16 June 2014

Take the BattleDice Challenge!

Look what’s coming this summer! New BattleDice are also in the works. For a chance to win these,1 read on! 
On 1 August 2014, we will once again roll some dice.2 How many dice depends on you. Canada Day marks the third anniversary of Sitrep. Help us mark the day by entering our latest contest. We want your input. In return, you will have two chances to win some free stuff.
We routinely receive suggestions for new BattleDice, including designs for games other than ASL. So we thought we would open the floor to additional suggestions, hence the contest. 
Here is how it works. You tell us what types of BattleDice you would like to see in the future. We enter your name into the raffle to win one of the prize packages shown below.
1. Crossing the Moro Prize Package
2. BattleDice Prize Package
3. $50 Gift Certificate
Not happy with these odds? No worries. Give us an idea so good that we use it in a future design, and we will reward you with the finished product. For example, Matt Ryder of New York state suggested that we make a die for Molotov Cocktails. This led to our 14mm set of Molotov’s Cocktails. In recognition of his suggestion and feedback, Matt received a complimentary set of these dice when we released them last year. It is therefore possible to win twice, once in the raffle, and once for a great idea. Either way, what have you got to lose?
14mm Molotov's Cocktails
In order to kick start the process, I will review some designs in various stages of development. Then you can let your imagination run riot. 
Our 12.5mm “nationality” series currently consists of 30 dice that represent a variety of states and factions, including a group with its own set of rules in ASL (A25.43). Under consideration at the moment are dice to represent the (British) Indian Army, South Africa (and Rhodesia), post-1943 Italian forces (fighting on the side of the Allies), and Thailand, to name a few. Of these, the Indian Army is arguably the most important.3
The Star of India
We are also open to exploring other conflicts that utilize the ASL system. For instance, the design for a 12.5mm die that broadly represents Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War (SCW) is done, as is a 12.5mm die for the International Brigades.4 The impending publication of an ASL module dedicated to the Korean War has led to further, tentative designs. 
ASL and the Korean War 1950-1953
Designs for 12.mm (½”) dice need to be simple. Detailed images will not work. For this reason, a design that is representative of the Spanish Republican forces continues to elude us. As the feature below illustrates, each side in the SCW was composed of a host of competing factions. Notwithstanding the strong influence of the Soviet Union, the International Brigades, and Spanish communists, is it really fair to use a hammer-and-sickle for the Republicans?  
The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939
Some have asked if we could make a 12.5mm die for the USMC and the SS given that they are represented by unique counters in ASL. I suppose that we could also look at dice for British paratroopers, NKVD, and so on. But where do we draw the line? 
Ox, Bucks, and Pegasus at the Bridge
The complexity of any given design is a good starting point. Unlike print media, the stamps and foils used to create our designs are limited in the amount of detail that they can impart. So while a hammer and sickle is within the limits of a 12.5mm die, a Pegasus would be difficult to replicate well, even on a 16mm die.  
Divisional Symbols
While we are on the subject of unit-specific dice, it is worth mentioning that some players prefer 14mm dice for general use. Is there any value in designing a 14mm series similar to the 12.5mm series? Instead of creating “national” dice, however, we could create dice for specific formations or unit types. Let me explain.
One of our customers asked if we had considered a series of dice featuring the tactical symbols of various divisions. Some divisional symbols lend themselves well to such treatment. Take, for example, the US 37th “Buckeye” Infantry Division, Panzer-Grenadier-Division Großdeutschland, or the British 7th Armoured Division, the famed “Desert Rats.”. The symbols of these formations are basic enough to work. But not every divisional symbol lends itself well to such treatment. 
The foregoing customer was particularly interested in a line of the better known Waffen-SS divisions, specifically the ones that appear most often in ASL scenarios. His request got me thinking that we could create a white or coloured die common to an entire set of dice.5 Apart from the obvious cost savings, a line of such dice would lend itself well to expansion—should demand warrant additional dice. Either the white die or the coloured die can act as the “unifying” die that ties the set together. Moreover, there is nothing to prevent a white die being the common element in one set, and a coloured die being the link in another set. What do you think?
Example of how to build a "paired" set with a common theme
Our 16mm pairs have proven surprisingly popular despite their larger size. The most sought after were the German and Soviet pairs in our ASL Anniversary set (released in 2010). We occasionally get requests for these dice, which sold out several years ago. Next year marks the 30th anniversary of ASL. Should we release a similar set in 2015 for those who missed out the first time around? Or would you rather that we concentrated on other areas? How many would be interested in an ANZAC pair, for instance? Or is there a European state that cries out for a large-scale treatment? 
What about HASL dice? Stalingrad has long been a mainstay of ASL. Charlie Kibler’s Red Barricades is a classic. Tom Morin’s Valor of the Guards expands upon the success of the first historical module. With Red October under development, there are plenty of opportunities for campaign-oriented dice for Stalingrad, and so on.
HASL BattleDice - Stalingrad Series?
Finally, are there any specialty dice that would improve your gaming experience? We have had requests for a larger sniper-effects die, as well as a wound-check die. We have done some work on a starshell die too. The latter project was put on hold due to technical difficulties with the coloured pips used in the design. And some work has been done on a new design for a 16mm sniper-effects die. The Đust Đevils that we released last year are arguably our most innovative designs to date. But they need not be the last. Can you come up with an easy-to-use set of random-selection dice?
14mm Dust Devils do some of the math for you 
There is no shortage of ideas for future designs. There is, however, a shortage of time to devote to such projects. Some designs come together quite quickly. Others are fiddly. In the interest of keeping things as manageable as possible, I wanted to solicit your opinions.
Tell us what you think, even if to say: “enough already!”
How to enter
Our raffle is open to all Squad Leaders. To qualify you must:
1. follow Sitrep (i.e. be a “Squad Leader”) effective 31 July 2014
2. follow under your first and/or last name
3. use a current picture or caricature of yourself as an avatar, especially if you are following under only one name
4. leave a comment at the end of this post containing the following information:
 a) suggestion(s)/comment(s) re new BattleDice
 b) your first and last name
 c) the country where you currently reside
In addition, the winner will be required to accept the prize by leaving a comment at the end of the post in which we announce the results of the contest. We also ask that the winner contact us by email. We may publish a short ASL biography and photograph of the winner. If you are uncomfortable with this, please say so in your comments following your post. 
Over 275 Squad Leaders are following Sitrep as I write. Do not delay. Join Sitrep today!
Let’s hear what you have to say!
1. Crossing the Moro is a mini campaign game that allows players to relive the German counterattack at Villa Rogatti, Italy in December 1943. This newest offering from Lone Canuck Publishing also contains four scenarios, two of which deal with the Canadian night attack that pried the town from enemy hands. Securing a bridgehead over the Moro was only the first step in a month-long battle that would culminate in the Battle of Ortona. 
2. We are holding our “Canada Day” draw on 1 August because our new 16mm BattleDice are not due to arrive until the end of July.
3. The contribution of Indian soldiers to the Allied war effort was extraordinary. A BBC film produced in 1999 demonstrated how overlooked this contribution remained half a century later. 
4. At present, a good deal of ASL scenarios involve the International Brigades (IB). Admittedly, only two “official” ASL scenarios take place in Spain. One is an all-Italian affair. The other (AP54 “Far from Home”) pits German communists of the International Brigades against Moroccan Tabors and the Spanish Foreign Legion.
16mm BudaPack BattleDice
5. Our BudaPack, a set of dice designed to complement the historical module Festung Budapest, experimented with this concept. A single white German die is paired with one of three coloured dice. Each matching, coloured die represents a major German formation that participated in the siege. 

Available separately as pairs

13. Panzer-Division