Lone Canuck Publishing (2017)
Country of Origin:
18" x 24" historical map, 1 page rules, 4 scenarios on cardstock
Valour at Casa Berardi is a tiny HASL featuring combat between Canadian and German troops in Italy in late 1943. It focuses on actions of the Canadian Royal 22nd Regiment, according to this product the only all French-Canadian regiment in the Canadian Army (this source and others suggest it was not actually the only one). French Canadians were significantly more reluctant to fight in World War II than were Anglo-Canadians and volunteered in much fewer numbers (in fact, the leading French Canadian politician during World War II opposed Canadian participation in the war and was a raging anti-Semite).
This module is small in almost every way. It has a small map, small amount of components, and a small number of small scenarios. There is no campaign game, nor is there a larger or “monster” scenario allowing meaty fighting over the historical map.
The main feature of the product is the historical map, an 18″ x 24″ map small enough easily to fit on a gaming table, making it rather convenient. The graphics are decent for third party maps of the 2010s, but the colors chosen give the map a dark and drab hue to it, making it not all that attractive overall. Essentially, if you love olive drab, this is the map for you. Players will want to make sure they are in a well-lit playing area. The map is pretty busy, with tons of (extremely well-manicured) hedges, vineyards, olive groves, shellholes, orchards, rubble, and odds and ends of other terrain. There are only four small buildings on the map, one of them being the titular Casa Berardi.
Three of the four included scenarios use portions of the map, while the fourth uses the entire playing area.
The module includes one page of rules, all but one of which consist of terrain rules or clarifications. It ought to be fairly easy for players to leap into the scenarios without having to absorb a lot of rules.
The scenarios themselves are all small. Some might even feel that they are too small to be worth the effort of setting up and playing an HASL. The scenarios are all designated with CASLO, the acronym for a Canadian ASL tournament, but Valour at Casa Berardi does not seem to have been released at or before the 2017 CASLO. One photograph from that tournament does show a playtest of Valour–which is the only evidence Desperation Morale has been able to find of playtesting for this module, which does not credit any playtesters. Desperation Morale generally finds a lack of playtester credits to be concerning.
CASLO 1 (Onwards!) features a Canadian attack, such as it is, with 7 squads and two leaders against three German squads and three crews manning 2 HMGs and an 81mm MTR. The Germans have as many fortification counters (two pillboxes and 8 wire counters) as they have units. They are used to create two machine-gun nests. The Canadians win by exiting 5 VP.
CASLO 2 (The Only Safe Space). Another Canadian attack is depicted here. The Canadians attack with 8 squads, 2 leaders and 4 SW, supported by 3 Shermans entering as reinforcements. The defending Germans have 4 squads, 2 leaders, 2 SW, and a crew manning an 81mm MTR. They get two Pz IVs as reinforcements. They also get a module of 120mm OBA, which is extremely powerful OBA for such a tiny scenario. To win, the Canadians must clear Germans from the area near one of the few buildings.
CASLO 3 (They Shall Not Pass!). The Germans get a turn at attacking in this scenario. They have 8 squads and 3 Pz IVs, plus leaders and SW, all of which are divided into four groups that enter randomly, one per turn for the first four turns. The defending Canadians have 3 squads and three Shermans, plus 88mm OBA. To win, the Germans must clear out an area near the Casa.
CASLO 4 (Valour at Casa Berardi). This scenario, a 10-turn scenario, uses the entire map area. It’s the closest this product gets to a large scenario. It features a Canadian attack with 9 squads, 3 leaders, 6 SW, and 7 Shermans. The Germans defend with 3 squads and 4 crews manning 2 HMGs and 2 81mm MTRs; they also get 2 pillbox and 8 Wire counters. They get reinforcements over the course of a number of turns that cumulatively include 8 squads and 5 Pz IVs. The British get 88mm OBA and the Germans 120mm OBA; the presence of so much OBA for such a small scenario can be a major factor.
This product may appeal most to those who have a particular interest in Canadians in World War II. Others may not be too attracted by a small module with four tiny scenarios.
C. Maltais says
This article suggests that French Canadians were reluctant to fight in the war because they were sympathetic to the Nazis (i.e. the “raging anti-semite” line).
While this sentiment did exist, it was mainly rooted in the idea that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.
The English conquered the French in 1760. They treated them much as they did the Irish (and many others). That is to say they tried their best to destroy the local culture and to impose their own, for reasons of pride and greed. Their policy towards the Native Americans was of course to simply kill them all.
The English Canadians were always enthusiastic about taking part in the colonial wars of England. The conquered French, not so much. Unsurprisingly, the English called them cowards, traitors, ignorant barbarians, inbred hicks, etc. They still do this.
The Romans did the same to the Celts. Conquerors always present themselves as the force of progress.
Since the French tended to not want to help conquer other people, they were forced to do so, usually violently. There are many instances of the English sending troops to fire at civilian crowds opposed to the draft. Many people were killed.
This happened during the Boer war and WWI, for instance. There are other examples of military repression against the French, most notably in 1837-1838 and 1970.
Linked to this is the brutal repression of the Métis by the English. This culminated in the execution of leader Louis Riel after a sham trial. “Louis Riel notre frère est mort” was the headline in French Canada. This did not win hearts and minds.
This was also the period when the French were a prime source of cheap labor. We were working in sweatshops for the English until at least the 1960s. Here also military force, often deadly, was used against strikers and demonstrators, most notably in the years leading up to WWII. (English troops also fired on English workers, of course. In this they did not discriminate.)
That is why most French Canadians did not want to fight in WWII. Also, we just don’t like wars. Crazy, I know.
Some of us do like war games, though. I will certainly enjoy playing this module.
That said thanks for the website, and all your hard work for the community.