Critical Hit (2008)
Country of Origin:
12 scenarios, 1 32" x 9" map, 1 page rules
Total Axis Pack II (TAP2) is a “sequel” to Total Axis Pack I, a scenario pack whose chief draw was a set of non-geomorphic maps of varying sizes and types. These maps could represent terrain configurations that were difficult to do with the geomorphic maps.
TAP2, following in its footsteps, adds a dozen new scenarios, but only one additional map, a long narrow map with a town on one end and orchards and fields in the middle and on the other end. It is unremarkable and not particularly interesting.
Many of the scenarios use maps from Total Axis Pack I; thus, ownership of that previous pack is more or less REQUIRED. Only 2 of the 12 scenarios use the included map. Another 6 scenarios use the maps from TAP1. The remaining scenarios use geomorphic maps, including TAP#21 (Last Message Home), which uses a DASL board (or rather, part of one!).
The scenarios are a real mix of nationalities and actions, including: Finns vs. Soviets 1939 , Finns vs. Soviets 1944, Americans vs. Germans (1943 in Sicily, 1944 in Normandy, 1945 in Alsace), Germans vs. Soviets 1945, New Zealanders and Greeks vs. Germans (1941, in Greece), Germans and Hungarians vs. Soviets 1945, Italians vs. Japanese 1943 , and Slovak partisans vs. Germans 1944.
The pack is heavily weighted towards large scenarios; only 1 is small and only 3 are medium-sized. Four scenarios have OBA (including one NOBA); several have Finnish ski-capable troops.
Two of the scenarios immediately stand out for their exoticism and interest level; these are the two scenarios featuring Italian and Japanese troops fighting each other: TAP#21 (Last Message Home) and TAP#22 (Last Outpost). Both take place in Tientsin, China, in September 1943, following the armistice between the Allies and Italy. The Italians had long had a battalion to keep order in this quasi-colony of theirs, and following the Italian surrender, the Japanese surrounded the Italian quarter and demanded their surrender. The Italians offered this soon enough, but not before some skirmishes had occurred, and these fights provided scenario grist for designer David Lamb. Not surprisingly, they are the only Italian vs. Japanese scenarios in the ASL milieu.
This is a pack that probably has good play value, but its cost value is lessened by the need to own TAP1.