Critical Hit (2019)
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Desperation Morale has not examined this product and cannot confirm claims of its contents. However, it appears to have 6 12" x 18" glossy heavy paper/light cardstock map panels, 1 1/2" half-countersheet (140 counters), 7 scenarios
Note: Critical Hit publishes products at a high volume and its products have a general history of quality control issues. Critical Hit provides no review/evaluation copies and typically prices its products very high. For all these reasons, Desperation Morale no longer acquires all, or even most, Critical Hit products for analysis and write-up on this website.
This entry, then, is not a typical Desperation Morale write-up but rather more of a placeholder and historical marker. If Desperation Morale ever acquires a copy of this product, this placeholder entry will be replaced by a full write-up.
Desperation Morale has examined Hell’s Gate I: Nova Buda, so ASLers should read that entry for information that also pertains to this product.
Hell’s Gate II: Shenderovka is the second of four Critical Hit products published in 2019 that represent battles in the so-called Cherkassy Pocket in the Soviet Union in early 1944 (the scenarios all take place between February 11 and February 17, 1944). Hell’s Gate I focused on the Waffen SS “Wiking” division; this product has several “Wiking” scenarios but the others involve other German units.
The complete series includes: Hell’s Gate I: Nova Buda, Hell’s Gate II: Shenderovka, Hell’s Gate III: Khilki, and Hell’s Gate IV: Oktabyr.
An attempt at deciphering the crypto-tapio-speak of the marketing copy for this product suggests that this (and the other Hell’s Gate items) was an old submission (by designer “Larry” [Winslow??]” that Critical Hit pulled out of the closet and handed over to an unspecified person to do map, layout and editing work on in order to make the submission fit for publication (“playtesting” was not mentioned). The Hell’s Gate products all seem to be inspired by and largely based on the book of the same name by Douglas Nash on the Cherkassy Pocket.
This product is somewhat smaller than Hell’s Gate I, with a smaller map, fewer scenarios, no rules pages, and only a half-countersheet (which is, in any case, not required for play).
One of the scenarios is a “monster” scenario that uses the entire map area and takes the place of a campaign game.
At the same time as Critical Hit released Hell’s Gate II, it also released–for separate purchase–a “winterized” version of the Hell’s Gate II map. Again for separate purchase, it furthermore released a “monster” large-hex version of the Hell’s Gate II “winterized” map version. According to Noble Knight Games, the monster map set uses 9 map panels instead of the 6 in the original product.
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