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Subject: Favorite 1941 to 1944/1945 East Front Game rss

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Jeb
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So Frank Chadwick is kickstarting a new East Front board game that looks interesting.

URL is below
https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/019/262/320/c2eee6fdae4ef50...

It is expected to be expanded to the entire European Theater.

Now I’ve played a few East Front games and before investing in yet another East Front game I figured I would ask the group what is there favorite East Front game and why before diving into yet another system. Below are my games and thoughts to kick off the conversation:

Stalingrad (rating 4) Played it once when Russian Campaign was out and hated it. This game does not resemble anything like WWII East Front.

The Russian Campaign (rating 6) One of the few games I played to death. It has not aged well so I’ll not play it again.

Russian Front (Rating 6.5) played it once ... did not grab me back in the day. Sold it a long time ago.

Fire in the East (Rating 6.5) Europa in my opinion has not aged very well. I’d rather play something else for the time investment you have to make.

Russia Besieged (rating 7). Good strong game. Definite improvement over Russian Campaign ... but there are so many good East Front games that I’ll probably sell this one.

No Retreat! The Russian Front (Rating 7.5). Interesting fast play East Front game. A keeper as you can play it in an afternoon and it has tremendous replayability.

Red Star Rising: The War in Russia, 1941-1944 (Rating 8) I really liked this game but the armor gets a little out of control and does not behave the way it did historically. I’ve found the game to be balanced but others disagree. I sold my copy as there is not a lot of interest in this game out there (bad undeserved press causing the issue?)

EastFront II (Rating 8) I really liked this one but it’s long and I really got it to play EuroFront II. Eurofront is fun but feels very chess like. I’ll probably sell it in the near future.

Proud Monster Deluxe (no rating) I own this but I’m still looking for an opponent.
======================

I’ve got some high hopes for some of the other games that are out there including:

Blocks in the East: this looks intriguing. Here are enough units to make the game less chess like than EastFront II. I’ll probably play it when I find an opponent who is interested in giving it a try. I think this one will fall into the “monster” game category

Trial of Strength waiting on this game to be republished.

And now we have Thunder in the East which looks like a playable four map monster game that can be expanded into something hideously huge.

What are your favorite East Front Games and why?
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Tim Korchnoi
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I have to admit I have a tie

I really like No Retreat! The Russian Front because it
1. Plays quick
2. Has lots of scenarios
3. Doesn't take 800,000 years to complete
4. Does not have half a billion counters

The other game I like a lot is The Barbarossa Campaign. This is a good solitaire game and I enjoy it due to:
1. Let's you focus on grand strategy
2. Dice less system which is very different for the Eastern Front
3. Maintains a constant front so you can feel the ebb and flow of the war
4. Has a cool system for the Soviet counter attack

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ted raicer
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The Dark Valley is my favorite EF game, and my favorite of my own designs period. It isn't to everyone's taste of course (nothing is) but it is the game I wanted since playing Stalingrad back in 1971, and those who like it seem to really like it.

Of course, nothing is perfect: the Barbarossa portion of the game turned out to be a bit harder for the Axis than I intended, but a few minor (entirely non-systemic) changes for the Deluxe version (on the GMT p500) have taken care of that. Until then, I find use of the No Fort in Odessa optional rule and spotting the Axis a VP or two at the start will suffice.
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Ben Bosmans
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The Russian Campaign

Best strategic playable wargame of the century.

Everything else is mostly a tagged on chrome rule set that exhausts the players without much fun. Sorry Ted but TDV is far less than your excellent 1918. Less is more remember.

Be sure to get The Russian Campaign: Designer Signature Edition coming out in a few months from GMT (Consim Press).

2018 ... or 41 years after its first Avalon Hill publication.

Its fourth edition sells for 200 dollars, not even in mint condition btw.



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Gordon Watson
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I really enjoyed Russian Front, the in-hex combat felt right and supply was well handled - nice map as well.

Am looking forward to the Deluxe version of 'The Dark Valley', but it looks like it may be a while before the reprint.

Another vote for The Barbarossa Campaign.

Was not so keen on No Retreat! The Russian Front - some clever mechanics but there are so few units that a few dice rolls become really critical which makes it quite swingy.
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Andreas Lundin
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Quote:
The Dark Valley is my favorite EF game, and my favorite of my own designs period. It isn't to everyone's taste of course (nothing is) but it is the game I wanted since playing Stalingrad back in 1971, and those who like it seem to really like it.

Of course, nothing is perfect: the Barbarossa portion of the game turned out to be a bit harder for the Axis than I intended, but a few minor (entirely non-systemic) changes for the Deluxe version (on the GMT p500) have taken care of that. Until then, I find use of the No Fort in Odessa optional rule and spotting the Axis a VP or two at the start will suffice.

Dito. Except that I didn't design it of course!
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Robert Bracey
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The only one I've played a few times is East Front II. Once my father and I had grasped running for the hills and the panzer ball the game became silly enough that I am doubtful about calling it an East Front game any longer. The other scenarios largely seemed like fairly dull slogs after that.

To look at another I would certainly want to be looking at historical units and a much better representation of logistics, and probably some smarter victory conditions.
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Arjan Schuthof
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At the moment, I am playing Victory Roads and enjoying it tremendously. Everything seems just right: historicity, playability and great chrome. Highly recommended, and it forms a great tandem with Liberty Roads.
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Carl Paradis
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tdraicer wrote:
The Dark Valley is my favorite EF game, and my favorite of my own designs period. It isn't to everyone's taste of course (nothing is) but it is the game I wanted since playing Stalingrad back in 1971, and those who like it seem to really like it.

Of course, nothing is perfect: the Barbarossa portion of the game turned out to be a bit harder for the Axis than I intended, but a few minor (entirely non-systemic) changes for the Deluxe version (on the GMT p500) have taken care of that. Until then, I find use of the No Fort in Odessa optional rule and spotting the Axis a VP or two at the start will suffice.


Can you please give us what changes will be done for the Deluxe Version? I already have the original edition and would love to use these. meeple
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Carl Paradis
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Ben_Bos wrote:
The Russian Campaign

Best strategic playable wargame of the century.



Except that IMHO it is a bad representation of the East Front war, especially the later year and the start of the campaign. But it is indeed really fun to play and was ground-breaking when it came out. meeple

Don't get me wrong, I played that game to death (I used up two copies!) when i was a teen in the late 70's and early 80's and still like it. But it is not a good simulation. In fact my frustration with it for tens of years is what started me in the game design business Hobby: to make my own "ideal" East Front game.
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Eric Walters
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Not previously mentioned, I consider Barbarossa Deluxe: The Russo-German War – 1941-1945 a fast-playing and good representation of the war at the strategic level. It's rare that the game goes the distance, however, given the sliding victory conditions for the Axis. Does entail a good bit of abstraction and is a "wave-top" view; to me, it favorably compares to No Retreat! The Russian Front.

Have always been taken with Russia Besieged and Russia Besieged Expansion Kit; am looking forward to the reprint of this fine title. Takes a while to play the whole war, though!

My all-time favorite, however, is Trial of Strength, as old as that game is. Highly unusual movement/combat system that takes a bit of getting used to, but I like it. This is another one I look forward to seeing get a face-lift in a reprint!

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Xavier Fallone
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Thunder in the East looks really promising, and I'm seriously considering backing the Kickstarter. I, like many wargamers, seem to have a weakness for the massive games, even if ever getting them to the table is pretty ambitious.

I own Red Star Rising, but haven't had the chance to play it yet. I've also played and really enjoyed many of the EastFront scenarios.

It only covers a part of Barbarossa, but I'm a big fan of Kiev to Rostov from GMT's East Front series. Many of the others in the series recently hit 500 preorders, so hopefully we'll see a reprint sometime soon!
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Sean McCormick
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My two favorites are No Retreat! The Russian Front and EastFront. I owned both The Russian Campaign and Russian Front back in the day, but I don't expect to play either again.

Most treatments are too big and too long for me to tackle at this rate (I will be avoiding the new Chadwick series for just that reason), but I am greatly looking forward to Absolute War!: The Attack on Russia 1941-45.
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Saxon 357
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Wore the Board out on "The Russian Campaign"...then retreated back to Stalingrad WITH Animal Mother's Variant. Cleans the game up nicely. Joe Miranda's Variant (sorry Lou) adds nice Chrome also.
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Robert Stuart
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I've played Stalingrad, The Russian Campaign, EastFront and No Retreat! The Russian Front.

I prefer Eastfront because, it seems to me, it best reproduces the cut-and-thrust of war in the East. In the combinations of block sizes and capabilities, the relative cadre and step replacement costs, the number and strengths of headquarters, the equality in HQ augmentation costs, it reproduces the strengths and weaknesses of both the German and the Soviet forces. Replacement of units is relatively cheap for the Soviets, but the costs of mounting an offensive are the same -- and offensives are expensive. The game also shows the power of conducting a dynamic defense but, like conducting an offense, dynamic defense is expensive.

In addition the flexibility of the system allows either player to explore different strategic options as the conflict proceeds.

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Rory McAllister
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ericmwalters wrote:
My all-time favorite, however, is Trial of Strength, as old as that came is. Highly unusual movement/combat system that takes a bit of getting used to, but I like it. This is another one I look forward to seeing get a face-lift in a reprint!


This one is my favorite as well. I’m hoping the “facelift” is limited to better graphics and more smaller scenarios because the game system is solid with little errata.
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Jim F
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I have played EastFront II, Holdfast: Russia 1941-42 and No Retreat! The Russian Front. I quite enjoyed 'Eastfront'. I didn't enjoy the other two. Too few pieces, limited options and felt more like puzzles. Definitely didn't feel like the epic struggle of World War Two.

Having played lighter games, none of them have scratched my itch for East Front. I am now looking for something heavier. Fall Blau: Army Group South, June-December 1942 has attracted my interest, as has the reprint of The Russian Campaign (fourth and fifth editions). I know that Trial of Strength is popular with gamers who I have a lot of crossover with in terms of other games/systems they play so that is on my radar too.

The search continues...
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Matt Dangla
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The Dark valley is to me the best east front game : the simulation of operation barbarossa is particularly accurate with the big pocket battles and the soviet counter-offensives we scarcely see in other designs.
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Simon
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I have only really played East Front and No Retreat. I like East Front quite a bit but i think it has a few limitations as a simulation. I've owned Blocks in the East and Dark Valley. Blocks in the East It tried to play but found unwieldy and rather uninteresting. Dark Valley I gave up setting up. I have a threshold of about 1.5 hours for counter sorting and I couldn't get this one set up so lost interest. It was a second hand copy and there was a lot of sorting out to do. No Retreat I found too higher level. Units represent Army groups. At this level i struggled to engage with the narrative in meaningful terms. I am tempted to pick up trial of Strength as it has a good reputation and low counter density.
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Edmond
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If you forgot, please explain why each of you prefer a particular game.
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Chris Friend
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My favorite is Red Star Rising. Simply put, I like the way it plays. It's not a difficult game but there are lots of difficult decisions to be made by both sides. It has a great feel for stretching German logistics to the limit. There just isn't enough supply to do everything the Axis wants to. The Luftwaffe is also stretched to the limit and simply can't support everything. I like the Soviet priduction system and the various types of factories and resources. I like what Soviet leaders bring to the fight. Makes the player really focus on where he can hurt the Axis. And one of the best features for me is the use of Soviet unknown strengths until engaged using the variable strength chit design feature. RSR has given me the best feel for the endless vastness of Russian territory better than any other. "Holy cow! You mean Stalingrad and the Volga, Kuibyshev, the Caspian Sea, and Baku are really THAT far away?!" Play with or without the Finland map.
Yep. RSR is my favorite.
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Sean McCormick
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rulx wrote:
If you forgot, please explain why each of you prefer a particular game.


I would say I like the following--

In Eastfront, I appreciate the elegant way it handles logistics, and block games do a better job of illustrating the grinding attrition of the campaign than games with counters, where frequently the Germans either don't take enough losses or take too many. No Retreat is a design that is impressive for the way it boils down the campaign to the essentials and depicts it at a higher scale than we are used to. The map and supply system are also put together well, forcing you as a player to take supply ranges into real consideration (makes lunging into the Caucasus a frightening proposition). The CRT is also quite clever, with the counterblow system effectively leveraging defenders out of untenable spaces. The downside to NR is that the designer allowed a significant amount of complexity creep to take place over the years.

I also enjoy the Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe Barbarossa scenario, which handles air suppression in a highly satisfying way while encouraging players to launch sequential operations to form and clear pockets.
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José San Miguel
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Despite its flaws, I still like the Russian Front a lot.
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Peter Stubner
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I really like Eastfront. It tells quite the story but, I agree, it is long to play it from start until someone concedes. You will need a safe place to keep it up and a committed opponent.

One thing to keep in mind when you play the campaign are the 6 month scenario victory conditions. If one side or the other has a major victory in VPs, you can call it a game. Then take lessons learned to the next campaign!


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I love the unique game mechanics of Russian Front and the absolutely beautiful map.

I've played quite a few other East Front games but never been terribly impressed with the total package.
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