VASL stands for “Virtual Advanced Squad Leader”, a platform created by Mr Rodney Kinney for the enjoyment of ASL’rs worldwide.
On one platform you have most if not all the mapboards, overlays and counters you need. You can play online versus anyone anywhere in the world (with Skype or Discord). You can also choose to play via email (PBeM). I have regular live games sessions scheduled with few of my buddies weekly. We pick up on a saved game and make a some progress every week. We also chat about our jobs, our families and our lives – just like face-to-face gamers do.
VASL accelerated the development of ASL communities in Asia Pacific for example, where ASL’rs are spread far and wide. No matter where you are, for as long as you have an internet connection, you will never run out of opponents. In fact, you can play some of the most experienced ASL’rs in the world, folks who are delighted to show you how it’s done. Before some Asia Pacific gamers even met each other in the Singapore, Manila or Siem Reap tournaments, we have already been talking to each other on a regular basis via VASL games. When we met, we are already old friends.
It’s interesting to note that VASL is (largely) NOT created nor maintained by the companies that publish our ASL modules. They are NOT part of our purchases. We don’t have ANY rights to it. We can’t expect any level of value but yet, it’s one of the best products I have ever used .. and it’s free, freely updated and lovingly maintained.
VASL program, maps, overlays and counters are made & maintained by a group of ASL gamers like you and me, not game company executives who also play ASL, ASL gaming consumers like you and me.
You know, ordinary people: Dudes. Bros. Blokes. Chaps.
Folks who have lives, families, jobs and aspirations. Folks who love, laugh and worry. Folks who sometimes struggle, like all of us do, to find time to play ASL.
Folks who feel compelled to give back to the ASL community, amidst all the conflicting priorities we all have.
Each VASL counter (substitute : overlays, maps) has to be created from scratch. Two graphics to each counter, four for a nationality that step reduces. Each piece of info : graphics and numbers are sized for visibility. After the graphics are done (and info properly put in), intelligence is coded in to make VASL extensions.
We want squads to ELR or Battle Harden properly. We want Chinese counters to go “Dare Death”. We want SMCs to go “Heroic” but not MMCs. We want IJA squads to stripe to the correct numbers. We want LOS strings to work from any point to any point. We want terrain to transform properly, or have entire sets of transformation built for specific scenarios. Should that gun unlimber when you flip it over? Can that support weapon dismantle?
We want NIGHT to look glorious and it does. We want SNOWscapes to look chilly. We want PTO to look unforgiving.
Someone somewhere decided to not do something else but to do VASL, for you and I.
Someone somewhere decided to do this day after day, and to do all this for free.
Versions after versions, bug fixes after bug fixes, modules after modules – one of the best things in life IS free. There IS such a thing as a free lunch.
Next time you deal with / report issues to the VASL crew, perhaps you can also offer to help?
Great post, and well said!
Thanks man 🙂
Jack, I have to say that this is probably your best post ever! Certainly the most important.
Well – the hits certainly say it is the most popular post ever. Appreciate the support! I am glad I got a word out for the VASL Cabal who gave so much to the hobby.
I do remember when vassal came out. It was a ‘kennedy got shot’ moment for me. It was about when AH had their going out of business sale, and I bought up every ASL module I didn’t own. I even donated. Thank you so much, guys!
I skipped out of wargames all together since the 80s and was amazed that it’s still very much alive and well. Thanks of course to folks like you who never let go.