Mister T (2017)
Country of Origin:
108 cards, mini-rules, box
The “Tactical Playing Cards” set is an unusual ASL accessory designed by French ASLer George Tournemire, aka “Mister T.” It consists of a thick deck of 108 poker-sized playing cards (some are duplicates), each of which modifies a game of ASL in some way. The idea behind the accessory appears to be a desire to add some extra flavor or variation to a scenario.
The miniature rulebook for the product decrees that, after side selection, each player should get a number of Tactical Playing Cards equal to the number of game turns, with one card per player added per multiple of 20 squads of the scenario’s total OB. Each player selects two cards to keep hidden, then reveals the others to form a “Joint Card Pool.” The players then alternate picking cards from the joint pool until they run out of cards. Each player can play one card per Player Turn (plus any “Interrupt” cards. Instead of playing the card’s stated effects, players can choose instead to apply an “Alternate Minimum Effect” of adding 1 FP to a fire attack > 8FP.
Though the rules do not say so, any number of alternative ways can be devised to use these cards. For example, each player could draw one at the beginning of his turn, to be used only during that turn. Or each player could keep all the cards they are originally dealt, or some percentage of them, keeping them hidden from their opponent. Or, if players of unequal experience are playing each other, X number of cards could be given to the more inexperienced player, which would provide a balancing effect to the scenario and also give the more experienced player an opportunity to face unexpected challenges.
The cards themselves are printed in greyscale and red and seem to have the same physical quality of other professionally printed playing cards. Each card features a card number, a card title, a black-and-white photograph, when the card can be played, and the card effects. Eight of the cards apply to vehicles and should be removed in all-infantry scenarios. Conversely, these cards are not suited for all-armor or nearly-all-armor scenarios.
Naturally, to avoid unduly affecting or unbalancing scenarios, the card effects of most cards are quite mild. Some typical example effects (simplified here in some instances for length considerations) include:
- Play this card to receive a -1 drm for a Repair attempt of a SW with R1 or R2
- Play this card to allow BOTH players to attempt to rally during this RPh Personnel ADJACENT to a leader
- Play this cad to grant 8 MF to one non-wounded Infantry unit/stack when routing and under DM status
- Play this card to change the just-rolled Original ‘9’ MC or TC DR to an Original ‘8’ DR
- Play this card to cancel the doubling of FP associated with PBF for one enemy Infantry Unit’s/stack’s (and their MG(s)) fire attack
Overall, there are a large number of different effects, with some of them being quite imaginative. Some cards can be applied to one’s own units, others to a foe’s units, while some effects are applied to both sides. Because many of the effects are so narrow or specific, there is no guarantee a player will necessarily be able to use them in a scenario (and the Alternative Minimum Effect is pretty minimal itself, unless perhaps if one is using the IIFT). It should be noted, though, that the smaller a scenario is, the more likely that even a small effect such as most of the effects here might have an outsized effect on the outcome of the scenario, so players might want to avoid or at least limit use of these cards in small scenarios.
People who prefer free-wheeling and casual “fun” games may find this product more appealing than might players who play more seriously to win. Your Humble Author suspects there are many veteran ASL players who would not be interested in having a game modified by these cards. However, one might ought try them at least once before rejecting them forevermore.
“Mister T” does not have a website for these cards but as of this writing a Google search on the name of the product reveals several on-line stores where they may be purchased (at a fairly steep price, but this is a niche product produced overseas).