Tips for Learning ASL

Once you've decided to try out ASL, you need help getting into the hobby. Following are a series of resources you can use to speed your entry into one of the most complex, and most satisfying, wargames.

The first thing to do is pick up some ASL materials to play with. Multi-Man Productions has now released the ASL Starter Kit:

The ASLSK is probably the best way to start. It will give you a simpler introduction into the game system, letting you start having fun from day one as you start moving up the learning curve. To get an idea of the value of the pack, you might want to read a review. There are reviews by Peter Young and Sam Belcher available on the net.

If you're considering buying the kit, check it out (and buy it) on the MMP web site.

Some good articles on ASL basics will help you get the most out of the starter kit (though you will have to ignore some of the details of the full ASL system covered in these articles but not yet introduced in the SK rules). Here are a few suggestions:

* Beginning ASL: Don't Fear the Monster Anymore, by Jean Devaux & Philippe Naud, Vae Victis 21 (Jul/Aug 1998)
* Basic Infantry Example of Play, by Tom Repetti
* First Impressions: An Introduction to Advanced Squad Leader: Infantry Training, by Robert Medrow, The General 22:6:5-14, 16 (reprinted: ASL Classic)

Of course, there is one more thing you still need in order to play: an oponent. If you don't already have one, you might look at the available player directories or see whether there is an ASL club in your area. If you can't find a local oponent, maybe you want to check out VASL, the popular program for playing ASL over the internet, either live or via email. To find an oponent to play against with VASL, you might post an email on the Advanced Squad Leader Mailing List.

Once you've gotten your fill of the starter kit (and with the second starter kit not yet available), it's time to make the leap to full-on ASL. You will need to buy:

the ASL Rulebook, and one of the starter modules, either Paratrooper or Beyond Valor. The rulebook is out of stock right now, but due for republishing imminently. Should be out any time now, and you can pre-order it at the MMP website at a discount. I would not recommend buying the first edition RB on Ebay, as you will eventually need the second ed., anyway. Beyond Valor is also out of stock, and will be re-published in time, but it is not yet up for pre-order. In the meantime, Paratrooper is available, so you can pick it up.

Truth is, if you've got the rulebook, you can jump into VASL without any of the modules. You just need some scenarios, and there are many excellent scenarios available free of charge on the internet. Once you've got the rulebook and the basic modules (or at least some scenarios), you are ready to dive into ASL. You might want to start with one of the classic ASL articles, available on MMP's site, EIGHT STEPS TO ASL: A Programmed Instruction Approach, By Jim Stahler (also in The General 30:1:19, 42-43, 47, 55-56 and reprinted in the 90 Annual 15-20).

Then, you can start with the articles available via the webdex. Take a look at the Chapter K: Training Manual page, and at the pages relevant to rules sections you are looking to learn, starting with Chapter A: Infantry and Basic Rules. When you've chosen your first ASL scenario to play, take a look at the Scenario Information Page to see if there is any analysis or maybe an After Action Report that might give you a headstart on that particular scenario.

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This page last updated 7/18/04