Thanks for the nice words. I am quite sure that everybody involved with making this cool game appreciate this.
I was asked to help the team in the middle of the design to make the game "work better", add se=cenarios, revamp the event cards, the production model, etc... The efforts I put into this delayed the rest of my game design projects by at least a year. Very happy to see that it was time well spent.
Funny you should mention that because I thought I noticed a few stylistic similarities between No Retreat! The Russian Front
and TBC while I was playing it. In fact, playing TBC was putting me in the mood for some No Retreat! which I haven't brought out in a while and then it made me think that it would have been really cool for them to have been combined into a single game. I'm just glad I have both and even though they are on the same game scale and on the same exact topic I definitely have a place on my shelf for them both.
And yes, I do appreciate the work you and the rest of the VPG crew put into TBC - I just wish I would have discovered it sooner and cannot believe there is not an entire series of games using this game's mechanisms. I had been looking for a good solo hex-and-counter game that feels like an "old fashioned" wargame for a while but was mostly low complexity and just playable and TBC is it. I already have No Retreat! for my two player East Front needs.
A very timely post - I finally pulled the on this some days ago at it should arrive at my doorstep any time now
Just don't give up!!! The game system really is not that hard once you "get" it. Probably the main things I messed up or learned from at in my first play throughs:
1) The Axis Economic Phase: Yes, the "oil drum cans" you pull out of the Axis Economic cup count as the "Axis" economic chit pull and yes they DO go onto the Soviet Lend-Lease track. That's just life on the Eastern Front.
2) Just because you have the "German Strategic Mode" (ASM for "Axis Strategic Mode") counter on Tank Production or one of the other locations does not mean you automatically get a free tank each turn! The way the German Strategic Mode counter works is that wherever it is you have the POTENTIAL to get a benefit from it. Funny story - last night in a 1942 turn I had just moved my marker FROM the Tank Production track to another location and THEN of course on the very next turn I drew an event card that would have given me a free Tank! Thankfully, the event card said that if your ASM marker wasn't in the Tank Production box then draw another card and consult the special event table. Lucky me - that special event was a free unit upgrade so I got an SS Infantry counter out of the deal so I got my special unit anyway.
And here is some general strategy:
-Be careful with leaving Soviet Tanks available for counter attacks. They will wreck you. I advise that you try and get them destroyed during your Axis blitz and regular combat turns.
-Pay attention to the tables:
I learned (the hard way) that attacking a fortified major city with any unit but a line unit just isn't worth it because they only hit on a green and if you draw a red chit then if you were attacking with a special unit then it is Eliminated. So I learned after that fiasco to just surround a major city with a blitzing panzer and then NOT attack it with my precious special units.
-Do NOT underestimate the power of "releasing" the "x" chits from the awfully named "x-box"
into the cup holder at the cost of the -1 initiative OKW Directive marker. That is a VERY powerful tool to use at your disposal no more than two times in a game! I used it before the Spring of '42 and Spring of '43 at it made my advances in the spring and summer of those turns easier... until they all came out and I was back to more normal "odds" in the Fall. I normally hate chit pulling in games but this game uses chit pulling the correct way - by basically reducing the odds throughout the rest of the turn and going into multiple turns by basically emulating the "wearing down" of the German forces physically, mentally, and logistically. It is one of the two main brilliant systems in the game and do not underestimate how much it can help (or hurt) you.
-Just as you would expect from reality if you leave your blitzing units hanging and exposed with a lot of enemy Soviet units surrounding that unit there is a very good chance it will become eliminated. Your entire campaign hangs on the resourcefulness of your few precious special units as the line units cannot be counted on for much (and the non-Finnish Axis Allies can be counted on even less).
Just writing about this game is making me want to set it up again..... it is so good.... I love how historical it feels - even down to details, for example, requiring you to place Rumanian units on the board but yet you don't want to put them in places where they will encounter much enemy resistance or where you need a good special unit strategically so I find myself placing them into hexes where they can only be attacked by at most two Soviet units or in crappy places like swamps. Kind of similar to real life....