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Subject: Importance of the Amateur Publisher rss

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Michael Dorosh
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Don Greenwood, in his days as editor of The General, said that the evidence of a healthy hobby was the existence of a healthy amateur hobby press; probably because he started as editor of a fanzine himself (Panzerfaust, which later became Campaign under Don Lowry).

We've obviously come a long way since the dichotomy between "amateur" magazines and "professional" ones was marked. Some so-called "amateur" publications like LFT can even be argued to be superior in terms of physical quality, layout, etc. to the professional and "official" ASL publications. Third Party Publishers (TPP) are now exceeding the official publisher of ASL in terms of output. I'll leave it to individuals to determine for themselves if they've matched or exceeded MMP in terms of quality.



My poll question is this – given the rise in quality, if not status, of TPP and the prolific nature of their contributions, how important have they become to the ASL scene?

Poll
How important is the health of Third Party Publishers (TPP) to the existence of ASL?
Extreme – they are a valid barometer; as the TPP go, so goes ASL.
Somewhat important – the TPP have much to offer that MMP doesn't but don't make or break the hobby for me.
Neutral/Tie – TPP and MMP are of equal importance.
Not very important – it's nice that there are amateurs carrying the torch but I'm more concerned with official releases.
Not important at all – I couldn't care less what those guys are printing.Give me my MMP!
      70 answers
Poll created by Michael Dorosh
 
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Andy Beaton
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There was a discussion on another thread about whether Original Squad Leader was a dead game or not. An active third party publishing community is, I think, evidence of a game that is definitely alive.
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Kevin Reynolds
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Keep in mind my vote is based on the fact that I am no longer attempting to "collect them all" with ASL. It is plainly too expensive to do, and the official products alone are a challenge to get to the table.
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James Lowry
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Well, my vote was 'not very important', and my opinion is similar to presence's. I have yet to get a TPP, generally because there's still AH/MMP stuff that I'm interested in getting (in print even!), and that automatically goes to the top of the 'to get' list. I now have so many scenarios, just from the official materials, that I'll only ever worry about TPP if it on a subject that I find especially interesting. That means I'll probably never get any generic TPP scenario packs, no matter how celebrated. Something like Counterstroke at Stonne (sp?) holds interest because I like early war, and there's no early war 'official' HASLs out there. Similarly, I like the concept of King of the Hill's boards, so I might get that some day.

But I'm so focused on the MMP stuff at the moment, I'm not even aware of who the TPPs are, much less what they're putting out.
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Michael Lucey
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MMP does produce enough generic scenario's that I would never need TPPs for them. What I do like are the HASL's created because chances are we'd never see that same map from MMP. I like to game specific actions more often then generic scenario's when I can. Also most of the newer HASL'ers were TPP type developments anyway so the quality of the design can be pretty good, and production quality has seen a major upgrade recently. Some newer products are as good if not better then MMP creations. The other thing I like are Journal like magazines with tactical / rule articles. MMP has a tendancy to write on a topic only once, nice for the own everything vet's, but how about the rest of us? I'd rather a new article with modern pictures as opposed to searching EBay for OOP magazines.
 
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Jay Richardson
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I voted "Somewhat important".

I don't have a lot of third party products, but then again my official ASL collection is far from complete. I did subscribe to On All Fronts for many years, and I have the Busting the Bocage module from Critical Hit.

One benefit offered by third party publishers is greater coverage of diverse subjects. To date, there have been 14 official historical modules (meaning modules that come with a realistic map of an actual battlefield):

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/tag/asl_historical/user/richfam

Most of these are now out of print, and most will never be reprinted. In contrast, there are at least 42 historical modules available from third party publishers, covering a much wider range of situations than the official historical modules:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/tag/asl_other_historical/user/r...

Not all of these third party historical modules contain campaign games, but if your primary interest is in realistic maps, this is a great selection to choose from.

Third party publishers also benefit those ASL players who only buy official products. Some of the scenarios that are published in the ASL Journal are reprints of scenarios that originally appeared in various third party publications, and it's likely that at least some of the currently active scenario/module designers got their start by submitting work to a third party publisher.

For example, MMP's Valor of the Guards historical module, designed by Tom Morin, first appeared (in a *much* more limited format) in On All Fronts:

cover:
map:


Another MMP historical module, Blood Reef: Tarawa, was actually published by a third party publisher before MMP licensed and republished it as an official module.

And finally, remember that MMP itself started out as a third party publisher: they published the ASL magazine Backblast before being contracted by AH to manage the ASL line, and then getting the official ASL license from Hasbro once AH folded.
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