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Battle for Moscow (second edition)» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Very quick review rss

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Charles Opalak
United States
RICHMOND
Virginia
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So I have been playing a fair amount of Battle for Moscow lately as I went on vacation and its compact size made it an appealing game to bring along.
1 of the games was with my brother-in-law, 2 with my brother and 1 with my wife. All were quick and everyone got the hang of the game with minimal difficulty, which is always pleasant.
In short, the object is to capture Moscow for the Germans or to hang onto Moscow and one other city for the Soviets. The setup is fast, but definitely matters a great deal for the Germans. Each counter represents a corps or an army and has a combat value and movement value printed on it. Combat is resolved with the classic ratio table approach and terrain effects are column shifts that are easy to remember (forest and fortified and major city and attacking across rivers all shift it by one to the left). Movement is simple; it is either one point or two points per hex. Turns 3 and 4 are mud turns that slow everything but rail movement down to one hex as well as blunting the German armor strength.
Another great aspect of this game is the historical scenario. This battle has always been one of my favorite to read about and game (especially on the old computer classic Panzer General). Having this excellent backdrop also means that the replayability is fairly high, especially given the simplicity of the game. For instance, should the Germans concentrate the armored blow in the south where they have a greater distance to travel or the north where the fortifications are strongest? Should the Soviets pull back to fortified positions and give ground or should they try and through everything in front of the German advance?
So far, it seems to me that the Soviets probably win more often than the Germans, but that may be a function of having more experienced players on the Soviet side by and large.
I think Battle for Moscow rates lowest on components because people cannot stop complaining about the small die. But that is very easy to fix, just grab a larger one…
In sum, I like the size of the game, the ease of the rules, the scenario represented, the quick time it takes to play it and the excellent introduction it provides to wargaming, particularly counter-based games, which can be daunting.
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Lance McMillan
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Very nice little overview of the game; thanks for sharing.

humphreytoron wrote:
...it seems to me that the Soviets probably win more often than the Germans, but that may be a function of having more experienced players on the Soviet side by and large.


The German position is definitely harder to master, but my impression during development was that they're (very) slightly favored to win after the German player has figured out his optimal strategy and mastered the tactical "tricks" that can give him an edge.

Out of curiosity, have you tried the B4M Expansion yet?

Lance McMillan
Developer for VPG's "Campaigns in Russia" series
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Russ Williams
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Lately I've been thinking the Soviets have the edge because it's often very hard to dislodge a Soviet unit out of Moscow, with the Soviet special ability to restore a unit in Moscow even if it is out of communication, and the major city ability to change DR combat result to a step loss.
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Charles Opalak
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RICHMOND
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Thanks for the thoughts guys.
I had forgotten about the step loss rule in Moscow, thanks for reminding me.
Yesterday I introduced another player to the game and it was great fun, we played at a local bar, another point for portability.
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