Hints were dropped earlier this year that MMP has begun playtesting of a new historical Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit campaign game unofficially titled Marco Polo Bridge, named after the incident that occurred in China in 1937. The news of this activity by MMP may have fallen through the various cracks on the internet (or was not noticed by all) because nothing has been posted on their official website.
Update: This HASL module will now go on pre-order in 2023, including both a full ASL and SK version of the module!
Scroll past the historical perspective if you want to see the limited info on the module …
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident
So what happened in July of 1937 and what was the “incident”?
Leading up to the incident tensions between China and Japan had been high since the Japanese seized control of Manchuria for its resources in 1931. On the east side of the bridge was Beiping (also known as Peking, and as Beijing today), which was controlled by Japanese forces all the way to Manchuria in the northeast. The west side of Marco Polo Bridge (this is its western name, it’s also known as Lugou Bridge) was controlled by the Chinese who had not previously resisted the takeover of Manchuria with much muster. But that all came to a head at the Marco Polo Bridge.
Late on the evening of July 7th, 1937 Chinese and Japanese soldiers exchanged light fire, the cause of which may have been unannounced Japanese military exercises. In the aftermath the Japanese found that one of their soldiers was missing and demanded they be allowed to cross the bridge and search the walled city of Wanping for the missing man.
The Chinese commander flatly refused, and both sides began to mobilize. Later that night the Japanese attempted to infiltrate Wanping but were driven back. This lead to further escalation, and despite efforts and negotiations to stem the constant skirmishes that followed, on July 9th the Japanese began deploying light armor and shelling Wanping across the bridge.
This led to further skirmishes. Battles began to break out up and down the Yongding River, eventually spreading to the nearby city of Tianjin and beyond.
Thus the first shots of the Second Sino-Japanese War (7 July 1937 – 2 September 1945) were sparked over Manchurian tensions and the misunderstanding of a missing soldier who only happened to wander off from his unit … that soldier was later found alive and well.
But What About the Module?
Well, there’s not a lot of official information available other than it’s a historical campaign game based on the escalated aftermath of the incident detailed above, and that it’s a Starter Kit product … so SK fans rejoice! No longer will you have to think about dropping $100+ for a used copy of Decision At Elst (2014) to play a historical CG.
It appears that Ken Dunn is again at the helm, and that playtesting commenced earlier this year. Based on Decision at Elst it’s probably safe to assume this will be a more accessible product than full ASL historical campaign games from a scope and price perspective. So I would expect:
- A single, good-sized map sheet
- 4-6 scenarios played on various parts of the map
- 1 campaign game
- A campaign booklet, with special rules (for bridges, and perhaps the Wanping fortress, etc)
- Maybe 1-2 sheets of counters (IF they plan to make this a standalone product, or if they introduce new ordnance/vehicles)
- The SK version will have OBA (presumably lifted straight from Decision at Elst) and night rules.
Below are some photos from the ongoing playtesting …
MMP’s ASL roadmap is bit of an enigma, which throws boxcars at any speculation. Some products seem a bit lost in development (or dropped altogether) while others will just pop up on pre-order out of the blue. That being said, I have NO idea when this might see the light of day. But, the fact that it’s in playtesting bodes well. Optimistically it might go on pre-order next year, and be published in 2023. Pessimistically (realistically?) it will probably go on pre-order in 2023/24, and in your hands … Monday.
No one really knows, except MMP, and even then it probably has to get in the production queue with other ASL and games in the pipeline.
If there are any updates I’ll be sure to post up some news about it.
.END OF BRIEFING.
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Fantastic. I know of the Critical Hit (?) scenario with the same name but don’t know much of the history. llooking forward to getting my sweaty palms on this, looks fun
👀👀 Woah! Seriously, another historical SK module in the works? Can’t wait. And your right about the ripoff artists selling DAE for crazy prices. Screw those extortionists. Hurry up mmp!
This is the thing about MMP (and probably third party) historical modules, they will probably never be reprinted. They might eventually show up on wargamevault as pdfs, print your own, type offerings some day. Moral of the story: always buy the MMP offered historical modules, you may never get another chance, or you’ll have to pay out the nose some day.
I understand the third party, but I would hope that MMP can leverage its preorder method for DaE, as there always seems to be some amount of desire for it to be reprinted every so often on the various ASL and SK groups. (I have it, but I know a lot don’t).
Wheres the ‘take my money’ gif?! Not a massive fan of early chinese/japanese actions, but this looks kind of interesting, a reasonably sized campaign game.
Seems like, even if not a standalone product, there would have to be some sort of countersheet just to incorporate the perimeter/hex control markers? I passed on DAE since it didn’t look all that interesting to me, but I’d buy this if the price point was fairly reasonable; say $50 to $70 depending on the components included.
Good point on the control markers, etc. So yeah, I expect (hope) it’s standalone.
Does anyone know what a realistic release date of this might be? I only play SK and I’ve played DAE a few times and am kind of tire of it and need a historical fix. MMP needs to step up therir ASL production game.
AT the rate MMP releases stuff, we’ll probably be dead before we see this. so either a Monday in hell or heaven, depending on where you end up. lol. Only partially kidding. anyway, I want it NOW!
Does anyone have any insight how affecitve Japanase nationality traits would be in a situation like this? the maps seems very open, not many banzai opportunities or ambush by stealth. Seems a lot different than a pto setting.
Japanese still get the advantage of the “bend but not break” characteristic (striping) which can be advantageous in almost any situation. I’m pretty sure this module will have OBA, so banzai charges through effectively placed smoke might be an option.
Roadblocks, Disruption, Raillines….
Hatten in Flames without the buildings.