Multi-Man Publishing (2017)
Country of Origin:
2 8" x 22" unmounted geomorphic boards (78, 79), 11 scenarios (AP121-AP131) on cardstock.
Two years after the organizers of the ASLOK tournament and their Cleveland-area friends teamed with MMP to release Action Pack #12 at ASLOK 2015, this winning combo is back with another scenario pack that was released at ASLOK in 2017.
This action pack comes with two new geoboards (78, 79). Board 78 is mostly a large 3-level hill with large patches of brush on it. There are no buildings on it, which makes it particularly suitable for wilderness terrain; it will likely see most action in the PTO. The only problem with the board, really, is that it is too much like most other single-long-hill boards in ASL, thanks to the limitations of the 8″x22″ geoboard. Boardmakers need to think of the different and new hill configurations that can be created using the newer 11″ x 16″ geoboard format–or even come up with a third type of geoboard using a trifold style of unmounted board similar to the new DASL boards.
Board 79 is a river board, featuring a four hex river that spans the length of the board. On either side of the river are narrow strips of land cluttered with small wooden and stone buildings (some of it even with “village terrain.” That terrain provides a certain amount of flexibility for this board, allowing it to be easily mated with urban boards, other village boards, or even rural boards without too much cognitive dissonance. ASL could have used another narrow river board, however (there is only one in the system, to date).
Both boards, as has been typical with modern MMP ASL graphics, have good, crisp artwork.
Action Pack #13 also comes with 11 scenarios (a stingy baker’s dozen), all designed by Pete Shelling or Bill Sisler (mostly the latter; Sisler also designed the boards). The scenarios (AP121-AP131) are a grab-bag of actions, including Poland 1939 (Poles vs. Germans); Soviet Union 1941 (Soviets vs. Germans [3 scenarios]); Bougainville 1944 (Americans vs. Japanese) [this scenario does not take place on “New Guinea,” as the scenario card claims]; Burma 1944 (Chinese vs. Japanese); Italy 1944 (Free French vs. Germans); France 1944 (British vs. Germans, Poles vs. Germans); and Belgium 1945 (Americans vs. Germans).
Boards required to play all the scenarios include: 7, 11, 13, 19, 20, 22, 38, 44, 49, 56, 57, 64, 65, 78, 79, 5a, and ASLSK board r. Only 2 scenarios use overlays.
The scenarios are mostly medium or large in size, with some of the large scenarios being very large indeed. The Sisler scenarios have something of a throwback feel to them, tending to be larger and longer than typical ASL scenarios today. In fact, one of the scenarios, AP123 (Busting in Balta) is simply a revamped version of a scenario by Jim Stahler on the exact same action published years ago as J29 (The Capture of Balta) in ASL Journal #2, which itself was an adaptation of a Squad Leader scenario that appeared in the gamette Cross of Iron (or it is Sisler’s own attempt to adapt the Cross of Iron scenario). This is rather odd.
Four of the scenarios have OBA and a fifth uses some OBA rules. No scenarios use Air Support or Night rules.
Most of the scenarios are pretty straightforward. AP122 (Mechanized Sacrifice) is, with the exception of a half-squad with an ATR, an all-armor scenario. AP121 (Along the Vistula) has a little bit of exoticism as a large (24 squads vs. 17 squads) Polish-German scenario (over 4 boards, at that); AP126 features similar vibes with its Japanese and American-armed Chinese combatants. Perhaps the most exotic scenario is AP127 (The First Virtue), which features one of the forgotten invasions of World War II, the invasion/liberation of the island of Elba off the coast of Italy by Free French forces in June 1944. Entirely overshadowed by the Normandy landings that had taken place a week and a half earlier, this was a very rare French amphibious action (though the scenario itself is not).
AP128 (Flight of Fancy) does feature one colorful SSR. In this British-German action in France 1944, some Germans set up onboard, while others enter during the course of the scenario broken and during the rout phase.
The most-played scenario, as of this writing, is AP131 (Crickets in Spring), an East Front actioner that is probably popular because it is tournament-sized and features quite a few big-gun AFVs.
Overall, Action Pack #13 is not fall-off-your-seat exciting, but it seems a solid enough addition to the oeuvre.
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