Country of Origin:
48-page magazine, including 10 scenarios as magazine pages
Most English-language ASLers today know of “Tactiques” purely as a large set of freely downloadable scenarios available from several places on the Web. Those downloads, however, came from somewhere, and the place from where they came is far more interesting: the French-language ASL magazine Tactiques, published twice a year from 1991-1995. Tactiques was remarkable for being the first third party ASL magazine, pre-dating American equivalents such as Critical Hit Magazine, Backblast, Time on Target and others by a number of years. For most of its run, it was the only ASL magazine other than the ASL Annual.
Moreover, Tactiques was no mere newsletter, but a true magazine of impressive physical quality and substance for its time. Upon its debut, and for several years afterwards, there were no other third party products of equivalent quality (although it was expensive). Its only disadvantage was that it was published in French only, so ASLers in most other countries could not enjoy its content (although often the scenarios were still playable despite the language barrier, as long as they had few SSRs). For a couple of issues, Tactiques also printed English translations of its magazine content. Issues #6 and #7 had this supplement; it is unclear if any subsequent issues did. These appear to have been fairly rare.
Tactiques was the creation of Théophile Monnier and Jean-Luc Bechennec, two Paris-area ASLers who began designing scenarios in late 1990 and decided to start an ASL fanzine. They tested the waters with a photocopied “Issue #0;” when the reception proved positive, they revised the issue and professionally printed the first issue of Tactiques. This cost $2,400 for a print run of 1,000 (subsequent issues had varying print runs of either 600 or 1,000); the initial funding came from a wargaming association, the Cercle de stratégie, and from Monnier, Sylvain Ferreira and Laurent Forest. Bechennec (who would later become editor after Monnier left) supplied the computer hardware.
Each issue contained a variety of ASL-related articles and a number of ASL scenarios. The quality of the scenarios varied considerably; at first, most of the designers were still relative ASL novices. But the very success of Tactiques gave them more experience and also attracted other scenario designers. Tactiques, along with the ASL News, really helped to create the French-Belgian ASL community.
Tactiques Issue #1 debuted in December 1991 as a 48-page magazine that included 10 scenarios. Article content included pieces on Canada in World War II, the 90th Panzer Grenadier division, the battle of Casa Bérardi, and a complete Advanced Sequence of Play.
The 10 scenarios adopted the ASL Annual approach and simulated a variety of different actions, including:
- TAC1 Vous descendez a Maleme? / Dropping Off at Maleme? Crete 1941 (New Zealanders vs. Germans) (air drop)
- TAC2 Entre le marteau et l’enclume / Between the Hammer and the Anvil. Soviet Union 1941 (Soviets vs. Germans)
- TAC3 Retraite Malaisee / Uneasy Withdrawal. New Guinea 1942 (Australians vs. Japanese)
- TAC4 Je me souviens / “I Remember.” Italy 1943 (Canadians vs. Germans)
- TAC5 La batterie de Merville / The Merville Battery. France 1944 (British vs. Germans) (air drop)
- TAC6 Contre-attaque a Villers-Bocage / Counterattack at Villers-Bocage. France 1944 (British vs. Germans)
- TAC7 Piege a Carpiquet / Trap in Carpiquet. France 1944 (Canadians vs. Germans)
- TAC8 Balade a Champfleur / Stroll to Champfleur. France 1944 (Free French vs. Germans)
- TAC9 Stützpunkt Lezongar / Lezongar Stronghold. France 1944 (Americans/French partisans vs. Germans)
- TAC10 Debout les bambins! / Get Up, Kids! Belgium 1944 (Americans vs. Germans)
Worthy scenarios include TAC1 (Vous descendez à Malème?/Dropping Off at Malame) and TAC7 (Piège à Carpiquet/Trap in Carpiquet).
English translations of the scenarios can be downloaded here.
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Théophile Monnier says
Nice to hear back about Tactiques. Thanks for the memories