A lot of us has been frustrated with chasing after out of print ASL modules at some point in our ASL’ing lives:
Why can’t MMP use Kickstarter?
Why can’t MMP keep everything in print?
Some of us asked publicly and have gotten our answers at some point. At one such occasion, I asked MMP’s Brian Youse for his permission to post his answers on my blog for reference. Here’s what he said ..
I don’t believe we have any intention of kickstarting every, or even many, OOP game we have any time soon. 🙂
Why don’t we use Kickstarter – they take 8-10% the day your met campaign ends and everyone is billed.
A big game like Yanks/FKAC/Rising Sun/BV/etc. guesstimated costs us about 60-80k for the print runs we do, say 60k. Now we need a goal of 66k. Most Kickstarters have stretch goals (someone mentioned dice), add another few thousand. So I’m up to 70k easily as a funding point. How many games hit that dollar figure, when its a well established game (and most KS that are super successful have new minis – seems to us anyways and we’ve been watching for quite some time).
The problem is printers want to be paid in 30 days. A game like BV won’t sell -nearly- 60k in 30 days until some demand is generated. So RS, for example, has to be out of stock for a bit to build up demand.
The third real problem is we’ve had about six die-cutters in our existence. Each time requires the job be re-laid out to a die and that means proofing, because if you grab a layer badly, or something imports wrong, or any one of another issues then you’re missing the front AF or white turret ring. Our goal, of course, is to have things in a pick up the phone and say “print x thousand more” mode. Right now, I think only a few of our modules are like that. The French and the Italians need to be redone from scratch. So its not always -quite- so easy to just say “reprint AOO” – there’s some work involved and that work is just as easily spent on a new game which will sell more copies than a reprint of AOO – thus generating more income to keep doing things like paying employees, paying rent, keeping the shrink-wrapping machines repaired and well maintained, etc.
As someone said above, its a real balancing act on our end (in our opinion) to juggle new product, reprinting old product, determining what people may want next, won’t want next, etc.
It keeps Chas and Perry very busy, and me nagging them for “what’s next to keep enough rent in the bank.”
Kickstarter is very cool. It isn’t the cure-all a lot of people seem to believe it is, however. Again, in our opinion.
BTW – re: die cutting – getting an existing product ready for a new die-cutter is much, much easier than a new project (like Italians/French). We love our guy now, hope he’s in business forever, and doesn’t go nuts on price or product delay – I like our counters as much as any in the hobby, the die-cutting has been dead on balls accurate. Its an industry term. 🙂
BTW2 – while being OOP may seem like a constant state, its really a weird time-warp thing (IMO) because Rising Sun (for example) was in stock for like 3+ to 4 years. Took me by surprise, it -felt- like it was available for about 9 months. Chas had to pick me up off the floor when he said it was 4 years. Its not like some games i’ve seen / heard (Nintendo classic) which sold out in a month and is OOP for a decade.
We get occasional letters to reprint BRT (for example). That game was in stock for maybe 10 years, and we had to GIVE away the last 200 copies for what, maybe 10 or 15 bucks each? Pegasus Bridge was available for probably 15+ years and I know the last handful were sold for maybe 5 bucks at a show.
Its really tough to justify printing something that we had in stock for what seemed like forever and we couldn’t give away.
One more quick example – DAK. Reprint reprint reprint, so we did. Not a very large print run. Sold 500 of them fast. I think we sold most of the rest at a Black Friday sale over a few years for what was probably 20 cents on the dollar. 😦
We intend to reprint core modules. We will reprint starter kit “core” modules. We may reprint choice OCS and GTS. And the rest are way down the priority list…
Hong Kong Wargamer : Thank you Brian!
Notes from fellow gamers ..
- Robin Reeve : There are actually 17 scenarios
- “Srynerson” on GS : The Hungarian counters you noticed are errata counters for AoO apparently: http://forums.gamesquad.com/showthre…ight=hungarian
- Chas Argent : Yes, the box says 4 (ASLRB chapter dividers) as well, but we added one more divider after the box went into production (and a 17th scenario). ‘Cuz we love you.Well, most of you.
The Rising Sun is the latest reprint module from Multi-Man Publishing. It’s an impressive combination of the out-of-print modules Code of Bushido and Gung Ho!. The counter artwork was redone, the rules updated and the scenarios rebalanced, giving ASL‘rs everything he/she needs to get into the Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO). While a lot of our American compatriots have gotten their copies already, I suspect the rest of the world is only starting to get theirs.
Here’s the unboxing of a copy that hit the PTO today!
The Advanced Squad Leader Rulebook 2nd edition (“ASLRB”) is finally in print again!
I got mine from a tiny store in Mongkok two months ago. The Advanced Squad Leader Rulebook is massive: it’s a big box-file full of instructions to the best simulation in the history of board wargaming.
I have been working hard at learning it. The punch holes in some of the pages are already showing tear.
To protect my ASL bible, I have two options:
- Plastic punch hole ring reinforcement stickers
- Plastic page protectors
Plastic punch hole ring reinforcement stickers
Unfortunately, the punch holes on the pages are too big. I can’t find ring stickers that are the proper size.
Plastic page protectors
This is the pricier option but this is what I ended up doing. Not only are the holes protected from frequent reference, entire pages are now protected from food stains and beer spills!
Since each page is thicker with the plastic page protectors, I split the rulebook into two box-files. (I found a problem: I couldn’t get the holes in the plastic page protectors to work with the 3 rings in the original Advanced Squad Leader Rulebook binder.)
There are less than 250 pages in the rulebook – the standard set of rulebook sections plus sections F, G, Solitaire and a couple of Zs from ASL Journals. I bought 5 packs of A4-s size Kokuyo”Clear Book” refills that has 50 plastic page protectors each and I got two double ring box files. I put sections A to E in one box file and the rest in the second one.
Now I feel a lot more comfortable flipping through the protected pages in the less congested box-files!
To make the box-files look more authoritative, I scanned the Rulebook cover and spine. I want to get the images printed on A4 size stickers and put them on the front and spine of my box-files. They will look pretty nice when I’m done.
What do you do to protect your Advanced Squad Leader Rulebook?
Firstly, it’s important to know that most of the rules are in the Advanced Squad Leader Rulebook (2nd ed). The reason I said “most” is that some of the chapters are contained in the modules. There are also updates and corrections (errata) published periodically. That’s why the Rulebook is not bound but housed in a 3 ring binder.
Secondly, the Core Modules do NOT standalone like the Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kits. They each contain:
- Counter sheets that pertains to combatant countries in the Second World War.
- Numbered maps depicting playable terrain that can be freely combined as each game scenario dictates.
- Scenarios – situational setups with historical background, maps and counters involved, game turn limits that gives you three-hour games to campaigns that goes for days plus victory conditions. Quality of scenario design is a key element that makes Advanced Squad Leader fun.
Thirdly, this is where core module dependency comes in :
Scenarios contained in the modules, ASL magazines and 3rd party companies call for map combinations and combatant country counters that are sold in different modules.
For example : You need at least the Japanese counters plus the US Marines and/or the British to play any PTO (Pacific theater of operations) scenarios. That requires the ownership of a number of modules to play.
So here’s a brief description of the orders of battle provided by each Advanced Squad Leader Core Module:
- Beyond Valor : Russian & German units (“order of battle“) plus some Finnish units. This is the first core module that anyone should get.
- Yanks : US order of battle (European theater of operations)
- For King & Country : British order of battle. This replaced West of Alamein as the provider of the British order of battle.
- Rising Sun (coming soon) : Japanese, Chinese and the US Marines. This is the relaunched combination of Code of Bushido and Gung Ho.
- Croix de Guerre : French order of battle
- Doomed Battalions : Allied Minors
- Hollow Legions : Italian order of battle
- Armies of Oblivion : Axis Minors
- Partisans : well, partisans of various European countries
Top notched resources:
- Mark Pitcavage’s Desperation Morale website is a top notched guide to Advanced Squad Leader products.
- “Boots” ASL Noob Review provides great information about these core modules as well.
- ASL Module Dependency Chart shows you which modules you need before you can play all the scenarios in each module
I hope this gives you a better idea of how to acquire your Advanced Squad Leader modules! Please let me know if you have any questions!
How about coming home everyday to 30 mins of PBeM game over VASL?
Whether you are a fellow newbie who would like to learn together or an experienced ASLer who don’t mind helping me up the curve. I play to enjoy and to learn. Please message me at jackson-dot-kwan-at-gmail-dot-com!!
- Why Do I Love Advanced Squad Leader? (hongkongwargamer.com)
- Key to the Advanced Squad Leader Modules Before You Buy Any (hongkongwargamer.com)
- The Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kits Are A Great Way To Start! (hongkongwargamer.com)