Encircled Productions (2019)
Country of Origin:
8 scenarios (MM52-MM59) on cardstock, 1 page maps for cave complex record-keeping
If it is March, the time is nigh for the busy little ASL bees of Kansas City to deliver a March Madness scenario pack in time for the ASL tournament that takes place in that city each March. The offering for March 2019 is the Close Combat Pack, which has hand-to-hand close combat as the common theme for its scenarios.
Where are all these close combats taking place? In a variety of places, it seems. The eight scenarios (MM52-MM59) in this pack are set in a variety of times and places, including Soviet Union 1942 (Soviets vs. Germans) and 1943 (Soviets vs. Germans); Poland 1943 (Jewish partisans vs. Germans); Sicily 1943 (British vs. Germans); Palau Islands 1944 (Americans vs. Japanese [2 scenarios]); France 1944 (French partisans vs. Germans); and Burma 1944 (British vs. Japanese).
To play all the scenarios, one needs the following boards: 22, 39, 40, 43, 47, 52, 61, 81, 83, 1a, 6a, and DW-7a and DW-7b from Into the Rubble 2. Two scenarios require overlays. Five of the scenarios are small; three are medium-sized. There are no large scenarios.
One scenario uses Night Rules, two scenarios use OBA (one is NOBA with a Shore Fire-Control Party), and no scenarios use Air Support. One scenario is cave-heavy. Three scenarios use rules or boards from Forgotten War, the Korean War module.
Perhaps the most unusual scenario in the mix is MM59 (Wildcat Bowl), because of how fortification-heavy it is. The defending Japanese have 11 squads and 6 crews (3 of which man guns, 1 an HMG). However, they get 12 Cave Counters, 3 Pillboxes, 6 Trenches, 8 Foxholes, 10 Panjis, 4 Roadblocks, 3 Prepared Fire Zones, and 42 AP Mine Factors. The fortifications considerably outnumber the Japanese themselves!
The inclusion of one scenario was an unfortunate decision. MM53 (Muranowska 6) is a scenario set during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in April 1943. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was essentially an attempt by Jewish resistance fighters to choose the manner of their death (by fighting) rather than be deported for mass execution. However, it was still part of the Holocaust and it is the opinion of Desperation Morale that the Holocaust should not be denigrated by including its atrocities in a game.