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Posted on Oct 8, 2007 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

ASL Starter Kit # 3 Review

By Robert Delwood

The presentation of the rules is the greatest departure. The kit’s rules are saddle-stitched rather than loose-leaf format. They are in full color with plenty of examples. The examples often take about quarter of the rulebook, so of Kit 3’s 28 pages, about 20 pages are actual rules. The examples are well done well, if not a tad long, but they are all clearly marked and have accurate descriptions. It’s important to note the Chapter H notes. A player will want to reference this section, not only for the historical context of the weapon but also for unique applicable notes. This may include unusual ammunition, limitations on ammo or movement restrictions. These notes have often been cited as some of the best wargaming reference material. The second key feature is that the rules are the same as the full version but incorporate everything from the preceding starter kits. The exception being that all the new material is highlighted in a pink hue.


Charts and player’s aid have the most deviation. The information each aid represents is the same for all the system but the presentation is slightly different each time. This is to take advantage of the limited number of weapons and to make it easier for reading the tables. For example, in ASLSK#3, the To Hit table is broken out for each individual weapon. With only a relatively few weapons available in the kit, this is a convenience to the users. Experienced players may be too accustomed to the generalized format of the full ASL and may have some complaints.

Specific to this kit, players get three 8 x 22 geomorphic maps that allow the boards to arrange along the long or the short sides with terrain consistency. Three counter sheets including German, Russian, American and British units, which is a good assortment for an ASL game this size. Some Italian ordnance is present and used as captured equipment for the British in a Crete scenario. The ultimate draw of this kit, the tanks, include the Tiger, Panther, T-34 and pretty much Shermans in every variation conceivable.

The eight included scenarios seem play balanced and will easily interest any player. There is one infantry-only scenario with the rest including tanks with actions ranging from defensive support and an assault spearhead to an all-out tank free-for-all. Squad Leader is more about scenarios anyway than the game system itself and like the full version with over 2500 scenarios, there will likely be no shortage of kit scenarios. MMP’s Operations magazine will publish official ones. In addition, independents will publish more scenarios in their fanzines, scenario packs, or Web sites.

Lastly, a component no true war game can be without—two dice. ASL uses two different color dice. The colored die often determines other results like keeping rate of fire or where a tank is hit. Despite a perception, the game has an average number of dice rolls. Rolls determine each attack, morale check and To Kill results. By comparison, Lock N’ Load has about the same number of rolls and Hasbro’s Axis and Allies Miniatures involves an excessive number.

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