I'm very glad to be a new member of this forum. I've been eagerly devouring the rules & tactics advice, as well as the humor and banter.
Below is a copy-paste of a post I did a few weeks back in the "How did you first hear about ASL?" thread. It gives an in-depth of my history with SL/ASL.
WWII has fascinated me as long as I can remember (my favorite documentary series is The World at War, narrated by Laurence Oliver). Growing up, if Dad's channel surfing landed on something WWII, that is what we watched and it rubbed off on me.
In the late 70's, when I was approaching ten, I discovered that my favorite toy store was also a hobby shop. On the top shelf of one of the hobby section aisles they had a good selection of AH titles, with most of them being wargames. Immediately Squad Leader stood out to me as "The One." There was just something about the box art and game focus that captivated me. I pestered and pestered my mother until she finally gave in and got it for me (was the 4th ed, purchased in '80, I think).
Unfortunately, I was too young to hack the rules and the adults around me couldn't get past the first column or two of the rulebook. So, I pretty much just put counters on the boards and played soldier with them, turning them to the broken side when they were "dead" (but, being a weird kid who was fanatical about preserving cherished possessions - I have never lost a single piece of that module!).
Over my preteen and teenage years, I bought various other titles:
Airforce (a present for a friend. We played once and I was the only one who read the rules).
Gettysburg (no players, eventually lost it in a move).
Firepower (still have it, largely unpunched).
Up Front (unpunched with one card deck opened. Still have it).
Banzai (unpunched. Still have it)
Patton's Best (played through the campaign once. Still have it.)
Car Wars (lost everything).
Starfleet Battles (played solitaire for awhile. Still have it.).
Star Trek the Role Playing Game (got friends to play once. Still have it.)
The only time I managed to play SL FtF was in high school with a buddy who hadn't read any rules. He beat me! Otherwise, I played the first two scenarios solitaire a few times each and skimmed the rest of the rules.
In '97 I left the States to work overseas for three years. Before leaving, I gave all my games to a friend (who only plays D&D!) thinking that I would never play them again. Wisely, he knew that I would regret it and kept them safe for me until my body and senses returned.
While overseas, I got my first PC and purchased Close Combat III & IV and Panzer Elite. I bought Combat Mission upon its release and played WWII Online periodically over its first couple of years. Far and away Combat Mission was (and is) my favorite video game.
I got back in 2000 and in 2003 remembered my old board/RPG games while at a party at my friend's place. He got them down from the attic and returned them to me - a bit mustier than when I gave them to him, but untouched otherwise.
SL was among them and it wasn't long before I began to read the rules again. To my astonishment, my wife decided to give it a go with me and we played the first two scenarios.
At this point, I really got into it, re-read the whole rulebook and began hunting modules on ebay. I bought COD and COI (returned due to shipping damage) and then found VASL and got clued into ASL vs. SL. I had seen BV back in '85 at the hobby shop, but didn't buy it and didn't know about the leap from SL to ASL.
Once I sussed that ASL was the way to go, I went looking for the ASLRB and BV. MMP was out of them at the time, but I managed to find mint shrink-wrapped AH copies on ebay and got them there, along with a musty, but unpunched copy of the AH printing of Yanks.
After playing a few ASL scenarios with the wife, she had had her fill, so I went looking for players. VASL gave me my first taste of play with a veteran opponent. As wonderful a tool as VASL is, I much prefer the asthetics of the board game, so I went looking for local players on the MMP Player Directory.
I found two local players up for a game, but have only managed to get one session in so far, due to their very limited availability.
Over the last two months, I have been playing SASL using a borrowed copy of the rules and my old SL counters (a use for them at last!). I'm wrapping up the 4th scenario of my first CG as Russians.
So that's me and ASL up to this point in a nutshell (if a big nutshell!).
One interesting thing I've come to realize - my favorite video games, Combat Mission and Starfleet Command, are adaptations of my favorite boardgames - ASL and Starfleet Battles. They funny thing is that, as great as the video games are, I much prefer the boardgames, and as my early FtF experience with the boardgames was so limited, I have really moved from video game to boardgame. Talk about bucking a trend!
To my taste, ASL is the best game ever. It took me 23 years to realize that this is the one game I must play and to feel confident that I can grasp the game system adequately to grow (hopefully!) into a good player. But now I am here and I keep feeling the need to pinch myself that such a great game exists and is still being printed and played!
I look forward to being a long-term member of the ASL community.