Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Recent ASL News & A Rant


Wow, you'd think the hobby was in a "Renaissance" mode or something.

Anyways, I was going to post this the other night but real life intervened and yesterday was Remembrance Day and it didn't feel appropriate. Here's the fun ASL news o' the moment:

  • Multi-Man Publishing has announced that Action Pack 5 - East Front is now on pre-order and if history is anything to go by, it should make its pre-order fast and then be off to the printer and shipped in a few months or less. Not the biggest news for the newbie considering that the scenario pack and maps are not for us but remember that if you like ASL never pass up a chance to get in-print product!

  • The gentlemen at 2 Half-Squads have released a few more bonus episodes one of which is a play-by-play commentary of an ASLSK Scenario S7 Prelude to Festung Brest (available for FREE at MMP). I haven't had a chance to check it out yet but the 2 Half-Squads have yet to disappoint.

  • ASL hits myspace?! Desperation Morale's Mark Pitcavage has created a new myspace page dedicated to ASL in an effort to reach out to newbies and those curious about the game. Hats off to Mr. Pitcavage for his efforts! Check it out here!

  • Speaking of podcasts, I've stumbled upon Point2Point which is a wargaming (in general) podcast. The most recent episode, #37, has an interview with MMP contractor Chas Argent (the coordinator for the aforementioned Action Pack 5!). In it Mr. Argent talks about some of the effort that goes into producing new ASL stuff and getting old stuff ready to print. It's quite informative and goes a long way in making me less crazy about how MMP does their business.

Rant Mode:

I've been brewing up a good rant in my head recently over the difficulty in getting the basic stuff required to simply play and enjoy ASL for newbies. Starter Kit #1 is still out of stock and so is the first full ASL module Beyond Valor. If this seems ludicrous to you you're not alone. (It seems to be a touchy subject over at Gamesquad's forums for example.) The obvious starting point in this whole argument is how MMP can hope to grow the hobby if the barrier to entry is this high...?

I think I got some of the answers from the Point2Point interview with Chas Argent. It's apparent that MMP is trying their best to come out with the best product possible and avoid the situation of issuing errata to hastily assembled and play-tested stuff. Given that the market is a niche one playtesters (and reliable ones at that) aren't lining up around the block with tons of time on their hands. It sounds to me like MMP is doing what they can to ensure the hobby is stable and not just pumping out stuff to "make money" -- I think we can all agree that ASL is not a massive moneymaker or something like that. In the interview Mr. Argent chatted about the sheer amount of work that simply goes into laying out the revamped modules, scenario sheets, and miscellany that goes into something like an Action Pack or Core Module. Art that no longer exists must somehow be reproduced and other difficult tasks seem daunting to a layman like me.


I'm a little more willing to cut MMP some slack. (Who the hell am I to judge anyways?!) ASL is, to use a clich├ęd term, a labour of love. For example, Brian Youse and Perry Cocke, two of the principals at MMP still have day jobs! To those frustrated by this difficulty in getting product I say have a little bit more patience. In the meantime, do your part to get friends and others introduced to ASL with your own copy of ASLSKs and hopefully MMP will have this stuff out soon!


That is all.

UPDATE: MMP has fixed their SSL issue so we can all pre-order again! Now if only shipping to Canada didn't mysteriously go through frickin' Sweden first...


recruit2112 said...

At bare minimum, the three SK's should always be available. After that the rule book and Beyond Valor should always take priority.

scrub said...

You'll get no argument from me.