Homefront Wargame Center

…supporting our hobby!

Welcome to the HFC – Homefront Wargame Center!

Posted by Denny Koch on March 21, 2010

Welcome to the HFC website!

This website is principally dedicated to Wargaming – board and card wargaming, and historical conflict simulations (for example Advanced Squad Leader). But since we are dedicated gamers, we aren’t afraid of looking beyond the borders of the wargaming world, so from time to time, you will also find postings about other games we play, for example Living Cardgames (Call of Cthulhu, A Game of Thrones),  Fantasy boardgames (Arkham Horror, Marvel Heroes) or even videogames.

In the course of transferring the contents from our old static website to the new format, we decided to drop some of the old articles (especially some very old and outdated reviews which will be rewritten from a fresh perspective). In addition, we added more contents and wrote new stuff and hopefully, this website will grow and prosper!

In addition, you will find many travel reports and pictures – we love touring historical sites, not only of recent history (Ardennes, Huertgen Forest, A bridge too far at Arnhem, The Bridge at Remagen…), but also medieval and ancient sites, for example the 2000 year old Imperial City of Speyer!

We hope you like the interactive, modern format and layout. You are cordially invited to leave comments, suggestions, share our articles, send in articles, or to share your own opinion on all topics with us.

Enjoy your stay :)

Denny & Andreas

This site is a member of the Wargaming WebRing.
To browse visit Here.

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Christian Koppmeyer – R.I.P.

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on April 11, 2014

It is with deep regret and sadness that today we learn of the all too early passing of Christian Koppmeyer who passed away two days ago in a hospital at the age of only 52. Christian was one of the most active ASL players in Germany and hosted the well known ASL Grenadier tournament every year. We only knew him from email exchange many years ago but all those who have known him will remember his friendly personality and his dedication to our hobby, he was always willing to answer questions and help the newbies to become part of the wonderful world of Advanced Squad Leader. He is survived by his wife and three sons.

Christian you will be missed but kept in good memory!

Rest in peace Christian…

 

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Review: Hornet Leader – The Cthulhu Conflict (DVG)

Posted by Denny Koch on February 27, 2014

Cthulhuconflict_boxGame: Hornet Leader - The Cthulhu Conflict

Publisher: DVG
Published in: 2013
Designer: Dan Verssen
Era and Topic: Contemporary / Hypothetical / Cthulhu Myth / Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground warfare
Components: Expansion to Hornet Leader, Basic game required!
Game Type: Mixed: Board, counters, card-driven

HFC Game-O-Meter: D


Our Rating (1-10):

Graphic Presentation: 9
Rules: 8
Playability: 
7
Replay Value:
9

Overall Rating: 8.5

PRO Cthulhu! Hornet Leader! Both combined in one game!! Combining both games is a very cool and innovative idea. Can be played as a solitaire game or cooperatively. Great artwork, includes many elements from the Lovecraft universe
CONTRA Higher random element and more luck dependent due to Chaos caused by the Great Old Ones (which fits perfectly to the setting, but could be a turn-off for conservative Hornet Leader players because your careful planning and strategies can and will be destroyed within minutes)

Introduction

 Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fthagn!

As you may have guessed (for example from reading our Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game articles), we are Cultists. We love everything dealing with Cthulhu and the other Great Old Ones. We play games like Arkham Horror, Elder Sign, the Call of Cthulhu LCG, or video games like Dark Corners of the Earth. And, of course, we watch even the most esoteric movies like the modern silent movie adaption of Call of Cthulhu.

The game can be played solitaire or cooperatively

The game can be played solitaire or cooperatively

So, you can image that we were very happy when Hornet Leader: Cthulhu Conflict arrived in our HFC Test Lab!

We are also fans of DVG’s “Hornet Leader: Carrier Air Operations” game (which we play cooperatively, since despite the fact that it is marketed as a Solitaire game, it also works great as a Coop game). So when Hornet Leader: Cthulhu Conflict was published as an (quite strange and unexpected) expansion to a down-to-Earth realistic Air combat warfare game, we got very excited.

Cthulhu Conflict isn’t a standalone expansion; ownership of Hornet Leader: Carrier Air Operations is mandatory because the game uses all material from the basic game and adds new rules, cards, counters, and markers to the mix.

This review will not deal with the core game mechanics and the gameplay sequence of Hornet Leader, so if you don’t know what this game is about and how it is played, you should read our extensive HL review first. It will give you a good overview about how the game works and what kind of game to expect.

It is assumed, both by the expansion and by our review, that you have basic knowledge of Hornet Leader and know how to play the core game. In this review, we will focus on the differences, how the expansion works, and how (good) the setting is portrayed in the game.

Like Hornet Leader, Cthulhu Conflict is scenario based, following the same choice options (game length, difficulty level) you already know from HL. In addition, the game is suitable for Solitaire play as well as 2-player cooperative gameplay vs. the paper AI. Both options work fine and coop games don’t need any adjustments to rules or gameplay. 

Game components and graphic presentation

The game is shipped in a box which is smaller and lighter than the Hornet Leader (HL) box. The HL box, of course, is a heavy monster full of cool stuff, and remember: you will use the contents of both boxes.

Box contents

Box contents

The box contains 56 additional cards (additional aircraft, new target cards, new event cards), 178 counters (bandits, sites, phobia markers), 4 Campaign sheets, and a full-color rule book. All components have the specific “HL look & feel” and fit to the main game seamlessly.

The game includes a Player Log Sheet, printed on a somewhat stronger paper. This serves as a master copy sheet and you can copy it at your local copy shop (or any photocopier at home or at work). There is no pad with several sheets in the box, so if you want to take the box to a friend, you should make sure that you photocopied enough player log sheets. If you don’t want to make physical copies, there is also a PDF version of the log sheet available from the official web site for free download, which can be printed out. The combination of adding a physical photocopy master and offering a digital download version is very user-friendly (adding a full pad with sheets would be the friendliest version, but this is, of course, a question of cost).

The overall production quality is, as usual with games published by DVG, very good. Especially the artworks are outstanding - in contrast to the usual technical images on the cards, the artworks (especially on the target cards) are true to the topic and very stylish with almost painting-like illustrations of creatures and places. The artist did a great job here to convey a very special, very dark Lovecraftian atmosphere.

Rules

The 12-pages-full color-rule book (which is also available as a free download from the official DVG website) doesn’t repeat the original Hornet Leader rules but refers to the HL rulebook for basic gameplay purposes. It details only the differences and rules changes as well as descriptions for new units and additional rules.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Fantasy Games A-Z, Games A-Z, Historical Games A-Z, Leader Series, Misc. Fantasy games, Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Web Grognard

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on February 24, 2014

“If you don’t know this website, you don’t know the wargaming hobby – period!”

Web Grognard

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The internet offers websites for almost any field of interest. There are also so-called “Link pages” for these fields, i.e. pages which collect addresses of all websites dealing with the respective topics. Such key pages are very important because they allow easy access to all sources of information in one location instead of forcing people to search the entire web where relevant information is often hidden in an informational chaos.

The wargaming hobby isn’t an exception to this rule; its key website in the internet where you can find everything related to wargames is called WebGrognard.

Grognard‘ is slang for someone who likes playing wargames, so this site is chock-full of information about The Hobby.

It’s subtitle the site for wargames on the web since 1995″ is an accurate description, because it actually is the number 1 resource website for wargaming – there isn’t any other website offering more information and data about almost any wargame ever published! This incredible project was created by three men: Alan Poulter, Eric Pass and Skip Franklin. The site was then run for almost 20 years by Alan Poulter updated each sunday to add even more information (sent to him via email) to the gigantic data amount already online since 1995. 13th January 2013 the final update was made by Alan and the site now has a new management being run by Mark D’Agosta.

Mark decided to bring the no.1 site for wargaming content into the modern era with a new and fresh design, a new server structure, a new “Search” feature to make it easier to find the games you like. Updates will now be continuous, posting shortly after they are received and approved which is probably the most important new feature. In addition to the existing RSS feed, you may now follow Grognard.com via Twitter or may subscribe for email notification and hopefully a Facebook page will be available in the future. Grognard.com “originals” are planned like the Head-to-Head video series. The idea is to have two or even more experienced wargamers engaging in a popular wargame with discussion, game and strategy analysis and actual game play depending on the focus of the episode. The first episode can be watched here!

If you enter WebGrognard, you will see an alphabetical list which leads to all wargames beginning with the respective letter: A includes A3R, Totaler Krieg can be found under T etc.. This allows comfortable and quick navigation if searching for information about a specific game without the need to scroll through endless stuff you don’t need. Once you found your game, there is another listing of all data available to this game. By clicking on the links you eventually reach your destination.

WebGrognard offers almost anything, for example reviews, articles about strategy, errata, Q&A, FAQ, rule variants, zine indices, links to individual websites about the games, the publisher’s website, computerbased game assistant programs (GAPs), Mailing lists, replays, scenarios etc.. The information isn’t limited to boardgames, but does also include computergames, magazines, game conventions, PbEM aids, datafiles for download, shops, RPGs, card games, miniatures, reports etc..

Grognard Challenge: map image 1

If you don’t find it on Webgrognard, it doesn’t exist!

The site depends on submissions for new material, so if you have an interesting article, strategy tip, player aid, link or file you’d like to share please contribute to make this great site even better!

Entries for the letter “A”. FAQs, Reviews, AARs, add-ons, card listings, rules summaries, tactics from various sources and even in foreign languages, are listed here

© 7/03 by HFC (www.homefrontcenter.de)

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2013 in review – HFC says ‘Thank You’

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on December 31, 2013

 

Here’s an excerpt:

Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people for a concert. This blog was viewed about 66,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Madison Square Garden, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in HFC, News and Releases | 3 Comments »

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2014

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on December 24, 2013

watermarkTo all our readers the HFC staff wishes you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We are thankful for the time you spent on our site to read the articles, tour trips and reviews, leaving comments and hope you’ll continue to do so in the coming year. New games will hit the table, more tours to interesting historical sites and battlefields are planned and we are looking forward to sharing it with you :)

We are close to 200.000 visits and on average now have around 100 unique visitors per day, which we call quite a success in this niche hobby – Thank you all!

Stay healthy, enjoy the time with your family and friends and keep playing games!

Happy New Year & Happy Gaming,

Denny & Andreas

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Review: Phantom Leader Deluxe (DVG)

Posted by Denny Koch on December 23, 2013

phantom_boxGame: Phantom Leader Deluxe Edition

Publisher: DVG
Published in: 2013
Designer: Dan Verssen
Era and Topic: Vietnam War / Historical / Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground warfare
Components: 336 Full Color Cards, Full Color Rulebook, 2 Full Color Counter Sheets (2×176 – 5/8” counters), 8 Full Color Campaign Sheets, 1 11”x17” Full Color Mounted Tactical Display, 1 Full Color Player Sheet, 1 Ten-sided Die, 1 Full Color Player Log Sheet
Game Type: Mixed: Board, counters, card-driven

HFC Game-O-Meter: D 


Our Rating (1-10):

Graphic Presentation: 9.5
Rules: 8.5
Playability: 
9
Replay Value:
10

Overall Rating: 9

PRO Modern and stylish presentation; Suitable for beginners and veterans alike; components of high quality; solitaire game which also works perfectly as a 2-player cooperative game; much to decide and consider during a game; many randomized elements provide a high replayabilty; adjustable in game length and difficulty level; comprehensive and clear rules; easy to learn, but demanding and challenging gameplay; provides background information about friendly aircraft and weapons…
CONTRA …but still no information or design notes about enemy units; no hints about coop gameplay included in the rulebook

Introduction

We love aviation wargames like Thunderbolt Apache Leader (GMT) and Hornet Leader (DVG), especially since these solitaire games can also be played cooperatively by two players. And we are notorious for our special interest in coop gaming!

Phantom Leader Deluxe

Phantom Leader Deluxe

We were looking forward to playing Dan Verssen’s Phantom Leader Deluxe, a game portraying the Vietnam air war (actually beginning with the Cuban Crisis), part of DVG’s Leader Series, and when the game entered our HFC Test Lab, we were very happy to find out that this implement of the Leader Series works as excellent as a cooperative game as it does as a solitaire game – as do the other games of the Leader series, despite the fact that this additional option isn’t mentioned anywhere in the rules or on the game box.

Phantom Leader Deluxe is an update to DVG’s original Phantom Leader from 2010 (re-worked in order to adjust it to the standards set by Hornet Leader). So the new game version is adding more aircraft, the Cuba mission, making adjustments to the campaigns, adding more pilots for each aircraft type to choose from, more targets and more Event cards. All in all, more content and more options, so switching from the original Phantom Leader to the Deluxe Edition is certainly worth the money, if you are a fan of the game. There are tons of new stuff compared to the original version, and the new stuff isn’t just for show or chrome, but really adds to the experience and variety.

So what’s the game about? In Phantom Leader, you take command over a tactical fighter squadron. You can choose between playing as US Navy or US Air Force, which offer different aircraft types and pilots. All four campaigns come in two versions: as US Navy campaign and as US Air Force campaign, which doubles the tactical and strategical options, and lets you find out who does a better job.

The game includes four campaigns, starting with the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, followed by the 1964 War in the South campaign, 1967 Rolling Thunder, and finally 1972 Linebacker. You don’t have to play the campaigns in chronological order, and in the basic game, they are not linked with each other. There is an optional rule which allows you to play them as a large combined campaign, though, but normally, you pick only one campaign at a time.

Each campaign consists of a variable number of “missions” (scenarios or targets you will attack), so you can play each campaign as a short, medium, or long campaign, as your time allows. In addition, you can adjust the difficulty level of the campaigns to your experience and play style. Since the flight missions are determined randomly, as are the enemies you will face in the combat area, this concept ensures a high replay value.

At the beginning of a campaign, you choose the members of your fighter squadron (you cannot choose aircraft which were not in use at the year the campaign takes place, of course). Then, you start with your first mission where you learn what your target is, where it is located and how heavily it is defended. You then get the chance to load your fighters with various weapons and gadgets. After the briefing, your squadron takes off towards the target. Random events (triggered by cards) as well as randomly placed enemy defensive units will make it harder for you to reach the target zone. Enemy units consist of various kinds of units – ground units like infantry, anti-air sites, and air units (enemy fighters which try to force you into a dogfight).

The target can by anything from a factory, a convoy, a shipyard, a base, a rescue mission...

The target can by anything from a factory, a convoy, a shipyard, a base, a rescue mission…

Once you managed to reach the target, you have to fulfill the mission objectives which are detailed on the current target card. Objectives vary, depending on the kind of target, and will sometimes surprise you.

After fulfilling the objective (usually by destroying a target or various targets), you will have to steer your fighters out of the combat area and back to base. If a fighter was shot down, there is a chance that the pilot survived, so you will also have the chance to rescue him in a Search-and-Rescue attempt. The last part of the mission is the debriefing step, where your performance and the pilots’ stress levels are recorded. Missions can be quite stressful, so it is possible that your pilots will be unfit for the next mission after returning to their base.

Since a campaign consists of several missions in a row, and you only have one fighter squadron, one of the main challenges of the game is to think about when to use which pilot – you always have to keep in mind that they could be shot down or suffer too much stress to be useful in the following missions. This adds a strategic level to the otherwise tactical gameplay of flying single aircraft into a combat zone where they will be attacked by enemy units and dogfighting other fighters.

In Phantom Leader, you don’t have to learn how to pilot an aircraft (your chosen pilots are perfectly capable of flying them without your assistance, so this isn’t your problem). You are the leader and mission commander back at the air base who tells each pilot where to fly, when to fly, and which loadout to take into combat. So if you find your fighter squadron horribly wrong equipped against the target or the encountered enemy units, and they are shot down or so stressed that they are sent into the med bay afterwards, this isn’t their fault – it’s yours.

A bad mission outcome and failure to achieve the mission objectives is almost always caused by bad planning, wrong equipment, and wrong decisions. And some bad luck, of course, because the game contains many random elements which change from mission to mission. You cannot influence which defensive units appear at the scene or which surprise events make your life harder. But you can influence bad luck in rolling your dice by choosing the right equipment, pilot constellation, and flight maneuvers.

Like in a RPG, your pilots gain experience points when flying on a mission, and have the chance to level up to the next higher skill level (at least in a medium or long campaign). Levelling up has significant impact on the various stats of a pilot.

Game components and presentation

The components within the heavy game box are of a very high quality (as it is with all games of the Leader series). The box contains a full-colored rulebook, a 10-sided die, lots of counters, cards, and markers. The overall game style is modern and visually appealing.

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Posted in Games A-Z, Historical Games A-Z, Leader Series, Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

World in Flames PC Game released!

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on November 7, 2013

IMG_5266The game that was in the making for about 10 years is now available. World in Flames, famous monster conflict simulation on World War 2 now playable on your PC, rules enforced by the game and coming with three thick books. The price might be considered acceptable for what you get in the box depending on where you live (since you may strongly disagree on this if you are living in Europe, because the game can only be ordered as a physical copy, not as a download version. That means a lot of money for shipping and Custom then charges on top!)  BUT…at launch there’s no AI included and there’s no PbEM function!

A game like WiF will be difficult to handle anyway by an AI, but no PbEM is quite a showstopper – who’s gonna play this monster in realtime TCP/IP?

Both the AI and PbEM will be made available later we are told (AI will cost though, how much we don’t know yet) but we really think it’s the wrong decision to get the game out without such essential features.

For more information check out the official site!

World in Flames is Matrix Games’ computer version of Australian Design Group’s classic board game. Covering both the European and Pacific Theaters of Operations during World War II, World in Flames is global in scope while simulating each branch of service in detail. Land units are corps and army level, supplemented with specialized divisions. Naval units include individual counters for every carrier, battleship, cruiser, and light cruiser in the war. Using 1000+ unique bitmapped images, air units represent groups of 250 to 500 airplanes. With 6000+ unique units, 250+ countries, and a global map of 70,200 hexes, World in Flames is the premier World War II grand strategy game.

Harry Rowland, Game Designer of the original World in Flames boardgame, said: “ADG have produced some high quality games over the years but nothing compares to the top-notch components included in World in Flames: the computer game. It includes 24 full-colour maps, and 3 hard-covered books of over 600 pages, a real collector’s gem”.

Nine of the eleven scenarios from Australian Design Group’s World in Flames Final Edition are included, and they range from the small 5 turn Barbarossa offensive in Russia and the 5 turn Guadalcanal battle in the Pacific, through to the 36 turn Global War campaign which spans all of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Atlantic, and the Pacific. You can play either the Axis or the Allied side or take the role of one of the 8 major powers. Besides solitaire and head-to-head, you can play over the Internet. The last mode of play is for two players, Axis versus Allies.

In addition to the full set of rules from World in Flames, Final Edition, there are 58 optional rules. Australian Design Group’s expansion modules Ships in Flames and Planes in Flames are incorporated into the basic game, but the inclusion of other expansion modules, such as Mech in Flames, Carrier Planes in Flames, and Cruisers in Flames, depends on which optional rules are selected.

This simulation models national production from conveying raw resources to factories using rail lines and overseas pipelines for producing infantry, armor, naval, and air combat units. Because oil was so important during World War II, there are separate optional rules for synthetic oil plants and deployment of oil reserves to the front lines.

Game units represent armies and corps, aircraft carriers, naval task forces, and air groups that took part in World War II. Everything you need to re-fight the greatest conflict in history is provided in World in Flames. The players make the strategic decisions that decide the fate of nations. What forces to produce, where to commit them, when and how? No two games of World in Flames play the same, no strategy is foolproof, any decision may have unforeseen, long-term consequences.

If you want to change the world then World in Flames is for you.

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Posted in News and Releases, PC / console games | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

WARFIGHTER Kickstarter project now live!

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on October 29, 2013

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Warfighter – The Tactical Special Forces Card Game

We love cooperative games and wargames on the topic of Modern Warfare,  so we started to listen attentively when DVG announced a new game that would combine both aspects! It will be published if the Kickstarter project that was going online today is raising enough funds and the HFC wants to encourage you to support this game. There are not that many cooperative wargames around or wargames on the topic of modern warfare and since we know the quality of the game designs by Dan Verssen especially when it comes to games you can play coop with a friend we are sure this one will not disappoint. You get to equip your soldiers, deploy for a mission, fight your way through a hostile city, and take out your objective. If you like fast-paced card games, co-op play, modern tactical military combat, and want a chance to use M16s, M4s, LAW Rockets, Grenades, call in mortar strikes, and perform sniper kills, this is the game you should support with your bucks!

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Command the world’s best Special Forces operators and complete vital assault missions around the world!

Warfighter is a card game for 1 to 6 players.

You play cooperatively with your friends against the system to complete present day squad-level combat missions.

At the start of each mission, you each select a soldier, equip him/her with skills, weapons, and combat gear within the mission’s Resource limit.

You then fight your way through hostile territory, engaging hostiles, as you attempt to reach and complete your mission objective.

Every mission is a stand-alone game. You build your Soldiers, select your Gear, and then run your mission. Within 30 to 60 minutes you will have succeeded or failed.

Warfighter uses a new combat system that takes into account the fire mode you select for your weapon, range, running out of ammo, suppression, and cover – all in the same dice roll! This system creates an incredibly deep narrative with every attack.

As you eliminate hostiles, you gain experience to Upgun your Action cards.

Very easy to learn!

Plays in 30 to 60 minutes!

1 to 6 players!

No special rules needed for solitaire play!

Awesome new combat system!

Access to modern tactics, weapons, and equipment!

59e7deb0f4dc6e8a5bec8af45e037ebe_largeWhat’s in the game box?

168 Full Color Playing Cards 

- Soldier Cards

- Mission Cards

- Objective Cards

- Action Cards

- Location Cards

- Weapon Cards

- Equipment Cards

- Hostile Cards

 1 Full Sheet of Full Color Counters

- Ammo Counters for different Weapons

- Bandage Counters

- Wound Counters

- Kill Counters

- Grenade and Rocket Counters

- Suppression Counters

- Experience Counters

3x 10-sided Dice

1x 6-sided die

1x Rulebooklet

                                                                                                                           

 

To check out additional information about the expansions that are planned for this new game system, about possibilities to get your personal soldier card in the game, to watch the promotional video and to make this game a reality go to the Warfighter Kickstarter website.

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Review: Blocks in the East (VentoNuovo Games)

Posted by Denny Koch on October 16, 2013

BITE_BoxGame: Blocks in the East – The Russian Campaign 1941-1945

Publisher: VentoNuovo Games
Published in: 2012

Designer: Emanuele Santandrea
Era and Topic: World War II / Russian Campaign 1941-1945
Components: Two 87×62 cm mapboards (double laminated), rules manual (scenario booklet incl.), 1 booklet (Germany Strategic Map, Scenario Setup Charts, Play-Example), 317 wooden blocks, 318 PVC stickers (laminated),
100 wooden cubes, 50 cylinders, 30 discs, 50 factories, 7 dice

Game Type: Block game

HFC Game-O-Meter: D bullet5


Our Rating (1-10):

Graphic Presentation: 8
Rules: 8
Playability: 3

Replay Value: 7

Overall Rating: 6

PRO Colorful map; interesting combination of military and production / economics mechanics which leads to tough decision-making about where to spend the resources; great support by the designer; Rules 3.0 are solid and allow for an interesting, multi-layered game with a well-thought out sequence of play and combat sequence
CONTRA Practical issues when actually playing the game: hexes are far too small and become crowded, which makes it difficult to keep track of units and terrain; printing errors on the map; dice-fest (may be a “pro” for some gamers, though); vital information only available on the official website for download, not included in the game box, so internet access is a MUST

Introduction

We love block games! We really enjoyed games like “Richard III” or “Julius Caesar” and think of the design as elegant, efficient, and smooth. In addition, in a block game, the Fog of War (FoW) comes naturally without clumsy concepts like “concealment counters” or “hidden units”, where you have to remember the position of each unit all the time.

Block games are full of surprises, the block system is transparent, step losses are handled easily and naturally and the FoW aspect is great.

Box contents

Box contents

Because of our past experiences with block games, we were quite enthusiastic when we heard about “Blocks in the East“, a new block game by Italian game company “VentoNuovo Games.” Operation Barbarossa is always an interesting scenario, we greatly enjoyed the strategic depth and opportunities of conducting a Russian Campaign in games like “The Russian Campaign“, or “Totaler Krieg“.

Blocks in the East (BitE) is an interesting mix of various game concepts, put together into one game: first, it’s a block game, which means that units are not depicted by counters or miniatures, but by wooden rectangular blocks. A sticker on one side of the block contains all information about the unit; a unit is reduced in steps by rotating it 90° until removed from the map when the last step is taken, while the opponent only sees the black back side so he is often unsure about the strength of the enemy units.

Second, BitE uses a hex grid on the mapboard. This isn’t unique in block games – there are several others with a hex grid, e.g. “Euro Front”, “Athens & Sparta”, or “Texas Glory” – but (with good reason) most block games use an area or point-to-point movement system. Since blocks are somewhat massive, area or point-to-point-movement appears to be more suitable. In hexes, the exact position of a block matters, and hexes must be very large to avoid a crowded map. You can push more blocks into an area or align them around a point on the map, so we were curious how BitE solves the problem of overcrowding a hex with blocks. The idea of using a hex grid (which is great for counters) together with the use of so many wooden blocks and how this game would deal with this situation, fueled our interest in the game.

Last but not least, what we read about BitE sounded like an interesting light wargame / consim hybrid. There is a hex grid, the rules contain many options for additional chrome, there are basic consim concepts like ZOC, terrain, or supply. At the same time, there are no combat odds or CRTs (Combat Result Tables) but tons of dice to be rolled (as in Axis & Allies or Zombies!!!). The colorful map looked beautiful on all the internet pictures we saw and the game appeared to be modern and interesting enough, so we were happy when our copy arrived in the HFC Test Lab.

Game components and graphic presentation

Box, contents, and initial preparations

Sticker sheet

Sticker sheet

When the box arrived, we were surprised – the blocks were smaller than expected. They are significantly smaller than blocks from any games by Columbia Games. Well, we considered this as a plus because we thought this would certainly help in avoiding a crowded map.

Blocks

Before you can start playing, the stickers have to be applied to the blocks. The game contains a sticker sheet with the usual NATO symbols (there is also a special edition available which uses unit pictures instead of symbols). The blocks come in several colors, red for the Russians, black for the Germans, and several other colored blocks (white, green, blue) for minors and/or special units.

What we were missing in the rules (or on the sticker sheet), though, was information about which stickers belong to which blocks. Many of them were easy to assign – “normal” Russian and German units could be applied without problems. But we couldn’t figure out the meaning of some of the other stickers (informational ones, special units), and consulting the rule book didn’t help much because there is only a short list of game components which mentions which color belongs to which nation.

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Posted in Historical Games A-Z, Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Bobby Lee (CG) Third Edition on Kickstarter!

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on October 10, 2013

Bobby-Lee-cover-largeColumbia Games has started a new Kickstarter Campaign to bring out a new version of the well known game Bobby Lee.

It will be an updated version, with a larger map, a larger scale, extra blocks and much more. Funding period is Oct 7, 2013 – Nov 11, 2013 (35 days), goal is 20.000 USD, about 8000 USD already in, so be part of the backers and get your Third Edition game asap on the gaming table :)

As usual CG makes you a no risk offer, support the game via Kickstarter or buy it after the funding period when ‘normally’ available -  you will get a 30 day full refund of the game if you don’t like it! 

>>>>> To support the Kickstarter Campaign for Bobby Lee click here!<<<<<

150 years ago a civil war raged in America, an epic clash between  northern and southern states that cost 650,000 lives. It began in 1861 and ended in 1865 with defeat for the Confederate States of America.

Bobby Lee brings to life this dramatic event in American military history. The game covers the war in the east, focusing on the one hundred miles between the two rival capitals of Washington and Richmond. For four years, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by the incomparable Robert E. Lee (known as Bobby Lee to his soldiers) defended these few bloody miles against overwhelming Union strength in men and supply.

The eastern theater saw the campaigns and battles of First Bull Run, Shenandoah Valley, Peninsula, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Petersburg, and Appomattox. You can re-stage all of these battles and campaigns, or devise your own “war-winning” strategies.

Players maneuver their armies on a map of the Eastern Theater. When enemy armies clash in the same location, a battle is fought. Battles are resolved on tactical boards where clever tactical maneuvers allow skilled players to defeat larger armies.

Bobby Lee is designed to be played again and again.  This game will give you and your friends dozens of hours of entertainment, and real insight into the American Civil War.

PLAYERS: Two, Ages 12+
Play Time: 2-3 hours per scenario

What you get in the box

• Full color, deluxe mapboard that is 130% larger (25” x 33”) than the original. The portion of the map shown below is at the new larger scale. There is ample room to fit 10 blocks in a hex.

• 90 Hardwood blocks, blue & gray. The Order of Battle is similar to that found in earlier editions, but includes six (6) extra blocks and the former NATO symbols have been replaced with period crossed muskets, sabres, and gun barrels. Below you can see, left to right, a USA Headquarters and Cavalry, and CSA Infantry and Artillery.

• 2 color copies of the rules. Five scenarios are included, one covering the entire war in the east, 1861-65, and one for each year 1861, 1862, 1863, and 1864 that can be played separately or linked together. The third edition rules are a blend of previous 1st and 2nd edition rules.

• Two larger, thicker tactical battle maps. Battles fought on these maps are similar to those found in Napoléon, but have rules to reflect American Civil War battle tactics.

• Four quality dice (2 blue & 2 gray).

Four Bobby Lee units

Posted in News and Releases | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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