Which direction for publishers

Harold

Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2003
Messages
209
Reaction score
1
Location
Puget Sound
Country
llUnited States
Personally I am looking forward to the Stalingrad modules and Korea. I would rather see those before AoO :twisted: . I have also played the G48 CG and a few scenarios from Guerra Civil. Both were a hoot.
Looking down the road I am afraid boardwargaming in general is dying. Computer games like Combat Mission are where it is at. Whether we like it or not we are dinosaurs. ASL has more staying power than most games or series simply because of the vast network and following it has. Still, it is a niche within a niche and nothing is going to change that.
 

Doug Kirk

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2003
Messages
1,904
Reaction score
492
Location
Columbia, MO
Country
llUnited States
RE: new geo maps

I am not sure saying that adding new maps to the system makes it harder for newbies to join up is a valid arguement. ASL has long ago passed the point of intimidation, expensive, or just in general "ease of entry" for newbies. I think Paratrooper and BV should be sold with boards much like they are now (and perhaps Yanks and the Brits), and thus keep the newbie cost of entry under $150 for a rulebook and BV. After that, everthing should be an add on. The mix and match system of what boards come in what module are a mess. Scrap it all. Sell the Italians with a pack of Italian scenarios only, no maps. The same for the other minor nationalites. Then sell the geo maps seperately, perhaps in bundles of ten with a small discount. Then people can pick and chose what they want.
 

klsmith

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2003
Messages
184
Reaction score
14
Location
Radford, Virginia
Country
llUnited States
What would be helpful for newsbies (beside iASL) would be an online database that contains all available scenarios (official or those TPP that chose to participate), and makes them available for pdf downloads for a fee.

Everybody's interests are different, but when I first started playing (after collecting all the stuff for years and years), I scoured all the scenarios for those that I could reasonably expect to play (ie: 6 or less turns, no exotic rules or weapons or terrain).

If a newbie has 4 boards and the German and Russian counters, and he wanted to play a scenario that was less than 6 turns, wouldn't it be great if you could just go to the MMP site, search for that criteria and download all the scenarios that fit those parameters for some amount of $.

I think it would be great, anyway.

Ken
 

Markdv5208

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2003
Messages
2,988
Reaction score
280
Country
llUnited States
GIVE ME MORE ASL....please?

Anything put out by
-MMP
-HOB
-Schwerpunkt

I own. I think the quality of their material speaks volumes, and it's given me a hobby within the hobby ie collecting their stuff and THEN playing it that I know that I'm not alone in. Can;t forget the BUNKER crew in that category.

George Kelln (sp?) stuff I've come to like, though I play with my FTF opponent (Jeff DeYoung) primarily on those scenarios, and don't own copies of said same.


CH disappoints me, as it does many, but I will note that their recent product, BLOOD AND IRON is decent enough, so much so that I bought a copy of it after playing a few with Jeff.


I'm taking my heart pills and breathing heavily at the very thought that anything that was related to KE and TOT is coming back via any route.
PRAISE BE that Mike Reed and MMP can do Korea.

IF ANYTHING, I'm happy with QUALITY over QUANTITY.

IN SHORT and IN SUMMARY, I relate to crack addicts around the world with my own addiction aka ASL....just can't get enough QUALITY ASL in.

Just my humble opinions.

Oh, Evan, if you read this, Semper Fi. And keep up the good work.
 

Matt Romey

Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2003
Messages
264
Reaction score
9
Location
Long Beach, CA
First name
Matt
Country
llUnited States
Re: GIVE ME MORE ASL....please?

MarkDV said:
IF ANYTHING, I'm happy with QUALITY over QUANTITY.
How do you define quality? I define it: you play this, you are guarenteed a fun time.

Others have other definitions.
 

Markdv5208

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2003
Messages
2,988
Reaction score
280
Country
llUnited States
What is quality

QUALITY is something that is, IMHO

-free or close to free of errata

-has replay value (never mind I don't have time to replay scenarios....)


BTW, if you are who I think you are, KUDOS....
(you did have something to do with TOT at one time, right?...)

Mark De Vries
 

Doug Kirk

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2003
Messages
1,904
Reaction score
492
Location
Columbia, MO
Country
llUnited States
quality

I think most people's definition of quality involves a mix of balance, fun factor, replayabilty, and errata. Your personal preferences simply decide which feature dominates the others. I prefer fun first and foremost, with balance a very close second, then minimal errata, with replayabilty last since I rarely ever play a scenario twice, except at tourneys. As for the producers, I could be perfectly happy playing just Schwerpunkt and George Kelln scenarios the rest of my life, so I hope they don't change a thing and keep on producing.
 

SSA415

Recruit
Joined
Feb 6, 2003
Messages
14
Reaction score
1
Country
llUnited States
Dinosaurs & a Radical? suggestion

Whoever said we're dinosaurs is right. I'm 26 and I'm the youngest ASLer I know. My best friend is 28. I figure I'm going to start watching obituaries and cleaning up on your estate sales in a few years.... But boardgames beyond "german games" are dying. Even within ASL, this seems to be the case, as VASL is ever more people's "primary" mode of play....

That said, the module system is every bit as much a dinosaur. This system for the core modules was predicated on an audience who would be introduced through SL, then COI, COD, and then GI. By this point, they would be bleeding from their ears every time they had to look up a rule and so even the ASLRB would be a viable alternative. This, in fact, is very much how my best friend and I taught ourselves the game in college. But even that was almost ten years ago now. The basic game is out of print, so the "ladder" is no longer there. BV was built with the idea that you had the four gamettes of SL. Not a bad idea in 1985, but a completely silly one now as they are out of print permanently.

So, for people to start playing now they have to find a RB and a BV. That's what we tell them. And when they've done this, they find they can play only some of what they've bought. What good is that? The modules connections between boards and OBs was a little weird to begin with, so why not sever it entirely?

Why not sell the game modularly in the true sense? That is, be able to buy "Russian/German OB," "American OB, "Axis Minor OB (to be released function=this year)," etc. Buy the boards in 5 or 10 packs, buy the scenarios in packet form.... And so on. The modules were arbitrary to begin with and they're really getting cockeyed now, especially with the whole ASLRB 1/2/3 pages deal. The maps really are already available this way, why not the whole system? Maybe even have a basic box? $200 (sorry, if you're not going to spend that you're not going to play) gets you Russians, Germans, Americans, 10 boards, 25 scenarios you can play, a rulebook and a CD version. If there are ever to be newbies, the current "ASLQuest" introcuctory hunt has to be eliminated.

Also, once the "Core Modules" are out, this is really very close to continuing with HASLs and APs. The question is just how to repackage the core, and I don't think this is (too) crazy.

Just thoughts. Personally, I survived the quest. But it did leave me scarred. :wink:

S
 

TankDawg

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2003
Messages
173
Reaction score
3
Location
Seattle, WA
Country
llUnited States
Hello SSA415 (BTW, what the hell kind of user name is that?)

:lol:

Really appreciate your post and input. One of my opponents, Harold, was who coined the term Dinosaur in the post above.

We were playing at our local game store last week, and a guy about your age (26) or so, looked at us like we were from fricking Mars when we explained our 'board game.' He had never seen ANYTHING like it. Not Axis and Allies, not Risk - no BOARD Games at all. Really had an impact on Harold and me.

I like your 'radical' idea and hope it is kicked around further. I think it will take something like it if we have any chance of attracting more players than the the 1000 or so that are out there.

Keep those ideas coming! You represent the generation that we need to attract. If you have more ideas or want to be a sounding board for us at HoB, send me a PM on this forum.

Thanks again, SSA415.
 

SSA415

Recruit
Joined
Feb 6, 2003
Messages
14
Reaction score
1
Country
llUnited States
Radical Ideas and Kind Words

SSA415: Initials and Birthday....
Spencer Sallee Armstrong April 15

Jeff:

I appreciate the kind words, but even I'm not even sure I like "my" idea, but the current system simply is not working. Even I know potential players (some around my age) and they are being turned off by the impossibility of entry. I just hope something can be figured out. The biggest problem I see with the "truly modular" concept is how the heck anyone makes money at it? I have visions of stacks of Italian OB's sitting unsold in MMP's warehouse.

S
 

Roy Connelly

Recruit
Joined
Jan 28, 2003
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
Location
Wichita, Kansas
Country
llUnited States
Radical Ideas

Guys,

I'm with you I think. I posted earlier on this, and wish to alter my opinion. After thinking it over, there is no golden method for us to bring this game to new people. One of our club members had a friend who was playing Barbarossa to Berlin with him, he was also interested in playing ASL. He told him "Well, I'll just go get a rulebook", "uhhhh.....yeah, well that's part of the problem, you're not going to find one. Or any of the counters you need, or any of the boards you need. We'd really like to have you as part of the group and get you started in the game but, you can't buy any of the nessecary parts to get going." :cry: We don't turn anyone away, but when they find out they can't even get key components, they want to do something else.

We just finished a trip to Kansas City (we're in Wichita, Ks) as a group to visit the Kansas City boys. They have five players that they know of. One is actually from Lawrence (45 min away from KC), two are in the Military, and will be leaving in a year or two, and one is moving at the end of the month. So a city with a few million people, at a point a couple of years down the road (barring any players moving there) will have a total of two players, and one doesn't actually live in Kansas City. We have half a million here, and have a grand total of 6 people who play regularly.

At the club in KC, they meet at a nice board game hobby shop. Two six foot tall shelves of wargames, and the only ASL they had was one Paratrooper module. Here in Wichita, we don't even have a game shop. 500,000 people and we have nowhere to buy our stuff.

This game is going to die with us, the current players. So I amend what I wrote earlier, keep making new stuff, because the only people who are interested in buying it are those of us who already have everything we need to play. It is getting increasingly harder for anyone else to catch up from square one.

I know this sounds like I'm bitching, I'm actually not. My earlier post sounded like I was bagging on MMP, I wasn't. I'm glad they are there. I believe they listen to us. I believe they will take all the criticism from J4 and run with it, and impress us with J5. And I appreciate what they do, in their spare time, with virtually no profit, and with all the criticism they take on everything they do.

To actually go back to Evan's original question, since I never really gave an opinion: Options in scenarios, options in the OB, options in the victory conditions, etc.... is where it's at. They are harder to playtest, but I believe this is the future of scenarios. Variable OB, being able to choose some of your troops, conditional reinforcements, Victory conditions that change a bit based on how you are doing, or optional victory conditions. I don't really care about theater, or nationality....I like to play them all.

Take it easy. :wink:

Roy
Southern Kansas ASL
 

TankDawg

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2003
Messages
173
Reaction score
3
Location
Seattle, WA
Country
llUnited States
Re: Radical Ideas

Roy Connelly said:
Guys,


To actually go back to Evan's original question, since I never really gave an opinion: Options in scenarios, options in the OB, options in the victory conditions, etc.... is where it's at.
Roy
Southern Kansas ASL
Roy,

Stay tuned for HoB product announcement later this week. I think you will be pleased.
 

Markdv5208

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2003
Messages
2,988
Reaction score
280
Country
llUnited States
Reply to SSA415s great idea

First, I agree, what the !@%@ kind of name is SSA415....

But I digress....

His idea of releasing ASL as GERMAN/RUSSIAN then USA then...whoever is a good one.

HOWEVER, it'll never happen.

(I'm retired military so I can say this)

MMP is kind of like the military at this point--good ideas if they are contrary to the bureaucracy are verboten.

Mind you, I'm very grateful for MMP--they keep the game alive, keep the erratta down, they publish stuff, or at least some of it....(I've heard they've got an archive of unpublished scenarios....but that's another story)

ANYWAYS, the point is, good innovative idea, never will happen IMHO.

Mark De Vries
 

Perry

Forum Guru
Joined
Feb 4, 2003
Messages
1,811
Reaction score
2,770
Location
Baltimore, MD
Country
llUnited States
Re: Reply to SSA415s great idea

MarkDV said:
HOWEVER, it'll never happen.

(I'm retired military so I can say this)

MMP is kind of like the military at this point--good ideas if they are contrary to the bureaucracy are verboten.

Mind you, I'm very grateful for MMP--they keep the game alive, keep the erratta down, they publish stuff, or at least some of it....(I've heard they've got an archive of unpublished scenarios....but that's another story)

ANYWAYS, the point is, good innovative idea, never will happen IMHO.

Mark De Vries
Retired? Aren't you a little young for that?

Yeah, that hide-bound bureuacracy of four guys sure gums up the works.

C'mon. If we were sure it would boost sales, we would be all over it.

As for an archive of unpublished scenarios, we just tell the guys we are keeping their scenarios for later. We really just can them. ;)

But I am curious. Is it all good innovative ideas that we trash? Or just this one? ;)
 

Markdv5208

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2003
Messages
2,988
Reaction score
280
Country
llUnited States
In reply...

WEll, 38 is my age, so thanx for asking. ANd yes, I did get 20 years in, between the Natl Guard and Reserves (got out of a tank Co. last May 2002)

I'm flattered you'd respond...ok, 4 guys aint a bureaurcracy, I grant you that.....

But the gentlemans post is on the money ie maybe a change in format in how the system is sold would be in order ie to attract new blood.

HAVING SAID THAT, I also agree with the sentiments (expressed here? or the ASLML?) that computers have forever changed this hobby and that boardgamers are in some ways b/c of that a dying breed. So in light of that, maybe it's just too much of a hassle to change....


And I'm having a Waynes World moment....NOT PERRY COCKE...I"M NOT WORTHY.....

Mark
 

Jeff Leslie

Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2003
Messages
347
Reaction score
49
Location
Akron, Ohio
Country
llUnited States
It appears to me that Evan's original question has gotten buried under a huge heap of gripes, bitches, complaints, and personal wish lists from a bunch of people who already own just about everything that's ever been published under the name of ASL, myself included.

The original question is what direction should the publishers take. Just look at all the posts in this thread. Most of the people here have been playing ASL for at least 10 years, maybe more. I'll bet I'm not the only guy here who started out with SL back in the late 70's. I've only been to 2 ASLOK's (which is inexcusable since I only live 45 minutes from where it takes place), but it's basically the same people each time, give or take a couple dozen. Yes there are new faces I'm sure, but it's mostly the same people every time, and we're not getting any younger.

The publishers (I'm referring to MMP, since they are the only ones with the LEGAL license to produce anything officially ASL) don't appear to have much of a strategy for the future of this hobby. The only direction ASL has gone since AH went tits up is down. Sure, there have been some great products released since then, but all of the products released in the past few years assume that you have the core modules and the ASLRB.

Let's say I'm a 16 year old (how old were YOU when you started?) who knows nothing of ASL (assuming you can pry the kid away from his PS2 to begin with) - I've heard of ASL but have never seen it - and I have an interest in small-unit tactical gaming of WWII, and I'm browsing the shelves of my local game store, what am I going to find? Blood Reef Tarawa, cool - anything with the word blood in it has got to be cool. What's this? It doesn't come with the rulebook, and I need to buy 2 other modules to be able to play it. Yeah, right dude. Have a nice day.

Here's what the kid should find:
Three core modules of ASL covering all of World War II. Each a stand alone module, one covering 1939-1942 (ETO), another covering 1943-1945 (ETO), and the final one covering PTO. Each module comes with a HTML rulebook on CD. Heck, who cares if people copy the CD's. MMP should be passing them out for people to use as frisbees or coasters. What is somebody going to do with the ASLRB on CD without any of the components? Play VASL you say? Heck, MMP should hire Rod Kinney or even make him a managing partner, and turn VASL into a Pay-To-Play thing. It works for half a million people with Everquest, why not a couple thousand with ASL? Better than the couple hundred out there now....

Back to the modules. If the kid wants to play PTO only, he buys the PTO module and can play all of the current official PTO scenarios out there. As a bonus, included in the module is the CG, BRT. This module probably won't be cheap, but look at what he has to buy now to play BRT. Rulebook - oh, wait - can't get that right now. But, if he could, it's $60. Gung Ho - $65. Code of Bushido - $50. Let's not forget BRT itself - $55. Grand Total: $230. Just to have all his LVT's shot up before they even reach the beach.

So, sell the kid the PTO module for $120. Comes with the ASLRB on CD (saving printing costs and a few trees), so the kid can even put it on his laptop or PDA. Also comes with all the boards and maps necessary to play the scenarios inside (unmounted to save space and cost). Yeah, that's not cheap, but mom will buy it for him if it'll get him away from the Game Cube for a few hours because now her electric bill goes down, and the TV might last another year.

Now the kid gets into this ASL thing, and goes out and picks up the other 2 modules to expand his horizons beyond the PTO.

Could it happen like that? I don't know, I have a hard time believing that many kids today would even care about gaming WWII. One thing is for sure, the kid definitely can't play right now because the ASLRB is out of print, and if our kid was into the 1939-1942 ETO, then he's really SOL because now he can't get the British or the Axis minors. So, warping back to our kid with BRT in his hands, when he sees what he needs and what he can't get, he puts it down and goes and buys another First Person Shooter.

Certainly, if something isn't done soon to modernize ASL and make it more accessible to the masses, then we're all going to be looking at the same people every year at ASLOK. There are lots of people out there that want to get into the game, but they can't. It'll have to be done by MMP, because they hold The License. TPM are great, and maybe under a newer way of thinking they would be encouraged rather than beat down by lawyers. Evan, that's why I said what I did in my original post.
 

kdalton

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2003
Messages
2,633
Reaction score
346
Location
Hurricane, WV
Country
llUnited States
Interesting thread. Lots of ideas, lots of opinions.

Interesting that we have this dichotomy of WWII ASL - Non WWII ASL. Personally, I believe both can exist. The Korea group's work is really taking shape thanks to Mike Reed and Ken Katz. Tom Repetti is really hitting the maps along with Don Petros. Coincidentally, at the same time we have the Kursk CG being worked on by a group at the same time as Korea, the Budapest HASL which was demo'd at WO but still a ways off. Personally I am looking forward to Korea and the Philipine module (still a ways off as fas as I know).

You want interesting maps, trust me, you'll have'em in Korea if the direction in which the group is going bears fruit.

Interesting that no one mentioned the intro project more. Considering that ASL was created on the premise that people would have a working knowledge of SL or access to SL to learn the basics - that seems to be a fairly obvious product gap that we're addressing right now. Rob Wolkey is playtesting this with a group of folks.
 

Pitman

Forum Guru
Joined
Jan 27, 2003
Messages
14,104
Reaction score
2,371
Location
Columbus, OH
Country
llUnited States
It's hard for me to understand how anybody can say the direction of ASL since AH went, ahem, breasts vertical, is down.

With one exception, the direction has been up, and MMP deserves praise for this accordingly. Go back to the dark days of 1994-1995, when newsletters and ASL publications complained about how AH had abandoned ASL and how ASL was doomed. MMP and CH both arose out of this pessimistic time. When MMP was asked by AH to take over the ASL stuff, ASL got a new lease on life.

When AH folded and MMP was able to continue producing ASL, a group of people with a long-term concern for the health and future of ASL were in charge for the first time.

Because of this, the rulebook got a much-needed second edition, the core modules began to be reprinted, much delayed HASLs finally started seeing the door, and amazingly, Armies of Oblivion even began to be worked on.

Moreover, this was done without a noticeable drop-off in quality from the AH days.

Some of the things in the works now also speak to MMPs concern for the long-term future of ASL--including the playtesting of Introductory ASL that is now going on.

The only real criticism I would have would be regarding MMP's unwarranted hostility to TPPs, especially in its early years (it has mellowed a little bit). Leaving that aside, I think it is quite unfair to suggest ASL is going in a downward direction.

ASL has a number of clubs, tournaments, fanzines & TPP, etc., that is probably unmatched by any other wargame out there (certainly I am unable to think of one).

That does not strike me as exactly dying.
 

SSA415

Recruit
Joined
Feb 6, 2003
Messages
14
Reaction score
1
Country
llUnited States
I didn't mean to gripe....

Ok, It's my initials and birthday. AIM handle originally, now use it other places, pretty common on AIM. Sheesh. :wink: (And as for you, MarkDV, you just think you're a bigshot cause you got two capital letters in your last name!)

If I seemed like I was griping, I didn't mean it that way. I have really enjoyed MMPs efforts, the Journals most of all.

And I apologize if I splintered the thread....

The original question was really something to the effect of: what do you want to see publishers do in the future? Well, I want it all. I want crappy tanks, I want heavy metal, I want all infantry. Korea's cool, I think the system would fall down any farther in the future, WWI would be dull. I mean you'd have what 1-1-6 squads? I'm not hung up on one flavor, I really like 'em all. So give me fun, balanced scenarios of all flavors (long and short, ETO and PTO, Armor and Infantry).....

Spencer "ASL is like a box of choc... <SLAP!>" Armstrong
 
Top