Friendly Fire (2017)
Country of Origin:
8 scenarios (FrF85-FrF92) on cardstock.
Warning: this particular pack came in a plastic envelope, the lid to which used very powerful glue. Touching the plastic envelope lid to other surfaces–such as a scenario card–could result in damage to the other surface (which happened to several people at ASLOK when this was released). Accordingly, care should be taken in dealing with the envelope, either by wiping away the adhesive with a wet cloth or simply transferring the product to a different plastic sleeve or other container.
Designed by expert designers, and playtested by some of the best players out there, Friendly Fire Pack #11 is a thoroughbred, continuing the tradition of fine Friendly Fire packs released each year (though there was no pack in 2019) at the Friendly Fire tournament at Rimforsa, Sweden, and the ASLOK tournament in the United States.
I might call Friendly Fire packs the equivalent of luxury cars, except that luxury cars are designed for attractiveness as well as quality, while the look of the Friendly Fire packs is rather utilitarian. The pack consists of 8 scenarios on 4 sheets of white cardstock. “Color” can be found in nationality emblems next to OBs, as well as (like official ASL) the numbers listing the types of counters and the board configurations, but the units themselves are not in color, nor do they have any artwork at all. A squad appears simply as 4-5-7, a vehicle or gun simply by its model name, such as 20L AA Oerlikon or M36 AC. Nevertheless, the level of proofreading is typically high, the layout is crisp, and the English is quite good for a product from overseas.
As is traditional with Friendly Fire packs, the 8 scenarios represent a mix of actions from around the world, including Netherlands 1940 (Dutch vs. Germans) and 1945 (British vs. Germans); Belgium 1940 (Belgians vs. Germans); France 1940 (French vs. Germans); Soviet Union 1941 (Soviets vs. Germans, Soviets vs. Romanians); Malaya 1942 (British vs. Japanese); and Guam 1944 (Americans vs. Japanese).
Boards required to play all the scenarios include 1, 14, 23, 32, 33, 34, 42, 43, 61, 63, 66, 6, 71, and 1a/b, as well as ASLSK board v and third party board FrFA (2 scenarios) from Friendly Fire Pack 6. Four of the eight scenarios use overlays.
The scenarios are mostly small or medium in size and all seem tournament-playable. One scenario uses Night rules, while another uses Air Support. No scenarios feature OBA. Several of the scenarios feature somewhat rare units. FrF92 (Arms Race) features a German 105mm AA gun, the Flak 38/39, which for some criminal reason does not appear in the German OB in ASL, despite a great many having been manufactured. In the absence of a counter, ASL scenario designers have typically given the Flak 38, as here, the values of an German 88mm gun, but with a ROF of only 1. The scenario also features rocket-equipped Shermans. FrF88 features a SW for which there is no counter, a modified MOL projector dubbed the MOL-M. FrF86 (Belgian Tigers) features a rare Belgian tank–that doesn’t even need to fire backwards. Similarly, FrF85 (Junkers Junkyard) features a Dutch armored car.
Several of the scenarios are interesting, for various reasons, in addition to the units above. FrF92 (Arms Race) is a quite unusual scenario, in that it features a tiny number ofs cattered Germans, as well as four large 105mm AA guns. The British, on the other hand, have a force that consists almost entirely of AFVs (there is one squad and one leader); they must make sure that at least two of teh German guns are no longer manned. The British must zip around the map to get to the guns–which are manned by half-squads rather than crews. FrF88 (Panzer Shield) is another scenario with assymetric forces. This scenario features a combined arms Soviet force attacking a German force that is primarily vehicles.
FrF90 (Speed is the Essence of War) is a Malayan scenario in which 7 Japanese elite squads and 6 tanks and 7 Gurkha squads converge on a position held by 6 British squads. The Gurkhas act as the cavalry hoping to salvage the situation the initial British have found themselves in. FrF89 (Red Tears Shed on Gray) is an East Front classic, pitting 16 Romanian squads and 3 light tanks against 11 very crappy Soviet squads and two guns, who get some late-scenario reinforcements. It’s one of the most popular scenarios in the pack.
Overall, Friendly Fire Pack 11 is another strong offering.