary designers did know much about it, I had 1st edition in my self collecting dust for a half decade and sold it off untouched. I just did not have any intrest on it.

In the early stages someone volunteered to do the SASL bit so it was announced. By the time the module was ready to go otherwise that volunteer had disappeared. So the intention was good but sadly it was never realized.
 

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Just to set this bit of history srtaight, it was a honest promise. Originally we did not have SASL as part of the HP! submission. I as one of the primary designers did know much about it, I had 1st edition in my self collecting dust for a half decade and sold it off Untouched. I just did not have any intrest on it.

In the early stages someone volunteered to do the SASL bit so it was announced. By the time the module was ready to go otherwise that volunteer had disappeared. So the intention was good but sadly it was never realized.
Well, thank you for explaining that! Interestingly, this enhances the point I was trying to make, MMP relies on innovation from ASL outsiders. Here, they made a promise from their company to deliver on something that was to be provided from a player. I certainly don't blame the designers of H-P, such as yourself, for failing to deliver this SASL aspect in publication. MMP needs to monitor their promises to their customers, as designers must monitor their promises to the publishers.

In fact, I'm pretty sure the ASL SASL community has taken care of getting SASL information together for the Finns. So the good news is, it has been realized!

But MMP, as far as I am aware, never offered any explanation as to what happened, as you just have on your own. I don't read all the forums all over the place; for example, I despise Facebook, so I won't go there for news about ASL.

Regardless, the place to make an official announcement on the matter would have been (and still is) their official website or official newsletter. That's how GMT does things, and the set the gold standard for customer service and setting customer expectations. Say what you want about GMT's manager and notorious reputation from the past.

MMP simply relies on inelastic demand for their ASL products; when it comes to handling their customers like eggs, they aren't so deft. Every now and then they realize they actually do need to treat their fans as customers, and I understand that their inside customer service team gets it in handling orders. Overall, and in all fairness, they've been doing a lot better at that lately. Let's see if it keeps up when operations can begin after this fake shutdown of businesses is over. cheers, Marc
 

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Overall, and in all fairness, they've been doing a lot better at that lately.
This is my observation as well. Initially in 1999-2005 they promised things without really understanding the workload they would get. And the track record on delivering quality ASL product is good and has gotten better past years. Some products of course are better than others and some contain too many obscure Finnish tanks someone managed to dig references for, but generally anything MMP has put out for ASL is worth the price tag.
 

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This is my observation as well. Initially in 1999-2005 they promised things without really understanding the workload they would get. And the track record on delivering quality ASL product is good and has gotten better past years. Some products of course are better than others and some contain too many obscure Finnish tanks someone managed to dig references for, but generally anything MMP has put out for ASL is worth the price tag.
Great discussion, gents.

I think MMP puts out an amazingly high quality product when compared to the size of their operation. To address a different point raised, I wouldn't confuse lack of resources with lack of interest (though I may have given that impression in my own remarks).
 

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Great discussion, gents.

I think MMP puts out an amazingly high quality product when compared to the size of their operation. To address a different point raised, I wouldn't confuse lack of resources with lack of interest (though I may have given that impression in my own remarks).
The inertia may be induced the parent company. To address another point I raised, a failure to a reply often indicates a lack of interest :)
 

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Since you're bored, you need to go further. Break down the numbers by infantry/Guns/AFV/non-AFV vehicles. Also by nationality. Then perform statistics to support your hunch, like "German AFVs are overvalued because we're a bunch of Nazi fanboys".

And yeah, don't listen to Jazz. Well, I mean, jazz is fine, but Jazz will get you in trouble.
 
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a failure to a reply often indicates a lack of interest :)
Yes, just pointing out there is danger in assuming intent. And of course, could be both lack of resources and interest, so certainly they are not mutually exclusive.

I don't disagree with any of your take on third party products, realism, etc. The historical studies, too - as thrilled as I was to see Canadians get their due in Operation VERITABLE, the CG (which I played, once) seemed a bit odd, basically set in a bunch of wheatfields. I enjoyed it and appreciate the work that went into it - but it kind of revealed the realism vs. fun divide. Having entire squadrons of APCs which were required to leave the board once they dropped their passengers was absolutely realistic, but turns the game into Bus Driver rather than Squad Leader.
 

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Yes, just pointing out there is danger in assuming intent. And of course, could be both lack of resources and interest, so certainly they are not mutually exclusive.
Seriously, it might be a mistake but there is no danger here.... however, I do appreciate hyperbole so gotta cut some slack!

And -- I was joking, of course -- referring to your lack of a reply to my proposal :)
<You should consider reviving this S-K update. Let's work on it and see if it can be published. Let's work on that business case.>
 

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Seriously, it might be a mistake but there is no danger here.... however, I do appreciate hyperbole so gotta cut some slack!

And -- I was joking, of course -- referring to your lack of a reply to my proposal :)
<You should consider reviving this S-K update. Let's work on it and see if it can be published. Let's work on that business case.>
I wouldn't be averse to it, but right now I have some other paying projects on the go which got sidetracked due to COVID. I could be free and clear in a year if it's something you are serious about pursuing and haven't had a chance to do so by then.
 

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As an update (since I think a lot of people won't download the data file and look at it themselves)I just wanted to go over the complete package of what I found, again with the caveat that I'm not trying to prove anything and using this as exploratory factor analysis.

View attachment 13696
What does this show?

Overall, this shows that BPV are not too far off from what we would predict given the counter characteristics. However, there does appear to be a significant amount of arbitrariness in them. In other words, it isn't random, but it isn't very good either. One I would particularly like to point out is the American 90L AA gun. One version is about 15% more expensive than the other, even thought their counter numbers are virtually identical. How often in a scenario, do you unlimber, move and limber a gun anyway and is it worth a 15% premium?

View attachment 13697

Overall, low quality infantry is consistently undervalued and elite infantry is overvalued. Flamethrowers and FT vehicles are overvalued while heave metal (Tiger II, IS2) are consistently undervalued.

I think BPV is used in ASL, whether for DYO or by scenario designers, only slightly more than battlefield integrity, so all of this is, perhaps, a bit pointless. But, then, so is most of my life.
Low quality infantry on the bottom left of the chart are proportionately more variable off the norm. Any inconsistencies are kinda multiplied and makes them a great buy in most cases. A logarithmic chart would show this better. Not complaining, nice job.
 

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I wouldn't be averse to it, but right now I have some other paying projects on the go which got sidetracked due to COVID. I could be free and clear in a year if it's something you are serious about pursuing and haven't had a chance to do so by then.
Yeah, cool, I completely understand we are all sorting out from the COVID, hopefully for the better. Myself, just looking for a venture to make some money, and be nice to do it with ASL, but there are some snags... cheers Marc
 
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