I would suggest that SL and SK are not actually that comparable at this date. I loved SL, but... I have a friend who has a theory that every really great game has one truly genius element to it. If that is so, for ASL it is Defensive First Fire, the ability to shoot at enemy units as they move. This is the thing that makes ASL so interactive, so tense and so exciting. And it's not there in SL, but it is in SK. It totally changes the feel and the flow of the game and is the largest (of many) improvements from SL to ASL. SL doesn't have it, SK does have it (and I'm anything but an SK apologist past SK1...) S
IIRC the ability to shoot at the enemy realtime as the enemy moves is in some editions of the SL rules but as an optional rule towards the end of the rulebook.
You may be right, but it's definitely not in SL itself. My path was SL, CoI, part of CoD and, dang these are painfully patchwork and ASL was the goal anyway, time to jump (this was in 1996 or so). That's another problem with Squad Leader as a game system, actually. The rules got changed and patched scenario-by-scenario, so pinning down what "SL" is is a major hurdle itself.
SK1, then Infantry ASL, then vehicles and Guns, then whatever you want (DTO/PTO/Night/etc). That's the best path now, IMWAWKNHO.
Reason you won't find anyone logged on to VSQL is that players mostly play Squad Leader by email as VSQL is easier to play using the logfiles than ASL is due to the difference in their structured systems.
I agree. In addition, I use the optional rule 16 in the back of the SL rulebook to allow every 'stack' of units passing thru the same hex to be fired on independantly from one another. This is somewhat similiar to ASL's leaving residual firepower in the hex but it also allows easier use of PBeM.