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Up Front or – the never ending story?

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on May 5, 2015

144825The wargame community is again in high hopes for a new Up Front because the news is out that Wargame Vault has permission to do at least a strict reprint of the original game. So it seems that rights-holder Hasbro (owner of Wizards of the Coast and Avalon Hill) is aware now (after the Valley Games Kickstarter desaster) that the demand for this classic wargame is there and has allowed Wargame Vault to digitally re-master the second edition of Up Front and to offer it through their card printing program.

Folks already discuss the news in forum postings and wonder whether this is a hot deal or not so have in mind that in fact what you get here is a pure reprint of the game, so no new rules, no errata worked in and still the original graphics on the cards. It’s a kind of print on demand model and for about 50 bucks you get the game you want to play and that’s fine – given that Up Front in very good condition (or even mint/new etc.) can easily cost you 100 USD or more you might even call this a hot deal indeed.

Still, even with this strict reprint of the game and the proclamation that Wargame Vault has the permission of the rightsholder Hasbro to offer this there seems to be some legal issues regarding these rights –

Rodger MacGowan who was the artist of the original design is suprised to see this offer on the Wargame Vault website since Hasbro has never contacted him regarding the use of any of his Avalon Hill artwork or logo graphic designs which simply means they don’t own the rights to use it…

I don’t think it’s impossible to sort this out and they don’t offer the gamebox for exact the reason that they don’t own the rights of that artwork but since they use it on their website to offer the game it doesn’t seem to be good business manners and they use his logo design on the backs of the cards which clearly is violating his rights…so all is not cut and dried yet.

It’s a shame that  Up Front, this alltime classic and innovative game design is so often in the news lately…but always with a bad taste. It deserves to see the light in a modern new style so new gamers can see for themselves why the old grogs adore this gem of a game so much but it can be doubted that this will happen anytime soon.

Until then this reprint is the only option you have if you don’t want to hunt down the game on ebay etc. and here’s what you get for your money:

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Tiger Leader – new solitaire & coop WWII board game!

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on October 31, 2014

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DVG has launched a new Kickstarter campaign to fund a new game in the well known and popular Leader series. The game was eagerly awaited by fans of the series and funded in the first 24 hours! So the Tiger engine is already running full speed, but there is still time left for you to back it up to get even more convenient map tiles and other improvements that will be announced as new stretch goals for this campaign soon. By backing the game you may opt for the base game or for the game including 136 miniatures to add to your gaming experience!

Tiger Leader being the latest game in the Leader series is therefore based on an extremely polished and great working game system fans know from Hornet Leader, Phantom Leader, Thunderbolt-Apache Leader and U-Boat Leader. Check out the links to our reviews to see what we mean, these games are great for experienced wargamers and new players alike.

Campaigns take about 30 minutes to set-up, and each battle can be resolved in 15 to 30 minutes, game play time total is usually depending on your own style, which is one of the advantages of true solitaire games –  you can play whenever you have time, at your pace. But what makes the Leader games so special and what we always stress as one of the aspects that make them so outstanding is the fact you can bring a friend to the table and play cooperatively! Sit down, divide up your forces and plan with your fellow commander how to get the job of the mission done 🙂

Tiger Leader includes dozens of German vehicles and infantry types and includes 5 Allied Nations that you battle against: Poland, France, United Kingdom, Russia, and USA. The battlefield units for each nation have unique stats that reflect that nation’s combat capabilities. The game is played on a map that allows for always changing terrain and combat situations keeping the experience fresh and the replay value high.

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Components announced so far:

240 Full Color Cards

2 Full Color Counter Sheets

3 Full Color Sheets of MOUNTED Terrain Hexes 

22” x 17” Full Color MOUNTED Tactical Sheet

11″ x 17″ Full Color Head Quarters Sheet

1 10-sided die

To back up the game, get more detailed information and to see a funny video explaining the game to you go to the official Kickstarter site –> HERE

As always with DVG games, you can expect high quality stuff inside the box reminding us of the famous quote by Heinz Guderian….

Nicht Kleckern, sondern Klotzen!

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

Review: Battle for Stalingrad – The Epic East Front Battle Game (DVG)

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on July 2, 2014

Stalingrad_box_mockup200Game: Battle for Stalingrad – The Epic East Front Battle GameReview

Publisher: Dan Verssen Games (DVG)
Published in: 2014
Designer: Dan Verssen

Era & Topic: WW2/ Urban Warfare in Stalingrad
Game Type:  Card Game
Contents: 168 Full Color Cards, 1 Full Color Counter Sheet, 1 Full Color Rulebook 

Number of Players: 2

HFC Game-O-Meter: E

 


Our Rating (1-10):

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

Overall Rating: 9

PRO Quick set-up, well written rules, many options despite using simple mechanics, fitting to the historical theme, both sides play differently, enthralling and tactical game play…
CONTRA  …that might be slowed down because some cards are not as clear in their meaning as they should be; Uranus cards can be crippling for the German player if no counter cards are in hand; a tracking sheet for combat would have been nice

Introduction

Many (if not most) wargamers who are interested in the World War II topic are particularly drawn to the fightings of the Eastern Front. The fierceness of the battles fought on that front, the gigantic scale of this Clash of Titans, the different style of the tactics used by the Soviets and the Germans, all this seems to create the background for a scenario that is ideally suited for wargames.

Fighting for Stalingrad on the gaming table!

Fighting for Stalingrad on the gaming table!

Today the name Stalingrad is directly connected to the senseless brutality of war and is the epitome of the war of slaughter fought on the Eastern front. When the Wehrmacht started the largest invasion in the history of warfare, Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, with more than 4 million soldiers, 600,000 motor vehicles and 750,000 horses along a front almost 3000 km long, the city of Stalingrad was rather unimportant – as General Field-marshal Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist said:

The capture of Stalingrad was subsidiary to the main aim. It was only of importance as a convenient place, in the bottleneck between Don and the Volga, where we could block an attack on our flank by Russian forces coming from the east. At the start, Stalingrad was no more than a name on the map to us [Clark, Lloyd, Kursk: The Greatest Battle: Eastern Front 1943, 2011, page 157]

In the course of the later events of the war, it became a battle of prestige however – for both Hitler and Stalin – and this caused it to turn into one of the bloodiest battles of WW2. For over 5 months, the city saw extreme close quarter battles, soldiers fighting for single rooms in buildings like grain elevators, apartment blocks, factories, warehouses etc. or for other ‘strategic points’ like streets, staircases and sewers and both sides had high casualties to suffer. The nerve-wrecking close combat and man-to-man killing (which was called Rattenkrieg (rat war) by the German soldiers) was accompanied by the terror of artillery and air attacks that laid the city into ashes. The harsh winter weather, a lack of supply and ammunition because of a complete encirclement of the German forces in the city in the later stages of the battle, and the ability of the Soviet forces to bring in reinforcements eventually ended the Battle of Stalingrad and resulted in an total of about 2 million Axis and Soviet casualties.

Because of the fact that wargamers usually have the historical situation in mind and know a great deal of their era of particular interest, there is always the point of “how close and how accurate can a wargame be” in regard to the historical battle and how good it works as a game. The new DVG game we are reviewing here was announced with the promising words:

The Battle For Stalingrad puts you in the rubble-strewn streets as the German forces fight through one block of the city after another. The only hope for both sides is to secure the city before they run out of blood and food.

As the game unfolds, you’ll see one section of the city after another ground into rubble by your ceaseless fighting. As the city deteriorates, the amount of supplies generated for your men decreases. Supplies are the lifeblood of your army. Without them, you cannot move or attack, and you’ll suffer higher casualties in combat.

In the end, you’ll be scrambling through the ruins, as much in search of food as the enemy.

Let’s see if the PR announcement actually matches the game experience and what you can expect on your table 🙂

Presentation

Battle of Stalingrad (BoS) is a card game that comes in a very sturdy box that has a glossy finish, giving the feel of quality even before you open it. The first thing you see is the striking cover art done by Christian Quinot (who also did the great artworks for DVG’s Cards of Cthulhu game), evoking a feeling of desperation and chaos that seems rather fitting to the topic of the game.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Games A-Z, Historical Games A-Z, Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

WAR DIARY – a new wargame zine

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on April 22, 2014

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There’s a new wargame zine on the battlefield – War Diary!

The first issue covers some interesting topics and since there are a few ‘known names’ among the contributors War Diary might be worth checking out 🙂

A new wargaming magazine, but decidedly old-school in our approach.

We don’t publish any games, but then don’t you already pay enough for games you may never play?

Published quarterly, each print issue of War Diary features articles on military history, game play and variants, game reviews, commentary, and insight from game designers and developers.

Please join us.  One year subscriptions (four print issues) for $28.00.

SPRING 2014:

GHOST DIVISION: Rommel in France, 1940 by Dr. Michael Rinella

THE GRAND ALLIANCE: Expanding the Capabilities of the Western Allies in Barbarossa to Berlin by Lt. Col. (Ret.) John B. Firer

OPERATION HUSKY: An Analysis of Allied Landing Options in FAB: Sicily by Joel M. Toppen

E-GAMING: Opening Up the World of Gaming by Andy Loakes

WHATS IN A GAME: The Effects and Affects of Boardgames by John Poniske

GLOOM: A Game Review by John Poniske

THE GREAT GAME: History and Designer’s Notes by John Gorkowski

Game ON! A Discussion of the Game Publishing Industry and It’s Customers by Jeff Newell

 If you are interested go to their official website!

Posted in News and Releases | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Victory in Europe by Columbia Games funded!

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on April 22, 2014

Columbia Games has a new game in the pipeline called Victory in Europe and the Kickstarter Campaign has already reached the goal to fund the game. Now in the remaining days left you may still help to reach the stretch goals of the campaign to make the game even more interesting to play!

Victory in Europe is a strategic block wargame of World War II for 2 or 3 players that captures the entire war in Europe in a fast-paced experience. The game begins in late 1939 and ends up to six years later. Game time is 3-5 hours. Basically designed as a two player game there’s also the option to have the Soviets to be commanded by a third player. The game is card driven with the Allies and Axis each having their own deck and the possible actions are based on the different functions of the cards in play. Cards depict historical events or give a more general advantage in terms of maneuver. The game is designed with a historical flow of the war in mind but allows for new twists and turns based on the players decisions. To get an impression you can check out the rules synopsis here!

Some may question the need for another WW2 strategic level wargame since so many are already available that portray this gigantic struggle from different perspectives but most if not all of these games are quite lenghty when it comes to playing time and often use a lot of tablespace. So many players are still waiting for a historically accurate wargame on the strategic level that plays the whole ETO scenario in a couple of hours…Victory in Europe might be this game we are all waiting for! If you think that this game could be for you support the stretch goals on the official Kickstarter website!

As always Columbia Games products come with a money-back 30 day guarantee, that means if you don’t like the game just send it back to them and you’ll get a full refund so there’s no risk for you to back them!
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Designer Notes by Ron Draker

I have always enjoyed grand strategy games on WW II in Europe and spent many hours of my youth playing “Third Reich” and “Advanced Third Reich.” Some of you may remember SPI’s monster game on WW II with division-level units and spiral production charts. Oh those were the days when we had weekends to play. Now, however, I find I do not have the time or patience to learn 30 or 50 pages of rules with hundreds of exceptions. I prefer a game I can play in a long evening with minimal time looking up rules. I started thinking about designing my own WW II game back in 2002 and then learned that “Europe Engulfed” was in development.

Having discovered and fallen in love Columbia’s block games in the 1990s, I shelved my idea thinking there was no need since a playable block game was in development. When Europe Engulfed came out my friends and I played it practically non-stop and I still love the game, but I felt I still would like to see a game with less playing time and fewer exceptional rules. My goal was to take the things I liked most from Third Reich, EE, and other great WW II games and blend them into something new.

I started in earnest around 2005 and found my first design, while using fewer units, was still a monster game. I started with hexes, then went to areas, and then back to hexes. I had abstract concepts for managing the air war off map and intricate spiral production charts that would put SPI to shame, but the more cool things I thought I wanted in the game the longer the playing time became.

Through much trial and error and literally dozens of game mechanics and different maps, I feel I have finally succeeded in designing an enjoyable game that is playable in a long evening thanks to the help of Tom and Grant Dalgliesh at Columbia Games. To accomplish this goal of course, much of the chrome originally envisioned has fallen by the wayside. These are the trade-offs for the Holy Grail of a WW II grand strategy game playable in one sitting.

Setting the right victory conditions to make the game challenging for both sides is one of the harder aspects of designing a game. I decided to make conquest of Britain or the Soviet Union a game-ender to give the Axis player an incentive to go for the big win but there are many paths to victory. I hope you find the choices made acceptable and enjoy the game. 

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The map is of a unique oval design

 

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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)

Posted in Wargaming in general | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Historical Games A-Z, Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | 15 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

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Battle for Stalingrad – new DVG game announced

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on March 18, 2013

Dan Verssen Games (DVG) is known for regularly publishing a lot of quality (war)games and so it’s no surprise to see this announcement for a new game. It’s a card based wargame about the Battle of Stalingrad and seems to deal with sector control and getting supply/rations by doing so to keep the fight going. Nothing is mentioned yet about the actual scale but tactical or squad level is probably to be expected in this portrayal of the brutal house to house and street fighting this famous battle of WWII is known for.

If you like what the official announcement below is telling you, head over to the Kickstarter website to support this project and hopefully we’ll see another winner on our gaming table soon.

More info about the game, with pictures of the cards can be found here and you can also take a look at the rules draft already.

 

One of the most brutal events of the Second World War, the Battle of Stalingrad has long been regarded as a turning point in the fight against Hitler’s forces. The Fuhrer had ordered that Stalingrad be taken in a bid to crush the morale of the Soviet Union by giving the Germans a springboard to potentially seize control of the East. Supported by Luftwaffe bombing, the city was quickly reduced to rubble and hundreds of thousands were killed in the later months of 1942. Yet, despite staring into the face of defeat, the Red Army dug in and pushed back, eventually cracking the Nazi forces amidst the one of the bleakest winters on record. 

Now you can experience it for yourself in Battle for Stalingrad from DVG. Two players face off against each other, one taking control of the German Army, the other commanding the Russian forces, in a bid to either maintain or rewrite this momentous period of history. Using an intuitive card-driven game system that is quick to pick up yet offers an incredible depth of play, Battle for Stalingrad sees you and your opponent fight block by block through the rubble-strewn streets, struggling to keep your troops going as morale and supplies grow ever more scarce… As the battle draws to a close, you’ll be running low on everything – especially willing soldiers – leaving you to consider whether victory is worth such a high price…

The goal of the game is simple: gain control of five locations within the city of Stalingrad. At the start of each game these locations are randomly selected from a set of nine, adding variety every time you play. Locations contain a Control area and a Perimeter area for each player; if you have forces in your Control area when the enemy does not, the location is yours.

Commanders must balance their plays carefully by gaining control of locations while preserving their forces, managing their cards and spending ration counters – possibly one of the most vital aspects of the game. Rations are gained by controlling locations. They are necessary if you wish to move and attack, and are also used by forces to absorb battle damage. Players must decide when to spend cards, when to discard rations, and when to let a force get destroyed. There are always casualties in war.

The game is built around combat, with every action card having a Firefight value in the top-right corner ranging from -3 to +3. Cards can be played from your hand to build up your attack or decrease the enemy’s strength, and players draw Firefight cards back and forth. Once both players pass in succession, they each flip one last card from their decks as a randomizer, finally allocating damage to each other’s forces.

Throughout the game, the Russian player is also trying to get three Operation Uranus cards into play; if all three are still in play at the end of the German player’s turn, victory immediately goes to the Red Army.

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