Product Review: Broken Ground Design Nationality Counter Sets

A designer in Canada, Alan Findlay of Broken Ground Design, endeavoured to rethink the whole (minus Japanese & Chinese) ASL counter set.  In the process, he also expanded into new counter designs as well – Snipers with SAN, Fanatics, Heroic Leaders, Wounded Leaders, Partisans, Berserkers, Free French and more.  Those who know me, know I am as far from a “counter-slut” as you can get – almost all of my games are on VASL.  Not only do I not have the space, I don’t have the patience to deal with physical counters.  I believe if I can do counters, I can be playing.

So I don’t like dealing with counters to start with and having seen the designs that Alan posted, I also thought they are too cartoonish to be part of ASL games.

But you know what?  These counters are NICE.  (Okay … and I was wrong.)

I am going to post a lot of pictures in this review.  I am also going to give you my thoughts and my experience with the Broken Ground Nationality counters, so you can make your own decision as to whether you should make the purchase.




Partisans (Balkans) & Axis Minors


French MMC


French SMC



Now before I continue, Alan stated two known issues :

  • Due to the short run, this batch was digitally printed. This means a higher possibility of mis-alignment with the die-cutting. The full project will use professional offset printing.
  • This batch is too thick. Four of my counters stack as high as 5 official counters. The next sample batch will be corrected for thickness.

Oh, you should also know that I don’t clip counters, not ever.  So chances are if you think these images are nice, your purchased counters will look even nicer than these.


I mentioned that when I saw Alan’s counter designs earlier in the year, I thought they were too cartoonish.  Now that I’d seen the actual counters – they are not.  They sure look like they belong to ASL games.

I had only made cuts down each side of the rows, took entire strips out and broke each counter off by hand (stop screaming like a little girl).  The high quality of the die cut makes it possible.  However in a few instances, the back of the counters came off and shifted.

The good new is, I was able to “coax” the shifted graphic back in place with properly applied pressure (and meditation).

The graphics look terrific and the numbers are very visible, including the MMC identification letter on the top left.  The issue I have is with the smoke number.  Not only is the smoke number important by itself, the smoke number in a swapped colour set differentiates the Assault Engineers.  Not that it’s any worse that the existing counters we have, but I can’t comfortably see the smoke numbers on Broken Ground’s counters without proper lighting and magnification.

Broken Ground counters laid out a lot of SMCs.  There are:

  • “normal” leaders
  • wounded leaders
  • fanatic leaders
  • wounded fanatic leaders
  • heroic leaders
  • fanatic-heroic leaders.

I have only been playing for 4 years but I can hardly remember a leader going heroic, much less fanatic (by SSR mostly?) or fanatic-heroic.

Having said all that, having “specialised” SMC counters is nice, instead of piling on information counters on existing leaders.  If nothing else, the Wounded Leader counter will be used quite a bit.  Having Assault Engineer full squad and half squad clearly differentiated is nice as well.

Here are the Broken Ground counters against the new MMP Yanks 2 counters …


French 1st line, Fanatic Elite, Polish Elite


French Fanatic Heroic Leader, Wounded Fanatic Leader, Jedi Master, Fanatic Polish Hero

A couple of action shots …

A wounded leader huddles in the gully with a broken unit while the 2nd line squad is about to head into the smoke laid down by the neighbouring 1st liner in the woods


Here I have my AH French counters alongside the Broken Ground counters ..


The French MMC & the 8-1 First Fired at the SS HS that Assault Moved down the path ..

I find the Broken Ground Nationality Sets to be attractive and highly visible.  The “extra” counters that Alan added are useful and contribute towards lessening the stacks.

Alan asked :

If your FtF opponent wanted to play a scenario using Broken Ground counters, would you say “no”?

No I won’t.  However the Broken Ground counters are so visible and looks so much better that it’s going to put a positive modifier on my Personal Morale Checks.  Postgame that Flame in my wallet is going to turn into a Blaze and burn a hole right through!

Any questions or thoughts, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

(All Photos are Copyrighted to the Hong Kong Wargamer.  Do not use without permission.)

Product Review : Broken Ground Design Vehicle Counters


21 thoughts on “Product Review: Broken Ground Design Nationality Counter Sets

  1. Nice review and pictures, Jack. Looking forward to getting the French and Italians to fill in the holes in my counterset.



  2. Thanks for the detailed review, Jack.

    Am I understanding correctly that some backs became separated from the rest of the counter? That’s a serious issue that I will need to address with my printer.

  3. OCD response … What justifies substituting counters? If you are playing on your own and everyone agrees, go for it, but I do not think it should be assumed that this is fine. Especially in a tournament, we are playing ASL — not some modification of ASL. Let me be clear … If everyone thinks it is fine, OK, but I do not understand the prevailing assumption that the game can be modded as anyone sees fit. Maybe part of the challenge of ASL is dealing with the old crappy counters.

    • People buy things for their own reasons. One such “justification” I have been struggling with for a long while is : what justifies me buying more ASL than I can ever play?

      ASL is a game that requires two consenting adults. If your opponent is not comfortable with swapped counters or if your opponent is not comfortable with SS dice, I think as normal, sociable human beings we certainly won’t do it.

      I don’t believe anyone has played ASL in a way that is ‘against’ our opponent’s will.

      Funny you should mention tournaments. I have attended and I helped ran tournaments in a number of countries for a few years. I have seen AH counters used as well as MMP ones. I have even seen MMP counter sets substituting for AH counter sets! I have seen BFP counters used as well – especially in the last one we ran. Everyone’s there to have a good time, no one threw a fit!

      PS I will leave it up to you to address the “prevailing assumptions” that you stated. But hey, every ASL publication threw out modifications of ASL.

  4. Hey, this is Mark K, BTW. It is not a major issue exactly, but I find it interesting that almost no one gives any thought to things like this. Should people really be allowed to use the various cheat sheets that exist, for instance? Should maps be blown up in a way that affects LOS string width and VBP legality? Should specialized markers like “inherent fired” etc. be allowed? Yes, it is all about fun, but the purist in me says to play the ball as it lies (play the game as it is). But I do use OBA cards so maybe I am guilty! Maybe we should all be forced to use those crappy dice that come with Beyond Valour heh heh. I think the rules may even say so. NRBH. People are so picky about the nuances about rules and yet a good percentage of people do not remove markers in the proper phase, in favor of a “marker removing phase” to remove both orange and green.

    • I am mostly talking about tournament play here. I wonder about the use of those AFV cards even. if people made cheat sheets in chess it would be a clear case of cheating!

      • I dunno, if people make a chart as a reminder of how each Chess pieces move, is that cheating? If they make a booklet of 50 Opening Moves, then certainly yes. If folks have ASL Charts to remind them of DRMs and when to do what – I don’t see that as an issue.

        Having said that, in all the tournament games I played, it’s so intense and the time is so tight that I didn’t even have time to pick up my pretty sniper dice for my SAN! I used the same set all through. Not sure how many people actually go through charts and stuff at tournaments?

      • Yes, I rarely have time to check any Spilky charts or anything in a tournament. No notes or consultation whatsoever is allowed in tournament chess. If you do not know how the pieces move and move one wrong, you have made an illegal move. Depending on the tournament that may be an automatic loss or a time penalty. Imagine that rule in ASL?! There might be 10 players in the world who can play an entire game without doing something (unintentionally) illegal! Thank God for A.2!

      • You are mostly right on the “10”. Heck, I was playing a Grofaz on my last tournament and I forgot to do my radio check 3 times in a roll (and he reminded me 3 times) .. he then then said “the fourth time you lose it” which is fair enough. I have the mind of a goldfish…

    • Dude! Haven’t talked to you for a while. I hope things are going well! I am rather enjoying the discourse here. You pointed out things that I’ve never quite thought about. Amongst the things that you mentioned though, I do have a problem with blown up maps as they affect VBM. The others, not so much but you are right to bring up your points for consideration.

      • Hi Man. Yeah, that’s why I mentioned that it was OCD talking, but with all the OCD players we have, why is this all OK?! 😉 Of course, the open “source” nature of ASL and all the 3rd party expansions is part of what makes the game great. This is funny:

        “A.1 DICE: The rules often require use of a colored die to differentiate it from the other die in use. A set of four dice of different colors is included in ASL Module 1: BEYOND VALOR. A white die and one of the colored dice are rolled simultaneously and summed normally for most purposes”

        I think one could argue that these are the official dice — especially since it says to use “one of THE colored dice” HAHA

      • Yeah … I have to think that somewhere in the wide ASL world some folks actually hold everyone strictly to the letter of the law. I have certainly heard stories. So perhaps the time to point to A.1 is when your opponent scored a CH on your carefully HD tank. Point to the rule and call the roll “illegal”. Wahahaha

      • Thank you, you also. Oh, I do not want it to get lost that I actually think the counters (and the pictures you posted) are beautiful!

  5. Pingback: Product Review : Broken Ground Design Vehicle Counters | Hong Kong Wargamer

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