Introduction to Advanced Squad Leader
What is Advanced Squad Leader?
Advanced Squad Leader is a detailed tactical gaming system that models company to battalion level combat in the Second World War period. It simulates an amazing range of combat parameters: from weather to terrain, national characteristics, leadership and morale, different weapon systems and artillery support. This allows the examination of engagements from the Pacific theatre to desert terrain, to European theatre and even tundra conditions. It’s detailed enough to have rules for night battles and for vision effects under differing moon phases.
This is how Witchbottles (my ASL mentor) and I introduced Advanced Squad Leader to Peter Harmsen, the author of “Shanghai 1937 – Stalingrad of the Yangtze”.
“Our crowning achievement, and the ultimate wargame. No other can match its combination of beauty, detail and excitement. ASL is a system based on the original Squad Leader game, but revised and expanded so that ultimately a player can simulate any company or battalion-level ground action in any theater of WWII. Playing pieces (counters) represent squads, half-squads and crews, plus individual leaders, heroes, vehicles and guns. Each ASL module contains eight or more carefully balanced, historically based scenarios — but players can also design their own using the 40+ geomorphic SL/ASL mapboards, numerous terrain overlays, copious historical notes, and thousands of counters depicting virtually every vehicle, gun and troop type in action during the war by every major and minor combatant nation.”
Why play Advanced Squad Leader?
I don’t think the world has seen a better article on why we think Advanced Squad Leader is the greatest wargame ever published other than Mr. Eoin Corrigan’s “Majestic”.
How do I get started with Advanced Squad Leader?
The Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit series is designed as an initial step to see if this game’s for you. The Starter Kit is a small, self-contained system that will help any new player decide whether to dive into the full system headfirst, at a minimal cost. It’s truly a great way to look at Advanced Squad Leader.
I can’t emphasise enough the much better and the much more enjoyable way of getting regular, opposed games to learn the system. You honestly don’t need to read nor to memorise the entire Advanced Squad Leader rulebook before getting a game. There are several reasons for it:
- The Advanced Squad Leader rulebook is an excellent reference, in that we almost always start with the Index. It’s not the best for reading front to back, especially without context.
- You get context by playing the game. Understanding the rules is a lot easier if you have experienced the game system in play.
- The Advanced Squad Leader global community is the often overlooked but honestly, the best feature about the game system. Folks are very open to taking newbies through their first game. I experienced it all firsthand.
- Having regularly scheduled games with live opponents puts you in a regiment to learn the system. Side bonus: the absolutely fantastic people you meet from all around the world.
Listen to how I got into Advanced Squad Leader myself and about the wonderful community that took me in.
There are several global communities that are very welcoming to people who are new to Advanced Squad Leader:
Before you start buying anything and everything, here’s “Which Advanced Squad Leader Module Is Which And Which to Get Before Which” and “Upcoming Advanced Squad Leader Products”
Where to shop for Advanced Squad Leader
- Multi-Man Publishing🇺🇸
- Gamer’s Armory 🇺🇸
- Second Chance Games 🇬🇧
- Le Franc Tireur🇫🇷
- Bounding Fire Publications🇺🇸
- Lone Canuck Publications🇨🇦
- Hazardous Movement 🇺🇸
- Friendly Fire🇸🇪
- Dispatches from the Bunker🇺🇸
- Kansas City ASL🇺🇸
- St Louis ASL 🇺🇸
- ASL Scenario Archive 🇬🇧
- Broken Ground Design (counters!) 🇨🇦
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