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Close Assault, published for Atari or Apple in the middle 1980s..

A BLAST FROM THE PAST!

SQUAD LEADER AND CLOSE ASSAULT ON YOUR WINDOWS 95 PC

words: Walter O'Hara                     pictures: Avalon Hill

slbox.jpg (14310 bytes)

Does this look familiar to you?

Way back in 1981/82, the Avalon Hill game company (now owned by Hasbro) decided to get into the computer game market.  The results were a weird hodgepodge of adventure games, lightweight strategy games, and one or two boardgame conversions done for a legion of obsolete platforms.   One of the items they produced was a strange hybrid between boardgame and computer game called Close Assault

The approach Avalon Hill took with Close Assault was simple and could have been brilliant under the right conditions: deliver a boardgame and counters to set up next to the computer, and use the computer to figure out things like combat, line of sight, movement, etc.  The interface was simple text. Close Assault opening Menu

The nifty aspect to Close Assault was that Avalon Hill used existing components (with a minimal graphic overhaul) taken from their wildly popular Squad Leader boardgame, and the computer just used text for graphics.   This approach could have been a brilliant idea if the AI was more intelligent than a ficus tree-- and might have heralded a new concept in computer games: computer boardgame assists.     Unfortunately, Avalon Hill didn't release CA for the right platforms, didn't market it beyond a few ads in the General, and it died a quiet death. 

One wonders what kind of market would have developed simple text-based computer assists for boardgames....

In any event, the important thing to realize is that Close Assault utilizes Squad Leader boardmap 3 as a map, and only slightly modified counters from the SL game.  So if you already own basic Squad Leader you already own the hardcopy items neccesary to play Close Assault.  The squads are almost one for one SL counters (German, Russian and American), though I believe the Americans are inexplicably rated higher than in SL.  Squads, half squads and even Smoke counters need to be replicated.

The next stop is to find the (20 years out of print) software.   Surprisingly, this isn't as hard as you may think.  "Evin" has started the Apple 2 Emulator wargame site with a surprising amount of wargame classics from the SSI/Mindscape/Origins/SSG period.  Worth checking out.  Close Assault is available for download in the Avalon Hill Section.  You wil need to install the emulator program for Windoze 95/Mac/DOS whatever.  The Close_Assault.zip file comes with a large GIF of the map, which is also available at the bottom of this page.  I can't help you with the docs, but they are largely intuitive, being basically Squad Leader with a few functions like LOS, etc.automated for you.

 

Click here to view the Close Assault MAP (large GIF image)