Squad Leader is a tactical level board war game originally published by Avalon Hill in 1977. It was designed by John Hill and simulates on infantry combat in Europe during World War II. One of the most complex war games of its time, Squad Leader is the natural extension of the trend towards greater realism (and hence complexity) initiated by several earlier games, including Avalon Hill's own PanzerBlitz and Panzer Leader. Those two earlier games were slightly larger in scope, with counters representing platoons and map hexes measuring 250 metres across, compared to Squad Leader's 40 meter hexes and squad sized units.
The original Squad Leader was produced in time to debut at Origins 1977. (The original print run of 2,500 copies had purple boxes which have become collectors' items.) Avalon Hill sold well in excess of 100,000 games of Squad Leader, making it one of the most successful war games ever made. Combined with the sales of Advanced Squad Leader, its sales totaled over 1 million copies by 1997.