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Lawrence Hung
Hong Kong
Wan Chai
Hong Kong
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A Masterpiece in the Wargame Classical Age

A masterpiece in the classical era of wargame history. I was hooked by this game and thus addicted to board wargames ever since (the rest is history). Roger MacGowan design of the game box cover is still the best for any wargames by the stunning combat action scenes: winter war on Leningrad, in the streets and house of Stanlingrad, on the summer steppes of the SS advance to Moscow, and on the war-worn Red Army soldier face.

The box cover truly reflects what a classical masterpiece that "Russian Campaign" is -- it captures the entire war on the Eastern Front with just-the-right sufficient operational detail. The game sharply focuses on all the important aspects of the campaign with several scenarios on all the important phases of the campaigns by years (from 1941 to 45). The game comes with a mounted 22¨*28¨ mapboard and approximately 260 counters (mostly Divisions for the German and Corps for the Soviets).

It accurately, in a fair degree, portrays:
*the doctrine of Blitzkerig -- the maneuvering tactics of the German divisions for pocket encirclement of the Soviets;
*the concept of order of battle, war theatre and fronts ¡V players arrange the placement of combat units on the map according to the order of battle player aid card with flexibility of deploying them within the army operational boundary; reinforcement arrivals according to the scheduled double-monthly turns;
*the major Russian terrain and their effects on combat (Piper Marsh, Caucasus mountain, road and railroad networks etc.) and movement under different kinds of weather;
*the different types of combat units (infantry, armor, mechanized infantry, artillery, recon, mountaineer, ski, worker units etc.)
*the different nationalities of combat units (German, Russian, Italian, Romanian, Finish etc.);
*sea movement;
*supply line system and the railhead;
*replacement (the rule has some problem with this) and reinforcement etc.

The game has all the proper abstraction and yet, it seems that you have gone through an important WW 2 military lesson without all the hassle of the details. The later Gamers' OCS series on the same campaign (e.g. Guderian Blitzkerig, Enemy at the Gates) or the Russian Front by the same AH just can't replicate the same too good a feeling about the war. It is astonishingly amazing after all as this is a game produced in the 70's and it does not have all that "out-dated" smell like other games produced in the same decade. Today, the game is still fresh to play and the fond memory is still very much lingering in my mind. This is the definitive game on the subject and a great introduction to anyone who is interested in WW2 land warfare simulation.

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Russell Gifford
United States
South Sioux City
Nebraska
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I could not agree more with your assessment of the quality of this game. It consistantly amazes me that year after year, it still maintains that solid position of a top game without EVER feeling old or out dated.

Again, GREAT review!

---Russ
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Robert Wesley
Nepal
Aberdeen
Washington
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I'd also concur upon the "praise" for this 'succinct' offering HERE, while also pointing out some mistaken "beliefs" as well. ONE of the 'criticisms'-(from no less a personage than "Louis Coatney" himself), is that there is NO representations for the Soviet "Shock" Armies. Then there is the "mention" upon some kinds of 'Units' such as "Ski", "Recon", and "Artillery" for which JUST the last 'one' is actually included~whilst being OF an *Optional* sort at that. At the 'scale' portrayed for THIS, then it wouldn't matter much to thus HAVE something that is better 'shown' at a more "Tactical" level. Still, "kudos" are in order for an overall decently presented "synopsis" for what many consider as a "Gran Grognard" 'staple' of "Wargame".
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Kevin Moody
United States
Edmond
Oklahoma
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Surely not the Louis Coatney, savior of the Free World?
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Robert Wesley
Nepal
Aberdeen
Washington
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Kevin Moody wrote:
Surely not the Louis Coatney, savior of the Free World?
surprise why YES! the 'one' and ONLY! Considering THAT 'those' played an integral 'part' in many a successful Soviet "Offensive", then where are THEY? hmmmm? Did the '4th Editon' bring these upon the "playing fields" now? I don't know, since I don't HAVE that. While I did manage to create just such for use with the "Stalingrad" GAME, AND according to what ole "Lou" had proposed "back in the day". Only yet another 'thang' FROM the "saviour of the Board Gaming World"~'moi'! Between ole "Lou" and 'moi', then we ought to git yous all to: "straighten UP & fly right" in NO time flat eh?
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Lou Coatney
Norway
Flateby
Akershus
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JEdCo's (then Avalon Hill's) RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN masterpiece!
RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN was a masterful design by one of the great, genuinely classical designers of our hobby, Australian John Edwards. I got the original JEdCo edition back in Alaska. The box was BIG, with the map on two separate pieces of fiberboard and with unusually thick pieces.

It was fun and relatively fast -- not counting the large order of battle's setup, even without shock armies. It had intriguing chrome ... the free-stacking SS unit, the StuKA air units, etc.

However, the lack of shock armies didn't concern/frustrate me as much as the time-tight turns. 2-month turns at that scale -- even with "mobile movement" -- was WAY too tight. Then there were the lakes covering entire hexes and other things like that. Also, weather was again randomized, and bad weather rolls could be even more catastrophic with 2-month turns.

Still, its playability and overall reflection of (a very British interpretation of) the Russian Front have indeed made it one of the truly great classics in our hobby.

John's AFRICAN CAMPAIGN was similarly innovative and uses step reduction units (which also require considerable setup time, but a host player should have the game all set up anyway). In the summer of 1971, Frank Chadwick and I played Frank's step reduction version of AFRIKA KORPS -- he was the AXIS -- after we were able to sort out its components from the paper plates, pop cans and other debris literally covering his student apartment floor. (I can remember him triumphantly holding up one of the 7-7-10 Panzer regiments and ... suspended from it by a long human hair ... was a dried bean.)

John's step reduction version was better, I think. I forget who re-published AC here in the States.

John also designed the classic naval boardgame, WAR AT SEA.

And regarding my service in the Cold War, you're all welcome. It continues:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/dec/17/russia-n...

http://en.rian.ru/letters/20060515/48100344.html

http://en.rian.ru/letters/20060123/43131266.html

http://politicstalk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?14@206.E18HkrKgcNS.2...
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United States
Arizona
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LouCoatney wrote:
However, the lack of shock armies didn't concern/frustrate me as much as the time-tight turns. 2-month turns at that scale -- even with "mobile movement" -- was WAY too tight.


OK, I'll bite - what does "too tight" mean in this context?
 
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