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.)


Nor’easter XX Anniversary Pack & the Bunker crew

IMG_1514The ASL fanatics in New England got together two years ago and started building a scenario pack to commemorate 20 years of their involvement with ASL and more importantly, 20 years of their friendship via ASL.  

This is truly a pack built by ASL fanatics, for fanatics.  As such, standards are very high as these folks are well know players and scenario designers themselves.

One of the first ones that interests me is YASL#1 Full Immersion Baptism (Designer : Carl Nogueira).  I was involved in its playtesting.  This is the Spanish Civil War, replete with the Republican, the Nationalists, the Condor Legions and Moors with their ability to seek cover in the folds of the ground.  IMG_1226

YASL#4 The Twin Pimples (Designer : Andy Howard), it’s British regulars and commandos pitted against Italians in the desert and at night.  We are talking about 21 Italians & toys against 10 British squads and 9 commandos.  

My first game out of this pack will most likely to be YASL#5 Patrols on the Trail to Hell (Designer Vic Provost) perhaps for no other reason than that I have been a huge fan of Vic Provost’s & the Bunker crew’s PTO design.  This is a 5 turn USMC vs IJA jungle action that looks to be a good introduction for newer folks to the PTO terrain.  

Oh hey, gritty Ground Snow at Dusk, ’44 Eastern front action in YASL#6 Hein Olshana (Designer : Robert “Kedge” Johnson).  I know, you never get tired of ETO.  StuGs (with no radios) vs SU76Ms!  

IMG_1225YASL#8 Ass Backwards (Bob Tufano & Tom Morin) is the only other scenario in existence (according to ASL Scenario Archive) that features the British Archer.  The Archer is a tank destroyer with a 76LL gun pointing BACKWARDS.  This is a 6.5 turner that puts Panthers on the German side and plays on the Riley’s Road Map (from ASL Operation Veritable Historical Study).  

Tanks ONLY action?  You should take a look at YASL#9 Rack’em Up!  (Designer : Ted Wilcox).  This is German vs American (9 on 9), Jan 1945, Falling Snow and burnt out buildings (read : Open Ground).  It’s a fast one with 4 turns.  

Paratroopers on the IJA?  YASL#10 Dropping Topside (Designer : Michael J “Pooch” Puccio).   Two German tank destroyers vs SIXTEEN  T-34s?  YASL#11 Ja, Bix (Designer : Brian “Dr Death” Sullivan).  It’s a 5.5 turn where both parties can vary their OB.  

YASL13 Die to the Last Man (Designer : Joe Gochinski) features the CG style OB purchases that I was hooked onto since St Louis’s China-Burma-India The Lost Theater pack.  The IJA may run or they may fight.  It’s up to the British to figure out.  IMG_1227

Joe Gochinski is also the designer of one of my favorite scenarios – DB099 The Gin Drinkers’ Line, featuring Hong Kong.  

By the way, when I call them fanatics, they are real fanatics.  I don’t just mean they play like there’s no tomorrow.  This pack features some of the best ASL scenario designers.  Carl Nogueira is the designer for CH Dien Bien Phu and for the upcoming Dinant CG, Tom Morin is the designer for Valor of the Guards, Vic Provost (OB14 Pursuing Kobayashi), Stephen Johns, Ted Wilcox, Michael Puccio, Ralph McDonald and Joe Gochinski & the others have long lists of published scenarios in Dispatches from the Bunker, the New England ASL newsletter.  

Vic Provost – SSR: All Occupants of the Bunker Location are considered Fanatic [A10.8]

The Nor’easter ASL Tourney XX Anniversary Pack is truly a scenario pack designed by fanatics, for fanatics.  It’s product that these group of friends can all be proud of.  I am actually quite happy about the production (PDF) and the delivery (free & instantaneous).  I know a good number of these folks personally, out of which Carl Nogueira spent the most time teaching me how to play properly.  I just KNOW I am getting a top notched product.  I also wish to show my support and therefore encourage more of these publishing efforts from other ASL groups around the world.

IMG_1223Who knows?  We might even see a couple starting to come out of Asia!!  

To get your own copy of Nor’easter ASL Tourney XX Anniversary Pack:

The cost of the Pack is $15.00. Please forward your payments to the PayPal account of Carl Nogueira if paying by PayPal or to:
Carl Nogueira
7 Green Street
New Bedford MA 02740
If paying by check/money order, please make payable to Carl H. Nogueira.
If you have any questions regarding any aspect of the scenario pack, please contact Carl at, or here on facebook.

To get our own subscription to Dispatches from the Bunker:

Contact Vic Provost at

(I backordered all copies apart from keeping a subscription going forward, it IS that good.)