Unwrapping – Winter Offensive 2018 – Bonus Pack 9

These following pictures refers to Chris’s (BattleSchool) comments down below :

Narrow Streets

Narrow Streets

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Prime real estate : 2 storey house on Level 3

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Looking for Wargames in Toronto? (Part 2)

Looking for Wargames in Toronto? (Part 1)

I visited the “remaining” of the 4 Toronto game stores today (Hairy Tarantula @ Gerrard & Yonge’s closed).

Hairy Tarantula North

This is the right place.  Take the door to the right.

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.. and this is what you will see on your right ..

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… further down the stairs ..

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The shop itself is a cavernous (big & dark) basement, focused primarily in comics and games like Dungeons & Dragons, Magic etc.  However, if you turn left and go all the way to the back of the store, there are a line of racks with some wargames.  Years ago I found a couple of Operation Watchtower here.  Today there are less than 5 copies of GMT games (There’s a dusty copy of Nightfighter stacked up top.).  The folks there thought they have a couple of ASL magazines but I think he’s confusing other games with ASL.

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Starbucks nearby.

Looking for Wargames in Toronto? (Part 1)

Product Review: Broken Ground Design Nationality Counter Sets

A designer in Canada, Alan Findlay of Broken Ground Design, endeavoured to rethink the whole (minus Japanese & Chinese) ASL counter set.  In the process, he also expanded into new counter designs as well – Snipers with SAN, Fanatics, Heroic Leaders, Wounded Leaders, Partisans, Berserkers, Free French and more.  Those who know me, know I am as far from a “counter-slut” as you can get – almost all of my games are on VASL.  Not only do I not have the space, I don’t have the patience to deal with physical counters.  I believe if I can do counters, I can be playing.

So I don’t like dealing with counters to start with and having seen the designs that Alan posted, I also thought they are too cartoonish to be part of ASL games.

But you know what?  These counters are NICE.  (Okay … and I was wrong.)

I am going to post a lot of pictures in this review.  I am also going to give you my thoughts and my experience with the Broken Ground Nationality counters, so you can make your own decision as to whether you should make the purchase.

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SS

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Partisans (Balkans) & Axis Minors

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French MMC

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French SMC

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Polish

Now before I continue, Alan stated two known issues :

  • Due to the short run, this batch was digitally printed. This means a higher possibility of mis-alignment with the die-cutting. The full project will use professional offset printing.
  • This batch is too thick. Four of my counters stack as high as 5 official counters. The next sample batch will be corrected for thickness.

Oh, you should also know that I don’t clip counters, not ever.  So chances are if you think these images are nice, your purchased counters will look even nicer than these.

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I mentioned that when I saw Alan’s counter designs earlier in the year, I thought they were too cartoonish.  Now that I’d seen the actual counters – they are not.  They sure look like they belong to ASL games.

I had only made cuts down each side of the rows, took entire strips out and broke each counter off by hand (stop screaming like a little girl).  The high quality of the die cut makes it possible.  However in a few instances, the back of the counters came off and shifted.

The good new is, I was able to “coax” the shifted graphic back in place with properly applied pressure (and meditation).

The graphics look terrific and the numbers are very visible, including the MMC identification letter on the top left.  The issue I have is with the smoke number.  Not only is the smoke number important by itself, the smoke number in a swapped colour set differentiates the Assault Engineers.  Not that it’s any worse that the existing counters we have, but I can’t comfortably see the smoke numbers on Broken Ground’s counters without proper lighting and magnification.

Broken Ground counters laid out a lot of SMCs.  There are:

  • “normal” leaders
  • wounded leaders
  • fanatic leaders
  • wounded fanatic leaders
  • heroic leaders
  • fanatic-heroic leaders.

I have only been playing for 4 years but I can hardly remember a leader going heroic, much less fanatic (by SSR mostly?) or fanatic-heroic.

Having said all that, having “specialised” SMC counters is nice, instead of piling on information counters on existing leaders.  If nothing else, the Wounded Leader counter will be used quite a bit.  Having Assault Engineer full squad and half squad clearly differentiated is nice as well.

Here are the Broken Ground counters against the new MMP Yanks 2 counters …

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French 1st line, Fanatic Elite, Polish Elite

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French Fanatic Heroic Leader, Wounded Fanatic Leader, Jedi Master, Fanatic Polish Hero

A couple of action shots …

A wounded leader huddles in the gully with a broken unit while the 2nd line squad is about to head into the smoke laid down by the neighbouring 1st liner in the woods

 

Here I have my AH French counters alongside the Broken Ground counters ..

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The French MMC & the 8-1 First Fired at the SS HS that Assault Moved down the path ..

I find the Broken Ground Nationality Sets to be attractive and highly visible.  The “extra” counters that Alan added are useful and contribute towards lessening the stacks.

Alan asked :

If your FtF opponent wanted to play a scenario using Broken Ground counters, would you say “no”?

No I won’t.  However the Broken Ground counters are so visible and looks so much better that it’s going to put a positive modifier on my Personal Morale Checks.  Postgame that Flame in my wallet is going to turn into a Blaze and burn a hole right through!

Any questions or thoughts, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

(All Photos are Copyrighted to the Hong Kong Wargamer.  Do not use without permission.)

Product Review : Broken Ground Design Vehicle Counters

 

Kinetic Energy & the excellent Time on Target packs

tiger

I found a bit of history today, related to the third party publisher Kinetic Energy that produced the famous Time on Target packs.

Fellow “ASLers,”

In light of the tumultuous events in our mutual hobby over the past year or two, Mark Neukom & I have made a rather tough decision. As of June 1st, 1999, Kinetic Energy Productions, Inc. will cease design, development, publication, and sale of all products that support and deal with the Advanced Squad Leader(tm) game (including all of its Modules).

There are myriad reasons for this decision, and I will not burden you with the details here. In a nutshell, it can be summed up as a case of the amount of personal gratification that we draw from our work not being enough to overcome the amount of “grief” we receive (an unfortunate byproduct of being a Third-Party Manufacturer in today’s hobby). That, along with the stark financial reality of operating in the “red” for a couple of years running, is all the justification we need. Rather than have this overflow to the point where we would cease enjoying the game itself altogether, we’ve decided to “case the colors” of Kinetic Energy Productions, Inc., as outlined in this announcement.

Mark & I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have supported Kinetic Energy Productions over the past six years. Extra special mention goes to KE Co-Founder John Knowles; KE Staffers Brian Abela and Chris Castellana; our volunteer Web-Master Bahadir Erimli; and Playtester suma cum Laude Fritz Tichy. We personally thank ALL of our other playtesters as well. The fruits of their labor show through in every one of our products, and are a key element of the success we have enjoyed in the past. These fine folk are too numerous to mention here, but you can find them listed in the credits of all our magazines & scenario packs. Finally, to those of you who purchased Time on Target magazine, and our March Madness scenario packs in the past, and/or attended the March Madness Tournament in Kansas City, our thanks as well. You helped keep our labor of love afloat for quite some time. We are quite proud of our track record, in quality and presentation, for every product we have published. In some ways, we feel gratified that our efforts have “raised the bar” and spurred others to better themselves as well, a good side-effect of the Third-party market that we sincerely hope will be allowed to continue in our absence. Further, we hope to see/hear AARs of “The Dogs of War” and other fine KE/TOT scenarios for quite a long time. However, please don’t take this as a license to freely copy & distribute KE/TOT “stuff.” Kinetic Energy Productions, Inc. (and in the case of its absence, Mark Neukom) reserves all rights to copyrights on the three issues of “Time on Target” magazine, all of the “March Madness” scenario packs, the “British Rare Vehicles” pack, and all unpublished Kinetic Energy projects (e.g., playtest packages & materials). Please respect our wishes in this matter.

Finally, please understand that Kinetic Energy Productions, Inc. will honor all orders that have been placed as of this date, and those that are postmarked on/before June 1st, 1999. Any distributors or individuals desiring to place any bulk order please contact me at mreed@sky.net ASAP. Orders postmarked after June 1st, 1999 will not be processed and will be returned to sender.

Regards,
Mike Reed
Kinetic Energy Productions, Inc.

Here are the responses from the ASL community.

This is the Christmas sales pamphlet, for 1999 – check out the prices!  

Enjoy!

Why can’t MMP use Kickstarter? What can’t MMP keep everything in print? And other everyday questions.

MMPA 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!