Avalon Hill (1985)
Country of Origin:
4 11" x 26" mounted mapboards (a,b,c,d); 10 scenarios; 36 AFV cards (German, Russian)
Just as hominids split into several evolutionary lines, some, such as Cro-Magnon, which succeeded, and others, such as the Neanderthals, which did not, ASL too has had more than one evolutionary line. Debuting earlier in its history was Streets of Fire, introducing the concept of the so-called “deluxe” ASL module (known as DASL). The only real difference between ASL and DASL was that DASL used humongous maps with 2.2″ hexes. It required an entire dining room table to play a DASL scenario using all four maps.
The reason this large hex size was chosen was that it would allow people to play ASL using 1/285th scale military miniatures. The original Squad Leader had been playtested using miniatures, and throughout its history there had been people who had developed “homegrown” systems to use Squad Leader rules for miniatures. Thus Avalon Hill thought that some people might like a system to help people do just that.
It turns out they were–mostly–wrong. DASL never really caught on. Although a few people did use it in conjunction with miniatures (and a few still continue to do so today), most did not. Without miniatures, though, DASL has much less appeal. The maps are large enough to be awkward and cumbersome, yet their large hex size means that there are actually few hexes on the maps, which itself means that DASL scenarios tend to have no room for maneuver but instead are toe-to-toe bloody affairs.
Although the experiment continued with the release of one more DASL module, Hedgerow Hell, it never caught on and the DASL project was discontinued. Over the years since it was abandoned, a relatively small number of devotees continue to produce new DASL scenarios using the eight released boards have been designed, and a couple of new DASL boards have been released by third party publishers (some people have even crafted three-dimensional versions of the DASL mapboards). Nevertheless, DASL has shown no true signs of a revival.
The other innovation in DASL was the introduction of AFV cards, which were small cardboard cards, each for a different AFV represented in ASL. The cards had information specific to that vehicle, special rules, and squares to mark conditions such as special ammo depletion. These cards, too, never caught on, as they did not offer any great increase in utility for players. Beginners will sometimes use them for a while, but then discover that they really don’t need them. However, some third party publishers have offered additional AFV cards in this style.
Streets of Fire contained four urban mapboards and the scenarios reflect a variety of city fighting actions. MMP decided not to reprint Streets of Fire when it finally went out of print. However, they have offered its scenarios free for download on their Web site.