American Sign Language (ASL) is the predominant sign language of Deaf communities in the United States and English-speaking parts of Canada. Besides North America, dialects of ASL and ASL-based creoles are used in many countries around the world, including much of West Africa and parts of Southeast Asia. ASL is also widely learned as a second language, serving as a lingua franca. ASL is most closely related to French Sign Language (FSL). It has been proposed that ASL is a creole language, although ASL shows features atypical of creole languages, such as agglutinative morphology.
ASL originated in the early 19th century in the American School for the Deaf (ASD) in Hartford, Connecticut, from a situation of language contact. Since then, ASL use propagated widely via schools for the deaf and deaf community organizations. Despite its wide use, no accurate count of ASL users has been taken, though reliable estimates for American ASL users range from 250,000 to 500,000 persons, including a number of children of deaf adults. ASL users face stigma due to beliefs in the superiority of spoken language to signed language, compounded by the fact that ASL is often glossed in English due to the lack of a standard writing system.
Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) is a tactical-level board wargame, originally marketed by Avalon Hill Games, that simulates actions of approximately company or battalion size in World War II. It is a detailed game system for two or more players (with solitaire play also possible). Components include the ASL Rulebook and various games called modules. ASL modules provide the standard equipment for playing ASL, including geomorphic mapboards and counters. The mapboards are divided into hexagons to regulate fire and movement, and depict generic terrain that can represent different historical locations. The counters are cardboard pieces that depict squads of soldiers, crews, individual leaders, support weapons, heavy weapons, and vehicles.
Twelve core modules provide representations of nearly every troop type, vehicle, and weapon to see combat action from any nationality involved in World War II. Each module comes with 6 to 20 researched situations depicting historical battles. These scenarios are printed on card stock with specifications of game length, mapboard configuration, counters involved, special rules for the conditions of the particular battle such as weather, and victory conditions. In addition to the scenarios published in the modules, there are numerous other sources for scenarios, both official and unofficial. There is also a detailed set of instructions in the ASL Rulebook for Design Your Own (DYO) scenarios based on a point-purchase system.
Tactical wargames are a type of wargame that models military conflict at a tactical level, i.e. units range from individual vehicles and squads to platoons or companies. These units are rated based on types and ranges of individual weaponry. The first tactical wargames were played as miniatures, extended to board games, and they are now also enjoyed as video games.
The games are designed so that a knowledge of military tactics will facilitate good gameplay. Tactical wargames offer more of a challenge to the designer, as fewer variables or characteristics inherent in the units being simulated are directly quantifiable. Modern commercial board wargaming avoided tactical subjects for many years, but since initial attempts at the subject appeared, it has remained a favourite topic among wargamers. Perhaps the most successful board wargaming system ever designed, Advanced Squad Leader, is set at the tactical level.