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Subject: ATS at its best rss

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Diego Angelotti
Canada
Hudson
Quebec
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Oosterbeek Perimeter - ATS module
Oosterbeek Perimeter is an ATS (Advanced Tobruk System) module depicting that part of the Market Garden operation that took action north of the Rhine.
It can be purchased as a stand alone game, or as an Arnhem: Defiant Stand expansion or as a combo with Arnhem.
For those who are not familiar with the system, ATS is a tactical warfare game at squad level in the tradition of Squad Leader and of course the original Tobruk by Avalon Hill.
I believe the name has become obsolete since the modules do not cover only desert warfare but all theaters. Advanced Tactical System would be more appropriate than Advanced Tobruk System.

The components.

According to the version you purchase the components vary. The expansion comes in a ziplock bag and contains:

· Bonus counters (though no bonus in my copy!);
· 16 scenarios, ranging from small to large;
· 2 gorgeous color maps of the area, on heavyweight stock;
· 10 AFV Cards;
. AFV cards

The maps are great, together with Arnhem's are the best of the ATS modules I have seen so far. Artwork is great and they are quite easy to read for game purpose.
Maps can be joined for the larger scenarios.

The counters are the usual well done and large ones provided in any module. The only thing I find a little annoying is the size (1/2") of the markers, that combined with 5/8" for infantry and 3/4" for vehicles, creates quite unstable stacks. 5/8" markers would make thing easier.

The charts and play aids (from Arnhem: Defiant Stand) are printed on cardboard and to my advise present a common problem to all modules, they are a little bit chaotic and need to be streamlined. It must be noted that the most recent release has done a lot in this sense and it is available for download at http://uncleted.jinak.cz/ATS.htm

The rules
ATS rules have been often criticized for been unstable and too often updated - together with the charts. I do not see too much of a problem in that - it takes little time to download (for free) the rulebook from CH website. What I find great about the rules is that once you have learned the basics you can add the rules needed for the scenario you are about to play, disregarding the others. The rulebook is around 60 pages, to fully get started you need around 30.

The game
Out of the sixteen scenarios I would say 12 are small and 4 are medium.
Montgomery troops are armed with guns (mortars, AT guns, howitzers) and the deadly Piat - the British version of the bazooka - they face Germans troops equipped with machineguns and tanks including the King Tiger
ATS, unlike ASL, uses an impulse system, after a player moves a vehicle, a squad or a group of adjacent squads the initiative passes to the other player. In this way both players are always involved in the game. The scenarios are dynamic - some needs some adjustment - quick to play and very interesting.
To read the battlefield walkround (to be found in Arnhem module) is a must to get acquainted with the topographical features and their effect on movement and combat.

Conclusions
This is the module I enjoyed the most out of the 6 I own. You will miss the tank duels you have in Advanced Tobruk or Stalingrad but the mix of forces makes the scenarios balanced and replayable.
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Michael Vallance
United Kingdom
Warwick
Warwickshire
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Thanks Diego for the helpful review. You have spurred me on to play Arnhem Defiant Stand and this extra battleset as soon as possible !

Can I also recommend a physical visit to Arnhem and Opsterbeek when you next come to Europe. The Dutch are very friendly and excellent hosts and a battlefield tour (of which there are many) and the excellent Airborne museum give a great flavour of the topography and the issues faced by the allies. Many of the original buildings held by the Airborne soldiers are still standing and there are numerous battlefield markers and monuments to see.

Looking forward to playing this with my mate shortly - will write a review also.

Mike
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