Critical Hit (2011)
Country of Origin:
14 scenarios, 2 8" x 22" unmounted geomorphic mapboards (CH3, CH4), 1 sheet of die-cut counters (106 counters total)
Bulge Pak 1 (BP1) is essentially a hasty reprint of the 1997 release Euro-Pack 2, with some other items thrown in. It was one of a large batch of Critical Hit reprints released in late 2011. Euro-Pack 2 itself was a quick reprint of scenarios originally printed in the ASL News and On All Fronts newsletters, so Bulge Pak 1 (the odds of there ever being a Bulge Pak 2 are debatable) is basically a recycle of a recycle.
The names of many of the scenarios were arbitrarily changed, making it difficult to determine the actual origins of these scenarios. See below for scenario origins and changes. It is worth pointing out that your humble editor doesn’t get paid to do this shit. Much else about the scenarios were changed as well, including wholesale replacement of maps.
It is not clear that these new versions were playtested, though they would clearly need to have been, given the use of totally different maps.
The counters in the pack are gratuitous and were not even created for this product; they are leftover counters from a recent Critical Hit historical module.
Two “new” geomorphic maps are included. One, CH3, is actually a redrawn version of the very first third party geomorphic board, published in the ASL News newsletter. The artwork is a significant improvement over the original, to be sure. The other map, CH4, is apparently new; it is a river board with a parallel railroad track. One or both of these boards are used in most of the Bulge Pak 2 scenarios. Unfortunately, these boards are part of a number of geomorphic boards designed by Critical Hit in late 2011 and printed at the same time. Some of the boards are printed at slightly different sizes, which cause line-up problems, but in addition to this, all of these boards seem to suffer from the fact that the map/hexgrid are printed very slightly too small, so that if you line up one hex directly against a hex from another board, the next hex will be imperceptibly “off,” the second hex down will be visibly off, and each further hex will be more and more off-kilter compared to the right-sized board. The small size also makes the map artwork extend beyond the hexgrid. It is hard to see how Critical Hit could not have noticed this. See images below for illustration of this problem.
Overall, this is a disappointing product. It is even more disappointing when one considers its price–it lists at $69.95! That basically means that one is paying more than twice the cost of an Action Pack for two miscut mapboards and a passel of scenario reprints. It is grossly overpriced.
|Original Name||New Name||Source||Notable Changes (not including SSRs)|
|Bloody Christmas||BP1-1 Last Gasp at Champs||Euro-Pack 2, originally ASL News||German forces increased, Board 56 substituted for Board 12|
|Down the Road||BP1-2 Down the Road||Euro-Pack 2, originally ASL News||Board CH3 substituted for Board ASLN1; Board CH4 substituted for Board 40|
|Trojan Horses||BP1-3 Skorzeny’s Crossroads||Euro-Pack 2, originally ASL News||Various unit quantities strengthened or lessened; Boards 57 and 17 substituted for Boards 4 and 13|
|Leapfrog||BP1-4 Leapfrog||Euro-Pack 2, originally ASL News||Minor OB tweaking|
|Time for Lunch||BP1-5 Beyond Baugnez||Euro-Pack 2, originally ASL News||Board CH2 substituted for Board 24|
|Devils in the Graveyard||BP1-6 Devils in the Graveyard||Euro-Pack 2, originally ASL News||Minor OB tweaking|
|Fuel Depot #2||BP1-7 Fuel Depot #2||Euro-Pack 2, originally ASL News||Board CH1 substituted for Board 17|
|Red on White||BP1-8 Red on White||Euro-Pack 2, originally ASL News||Minor OB tweaking; Board 43 substituted for Board 4|
|Lord Help Us||BP1-9 Hansen’s Push||Scroungin’ ASL News, originally ASL News||Board CH1 substituted for Board 17|
|Rolling Down Rollbahn D||BP1-10 Honsfeld Rush||Critical Hit Magazine 1997 Special Edition||OB changes; Board CH1 substituted for Board 17|
|Another Damn Bridge||BP1-11 Warche Tomfoolery||Rout Pak III||OB changes, Board CH4 substituted for Board 40|
|Group Iron||BP1-Bonus1 Code Name “Iron”||Critical Hit Magazine, Volume 6, Number 2||Board CH4 substituted for Board 40|
|The River Dance||BP1-Bonus2 First Crossing||Critical Hit Magazine, Volume 6, Number 2||Board CH4 substituted for Board 40|
|A Kick in the Pants||BP1-Bonus3 Across the Rapido||Critical Hit Magazine 1997 Special Edition||OB changes; Board CH4 substituted for Board 40|
3rd Edition (Euro Pack 2 2015 Edition) comments: In 2015 the company published a coverless new “edition” of the original Euro Pack II, i.e., without the counters and maps that appeared in the Bulge Pak 1 version. Scenario cards now use red ink and some scenarios allegedly have errata incorporated. However, the most unlikable thing about the Bulge Pak version was continued in this new edition: many of the scenarios have boards swapped out for other boards, though there is no evidence they were replaytested with the new boards.
The scenario that uses the ASLN#1 boards–redone and renamed as CH3 and CH4 in Bulge Pak 1–still requires those boards. The versions of board CH3 and CH4 that appear in this third edition product come with so-called “winterized” graphics, but are printed on multiple sheets of light cardstock, which means that the player will have to get a pair of scissors or some other implement and actually cut the boards out like paper dolls in order to use them. Very lazy.
There may have been a version of this product without the boards; it is not clear.