The Desperation Morale site is the ASL website of Mark Pitcavage, who created a bare-bones site in 2002 as a place to share ASL-related play aids and resources that he had originally designed for his own use.
Over time, Pitcavage added a few other downloads and in 2003 he added a whole new section, the ASL Museum, which was devoted to photos of creative (and sometimes crazy) things that people had created related to or for use in the play of ASL. He also created a (slightly) better look for the site.
The first big change to the site, which turned it into one of the major ASL destination websites on the Internet, came in 2006, when Pitcavage decided to create a compendium of photographs and information on every ASL product ever released in the history of ASL. This was an insane project the scale of which and work involved Pitcavage clearly never comprehended. Nor was he prophetic enough to realize that the creation of the World of ASL compendium would coincide with a never-before-seen flourishing of third party ASL products, as well as a modest increase in the release of official ASL products. The work involved merely in keeping the World of ASL reasonably up to date would cause Pitcavage to go bald–or at least that’s the story he’s sticking to. However, from the beginning, the feedback from the ASL community was extraordinarily positive, which has kept Pitcavage motivated enough to keep the site going.
Along the way, a few other items found a place on the website, such as a blog and a discussion forum, though the latter was not that successful and eventually removed.
The second major change to Desperation Morale came in 2014, a dozen years after the creation of the site. Internet years are like dog years, or worse, and the site certainly showed its age. Indeed, there was no site management software and individual pages were coded using Microsoft FrontPage, which Microsoft had long since stopped supporting. Moreover, in 2002, most people accessed the Internet with a modem, so images were deliberately made small to keep load times short. Adding items to the site, especially the World of ASL, was a laborious and frustrating process that involved manually changing large numbers of links. The site was obsolete and difficult to operate.
Pitcavage made the decision to convert the site into a WordPress site, employing a professional designer, Jen Chapman, to create an attractive look and layout for the site, and a professional web developer to implement and install it. The result is the website that you see today, which is far more functional and user friendly (from the standpoint of both content creator and content user), as well as better looking. The overhaul of the Desperation Morale website was made possible by over $4,000 in contributions from members of the ASL community, which is a testament to the popularity of the site but even more a testament to the generosity and good will of the ASL community itself.
The people who made the 2014 Desperation Morale site overhaul possible (please contact this site if you wish your name removed or if it is misspelled or if your name is somehow missing from this list):
Lewis Goldberg, Björn Lorenzen, Robin Reeve, Jim “Maven” Moore, Zebediah Doyle, Russell Dewhurst, Chris Drake, JR Tracy, Stephen Rynerson, Andy Hershey, Daniel Takai, Mark Tomlinson, Peter Vicca, Glen Oberhauser, Janelle Cooper, Michael O’Neil, Ken Nied, George Tournemire, Fred Ingram, Brian Kemp, Jon Wilbeck, Jason Cameron, Bill Williams, Thomas Lynch, Harter Ryan, Anonymous, David Sullivan, Anonymous, Richard Pardoe, Jason Sadler, Milton Soong.
Vincent Maresca, Bruce Probst, Terry Stibal, Greg Taylor, Frank Meier, Anonymous, Pedro Santos, Christian Krach, Ruben Rigillo, Dan Best, Mark Riley, Stephen Brasseur, Stephen Gerlach, C. Scott Kippen, Bill Cirillo, Matthew Filla, Andrew Beaton, Jeff Newell, Pablo Garcia Silva, Iam Willey, Le Franc-Tireur, Jeffrey Myers, Paul Suderman.
Mark Beaty, Bounding Fire Productions (Sam & Chas), Caise Vickery, Mark Ramsdale, Seth Sparks, Joss Attridge, Jeff Coyle, Anonymous, Anonymous, Kevin Roust, Macca, Matthew Kirschenbaum, Lars Thuring, Michael Koch, Alex Key.
Eoin Corrigan, Jackson Kwan, Michael Focht, Sebastian Hummel, Tobias Timm, Ellis Simpson, Martin Andersson, Alan Smith, Michael Rodgers, Nelson Isada, Trev Edwards, Anonymous, Thierry Gongora, Marco Lombardi, James Cribbs, Fernando Castañeda Agulló, Jose Luis Martin, Martí Cabré Barba, Fernando Garcia Maniega, Anonymous, David Hershhorn, John Farris.
Laurent Closier, Stefan Fiedler, William Crowe, Paulo Cariolato, Federico Corso, Carl Robert Andersson, Andrea Pagni, Alessandro Demichelis, Dan Cunningham, Alan Findlay, Richard Fulcher, Riccardo Perni, John Lehman, Jörgen Holmquist, Mario Aceto, Paul Washington, Christopher Dawson, Jim Sullivan, Ernest Lo, William Man, Richard Kindel, Darren Kilfara, Marco Merli, Matthew Morocco, Angelo Brugnoli, Vincent Hughes, Charles Myers, Michael Augustine, Michael Holmes, Peter Wallström, Hayes Wauford, Ray Woloszyn, Richard Dagnall
Mark Pitcavage is a long time gamer who started playing wargames circa 1980 and began playing Squad Leader circa 1981-82. However, he did little more than dabble in Advanced Squad Leader until 2001, when the 2nd Edition ASL Rulebook debuted. At that point, Pitcavage got the “ASL bug” and jumped headfirst into the deep end of the pool. Between 2001 and 2016, he played around 720 ASL scenarios. Some of them he even won.
In addition to playing ASL and arguing about ASL, he also enjoys writing and designing for ASL.
His written contributions to the ASL hobby include:
“The Whites of their Eyes: Fire Discipline in ASL.” Schwerpunkt #9 (2003).
“The Jungle Isn’t Neutral: Up Close and Personal in the PTO.” ASL Journal #5 (2003).
“Designer Genes: An Interview with John Hill.” Schwerpunkt #10 (2004).
“Boardgame Review: ASL Starter Kit #1.” Armchair General (2004).
“Hungry Hungry HIPpies: The Theory and Practice of Hidden Initial Placement.” ASL Journal #7 (2006)
The Scenario Designers Guide for Tactical World War II Wargames. Desperation Morale (2006).
“The Agony of Defeat: Why Novice ASL Players Lose to Veterans.” ASL Journal #8 (2010).
“The Last House on the Left: The Art of Key Building Defense in ASL.” ASL Journal #9 (2011).
“Throwing Snowballs in Hell: The Art of the Low-Odds IFT Shot.” Schwerpunkt #18 (2012).
“Passing Your Personal Morale Check.” View from the Trenches #91 (2014).
“Master of Your Domain: Using Terrain and Force on the ASL Battlefield.” Schwerpunkt #21 (2015).
He is currently finishing a book-length work on ASL strategy and tactics.
Pitcavage evaluates himself as a competent but not brilliant designer. His design contributions to ASL include:
Buckeyes! Heat of Battle (2002). 10 scenarios.
“HP30 Bloody Bari.” In Hero Pax #4. Critical Hit (2006).
The Scenario Designers Guide for Tactical World War II Wargames. Includes two scenarios. Desperation Morale (2006).
Action Pack #3: Few Returned. Multiman Publishing (2007). 12 scenarios.
Rally Point #4: Ruins of the Reich. Schwerpunkt (2009). 10 scenarios.
“SP211 The Apiary.” In Schwerpunkt #18 (2012).
He is currently working on a major project involving partisans and guerrillas in World War II.
Also this project: