This is a something we've been playing for years based on the great multiplayer variant on Bobby Lee. We thought other fans of EastFront might want to hear about this and try it on their own, so we sat down and wrote the rules down. So, without further ado, please enjoy!
8-player EastFront (1.0)
(Also found here with map examples too: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZvF95DkO8pwj2WhDWIthQ4UV...)
Designer: Aapo Pöyhönen
With thanks to: Ilkka Fagerlund
Based on EastFront rules version 1.02.
This ruleset variant describes how to play EastFront with 8 players, with a top-down command structure, isolated gameboards creating fog of war & simplistic abstraction of wartime communications.
Concept: The ruleset variant introduces a multiplayer setup for East Front, where each side (The Axis and the Soviets) is played by a team consisting of one Supreme commander and three Field commanders. Each Field commander plays against his respective opponent on their own District and can not control or see the units in other districts, but rely on in-game messaging and monthly meetings to coordinate inter-district operations.
The requirements are five separate spaces and a separate table for referee notes. It can be played in conventions, as long as the tables are separate enough to maintain fog of war.
Player composition: There are 4 players for each side and (preferably) 2 referees. (Additionally, the simulation can be extended by bringing more staff officers to assist the supreme commander. A good addition has often been a logistics/communications chief)
Districts: Hexes on a gameboard defined by map demarcations. One district equals one gameboard and 2 players: 1 Axis & 1 Soviet player. Typically EastFront is split into 3 districts: northern, center, and southern district.
Map demarcations: Lines over which unit movements/airstrikes/etc. transfer to another player. Map demarcations are typically agreed upon beforehand and customized to give a suitable (but balanced) challenge to each district.
Supreme commander: Allocates PPs, Supreme Moves. Directly commands the SHQ unit. 1 per team.
Field commander: Operates normally on the district the player is assigned to (Supreme commander’s choice). Cannot affect other districts directly. Cannot command the SHQ unit on his own district. 3 per team.
Unit visibility and control: Field commanders in their own district see the blocks normally. Field commanders do not see (or hear!) other districts directly nor do they control other districts directly. Once a unit hops over to another district, the unit’s original field commander does not exert any command to it.
The SHQ unit is a special unit which cannot be commanded but can be seen by the friendly Field commander as a dummy unit. This dummy unit may be indicated by a blank black/red block. If caught in battle, its CV must be revealed to the enemy Field commander immediately.
The Supreme commander sees no other unit but his own SHQ unit on his gameboard.
Dead units: The referee takes all dead units to their respective Supreme commanders at the end of Supply phase.
EastFront rules additions
Additions to Game Turns (p. 1):
Every Production phase, teams convene to negotiate strategy and allocate Production Points. The amount of time allowed to convene is suggested to be anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. Play may resume earlier if all players mutually agree. Players must have received their allocated PPs and cadre/reinforcement units before returning to their gameboards.
All gameboards are played simultaneously. All actions in each game phase should be synchronized before moving on to the next game phase.
RULE VARIANT: Instead of every month, negotiation phase is every other month. This gives more emphasis for successful messaging and strategic pre-planning.
Additions to 3.21 Initiative (p. 6):
Setup is done by the supreme commanders onto one map at the beginning of the game, after which the field commanders then move their units onto their own respective gameboards.
Additions to 4.1 Game Month (p. 7):
Each fortnight all players have the opportunity to send a message to their co-players according to their message quotas. The supreme commander may send one message to each of his subordinates per fortnight. A field commander may send one message to his supreme commander and one to either of his fellow field commanders. Message quotas are replenished at the beginning of the next fortnight. Message quotas are not cumulative, ie. an unused message quota will not add onto a next fortnight’s message quota.
Each message may be captured. Upon receiving a message from a sender, the referee will throw a dice for the possibility of being captured. If the dice result is 1, the message is captured, and is forwarded to the enemy supreme commander. Otherwise, the message is directed to its original recipient. The dice throw and the message forwarding should be committed in secrecy wherever possible.
Addition to 5.3 Command Range (p. 8):
Command range may be traced over neighbouring districts (tracing across the map as per regular game rules). The referee notifies this to the receiving district at the beginning of the Movement phase.
Additions to 5.61 (or 6.51) Supreme Moves (p. 9, 11):
Supreme Moves may be allocated to field commanders who may then use them on their own districts normally, except to move the SHQ unit. The Supreme commander may also use the Supreme Moves for the movement of his own SHQ unit.
Additions to 6.1 Movement Procedure (p. 10):
Units may move across map demarcations to other districts either normally or strategically. The player informs the referee which unit(s) are about to cross over to the neighbouring district and defines the first hex where the unit(s) arrive at the neighbouring district. At the arrival hex the control of the unit(s) transfer(s) to the respective field commander, to whom the referee then announces the movement range and type (normal or strategic) for each unit. Regular rules concerning movement and engaging apply.
Additions to 7.13 Assigning airstrikes (p. 12):
A field commander may allocate his airstrike capability to fellow field commanders, adhering to regular air range rules. The player notifies the airstrike to the referee, who then informs this to the co-player immediately. The co-player may then use this airstrike to any active combat hex within said HQ’s air range. A supreme commander’s airstrike must always be allocated to a field commander to use the airstrike.
It is recommended for the referee to introduce a dedicated game phase for allocation of airstrikes.
BONUS RULE: Once per year the Supreme commander may interchange the field commanders in two districts. The respective field commanders immediately migrate to their new game table and activation phase begins as usual. The Supreme commander may alternatively switch places with a field commander (losing all powers associated with being a Supreme commander).