Update on Desperation Morale Update

Pitman

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So I thought I would give a progress report on the massive (content) update of Desperation Morale that I have been working on. Because of burnout and other factors, I had not updated the World of ASL Compendium on my site with write-ups of new ASL products from spring 2017 through september 2019, so basically 2.5 years' worth of stuff. Reenergized by ASLOK 2019 somewhat, I decided to update the site, and I have been spending 8 to 16 hours each weekend since mid-October 2019 on updating the site, as well as working on it during about 15 vacation days and holidays since ASLOK. Today, for example, I worked on it for six hours before coming here to type this update (I suspect that's all I will work on it today, though).

Early on, I focused on official and third party releases, other than Critical Hit, and got most of those done. I had two left to do when I switched to something else, but more products have come down the pipeline in the nearly four months since I started, including the new Croix de Guerre and Bonus Pack (if I ever actually get them), Deluxe Redux, Koenigsburg, the Texas pack, and so forth. So when I come back to these, I will have my work cut out for me.

For a while now, I have been trying to tackle the Critical Hit issue. They released so many new products, old products renamed, variant accessories, and the like that the only way I could keep track of it was through a spreadsheet that ended up having 244 rows and 9 columns, each row containing from 1 to 3 products. I have been steadily working through this spreadsheet. Most of these new products I did not buy--which saves me money but does take up time in trying to dig out a minimum amount of facts such as contents data from a company notoriously opaque on what its products actually contain and are like. I did, in the end, buy some Critical Hit products (about $1,000 worth, from Noble Knight rather than Critical Hit) that people were most likely to have questions about, be confused about or (gasp) want to purchase, so that I could make sure I could do full write ups of those, or at least one full write up for products in a series.

I have somewhere around 50 Critical Hit products left to add, most of which are new rather than mere updates or new additions, plus some additional accessories (though those don't take much effort). Moreover, I am conscious that CH has published some more items since I created my spreadsheet, so the old bane of my existence continues to be the new bane of my existence even though I no longer purchase and do full write-ups of all Critical Hit products.

It's difficult to say how fast or long I can get through these. When doing full write-ups, I usually begin to zone out after around four or so. But today, I was able to take care of the two Leningrad modules (without full write-ups), the two southern Kursk modules (without full write-ups), the two Hell on Earth items (which only required updates to existing entries), and the entire 12-part Make the Rubble Bounce series (which included basically one full write-up, plus other stuff to account for the rest of the series). That took me 6 hours today. I probably won't get a chance to work on the site again until next Friday, when I will have (God willing) a comp day off from work.

At this rate, then, mostly working weekends, holidays and the occasional day off, it could easily be the end of April before I am finished. Which kind of makes me groan, as I have set aside my other hobbies and many other things besides to get this done.

I will say that I have been extremely grateful, no, let me make that EXTREMELY GRATEFUL to the people who have given me permission to use photos or scans that they have taken, or have gone to the effort specifically to take photos of ASL products to share with the site--and thus to all of you and the whole ASL world. Some people have really gone beyond the call of duty.

I don't want to name names here on this quick update for fear of leaving someone's name off, but in the future I will make a special public acknowledgment and thanks, naming all the people who have helped me (except those who have wished to remain anonymous). Also, I should note that, though I have many such photos left to upload, the names of many contributors are credited on the photos I have already uploaded for the entries published so far.

Along those lines, let me note that there is still MUCH ROOM for more people to take and share photos of ASL products that have come out since spring 2017 and any submissions would be WELCOMED ENTHUSIASTICALLY. You can contact me via DM with questions, offers, to get my e-mail address, etc.

That's pretty much it. Just wanted to let you know I was still steadily chugging along at it, but it will be a long time before the website is totally up to date (and at that point I will ask people to stop making ASL products ever again, so that I don't have to worry about keeping my site current after that). :)
 

Kijug

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Yes, thanks! Nice to just have a catalog of all stuff ASL to surf through (...and "make" me get "that" 'cause I found out I was missing it!)
 

dlazov

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Thanks for the update and all the tireless and fine work you do!

PS I leave all the CH reviews till the very last, too much rebranding and repackaging and reshuffle (not to mention price gouging and other deceptions).
 

Jobbo_Fett

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Just wanted to say that your reviews on products (A.K.A. your recommendations page) is one of the largest influences on which products I look at first and/or acquire. It also helps that, as a generally newer player, I discover products from 3rd party publishers or rare/lesser known producers.

Thanks for the work, it doesn't go by unappreciated!
 

jrv

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One approach that might perhaps make your load more manageable would be to consider levels of coverage rather than having an all-or-nothing standard for everything. Your lowest level of coverage might be to list the product, the publisher and perhaps a short physical description, e.g. "one sheet of counters, one map, five scenarios." From there you could have other levels of coverage, maybe a ten-minute review, up to full review. You could add tags that let readers know what level of coverage they should expect. You might farm out reviews to other reviewers or allow public submission, perhaps at lower levels if you want to provide the full review. As time permits you could then upgrade the level of coverage for products in order of the priority you feel they deserve. Just a thought.

JR
 

Pitman

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One approach that might perhaps make your load more manageable would be to consider levels of coverage rather than having an all-or-nothing standard for everything. Your lowest level of coverage might be to list the product, the publisher and perhaps a short physical description, e.g. "one sheet of counters, one map, five scenarios." From there you could have other levels of coverage, maybe a ten-minute review, up to full review. You could add tags that let readers know what level of coverage they should expect. You might farm out reviews to other reviewers or allow public submission, perhaps at lower levels if you want to provide the full review. As time permits you could then upgrade the level of coverage for products in order of the priority you feel they deserve. Just a thought.

JR
The two things that really add time and also make it a drag for me are 1) Critical Hit and 2) photos. This time around I'm getting some welcome help with the photos, which I really appreciate. I have already stopped obtaining and doing full write-ups for all Critical Hit products and I suspect I will do even less in the future.
 

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well done Mark. I do admire your dedication but I do feel you fret too much over 'the CH problem'. The reviews in a a large way are probably useless. Tapio and CH are the Trump of ASL you could say... divsive with a capital D and with few undecided. I suppose after 25 odd years CH has established a core customer base and I strongly suspect they don't fall into your social or playing community like mainly populate this site. Those who see ASL more a tool to further their interest in re-creating the history and less a 'game' ..competitive gaming where the importance of balance trumps all.

Though your effort is highly appreciated and sure as shit respected... it would be a shame to see you burn out over 'the CH problem'. For how many are they really useful? Either one takes advantage of the pricing system CH has and buys what they find of interest well before you could ever review it or they avoid CH like the plague (or satanic sex starved redheads with deadly aim with pots and pans when enraged) out of principal. For the few few undecided who might find the substance of your reviews helpful.. are just as likely choke over the MSRP they would have to pay later haha. It is strange business model for sure but it appears to work.. and with a very happy core customer base or else CH would have bit the dust long ago.. or changed its tune regarding some of your favorite taking points regarding them and their practices.
 

Xavier 658

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Thanks for these efforts Mark, much appreciated.

Nevertheless, may I suggest you to stop commenting CH products, or at least as JRV suggested above, to write the minimum physical description, e.g. "one sheet of counters, one map, five scenarios?"
  1. In 2018, 21 products out of 35 were from Critical Hit. 60%.
  2. In 2019, 30 out 44. 68%
  3. In 2020, thus far, 9 out of 9.... 100%. I know, the year has just began, but anyway, what a waste... :cautious:
The incredible amount of time you are spending doing this for the Hobby is simply great, but IMHO, you should save on commenting this huge amount of CH products, or rely on players willing to buy one of their products to send you an overview or a full description, or any other way to update your site.

Just a suggestion Mark, and I say it again: thank you very much for all what you've been doing for so many years, you are of course totally free to do what you want with your precious time! :)

Best 🍻

X
 

Brad M-V

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Remember the early years when colourful comic adds of toy war games fuel our imaginations and excitement much like what the annual Sears catalog did to everyone in North America back in the day? I believe CH has successfully tapped (tapio'd) into this selling method of trying to seduce our thinking by not detailing the item's contents on purpose. The Desperation Morale site has been battling this style of deception for us in an attempt (IMO) to help all of us from falling into this underhanded ploy. I have emailed Mark in the past on his site but got no response from him when I inquired about how to send a paypal donation, but he's been really good at not wanting money. I would suggest that he opens up a link on his site so those of us who do buy the odd CH item can help support his efforts in this regard.
 

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Thanks Mark for your work and dedication. I realise that writing well, with clarity and with a certain spark gives pleasure to both author and reader but I'm wondering if the length of your CH placeholders really warrant it? I'd have no problems if those entries were more skeletal - thus saving precious time for your other hobbies. Ofcourse the quality of content is your decision.

I must say I just shook my head when I read you'd splashed $1000 on CH products you thought might be worthy of further investigation. My goodness!!
 

Brad M-V

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well done Mark. I do admire your dedication but I do feel you fret too much over 'the CH problem'. The reviews in a a large way are probably useless. Tapio and CH are the Trump of ASL you could say... divsive with a capital D and with few undecided. I suppose after 25 odd years CH has established a core customer base and I strongly suspect they don't fall into your social or playing community like mainly populate this site. Those who see ASL more a tool to further their interest in re-creating the history and less a 'game' ..competitive gaming where the importance of balance trumps all.

Though your effort is highly appreciated and sure as shit respected... it would be a shame to see you burn out over 'the CH problem'. For how many are they really useful? Either one takes advantage of the pricing system CH has and buys what they find of interest well before you could ever review it or they avoid CH like the plague (or satanic sex starved redheads with deadly aim with pots and pans when enraged) out of principal. For the few few undecided who might find the substance of your reviews helpful.. are just as likely choke over the MSRP they would have to pay later haha. It is strange business model for sure but it appears to work.. and with a very happy core customer base or else CH would have bit the dust long ago.. or changed its tune regarding some of your favorite taking points regarding them and their practices.
Your point regarding the huge MSRP markup after a CH items pre-order is a very good one, Sparky. In fact, you pretty much solved the dilemma IMO regarding the worth of even reading a review on a CH item, because I'm not ever going to pay that huge MSRP for it then anyways. In the past I have only bought CH items at the lower (50% lower) pre-order price and would never change that in the future, so a review of a CH product for me is truely pointless...
 

Carln0130

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Thanks for these efforts Mark, much appreciated.

Nevertheless, may I suggest you to stop commenting CH products, or at least as JRV suggested above, to write the minimum physical description, e.g. "one sheet of counters, one map, five scenarios?"
  1. In 2018, 21 products out of 35 were from Critical Hit. 60%.
  2. In 2019, 30 out 44. 68%
  3. In 2020, thus far, 9 out of 9.... 100%. I know, the year has just began, but anyway, what a waste... :cautious:
The incredible amount of time you are spending doing this for the Hobby is simply great, but IMHO, you should save on commenting this huge amount of CH products, or rely on players willing to buy one of their products to send you an overview or a full description, or any other way to update your site.

Just a suggestion Mark, and I say it again: thank you very much for all what you've been doing for so many years, you are of course totally free to do what you want with your precious time! :)

Best 🍻

X
Hi X. I didn't scroll down, so apologies if this has been commented on/jumped on like rabid wolves. MMP has released CDG2 and the latest WO pack, 11 I believe, also the Deluxe Pack. LCP Koinegsberg, although that may have been very tail end of 2019 as well. So at least 3 non-CH products are out. I think your own Seoul release was late 2019.

That said, the overall point is well taken. CH is what it is and people are entrenched. Some people don't mind paying full price for a playtest kit, some do. I am of the do persuasion, but some folks are enticed enough by the often interesting subject matter to give the CH stuff a try, but I agree, it would be a shame to see Mark have to shut down DM over CH. It is a valuable service that people on the numerous Facebook groups are frequently pointed to. I may not always agree with Mark, but I always respect Mark's opinion.
 

Xavier 658

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Hi Carl,

So at least 3 non-CH products are out. I think your own Seoul release was late 2019.
True, I am fully aware of this. BUT thus far, Mark's site is just displaying nine CH products for 2020. Thus my comment since IMHO, on the one hand he's spent a lot of time for all these CH products (that probably only a few might ever read), while on the other hand CdG, Königsberg or other products may be of interest to many more players.

....it would be a shame to see Mark have to shut down DM over CH.
When one witnesses the amount of work involved there, I agree with you. Again, thus my email and suggestion.

Best,

X

PS; I still have to send you a "YES" to your email ;)
 

bprobst

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For how many are they really useful?
Just when I think CH have sunk as low as it's possible to go, Mark posts an overview that demonstrates that Tapio is still successfully seeking new depths to sink to.

If that's not useful information then I don't know what is.
 

Michael Dorosh

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it would be a shame to see Mark have to shut down DM over CH.
This is too f'in weird. Mark posts 2 or 3 times a month to complain about how sucky Critical Hit is and oh dear, how would he ever review all their stuff (which he considers dreck). And in the meantime some of the most anticipated and well received items from the first rate publishers have gone unmentioned.

28 Dec 2019: http://www.gamesquad.com/forums/index.php?threads/dm-website-update-report-3-the-ch-conundrum.155336/
18 Dec 2019: http://www.gamesquad.com/forums/index.php?threads/minor-desperation-morale-update-progress-note.155180/
9 Nov 2019: http://www.gamesquad.com/forums/index.php?threads/third-party-publisher-rate-of-publication-question.154528/

Call me crazy, but maybe he should just decide what it is he want his site to accomplish. If it's an encyclopedia of everything out there, then just list the stuff.

If it's a review site, then review the stuff deemed worthy of review.

Put another way, if he's not passionate about what he's doing, why is he wasting his time? He's paying out of pocket to run it and then complaining that the people he's trashing aren't good enough to be trashed by him, and oh, they produce so much dreck he is struggling to find the time to getting around to talking about them some more.

I thought most people got their reviews from YouTube and podcasts now in any event. He could make real money off of YouTube.
 
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Carln0130

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Hi Carl,



True, I am fully aware of this. BUT thus far, Mark's site is just displaying nine CH products for 2020. Thus my comment since IMHO, on the one hand he's spent a lot of time for all these CH products (that probably only a few might ever read), while on the other hand CdG, Königsberg or other products may be of interest to many more players.


When one witnesses the amount of work involved there, I agree with you. Again, thus my email and suggestion.

Best,

X

PS; I still have to send you a "YES" to your email ;)
Email received and replied to. Thanks X.
 
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