Jon Darlington
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“Art of Tactic” is the game system by Russian model company and game publisher Zvezda, and which they have now used in several games set in different historical periods: World War II (first in “Barbarossa 1941”), feudal Japan (“Samurai Battles”), and more recently their alternate-1990s battle for oil between the forces of the United States and Soviet Union ( “Hot War”). World War II: Battle for Moscow 1941, which I'm just calling Battle for Moscow here, is Zvezda's newest addition to their WW2 series for Art of Tactic, and introduces the new third edition of the rulebook.

The system’s core mechanics are that players secretly issue orders to each of their units at the start of a turn by writing on the back of a unit card with a dry-erase marker, and then both players execute those orders at the same time during a single, shared turn for both sides. How the turn unfolds depends not just on the nature of the opposing units, but on how well each player has anticipated the enemy’s plans and surprised his opponent with his own manoeuvers in the current, committed turn’s orders.

The Art of Tactic WW2 system is popular in Russia, but in the English-speaking world it remains one of those never-quite-realized gems in the gaming landscape. It has real strengths in its use of secret orders that force you to commit to a plan each turn, simultaneous resolution that neatly ditches the shackles of IGO-UGO, detailed and varied unit profiles, a wide assortment of historical units available, and (for those who like such things) detailed models for units instead of abstract markers or cardboard counters. But it has been hampered from the outset by a frustrating rules set dotted with gaps and inconsistencies, glaring typographical errors and omissions, and marginal translation work that added its own ambiguities and imprecision.

Despite these things I’ve been a big fan of the system; I’ve found that if you are willing to do some work to puzzle out the gaps in the rules and some of the scenarios, there’s a fun, tense game here with a great setting and with some great-looking components – especially the scale models. But without some guidance and a little hand-holding, the game’s shortcomings made it a hard one to sell with a gaming group.

Battle for Moscow is very clearly an attempt on Zvezda’s part to address these issues: it features a significant improvement in the presentation of the rules and scenarios, and has even redesigned the individual unit cards for a bit more clarity. The new third edition of the rules is probably this set’s most important contribution, as it cleans up a lot of issues in the system, uses remarkably better layout and graphical presentation, and is written using more professional English.

A game of Battle for Moscow about to begin


So: does it work?

I’ve had a chance to put the game through its paces over the last month, and overall I think that yes, Zvezda has achieved most of what it set out to do with Battle for Moscow. There are still a few puzzles remaining, but it’s a big stride forward. With luck it might entice more people to give the game a shot and maybe even produce that elusive, critical asset -- a player base large enough so that opponents are easy to find!

I’ve divided the review below into the following sections:

1. COMPONENTS
2. RULES
3. FORCES
4. SCENARIOS
5. GAMEPLAY
6. CONCLUSIONS


1. COMPONENTS

Battle for Moscow isn’t an expansion for Art of Tactic’s WW2 system – it’s a whole new starter set (making it the third, in addition to the original “Barbarossa 1941” and the later “Blitzkrieg 1940”, which added British forces). The one box contains everything you need to sit down and play the game.

Battle for Moscow box and contents


Because the game is centered around the eponymous and famously frigid Battle for Moscow in late 1941, many of the familiar units seen in other starter sets are included here but now in winter uniform (HQ, infantry, machine guns, and mortars). Others units are incongruously still dressed for summer, either because they come from existing plastic kits that weren’t redone for this box (the German motorcycle riders and the Soviet AA gun crew) or because they’re new units presumably intended for broader use outside of this winter setting (the Soviet militia). As usual the plastic kits are highly detailed and look great, and will reward the effort that modellers might expend painting and basing them.

It’s worth restating here that the plastic models used to represent units in the Art of Tactic WW2 games come in small pieces on plastic sprues, which you must clip and assemble before you play. (They don’t require glue, but it doesn’t hurt.) For vehicles this isn’t a huge hurdle as they’re made of relatively few and relatively large components. But infantry can be fiddly to assemble, each including some individual arms, legs, and other bits; and the AA gun in particular is demanding with its many tiny, fiddly bits.

A German infantry unit on its sprues, waiting to be clipped and assembled


A German Panzer IV on its sprues - a much simpler proposition


If you’re strictly a boardgamer who just wants to get these units into play quickly, this might be off-putting. But if you’re partly a miniatures and tabletop gamer (like me) who likes building and painting models, this is an enormous asset to the game. In either case, you need to put aside an evening or two to assemble the units before you sit down to play your first game. (On the other hand nothing is stopping you from playing the game using just little squares of paper with unit numbers scribbled on them – but you’d be missing most of game’s great aesthetics in the process.)

The physical quality of all the components remains excellent. The new winter boards look great, even though the winter setting naturally limits the artist's colour palette. There are six double-sided boards which can be rearranged to create different battlefields. Two sheets of individual overlay hexagons allow you to alter the boards by adding or removing special features.

The scenario book is really, really well done. The presentation of maps and forces for each side, their starting location, objectives and special rules are all clear. This is a dramatic improvement in presentation compared to previous editions. The scenario book includes a brief rules recap and one very simple tank-vs-tank practice setup to get players started. It then presents six scenarios that are wisely designed to tell an unfolding story, and use only the units provided in the box. More about this later.

Old and new cards for two equivalent German infantry units


Individual cards are provided for each unit in the game, along with cards for turn tracking and other record-keeping purposes. The unit cards are still functionally the same as in previous editions, with unit capabilities spelled out on the front and each unit’s available order icons on the back. The design of these cards has changed from all previous editions though, using a cleaner and more modern style and a better-designed system for order notation on the back.

2. RULES

I’ve already described the basic mechanics of Zvezda’s WW2 system in my Barbarossa 1941 review HERE, and the specific changes that come with the third-edition rules HERE. I won’t go through all of those points again in this review. If this your first time reading about the Art of Tactic WW2 system, I recommend the “Gameplay” and “Mechanics of Attack and Defense” sections from that Barbarossa 1941 review for a fuller sense of how the rules work.

The short version, though, is that the third-edition rules are a great stride forward in clarity and presentation. I still have a few questions, but nothing that “crashes” the game; we’ve come up with interpretations and moved forward in every case. If combined with an evolving FAQ, or just answers to rules questions as they appear (which we’ve been seeing here on BGG—thanks!) they’ll suit the purpose admirably.

3. FORCES

Here’s a brief overview of the units that come in the game and their characteristics in play.

The basic German units


The basic Soviet units


The forces that come in the box include the basics we’ve come to expect from other starter sets: an HQ, some infantry, a machine gun, and a mortar for each side.

The HQ unit exerts a leadership bubble that adds 2 to the Fortitude of nearby units. Infantry is good on defense (gaining extra cover bonuses and able to easily ambush in concealing terrain) and has a maximum firing range of three hexes. The machine gun has no extra range but is very accurate at close range. The mortar has a range of five hexes, can fire indirectly, and can affect every enemy in the target hex; valuable for softening up defenders and devastating when combined with attacks from other sources to capitalize on its damage.

Soviet and German special units


For special-purpose units the Germans get a motorcycle (fast, especially on roads; vulnerable since it’s a Vehicle target type; mounts a machine gun and is capable of Scouting to reveal Ambushing units) and the Soviets get a Ski unit (an infantry unit that’s fast when moving on open snow, and strong in Assault).

Heavy Hitters - Germans


For heavy hitters, the Germans get three tanks: a StuG III, Panzer III, and Panzer IV. The StuG is an assault gun with no turret, and its restricted line of sight and inability to move and fire in the same turn are significant limitations. Tanks generally have a four-hex firing range. Their immunity to small arms fire makes them critical assets in any attack.

Heavy Hitters - Soviets


The Soviets get a very powerful AA gun that’s an enormous threat to German tanks at a range of up to five hexes, and the huge and lumbering T-35, a five-turreted heavy tank that’s devastating against light targets and a significant threat to enemy amour. When the Soviet AA gun and/or the T-35 is present, the German battle plan is all about their approach to these particular threats.

The T-35 is the most novel model in the box and an interesting unit. It’s a heavy tank, so enemies will roll few dice when attacking it. But its defense value is zero – which may seem strange for an armoured tank, but defense value also represents speed, agility, and responsiveness. Historically the T-35 had none of these, making it vulnerable to a skilled attack. It’s a great model too – although by keeping it in scale it’s grossly oversized for the hexes on the game map, even more of an issue if there are other units trying to share the same hex.

The powerful T-35 defies the boundaries of any mere hexagon


This is a liability for other units too – the AA gun and the ski unit in particular come with enormous bases which make them impractical anytime they share a hex with other units. This isn’t a huge factor, but it undermines the aesthetic appeal of these great-looking units on the board.

Notably absent are two units that were found in the previous starter sets: trucks and aircraft.

- In the game, trucks are primarily ammunition-carriers used to resupply units and were a critical resource in most scenarios. Their absence means that ammunition is an absolute limitation, which will make ammunition-chewing Suppression Fire a luxury. Since all of the starter set’s scenarios are relatively short, though, this isn’t a crippling limitation and I think increasing the cost of using Suppression Fire is an asset to the game.

- Aircraft are cool and can act as powerful balancing units in scenarios, but they have a lot of unique rules that can bog down new players. Given their limited time on the board, I’m entirely okay with leaving them out of a starter set. On the whole I think their omission was a good choice.

It’s true that leaving out trucks and aircraft means some significant game mechanics don’t come into play. I found this disappointing in Hot War, where the limited force selection meant that there was enormous unexplored rules territory in that starter set. I don’t have that issue here – maybe because the other WW2 sets offer plenty of opportunity to see them in action. Plus, Zvezda is trickling out new scenarios on their Art of Tactic website, including one already for Battle for Moscow setting, so the opportunities to use more and different units in this game will come.

If you want to expand the forces in this starter set, Zvezda sells individual units of infantry and vehicles for about $5 each (some of the larger kits like AA guns and the T-35 tank will cost more, around $12 here in Canada). Each box comes with its own unit card, so integrating the new units is easy (although you’ll need to find or invent a scenario that includes them).

The new winter-uniform infantry and support weapons for both sides are already available separately, and the Soviet militia is scheduled for release soon. There’s also a large catalog of other units from this period that have been released for the system in the past few years.

4. SCENARIOS

The Battle for Moscow scenario book includes six scenarios, presented as an unfolding story as the Germans approach Moscow in force, hatch a major assault, are repulsed (thanks, history!), and counterattacked. This isn’t a campaign with units you carry forward between scenarios and branching narratives based on wins or losses. It’s a linear story that just presents different tactical puzzles using some or all of the units in the box. But that’s okay; six clear scenarios are fine, and presenting then as a continuing narrative should help entice new gamers in particular, who I imagine will respond to some historical context for their tiny soldiers’ sacrifices and triumphs. I commend Zvezda for the thought and effort they expended in devising these little stories to link the six scenarios together.

Presentation for Scenario 1, "Moscow is Behind Us!"


Since the scenarios will shape the game experience and dictate just what you’ll be doing with the rules and the units that come in the box, it’s worth looking at them in some detail. The scenarios are:

Scenario 1: Moscow is Behind Us!
German forces must attack entrenched Soviets over a snowy field. The only road, and much of the remaining board, is overlooked by the powerful AA gun on a hill.

Forces: Uses almost all of the units in the box on a small (four-board) map.
Length: 10 turns.

Comments: The German player has some immediate overall decisions to make, and the Soviet player’s position is static but he still has some options to consider. I will soon post a battle report that describes the scenario’s challenges in more detail.

One drawback here, and with some of the other scenarios too, is that awarding victory to “he who kills the most enemies” risks encouraging the first player to score a single kill to completely withdraw to preserve his tiny lead and win the game. The game will be more fun if players agree to be less narrowly focused.


Scenario 2: Misleading Manoeuver
German forces must attack a village defended by the Soviets, including a T-35 tank. Elsewhere, the Soviet ski unit is instructed to capture a German HQ unit.

Forces: Uses almost all of the forces in the box.
Length: 10 turns.

Comments: Strangely, the Ski unit begins the game in the open in sight and range of the German mortar. A Suppression Fire attack on the skiers is almost guaranteed, although it shouldn’t kill them outright (15 dice rolling for 1s, with the skiers able to shrug off one hit before taking casualties) provided they pass the resulting Fortitude test. I suppose this will randomly alter the strength of the ski unit, but it seems an odd choice. Also, the scenario encourages the ski unit to capture the German HQ; but the new third-edition rules for capture make this almost impossible (the HQ would need to be completely surrounded, otherwise it retreats rather than surrender to an assault). Maybe the designer had the previous rules for capture, which only required an assault upon the unarmed HQ unit? Still, other than this little sideshow, a good challenge for both sides.

Scenario 3: The Chase
The scenario assumes that the HQ was successfully captured in the Scenario 2, and the lone Skier unit must cross the board and evade approaching Germans, including a motorcycle in hot pursuit, to deliver “documents” to the Soviet HQ (and score 70 VPs). At this point the Soviets can begin to gain VPs for every enemy unit killed.

Forces: Uses every model in the box.
Duration: ?

Comments: The whole game hinges on the fate of the skier unit, which isn’t at all certain especially due to the nearby motorcycle. If the skiers can survive the first couple of turns they should be fine; but if the Germans somehow kill the unit then they will immediately win the game, since the Soviets can’t begin to earn any VPs for killed enemies until the skiers reach their HQ. Also, the missing turn limit for the scenario is a problem.

Scenario 4: Diversion
The scenario’s story again assumes that the Soviets received the needed information from the skiers in the previous scenario; now a small Soviet force raids a German supply depot hoping to interfere with the planned attack while others defend a village from a German vanguard.

Forces: Uses only a handful of units on each side.
Duration: 8 turns.

Comments: This is actually a good introductory game due to its small forces, its mixture of both attack and defense on both sides, and its short duration. Each player needs to allocate their limited forces to two objectives: the attack and defense of the Soviet village, and securing/destroying the German supply depot. The game will reward the use of Ambush, Scouting, and Assault, and the single German Panzer III is strong but not overwhelming on its own. Neither side has an HQ, so Fortitude will play a larger role (as those tests are much easier to fail without the HQ bonus).

Scenario 5: Assault
The Germans attack Soviet defenders across a river, and victory is determined entirely by the strength of forces on the Soviet side of the river by the end of the game.

Forces: Uses almost all of the units in the box (leaves out the Soviet AA gun and the Panzer IV).
Duration: 10 turns.

Comments: A full-on assault. I haven’t had a chance to play this yet but it does look tough for the Germans. Without the Panzer IV the Germans will have a hard time dealing with the T-35; on the other hand by choosing one objective and directing everything at it the Germans could have a solution.

Scenario 6: Counterassault
The initiative moves to the Soviet, who must attack a German-held village.

Forces: Uses almost everything in the box (the Germans don’t get the StuG III or Panzer IV; the Soviets don’t get their AA gun).
Duration: 12 turns.

Comments: I haven’t played this one yet either, but it looks like a very tough battle for the Soviets who must carry off an assault on a roughly equal German force, using little more than infantry with almost no cover available to the attackers on the way to their objectives. Getting their units into position and then attacking in the face of inevitable Ambushes will be extremely difficult, especially when the Germans can shuffle their forces on a narrow front in response to the slowly-unfolding Soviet attack plan. But the Soviet T-35 is also there to help once the Germans reveal themselves. Bonus VPs awarded for securing specific hexes try to help the Soviets, but even at 25 points each I don’t think this can make up for their inevitable losses.

5. GAMEPLAY
So, having described the forces available and the scenarios in which they’re employed: how does the gameplay feel?

A game of Battle for Moscow underway


I’ve conveyed a sense of the system’s mechanics and gameplay in previous reviews, so I won’t go over all of those details again. The key bit is that writing and revealing orders is fun. Trying to anticipate your opponent’s moves while committing your own forces to actions that will achieve your objectives poses a great tactical puzzle, and the moment when you reveal orders can be full of entertaining suspense during key turns. The system includes a variety of order types and therefore enough tactical options to keep things interesting. You need to think ahead and also respond to events as they unfold, so you’re always making decisions that really matter to the outcome while random factors from dice rolls to resolve those actions keep things from being too predictable. For me, it’s a good design and great fun.

Here are a few specific considerations unique to Battle for Moscow.

Snow: The rules for snow (basically -1 movement for everything other than roads) have a surprisingly powerful effect on gameplay. Standard infantry movement is normally 2 hexes, and tanks 3; so this cuts the movement rate by 50% or 33% respectively. This slows attacks dramatically and makes it easier to predict where units might end up. And yet I think the scenarios take this well into account and remain balanced on the whole; it’s historical and I like it. You can really picture the poor soldiers struggling through the drifts.

No transports: As I mentioned early in the review, the absence of trucks means that ammunition cannot be replenished. It also means that trucks aren’t available to transport infantry quickly to support aggressive dashes over the battlefield to seize key hexes. But that’s okay; limited ammunition means its conservation is even more important, and again the scenarios seem designed and timed to account for ponderous movement by most units.

Fixed forces: Earlier sets in this series gave players a point allowance they could use to purchase the units that made up part or all of their force. This could lead to dramatically mismatched and unhistorical forces. Increasingly Zvezda has been moving toward more restricted force selection, culminating in the absolutely fixed forces used in the Battle for Moscow scenarios. This is actually a good move in terms of force balance; you’ll be playing these tactical puzzles using precisely the tools the scenario designer intended. Sure, tanks are still powerful and almost unthreatened by infantry; but their number is now strictly limited, or else the other side has some clear countermeasures. I think this switch to fixed forces is a good choice and improves the game experience.

Limited forces: The downside in this case is that all of the scenarios use the same small set of units that came in the starter set. This gets a little repetitive. Now, I understand that Zvezda can’t win here; if they included scenarios that used additional units (as they’ve done in previous sets) then they’d suffer complaints about forcing players to buy more stuff before they could fully play the game they’d just bought.

And also as I mentioned earlier, Zvezda is publishing new scenarios for free on its website; already one for Battle for Moscow adds more infantry and a powerful KV-1 tank for the Soviets, so I think that’s a good solution to address players like me who would like to see some more varied forces in this interesting setting on the Eastern Front.

So this isn't really a criticism; just a natural result of the understandable decision to stick with the units that came in the box.

6. CONCLUSIONS

Battle for Moscow isn’t perfect… but I think it’s a solid win. If you like WW2 tactical games, and especially if you also like miniatures games, I strongly recommend you pick this up and give it a try.

I’ll give Battle for Moscow an A, withholding an A+ due to some remaining rules ambiguities and potential balance issues in some scenarios. But it’s an enormous stride forward for the system on both these fronts.

Plus, new scenarios are trickling onto Zvezda’s website and the game’s North American representatives have been answering rules queries here game’s BGG page which help to address these concerns. I’ll do my part by posting specific rules questions in the forum in the coming days and weeks.

As always, I’d really like to hear from others who are playing the game.
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Kirk Stewart
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Another very good review.

Thanks!
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Barry Kendall
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Your painting and base decorating are very well-done!

Good review, too.

I'm wondering how long it will be until late-war Western Europe finds its way into the system.
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Jon Darlington
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Thanks! The model painting and basing is acting as a welcome outlet for my now-disused Warhammer painting habits, developed over a few decades. It's a credit to the Zvezda models that they're of sufficient quality to reward the effort.

I don't have any special knowledge of Zvezda's future plans, but they seem to be progressing chronologically. That would put Normandy and beyond several years away, as there are several other significant developments in the East yet to visit before we get there (Stalingrad...!). Those will all provide context for introducing new models as the war's timeline creeps forward.

I guess that's understandable, since Zvezda's primary market is in Russia. Personally I kind of welcome the focus on the Eastern Front and the early war so this is just lucky for me.*

That said, the Pacific War would logically come much sooner and so at least some American forces would begin to enter the force mix at that point.



* Certainly reminds me of the many Squad Leader and ASL battles of yesteryear, but this time with models and huge hexes instead of little cardboard counters on tiny ones..
 
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Dan Buman
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Thanks for an outstanding review!

I am considering jumping in on this game system and wondered if I would be better getting Battle for Moscow, 1941 or Barbarossa, 1941? I like the trucks and planes found in the Barbarossa game, but the improved scenarios and rules set of Moscow has me wondering if this would be a better first purchase? Any opinions would be welcome and appreciated! This game system looks fantastic and right up my alley!!
 
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Jon Darlington
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1932f20 wrote:
Thanks for an outstanding review!

I am considering jumping in on this game system and wondered if I would be better getting Battle for Moscow, 1941 or Barbarossa, 1941? I like the trucks and planes found in the Barbarossa game, but the improved scenarios and rules set of Moscow has me wondering if this would be a better first purchase? Any opinions would be welcome and appreciated! This game system looks fantastic and right up my alley!!
Hey Dan:

The most important thing is to get the Third Edition rules. Those come in Battle for Moscow, but you can also download them (I think from here and from the Zvezda site).

Battle for Moscow is a good set to start with. We did find that the almost universal -1 Movement for snow had a significant effect on the game and resulted in less manoeuver and more predictability (because your opponent's range of movement was limited, or restricted to roads).

I'm inclined to recommend the following:

a) buy Barbarossa
b) throw away the second-edition rules it comes with
c) put aside the scenario book that comes with it (they're salvageable, but not optimal)
d) download the third-edition rules
e) download some of the newer scenarios uploaded by Zvezda (both here and on their website) and play any that are compatible with Barbarossa, possibly with the addition of some more units.

f) later, pick up Battle for Moscow and play this for a slightly new take on the same game.

I find the more recent scenarios that Zvezde offers as downloads more interesting and better balanced than those that came with Barbarossa. They also (mostly) specify exactly which units make up the opposing forces, rather than just giving you points to buy your forces with as in Barbarossa. This is much better for new players, and less prone to "oops, I didn't bring anything to counter that" or "I took all tanks!".

I hope you have a great time with it! I agree that the system has really interesting and fun features.
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Dan Buman
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Thanks for the advice.

I have downloaded the third edition rules and started looking through them this evening. They seem pretty solid so far.

Any recommendations on the first downloadable scenario to try with Barbarossa? Both in terms of simplicity as well as keeping the units used to the base set?

Thanks again and I appreciate all the quality input you have contributed to this series on BGG. You have provided some excellent insight and observations for people new to the game.

Also, your painted miniature are awesome! Well done! I also paint and am very much looking forward to assembling and painting the models!

Thanks again!
 
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Jon Darlington
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Hey Dan:

Thanks! I was really surprised 18 months ago when I was first looking at the game, but could find almost NO discussion of it online. I had so much fun with the system, I decided to make my first BGG contribution with a review of Barbarossa... and it kind of took off from there. The painting has been lots of fun, and a great outlet for my disused Warhammer painting habits.

The system is fairly mature now, and we even have a Stalingrad expansion coming out in a couple of months. I think it's VERY cool to see Russians publishing a game about Stalingrad, as it's been interesting to see their perspective as the whole system has been released to this point. We'll have to wait and see whether Zvezda pulls off the Stalingrad set effectively, or if it feels like "Art of Tactic: Generic Battle for a City!"

For scenarios, there are some that I've tried and others I have an eye on to try sometime:

a) I've played "Battle for the village Popelnya" and it was a good, fast game. The Germans have superior forces, but a sharp time limit that forces them to take risks. But I think this one needs at least one board from "Battle for the Danube".

b) the scenario "Ambush" has Soviets trying to get trucks off the board, and Germans gain points for destroying them. I haven't tried this, but I'm keen to. It even has Soviet cavalry (huzzah!). Definitely looks interesting.

I'll glance over the other scenarios I've downloaded a little later and see which others I can recommend.
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Dan Buman
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Thanks Jon! I agree that it is very cool to see a Russian game/model company producing a game about its own history. It will be interesting to see how Stalingrad is handled from a gaming perspective. I hope they can capture the "feel" of the actual events.

I also have painted fantasy armies in the past and after recently purchasing Shadows of Brimstone, I have been doing some painting again and loving it. The Zvezda models look fabulous and I used to build and paint WWII plastic kits when I was a kid, so these look to be a blast!

Any more scenario suggestions would be great when you get the chance. Thanks!
 
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Fausto Paganetti
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very good review!
How long takes a match?
 
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Jon Darlington
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Thanks!

We found that games took about 2 to 2.5 hours to play. The early turns take the longest. They get shorter as units die (so, fewer orders to write) and as the choices become more constrained due to the game situation, units in close proximity, etc.

Of course, this time estimate varies a LOT based on the experience of players and the scenario you've chosen to play.
 
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Jon Darlington
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By the way, check the box carefully when you pick it up. I have seen some posts on Zvezda's Russian-language forum suggesting Zvezda was re-releasing Battle for Moscow into a trimmed-down version with fewer units. That would be different from the game I've reviewed here.

The back of the box will show its contents.
 
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Dan Buman
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JDarlington wrote:
By the way, check the box carefully when you pick it up. I have seen some posts on Zvezda's Russian-language forum suggesting Zvezda was re-releasing Battle for Moscow into a trimmed-down version with fewer units. That would be different from the game I've reviewed here.

The back of the box will show its contents.
You are correct Jon, and great point. I understand the "trimmed down" version is the current release of the game. Presumably to save money in a tight Russian economy. You will want to be sure of the contents before purchasing, as there are still copies of the original release in the wild
 
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