What do you think of MMP's stewardship of ASL so far?

What do you think of MMP's handling of ASL so far?

  • They are doing a fantastic job!

    Votes: 9 6.3%
  • Not perfect, but they're doing very well

    Votes: 42 29.6%
  • Good. Better than I thought they would

    Votes: 8 5.6%
  • I'm content with the job they're doing

    Votes: 32 22.5%
  • They're doing a mediocre job

    Votes: 30 21.1%
  • Not terrible, but I wish they were doing a lot better

    Votes: 16 11.3%
  • Terrible. I'm very disappointed so far

    Votes: 5 3.5%

  • Total voters
    142

zgrose

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You guys realize you can print replacement counter art yourself, right? No reason anyone has to remember the errata, just change your counter.
 

purdyrc

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Hey, how do you change your vote for the poll? I wanna make mine "They're doing a fantastic job!" I also wanna open up a couple dozen bogus account so I can vote all of them "Fantastic" just to watch certain people's heads spin! :cheeky:

- Rick
 

da priest

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purdyrc said:
...there are those out there in the forum who will drone on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on like a broken record about MMP's lack of commitment to me ...

I have to go now. I have session scheduled with my therapist to help me deal with the misprinted box cover of BRT. I only hope I'm strong enough to move past this one and lead a normal life again.

- Rick
Rick when you get back, try this to reduce the need for therapy:

Pick your favorite droner, click on his "public profile", it's over there near the avatar that doesn't look a thing like the little wh*mp, then at the profile page look to the right hand side of the screen, there near the top!!! Yes!! It is Nirvana!!!! Click the Ignore button. Relief will wash over you and therapy cost will be reduced.:devil:
 

Jay White

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Thanks, Priest! bye-bye, Mr Holst! No more whining! yaaaay!

That guy was starting to turn me off of this forum.

-Jay
 

Doughboy

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Hey Keith,

seen any my posts about trying to market the product to boys in the Military. From what I gather, they do use the game to some degree for teaching purposes. Perhaps there is an opportunity here to go big time? ;)
 

paulkenny

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As Lucy would say "What we lose on each individual item, we will make up for in bulk!"
 

Dr Zaius

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Doughboy said:
Hey Keith,

seen any my posts about trying to market the product to boys in the Military . . .
I do think it is a good idea to get the ASLSK into military PXs and local hobby shops. There is a store outside Fort Bragg called The Hobbit that does a decent business in ASL material (or at least they used to).

From what I gather, they do use the game to some degree for teaching purposes. Perhaps there is an opportunity here to go big time?
Where did you hear that? I was a senior instructor in the Army for four years and I've never heard of ASL being used. In fact, there don't seem to be many active duty members who have even heard of it. ASL isn't suited as a training tool at all. TacOps and Decisive Action are the "quick and dirty" tools of choice. They teach correct military doctrine and are set up the way real battles are fought. Although both are complicated and have a steep learning curve, a competent instructor can have students using either product with a reasonable degree of proficiency within a day or to. The lessons on tactics and doctrine can follow shortly after that.

It takes a very long time for a player to be able to use ASL in a competent manner. Trying to teach ASL in a classroom environment would just be painful, and probably boring as hell! It would take months before the students could even "play" the game, let alone learn any lessons from it. Add to this that ASL simply fails to even model some of the most important concepts that a battlefield leader has to cope with and it is wholly unsuitable for use as a tool.

ASL is one of the best wargaming systems for having fun. A warfighting simulation it ain't.
 

Gunner Scott

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Man, so much talk and so little action from MMP. How about deeds not words. Or is that to tough for MMP's to understand?


Scott

The minister of propaganda said:
Hey Doughboy:


Haven't seen your post, but we have something in the works. Stay tuned.
 

Pitman

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Is the fact that no one wants to read these posts of yours too hard for YOU to understand? Or the fact that all you are doing is making people sympathize with MMP?
 

Doughboy

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Don Maddox said:
I do think it is a good idea to get the ASLSK into military PXs and local hobby shops. There is a store outside Fort Bragg called The Hobbit that does a decent business in ASL material (or at least they used to).

ASL isn't suited as a training tool at all. TacOps and Decisive Action are the "quick and dirty" tools of choice. They teach correct military doctrine and are set up the way real battles are fought. Although both are complicated and have a steep learning curve, a competent instructor can have students using either product with a reasonable degree of proficiency within a day or to. The lessons on tactics and doctrine can follow shortly after that.

It takes a very long time for a player to be able to use ASL in a competent manner. Trying to teach ASL in a classroom environment would just be painful, and probably boring as hell! It would take months before the students could even "play" the game, let alone learn any lessons from it. Add to this that ASL simply fails to even model some of the most important concepts that a battlefield leader has to cope with and it is wholly unsuitable for use as a tool.

ASL is one of the best wargaming systems for having fun. A warfighting simulation it ain't.
Hi Don,

with regards to the suitability of ASL for training purposes you are absolutely correct in it's current state. In one of my earlier posts I indicated that a major weakness with the system was the sheer omnipresence of the players over all components in the battlefield. This awareness is sheer nonsense as even in the best of conditions, this much knowledge is not attainable.

Consequently, players use this knowledge to their advantage in terms of formulating their tactics and play. This lack of "Fog of War" is typical of most board wargames due in large part of the difficulty to adequately simulate the unknowns for each player. Some games in the past made attempts to address this such as the old SPI game Cityfight. This game goes to pains to simulate the fog of war in an urban environment.

Needless to say the complexity of the game exceeds ASL in a dramatic way. This fog of war is reflected by the requirement to search out the enemy fireteams thereby underlining the importance of recon in a huge way. Where this system failed was due to the high complexity involved and the occasional failure of the fog of war rules not working properly.

In terms of doctrine, the original design of SL was never meant to be a simulation; ASL carried on the spirit of the "Beer and Pretzels" game. Although by the time the rules set evolved into ASL from GI the ruleset was incredibly dense. It still never offered a chapter or optional rules sets to allow for the proper use of doctrine and behavior of troops in the field. This is one of the major weakness of the system and is thus a little behind the times in terms of game design. But, to be fair the modular nature of the ruleset can easily accomodate a set of rules to deal with these issues as optional rules. By putting in some work to model the tactical doctrine and their behavior in the field, the rule set can start to focus more on the forest than obsessively tied up with the trees.

Finding sources of doctrine and battledrill is not really that difficult to find. Rommel wrote a superb book on Infantry tactics as an example of their tactics in the field. Copies of US Army, British, and Canadian field manuals are not impossible to find. Where there may be some issues is with field manuals with the Soviets and the minors. I suppose some indication of how the Soviets drill themselves from a modern context can be found from such sources such as Suvorov but, recent former Soviet declassification of documents in general means better access is the norm. These details may get down the more mundane aspects such as enfilade, line of march and defilade drill. It could get into more useful details in terms of company and battalion level standard engagement and maneuvers exercises. These unique battlefield behaviors can go a long way in allowing players to better simulate how these platoons would behave in an evolving battlefield where command and control are not something to be taken for granted.

Bear in mind the game (SL) came out in the late 70s so the goal of AH at that time was slightly different from companies like SPI who tried to model these elements. AH priority of game design was merely to market a pick up game that removes itself from some of this baggage such discuss and focus in of the fun element. If you wanted to learn more about those elements at that time you would have to gone with SPI's Mech War system and not Panzerblitz in which SL conceptual design was loosely based.

Fast forward game design 10 or 15 years later and you find that most tactical games in fact model in tactical doctrine in their design, however the fog of war componet was still sadly lacking and with the exception of ref or double blind systems. Granted when COD and GI came out AH did introduce scouts but these were removed by the time ASL came out, apparently the designer must have felt these counters were redundant.

Yet if a limited degree of fog of war was modeled in I'm sure players would be screaming for scouts again. Finally, in its current state it is way too complex and dense for most training purposes, I suppose, more than 90% of the rules is noise and could be culled down for professional purposes. We have seen how this can be done successfully to a point with the ASLSK. Yet, even 10 pages of rules is pushing it; it really needs to be stripped down a bit more while factoring fog of war and tactical doctrine considerations to be useful.

In the end it is not at all surprising that TACOPS and of Decisive Action are the standard training tools used by the military, with these computer simulations almost 90% of the physical world is modeled and taken care of by the AI. Where the learning comes in is with the ability of the trainer to focus on tactics and proper technique, perhaps a close metaphor is with computing in which the application user is not as concerned so much my the assembler machine language in the background as he is with the application interface. :D
 
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AdrianE

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Don

If you get a chance check out Recon by Fire #1 from Heat of Battle. There is an article in there about how Steve Dethlefsen used ASL to model the Iraqi defenses in Gulf war 1 in 1991. IIRC he had his platoon commanders suggest approaches, which he gamed out. He then gave them feed back on what happened.

Adrian
 

Dr Zaius

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You're exactly right Doughboy: ASL was never intended to be a military simulation, it was designed to be fun. It is fun, so it serves the purpose it was created for. Comparing it to a true battle simulation like TacOps or Decision Action is pointless. Those are real simulations that were both designed by field grade officers with experience as high level instructors. Although they are not exactly intended to produce results that always reflect real life, they have been designed with teaching the fundamentals of actual battlefield doctrine. POA-2 is attempting to push the envelope much further in this regard, but the system still has some significant design issues to deal with. The members of this club have helped Scott Hamilton refine the engine as well as the people from the military contracts.

ASL also has one other major drawback you didn't mention. Military users are constantly pushing for more and more realistic training tools to work with. That means that software like TacOps is constantly being improved upon and just keeps getting better and better. This is true to a lesser degree with most wargames, as wargamers petition developers to add additional features and make things better. This is generally wholeheartedly welcomed by the wargaming community and is always seen as a good thing.

It's different with ASL. Even minute changes to the rules are met with open hostility and generally opposed. Although the reasons for this attitude are obvious, it basically means that ASL should and does remain the same. Thus we can add more nationalities and settings for the game, but ASL can't evolve like other wargames do. All that means is that gamers have to accept ASL for what it is, not what they wish it was.
 

GVL

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I voted for the second best result, but if MMP can't reprint the rulebook AND Beyond Valor before the end of the year, I'd like to see a new poll. I'll give a much worse vote for MMP in that case.
Further more, I believe the Starterskits 2 and 3 should be printed also very soon.
Newbies ( I do play ASL now for 2 years)are important.
When I started, there was no Starter Kit. I was introduced to the game by a friend.
It was very difficult to learn the game. I had the luck to buy the last rulebook in my local gameshop. I had to buy Beyond Valor and some mapboards on ebay.
Now, I bought the Starterskit to introduce some friends, but the fact that the most important modules are not available any more in the gameshop makes them switch to other games with a better availibility.
It is very important for the game that the core modules are available in the local gameshops to attract new players.
 
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Robin Reeve

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GVL said:
Newbies ( I do play ASL now for 2 years)are important.
Sure they are, and it is right to try to keep them in the hobby, giving access to the Rules and core modules.
About AoO, I believe the question is not one of "another hyper-specialised niche module for veteran collectors".
It is in my eyes a "core" module, that will close (nearly : Haaka paale still must come out) the pool of nations that fought in WW2. Whether or not ASLers like Minors or prefer Western Front situations...
In my case, I am eager to see AoO published, because it will give me a feeling of having "at last" the freedom to play any situation, to design any scenario I want - in the past, I have been annoyed, because I wanted to design a fighting in Crimea, and hadn't the Rumanian heavy equipement... I made the scenario (which came out in Le Journal du Stratège), but I believe that if I had had access to the chapter H notes, things would have been better...
 

Aries

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Some comparisons are easy enough to make, but one fact that is unescapable, ASL is a boardgame, and not being a computer program, certain realities are not about to go away.

Short of playing it umpired double blind, you are always going to see all of a boardgame all of the time.

Now I could ramble on about the weaknesses of a computer game just as easy.

Fog of War is easy when you have a machine involved.
 

Doughboy

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Don Maddox said:
ASL also has one other major drawback you didn't mention. Military users are constantly pushing for more and more realistic training tools to work with. That means that software like TacOps is constantly being improved upon and just keeps getting better and better. This is true to a lesser degree with most wargames, as wargamers petition developers to add additional features and make things better. This is generally wholeheartedly welcomed by the wargaming community and is always seen as a good thing.

It's different with ASL. Even minute changes to the rules are met with open hostility and generally opposed. Although the reasons for this attitude are obvious, it basically means that ASL should and does remain the same. Thus we can add more nationalities and settings for the game, but ASL can't evolve like other wargames do. All that means is that gamers have to accept ASL for what it is, not what they wish it was.
Hi Don,
I cannot dispute real professionals who know what is required for teaching purposes. Getting back to the design of ASL, I suppose there is an outlet that neatly accomodate the modeling as discussed and that is the Optional Ruleset chapter. Though, I would prefer that doctrine, Tactics, battledrill, and fog of war should be integrated more into the body of the rules the fact remains that most players will only digest so much in an already dense ruleset.

I for one occupy the opposite end of the spectrum and that is for the ability to model more reality into the system. That is the beauty of the system, the open ended nature of the ruleset does in fact allow of optional rulesets to be neatly added into the book. Perhaps this is an opportunity for the TPC or MMP to think outside of the box and realise that they are not contrained by the grogs or casual players and to develop sections beyond the original ruleset to accomodate more realistic modeling.

I'm not sure I'm a minority in this view but, then again I'm a little from the old school of wargaming where it is a learning tool that simulates a small part of reality. ;)
 
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