Well worth reading. Bring some kleenex:
Mostly news from MMP catching my interest at the moment. Brian Youse posted on ConSim World on the 8th:
“It is with great, well, shock, that we have to announce that Yanks, the American expansion for ASL, is out of print. Ten years and 8 days after we signed our contract with Hasbro.
I, personally, never thought we’d sell out of Yanks. I am still shocked.”
Yanks was reprinted by AH shortly before being bought out by Hasbro, and MMP has always characterized the stock as being huge (consider that they’ve reprinted Beyond Valor which you need before Yanks two or three times, and are about to run out again in the same period of time).
A quick look at the state of ASL ‘core components’:
Rulebook – 2nd edition in print.
Beyond Valor (Russians, Germans, system counters) – Just a few left, due to be reprinted when they can gather the cash. Say this summer.
Yanks (Americans) – Out of Print. They’re going to have to recreate the entire thing from scratch. Presumably, they have the original art, and that’s it. Given the time it takes MMP’s tiny part-time staff to do this stuff, it’s going to be a couple years at least. Expect to see the scenarios from Paratrooper (which is permanently gone) with it when it does get printed.
Partisan (Allied Minor infantry) – Considered obsolete and on sale until gone. Presumably, its scenarios will be in the next printing of Armies of Oblivion, but until then, they’re only available here. (Admittedly, it doesn’t have any that players consider anything special.)
For King and Country (British) – Replaced the combined British/desert West of Alamein, and is out of print. Due to be reprinted with Beyond Valor, it should be going onto the pre-order list soon to help them raise the money.
Hollow Legions (Italians) – Out of print. This had the rest of the desert materials, and the plan is to reprint it with all of the desert materials. The Italian part has been printed by MMP before, but the desert materials (chapter F and overlays) need redoing.
Pacific (Japanese, Chinese, USMC, Pacific theater rules) – Both the old Code of Bushido and Gung Ho are long out of print, and they are going to be re-released as one big module (actual name unknown). They’ve been working on the layout of this for some time, so it’s possible it’ll come out late this year—or not.
Croix de Guerre (French) – In print, and I think, still AH stock.
Doomed Battalions (Allied Minors) – Originally rushed out the door as the last thing AH did before the Hasbro buyout. Out of print, but due to be reprinted at the end of January. The new version will also include all the materials from the old Last Hurrah module (also in print…).
Armies of Oblivion (Axis Minors) – Marked ‘temporarily unavailable’ on the MMP site, but you can still order it there. Not sure what’s going on.
Also, Action Pack 5 is out and shipping to customers. The reprint of ASL Journal 2 sounds like it will go to the printers about the same time as Doomed Battalions. And they’ve put a new scenario pack up for preorder, Turning the Tide. It’s going to have 20 scenarios translated from various Squad Leader sources. I haven’t kept track, but that sounds like just about all that’s left on that front.
Outside of ASL they’re also keeping busy: PanzerBlitz: Hill of Death (once known as “PanzerBlitz 2000″…) has started printing components, the game itself will probably ship in February. Bastonge and GD’42 are also going to the printers.
They’ve also put a reprint of Guderian’s Blitzkrieg II up for preorder, along with Battle Above the Clouds. This last has me particularly excited, as it’s a new game in the Great Campaigns of the American Civil War series, which gets great reviews… but has been completely out of print for some years. I can only hope that this is just the beginning of more work (and reprints) of the series.
I saw a commercial for them the other day.
My copy of Successors just showed up today from GMT. I thought the game looked really interesting when Avalon Hill first published it over a decade ago, and now I actually have a copy.
Physically, it looks very good. The usual solid bookcase box, counters, a couple of nice looking dice, and a really, really nicely mounted board (nice surface texture to it too). And in about two weeks, I should get a chance to see how it plays.
Also, MMP is apparently just about to put the next Action Pack (#5) up on preorder. The usual deal, a dozen scenarios, three new boards; this time all set on the Eastern Front. Board 56 will have a somewhat spread out village with a mix of wooden and stone buildings and a number of groves/orchards. Board 57 is a second ‘transition’ board with buildings mostly along one side of the board, allowing a city to taper out more naturally. Board 58 is a three level hill with a number of orchards, and a bit of a pocket valley along one side of the center.
They’re really starting to come out with those faster than I can keep up….
Been meaning to get to this for a while. But I’ve been waiting for my good copy of AP4 to come in (see below).
Origins, one of the bigger gaming conventions, happened a week ago, which means that there’s also been a few new products lately.
ADB managed to get out Captain’s Log #37 while finishing off Module X1R (additional X-ships, as well as rules for ‘partial refits’) as their “Origins product”. They reported that the dealer’s room was smaller, but that they had very good sales. Next up should be Module Y2, with more early years ships for the empires in Y1, and the early ISC.
Also, several people have noted that it felt like a thinner crowd this year, but the convention ran 5 days (up from 4) and Origins reports a total increase in attendees, so they seem to have been spread out more.
MMP has had two new products recently. Action Pack 4 for ASL came out about a month ago. I’ve received my pre-ordered copy, but it was damaged in shipping, and I’m still waiting for its replacement to arrive. (Which they offered to send as soon as they heard the word “damaged”, I would have been willing to submit photographs as proof.) I haven’t really looked over the damaged copy, but what I’ve seen looks good. I have looked over the latest re-work of walls and bocage, and think they’ve done a fine job of clearing up a couple things that weren’t defined and providing some great examples (one of which came from an article in ASL Journal 3). They’ve also just released Warriors of God a fairly simple game of the 100 Years War that has been getting some glowing reviews, as well as South Mountain, the latest entry in The Gamer’s line, and part of the Regimental Sub-Series (RSS). They have also posted another game to the preorder list: Storm Over Stalingrad. They mention that it is on schedule to be released at Heat of Battle 2 in August, and will be released no matter what, the pre-orders are for those who want it early and cheap. The title would seem to be a reference to the fact that it uses a similar system the popular AH game, Storm Over Arnhem.
GMT meanwhile is reporting about 30 copies left of Blackbeard, pretty fast sales for a game that only came out a couple months ago. I imagine it has a reprint in its future. The schedule of game releases pushes on, with The Napoleonic Wars (reprint/2nd ed.) having gone out, and they’re gearing up for Successors (another AH reprint/new edition); I should get my copy late this month.
EDIT: And now that I’ve posted this anyway, my replacement copy has shown up.
If you deal much with ink-jet printers, you know that printer manufacturers are making most of their money with consumables: ink and paper. The fight to maintain their profits include various methods of convincing people to use their own branded paper, and more especially ink.
I just came across this article at Trustedreviews, looking into how all of this holds up in actuality. The methodology looks pretty tight, though I need to look for the promised updates for color durability.
The interesting points include:
*The combination of printer+branded ink+branded paper did not win any of the overall quality scores.
*The branded papers did better than the branded inks.
On the entire ‘no-refills thanks to the embedded chips’ thing, it seems that’s something of a myth. The refilled cartridges generally work fine. However, Lexmark printers will claim ‘low ink’ for the entire life of an off-brand cartridge, and most off-brand (not refilled) Canon cartridges want you to transplant the chip from a real cartridge (odd…).
More worrisome is the fact that they did have some reliability problems with the off-brand inks.
Been meaning to post on happenings in the wargaming world for a little bit, but it’s hard to find the time to gather everything together.
First off, ADB, after several delays, is putting out it’s next round of products. There have been delays because their die-cutter told them they didn’t want to do it anymore, so ADB ended up shopping for a new one at the last minute. But, as of today, “Distant Kingdoms, Omega Five, Boosters 19 and 20 are on the cart.” Omega 5 and FC:DK were mentioned in Wargame News II (correction: Distant Kingdoms isn’t a boxed set, but akin to the “Attack” products—lots of stuff, but not a complete game). The Boosters are more ship cards for FC, I assume to go with FC:DK.
In all the excitement, other things have been pushed back. Captain’s Log 37 will probably come out in June, and it sounds like X1R and/or Y2 for SFB will be out for Origins (both have just had their counters done). Progress is being made on d20 Modern version of Prime Directive, with d20 and GURPS versions of the Federation sourcebook due after that. The next important FC release is Orion Attack, which is currently scheduled for August or September.
MMP is keeping busy, having quietly put another four items on their preorder page recently. Where Eagles Dare is the second half of a company-level treatment of Operation Market-Garden. No Question of Surrender is part of WED/TDC “Grand Tactical Series”, dealing with The Battle of Bir Hakeim. No Peace Without Spain is a strategic game about the War of Spanish Succession (I need to take a longer look at this one). And finally, Angola is a reprint/rework of a 1988 game on the Angolan civil war.
Meanwhile, Action Pack 4 hit its preorder number in under a week, spent a little under a month in final proofing, and now all the components have come back from the printer. It’s just waiting on the last initial shipments of South Mountain to go out, and then it starts shipping.
In the last month, GMT has shipped a reprint of Combat Commander: Europe, and a new version the Avalon Hill game, Blackbeard. SPQR Deluxe and Kutuzov will ship at the end of this month, and in June, respectively, and GMT has started charging preorders for them. And, they’ve added three new items to the P500 list: Crown of Roses, a block game of the Wars or the Roses. Nightfighter, a WWII nighttime dogfight game. And Serpents of the Seas, an age of sail naval game.
MMP has just put a few new things on preorder:
The star of the show is definitely ASL Action Pack 4: Normandy 1944. The fighting in Normandy is probably the most well-covered part of WWII in ASL, and this is going to add another 12 scenarios to the total. The good news is that a lot of the early coverage was purely centered around the paratroopers on and right after D-Day, while this is a bit more spread around. However, I’d say the really nice part is the three boards that will be included: 53 – a nice village surrounded by orchards; 54 – typical dense hedgerows and orchards, which we haven’t seen on a normal board before, and I like the wooded path at hexrow L; 55 – more hedges and orchards with low hills and some sunken roads that I understand a lot of hedgerow roads turned into. So, terrain-wise it looks interesting. Supposedly, MMP is trying to get all ASL materials into final proof before putting it on preorder, so it should be ready about 4 weeks after it hits the magic number (and that’ll take what, a week?).
Next is Bastogne, a game focusing on the actual defense of Bastogne behind the lines of the German advance during the Battle of the Bulge. I don’t know of any games done just on this subject, but I’d be surprised if it hasn’t been done before this.
And last is Kawaguchi’s Gamble: Edson’s Ridge, which is on the Japanese attack that tried to take Henderson Field on Guadalcanal, which would have been essential in defeating the U.S. invasion of the island. It sounds like it’s meant to be quick, with five turns and a playing time (once you’re used to the game) of about 3 hours.
Meanwhile, GMT has announced that Blackbeard is done, and should ship out to customers by the end of the month. ADB has had to push back its product schedule a bit due to problems with getting the die cutting for the counters done. Main upshot is that Distant Kingdoms (which I just recently realized is not a boxed set) is now scheduled for May 5th.