Sherry Enterprises/Schwerpunkt (2018)
Country of Origin:
10 scenarios (RPT141-RPT150) on cardstock, 2 pages of scenario notes
The fifteenth Rally Point scenario pack focuses on the early months of the Korean War and is intended as a supplement to Forgotten War, MMP’s ASL module providing rules and components for using ASL to simulate Korean War tactical actions. At its name suggests, this pack is the first of two such products, the second of which, Rally Point Volume 17, appeared in October 2019, a year after this pack was released.
A bit of full disclosure may be required here: Desperation Morale write-ups of Forgotten War-related products may display a certain lack of enthusiasm. Readers should be aware that this paucity of passion is in large part related to your Humble Author’s substantially negative take on the design and components of Forgotten War itself (look for the forthcoming write-up on this site), which of course makes it difficult to generate too much enthusiasm for supplementary products that rely on Forgotten War. This is not the fault of those products, of course.
Players, on the other hand, who are enthused with Forgotten War may get more excited about products such as this pack than would your Humble Author, and so should approach this write-up with that awareness. It is certainly true that people who are fans of Forgotten War will appreciate Schwerpunkt dedicating not one but two packs designed to bring additional Korean War scenarios to the ASL audience than appear in Forgotten War itself. It will be curious to see how many other third party publishers will follow in Schwerpunkt’s footsteps in this regard. Designing Korean War scenarios that 1) ASLers will actually want to play and 2) won’t seem too similar to other Korean War scenarios may not be very easy, considering the lack of variety (particularly in terrain) during the Korean War than during the much larger and more variegated World War II. As Evan Sherry, designer of 8 of the 10 scenarios in this pack, puts it: “In making these scenarios, I discovered how limiting the topic of the Korean War really is for the scenario designer. The orders of battle involved, along with the scope and nature of the combat in Korea make it very challenging to avoid a general feeling of sameness while trying to keep the scenarios varied and fun.”
The scenarios in this pack feature actions set in Korea between June 1950 and October 1950, before the Chinese intervention. Thus they pit North Korean troops against South Koreans (only two scenarios), British/Commonwealth (two scenarios), and Americans (six scenarios). The North Koreans are on the attack in four scenarios, on the defense in six.
Boards required to play all the scenarios include 2, 9, 17z, 18, 22, 48, 49, 58, 61, 62, 70, 71, 78, 81, 83, 3a/b, and 5a/b. Two scenarios utilize overlays. It’s worth noting that only two of the 10 scenarios use any of the four geoboards (80, 81, 82, 83) that come with Forgotten War. This is also true for Rally Point Volume 17, the sequel to this product. One reason for this may be that the Forgotten War boards are actually of very limited use, because all of them depict the same type of terrain, and because the need for a massive very rectangular hill (which is what happens when the four geoboards are joined together) does not come up all that often.
Six of the 10 included scenarios are large in size (though none very large), with the remaining divided between small and medium-sized actions. No scenarios use Air Support or OBA rules and, more pertinently, no scenarios use Night rules. Many actions during the Korean War took place at night, but many ASLers are not enthusiastic about the existing rules for night actions in ASL, and Forgotten War did not include any revised or simplified rules for Night actions. In contrast, five (of 16) of the scenarios in Forgotten War are Night scenarios, while nine of them are large (or very large) in size. The Forgotten War scenarios are also, on average, significantly longer than the scenarios of Rally Point Volume 15. Additionally, the SSRs for the Rally Pack scenarios tend to be few, short and sweet. Consequently, many ASLers may find the scenarios here more playable and manageable than those of Forgotten War.
Evan Sherry and the rest of his crew love AFVs, but finding AFV actions in Korea is not always an easy thing; the steppes of southern Russia it most definitely was not. Still, the period June-October 1950 does represent the portion of the Korean War which had the most opportunities for AFV action, as by the end of that period, the North Korean armored force was largely destroyed (and the Chinese did not have any to speak of). Six of the scenarios feature American or British/Commonwealth AFVs, while six scenarios feature North Korean AFVs. Only two scenarios have AFVs in the OBs of both sides, allowing the possibility of tank vs. tank action. Only one scenario in the pack is infantry only.
Over the past year, the scenarios of Rally Point Volume 15 have not seen many playings recorded on the ROAR website, which may speak more to the relative popularity or lack thereof of the Korean War module rather than to this product specifically. But several of the scenarios are interesting. One of the smallest scenarios, RPT142 (Commander for a Day), promises to be a tight little action featuring 9 North Korean squads and 3 T-34s attacking 6 American squads led by a 10-2 leader (who, historically, literally got blown in half by a T-34); a similarly tight and small scenario is RPT146 (Plum Pudding Hill), featuring a British attack with 7 squads and an American M-45 tank attack a North Korean force of 6 squads on one of the Forgotten War hill boards. RPT143 (Rebel’s Roost) portrays an early-war American counterattack with 17 squads and 4 Chaffee light tanks going against 12 North Korean squads helped by a gun and 2 T34-85s. RPT148 (ROK on a Roll) features a meaty South Korean (with some American tank help) attack against a large entrenched North Korean force.
Many of the scenarios are essentially “Here’s your guys, here’s the enemy, now go attack him” scenarios, but RPT149 (Rakkasan Ruckus) features a bit more movement, with two separated North Korean forces pose a conundrum for the defending American paratroopers.
The bottom line for this pack is simple: if you are fan of Forgotten War, you will appreciate the availability of more (and often very different) scenarios than are on offer from Forgotten War itself. If you are not a Forgotten War fan, then this pack will not likely interest you unless you have that “collector” gene.