"Quality in ASL": Some Desperation Morale Spelunking

Pitman

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Hi, folks. I've put up a new blog article on the Desperation Morale website, one that looks at all the different things that "quality" can mean when it comes to ASL. Some of you might like it. Hope so, anyway. I'd be interested in any thought you have in the matter, either posted on the blog as a responding comment or posted here.

 

Michael Dorosh

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Quality. What does it mean?

I am getting flashbacks from "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"

Please do not end up sitting on the floor in a pool of your own urine as Robert Persig did thinking about that question:

If you liked that one, you might also like

Round Ireland with a Fridge: Hawks, Tony: 9780312274924: Books - Amazon.ca

I received it as a gift from a lady who actually lived in Ireland, and it seems to be in a similar vein. Guy took a bet that he couldn't hitchhike all around Ireland while bringing a bar fridge with him.

I read it years ago and only now, after googling, see it was apparently made into a film.
 

Mike205

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This was thoughtful, and reminded me of the kind of deep analysis that you'd come across in old annuals and journals. We could use more of these reflective moments in our hobby, and I wanted to pass along my reaction to a few sections that resonated the most with me:

In particular, I appreciated the comments regarding historical feel. Personally, I view ASL not just as a game but a learning tool that enhances our understanding of the tactical constraints imposed on the combatants, while also allowing space to play out our command innovations and mistakes, which existed in similar form on the battlefield. I've learned a ton of WW2 history from playing this game and its inspired me to head to the library, or Amazon, or the classroom to learn more, which is why I've kept coming back to it year after year since I was 12 or 13. I'm 44 now. The game's ability to educate not only from the scenario card but through the experience of playing at the tactical level, and the kind of narrative and insight that generates, can't be beaten. For me, a hands down mark of quality in a scenario or product is whether or not I get up from the table and I'm motivated to go learn something else.

I also very much appreciated the call for commitment to the "fidelity" of the system- with all the new HASLs, scenario packs, and counters being produced with their attendant rules, I have some trouble keeping track of SSRs and unit abilities across different modules. I do think that "staying true to the game" matters in terms of quality for me, because I'm working in a familiar operating system when I'm playing. I'd like to see designers create new rules and SSRs that fit within the framework rather than outside it:
17351

The article also had me thinking about the impact of scope, which leads back to my initial comments on historicity and, to an extent, fidelity. To me, a good scenario or product conveys that sense of historical atmosphere while at the same time remaining manageable, pulling that historical event and its attendant challenges into a tight focus that enhances a player's understanding of it. Everyone's concept of unwieldy is different of course, but I find myself steering clear of some really interesting scenarios because they approach the quasi-operational and appear to be beyond the reach of a tactical based game system. In an evening or afternoon I want to the drama and historical insights gained from clearing a part of the Breskens Pocket, but I don't have the time to play the 12 board, 34 turn, 144 squad version. As cool as it may look on paper. That very well be someone else's cup of tea though, so I'm not knocking U38 and saying its a crap scenario.

Lastly, and obviously, quality is all in the eye of the beholder and I think that the real value of the article is that its given me food for thought on what I perceive and value as quality (and naturally that may be very, very different from someone else's) which in turn provoked thought on what I love and find most valuable about ASL, which is always good.
 

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Mark

A well written article!! I went back and read a second time, really makes one think about "quality" in ASL.

reminded me of an old line from a movie or book??

"I know quality when I see it"

Best,
Joe
 

Vic Provost

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Hi, folks. I've put up a new blog article on the Desperation Morale website, one that looks at all the different things that "quality" can mean when it comes to ASL. Some of you might like it. Hope so, anyway. I'd be interested in any thought you have in the matter, either posted on the blog as a responding comment or posted here.

Hi Mark, Vic from Dispatches here.

I read and liked your article and it was fair to point out our early efforts in layout were needing improvement, we no longer have SSRs that span the width of the page. We also use larger fonts when possible, I try to look at design now a days with an aging hobby in mind.

See my latest Issue #51 for examples.

I just wish I was not the only one named in such a negative light, and no mention of later improvements, which is a bit disappointing. MMPs printing in the recent scenario packs is not really easier to read. I do like your website and think it is a valuable asset to the hobby.

I hope the hobby still thinks Dispatches from the Bunker is a 'quality' product for what it is and what it costs, Vic.
 
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