Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Don Greenwood Regrets ASL?

Interesting discussion with Don Greenwood on the great podcast Guns, Dice, Butter episode 13.

At about the 30 minute point he says that he really went the wrong direction when he decided to do ASL because games were going the other direction, smaller and quicker playing. And the fact companies were producing more and more games. And he thought this was the best way to compete with what was out there at the time because of it's detail etc.

He lived in the office for 2 years creating it and it never approached making a profit.

Fascinating to think about.

It's a great interview and I get what he means, but it will be interesting to get others' thoughts.

Guns, Dice and Butter is on itunes as well.

Box cover from
Gun, Dice, Butter picture from his website.


  1. For us players it's a godsend and I am guessing for later suppliers (inc. MMP) it's been a profit maker but I suspect an underlying reason for Don choosing the path was more driven by ambition than commercial. At many stages he could have u-turned. Does make you wonder if they had instead gone for SL II instead


  2. I'm not sure if it was obvious when designing it, but when you look at ASL now, it's clear that it is a game for a niche audience and will never ever be a huge commercial hit.

  3. I won't be able to listen to the podcast until I get home from work tonight, but I found it quite interesting to read your comments, having just read Rick Priestly's column in the latest Battlegames on relaunches. RP's basic point is that if you relaunch a game or set of rules, you have two choices, either to go after a core of your original market who will welcome your modifcations, enhancements, etc, or go after new players, as GW manages to do.
    I'm not sure which choice Greenwood made, and it would be interesting to hear his thinking, For me when ASL came out, while I loved the original SL system, ASL seemed like more change than I wanted and I didn't want to write off my investment in SL, so I passed on it and gradually left the whole SL/ASL system behind. I know there are ASL fanatics out there, but I scratch the same itch with miniatures rules these days.

  4. Listened to the Greenwood segment and enjoyed it lots! I never got into ASL, but was heavily into WW2 minatures gaming by then. When I got back into hex-based gaming a few years ago (albeit for *3D* rendering), I had to learn what a "Euro" game was. Once I did, I realized that this was the type of game that certainly appeals to me now, and probably did in earlier years also, I just didn't know it then, and there weren't many of these types of games around. One boardgame I did buy back in the late 1980s, which came out around the time that ASL was released was Eastern Front Tank Leader from West End Games, which I thought looked like something I'd like to play since it was Panzer Blitz-like. Never got around to playing it, but on reflecting I see why it appealed to me back then, as I think it was a little Euro-like, and might have been reflecting an evolution in my own taste, and some of the coming changes to the historical/military gaming side of the hobby in general.

  5. Have now had chance to catch the pod cast (ironically whilst painting 15mm American WWII figs. Interesting for sure, not convinced time and experience has not coloured his answers.

    I think a faster more streamlined version of ASL, something a little more basic than SKASL would have worked and sold well. Not enough to save AH and not something I think that would have spawned all the Third Party Producers nor have developed and been supported as long as ASL has done.

    Still very grateful he did go down this route as it has developed into the best squad level game to date.

    Though his comment that he thinks it highly unlikely that he will design another game rather sad. Of great interest was that Alan Moon actually worked for AH before moving onto Euro Games.


  6. I started SL when launched and enjoyed somewhat the first 2 expansions (cannot remember the names now). When ALS was released I invested a substantial amount of money in the rules book and the first game box; only to discover that they got so complex and exhaustive that only truly seasoned lawyers were (if any) to have full control of the system sometime... I realized then that I did not want to invest (in addition to my money, already sunk)so much time in learning and going through such a complex system and abandoined the book in some lost shlef of my room.

    Now I enjoyed less complex but highly engaging games like I Ain't Been Shot Mum or Charlie Don't Surf (Thanks TooFatLardies!!!)