Country of Origin:
Newsletter, 2-4 scenarios per issue
In the early 1990s, the rapid growth and equally rapidly growing enthusiasm of the ASL community caused a variety of ASL newsletters to appear. Most of them died a quick death, as their producers found out how much work it actually took to publish something, especially something of quality, and especially something with quality ASL scenarios in it. ASLUG, an ungainly acronym for the equally ungainly Advanced Squad Leader Union of Gamers, was one of these short-lived ASL newsletters, published by Texas ASLer Gary Fortenberry.
Fortenberry announced that the “main objective” of ASLUG was to “report on, and improve tournament play.” A secondary objective was to provide original ASL scenarios and to help ASL players find each other. However, in its opening issue, Fortenberry also confessed that he was “a little undecided as to what ASLUG should encompass,” which didn’t necessarily bode well for its vision. A typical issue of ASLUG would contain two new scenarios, some designer’s notes, tournament reports, and an article or two. The initial issue was only 6 pages long, but some subsequent issues were substantially longer. In mid-1993, Fortenberry announced that he had acquired the ASL newsletter At the Point and would combine the two into one newsletter.
Today, most experienced ASLers would know that a monthly publication dedicated to ASL would be almost certainly doomed to failure–that is quite a grueling schedule–but back then folks just had to find out for themselves, as Fortenberry himself did. By the end of the year, ASLUG had fallen on hard times, with no new issues coming out. In March 1994, Fortenberry told the ASL News that he would combine it and the ASL newsletter Fire for Effect into a massive 50-60 page ASL magazine to be published 5 or 6 times a year. This never happened. In May 1994, Robert Wolkey of Fire for Effect announced to ASL News that he and Ray Tapio would form a new ASL publication, Critical Hit, and had purchased the unfinished scenarios and articles from the “defunct” ASLUG from Gary Fortenberry. Subscribers to ASLUG were left with their subscriptions unfulfilled. Later that month, it was announced that Gary Fortenberry would go to Avalon Hill to help manage their ASL line of products, insuring that ASLUG was indeed dead.
During the brief time that it lasted, ASLUG did, however, publish some good tournament-sized scenarios that continue to be played today. Some of them were later reprinted as “official” ASL scenarios (particularly during Fortenberry’s later tenure at Avalon Hill). Particularly worth trying are ASLUG1 (Beyond the Pakfronts), ASLUG3 (Tough Nut to Crack), ASLUG6 (One Step Forward), ASLUG12 (One-Log Bridge), the classic ASLUG14 (Morgan’s Stand), and ASLUG19 (The T-Patchers), among others. ASLUG contained one of the best collections of newsletter scenarios of the 1990s.
The quick rise and fall of ASLUG makes one wonder what might have happened instead if ASLUG had been started as a quarterly or even twice-yearly publication–might it have lasted a lot longer as a result? Alas, we will never know.
Gary Fortenberry later generously allowed people to post the contents of the eight issues of ASLUG, including scenarios, on-line. They can be found here and elsewhere.
- Issue #1, April 1993, 6 pages and 2 scenarios. Content includes designers notes, tournament news, ASL tactical hints, and an article on board-edge creep by Mark Nixon. The two scenarios are ASLUG1 (Beyond the Pakfronts, later reprinted as a Kinetic Energy scenario) and ASLUG 2 (Chateau Cherry).
- ASLUG1 Beyond the PaKfronts. Soviet Union 1943 (Soviets vs. Germans)
- ASLUG2.1 Chateau Cherry. Belgium 1944 (Americans vs. Germans)
- Issue #2, May 1993, 22 pages and 2 scenarios. Content includes designers notes, tournament news, tactical hints, and a Series Replay of ASLUG 2 (Chateau Cherry). The two scenarios are ASLUG3 (A Tough Nut to Crack) and ASLUG4 (Camp Nibeiwa).
- ASLUG3 A Tough Nut to Crack. New Guinea 1943 (Australians vs. Japanese)
- ASLUG4 Camp Nibeiwa. Egypt 1940 (Indians vs. Italians). Desert.
- Issue #3, June 1993, 8 pages and 2 scenarios. Content includes designers notes, tournament reports and a set of standard tournament rules by Mike McGrath. The two scenarios are ASLUG5 (One Step Forward) and ASLUG6 (Shootout at Singling).
- ASLUG5 One Step Forward. France 1940 (French vs. Germans)
- ASLUG6 Shootout at Singling. France 1944 (Americans vs. Germans)
- Issue #4, July 1993, 16 pages and 2 scenarios. Content includes designers notes, an article on the “geometry of ASL,” an article on German AFVs unseen or little seen in ASL scenarios (to that point), an editorial by Mark Nixon on “elitism” among ASLers, tactical hints, tournament news, and a scenario analysis. The two scenarios are ASLUG7 (Hart Attack) and ASLUG8 (Desert Citadel).
- ASLUG7 Hart Attack. Tunisia 1942 (Americans/British vs. Germans)
- ASLUG8 Desert Citadel. Libya 1942 (Free French vs. Italians). Desert.
- Issue #5, August 1993, 16 pages and 2 scenarios. Contents include designers notes, a scenario analysis, an article on the Sturmtiger, tactical tips, an editorial on various ASL topics by Mark Nixon, and tournament news. Scenarios included ASLUG9 (Sword Play, later reprinted as a Kinetic Energy scenario) and ASLUG10 (Twilight’s Last Gleaming, which features a Sturmtiger).
- ASLUG9 Sword Play. Burma 1945 (British vs. Japanese)
- ASLUG10 Twilight’s Last Gleaming. Germany 1945 (Americans vs. Germans)
- Issue #6, September 1993, 14 pages and 2 scenarios. Contents include a Battle of the Bulge “scenario generation system,” tournament reports, tactical tips, and designers notes for a “Modern ASL” scenario, Grounding Noriega. The two scenarios are ASLUG11 (Raiders on Butaritari) and ASLUG12 (One-Log Bridge; the same action is treated quite differently in a scenario that appears in Operation Watchtower).
- ASLUG11 Raiders on Butaritari. Makin Atoll 1942 (Americans vs. Japanese)
- ASLUG12 One-Log Bridge. Guadalcanal 1942 (Americans vs. Japanese)
- Issue #7, October 1993, 20 pages and 4 scenarios. Contents include designers notes, an article on prisoners, an editorial on various topics by Mark Nixon, a scenario analysis, an article on “tournament do’s and don’ts,” a Series Replay, tournament news, and tactical tips. The four scenarios include ASLUG13 (Ramsey’s Charge), ASLUG14 (Morgan’s Stand), ASLUG15 (Mount Pissoderi), and ASLUG16 (Bunshin Gogeki).
- ASLUG13 Ramsey’s Charge. Philippines 1942 (Americans vs. Japanese)
- ASLUG14 Morgan’s Stand. France 1944 (Americans vs. Germans)
- ASLUG15 Mount Pissoderi. Albania 1940 (Greeks vs. Italians)
- ASLUG16 Bunshin Gogeki. Manchuria 1939 (Soviets vs. Japanese). Nomanhan. Desert/Steppe terrain.
- Issue #8, November 1993, 20 pages and 2 scenarios. Contents include tournament news (all of which seems appropriated from the on-line service GEnie) and the contents of another newsletter, Trail Break. Scenarios include ASLUG17 (Temporary Victory) and ASLUG18 (Escape at Dawn).
- ASLUG17 Temporary Victory. Germany 1944 (Americans vs. Soviets)
- ASLUG18 Escape at Dawn. Soviet Union 1941 (Soviets vs. Romanians)
- In addition to the eight issues of ASLUG, there are six additional ASLUG scenarios, apparently never printed in an issue:
- ASLUG19 The T-Patchers. Italy 1943 (Americans vs. Germans)
- ASLUG20 The Butcher’s Bill. France 1940 (British vs. Germans)
- ASLUG21 The Witch’s Cauldron. France 1940 (French vs. Germans)
- ASLUG22 Thrust for a Bridgehead. Belgium 1944 (Americans vs. Germans)
- ASLUG23 Patton’s Prayers. Belgium 1944 (Americans vs. Germans)
- ASLUG24 Kicking Assenois. Belgium 1944 (Americans vs. Germans)