Question for Original Squad Leader Players

Michael Dorosh

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The back of the Prep Fire counters have "tracking" counters which you put on the board to remember potential defensive (first) fire attacks at moving units.
 

up5799

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Well we are talking about a game which was released in four parts between 1977 and 1983 - and last printed in 1998 (assuming AH continued printing CoI, CoD, and GI up to the end, which I doubt they did.

When you cut through all the nostalgia BS, OSL is fatally flawed due to its lack of opportunity fire. Using the rules as written, I move all my units in the movement phase, then in the defensive fire phase YOU MOVE MY UNITS BACK and fire at them. I would love to see proponents of OSL try this in a scenario like Hill 621, with 26 squads for the Russians. Totally unplayable and broken IMO using the RAW.

There is an optional rule hidden in the back of the rulesbook which restore playability by having the defender fire at the attacker as the attacker moves. The problem with this is that there is no ROF, SFF, FPF, residual fire, etc - the defender gets one shot and that's it. This restores playability, but without residual fire you can rush as many units as you want through a hex and the defender gets only one shot. Playable but still irretrievably broken IMO.

So what accounts for OSL continued popularity? In one word, actually two, nostalgia and solitaire. There are lots of reclusive gamers who actually enjoy playing solitaire where they don't have to be concerned about social interaction, and they can maintain the fallacy of believing their "perfect plan" is indeed perfect without having to test it, or their actual knowledge of the game in general, against a real opponent. And of course, the few times they have played against a real person, and realized their "perfect plan" was build upon a house of cards, this only makes them more reluctant to play ftf again. For people like this OSL is the perfect game - the chaotic organization of the rules across 4 rulebooks does not matter since when playing solitaire they are the sole interpreter of the rules, the broken defensive fire system does not matter since when playing solitaire there is no real winning player, only a winning side, and the fact that these games have been out of print for over two decades does not matter since there is no need for another person to play the games with anyway.
 

Actionjick

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Well we are talking about a game which was released in four parts between 1977 and 1983 - and last printed in 1998 (assuming AH continued printing CoI, CoD, and GI up to the end, which I doubt they did.

When you cut through all the nostalgia BS, OSL is fatally flawed due to its lack of opportunity fire. Using the rules as written, I move all my units in the movement phase, then in the defensive fire phase YOU MOVE MY UNITS BACK and fire at them. I would love to see proponents of OSL try this in a scenario like Hill 621, with 26 squads for the Russians. Totally unplayable and broken IMO using the RAW.

There is an optional rule hidden in the back of the rulesbook which restore playability by having the defender fire at the attacker as the attacker moves. The problem with this is that there is no ROF, SFF, FPF, residual fire, etc - the defender gets one shot and that's it. This restores playability, but without residual fire you can rush as many units as you want through a hex and the defender gets only one shot. Playable but still irretrievably broken IMO.

So what accounts for OSL continued popularity? In one word, actually two, nostalgia and solitaire. There are lots of reclusive gamers who actually enjoy playing solitaire where they don't have to be concerned about social interaction, and they can maintain the fallacy of believing their "perfect plan" is indeed perfect without having to test it, or their actual knowledge of the game in general, against a real opponent. And of course, the few times they have played against a real person, and realized their "perfect plan" was build upon a house of cards, this only makes them more reluctant to play ftf again. For people like this OSL is the perfect game - the chaotic organization of the rules across 4 rulebooks does not matter since when playing solitaire they are the sole interpreter of the rules, the broken defensive fire system does not matter since when playing solitaire there is no real winning player, only a winning side, and the fact that these games have been out of print for over two decades does not matter since there is no need for another person to play the games with anyway.
I do believe that we played Hill 621 in SL. Several times in fact. One of our favorites.

As to it's irretrievably broken nature all I can say is when you're young(er) love is blind.😘
 

von Marwitz

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I first bought SL because it was cheaper than ASL and for a beginner, the programmed approach seemed a good thing. Bought all four of the 'gamettes' (mark the word...).

Luckily, after only a handful of games and not much knowledge of the rules, I determined that SL is just the thing. As I believed SL and ASL were pretty much the same but the ASL rules were 'in order', which would be an advantage in the long run, I made the switch to ASL before really having taken off with SL, the programmed approach of the former I still planned to use for the learning of the former.

I soon found out that this idea did not work and stuck with ASL. Call it beginner's luck. 🤣

von Marwitz
 

Robin Reeve

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I purchased SL because ASL didn't exist.
I purchased ASL because it was the next logical stage of development of the system - the unification of the rules and making the Russians compatible again being decisive elements.
I was in awe when I saw the level of progress of the rules.
Being isolated from other players, it took me about three months to start to be slightly at ease with the new system.
Never went back.
 

Actionjick

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It's easy for someone to look at SL and point out it's flaws compared to ASL. However when it was introduced SL was the cat's meow and it's shortcomings were overlooked, ignored or unknown by those playing it because of all of it's positive aspects. SL was at the pinnacle of wargames, very few other wargames were in it's class.

I like to think of SL as a Model T Ford compared to a modern automobile. When it was introduced the Model T was an awesome machine but had design elements that would baffle today's average driver. Especially concerning the foot pedal arrangement which was quite different than in modern cars. I doubt most modern drivers could even get it moving. Yet it was enthusiastically embraced bitd because people didn't realize it's shortcomings and cumbersome aspects. It was all new and got them where they wanted to go in an entirely new way for most folks.

Compared to a 2021 auto the Model T is almost laughably archaic yet where would today's cars be without building upon the innovations of it and it's contemporaries? Certainly ASL is a more refined system than SL which is why it is called Advanced Squad Leader.

Some games are capable of evolving and benefit by that evolution. SL is one of those games. Others such as chess and Monopoly don't need to evolve and attempts to improve them lead to evolutionary dead ends. 3D chess would be an example of that.

Regardless SL holds a very special place in this gamer's heart that goes well beyond nostalgia. 🥰
 

von Marwitz

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Compared to a 2021 auto the Model T is almost laughably archaic yet where would today's cars be without building upon the innovations of it and it's contemporaries?
However, the Model T has something going for it:
No software problems and no security issues caused by software.

I am not making a stand for stone age technology, but against thoughlessness while introducing new one.

Read this - notably reality in 2015 - while now cars get crammed with ever more software:

No country is more vulnerable to cyber threats than the US (even before the rest of the West). It is already possible to take down critical infrastructure in many ways. Adding the vulnerability to take out fleets of cars does add another.

I'd wish for a new car that is unable to connect to the net above one that is anytime.

von Marwitz
 

Actionjick

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However, the Model T has something going for it:
No software problems and no security issues caused by software.

I am not making a stand for stone age technology, but against thoughlessness while introducing new one.

Read this - notably reality in 2015 - while now cars get crammed with ever more software:

No country is more vulnerable to cyber threats than the US (even before the rest of the West). It is already possible to take down critical infrastructure in many ways. Adding the vulnerability to take out fleets of cars does add another.

I'd wish for a new car that is unable to connect to the net above one that is anytime.

von Marwitz
Very nice! There are people here who acquire older cars, machinery and technological devices for reasons like hackers and more importantly a coronal mass ejection. A coronal mass ejection would have global consequences and unlike hackers cannot be prevented.

Bitsa ( back in the Stone Age) when Fish and I would be gathered together in a cave with several species of small furry animals and our Pict friend we would play SL and discuss the future of gaming. We would bang a few rocks together trying to come up with new ideas all the while keeping a wary eye out for CBOBA. Cave bear offboard artillery. 😉 It was a groovy time.
 
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Actionjick

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Very nice! There are people here who acquire older cars, machinery and technological devices for reasons like hackers and more importantly a coronal mass ejection. A coronal mass ejection would have global consequences and unlike hackers cannot be prevented.

Bitsa ( back in the Stone Age) when Fish and I would be gathered together in a cave with several species of small furry animals and our Pict friend we would play SL and discuss the future of gaming. We would bang a few rocks together trying to come up with new ideas all the while keeping a wary eye out for CBOBA. Cave bear offboard artillery. 😉
IIRC in ancient Rome/ and or/ Greece you were considered a barbarian if you didn't mix your wine with water. My barbarian roots are deep.
 

Actionjick

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I do believe that we played Hill 621 in SL. Several times in fact. One of our favorites.

As to it's irretrievably broken nature all I can say is when you're young(er) love is blind.😘
Oddly I don't remember us having problems with the defensive fire rules and we played hundreds of Squad Leader scenarios. Probably close to a thousand.

Apparently we were just too ignorant to realize the game was broken.

Mark Nixon was surprised that we didn't use the optional rule. It wasn't used at tournaments so we didn't use it.
 

Actionjick

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Oddly I don't remember us having problems with the defensive fire rules and we played hundreds of Squad Leader scenarios. Probably close to a thousand.

Apparently we were just too ignorant to realize the game was broken.

Mark Nixon was surprised that we didn't use the optional rule. It wasn't used at tournaments so we didn't use it.
The optional rule may have been used at some tournaments. None that I recall though and Fish never mentioned it being used and he attended almost every SL event held back then.
 

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SL was good, but the complications from four different rulebooks were piling up. And don't forget back then TAHGC was planning at least
two more modules for SL. That would have meant cross-decking six(!) different rulebooks.

ASL has only one set of rules, applicable for every theater of combat (SSRs can come in handy, though).
One versus six, lowest number wins.
 
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