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Battle for Moscow
Game Designer's Workshop
(1986, FREE)
Designed by Frank Chadwick

Players: 2
Period: World War II
Scale: strategic
-- Turn: 1 week
-- Map: 30 miles (estimated)
-- Unit: Russian armies, German corps

Box: 9"x12" envelope

Components: 56 double-sided die-cut counters, 16 page 8-1/2"x11" booklet containing rules and pull-out mapsheet.

Counter Manifest: 28 green counters (including 6 blanks), 28 red counters (including 11 blanks).

GDW says: "Inside this envelope is your introduction to the fascinating hobby of war gaming . . . Battle for Moscow's subject is the fiercely fought German assault on Moscow in 1941. Had the Germans won, the very course of World War II would have changed. This game lets you try your hand at directing the German assault or the Russian defense."

The reviewer says: "It is difficult to imagine a more painless introduction [to wargames] than this . . . though easy to learn, it's not necessarily easy to win -- in fact, its more enjoyable than many (if not most) magazine games. A much-needed and superbly executed product." Rick Swan in Fire & Movement Number 62.

Comments: Several of the larger wargame publishers offered free introductory games at one time or another. GDW's contribution was especially effective. The straightforward rules take nothing for granted and nearly everything that could thwart a newcomer is carefully explained. Those who just want to try the game will be glad to learn that Frank Chadwick has allowed Battle for Moscow to be posted online at the Web-Grognards site. If you point your web browser to you can read the documentation and print out your own free copy of the game.

Collector's Notes: Unfortunately for those of you who prefer die-cut counters, Battle for Moscow is no longer available for free from GDW. Prices for second hand copies do not seem to have gotten out of hand, possibly because most gamers can still readily remember when the game was free. Boone's Internet Wargames Catalog (3rd edition) lists low/high/average auction prices of $1.00/$5.00/$2.40 and low/high/average sale listings of $2/$7/$4.90. The value of "free" doesn't seem to change much over the years as SPI's Strike Force One shows corresponding values of $1.00/$3.00/$2.25 and $2.00/$5.00/$3.22. Keep in mind that this comparison may be somewhat skewed by the fact that Strike Force One is a notable turkey.

Other free introductory game promos: Attack of the Mutants folio (Yaquinto), Napoleon at Waterloo (SPI), Strike Force One (SPI.)

This article was originally published in issue issue 5 of Simulacrum, October 1999.

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