Critical Hit (2010)
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Retropak II (RP2) is the second of what is apparently a series of Critical Hit reprint scenario packs, taking old scenarios from various unattributed sources and renaming, reglossing, and recombining them in new scenario packs. Retropak I debuted in 2008 to little notice; two years later, Retropak is back with a sequel.
This time around, 10 scenarios are included. Most of them are not Critical Hit originals, but rather obtained from other third party publishers (who published them in the mid-1990s) and originally reprinted by Critical Hit during the period 1996-1998. Because most of these re-reprinted scenarios in RP2 have been renamed, their origins are not immediately obvious. However, research reveals that most of the scenarios are from the European 1990s-era ASL newsletter ASL News (the rights to which Critical Hit later acquired) and were originally reprinted by Critical Hit in a compilation called Scroungin’ ASL News.
Below is a list of the Retropak II scenarios and their provenance, along with how the scenarios were changed. Note that essentially the only meaningful changes were minor OB variations (although Blade Force had a more serious set of OB changes). Rules and victory conditions were reworded in most of the scenarios to make them more clear, but their meaning was not changed. In summary, then, there are few significant changes from the originals. This pack is essentially a reprint of reprints.
|RP#9 The Last Bridge
|ASLN4 Just Another Bridge
|Essentially the same scenario, with a German hero thrown in. From Scroungin’ ASL News, the Critical Hit reprint of ASL News scenarios. A DASL scenario.
|CH87 Rolling down Rollbahn D
|German OB strengthened with 2 2nd line half squads and another 8-0 leader, but weakened by one less LMG and reduction of armor leader from 9-2 to 9-1. From Critical Hit magazine.
|RP#11 Wusmatten Woods
|ASLN28 Freedom Fighters
|German OB has added hero; French OB replaces 7-0 leader with hero, deletes the DC. From Scroungin’ ASL News, the Critical Hit reprint of ASL News scenarios.
|RP#12 Victoria Cross
|RP8 Victoria Cross
|No changes other than slightly reworded (but not changed) SSRs. From Rout Pak 1, a compilation of reprints from the Rout Report newsletter.
|RP#13 Blade Force
|CH86 The Broken Blade
|The American OB is strengthened by a 1st line half-squad and a hero, but weakened by removing the 81mm MTR and crew, as well as the M4 MC HT. The German OB is strengthened by replacing the 9-1 leader with a 9-2, and adding an 8-1 to the Kampfgruppe Lueder reinforcements, but weakened by reducing the number of Pz IVF2s from 5 to 3. Scenario lengthened by half a turn. From Critical Hit magazine.
|RP#14 Ivan’s Hide
|ASLN37 A Bush Across the Street
|German OB strengthened by adding a 3-4-8 SS half squad, but weakened by replacing the 9-2 leader with a 9-1. The number of sidecar motorcycle counters is correspondingly increased from 4 to 5. The Soviet OB is strengthened with a conscript squad. From Scroungin’ ASL News, the Critical Hit reprint of ASL News scenarios. A DASL scenario.
|RP#15 Not to Lose Face
|ASLN35 Not to Lose Face
|The Chinese OB is weakened by replacing the 9-2 leader with a 9-1. From Scroungin’ ASL News, the Critical Hit reprint of ASL News scenarios.
|RP#16 East of Trois-Ponts
|ASLN38 Sauve Qui Peut
|In the American reinforcements, the 8-0 leader is replaced with a hero. From Scroungin’ ASL News, the Critical Hit reprint of ASL News scenarios.
|RP#17 Prussian Panic
|B3 Prussian Panic
|This scenario is a reprint of a 1988 Michicon tournament scenario that was first reprinted in Battleplan Magazine in 1989 and then later again in an early issue of the Rout Report newsletter (it is also available for download from this Web site and elsewhere). It was never previously published by Critical Hit. The Critical Hit version differs from the original by adding a hero to German Group 1 and subtracting the 9-1 armor leader from the Gross Deutschland reinforcements.
|RP#18 Forward Defense
|ASLN51 Forward Defense
|Japanese OB strengthened by adding an 8+1 leader to at start forces; US/Filipino OB strengthened by replacing the 8-1 leader in the reinforcements with a 9-1. Originally published in ASL News Magazine.
Though all of these scenarios are out of print, many of them are still relatively available. Critical Hit scenario packs such as Rout Pack 1 and Scroungin’ ASL News can be found without too much trouble (or expense) on the secondary market. Not too much more difficult to obtain is the 1997 Special Edition issue of Critical Hit Magazine. And Prussian Panic can be downloaded for free from the Web. That basically leaves one scenario, Forward Defense, which is legitimately hard to find.
Of the scenarios, only one, Victoria Cross, has gotten a fair amount of play over the years. Most of the others have been languishing in obscurity, justly or unjustly. The cosmetic changes and different names are not likely to make them any better or more enjoyable (or less so). Veteran ASLers will probably already have a number of them in their possession; there is little need to purchase new versions. That leaves relatively new ASL players as the possible target audience for this product. The inexpensive price of Retropak II means that some older, not well known scenarios can be purchased cheaply.