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Subject: Eastfront or Westfront rss

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Travis P
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I am really getting into the Columbia block games.

This one (and Westfront) are possible ones. Slightly a bit pricey (as I still want to buy a few Euros) and also probably at my outer limit for time for scenarios (I typically get games sub 3 hours playing time).

So if I did get one of EastF or WestF, which is better? Is Westfront more about major geography (like seas), is EastFront more about clever encircling?

Or should I be looking at Hold Fast 1941-42?

(Note: I am a Euro gamer who has got into War Games through the fantastic Julius Caesar. I don't think I would like the counter-based war games that have playing times of roughly infinity hours.)

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I had a plan...
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Eastfront II is definitely the classic. It's about maneuver and encirclement. Westfront II is much more static, and starts the war in '43. It's more about invasions and grinding down the enemy. Also Westfront is more one-sided, the Germans are always on the defensive. Eastfront II is what people wax poetic about.

EastfrontII gets played by converted eurogamers around here and they enjoy it.

If you want to save some money and think that you won't ever play the full Eurofront (which is EastfrontII+WestfrontII+Eurofront), you can get the first edition of Eastfront which has a separate listing, and often sells for $25-$35. The map is a little smaller, but it's pretty much the same game.
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Rob Francis
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EASTFRONT!

Though Hold Fast looks like it will be a lot simpler. Eastfront is a lot to handle. I'd strongly advise you to read the EF rules first so you know what you are getting into.

Saying that, I would love a copy of BITE.
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
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You may also wish to consider Blocks in the East. I play both this and EastFront II. Both are excellent Block Games.

Jim

Est. 1949

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Gustavo
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If the choice is between EastFront II or WestFront II, then definitely get Eastfront, for all the reasons cited. Plus, Westfront has a lot more minutiae to digest due to the sea invasions. Eastfront has more varied gameplay, a faster pace, and is overall more exciting. I'm just starting to play Westfront now after having played quite a bit of Eastfront, and I feel I wouldn't have realized how great of a game system this is if I've started from Westfront.

With that said, you are probably looking at a considerable step from Julius Caesar in terms of complexity. I'm not talking about the rules here: the system is easy to handle. The complexity comes from all you can do with those rules. As a result of the game scale, you have a lot of units to handle, so it will take a while until you can actually see HOW to build an efficient attack or defense, how to manage supply against your enemy and in your favor, etc.

I'm not a wargamer either, although Eastfront is my favorite board game, excluding abstracts. No Retreat! The Russian Front was my first wargame out of the tactical level, and I chose it for the reasons you've mentioned: short playing time, few units, etc. As important as it was for me to understand key concepts such as supply, ZOCs, the effect of weather, and the rebuilding of units, unfortunately the scale just felt too small for me, and I couldn't get a good feeling of all the manouvering and encirclement the Eastern Front is famous for. With Eastfront I fould all this and more, built in a system with simple rules but very engrossing gameplay. Scenarios take around 4-6 hours and the whole campaign is a 2-day affair, but I think 2-month turns and a smaller scale don't seem to convey a good feeling of the war (at least for what I was looking for).

Unfortunately I haven't tried Hold Fast, and at this point I don't really feel like I would get really excited about it. However, if this was a couple of years ago, I would probably have picked Hold Fast instead of No Retreat. After a while, I would probably feel like it was too small and go for Eastfront. You might be perfectly happy with Hold Fast, but if you like meatier games (what kind of Euro player are you?), I believe you will probably prefer Eastfront.

I also suggest you read through the rules and maybe try to push a few blocks on Vassal to see what you think (that's what I did); like you said, it's not the cheapest game out there, so you might want to be sure before pulling the trigger on this one!

Speaking of which, if you decide for Eastfront I would suggest picking up the second edition. Who knows, you might get hooked by the system and want to try the whole EuroFront II one day!
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Kurt Keckley
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+1 for EF

I prefer Europe Engulfed to either EF or WF.
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Kurt Keckley
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Sorry, I missed the sub 3 hours requirement with my first read. I don't think either EF or WF can be played in that amount of time. Have you considered Hammer of the Scots ? HotS is a another great game!

This thread needs a poll.
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
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p38_Lightning wrote:
...Sorry, I missed the sub 3 hours requirement with my first read.

Doh! I missed that too. If I remember correctly, you could play some scenarios contained within EastFront II in less that three hours but, as Kurt said, you wouldn't manage the whole game. I know that there are such scenarios within Blocks in the East and, although it is not a block game, Carl Paradis' No Retreat! The Russian Front is a great introduction to the Russian Front with a very low counter density and 1" large counters.

Regards,


Jim

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Tom Swider
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Not all wargames take an infinite number of hours
There are plenty of non-block, "traditional" wargames with hexes or area movement that can be played in a short amount of time. I'd hate to see you forego those possibilities because of the halo effect of a few block games (though EFII is definitely a favorite).

Some recommendations to try that are non-block with short playing times:

Battle for Moscow (second edition)
Battles of the American Revolution
War at Sea (second edition)
A House Divided
Blue & Gray

For a newer wargamer, I cannot recommend No Retreat but others do. I think the Battle for Moscow series from Frank Chadwick is a better intro wargame for WWII eastern theatre (much shorter and simpler). Maybe EFII as a second or third title .... do agree that EF is a few steps up in complexity from most of the other Columbia block games. WR and Rommel in the Desert are all in that higher complexity tier.

All the best,
Tom
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Emanuele Santandrea
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travis7 wrote:

So if I did get one of EastF or WestF, which is better? Is Westfront more about major geography (like seas), is EastFront more about clever encircling?

Or should I be looking at Hold Fast 1941-42?




We have played something like 200 games at Eurofront and I would suggest EASTFRONT before WESTFRONT.

Another great choice, if you could get your hands on EUROPE ENGULFED, get it (second edition better than the first). It's OOP and very rare, so be the price is very high. We have been playing it for years, and girls love it.



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Gustavo
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tswider wrote:
There are plenty of non-block, "traditional" wargames with hexes or area movement that can be played in a short amount of time. I'd hate to see you forego those possibilities because of the halo effect of a few block games (though EFII is definitely a favorite).

Some recommendations to try that are non-block with short playing times:

Battle for Moscow (second edition)
(...)

For a newer wargamer, I cannot recommend No Retreat but others do. I think the Battle for Moscow series from Frank Chadwick is a better intro wargame for WWII eastern theatre (much shorter and simpler). Maybe EFII as a second or third title .... do agree that EF is a few steps up in complexity from most of the other Columbia block games. WR and Rommel in the Desert are all in that higher complexity tier.

All the best,
Tom


Ah, of course, if we are to include hex and counter games, I guess any of the games from the Campaigns in Russia series would fit the bill. I'm not sure about their replay value though (never played any of them).
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p38_Lightning wrote:
Sorry, I missed the sub 3 hours requirement with my first read. I don't think either EF or WF can be played in that amount of time. Have you considered Hammer of the Scots ?

I second the HOTS recommendation. Also, tswider mentioned Rommel in the Desert; that has some scenarios which play in a couple hours (and it's a super-fun game). The rules are available online, so you can see whether its complexity fits in your comfort zone. (Start with the design & strategy notes at the back.)

(3 hours is considerably faster than I can play any EastFront scenario.)
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Dan Raspler
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EastFront is a fantastic game. While it would be impossible to play out the war in a 3 hour session, running a scenario through to its conclusion would definitely be possible.

Hammer of the Scots is great, but it's a dainty appetizer compared to the banquet that is EastFront.
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Dejan Vranic
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EastFront 2, no brainer. shake Then later you can expand if you want to with other games in the series.
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