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Squad Leader» Forums » General

Subject: A couple of Newbie Questions... rss

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Stephen Persons
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Hi all.

Ever year my wife and I attend local church lawn fete and check out their "attic treasures" sale and usually find a couple games there. Well this year the wife scored me a Fourth Edition, 95%+ unpunched copy of Squad Leader for $2 and BONUS it looks like it is all there. Anyway, I had a couple of questions about the game.

First can it be played solo? The box itself doesn't seem to indicate a minimum number of players and flipping through the rulebook doesn't seem to answer the question either.

Secondly, if it is playable solo, is the "other" player automated/controlled by the game? or would I be playing both sides?

How hard is this game to learn for a newbie to wargames? (How much of a newbie you might ask... I have a copy of Hornet Leader that while I've read through and punched, have not had a chance to get to the table.) It appears that the instructions are set up so that you learn pieces of the game at a time and then play a scenario. Then you move on just building on what you've learned previously which seems pretty cool. (I have not seen instrctions really set up like that before that before.)

Any help that you can provide would be appreciated.

Thanks!
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It can be played solo, but you will be playing both sides. Because of this, some of the scenarios are really suitable as they have certain amount of hidden information. There is a vast amount of stuff online for Squad Leader so there is no shortage of scenarios available other than what is in the box.

It was the first wargame I learnt. It has 'programmed instructions'. What this means is that you only learn a segment of the rules at a time. So for example in the first scenario you learn the basics about movement, shooting and so on. As you progress through the scenarios in the box , other concepts are introduced along the way such as tanks, artillery, minefields, bunkers, fires and so on, but they're introduced a few at a time so you're not overwhelmed.

There's also avery strong online presence so it might not be that hard to find opponents.
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Russ Williams
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It's a typical 2-player wargame: you can "solo" it by playing both sides and watching the story unfold, but there is no solitaire AI player to compete against.

As for difficulty of learning: well, you have the rulebook, so start reading and see what you think. You'll know better than anyone else whether it's too hard for you or not. The programmed instructions are such that indeed the earlier scenarios are easier. Once you start using vehicles, it gets more complex, as I recall (from playing SL long ago).
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Chris Drake
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Does anyone really read the overtext?
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This is playable solitaire, I played dozens and dozens of games this way when I was a teenager. You will control both sides, I always just try and do the best I can with each nationality.

The rulebook uses programmed instruction, you only need to read so many pages to play the first scenario.

I didn't have much difficulty learning it when I was 14, I couldn't imagine you would have much difficulty learning it as an adult. If you do there is still a lot of places to go for support to have questions asked.
I would recommend Advanced Squad Leader starter kit 1 to most people but if you are fairly new to war games then this is a good game to start with.
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Chris Drake
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Does anyone really read the overtext?
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The first person to gm me gets 50 geekgold. Posted 7/1/16
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See, three fairly identical answers in about 4 minutes, plenty of support. We must have all been typing at the same time!
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Scott B
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hi,

I was surprised by the number of players who have soloed for years, never needing an opponent. It seems a fairly common way to play even though the rules do not have a solitaire section.

I know of two third-party scenarios designed for solitaire play, there was a fairly recent AAR post for Chance Encounter on BGG.

Chance Encounter

Bowling Alley

ASL offers an entire module for solitaire play, although that may be a leap for what you need...

ASL Solitaire on BGG

ASL Solitaire review on Desperation Morale

enjoy the game!
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Paul Crouse
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There's still a fairly active community for this game if you're looking for a real opponent. Check out the Squad Leader Tournament site https://sites.google.com/site/2012squadleadertourny/home or look for the Classic Squad Leader facebook group.

As for the rules, prepare to spend the better part of an afternoon each for learning infantry, offboard artillery, and armored fighting vehicles. The rest of the rulebook is just chrome that easily fills in the gaps.
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Stephen Persons
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Wow! Thanks for all of the replies so quickly. Well I guess I'll try to jump into the rulebook and see what it's like. For those that do play solo, do you find it difficult to play objectively or do you find that you favor one side or the other? I imagine the scenarios with hidden info must be a little tough to try and play like you don't know it.

Thanks again. Hopefully I can figure it out. The good thing is that if have s question I know where I can ask.
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craig grinnell
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BuddyLee wrote:
Wow! Thanks for all of the replies so quickly. Well I guess I'll try to jump into the rulebook and see what it's like. For those that do play solo, do you find it difficult to play objectively or do you find that you favor one side or the other? I imagine the scenarios with hidden info must be a little tough to try and play like you don't know it.

Thanks again. Hopefully I can figure it out. The good thing is that if have s question I know where I can ask.


I personally don't play the ones with hidden units. (I haven't been able to completely split my brain yet, but I'm getting closer) Even the concealed units tend to be a challenge, but manageable because you still get the advantage of "area fire."

As a new-comer (don't like "newbie") I strongly suggest following the programmed instructions. This was the best idea they had, in my opinion. It allows learning the game in manageable bites with playable scenarios tucked in.

And, I usually can play objectively by myself, although it gets tricky sometimes.
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Scott Sawhead
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Playing it solo is stupid its like playing yourself at chess. How can you develop a tactic if you know what the enemy would do because you are the enemy.
You got a bargain for $2. Sell it on ebay for $40 or get an opponent, its a great game, easy to learn.
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Russ Williams
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sawhead wrote:
Playing it solo is stupid its like playing yourself at chess. How can you develop a tactic if you know what the enemy would do because you are the enemy.

Surely you know that many wargamers enjoy soloing both sides of a wargame: they are playing for exploring the history and for watching a war story unfold, not for developing chess-like strategic & tactical mastery.

In any case, even if one's only goal is to improve tactics, many strong Chess players DO find it useful to solo chess to develop their tactics.
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Paul Crouse
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Like previous posters have said, soloing really is totally dependent on your temperament. I personally like just observing the system work or trying to set goals for myself, such as winning a scenario by a certain turn. The rolls of the dice inject enough random elements so that you can't always be sure of how the other you is going to respond.

That being said, the scenarios involving Hidden Initial Placement (or HIP; in the world of SL/ASL you need to catch on to acronyms quickly) and minefields are pretty much unplayable solo because the entire challenge of the scenario rests on one side being ambushed.
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Steve Burt
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sawhead wrote:
Playing it solo is stupid its like playing yourself at chess. How can you develop a tactic if you know what the enemy would do because you are the enemy.
You got a bargain for $2. Sell it on ebay for $40 or get an opponent, its a great game, easy to learn.


It's nothing like playing yourself at chess because there are dice involved.
So you are never quite sure what the outcome of a move will be. Maybe that squad makes it across the street, maybe it doesn't. Maybe you win that close combat, maybe not.
Playing solo allows you to explore different tactics and find what works.
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