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Subject: Classic Squad Leader a "dead Game"? rss

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B. Marsh
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A fellow geek had a very interesting question regarding why some people prefer to play the older version of Squad Leader instead of the newer versions, Advance Squad Leader and the Starter Kits.

"I'm want to know from an SL player why they still play a dead game."

This brings about a very interesting question, what is about the classic games that keep the loyal fans coming back year after year when the game is no longer supported by the original publisher?

Is it because the game system was perfected back in the day and subsequent changes are not as good as the original product?

Is it because they are widely available at a reasonable price in comparison to newer games?

Is it because older players are re-discovering a long lost classic that has been hidden in a closet?

Or, is it because of the people who still play them and the sense of community that the classics seem to inspire?

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When I play original Squad Leader, it is because:

1. It's easier to play and remember.

2. 90% of the fun of ASL was already in SL, IMHO.

3. I can still use it to create new scenarios.

4. It's self-contained.
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Drake Coker
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After playing ASL for many years, I gave my collection away and repurchased SL. Nothing wrong with ASL, just more effort than I have time for in my current life.

SL gives me 90% of the flavor at about 35% of the complexity. For the amount of time I have to devote to the game, it's a good fit!
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p55carroll
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Good question.

Some thoughts that pop into my head:

Some people like the idea of a game being self-contained--i.e., immune to official expansion. I think there's some resistance to game expansions, and it's similar to CCG resistance. The Squad Leader box contains everything you'll ever need to play Squad Leader. You can expand it with Cross of Iron and Crescendo of Doom and G.I. Anvil of Victory, but that's the end of it. After that, you can create countless DYO scenarios, but you own all the officially published stuff, and you don't have to worry about anything new coming out.

The downside of this is, of course, that you don't get to be in on all the newer ASL stuff.

Back in the 18th century, many scholars liked to use Latin as a basis for explaining English grammar. Since Latin was a dead language, its structure was frozen, so it was easier to dissect and study than any living language. Today, though, the methods of those scholars is generally frowned upon; the English language is thought to be more organic and ever-growing, not something mechanical and fixed in its structure.

I suspect many gamers have a trace of the 18th-century grammarian in them: i.e., they'd like a game to be self-contained and mechanically fixed and perfect, even if that means it cannot grow or change.

Other gamers are more free-spirited, I guess, and appreciate the "organic" nature of a game that's constantly being revised and expanded.

Yet others are probably like me--torn between the two views. I do very much like the idea of a perfect, self-contained game; but if somebody comes along and improves the game, it wasn't really perfect after all.

Of course "improvement" is a subjective call. And I'm guessing that's where this thread will go. Is ASL really an improvement over SL?
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Pete Martyn
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I bought Squad Leader long before I knew ASL existed. Since I enjoyed the heck out of Squad Leader, I never felt the need to make the substantial investment into ASL. I picked up the Squad Leader expansions Cross of Iron and Crescendo of Doom, and honestly, it'll be at least another couple of years before I've actually made it through all of it.

No disrespect to ASL or its devotees -- it was dumb luck that I found Squad Leader first and I've never come across a compelling reason to move past it.
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Paul Amala
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ASL is a life style; SL is a good game.
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sgtstinky wrote:
This brings about a very interesting question, what is about the classic games that keep the loyal fans coming back year after year when the game is no longer supported by the original publisher?


Does it matter if a game is in-print or out-of-print?

It's the same reason why people choose any particular game from a selection of current game titles. Personal preference.
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p55carroll
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the pete wrote:
I bought Squad Leader long before I knew ASL existed. Since I enjoyed the heck out of Squad Leader, I never felt the need to make the substantial investment into ASL. I picked up the Squad Leader expansions Cross of Iron and Crescendo of Doom, and honestly, it'll be at least another couple of years before I've actually made it through all of it.

No disrespect to ASL or its devotees -- it was dumb luck that I found Squad Leader first and I've never come across a compelling reason to move past it.

How 'bout the fact that by the time you get into Crescendo of Doom it's almost impossible to wrap your mind around all the expanded SL rules?

I had so many penciled-in notes in my CoD rules that I was always having to cross-reference this rulebook with that one or refer to published Q&As, and some of the subsystems were still incongruent with the base game.

I had G.I. Anvil of Victory standing by, waiting for me to work my way through CoD, but I never got that far. Instead, by 1985, I'd had enough. I found myself neglecting SL and playing other games instead.

So, when ASL came out that year, I grabbed it and Beyond Valor: ASL Module 1 and resolved to start over and try again.

Very impressive game, ASL. Beautifully organized rulebook. Unfortunately, it proved to be too much for me. About five years later, I was done. Made up my mind not to tackle any wargame that complex ever again.

It was a great ride, though! So much so that I still have fond memories of it and wish I could recapture the thrill. That's why I've bought into the Lock 'n Load series and also have a copy of Combat Commander: Europe waiting to be tried.
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Andrea Olivieri
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I'd to say that: probably i made a mistake using the "dead" word. Seem there are many people that play SL. With Dead i want to say : "not more officially supported, with no new expansion of the game line, no errata for rules etc..."

After reading some reply i think that for many, SL it's ok like it is, and don't suffer from the "I want more" syndrome of many ASL players, and probably they don't have already played all the SL scenario.

Or as someone has wrote : "ASL is a life style; SL is a good game" And you know life need to be alive! :D
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Pete Martyn
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
the pete wrote:
I bought Squad Leader long before I knew ASL existed. Since I enjoyed the heck out of Squad Leader, I never felt the need to make the substantial investment into ASL. I picked up the Squad Leader expansions Cross of Iron and Crescendo of Doom, and honestly, it'll be at least another couple of years before I've actually made it through all of it.

No disrespect to ASL or its devotees -- it was dumb luck that I found Squad Leader first and I've never come across a compelling reason to move past it.

How 'bout the fact that by the time you get into Crescendo of Doom it's almost impossible to wrap your mind around all the expanded SL rules?

I had so many penciled-in notes in my CoD rules that I was always having to cross-reference this rulebook with that one or refer to published Q&As, and some of the subsystems were still incongruent with the base game.


Well, I'm not there yet -- we'll see how it goes! But even if I do end up feeling drowned in poorly-organized ephemera, I doubt I'll be making the switch to ASL, primarily because of price, but also because, well-organized rules or not, there's still such a gargantuan pile of info to wade through.

Maybe Crescendo of Doom will change my mind (I know I'm wary of bypass movement, for instance) but so many of the additional rules seem like they don't need to be thoroughly memorized. Of the new rules introduced, once you get past the expanded rules for armor and artillery, most of it seems to be the sort of stuff that won't apply to every scenario. I like the fact that I have the rules to simulate an attack on sleigh-riding Norwegians by German Volksgrenadiers riding bikes and throwing pipe bombs, but honestly, I don't feel like I really need to do any more than give those oddball rules a quick flip-through before starting a scenario in which they're relevant.
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G. Harding Warren
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I agree with everything posted here--SL in one box captures 98% of the fun of the huge ASL series, who cares if it's dead, it's a game and not a lifestyle, etc., etc.

I would add only one other thing not mentioned: I really prefer the look of the SL counters to those of ASL. They are more "iconic", to reference a wonderful recent thread here.
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Squad Leader is alive and well, though it will slowly dimish and fade away as the decades continue to slide past.

The Wargame Academy has a large effort going towards this:

http://www.wargameacademy.org/SQLA/

It has tremendous support from the VASSAL community including its own stand-alone VASSAL files (no need to load VASSAL then select a SL module). This is called VSQL.

http://www.vassalengine.org/community/index.php?option=com_v...

Lots of other continuing support for it from sites such as Advance Phase though it sold its domain and I cannot locate them now.

Alive and well.

--JokerRulez
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Brian Crawford
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Squad Leader is dead? No one told me this : ). I think Squad Leader is alive and well. I for one have tried to play ASL and it hurt my head way too much so I gave up. I don't need that kind of stress. I was so tired after that game that I asked myself whats the point. I felt this same thing when I was trying to learn GI Anvil of Victory and simply see ASL as all the original gamettes combined. I really only want to play the first 3 and am happy with SL and COI. For me there is way too much dice rolling in ASL compared with what you do in SL. I am happy with the results in basic Squad Leader so I don't see a need to roll double or more dice to do the same thing. So for me I am a Squad Leader and will probably never play ASL no matter how well its supported. I own about 4 copies of SL, 2 COI, 2 COD and 1 GI so am happy and will be for a long time to come. But for the people that love ASL thats awesome, and it probably is a good game. I might have liked it had I not first played SL so much. But I would not call SL a dead game.
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Search the forums or geeklists or game forums for Squad Leader; this is at least an every other week line of query lately.
 
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Andy Beaton
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People are still playing SL? SPLITTERS!
No, wait. What I meant to say was, Good luck to them. There are a lot of things I think they are missing out on, but OTOH, I really enjoyed SL when I played it back in the day, and I see no reason to assume it still isn't fun. But if it isn't dead, I wouldn't call it healthy. Not until someone takes up the job of republishing the rules and making them available to new players.
 
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aiabx wrote:
Not until someone takes up the job of republishing the rules and making them available to new players.

I wonder if MMP has the rights to SL as well as ASL?
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
The subject line smacks of trolling


I didn't think so at all.
 
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p55carroll
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jonnylawless wrote:
Patrick Carroll wrote:
The subject line smacks of trolling


I didn't think so at all.

OK, I take it back, then. (What would I know about trolling anyway?)

Edited out in my post above.
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At one time I had gone back and was playing the very first 1977 version of SL as a simpler game as opposed to ASL, but then the ASLSKs came out. I mean I am just as sentimental about SL as the next guy (I have very fond memories of playing the heck out of the thing on a camping/scuba diving trip to upper Michigan in 78), but really I just don't see any reason to go back now.

#1 As mentioned above, by the time you got to CoD and GI, the SL rules had become such a mess that IMHO really ASL is going to be easier learn and play

#2 By the time you get to CoI the counters are not up to the standard of ASL or the original 1977 SL for that matter. What's with the heavy primary blue for German guns & vehicles and the yellow for the Soviets.

#3 It isn't being printed anymore and what kind of shape are the second hand versions going to be in if you can find them and how much are you going to pay. You can get the ASLSKs brand spanking new and fairly cheap.

#4 Unlike ASLSK, if you do decide to go on to ASL from SL you are going to have to dump all your SL stuff and relearn a lot of concepts.

#5 If you are an old grognard with a fuzzy spot in your heart for this one by all means go ahead and play it if it floats your boat. I wouldn't play anything beyond the first game, but it was excellent and well worth doing. However any new players should not waste their time with it and would be a lot better off going with the ASLSKs instead.

...that said, I still do not think the ASLSK rules are complete yet. I think they need to be a full subset of ASL, a game in their own right, and not a learning tool to get to full ASL if the SK player does not want to go there. Perhaps the rule book could also be rewritten some day to make it a little clearer as well, but at a minimum I really think there should be an simplified ASLSK rule to cover everything that was in the original 1977 SL game which has not been covered in SK#3. Have every SL scenario in the original game playable in ASLSK and have a format for playing many ASL scenarios in SK as well.
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AhHA! Finally found it.

http://home.earthlink.net/~advancephase/

I'm submitting this one to BGG for inclusion in the links list.

Happy gaming everyone.
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Perhaps 'undead' would have been a better term to use.


Certainly there is still a great deal of interest in the 'earlier' portions of 'original' Squad Leader. SL plus Cross probably gives you a wide variety while maintaining a relatively low complexity. By the time you get to Anvil, it's sort of 'working its way' towards ASL, but doing it rather 'messily'. So I believe that SL still has, and will likely maintain a 'niche' on that basis.
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Brian Crawford
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Hungadunga wrote:
aiabx wrote:
Not until someone takes up the job of republishing the rules and making them available to new players.

I wonder if MMP has the rights to SL as well as ASL?


I sure as hell hope Hasbeen I mean Hasbro doesn't have anything to do with SL or the series because then it would be dead. They are well known for killing games. Anyone who is a Falcon 4 Sim fan will remember them.
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Just to buck the trend here, I have to say that while SL is indeed a much higher effort-to-fun ratio, it doesn't do nearly enough for me. Past CoI, you pretty much might as well go to ASL, and if you skip CoD and GI:AoV, you're stuck with the East Front, and Germans vs Americans with either really primitive tank rules, or no American armor. East Front doesn't do it for me overall.

I want tanks.
I want Americans (with the tanks, that is!)
I want British.
I want the French.
I want Italians.
I want Allied Minors.
I want Axis Minors.
I want desert.

And someday (not right now), I may even want the Japanese, Chinese, and PTO.

SL is just too limited for my satisfaction.
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B. Marsh
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Hopefully this post won't be considered trolling, I guess some could see it that way if we strictly stay within the narrow confines os the SL vs ASL conversation since the subject has been talked about before and it can bring about heated debate.

I really like playing ASL and the Starter Kits too. I enjoy them better than most of the other games in my vast collection and their success is unarguable. So for me it is not which one is better, although I do have an opinion on that.

Andrea asked a question that brought about an interesting question in my head,and that is why are some of the classic AH games still actively played when there are newer games that may be better supported, graphically and mechanically superior, and generally more accessible to younger players? Simply it is more than just a good game if gamers have been playing them for 30 plus years even after better editions and other games have been published? Is it a life style thing? And, if so why?
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