New ASL Publication Announcement

Michael Dorosh

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http://forums.gamesquad.com/showthread.php?t=46769

After extended discussion in the above thread, canadiansoldiers.com is pleased to announce the publication of Scenario Designer's Handbook (ISBN 978-0-9782646-8-0).

Some of the comments from the above thread:

Paolo Cariolato:
I was waiting for a dense book full of food for thought, what I'm getting is something more on the light side of ASL, vague and generic advices, little reference to actual examples and scenarios, no hard facts (statistics about mabboard used, overlays, SSR, snipers), no precise reference to the armies involved in WW2 and advices on how to build scenarios about them.
Alessandro Canevese:
how hard would it be to have some TO&E for WWII divisions in a way similar to those included in Panzer Leader (if you know it)?

...

The kind of problem (as a designer) I would like to solve is something like the following question: I read in the book that the company XY of regiment YZ of Folgore Division has been stormed by British 7th Armoured Division. Ok. Which kind of squads, vehicles, SW and the like I should expect to find (and I should use in the scenario)?
Randall Glesing:
Actually, Allesandro, what you are seeking already exists as articles which have been published through the years, mostly in Avalon Hill and then in MMP products, which dissect the major nationalities' armies--down to the squad level. If you are new to ASL I suggest you purchase, or borrow, as many of the ASL Journals and Avalon Hill ASL Annuals as you can. Those articles are excellent referrence materials for design purposes or just general information.
Mark Pitcavage:
I hope that more people will consider projects like this. There's a lot of room for writing stuff about ASL, and I love reading stuff about ASL.
JoB:
why dont you write a book ?
So to that end, I have.




No disrespect to Randall intended, but those articles he mentions (and which I've listed on page 22 of Scenario Designer's Handbook) deal mainly with special operations forces (airborne, commando, marines). The hobby press doesn’t seem to have detailed breakdowns of, for example, a US Armored Infantry company in ASL terms. In a broader sense, one can read about a panzergrenadier division or a Motor Rifle Brigade and not have any real idea what is being talked about. This book will be a guide to placing these formations in context, and I’ve attempted to give some idea of the rarity of the various formations.

What SDH offers is a breakdown of the standard infantry battalions/regiments/divisions, with suggested company makeups in ASL terms. This is the meat of the book, about 50% of the 216 pages. ASL scenarios seek to present a sense of historical events rather than nuts and bolts recreations of them, but it is felt that there is some value in having a starting point. One can read that “A” Company of such-and-such battalion took part in an action, but have no idea what that should mean on the game board. With this reference, they can look up what an infantry battalion and its component rifle companies might look like in ASL terms, and also have a divisional reference to be able to suggest possible OBA or other support.

Detailed information on ordnance and vehicles are not included; ASL Rulebook handles that information admirably. In fact, all information found in the ASL Rulebook has been left out of the Handbook to avoid duplication (or copyright issues). The Handbook will hopefully complement the ASLRB in that regard.

The unit listings may prove controversial, but they are merely a starting point to prospective scenario designers who will naturally have their own research to do for any project. As one example, while the guidelines established in ASLRB by the Leadership Generation numbers and the SW charts were followed, the book does not follow the practice of Swann, Hershey, et al in assigning specific types of Leader SMC to the various companies and platoons. The scenario designer himself is the best judge of what kind of leadership modifiers and morale to use, and there is little truth to the convention that a 7-0 = a corporal, or that a corporal = a non-influential leader. To that end, there is an entire chapter devoted to heroism and leadership in which the subject of rank and leadership is discussed in detail.

The other half of the book has general information about scenario design with some hopefully useful tools, including such things as an example of the Australian Balance System, a chart of moon phases for 1939-1945 to help with NVR, and a detailed listing of all "official" maps and overlays and where they are from so scenario designers can list in detail what prerequisites are necessary for play of their scenarios. There are tips on designing a logo and on how to create a historical map.

There are also some detailed walk-throughs of the research and design process, including a detailed discussion of a playtest.

The URL to preview and/or obtain the book is http://www.lulu.com/content/1170795



The book is in full colour, softcover. The approach to the book is that it was written as if it was a military history. Extensive use was made of articles already in print, from The General, ASL Annual, ASL Journal, View From The Trenches, Moves, Fire & Movement, as well as online resources – all documented by detailed footnotes for those seeking to research more on their own. The project benefited from input and offers of help from several people approached via this forum; to them a word of thanks is given for their assistance and support.



The detailed information on forces shares its focus between the large militaries such as Germany, the Soviet Union, Japan, etc., and the smaller forces, including “partisan” and security forces, the minor nations, etc. Of particular note to designers are the number of foreign legions that just about everyone seemed to generate – the Germans had Cossacks fighting for them, the French Army had large numbers of expatriate Poles under command in their own formations in 1940, Brazil had an expeditionary force in Italy as part of the US forces there, Russian cavalry also served under Japanese command in Manchuria, there was a Dutch mechanized brigade under British command in NW Europe, etc. Hopefully brief notes on the existence of these forces will prompt interest in them among the scenario designers out there.

As for the scenario design discussions, once a designer has one or two successful designs under their belt, the value of the book will be more inspirational than educational, but there should always be something of value in it as a reference, be it for a first time designer or a veteran. If nothing else, it will hopefully generate some discussion.
 
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Honza

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May Be Invaluable.

Hi Micheal,

I did not know you were working on this project.
A well kept secret.

I will definitely be getting one of these. Its looks fascinating and invaluable.

Kudos & credit to you for the initiative and work.

Thanks.

Jan.
 

Gunner Scott

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Hi-

You should put an SS trooper on the cover, then it will sell like hot cakes.


:clown:


Scott
 

Honza

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May I ask; do you think the stocks will last?

I have just spent a lot on ASL/Games and so I need to wait a while before I can afford this volume. At £27 its quite an investment; but certainly a worthy one.

So I'm wondering is there going to be some left in a months time or so - after Christmas for example?

Jan.
 

Portal

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Michael,

It's a pleasure to hear your project has come to fruition. Would it possible to meet up FtF here in Calgary to buy a copy from you? Or is online the only option?

All best,
Marcus
 

Michael Dorosh

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Jan - There are no stocks. The reason for the higher cost is because this is a "print on demand" publisher. Nothing is printed until you are ready to purchase. I have no idea what to expect in the way of demand, frankly. My publisher in Ottawa - the one who does my military uniform books - has a great philosophy. He doesn't care what people "want", he publishes the books he himself would like to read and doesn't chase the market. So I took his cue and decided to write something that would please me.

I should note that the book reviews at lulu.com are severely downsampled. The quality of paper and inks - that I've seen so far in my other publishing projects from them - have been consistently high. But I think they rotate through actual printers, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Portal - perhaps we should wait until the new year. You never know what (Secret) Santa may or may not send your way, eh? ;)
 

Xavier 658

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:thumup: Great work, can't wait to see it Michael :clap:

I think that along with Pitman's fine "Designers guide", both of you have filled a big gap within ASL DYO, research and so on.

Thanks!

X
 

Glennbo

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:thumup: Great work, can't wait to see it Michael :clap:

I think that along with Pitman's fine "Designers guide", both of you have filled a big gap within ASL DYO, research and so on.

Thanks!

X
This says it for me as well. :)
 

Double Deuce

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Looks like a good addition to my Christmas List. I'm really starting to focus on designing some scenarios and can't wait to get this one. It should complement the design information Mark put out and already included in my resource material stack. ;)
 

Joao Lima

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Does anybody know how does that Lulu thing ship to Europe?

Their registration takes you to a shipping address that gets stuck if you do not enter a postcode in a US format. Anyone know how to bypass this issue?

Seems a simple enough thing yet their FAQ do not cover it.
 

Roadtogundagai

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Two minor niggles...

Hi Michael,

Looks like an excellent resource for ASLers. Well done.

Two minor niggles from viewing the excerpt at the start of the thread:

1) As per the article in J7, the British 3" mortar is actually 3.2" (81mm). Updated counters will hopefully be part of the next journal and/or reprint of FKAC. These mortars should be exchangeable for 80mm battalion mortar OBA.

2) The Australian Jungle Battalions where part of the Jungle Divisions. These were conversions of the 6th, 7th and 9th Australian Divisions of the 2nd AIF (I believe this occured in late 1943 and early 1944). It was a change in the TO&E and re-training of the divisions for jungle warfare. The divisions remained an all volunteer force and were heavily populated with veterans from the North Africa, Greece, Syria and New Guinea campaigns. They should be represented by a blend 4-5-8 / 6-4-8 squads with ELR of around 4/5 for the 1944-1945 period. The official history is a great source if you want further info.
 
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Michael Dorosh

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Hi Michael,

Looks like an excellent resource for ASLers. Well done.

Two minor niggles from viewing the excerpt at the start of the thread:

1) As per the article in J7, the British 3" mortar is actually 3.2" (81mm). Updated counters will hopefully be part of the next journal and/or reprint of FKAC. These mortars should be exchangeable for 80mm battalion mortar OBA.
I don't agree with this assessment. My understanding is that the change was made by measuring the muzzle of an extant weapon, rather than comparing blast effect of the actual rounds. It's a bit moot for two reasons, though. Firstly, I realize the change is now official. Secondly, the final version of the book actually deleted the reference to 70mm so that designers can work it out for themself. :)

2) The Australian Jungle Battalions where part of the Jungle Divisions.
Yes, the book also contains a detailed breakdown of the Jungle Divisions. I have listed all line infantry battalions with 1st line squads - it is up to individual scenario designers how to portray exceptional units (the German Grossdeutschland would be an example of a German elite formation worthy of 4-6-8, ditto Hermann Goering or Panzer Lehr), and this is discussed in detail in the book also. I actually mention specifically the tendency of Commonwealth histories to exaggerate the relative skills and abilities of their forces compared to other nationalities. :)

Thanks for the speedy feedback - this is exactly the kind of discussion I had hoped to generate.
 

MLaPanzer

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Jan - There are no stocks. The reason for the higher cost is because this is a "print on demand" publisher. Nothing is printed until you are ready to purchase. I have no idea what to expect in the way of demand, frankly. My publisher in Ottawa - the one who does my military uniform books - has a great philosophy. He doesn't care what people "want", he publishes the books he himself would like to read and doesn't chase the market. So I took his cue and decided to write something that would please me.

I should note that the book reviews at lulu.com are severely downsampled. The quality of paper and inks - that I've seen so far in my other publishing projects from them - have been consistently high. But I think they rotate through actual printers, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Portal - perhaps we should wait until the new year. You never know what (Secret) Santa may or may not send your way, eh? ;)
Print on demand is not a traditional printing. It is really a copy. A very good copy but it generally is not ink but toner based. Therefore just don't leave your book on the dashboard of the car in 100 degree weather otherwise it will melt together the pages. This is not a knock on Print-on-demand just a fact. Print-on-demand makes it possible for a product like this to come to market. Your cost to do 4 color process printing would be greater than I think you could afford. The book by the looks of it would cost much much more if printed traditionally. It's a fine looking product.
 

Honza

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Does anybody know how does that Lulu thing ship to Europe?

Their registration takes you to a shipping address that gets stuck if you do not enter a postcode in a US format. Anyone know how to bypass this issue?

Seems a simple enough thing yet their FAQ do not cover it.
This might be an important issue for us in Europe/Rest of World. Has a solution been found yet?
 

Roadtogundagai

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I don't agree with this assessment. My understanding is that the change was made by measuring the muzzle of an extant weapon, rather than comparing blast effect of the actual rounds. It's a bit moot for two reasons, though. Firstly, I realize the change is now official. Secondly, the final version of the book actually deleted the reference to 70mm so that designers can work it out for themself. :)
Cool :) For what it's worth, I think the J7 article did a comparison of HE content - no significant difference between USA/German/British...etc 81mm HE rounds. I'm too lazy to grab my J7 and check ;)

Yes, the book also contains a detailed breakdown of the Jungle Divisions. I have listed all line infantry battalions with 1st line squads - it is up to individual scenario designers how to portray exceptional units (the German Grossdeutschland would be an example of a German elite formation worthy of 4-6-8, ditto Hermann Goering or Panzer Lehr), and this is discussed in detail in the book also. I actually mention specifically the tendency of Commonwealth histories to exaggerate the relative skills and abilities of their forces compared to other nationalities. :)
Good idea. Makes a lot of sense to me.

Thanks for the speedy feedback - this is exactly the kind of discussion I had hoped to generate.
I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a copy. This fills a need for scenario designers and history buffs alike. Nice job. :clap:
 

Watson

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This might be an important issue for us in Europe/Rest of World. Has a solution been found yet?
I live in a place that doesn't have postal codes. When there is a website that requires one, I just type in 5 zeros and that makes the web page happy. I don't really know if that would help in the UK or Europe, where there is a postal code. Would your post office blanch at an address that had 5 zeros at the end instead of the normal postal code?
 
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