Le Franc Tireur (2021)
Country of Origin:
15 scenarios on color cardstock, 3 8" x 22" unmounted geoboards (NP1, NP2, NP3)
The Yankee ASL Nor’easter Pack II is a scenario/map pack designed and playtested by members of the Yankee ASL Club, and released in conjunction with their Nor’easter Tournament (run virtually in 2021 because coronavirus). In 2016, many of the same people released a “20th anniversary pack” for Nor’easter, publishing it themselves, but for this second endeavor they partnered with Le Franc Tireur, a French third party publisher that has published a number of American designs. This partnership allowed higher production values–including the printing of three new geoboards.
It is the geoboards that will probably first draw the eyes of most people who purchase YPII. These geoboards are the first 8″ x 22″ geoboards printed by Le Franc Tireur in over 10 years (there was one in 2010s From the Cellar Pack 5; there were also DASL-sized geoboards in Deluxe Pack #1, released in 2014). However, the physical quality seems to be high. The cardstock is the same thickness as MMP geoboard cardstock. The board cuts are not 100% accurate, but nearly so, so there are unlikely to be any board alignment or matchup problems. The boards do have a real tendency to curl, so they should not be kept in a humid place (and maybe something heavy should be placed on them). The artwork is in general high quality. The boards were designed by Tom Repetti, a veteran ASL board designer.
Board NP1 is a wilderness board specifically designed for the PTO (it even uses palm tree symbols rather than orchard symbols). I t is a busy and difficult board, with plenty of jungle and bamboo, a stream that cuts across the narrow length of the board, a large patch of kunai containing a stream and a gully, and a nasty medium-sized, jungle-covered hill with double crestlines for its lower two levels. It does, at least, have a lot of paths. It looks like a very interesting board to play on.
Board NP2 is much blander; it’s a crossroads village board, with all the buildings being one-hex stone buildings (or groups of 2-3 smaller stone buildings in a hex). A few fields and orchards round out the mix. It does feature a new terrain type, wooden fences, which are similar to hedges.
Board NP3 is very unusual. First, the textured yellow terrain makes it look starkly different from most ASL geoboards. It is basically intended as a desert board, with hillocks printed directly on the board. It’s an extremely busy board, with most hexes covered by crags, shellholes, brush, or some other terrain feature. Oh, there are also tons of slopes. It’s not to Desperation Morale’s taste, but it may be to yours.
Of the 15 scenarios included with YPII, 3 use Board NP1, 2 use Board NP2, and 2 use Board NP3. To play all the scenarios included in the pack, players also need access to boards 2, 3, 56, 58, 62, 69, 70, 71, 73, 78, 5a, 5b, 6a, and boards 82 and 83 from Forgotten War.
The scenarios are printed in color on glossy European-sized paper. They represent a fairly diverse set of actions:
- YASL14 (Szczuki). Poland 1939, Poles vs. Germans. Medium. Possibility for some tin can fighting here.
- YASL15 (Chances are Slim). Poland 1939. Poles vs. Soviets. Large. Poles have to escape to Hungary, with a Soviet blocking force in front of them and more Soviets closing up on the rear.
- YASL16 (Legion of Doom). Soviet Union 1941. Soviets vs. Croats. Small. Uses NKVD rules, counters from Valor of the Guards.
- YASL17 (Hill 200 – Gateway to Rzhev). Soviet Union 1942. Soviets vs. Germans. Large. Soviet attack on a fortified hill position.
- YASL18 (Recon on the Logging Trail). Bougainville 1943. Americans vs. Japanese. Small. Sides bid VPs to move first.
- YASL19 (Indirect Panther). Soviet Union 1944. Soviets vs. Germans. Large. OBA. Heavily armed German force with a Panther tries to take a hill.
- YASL20 (Broe Bay Brouhaha). New Guinea 1944. Americans vs. Japanese. Small. Rescuing a “lost” American platoon. This scenario is the automatic winner of the 2021 Desperation Morale Worst Scenario Title of the Year Award.
- YASL21 (A Matter of Honor). Guam 1944. Americans (USMC) vs. Japanese. Large. OBA. Air Support. 7-6-8 USMC squads with toys and armored support (including an FT tank) root out 12 Japanese squad-equivalents with 12 SW and 4 Guns.
- YASL22 (Where the Reindeer Dare Not Go). Soviet Union 1944. Soviets vs. Germans. Large. Tank-supported Soviet attack on fortified German position. Uses Board NP3 for arctic terrain.
- YASL23 (The Flying Column). Philippines 1945. Americans vs. Japanese. Large. Big combined arms American attack on Japanese position. Looks bloody. Contrary to scenario title, nobody actually flies.
- YASL24 (Bloody Christmas Hill). France 1944. Americans vs. Waffen SS. Small. Americans attacking pillboxes on a hill in winter.
- YASL25 (Stein’s Stinger). Iwo Jima 1945. Americans (USMC) vs. Japanese. Medium. Uses Board NP3 for Iwo Jima. 18.5 USMC squads and a ridiculously large number of leaders, overloaded with SW of every kind, attack 16 Japanese squad-equivalents heavily fortified (but no caves). Huge long SSR to deal with a Hero and his precious LMG.
- YASL26 (Whiteout). Germany 1945. Americans vs. Waffen SS. Large. German escape attempt.
- YASL27 (A Man Called Hog Jaw). South Korea 1950. Americans (USMC) vs. North Koreans. Large. OBA. Air Support. American Marines attacking up a hill in Korea.
- YASL28 (Fool’s Errand). Indochina 1954. French vs. Viet Minh. Large. OBA. Uses Forgotten War French for French, Soviet counters & partisans for the Viet Minh. Lot of troops on a half-board.
PTO fans will appreciate the numerous scenarios featuring the Japanese, while those interested in the exotic may lean towards the French in Indochina scenario. In any case, there are actions here for a number of different types of ASL fun.