The current status of Advanced Squad Leader

I had a couple of queries on Gleemax about my ASL SK review that indicated a belief that ASL was dead and out of print. I certainly understand where that belief comes from… but it’s not actually true. It just isn’t supported by Avalon Hill any more!

ASL is currently published by Multiman Publishing (MMP), under license from Hasbro (who now own Avalon Hill and most of its properties). MMP is a small operation that can’t give the same support as AH did at its height, but they get by quite well.

Their biggest achievement has been producing revised copies of the main ASL properties and the starter kits. If you’re interested in looking at ASL, here’s the path I took:

ASL Starter Kit #1 – us$24 – introduces you to the fundamentals of ASL infantry battles. Includes 2 mapboards, lots of counters and 6 scenarios.

ASL Starter Kit #2 – us$30 – a standalone game (although it’s easier to start with SK #1) which adds big Guns to ASL: Anti-Aircraft, Anti-Tank, Mortars, Artillery and more. Includes 2 mapboards, lots of counters, and 8 scenarios.

ASL Starter Kit #3 – us$30 – again it’s standalone, though you’re brave if you just dive in with this one. TANKS are the new addition, and all of a sudden you have armoured vehicles running around the battlefield. Includes 3 mapboards, lots and lots of counters, and 8 scenarios.

At this point, you should have a good understanding of the core of the ASL system. However, there’s a big, big step to take… because to play full ASL requires a big investment in money. You need two products:

ASL 2nd Edition Rulebook – us$80. This is the big one. The 2nd edition rulebook is one ofthe great achievements of MMP, and includes errata, more examples, and a bunch of rules chapters that you originally needed to buy expansions for. I actually don’t have this yet, as I was lucky enough to buy a 2nd-hand copy of the 1st edition rulebook (mostly compatible) for aus$5! However, I’ll have a copy of this by the end of the year. However, this is just the rules. You also need…

ASL Core Module #1: Beyond Valor – us$95. All the counters needed to play the Germans and Russians in ASL… and we’re talking about a lot of counters. 14 countersheets, and a countersheet generally holds around 400-520 counters. There are also 10 geomorphic maps, and 24 scenarios. This is a big upgrade from the original printing, which only had 4 maps and 10 scenarios (and you needed to get maps from the original Squad Leader to play all the scenarios!)

Honestly, most people will never need to get those two products, and will be quite well served by just the ASL starter kits. But for those who want more… they’re certainly available.

MMP also publish extra scenarios, core modules, and other support for ASL, but it can get a bit complicated as to requirements. The English module is currently OOP, and you need it for a lot of the other products. (The American module has never been out of stock, as Avalon Hill overproduced it massively).

If there’s one product I’d really like to get, it’s the just released Valor of the Guards, which includes 4 campaign games, 17 scenarios, two 22″x25″ mapsheets, and 5 countersheets. You only need the ASL rulebook and Beyond Valor to use it. The campaign games are *huge*, requiring more time than I generally have available, but hey…

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