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Subject: Great WW2 Eastern Front Strategic/Operational wargame ? rss

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Peter
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Gentlemen,

Thank you for your feedback on the subject of Global Strategic WW2 wargame in the other thread.

Since you gave me such a great feedback, I would like to kindly ask for your option on what's a great Eastern Front Strategic/Operational wargame that covers the whole game in one box. This rules out game series like Operational Combat Series (which I really like btw) because one box doesn't cover the whole conflict.

I have one game like this: Red Star Rising which is great but I would like to have more (don't we all?). Russia Besieged would be another game to fit the bill, hopefully I will have it sometime this month. Perhaps Dark Valley from GMT (Ted Raicer design) will be interesting as well.

Any recommendations ? Of course it would be nice if the game was published for the past 10 years or so and in print.

Thank You!
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Kyle Seely
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This starts shipping from GMT today!

The whole East Front in one box!
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Steve Willows
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I understand that you want recommendations for in print games, but still...



You want to talk about a classic? This baby is it! Still highly regarded by most wargamers, I can pretty much assure that you will not feel that you were given bad advice should you ever run across it for a reasonable price.
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Leo Zappa
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Scrogdog wrote:
I understand that you want recommendations for in print games, but still...



You want to talk about a classic? This baby is it! Still highly regarded by most wargamers, I can pretty much assure that you will not feel that you were given bad advice should you ever run across it for a reasonable price.


+ infinity

This is the best of the bunch. You can pick up copies from eBay for a reasonable price.
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Wendell
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Not in print, but there are plenty of copies for sale in the market place and it is a FANTASTIC game.

Also, No Retreat! The Russian Front.
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Bill Lawson
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Trial of Strength

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Nagato Fujibayashi

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I haven't tried it personally but EastFront II is generally very appreciated by many people.
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Marty M
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I'd second the recommendation forEastFront II - easy to learn, fun to play and feels realistic with a fantastic HQ mechanism representing areas of concentrated effort & supply.

It excellently simulates the rewards gained from maximal exertion on a particular section of the front, followed by exhaustion. You have to strike a balance somewhere between over stretching yourself and being over cautious.

The rules are elegantly simple at heart.

The whole of the Eastfront campaign is split up into six month scenarios, each of which can be played in a single evening, or linked together for a campaign game.

The Eastfront series (including WestFront II and using EuroFront II to combine the two games to simulate the entire ETO, including North Africa and the arctic zone, is easily my favourite game(s)).

Here's a review of the original Eastfront game.
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Subatomic Birdicle
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I think Russian Campaign/Russia Besieged is one of those games using the "destroy units by making them retreat through a ZOC" system from the 1960s. I personally can't stand that system and prefer newer design philosophies that emphasize attrition and step losses.

A good rule of thumb for operational and strategic games is to avoid games with one-sided counters, in my experience.
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Steve Willows
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chuft wrote:
I think Russian Campaign/Russia Besieged is one of those games using the "destroy units by making them retreat through a ZOC" system from the 1960s.


Ok, but you didn't explain why you can't stand it and prefer step loss and attrition.

Kinda what encirclement is all about, yes?

Encircling units is very WWII in my book, that's why all those Russian units surrendered in the initial onslaught. Those units didn't simply suffer losses.
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Peter
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chuft wrote:
I think Russian Campaign/Russia Besieged is one of those games using the "destroy units by making them retreat through a ZOC" system from the 1960s. I personally can't stand that system and prefer newer design philosophies that emphasize attrition and step losses.

A good rule of thumb for operational and strategic games is to avoid games with one-sided counters, in my experience.


Actually Russia Besieged has units with steps...some units two and some actually three steps.
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Peter
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Dark Valley looks interesting, though I kind of don't like the silhouettes of the vehicles on Armor counters. Why would use Bison vehicle to represent Assault Guns on a counter that will be used through the whole war? It's a disservice to SutG III SutG was used from the beginning to the end of the war....and looks better Anyways, I haven't really red the rulebook in detail but this wargame looks definitely interesting, I will keep an eye on it. Perhaps GMT will release alternate counters in one of the issue of their magazine.
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Jeremy Fridy
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I would have to say...

The Russian Campaign, affordable, playable, and an all time great. Focuses on the ground warfare and abstracts everything else, leading to quick play. Also a 6 page rulebook.

No Retreat! The Russian Front, it's a huge hit for a reason. It plays fast, has very few counters but still feels right. The counterblow mechanic is genius.

Totaler Krieg!, I list the 1st edition because that's what I've played. This game has an east front scenario that is a great all day game, but was designed as an ETO game. Abstracts everything to focus on the ground war, but offers lots of options for players over what to focus on for production and diplomacy. My favorite Monster.
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Subatomic Birdicle
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Scrogdog wrote:
chuft wrote:
I think Russian Campaign/Russia Besieged is one of those games using the "destroy units by making them retreat through a ZOC" system from the 1960s.


Ok, but you didn't explain why you can't stand it and prefer step loss and attrition.

Kinda what encirclement is all about, yes?

Encircling units is very WWII in my book, that's why all those Russian units surrendered in the initial onslaught. Those units didn't simply suffer losses.


I prefer games which actually model this, like EastFront, where encircled units take step loss attrition over time if they are out of supply.

The "pop 'em with a ZOC, can't hurt 'em otherwise" mechanic - which SPI and AH used in every situation possible, whether it fit or not - bears no relationship to history, IMO. A recent game which abused this mechanic was A Victory Lost, where I saw panzers impervious to damage from Soviet attacks, unless they were in a ZOC due to the Soviets getting multiple moves in a row, at which point the panzers evaporated. Totally preposterous.

Combat has an attritional effect, I like to see it. The Germans lost a huge amount of men and tanks in 1941 and it wasn't from being encircled.
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Steve Arthur
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I recommend having a look at Proud Monster Deluxe..

I say 'have a look' because I've only done a small amount of solo play and I really enjoyed it's predecessors Proud Monster: The Barbarossa Campaign and Death & Destruction: The Russian Front 1942-44...
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Andy Daglish
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billyboy wrote:


...unless your patience is weaker.

Easily the best of the series,

The Battle of Stalingrad

the detail is in the millions of men, and not the blankness of the terrain. Little to criticise designwise here. Makes Case Blue look like a failure of level. For some reason.
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D T P
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I'm a long time fan of The Russian Campaign. Maybe even one of the 'original' fans. But in recent years I have found Russia Besieged to be far better.
RB is one of the finest WW2 East Front games I have ever played. I like RB because it can be played quickly. A single afternoon is not unreasonable. It is visually appealing, not too complex and still has the 'blitz' feel of RC. RB is a great choice.

Of course Fire in the East with Scorched Earth would be far better. It's the very best there is on the subject in my humble opinion. Who knows, maybe 'Total Wait' will be even better. But I fear I may not live long enough to see it.
On the other hand I think it unlikely any of the rest of you will either.shake
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Steve Willows
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chuft wrote:
I prefer games which actually model this, like EastFront, where encircled units take step loss attrition over time if they are out of supply.

The "pop 'em with a ZOC, can't hurt 'em otherwise" mechanic - which SPI and AH used in every situation possible, whether it fit or not - bears no relationship to history, IMO. A recent game which abused this mechanic was A Victory Lost, where I saw panzers impervious to damage from Soviet attacks, unless they were in a ZOC due to the Soviets getting multiple moves in a row, at which point the panzers evaporated. Totally preposterous.

Combat has an attritional effect, I like to see it. The Germans lost a huge amount of men and tanks in 1941 and it wasn't from being encircled.


Ok, thanks for clarifying. I think I misunderstood your original point.

Good points, however, I agree it's a matter of personal taste. For me, no problems playing any game with step losses, but on the other hand, not a big enough deal to ruin a venerable entry like TRC.

As long as both sides face the same thing; no issue here.

However, I would also opine that just because a given mechanic is mishandled in one game certainly does not invalidate it for other designs.
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Brad Heath
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Still a part of my collection. Played so much I had to stick clear contact onto most of the Panzer Korps counters! Germans captured Moscow in only one game.
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Brad Heath
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The The Barbarossa Campaign is an excellent solo game on the east front.
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Steve Willows
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irreg77 wrote:
The The Barbarossa Campaign is an excellent solo game on the east front.


I think you may be right. Just got it, playing my first turn turns today.

Small footprint and low counter density are attractive to me as an apartment dweller.

This is one of those games you just have to plow through. Read the rules once, play with referencing, and do it again.

I figure by the third or fourth play I might have it down.
 
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Barton Campbell
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Scrogdog wrote:
chuft wrote:
I prefer games which actually model this, like EastFront, where encircled units take step loss attrition over time if they are out of supply.

The "pop 'em with a ZOC, can't hurt 'em otherwise" mechanic - which SPI and AH used in every situation possible, whether it fit or not - bears no relationship to history, IMO. A recent game which abused this mechanic was A Victory Lost, where I saw panzers impervious to damage from Soviet attacks, unless they were in a ZOC due to the Soviets getting multiple moves in a row, at which point the panzers evaporated. Totally preposterous.

Combat has an attritional effect, I like to see it. The Germans lost a huge amount of men and tanks in 1941 and it wasn't from being encircled.


Ok, thanks for clarifying. I think I misunderstood your original point.

Good points, however, I agree it's a matter of personal taste. For me, no problems playing any game with step losses, but on the other hand, not a big enough deal to ruin a venerable entry like TRC.

As long as both sides face the same thing; no issue here. :)

However, I would also opine that just because a given mechanic is mishandled in one game certainly does not invalidate it for other designs.
Large chunks of the German Army were encircled and destroyed in Russia. The destruction of Army Group Center was certainly due to encirclement. Though rarely mentioned, 3000 German armoured vehicles in storage were captured by the Soviet Army in Minsk. That's the equivalent of about 10 full strength armoured divisions.

There are many problems with wargames and reality. For example, you say that the German Army did not experience loses due to encirclement's in 1941, however, they did experience a high casualty rate (supposedly, 95% of all German loses in Russia between 1941 to 1944 occurred in 1941). No wargame reflects this. However, these kinds of casualties could be replenished back into the line as replacements. On the other hand, when the Germans lost an entire unit with it's full compliment of officers and non-commissioned officers, the entire command and supply infrastructure, the loss was far more significant. Therefore it's slightly redundant to reflect loses without loss of the HQ structure. In this way, wargames are designed not as complete reflections of reality but as deconstructions of war. They are designed for effect and work well in this regard. The objective of the "surround with ZOC elimination" is to require a wargamer to defend their flanks. This is an important concept in any military scenario. Even in chess the pawn attack is a simulation of a flank attack. However, because the Germans did not lose any or a significant number of troops due to encirclement's in 1941 does not mean that encirclement is a faulty concept. Rather it could also mean that in 1941 German commanders, in the main, did not allow themselves to get into positions where encirclement's were possible or that the Soviet Army were not able to encircle German forces during the invasion.
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Barton Campbell
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free print n play Unconditional Surrender! Case Blue also Campaign Commander Volume I: Roads to Stalingrad
 
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I tend to like Eastern Front games that reflect the nature of combat in that time and place - a lot of attrition, focused attacks on certain sectors followed by exploitation and large encirclements with supply effects on encircled units, and pockets needing to be reduced. Games like EastFront, Proud Monster, and the OCS games feature these mechanics. Games using the old system, like Bulge 81 or TRC, do not; instead they feature strong ZOCs and combat systems where attacks typically result in lossless retreats for the losing side, unless a small advance puts a ZOC behind the next unit to be attacked, at which point it is totally destroyed by a retreat result when it is attacked, rather than retreating totally intact like it normally can.

Breakthroughs, exploitation, encirclement, and reduction of unsupplied pockets are all great stuff. I just don't think the "pop 'em with a retreat through a ZOC" system really captures it very well, and it certainly doesn't model attrition from situations like the fighting in Stalingrad before Operation Uranus.
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Captain Nemo
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Quote:
Though rarely mentioned, 3000 German armoured vehicles in storage were captured by the Soviet Army in Minsk. That's the equivalent of about 10 full strength armoured divisions.


Or was that 3,000 tanks captured in Minsk from the Soviets by the Germans in 1941, which seems to get mentioned more. I would be surprised if in 1944 the Germans could leave so many tanks in a reserve tank park. Did they not have just 1,000 tanks in Normandy and start Barbarossa with 4,300? And the Soviets lost about 20,000 tanks in 1941.
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