I've been playing No Retreat and really enjoying it, but EastFront II really caught my attention recently. I've tried a few turns of Eastfront, and so far my impressions were:
- Being a former Memoir 44 player (and a current M44 hater), the combat system worries me. It really simplifies things, but I'm wondering if luck doesn't end up playing a huge factor in the game (even using the Rock variant);
- Again about combat, it seems that it favors the defending player. No Retreat feels more offensive with the big advances after combat, although these advances always bothered me a little bit (how can they pass through these EZOCs without being noticed?);
- Being a fan of Fighting Formations, I really liked the HQ activation system and depletion. It seems to make for very interesting strategic decisions;
- Railroad movement is much more interesting in Eastfront as well;
- The cards in No Retreat add an interesting element of uncertainty to the game, but I couldn't find anything equivalent in Eastfront. Although No Retreat feels more abstract at first because of the lower counter density and CRTs, I'm worried that Eastfront can end up feeling more abstract in the long run due to the lack of uncertainty outside of combat.
The great advantage of Eastfront IMO is that it is a system, and I could play battles from the whole war without learning a ton of new rules (I hope!), but now there comes the other question: is Westfront a really good game in its own? I mean, aren't there better options out there for the Western front portion of the war?
I would appreciate comments on my observations above. Thanks!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Uncertainty? You want uncertainty? You've come to the right place, my friend. Bluff (or maskirovska)is a huge element here. Are those blocks cavalry or armor or just 1-pip infantry blocks? More importantly, how many (and how strong) HQs are nearby? What can he do if I move here? Will he be able to cut me off, or will he just shake his fists in impotent rage?
You are correct that combat (particularly in poor terrain) favors the defender. Maneuver, however, favors the attacker, since supply attrition happens on your opponent's turn. This is why you need to punch holes in the enemy lines, then blitz through. Of course, not knowing exactly what he has in his lines makes for some uncertainty, and you have to commit to a blitz (which is quite expensive, double-burning an HQ) before you get to see that. If it turns out that those two blocks are full-strength and so you fail to break through, you've just lost an extra HQ step (which won't be rebuilt for four turns) to no purpose. But you can't just sit there passively, you've got to do something . . .
Eastfront is a far different scale than No Retreat, with the attendant advantages and disadvantages. It takes much longer to play - i.e. you might get through one scenario in a long evening. If you want to play the whole war (and you totally do), you'll have to leave it set up for a long time. One BGGer used a purpose-built table that he could haul up to the ceiling between sessions, leaving the game set up.
I haven't played Westfront, so I can't comment authoritatively on it. From what I hear, though, it's a less interesting game than Eastfront; it might not be worth it unless you're planning on doing the whole Eurofront, which requires a very large table.
I concur with Sam's points, and will add:
- Being a former Memoir 44 player (and a current M44 hater), the combat system worries me. It really simplifies things, but I'm wondering if luck doesn't end up playing a huge factor in the game
I don't think it does. It also gives much finer granularity of results than you have in No Retreat (considering both the rounding effects of its traditional CRT and the 2 step or even only 1 step units).
But man, based on one play of the Barbarossa scenario so far in No Retreat, I can say that No Retreat sure does seem to go quicker. That low counter density really speeds things up.
Never played No Retreat, so i can offer no comparison between the two.
Played YEARS of Eastfront+Westfront=Eurofront.
the system is 'i go u go' so it is perfect for pbem (vassal)
Eastfront alone has set the benchmark for strategic games , of this scope. None are quicker i bet.
Westfront is another level of complexity up , with Allied sea invasions/para drops , the Mediterranian Front , the Northern Front.
Westfront as a stand alone game does not have the sweeping manouvers of EF,
but it is more alike chess. I find it just as chellenging but on a different level.
and of course you need WF+EF to make EuroFront, the whole shabang 39-45.
Eurofront is yet another level up , with the Diplomacy that controls the Belligerence of Neutral nations and other stuff.
the starting scenario you choose will dictate the level of rule complexity you need to get your head around.
39=every rule - high complx
40= a little less. but here gives the germans all the 'WHAT IFS' you could want.
41= most of the fiddle stuff is out of the way , ready for Barbarossa!
and so on.....
To wrap up , Eastfront is quick for its size. Westfront is all about Allied invasions. Eurofront is a big game! but history keeps changing with every game!
Just look at the maps of the two systems and you'll know the difference.
Thanks everyone. I found a cheap used copy of Eastfront II and couldn't resist. Just waiting for it to arrive! Now I need to find a table for it...