Alternative Titles/Edition History:
1st Edition, 1998; 2nd Edition (HOB Update, aka HOB Update SS Battle Pack), 2007
Heat of Battle (1st Edition, 1998; 2nd Edition, 2007)
1st Edition: 240 die-cut counters, 6 scenarios
2nd Edition: 14 scenariosCommentary:
Waffen-SS: No Quarter No Glory! (NQNG), the first scenario pack released by Heat of Battle, opened up a can of worms whose contents have continued to wriggle more than a decade later but whose origins began nearly twenty years before its publication. The original Squad Leader, published in 1977, had different counters to represent different types of German troops, but did not include a separate unit type for Waffen SS soldiers. However, its sequel, Cross of Iron, did. Moreover, it gave the SS their own unique color scheme (white on black), the only troop type within a nationality to have its own color scheme. Fast forward to 1985 and the release of Beyond Valor, the first ASL module. It too contained SS squads, but they were no longer white on black. Instead they were the standard German blue, distinguished by an “SS” symbol in one corner.
Some ASLers were disappointed that there were no black SS counters in ASL (apparently they thought the SS was “cool” and should have special counters) and over the years there were periodical calls by some ASLers to release a set of such counters. Others opposed such a move, arguing that creating a separate color scheme for the Waffen SS would essentially “glorify” them, since no other nationality had any forces with a special color scheme. This was troubling to some, because of the SS’s horrific record of war crimes and genocide in the Second World War.
In 1998, 20 years after the release of Cross of Iron, black SS counters made their reappearance in this small scenario pack whose appeal was not its half-dozen scenarios but rather the 240 die-cut counters featuring white on black SS units. The counters, designed by Nadir El-Farra with help from Riccardo Sciarrone, were attractive and professional, following in the line of the smaller countersheets that had appeared in Berlin: Red Vengeance and Fortress Cassino. They feature primarily MMC, SMC, and SW and are distinguished not by an “SS” symbol as the official Waffen SS counters are but rather by a Totenkopf symbol. There are also a small number of 5/8″ counters included, but AFVs are largely left out (because adding another color, red, to the counters would have greatly increased their production cost).
The production of these counters, and the additional counters that appeared in the second Waffen SS pack which followed, created a great deal of controversy (which HOB clearly anticipated, as it took the trouble to include a disclaimer: “HOB makes no political or moral statements by the subject matter of this product. The pursuit of good gaming and the devotion to accurate history is our only goal.”). Probably the majority of ASLers either liked the counters or didn’t really care either way, while a minority of ASLers were disappointed that they had been printed. Critical Hit president Ray Tapio vocally came out against them (though he himself would soon print white on black Waffen SS counters for the module Hell’s Bridgehead and throughout the 2000s would print thousands and thousands of black Waffen SS counters).
The counters in the two packs, which of course greatly resembled “official” ASL artwork, also reportedly ended up having repercussions in the on-going saga of Blood Reef Tarawa and may have helped delay that module’s publication by MMP (who themselves added fuel to the “black SS counters” fire by publishing an official black SS counterset in A Bridge Too Far). The controversy over black SS counters continues to this day.
With all of the hubbub over the counters, the scenarios themselves are often overlooked. One scenario is set in Russia in 1942; the rest are set on the Eastern or Western fronts in 1944-45. Designed primarily as tournament scenarios, they are all relatively small in size. Presumably because of both their subject matter and small size, they have received considerable play. Play reports to date, however, suggest that all six scenarios may have balance problems ranging from moderate to significant.
The scenarios, though not the counters, in this pack were reprinted in 2007 along with those of its other SS pack in something called HOB Update. Errata was incorporated into these new versions (but is not available from HOB for owners of the first edition).
Overall, this was not one of HOB’s better products.
2nd Edition (HOB Update SS Battle Pack) comments: Two early scenario packs from HOB were SS: No Quarter, No Glory and SSII: Führer’s Firemen. The real attraction (and controversy) at the time was that they included countersheets with black Waffen SS counters on them. However, copyright tangles with MMP forced HOB to stop printing such counters and the packs themselves eventually went out of print.
In 2007, a number of years later, HOB combined the 14 scenarios (but not the counters) from the two earlier packs into a new product, ambiguously named HOB Update. The re-release gives many newer ASLers their first opportunity to purchase these scenarios.
Moreover, many of the scenarios were revised, for balance or errata. This might even entice some owners of the previous versions of these products to upgrade. Perhaps to “encourage” such people to do so, HOB did not make the errata and changes to the scenarios available to previous owners except through purchase of the new pack; this was somewhat controversial.
One thing that should be noted is that this product, even though a reprint, does not appear to have been fully edited or proofread. Typos and mistakes appear that even the most meager of spellchecking and proofreading efforts could have prevented (in one particularly egregious case, one of the words in a two-word scenario title is misspelled).