Scenario Packs: A Review

Originally posted 8th January 2007

Nice stuff said about my scenario booklets on TMP:

From Seattle Gamer:

I think they are a great, and quite reasonably priced too, making them even better. I have them all so that's my ringing endorsement.

You want to know what they are like, and their production values? Picking one at random here are a few particulars:

Vyazma or Bust – by Robert Avery. Russian Front, late 1941. 19 scenarios, 4.05mb PDF, 126 pages, full colour cover.

Seven pages of intro, table of contents, campaign notes, how the battles link together (complete with diagrams), and a list of all minis needed per scenario. This is followed by 10 colour maps, one for each scenario (yes, there are 19 different scenarios, but they are fought over 10 different battlefields). These start on p9. This is followed by details for all 19 scenarios. A typical scenario gets 5-6 pages of info, but a few get up to 8 pages. Scenario details start on p19 and run thru p125.

A typical scenario has:

- Overall game briefing, special rules, and a list of cards needed (1 page).

- German player briefing with objectives, deployment, terrain notes, availability of air support, and detailed troop listings (several pages).

- Russian player briefing (similar to the German player, also several pages).

The campaign is very nicely laid out. The battles interlock in EXACTLY the way you would want them to. You start the campaign with Scenario 1. If the Germans win, you proceed to Scenario 2a. If the Russians win, you proceed to Scenario 2b.

If the main drive gets thwarted, you get sidetracked. If you can pull off a few victories, then you are back heading towards your main objective. If not, your attack eventually stalls and the Russians counterattack, trying to drive you back.

So the campaign can end with a Total German Victory, a German Victory, a Tie, a Russian Victory, or a Total Russian Victory. You can, of course, simply play any of the 19 as a one-off game, and ignore any of the campaign stuff.

Except for the 10 pages of colour maps (they look hand drawn in some sort of graphics program) this bundle is devoid of artwork. It's all straight text with tables and lists where needed.

This one is actually about average for length.

The earliest one is Sealion at 43 pages, and other than maps, no art. Calais is 90 pages and is sprinkled with colour and piccys (of actual models fighting it out). Then along came this one at 126 pages.

Now leap forward a year or two to another campaign by the same author: Fall of the Lion Gate. It's comes in at a whopping 236 pages. He sprinkled actual photos of the war throughout the thing. That one is 21 scenarios, broken into two separate campaign parts.

And Bloody Burma (also by Robert Avery) is 261 pages, 24 scenarios, with some period photos and drawings included for good measure.

The Campaign for Greece is "only" 104 pages, but contains 16 scenarios, and even includes the air campaign (if you wanted to use the Bag the Hun game to play that out as well). Chris Stoesen (author of the above) also did a scenario book for East Africa called Call This a Ruddy Picnic. Weighs in at 138 pages, 23 scenarios, and once again, includes the air campaign as well.

Anyway, like I said, a great source of scenarios, and very reasonably priced.

From Dom Skelton:

I love 'em. The general trend has been that the recent ones are a lot longer; especially where Mr Avery's concerned, as there's no stopping the man once he's fired up. That said, even the "thinnest" are cracking value, and the scenarios are generally pretty even with the odd stitch-up to keep everyone on their toes. Actually, I'm tempted to revisit the Sea Lion book soon, as I'm currently painting early war Germans.