Advanced Squad Leader Rulebook

The Advanced Squad Leader Rulebook was published by The Avalon Hill Game Company in 1985 as a further development of the Squad Leader game system, though in actual fact, ASL replaced the earlier game system in its entirety.

Like ... Stoker's Renfield begging for spiders, the squad leaders were kept in agony of anticipation awaiting the publication of Advanced Squad Leader. Originally announced as a mere compilation of all the still valid rules that had come before, (Avalon Hill) coyly made it known that this would (instead) be a complete remake. This may have caused a few more defections, but to men who had physically worn out their Squad Leader games anyway, such titillation was transporting. It transported them to the Avalon Hill booth at every Origins, where they would be disappointed to learn the Second Coming tarried another year.1

A description of the rulebook was provided in Volume 21, No. 3 of The General :

Physically, this product will be second to none. The rulebook will be lavishly illustrated (with) full color diagrams and charts and be fully indexed. Each chapter will be color-coded and separated from the others by a two-ply, fold-out fiberboard divider containing both a chapter table of contents and duplicates of all charts contained therein. The inevitable errata and a listing of questions/answers will be furnished free of charge in the form of replacement pages to be inserted into the binder and sent out yearly to those buyers requesting same with the coupon provided in each set. It is by far the most ambitious project The Avalon Hill Game Company has ever undertaken and we hope it will set the standard by which all future work of this type is measured.

The rulebook was reviewed in Issue 34 of The Grenadier:

Overall, the book has an impressive and attractive appearance. It has no peers among board game rules manuals and can only be rivaled by some Dungeons and Dragons manuals and some miniatures works. But its intent is to be functional and effective. It is quite successful at this. The loose-leaf format serves two purposes. First, additional chapters are provided in some of the successive modules...These are simply inserted into the binder. Second, in an effort to suppress the chaos wrought by past evolutionary and corrective changes, pages which become substantially changed in the future can be replaced by new pages, preserving the textual flow of the material. A coupon is provided to remit for the first errata package when it is published.

The chapter organization brings the long awaited and desperately needed organization to the rules. For example, the pertinent material on tank crews is in the inherent crew section of the vehicle chapter. The organization of the rules is logical, functional, and comprehensive. Unfortunately, it is at a price. The SL gamettes all presented their rules in a Programmed Instruction format. A section of rules was presented and then play of a specific scenario using those rules was recommended. A player thus learned the rules in a step-by-step, play-as-you-go fashion. while the PI format certainly made learning the rules easier, it also kept the rules in a patchwork with some vehicle crew rules in one section, some in another, and successive rules modifying some, but not all, of the preceding rules.2

Original Edition Rulebook Chapters
Chapter Contents Sold as part of:
Chapter A Infantry and Basic Game Rules ASL Rulebook
Chapter B Terrain Rules ASL Rulebook
Chapter C Ordnance and Offboard Artillery ASL Rulebook
Chapter D Vehicles ASL Rulebook
Chapter E Miscellaneous Yanks!
Chapter F North Africa West of Alamein
Chapter G Pacific Theatre Code of Bushido (pp.1-18)
Gung Ho! (pp.18-42)
Chapter H Design Your Own ASL Rulebook (pp.1-30)
Yanks! (pp31-48)
West of Alamein (pp.49-76)
Hollow Legions (pp.77-88)
Code of Bushido (pp.89-100)
Gung Ho! (pp.101-112)
Croix de Guerre (pp.113-130)
Doomed Battalions (pp.131-142)
Chapter I Campaign Never released
Chapter J Deluxe ASL ASL Rulebook
Chapter K Squad Leader Training Manual Paratrooper (pp.1-24)
Pegasus Bridge (pp.25-32)
ASL Journal (pp.33-  )
Chapter L Postal ASL  Never released
Chapter M ASL Analysis  Never released
Chapter N ASL Armory ASL Rulebook (pp.1-6)
Yanks! (pp.7-10)
West of Alamein (pp.11-14)
Hollow Legions (pp.15-16)
Code of Bushido (pp.17-18)
Gung Ho! (pp.19-20)
Croix de Guerre (pp.21-22)
Chapter O Red Barricades HASL Red Barricades
Chapter P Kampfgruppe Peiper HASL KGP I
KGP II (updates to KGP I)
Chapter Q Pegasus Bridge HASL Pegasus Bridge
Chapter R A Bridge Too Far HASL A Bridge Too Far
Chapter S Solitaire ASL Solitaire ASL
Chapter T Blood Reef: Tarawa HASL Blood Reef: Tarawa

The flow of errata pages were not able to keep up with the demand; the need to amend sizable tracts of the rulebook became acute, according to one reviewer.

The 1st edition rulebook of a true ASL grognard could be identified by an accompanying bundle of printouts of errata and Q&A that was nearly half as thick as the rules. The bocage rules were still dreadful despite an extensive attempted rewrite and some of the errata pages were only available in modules that not every beginner would have access to. Nationalities added late to the system had guns in their OB that did not have an entry on the C7 TK# tables and some parts of the book were just too awkward to use in the heat of play. All in all, a bit of a mess. So, MMP took the bold decision to delay re-publishing the RB until they had given the basic rule system a much overdue overhaul, re-write and modernisation. I say bold, but in reality it must have seemed to be the only rational way to proceed.3

2nd Edition Rulebook Chapters
Chapter Contents Sold as part of:
Chapter A Infantry and Basic Game Rules ASL Rulebook 2nd Edition
Chapter B Terrain Rules ASL Rulebook 2nd Edition
Chapter C Ordnance and Offboard Artillery ASL Rulebook 2nd Edition
Chapter D Vehicles ASL Rulebook 2nd Edition
Chapter E Miscellaneous ASL Rulebook 2nd Edition
Chapter H Design Your Own ASL Rulebook  2nd Edition (pp.1-30)*
Armies of Oblivion (pp.143-172)
Chapter I Campaign Not yet released
Chapter J Deluxe ASL ASL Rulebook 2nd Edition
Chapter K Squad Leader Training Manual ASL Rulebook 2nd Edition
Chapter L Postal ASL  Not yet released
Chapter M ASL Analysis  Not yet released
Chapter O Red Barricades HASL Red Barricades 2nd Edition
Chapter S Solitaire ASL Solitaire ASL 2nd Edition
Chapter V Valor of the Guards HASL Valor of the Guards (pp.V1-V32)
Red Barricades (O1-O6)**
Chapter Z Miscellaneous Kakazu Ridge SSR (ASL Journal 2 pp.1-2)
Edson's Ridge CG (Operation Watchtower pp.3-20)
Riley's Road CG (Operation Veritable pp.21-38)
Primosole Bridge CG (ASL Journal 6 pp.39-58)
Singling CG (Operations Special Issue #1 (pp.59-62)

*Includes additional pages H28A through H28J
**Reprint of Red Barricades rules included in VotG

Notes

  1. O'Toole, John T. "Back to Basics: A dissenter's thoughts on Advanced Squad Leader" The Grenadier (Issue 35)

  2. Collier, James M. "Advanced Squad Leader: The Phenomenon" The Grenadier (Issue 34)

  3. Edwards, Trev. "The 2nd Edition ASL Rulebook" View From The Trenches Issue 36 (Mar-Apr 2001)

 

Advanced Squad Leader Rulebook

Developer: Don Greenwood, Bob McNamara
Publisher: Avalon Hill
Date of Release: 1985
Scale: Squad level
Players: 2
Components: ► 2" 3 ring binder
► cardboard sleeve
► double sided, full colour rules chapters A, B, C, D, H, J, and N.
► full colour, fold-out card-stock dividers
► two fold-out Quick Reference Data Charts
Predecessors: Squad Leader

Advanced Squad Leader Rulebook 2nd Edition

Publisher: Multi-Man Publishing
Date of Release: 2000
Scale: Squad level
Players: 2
Components: ► 2-1/2" 3 ring binder
► double sided, full colour rules chapters A, B, C, D, E, H, J, and K.
► full colour, fold-out card-stock dividers
► two fold-out Quick Reference Data Charts
Predecessors: Squad Leader


The ASLRB 2nd Edition binder was redesigned in 2007.

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