Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Alien Squad Leader V2.0: A Tabletop Review

250th Post

Alien Squad Leader ASQL-2.0
15mm Squad Level Wargames Rules to play battles from Science Fiction

by Alex Self

From: Alternative Armies/15mm.co.uk

Price £12

80 pages, A4, colour photos inside front/rear covers, including:

- 20 pages of core rules
- 2 pages of optional rules
- 4 pages of unit classification
- 5 pages of game set up and playing, including 2 pages of scenario templates
- 14 pages of specific rules within the Army List section
- 14 Army Lists
- 2 pages of point values for army creation
- 1 page of counters to photocopy
- Illustrated examples of game play and rule explanations throughout
- 2 pages of A4 Doublesided Quick Reference Sheets

A high quality printed product overall.

Fast Play, DBA/HOTT style Tactical Science-Fantasy

Small game = 100 points, 10-15 elements per side
Large game = 150-200 points 15-30 elements per side

An element represents one playing piece, being an individual tank/apc/flyer, or 'stand' of infantry/droids/aliens etc.

15mm.co.uk HOF 15mm Science Fiction Automatons
Pic from ASQL v2-0

The game is meant to represent a large skirmish with platoon or landing party sized forces.

- 1 = 1 Soldier, creature, heavy weapon or Vehicle.
- Ground and time scales are heavily compressed to improve playability.

In the rules, any number of miniatures can be mounted on a base which is referred to as a
'stand'. Five figs are recommended on a stand for infantry, 2-3 for droids or monstrous creatures, whilst machines/vehicles are mounted individually. However a pragmatic play with what you've got philosophy is adopted throughout the rules.

The recommended base sizes are 50mm square for most infantry, droids and aliens, though vehicles and flyers generally 50mmx100mm, or 75mmx100mm for Monstrous creatures, dropships etc.

4ft square recommended for most games.

1-3 hours realtime

Normal 6 sided dice (2 per player recommended)
A tape measure
Counters/markers (a page of printed counters denoting 'hits' / 'pinned' status etc is provided in the book for you to copy and cut-out)


Normal/Fast Move
is self explanatory.

Armour Save represents the armour and protection of the element. This is the minimum score required on a D6 to prevent a hit.

Cover Save is an indication of whether an element can make use of cover.

Ranged Weapon describes the primary ranged weapon type eg 'Small Arms'/'Heavy Weapons'. Note that weapon ranges are stylised and somewhat arbitary. but this is a deliberate approach for the sake of game play.

Shooting determines special attributes in ranged combat for particular troop types, eg aiming devices or an extra hit.

Close Assault represents die modifiers applicable to particular troop types in close combat.

Shoot Reaction describes the type of reaction move that particular troop types must take in addition to any hits.

15mm.co.uk HOF 15mm Science Fiction
Crusader troopers vs Ghoulani Enslaverss

Pic from ASQL v2-0

1) Move/Use Command Stands
2) Free Actions Phase
3) Command Phase
4) Out-of Command Phase
5) Close Combat

All units can attempt to make one of the following actions each game turn:

Move & Shoot
Stand & Shoot
Go on Overwatch

The base score required to hit a target is 7+ on 2d6. Successful rolls on the target will incur either Reaction Moves or Hits plus a Reaction Move. The usual range of modifiers and saving throws will impact on the final outcome.

Sounds simple? Well, the author, sets his stall out straight away. This isn't gritty, count yer ammo and multiply by the FPS of your muzzle velocity SpaceDirtGrunt. No sir Master Chief! Alien Squad Leader is B-Movie Science Fantasy territory. Inspired by Wargames Reaserch Group's DBA/DBM ASQL has a shake of HOTT and a twist of Warmaster to make the perfect gaming cocktail.

What you get in Alien Squad Leader V2.0 is a game crafted to sit comfortably within it's self-declared genre and as a result it simply cannot disappoint. It is tactically challenging, not through a myriad of weapon and vehicle stats, but due to carefully honed army templates which encourage you to play to your own forces' strengths whilst punishing your opponents weaknesses.

And it's here that ASQL-2.0 wins hands down before we even get to the tabletop and roll the first die. The army templates are inspired. There are 14 Army Templates from Human Imperial thru Outlaw Gangs, to Tripods, Alien Greys and Victorian Imperial each of which has a life and character that goes beyond armour stats and saving throws.

You simply WANT to collect and play with these armies. And, given their size there's NOTHING to stop you building one of each of the template armies or even more than one of each eg Human Colonial, Alien Imperial or even Mechanoid force, to make use of all the fantastic miniatures now on the market. What's more each 'army' can be a discrete project to collect, then paint and assemble in a weekend, two at the most.

Alex Self should be carried shoulders high around Bristol. ASQL-2.0 is wargames FUN in it's purest form.

Alien Squad Leader Yahoo Group (click here)
Check out the Photos folder for army inspiration!

To learn more about Alien Squad Leader v2.0 go to:

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone
who has supported both Dropship Horizon
and me personally over the past 10 months!


Those great folks at 15mm.co.uk read my review and wanted to give you the opportunity of picking up your own copy of ASQL 2.0 at 10% off list price!
To do this go to http://www.15mm.co.uk/Alien_Squad_Leader_(ASQL).htm and put the book (and
any other items you want) into the cart, when ready go to the checkout
screen (white background) and enter this code ' dropship ' into the
box and 10% will automatically come off your order! '

Thanks guys!




  1. Nice review; thanks for posting it. I'm going to have to put this one on my "want" list.

  2. How 'bout using your NI "Spartans" as an Imperial Strike force?

  3. I thought the rules were only 12quid and not 15...

  4. Ni Spartans as Imperial Strike Force? Absolutely! Khurasan Pelagic Dominate as Alien Imperial - the skies the limit - I have both Imperial Human 1950's Mars Attacks and 1990's Cloverfield style US Armies!

    Thanks for pointing out my error Rye - corrected - plus Gavin has contacted me and offered 10% off to Dropship Readers! See the update above.

  5. Mark, Happy 250th and heres to the next 250! Thanks for the rules revies - I had never considered ASQL as a contender for my games - but you review has changed that. I think I may give them a go.

    How flexible are tha army lists? Can you write your own?


  6. Hi Paddy

    Thank you! Thank you!

    The official army templates in ASQL2-0 are very well tuned. Whilst it's certainly possible to alter the lists expect a knock on effect on overall game balance. Don't let this stop you experimenting. To me, wargame rules as a whole, are a vehicle not the journey.

    I have used the existing templates as inspiration to create my own army templates, namely Megopolis Police Force and Stargate Command. But it surprising, with a little lateral thinking, how many types of armies fall into the exisiting templates.


  7. Well done Mark, 250 posts is quite an achievement ! :)

    All the best


  8. Congratulations Mark!

    250 postings is really good going, keep it up.

    DSH is near the top of my links list!

    Alex Scott

  9. Hello Mark,

    As Alex says congrats!

    DSH is a really good blog that is written with conviction and a lot of soul. A man who loves his subject posts the best material.

    Keep it up!


  10. You should do some battle reports for the rules review so you can see what the flows like, plus it would be good to read :)