A minor uproar

Like you I am annoyed and a little sad for LNLP with its most recent release.

Digging through whose fault it is and who why it happened is pointless.

Even a fanboy [me] has to acknowledge poor attention to detailk. As a long time fan of LNLP product I have grown used to the occaisional missed counter, forgotten chart or inexplicably sized box.

America Conquered takes us to new heights …and lows. When I first opened the box I was of course annoyed knowing nothing would fit back in once punched, but I had long given up on the ‘keep it all in it right place’ method of storing with LNLP product, so no big deal. In fact I like storing by formation, and do so in Plano boxes.

Counters looked good at a glance, and the rule book is for sure a big improvement. Charts were full color and nice stock and the maps were excellent.

When setting up the first scenario is where problems began.
Which nationality is which? It can be hard to discern the background flags. What is the flag for Venezula anyway?
There are some move rate differences for HQ’s,  compared to units in the formation tsk tsk.
Some very minor offsets
Some incomplete OOB OR failure to note such in the Scenarios.
Finally – proofing of wording, for reference to SSR and counters i.e. Cutter Bay Swat Team formation chit in the SSR is really just SWAT chit. New players are going to waste time trying to find counters that do not exist or have a different name.

Given the extended delays this could have gone out to the fan base for review and correction.

The good news is it does all work and it is highly enjoyable. I felt like LNLP was on an up swing, this mars that perception. Back in the day when I was CEO of a software company my CTO and developers had specific processes for testing code, checking production steps and confirming documentation. This business feels like it needs the same level of attention.

As someone who becomes VERY frustrated with sloppy work I am disappointing about all of the errors. I certainly expect that a small company will have delays, will have errors and mistakes. This pushes the limits – huge delays, a seemingly a lot of errors and major change in shipping practices all costs the company money, but more than that goodwill.

Now am I saying do not buy this? NO! Go check my videos on America Conquered out. It is a hoot. the scenarios are fun and the story line is excellent. This is notice to those considering buying who are new to LNLP. While there are some errors they are all surmountable (Designated Formation markers, Landing strip counters/Pier/Beachhead counters etc etc) with common sense. Fans of WaW will know what to do, noobies drop me a note here and the community can chip in to sort you out!

But this is also a note to new management and current management. Wake up time. Your fans will help. Your fans will be patient and loyal. But for me please do not release product in this state, in the manner that you did again. You can do better and we know it, look at how awesome The Untold Stories is (rumour has it a new print is in the works!!)

From a production quality stand point the game is almost flawless. Great job there LNLP! Lets focus on Production and Operations. Fans will help drive new users and adoption, and good product can sell it self.

16 thoughts on “A minor uproar

  1. Nice write-up Kev. By way of comparison, I’ve been wary of trying any other LnLP products after my experience with Blood and Bridges. The poorly written and organized BaB rulebook has made it more difficult to learn than it needed to be and difficult to recruit and teach new players.

    I don’t want to make a bigger deal of it than it actually is though. The game is fun and a bit of research clears up most of the issues with the rules. However, in a competitive market space I’m confused how LnLP lets this stuff go on. It doesn’t seem like an isolated event.

    I’ve definitely skipped over my desire to try their Lock n Load line, like Heroes of the Gap, simply because I know their quality lacks sometimes. I’ll just go buy from someone else.

    And by competitive market, I’m not just talking about dollars. I also mean time and attention. I have limited amounts of all three. I have a hard time justifying putting $$, my time, and my attention into LnLP products when other companies just seem to do it better.

    Don’t get me wrong, your MMPs and GMTs of the world have the same problem. But I don’t think it is at the same scale or frequency as we seem with LnLP. When products go out the door, those other pubs seem to have a better product on first try. And when they don’t they are better at fixing it too.

    I’m not an LnLP fan like you though. In the end with LnLP, I like what they do . . . I just wish they would do it better.

    • Well said also. It is people like you that the new management need to focus on. I’ve said so publicly and in person and in private with LNLP.
      The company has big potential as a tier one game company. BUT it needs to get the house in order and stop the mom and pop routine and hold printers, artists, writers and production/Ops staff accountable.

  2. “Back in the day when I was CEO of a software company my CTO and developers had specific processes for testing code, checking production steps and confirming documentation. This business feels like it needs the same level of attention.”

    You nailed it right there, Kev. Define the process, back it with people who are capable and accountable.

    LnLP has some exceptional people in the wings — the scenarios developed by the community almost always play to the last turn or impulse. Based on my experience with these community developers, that’s because the scenarios they create are playtested again and again. They hold their work to a process. And these guys care.

    Ideally, LnLP would take the next step by defining a similar process for proofing/QA-ing all scenarios once the developers hand them over. For example, LnLP could create a standard scenario template. From there, they could have a fresh set of eyes review the scenario once it’s in the template and -check the set up against the counter manifest-. And please, let’s check the copy for omissions like missing annotations and dreaded typos. All of these issues came home to roost, in a big way, in AC. It takes an otherwise good game down a couple notches.

    A game developer typically handles this role, and is typically on point to support even months after the release (the good ones do, anyway). Errors will happen. It’s the people and the process you put in place that mitigates them, and makes good on them when they inevitably pop up.

  3. I’m having a very hard time with the rules for this, they seem woefully incomplete and they just don’t click for me.

    Assaults for example, if a defender doesn’t have an assault factor, what happens?

    No counter diagram IN the rules really bothers me too, I don’t want to have to look at something other than what I’m looking at to find the information I need. I’m almost ready to shelve the damn thing.

    • its not that bad. The game play is ROCK Solid. Production and the rest. yes issues here and there. Do not miss a great system. the rules are clear – no assault value no assault. its dead.

      • I got through it and it was all alright.

        Part of my grumpiness with it is that it’s SO close to being a great intro-wargame, but misses the mark over stupid little stuff that an editor should have caught, or because “that’s the way we do things” kind of stuff.

        Some simple solutions:
        Counter diagram IN the rules (I’m not going to let that one go)
        Nationality/Faction Manifest
        Scenarios should list which nationality/faction outside forces are being pulled from (I almost through the thing away looking for the PT76 in the Cuban counter mix)
        A player aid that aids the player (I like the terrain chart and having the counter diagram on those, but something else is needed with a flow chart of the turn and different combat types)

        Production and all that is great, and I’ll stick with it, but I definitely need 3-4 more plays before I feel comfortable teaching this to someone; the rules may be clear, they just don’t stick.

        I’ll check out H&H for sure. This is nothing against LnL, and I’ll stick with them. Nuklear Winter ’68 is one of my favorites (also has issues) and currently have 3 more pre-orders with them, and maybe the new outside guy will help with some of this stuff. Or if they need a proof-reader/dummy to make the next thing dummy-proof, put my hat in the ring.

  4. Again, I only own Blood and Bridges but it is one of the few if not not wargames I have that doesn’t have a Turn Sequence in the rulebook or on a play aid. Still amazed about that one.

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