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5 1/2" (12.5mm) custom precision dice
Battleschool’s follow-up to its East Meets West pack of nationality-themed dice is the Axis and Allies Pack (AAP). Like its predecessor, AAP contains 5 1/2″ (12.5mm) white custom dice, with a nationality-themed emblem where the 1-pip traditionally is. Unlike the first dice pack, AAP does not include 5 generic colored dice along with the customized one.
The first pack contained dice designed for the Soviets, Germans, Americans, Japanese, and Chinese. Though one might wonder why the British did not appear rather than the Chinese, all five of these nationalities were major combatants in World War II and appear regularly in ASL scenarios. With AAP, however, things start getting a little flaky. Here are the five combatants represented in AAP:
- The Finns (the die with the blue circle around a white dot). The Finns were definitely a minor combatant in World War II. However, they are popular among some ASLers and so perhaps their inclusion might be warranted. After all, the Finns do have their own counterset. And there are a lot of Finnish scenarios.
- The French (the die with the red and white circles around a blue dot). The French were a major combatant and certainly deserve a die.
- The Italians (the die with three fasces). Again, a major combatant here.
- The Free French (the die with the red Cross of Lorraine). Here one must pause for a moment. Is there any real need to have a Free French die separate from the French die? It is hard to think of a real reason why (the limited clashes between Free French and Vichy French forces are not enough to justify two dice). This is a puzzler.
- Swedish Volunteers (the die with the three blue crowns). If the previous die was a puzzler, this is no puzzler at all. There are no valid grounds for the inclusion of a special die for a force that basically numbered only in the hundreds, which barely fought in World War II, and which is represented in ASL by a single obscure third party scenario pack.
Really, the Free French and especially the Swedish Volunteers dice clearly only exist for one purpose: to create as many nationality dice as possible so that completist ASL players will feel a compulsion to purchase all of them. That this is true is confirmed by the announcement of some of the upcoming nationality dice, which will include, of all things, a Danish die. Now ponder that for just a moment. The Danes surrendered their country within hours of the German invasion, without putting up a fight, and moreover never developed a partisan movement that engaged in any combat. And yet Battleschool is coming out with an ASL die for the Danes? There are a total of three published scenarios, official or third party, that have Danes, out of the thousands of scenarios. These dice are not cheap. Asking people to buy useless dice in order to have a complete set seems somewhat mercenary.