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Unofficial ASL Products
Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants
Scenario Packs CONSUMER ALERT!
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Producer Name:  Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants
Country of Origin:  United States
Still Active?: Yes
Commentary:   "Wild" Bill Wilder is a wargamer who turned to computer wargames and designed scenarios for a variety of tactical computer wargame systems.  He also wrote amateur history articles. 

First to Fight Variants--which is essentially Tom Tietz, an individual from Villa Park, Illinois, who only sells on E-bay--is one of several "companies" that have appeared since 1998, the year of the demise of Avalon Hill, that sell "variant" countersheets, rules, and other supplements for Avalon Hill products.  Most of these "variants" are reproductions of items that originally appeared in the pages of Avalon Hill's The General Magazine, or from other wargaming magazines, and the sellers do not have the actual rights to reproduce the copyrighted materials.  Instead, they gamble  that Hasbro or other entities that actually own the rights to the intellectual property in question will not pursue them legally. 

In 2008-2009, Bill Wilder and First to Fight teamed to create a planned series of 5 "variants" for ASL, three of which would be Vietnam-related and two of which would be Korea-related.  Selling copies on E-bay one at a time to extreme-completist collectors would maximize the amount of money they could extract from ASLers with these products.  Apparently, the trick worked, because in 2009 a large number of additional hastily created "products" began to appear on E-bay.

CONSUMER ALERT:  These products, which are typically available only for high prices on E-bay, are of extremely poor quality and most ASLers would find them more or less unusable.  There appears to have been little to no proofreading, rules development or playtesting.  See the review of One Wild Ride for a more extended look at one of these products.   THESE ARE VERY POOR PRODUCTS; BUYER BEWARE.

 

Scenario Packs

Title:  Years of Glory & Grief I:  ASL Vietnam Variant Module
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2008) Product Type: Scenario Pack
Contents:  4 scenarios, 516 (homemade) counters, 18 pages of rules/historical commentary, 1 overlay

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT.  See entry on One Wild Ride for a detailed look at a similar product.

If an ASLer ever wanted to spend a lot of money for no particularly good reason, this would be the perfect opportunity.  Years of Glory & Grief I (YGG-I) was the first of three small amateurish modules created by computer wargamer "Wild Bill" Wilder designed to take ASL to the Vietnam era (a place the system was not originally designed to go).  Each module features homemade counters that were printed on a printer, hand-mounted to cardboard, front laminated, and separated with a rotary cutter. 

Wilder and his friend Tom at First to Fight Variants only offer copies of this (and other) modules for sale through E-bay, one copy at a time.  As a result, the ASL "completist" crowd will always drive up the price, and this small module can easily sell for $200 a shot.  Is it worth $200?  Absolutely not.

What is it worth?  That may depend to some degree on personal taste, but the bottom line is that it is not worth very much.  Most serious ASLers would probably never play it.

What is the basis for this judgment?  First, let's start with the rules.  Even Wilder himself admits, in his marketing material for the module, that "the suggestions for play and the descriptions of the units and their special characteristics are not iron clad.  I am not a rules 'guru.'  I offer these as guidelines for their use in the game...differences of opinion between players can be resolved with a 'friendly roll of the die.'"

The translation for this is that the rules for this module have not been rigorously developed or playtested and may well be rife with errors, inconsistencies, and problems.  In other words, the rules are likely to be exactly what sets the typical anal-retentive (you know you are) ASLer's teeth on edge. 

Take a gander at the U.S. countersheet image below, for example.  Ignore for a minute the numerical values (oh, we'll get back to those!); just look at the layout.  Notice anything missing?  Anything like a smoke exponent, or assault fire, or spraying fire, or underlined morale?  Perhaps all that is explained in the rules, but even if so, why leave it off the counters?

Okay, now take a look at the rest of the counters.  Perhaps a U.S. squad armed with M-16's might deserve an 8-5-7 squad rating, although that seems a little precious for non-elite troops.  But what are these 7-5-9 "Elite Teams" that appear to be half-squads?  From what magical army did these Rambos come from?  Moreover, their leaders all seem to have a 10 morale.  This is simply pure fantasy.

For what it is worth, this module in the series introduces U.S. Army and NVA forces and focuses on base camp operations (the included overlay is of a base camp).  Two of the four scenarios (2 set in 1965, 1 in 1966, and 1 in 1971) feature base camps. 

So, bottom line:  this module features only 4 scenarios (of uncertain playtesting), rules of uncertain development, non-diecut counters, and is unlikely to be available for less than $100.  If this sounds like your cup of tea, head over to E-bay.

 

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Title:  Years of Glory & Grief II:  ASL Vietnam Variant Module
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2008) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  4 scenarios, 556 (homemade) counters, 16 pages of rules/historical commentary, 2 overlays

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.  This is the second of a three part series bringing ASL to the Vietnam era.  It adds counters and rules for the USMC and the Viet Cong, and includes a tunnel overlay and a forest overlay. 

As with the previous entry in the series, this is an amateurish product with questionable rules development and playtesting.  Perhaps most ridiculous are the USMC, who have 9-5-8 and 9-5-9 MMC.  Even their dogs (2-0-8) are supermen. 

The module comes with 4 scenarios, set in 1965, 1966, 1967, and 1968.  One scenario was based on a scene in the movie "Platoon." 

Like the previous module, this module is only available occasionally on E-bay and only for bids that would be far more than its actual value.

 

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Title:  Years of Glory & Grief III:  ASL Vietnam Variant Module
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2009) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  4 scenarios, 394 (homemade) counters, 16 pages of rules/historical commentary, overlays

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

This is the third of a three part series bringing ASL to the Vietnam era.  It adds counters and rules for ANZAC and ARVN forces, plus Air Cav, riverine forces, transport helicopters and other items.

The 4 scenarios are set in 1963, 1967 (2), and 1968. 

Like the previous module, this module is only available occasionally on E-bay and only for bids that would be far more than its actual value.

 

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Title:  Korea:  Ordeal at Chosin I: ASL Variant Module
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2009) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  4 scenarios, 366 (homemade) counters, 8-page rulebook, 4-page historical commentary, overlay

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

 This is the first of a two part series of squad-level fighting in Korea by Bill Wilder and First to Fight Variants. 

It contains 5 scenarios, all involving USMC at or near Chosin Reservoir in November-December 1950.  As with its Vietnam predecessors the infantry countermix is a mishmash of new squad value combinations (6-2-7, 4-5-6, 3-2-5, 2-4-5, 4-2-8, 3-3-9, etc.). 

Like the previous module, this module is only available occasionally on E-bay and only for bids that would be far more than its actual value.  As an "official" Korea module is in the works, this product would seem to be even less useful than otherwise.

 

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Title:  One Wild Ride! The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam, 1966-1970
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2009)
Contents:  5 scenarios, 160 (homemade) counters, 9-page rulebook, 2-page historical commentary, 1 "mini-map" (#02, appr. 8" x 10").  Overlays (?  see below)

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

One Wild Ride! (OWR) is one of a series of homemade ASL scenario packs created and marketed by Bill Wilder and Tom Tietz on E-bay.  Perhaps "churned out" would be a better verb phrase to use to describe their release, as the number of such packs produced in 2008-2009 was startling.  In and of themselves, the rapid succession of releases were prima facie proof that none of them had adequate proofing, playtesting, or development.  A close examination of OWR confirms this hypothesis easily.  The unfortunate fact is that Wilder and Tietz are taking advantage of the existence of a relatively small number of compulsively completist ASL collectors who are willing to pay ridiculous prices for ASL-related products of extremely low quality.  As these First to Fight items are produced only in very low quantities, they sell on E-bay for very high prices, a fact that should NOT be taken as an indicator of quality.

Before he began creating these infamous packs, Bill Wilder was almost unknown in the ASL community and does not seem to have participated in competitive ASL play nor have a track record of playtesting or developing ASL products.  The rules in OWR almost make it seem as if Wilder owned the ASL rules but did not necessarily play ASL, perhaps preferring the older, simpler Squad Leader series instead.  His products mostly seem to be designed (perhaps that word should have quote marks around it) to be played using either ASL or SL rules, which as experienced ASL players know, would be extremely difficult, given the vast differences between the original Squad Leader and its evolutionary descendant.

One Wild Ride is a smallish pack with only 5 scenarios, each featuring the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam.  The question of whether ASL is even a suitable tactical wargaming system for Vietnam era combat is a controversial one, but in this case the point is moot as these products are hardly likely ever to be actually played by anyone. 

OWR comes with a 2-page historical commentary.  Its first page is a virtually fact-less "history" of cavalry from the dawn of time to the modern day.  The second page sketchily traces the history of the 11th Armored Cavalry, which, if the commentary is to be believed, was virtually the best unit to ever fight in Vietnam (insert skepticism here). 

OWR also has a loose-leaf rules booklet that provides rules for the U.S. Army in Vietnam, the Viet Cong and NVA, medics, radio telephone operators, infiltrators, the "Mad Minute," helicopters and air support, mini-guns, and alternative rice paddy rules--all in just 9 pages. 

For most ASL players, the rules are migraine-inducing at best.  Nowhere present is the sort of rigorousness, completeness, and attention to detail that any new ASL-compatible rules always require.  To say they are slapdash would be a compliment, especially insofar as the rules are basically intended to be for both SL and ASL at the same time. 

Curious?  Let's explore.  Opening the rules booklet, the first thing we come to are rules for U.S. troops.  "The regular US Army infantry," the rules tell us, "is represented by two units with their appropriate half squads."  Which units and which half squads?  Your guess is as good as ours.  There is only one U.S. squad represented in the countermix, an 8-5-7 squad.  No factors are underlined, there is no smoke exponent.  What is the other unit?  Apparently it is invisible.  And with only one non-underlined squad type, what happens to this squad when it fails its ELR?  Is it disrupted?  In a sense, it's an academic question, because none of the scenario cards actually list ELR values for the combatants, just as they do not list SAN numbers, or provide environmental conditions, wind direction, among other AWOL features.  Take a Tylenol and move on, it's a long trip.  The US units also come with a fascinating option called "full automatic," which involves them rolling additional dice for really not much effect at all.

We soon come to the NVA and Viet Cong.  The VC seem to use British-colored counters and come primarily in 6-5-7 and 6-5-8 varieties.  They have a fascinating attribute called "withdrawal," which is something that happens "whenever a full squad is broken and rallies as a half squad."  What does this even mean?  How does a broken full squad rally as a half squad?  In a sense, this too is an academic question, because even if it is possible to figure out how a unit qualifies for "withdrawal," the withdrawal rules themselves are hopelessly broken.  Withdrawing units must "move toward the edge of the playing board not controlled or occupied by the enemy."  Where are the rules in ASL that say how a board edge is "controlled" or "occupied?"  But wait, it gets better.  If a unit can't withdraw, it is considered "surrounded."  It must either (its choice) move towards the nearest enemy unit and surrender, or "revert to a berserk state and remain in that state for the remainder of the game or until they are eliminated."  So let's see, permanent berserkosity or surrender?  As Eddie Izzard might say, "Cake or death?"   How the rules might handle a permanently berserk unit, of course, is something best left to the imagination.

Next up are the Medic rules.  The medic is a beauty.  First, any units with the LOS of a medic receive "+1 to their rally factor and also for any DR to rally a broken unit."  Let's parse this.  First off, as written, it includes both friendly and enemy units, but let's presume the author meant friendly only.  What is a "rally factor?"  Is this "morale?"  Is it a leader's modifier to rally?  If so, adding a +1 would hurt it.  Similarly, a +1 to rally DRs would also penalize the unit.  But that's only bush league goofiness.  Medics do not take morale checks.  Instead, if fired upon, "a DR of 9+ instead eliminates him."  Does this mean the DR that was just rolled against him?  Is that a subsequent DR?  There's additional goofiness in the Medic rules, but of a more minor sort.

A beautifully useless unit is the radio telephone operator or RTO.  It is used in place of a radio, must be stacked with a leader, dies as a leader does, allows the leader to use his modifier for "combat" while "still establishing or maintaining radio contact," loses radio contact if the RTO breaks, and if eliminated is replaced by a radio counter.  So can anyone explain how this is different from putting a leader counter with a radio in the scenario?  It is 6 paragraphs of perfectly superfluous rules. 

Speaking of superfluous, Bill Wilder clearly considers many of the rules in the rulebook to be unnecessary.  There is a specific rules section on "Night Fighting Rules."  Here is the rule:  "As many of the following rules may be imposed as the players think feasible for night battles.  A particular scenario may provide exceptions or additional rules."  Below it are night rules references for SL and ASL ("See ASL rulebook section E.1").  So apparently there is a rule in this module to tell players that it is up to them what night rules they wish to use.  Again, though, the whole section is moot, as there are no night scenarios in the module.

One does get a sense that Wilder has not read the ASL night rules, because what follows the "Night Fighting Rules" section is a section on "Infiltrators," which essentially reads like an alternative version of the cloaking rules as if it had been come up with by a punch-drunk fighter.  These rules include modifiers for "dog units" (non-existent in the module) and the possibility of "Silent Kills."  Although the rules, naturally, never come right out and say so, what this apparently is supposed to do is automatically kill enemy units in CC with a dr of 5-6 (!).

Next is a section on VC/NVA sappers, which is mostly non-bizarre, though it does give them a superfluous +2 to the "attack factor" of demo charges and flamethrowers, which is perhaps nice if one is using the IIFT (something Bill Wilder may not have heard of) but otherwise useless.  This is followed by a section on "Elite Troops," which are not subject to desperation morale and which do not break "but instead are turned over and reduced to a half team," whatever that is (perhaps a half squad??).  Which units are elite?  Who knows.  The rules section mentions US, USMC, and ANZAC units, but the latter two are not even present in the module, and the 8-5-7 squads can't be elite because they have a broken side.  The only units marked as elite in the countermix are the 6-5-8 VC squads. 

Up next are the special ambush rules, "suggested due to the fact that both the NVA and the VC were masters at ambush."  These beautiful rules allow ambushes in any "non-open ground hex on any level...as long as there is some other type of protective terrain (bushes, trees, rice paddies, buildings, etc.).  Bushes?  The Desperation Morale archivist tells us he does not know in which ASL module the shrubbery rules were introduced.  No matter, figure that one out on your own.  How are these especially deadly ambushes performed?  Whenever an enemy unit enters the "ambush site," a die is rolled.  On a dr of 1-3 (1-4 for NVA and elite units), "the ambush is a success."  In that case, the rules say, "consult the following and use the rules that best suit your playing style."  This gives the player an option of SL ambush or A11.4, the ASL ambush rule.  Now, the use of these two rules together can be parsed in two different ways.  First, the dr mentioned above takes the place of the standard ASL ambush dr.  Or, the standard ASL ambush dr occurs, but only if the above dr was a success.  Either way one parses it, it will screw the would-be ambusher.  Parsed the first way, the ambusher never gets a chance to take advantage of ambush dr modifiers such as concealment, leadership, enemy CX status, etc., which often can provide a near certain ambush.  Parsed the second way, the would-be ambusher must succeed with two drs, not just one, in order to ambush.  Either way, it potentially makes ambushing more difficult than the existing rules rather than less.

We can skip the "Mad Minute" rules and go straight to the Sniper rules, which reveal that the author is not even familiar with the ASL sniper rules and only uses the original SL series sniper counters.  Enough said.  On to the weather and climate rules.  Here's an interesting one:  "Any vehicle moving at more than three quarters (3/4) of its speed must roll two dice for its breakdown check.  A roll of 12...means that the unit has broken down and is immobilized.  Use immobilization rules for restoring movement to the vehicle (ASL rule D8.1)."  We hardly know where to begin.  Where in ASL is a vehicle's speed mentioned?  Is this movement?  And where do ASL immobilization rules allow for "restoring movement to the vehicle"?  The rules reference he provides specifically states that immobilization cannot be repaired during play, something all ASL players know to begin with.  It is the rules such as this one which suggest that the author has not actually ever played ASL.  In addition to what is included, the rules are made useless by what is not.  There is not even a single confirmation, for example, that PTO rules are in effect in scenarios set in Vietnam (nor do the scenario cards never mention things like jungle, though they do mention rice paddies).

We could go on to helicopters and mini-guns, but life is too short.  Enough with the "rules."  The five scenarios are all smallish, but what is the point of even describing scenarios that are unplayable?  The "historical descriptions" are so brief and so close to generic that it is not clear even if the scenarios represent situations that actually took place. 

The small map is mostly open ground, with a small hill and some woods (or jungle, if PTO is in effect?) and brush (or bamboo?).  There's a hamlet (are huts in play?) and some rice paddies.  The artwork is not atrocious, but it is cookie cutter (all the one hex woods, for example, are clones of two specific hexes.  Some of the woods hexes go considerably across hexsides into adjacent hexes; it is not even clear if FF1, for example, is supposed to be a woods or open ground hex.  Even the hex numbering is wrong.  The map is laminated.  Ostensibly there is an overlay in the pack, but it was missing from the review copy.

The counters are the most attractive part of the product, and, indeed, its only draw.  The artwork on the counters is not bad.  The counters come in pre-cut baggies (as they were produced and cut by hand).  In the end, though, they are as useless as the rest of the product.  Are these units supposed to have spraying fire?  Assault fire?  Who knows?  There are no Chapter H rules for any of the vehicles.  There is an M-48 tank in the countermix with a 90LL main armament.  Curious what the To Kill # of a 90LL gun is?  So are we, but apparently we are doomed to disappointment.  Another vehicle that appears is an M125A1; this vehicle was an 81mm mortar carrier.  The 81* gun on the counter has no overscore or underscore.  Does that mean it is treated differently from other mortars, or was the designer simply so clueless that he does not know how to represent mortars in ASL?  We report, you decide.

Overall, this product is so comprehensively flawed that it is hard to imagine anyone aware of its nature who would actually want to obtain it, except for the compulsive completists and people who might be obsessed with the Vietnam War.  It's not playable except for people who are willing to make up all the rules themselves, and such people don't need a product like this to do it.  In almost every way, this is the exact opposite of what an ASL third party product should be.

 

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Title:  Birds of Prey! The 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in Vietnam, 1965-1970
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2009)
Contents:  6 scenarios, 136 (homemade) counters, 6 pages historical background, article on helicopters, 9 pages rules, 3 "mini-maps," overlay

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

Birds of Prey! (BoP) is the latest in a now seemingly endless series of undeveloped, unplaytested and crudely produced ASL "variants" sold a copy at a time on E-bay to the unknowing as well as to super-completist ASL collectors.  This particular item, as its name suggests, focuses on the 1st Cavalry Division in Viet Nam. 

Five of the scenarios feature the 1st Cav; another focuses on some other unit.  Several of the scenarios are billed as smaller "quickplay" scenarios, whatever that means.  If the scenarios are anything like those in One Wild Ride, it is a moot point, as they will essentially be unplayable no matter what their size. 

One of the mini-maps does have an interesting set of orchard configurations; that is about the only positive thing that can be said about this product.  Caveat emptor like crazy.

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Title:  Korea: The Cold War Gets Hot!
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2009)
Contents:  8 scenarios, 366 (homemade) counters, historical background, rules

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

One more in a series of shoddily produced ASL-related packs sold one at a time on E-bay to completist ASL collectors.  People actually interested in playing ASL are advised to give these items a wide birth.  This one focuses on the first six months of the Korean War.  Its E-bay description refers to its rules pages as "ideas and instructions on the use of the new counters included in the variant." 

The product features laminated, mounted counters home-cut by Bill Wilder.  New squad types include the 6-2-7 and 4-5-6 Communist Chinese squads (no underscores), 2-3-6 crews, 4-2-8 sappers, Squad Leader style snipers, various planes and helicopters, and some American tanks. 

If One Wild Ride is any indication, this pack is not likely to be playable without players themselves making numerous fixes and decisions.  Try eating kimchi instead.

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Title:  Terrible Swift Sword! The Israeli 7th Armored Brigade in the Battle for the Sinai 1967
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2009)
Contents:  7 scenarios, 420 (homemade) counters, 3 small desert maps, 7 overlays, "20 desert surprise counters," historical background, rules

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

With this product, Bill Wilder and Tom Tietz announce the "first of the Arab-Israeli series," which frighteningly promises more to come.  This particular item threatens promises to bring players to the 1967 Arab-Israeli war with scenarios featuring Israelis, Egyptians, Palestinians, and Jordanians.  Google the Hebrew or Arab equivalent of "Caveat Emptor" and keep it in mind.

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Title:  Green Steel Series Module Number One: Marine Armor in World War II
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2009)
Contents:  5 scenarios, 134 (homemade) counters, 13 page "overview of the Pacific War," "Copy of an actual recorded conversation of a Marine tank company in action," 7 pages rules, 2 "mini-maps"

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

This is the first of an announced 3-part series of scenarios featuring USMC AFVs in World War II.  It focuses on Guadalcanal and New Georgia in 1942-43.   Counters include "KIA" counters (dead bodies), a apanese prisoner counter, various leader counters, "Jungle Hazards" counters, 4-5-8 USMC counters and 5-5-9 USMC Raider/Para counters with assault fire, spraying fire, 3 smoke exponent, and underlined morale.  Apparently, these were created for those few ASLers who thought that USMC as represented in ASL were not supermanny enough.

Semper Fi and Caveat Emptor.

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Title:  Smoke on the Water!
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2009)
Contents:  5 scenarios, 192 (homemade) counters, 2 mini-maps, 10 page historical background, "Inventory of the Riverine Forces," rules pages.

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest offering churned out by Bill Wilder, just a month after his previous latest, is Smoke on the Water, which covers "riverine forces" in the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam War.  Rules include river boats, as well as their crews and commanders, NVA cadre units, and others.  It is unlikely that any of the rules or scenarios were developed or playtested. 

These items are sold on E-bay only, designed to extract the highest prices from ASL completists who will pay astronomical amounts even for unplayable items that are related to ASL.  Buyers should beware.

 

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Title:  A Port Too Far:  The British Commando Raid on St. Nazaire, 28 March 1942
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2009)
Contents:  3 small historical maps, 235 (homemade) counters, rules, 4 scenarios (plus a "bonus" for E-bay buyers of "three other scenarios and two more maps on the British commandos in World War II")

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The first thing that should be noted is that this product should NOT be confused with the similarly themed St. Nazaire: Operation Chariot, which came out the same year, published by Le Franc Tireur.  THAT product is a professionally designed, developed, playtested, and published product by people who know how to put out an ASL product.  THIS product, the product reviewed here (clumsily described as "a variant for the ASL"), is a hastily thrown together quickie.  Although even the typical ASL scenario pack takes at least a minimum of a year to design, develop and playtest, Bill Wilder came out not just with this product but four other new ASL items all at the same time, only a few months after a previous batch.  Clearly, no tender loving care went into this product.  It is difficult to know which to dislike more; Bill Wilder and First to Fight for releasing these products into the ASL market, or the anal retentive ASL completists and occasional naive consumers who actually buy his items at exorbitant prices and give him impetus to churn out more dreck.  To directly address the latter category, the buyers:  YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM.

This "product" offers a historical introduction, a few pages of rules, some crudely designed "historical" maps (contrast with the Le Franc Tireur product), homemade ship and ground counters, and a "system for keeping track of naval movement and damage to the ships."  Three scenarios each depict part of the attack on St. Nazaire, while a fourth is a "mega-scenario" that combines them.  For some strange reason, also included is a "small contingent of SS troops" counters, though they are not used in the product.  For amusement, look at the "orchards" and the large buildings on the map sample.  Think these are accounted for in the rules? 

It should be noted that the cover of the product states that ownership of Beyond Valor and West of Alamein is required for the product, but the E-bay product descriptions say only West of Alamein. 

 

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Title:  Green Steel Series Module Number Two: Marine Armor in World War II
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2009)
Contents:  5 scenarios, 166 (homemade) counters, 13 page "overview of the Pacific War," "Copy of an actual recorded conversation of a Marine tank company in action," 8 pages rules, 5 "mini-maps"

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

This is the second of a 3-part series of scenarios featuring USMC AFVs in World War II.  It focuses on island fighting in the Central Pacific.  It introduces "Japanese anti-tank teams and the US Marine Sniper-Scout," as well as mysterious Jungle Hazards.

If other products by this producer are any indication, this will be poorly developed and playtested and not very playable.  Buyer beware.

 

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Title:  Green Steel Series Module Number Three:  Marine Armor in World War II (alternative title:  The Final Push)
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2009) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  2 mini-maps, 2 overlays, 258 (homemade) counters, rules, 12 scenarios

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

This "scenario pack" contains scenarios involving USMC armor on Saipan, Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.  To say it takes a lackadaisical attitude towards ASL would be the understatement of the year.  "US Army units," the designer states in his E-bay marketing material, "can substitute if you don't have Gung Ho for American forces [i.e., Marines!]."  A variety of new rules and concepts are introduced, including a "revised rifle squad" divided into three fire teams, tank crews, Japanese suicide squads, AT mines (???), and Japanese paratroopers.  Inflated unit values are common.

Of course, if other products by this designer are any indication, none of these will be fully developed or playable.  Examine the image of the hill map below; notice how grotesquely misplaced most of the crest lines are?  Someone who doesn't know how to draw ASL crest lines should not be designing ASL products. 

And ASLers shouldn't be buying these.

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Title:  One Out of Four:  The Saga of Saving Private Ryan
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2009) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  3 mini-maps (one described as an "ASL Deluxe type"), 1 overlay, 5 scenarios, 106 (homemade) counters

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

Bill Wilder ballsily takes on trademark infringement by creating a "scenario pack" that attempts to replicate the fictional firefights in the Steven Spielberg movie "Saving Private Ryan." 

Just look at the maps and take a moment or two to see how many apparent mistakes or problematic hex depictions one can find.  How does one even play hex B4 on the Ramelle map?  How does one play the building/road hexes in which the roads are clearly not along hexsides?  Some hexes appear to be shellhole/building hexes; one has to wonder what the chances are that these are fully explained in the rules.  The maps are also ugly.

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Title:  When It All Went Wrong!  The American Raid on Mogadishu,  3 October 1993
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2009) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  3 mini-maps, 5 page historical background, 6 pages rules, 264 (homemade) counters, 6 scenarios

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

When It All Went Wrong is the Bill Wilder take on the "Black Hawk Down" firefight in Somalia in 1993.  It comes complete with a "historical" map of the area (with nonstandard map elements that will drive many ASLers crazy) and counters with inflated unit ratings.  Oddly, the warlord militia counters, though based on people armed with automatic weapons, have neither spraying fire or assault fire.

If this product is as poorly designed, developed and playtested as other products by the same designer have been, it is not worth getting.

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Title:  Silver Wings!  Green Beret Action in Vietnam, 1964-1970
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2009) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  6 mini-maps, 1 "new Enlarged...Deluxe ASL Style" mini-map, 251 (homemade) counters, historical notes, rules, 8 scenarios, 1 "movie" scenarios

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

This is the threatened first of a series of on "Special Forces."  It introduces the Green Berets, claymores, tripflares, Fougass, various helicopters and vehicles, and other items--presumably insufficiently developed.  The maps are crudely rendered and likely to pose rules problems.

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

 

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Title:  Fire in the East, Part One:  The U.S. Army-Iraq: Desert Storm
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2010) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  Historical overview/bibliography, 496 counters, 2 "desert maps," rules, 13 scenarios, 7 overlays

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder.  This is the fourth of the so-called "Great Battles" series, depicting Operation Desert Storm in Kuwait and Iraq in 1991.

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

 

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Title:  Fire in the East, Part Two:  The Coalition-Iraq-Desert Storm
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2010) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  Historical "resume" of the "ground war in Iraq, February, 2001 [sic]," ? pages rules, 12 scenarios, 500 homemade counters, ? maps and overlays

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder.  This one features scenarios and rules for the 1990-1991 Gulf War.

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

 

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Title:  The Glory of the Glosters:  The Battle of the Imjin River, Korea, April 22-25, 1951
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2010) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  Historical "resume," ? pages rules, 8 scenarios, 128 homemade counters.

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder.  This one features scenarios and rules for the for a Korean War action involving the British.

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

 

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Title:  Sky Warriors and Horse Soldiers
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2010) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  Historical "resume," "suggestions" about using the counters, 160 homemade counters, 10 scenarios

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder.  This one features 110 glider and air transport counters, 30 horse counters, and 20 Japanese paratroop and cavalry counters.  The 10 scenarios ostensibly focus on cavalry actions.

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

 

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Title:  Edge of the Sword!  Special Forces #3: Israeli Commandos and Paratroopers in Action, 1956-1982
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2010) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  Historical overview, 372 counters, 6 "mini-maps," 11 scenarios, presumably rules

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder.  This is the third of a three part series on "special forces."   As can be seen from the maps, he does not even know how to present buildngs in ASL. 

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

 

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Title:  Landships and Tommies:  The Great War
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2010) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  Historical overview, 322 counters (possibly uncut), rules, 3 "mini-maps," 6 scenarios

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder.  This is the first of a five part series of "products" that ostensibly take ASL to World War I.  This is a bad idea even for a legitimate ASL designer, as for most of the war for most armies the squad was not even a maneuver unit in World War I and the system is not able to model First World War fighting well.  In the hands of someone who just slaps things together without playtesting or development, well, it is not going to get out of the starting gate.

This "product" requires the "product" Landships and Tommies to play.  It introduces the "system" and is required by other "products" in this series.  It focuses on the use of British tanks.   Unlike some earlier First to Fight "products," in this one the counters are not even cut.  No mini-maps or overlays were announced for the "product."

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

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Title:  Doughboys and Devil Dogs: The Great War
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2010) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  188 uncut counters, 12 scenarios, 1 "mini-map," presumably some rules pages

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder.  This is the second of a five part series of "products" that ostensibly take ASL to World War I.  This is a bad idea even for a legitimate ASL designer, as for most of the war for most armies the squad was not even a maneuver unit in World War I and the system is not able to model First World War fighting well.  In the hands of someone who just slaps things together without playtesting or development, well, it is not going to get out of the starting gate.

This "product" requires the "product" Landships and Tommies to play.  It contains U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and French counters, as well as markers.    Unlike some earlier First to Fight "products," in this one the counters are not even cut.  No mini-maps or overlays were announced for the "product."

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

 

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Title:  Diggers and Turks:  The Great War
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2010) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  Historical overview, 202 uncut counters, 8 scenarios, presumably rules

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder.  This is the third of a five part series of "products" that ostensibly take ASL to World War I.  This is a bad idea even for a legitimate ASL designer, as for most of the war for most armies the squad was not even a maneuver unit in World War I and the system is not able to model First World War fighting well.  In the hands of someone who just slaps things together without playtesting or development, well, it is not going to get out of the starting gate.

This "product" requires the "product" Landships and Tommies to play.  It focuses on Gallipolli and the Dardanelles campaign.  Unlike some earlier First to Fight "products," in this one the counters are not even cut.  No mini-maps or overlays were announced for the "product."

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

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Title:  Desert Warriors: The Great War
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2010) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  Historical overview, 300 uncut counters, 3 "mini-maps," 1 sheet overlays, rules, 10 scenarios

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder.  This is the fourth of a five part series of "products" that ostensibly take ASL to World War I.  This is a bad idea even for a legitimate ASL designer, as for most of the war for most armies the squad was not even a maneuver unit in World War I and the system is not able to model First World War fighting well.  In the hands of someone who just slaps things together without playtesting or development, well, it is not going to get out of the starting gate.

This "product" requires the "product" Landships and Tommies to play.  It focues on "Laurence of Arabia" and the Arab Revolt in the Near East.  Unlike some earlier First to Fight "products," in this one the counters are not even cut.  No mini-maps or overlays were announced for the "product."

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

 

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Title:  Audace: The Great War: The French Army in World War I
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2010) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  Historical overview, 252 uncut counters, 9 scenarios, presumably some rules pages

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder.  This is the fifth of a five part series of "products" that ostensibly take ASL to World War I.  This is a bad idea even for a legitimate ASL designer, as for most of the war for most armies the squad was not even a maneuver unit in World War I and the system is not able to model First World War fighting well.  In the hands of someone who just slaps things together without playtesting or development, well, it is not going to get out of the starting gate.

This "product" requires the "product" Landships and Tommies to play.  It contains French, British, and German counters.  Unlike some earlier First to Fight "products," in this one the counters are not even cut.  No mini-maps or overlays were announced for the "product."

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

 

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Title:  The Splendid Little War
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2010) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  Historical overview, 216 uncut counters, 6 scenarios

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder.  This is the first of the so-called "Small War" series.  This one deals with the War of 1898 between the United States and Spain, an utterly preposterous notion, given that small unit tactics in the late 1800s were not even close to being what ASL is designed to represent; units did not even move in squads.

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

 

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Title:  Target Cuba!
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2010) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  Historical overview, 224 uncut counters, 10 scenarios, presumably some rules

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder. It is the second in the so-called "Small War" series.  It covers the Bay of Pigs abortive invasion of Cuba and a hypothetical second invasion 18 months later as a response to the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

 

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Title:  Zulu:  Enemies of the Crown
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2010) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  Historical overview, 266 uncut counters, 10 scenarios, presumably some rules, 2 "mini-maps"

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder. It is the third in the so-called "Small War" series.  It focuses on British colonial actions in Africa.

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

 

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Title:  Operation Urgent Fury:  Grenada
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2010) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  unknown

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder. It is the fourth in the so-called "Small War" series.  It portrays the U.S. invasion of Grenada in the 1980s.

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

 

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Title:  Chaco:  Soccer Wars in Latin America
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2011) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  unknown

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder. It is the fifth in the so-called "Small War" series.  It portrays the Chaco War in South America in the 1930s.

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

 

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Title:  Sudan:  Enemies of the Crown (The Mahdi)
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2011) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  Historical overview, 302 uncut counters, 8 scenarios, presumably some rules

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder. It is the sixth in the so-called "Small War" series.  It portrays British fighting African natives in the Sudan in the 1800s.

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

 

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Title:  For Garryowen & Glory!  The Indians Plains Wars
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2011) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  Historical overview, 180 uncut counters, 8 scenarios, presumably some rules, 1 "mini-map"

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder. It is the seventh in the so-called "Small War" series.  It ostensibly attempts to take ASL into the 1870s to play cowboys and Indians.  It even includes a "bonus solitaire scenario of an Indian buffalo hunt."  Joy.

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

 

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Title:  Operation Enduring Freedom
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2011) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  unknown

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder. It is part of his "Great Battles" series and portrays the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

 

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Title:  Tet:  The Furious Offensive
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2011) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  Historical overview, 252 uncut counters, 10 scenarios, presumably some rules, 1 "mini-map"

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder. It is another Vietnam-related product, part of his "Great Battles" series.

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

 

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Counter Supplements

Title:  Death from Above
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2009) Product Type:  Counter Supplement
Contents:  36 counters, rules

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

 

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Title:  Eager Eagles!
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2011) Product Type:  Scenario Pack
Contents:  60 uncut counters

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

The latest in an endless series of crappy ASL "products" produced by Bill Wilder. This is an ostensible "aerial supplement" for the earlier World War I products (see above).  It consists of nothing but some WWI aircraft counters.

If this product is like others by this producer, it is not likely to be playable.  Keep away.

 

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Rulebooks

Title:  Simple Solitaire!
Publisher/Date:   Bill Wilder/First to Fight Variants (2009)
Contents:  54 (homemade) counters, 51 Random Event markers, 2 Storm markers, 1 Fighter-Bomber marker, 16 Random Event cards, 32 Fire-Move Cards, 2 pages rules

Commentary:  SEE CONSUMER ALERT. 

See entries on Glory & Grief I and One Wild Ride for general comments that would also apply here.

Simple Solitaire! (SS) is essentially SASL for the mentally challenged.  "There are some solitaire modules out there," designer Bill Wilder explains, but in addition to being out of print, "the ones I have seen seem so complicated that [it] is hardly worth the effort."  Incapable of understanding SASL, it would seem that Wilder decided to come up with a universal alternative that is ostensibly playable with every SL and ASL scenario out there, and uses only 2 pages of rules to do so. 

If the rules for Wilder-designed products like One Wild Ride are any indication, Simple Solitaire! is likely to be incomplete and full of holes.  Caveat emptor.

 

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