Years of Glory & Grief

Years of Glory & Grief is an ASL variant by "Wild Bill" Wilder. Bill Wilder is a well-known name in tactical wargaming circles, and not unknown in the Squad Leader/ASL community. Volume 1, Number 30 of The Wargamer published an extensive variant for the Pacific theatre of his design  to Squad Leader. In his words:

Thirty years ago, I made an effort to produce a number of variants for the Squad Leader game. At that time, Advanced Squad Leader had not yet appeared. While nominally successful, I did not have the tools to produce the quality of units I desired. Now I can do it. So, here it is. This is a variant made to be used with the Advanced Squad Leader System. It is simple enough, however, that it can also be used for the earlier Squad Leader series. This variant is not a complete game. One must own at least the rule book to play it. Marker counters from "Beyond Valor" and some US counters from "Yanks" would be a good thing to have. Most of the information you need to use these units is included on the counters themselves. The suggestions for play and the descriptions of the units and their special characteristics are not iron clad. I am not a rules "guru." I offer these as guidelines for use in the game. As so well put in many of the older board games, differences of opinion between players can be resolved with a "friendly roll of the die."

Why did I choose Vietnam? Well, if Korea is known as the "Forgotten War," Vietnam would probably be the war that people want to forget. It was the longest active war for the United States and is even today the subject of great controversy.

Leaving, however, politics behind, the war itself offers many unique units, situations and battles that beg to be presented as a board game. The Advanced Squad Leader is an ideal platform for the type of low level combat that I enjoy recreating.

This is the first of three Vietnam and one Korean War modules that we are planning to produce. The first module contains four scenarios and centers around US Army ground and Base Camp operations. More rules and new features come with Modules 2 and 3. They include the US Marines, the Viet Cong, the ANZAC and ARVN forces, Air Cavalry, plus new armor, tunnels, riverine forces, transport helicopters and many other new features.

Scenario #1: NO PLACE TO BE!

November 14, 1965, la Drang Valley, South Vietnam, early afternoon-With both sides looking for a "showdown" US air cavalry and units of the NVA met head on near Landing Zone X-Ray. Among the first units to land was Company B, 7th Cavalry. As they moved past a dry creek bed, the 2nd Platoon is suddenly cut off and the rest of the Company attempts to reach them.


November 17, 1965, near LZ Albany South Vietnam, 1700 Hours. Replacement troops for Colonel Moore's battered forces are forced to march from LZ XRay to LZ Albany. As dusk settles, the strung out cavalrymen are attacked from all sides by angry NVA soldiers seeking payback for their earlier losses.

Scenario #3: FROM BAD TO WORSE

 April 16, 1966, Phouc Tuy Province, South Vietnam. While recovering from an ugly dose of "friendly fire" while on a search and destroy mission, forward elements of C Company move ahead and discover an NVA base camp. Suddenly a bunker erupts in deadly machine gun fire and things begin to go from bad to worse for Captain Walter McIntyre and his men.


March 22, 1971, Near Tam Ky, South Vietnam, 2AM. At this point in the war, enthusiasm was at an all time low among American soldiers. On this night, Firebase Mary Ann came under heavy attack by NVA infantry.


This is the SECOND of three Vietnam and one Korean War modules that we are planning to produce. The 2nd module contains four scenarios and centers around the USMC with Armor and VC forces including a tunnel overlay and a partial map of the Black Virgin Forest. More rules and new features come with Module 3. They include the ANZAC and ARVN forces, Air Cavalry, plus new armor, riverine forces, transport helicopters and many other new features.

 Scenario #5: AND SO IT BEGINS

August 18, 1965, near Au Cuong (1), 12:30 Hours. In one of the first major operations, codenamed Operation Starlite, Marines of Company H are sent to clear Au Cuong (1). Encountering resistance, 1St Lt. Homer Jenkins commits his armor assets. Intense enemy fire puts the Marines in jeopardy. Company I is sent to relieve some of the pressure put upon Company H...


January 31s, 1000 Hours, south of Hue. In a surprise move, over 100 towns and cities are suddenly put under attack by NVA and VC units. One of the key cities taken over is the ancient capital of Hue. In a quick move to rescue the MACV headquarters south of the Perfume River, Marines with tank support are sent in to open a lifeline to the location. The NVA are ready for them. 


November 11, 1967, Black Virgin Forest, South Vietnam, 1100 Hours. As Bravo Company 2nd Battalion nears the village of Pham Xa Vi through the surrounding jungle, previously abandoned strongpoints of the NVA are now manned and open a deadly rain of fire on the advancing grunts. (Taken from the movie, "Platoon") 


January 8th, 1966, Ho-Bo Woods, 0800 hours. The Viet Cong's firm hold on the area to the west of Saigon in an area known as the Iron Triangle is about to be challenged during Operation "Crimp" by Sky soldiers of the 503d Infantry begin to assault enemy positions including the many miles of tunnels in the Cu Chi area.

This “Vietnam Variant” is brought to you through the combined efforts of Wild Bill Wilder and First to Fight Variants. This is NOT a complete game. Ownership or access to ASL “YANKS” is necessary to play this module. The module is stored in a zip-locked plastic bag. The units are stored in individual zip-locked plastic bags according to size and/or nationality.

When the first copy of the first module appeared on ebay out of the blue, and sold for $200.00, speculation in the community was rife as to what it represented. When another copy later appeared, the webmaster sent an email to ebay vendor firsttofight and received the courtesy of a reply; the following is the exchange in full:


It says you are "planning to produce" these, yet the first one got bid through the roof as if it was a rare collectible, and this one too. What is the story - will these be available on a regular basis in future? You mention three modules. I don't want to buy just a part 2 if I can never get the part 1.


Hi. First of all every module is a stand alone module; in other words you do not have to own Module One to play Module Two.

Second, it takes 8 to 10 man hours to "produce" a module of this magnitude. I have to print out the counters on my personnel printer, cut off the excess paper, mount them on thick cardboard, cut out the template, paste on white backing, if necessary or paste on the back of the counters (not easy); laminate the front and the back and then, using a Carl Rotary Cutter model 220, cut out each unit individually. And, if something does not meet my expectation of quality (if I screw up), I have to do it all over again. Not to mention printing the rules and printing and cutting out the overlays. So, yes, we plan on, time permitting, producing these modules as long as there is an interest in the market for them and as long as my partner, Wild Bill Wilder is able to keep on inventing new modules.

And third, the reason the first one got bid through the roof as if it was a rare collectible is, because, as far as I know, no one ever put out an ASL module about the U.S. involvement in Viet Nam. Not to mention over 500 mounted and laminated units AND an overlay! Tom

Module 3 appeared in 2009 featuring riverine forces.

Scenario 9: OMINOUS BEGINNINGS               

January 2, 1963, Ap Bac, South Vietnam, 1400 Hours: Insurgents within South Vietnam, known as ‘VC” (Viet Cong or “Charlie” by Allied forces), are gaining the upper hand. US advisors are sent in great numbers to aid in training South Vietnamese government troops (ARVN). In a hard fight, ARVN soldiers, mounted in M-113s, make an open attack against fortified positions of the enemy at AP Bac.     

Scenario 10: HOT TIME IN THE CITY    

February 1st, 1968, West Saigon, 0800: Viet Cong troops, in vicious fighting take over many strategic areas of the capitol. Even an attack is made against the US embassy in the heart of the city but fails. In the Cholon sector, they overrun an artillery compound, the armored command HQ and police headquarters. Early the next morning, ARVN Marines, tough fighters, with helicopter gunship support, attempt to retake these positions.

Scenario 11: HOLDING THE KINK           

April 14th, 1967, near Nui Dat, South Vietnam, 0300 Hours: In an effort to stifle VC activities among the many villages in the southwestern corners of Vietnam, a defensive position called “The Horseshoe” is set up to slow the flow of weapons and other materials to the enemy. The Vietcong respond viciously and attempt to destroy this ‘kink” in their supply lines

Scenario 12: A CLEAN SWEEP             

April 15, 1967, Lo Gom, South Vietnam, 0700 Hours: As part of a large sweep including US and ARVN troops in Operation Portsea, troops of the 5th RAR make a head on assault on the village of Lo Gom to dislodge stubborn VC regulars.



Module 2 seems typical of these products. There is a five page introduction and historical summary of the war which does not discuss tactical topics or items relevant at the tactical level.  The table of contents lists several pages of rules, but while the pagination starts at page one in the TOC the actual page numbering continues where the historical summary leaves off, making it useless in finding items. The rules are completely unillustrated. While they do mention such things as smoke-making capability for squads, there are no designer's note or footnotes explaining the design decisions (why are USMC and US Army squads rated a "3", for example?) nor are these numbers located either on the counters (the ASL standard) or one a quick reference data chart. The rules make reference to "full automatic" and "semi-automatic" fire as though the designer is unfamiliar with the existing rules for Spraying Fire.


The majority of the rules are chrome and introduce such things as Medics/Corpsmen, radio operators, dog handlers, and "mad minutes". There are some special terrain rules for towers and base camps, as well as weather and climate, to simulate the environment of SE Asia. Of the four scenarios included, one is a fictional scenario drawn from a Hollywood movie. While the counters use original artwork, for some reason there are no counter illustrations on the scenario cards. There is also a prominent typo on the module's cover sheet.



Years of Glory & Grief - Module 1

Developer: "Wild Bill" Wilder
Publisher: Self-published (First to Fight Variants)
Date of Release: 2008
Scale: Squad
Players: 2
Campaign Type: None
Components: ► base camp map overlay
► 18 pages of rules and commentary
► 516 hand cut counters, mounted and laminated
► 4 scenarios

All images from ebay

Years of Glory & Grief - Module 2

Developer: "Wild Bill" Wilder
Publisher: Self-published (First to Fight Variants)
Date of Release: 2008
Scale: Squad
Players: 2
Campaign Type: None
Components: ► 2 map overlays
► 16 pages of rules and commentary
► 556 hand cut counters, mounted and laminated
► 4 scenarios


Years of Glory & Grief - Module 3

Developer: "Wild Bill" Wilder
Publisher: Self-published (First to Fight Variants)
Date of Release: 2008
Scale: Squad
Players: 2
Campaign Type: None
Components: ► 1 map overlay
► 16 pages of rules and commentary
► 394 hand cut counters, mounted and laminated
► 4 scenarios


gloryandgrief2.JPG (24143 bytes)
Overlay from Module 2

Overlay from Module 3


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