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Moscow 41 by Vento Nuovo Games  In July 1941, Smolensk fell to Germany's Army Group Center. The Germans were a...

Moscow 41 by Vento Nuovo Games Moscow 41 by Vento Nuovo Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

July 2018

Moscow 41 by Vento Nuovo Games



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 In July 1941, Smolensk fell to Germany's Army Group Center. The Germans were already two thirds of the way to Moscow. German Field Marshal von Bock was thinking he would be the one who would be the conqueror of Moscow. The only problem was that Hitler wasn't really interested in capturing Moscow, and Stalin might have something to say about it also. The game is a two player game (it also plays well in solitaire) about the second half of Operation Barbarossa. One player commands the Soviets in their desperate attempt to, if not stop, at least slow the German advance. The other player takes over the German troops trying to finish the Russian Campaign before the Russian allies 'Generals Mud and Winter' can come to their aid.


Map Portion and Blocks

 The first game I reviewed for Vento Nuovo Games was 'Bloody Monday' about another invasion of Russia one hundred and twenty-nine years earlier. Like the other game, Moscow 41 is a block wargame. In this game you get to fight over the same exact places, along with others, that were fought over in 1812. The Russian player has to trade blood and mileage to slow the German juggernaut. The German player also has to worry about the campaigns to the North and South of him, as the other two German Army Groups try to take Leningrad and Kiev.  So the German player does not act in a vacuum. As it was historically, Hitler's obsession with Kiev and Leningrad made Army group Center's job much harder, if not impossible, before the weather interfered. 


Close up of Soviet Units

 What do you actually get with the game? Here is the list:

 A heavy card-stock map that is 64cm x 86cm
 120 wooden blocks and the stickers for them
 100 other wooden pieces
 Two player Guides
 Two Setup and Information guides

 You can purchase the following for the game:
 Mounted Map
 Gore-Tex Map
 Metal Miniature Bombers
 Extra Blocks and stickers etc. 



Close Up of German Commander Units



 The game comes with four scenarios; these are:

 Beyond The Dnieper - July
 Operation Typhoon - October to December
 The Wehrmacht's Last Gasp - November  to  December
 The Road To Moscow - Campaign Scenario 



Germans ready to strike



 This is the sequence of play:

1. Logistics Phase
2. Impulses Phase
 A. Strategic Impulse
 B. Tactical Impulse
  A. HQ Activation
  B. Command Segment
  C. Combat Segment
  D.  Blitz Segment
  E. Deactivation Segment
  F. Exploitation Movement
 C. Pass
3. Final Phase


German Bombers helping in an attack


 The scale of the game is 1cm of the map equals 10km. The game turns represent one month. Besides the unit blocks there are also 'defensive lines' that are represented by rectangular blocks.



Soviet Order Of Battle


 There are two ways to win the campaign scenario. A 'Sudden Death' victory is if either player has seven victory points. There are five 'victory areas' (Smolensk, Tula, Orel, Voronezh, and Moscow), and two victory boxes Leningrad, and Kiev. The other scenarios have you either taking or keeping Moscow or two other locations on the map to decide victory.


German Order Of Battle


 The Logistics Phase can only be performed at the beginning of turn two ( there is no Logistics Phase on the first turn). You can either choose to activate your leader (Hitler or Stalin), or declare a Logistics Phase. The replacement and losses on the block units are done by the usual method of turning the blocks themselves clockwise or counter-clockwise to the appropriate strength on the block.







  The rulebook is only nineteen pages long, without the scenario information. It is in full color and large type. The player without the initiative disk is the first to setup his units at game start, but he is the first to decide what to do in the Logistics Phase starting on turn two. The player who has the initiative disk plays the first impulse of the turn. The player with the initiative disk can also decide if he wants to play a Strategic Impulse; this would include calling for reinforcements etc. There are also rules covering artillery fire, isolation, and Soviet anti-aircraft fire. The games rules are easy to understand and the player quickly becomes used to the sequence of play. With the shorter rules and the game being so visually appealing, you might think that you have bought 'Russian Front Lite'. In this you would be very mistaken. The game is actually very deep, and puts the player into the generals' historic shoes. The game attempts, and succeeds, in making almost every choice of the player a nail-biter. As the German, do you go full bore and hope your logistics hold? As the Soviet, in the beginning of the game you can really only react to the Germans. In the latter part of the game the Russian player has more options.




 The one word I have seen consistently in write ups about Moscow 41 is 'elegant'. I could not agree more. Vento Nuovo Games are not only made to high standards, but the rules are also very well done. I am really looking forward to reviewing 'Stalingrad Inferno on the Volga'. 

Robert 

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We all know CMANO is a title for the more serious wargamer, with very minimal graphics that leave much to the imagination, and gameplay...

Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations Goes Pro Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations Goes Pro

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

July 2018

Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations Goes Pro




We all know CMANO is a title for the more serious wargamer, with very minimal graphics that leave much to the imagination, and gameplay that assumes the player has at least a couple textbooks on modern air and naval tactics up on the bookshelf, and perhaps took some online classes at their local military academy. You think I'm kidding, but the big boys at the Pentagon and elsewhere are very much interested in using CMANO for their own wargaming. Specifically, a special "Professional Edition" of the game developed to meet the needs of military and government entities. (And no, you can't get your merely amateur wargamer hands on it).

See the full press release below:

The game is getting serious: How a commercial video game becomes a military asset.
Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations (CMANO) is a serious videogame, very much in the Matrix Games genre and was released for public sale in 2013. CMANO gives the Wargamer full tactical and operational level control of a conflict simulation, from a single 1-vs-1 dogfight, or naval skirmish all the way to theatre and even strategic-scale warfare. CMANO, developed by our Developer partner WarfareSims, was immediately recognised by our gaming community as a unique title and repeatedly voted Wargame of the Year (WOTY).
Since release, multiple DLC and expansion sets have been added and the very popular, yet controversial, Command LIVE series, based around evolving political and military events, has been a major success. Other examples of the realism of the series are Chains of War a battle set that explores conflict between China, the USA and their respective allies, taking place the near future.
The Command LIVE series of DLC’s, places you as Commander in the midst of a range of topical and newsworthy incidents, for example “DON OF A NEW ERA” kicks off when a violent demonstration against the Moldovan Government explodes, with the death of 27 protesters and the city under martial law.  The EU has declared support for the Moldovan Government, but Russia has come out vehemently in support of the ethnic Russian population. In “YOU BREXIT, YOU FIX IT!” It’s 23 August 2016, Europe is reeling politically and economically from the effects of the UK deciding to leave the European Union. Both the £Pound and the €Euro are near collapse. The Russian Federation exploits the situation and moves against the Baltic States.
Matrix has created a range of “CNN-like” news reports depicting the situations that players are confronted with in these highly realistic scenarios.

In 2015 Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work issued a startling directive:  “I am concerned that the Department’s ability to test concepts, capabilities, and plans using simulation and other techniques—otherwise known as wargaming—has atrophied”. Not surprisingly, Matrix took a call from the Pentagon and a new era began. The Military had recognised the value of Commercial off the Shelf Software (COTS). The cost savings and the attention to detail provided by around 1 million dedicated users, many of them serving or retired military personnel, play a major part in the testing and quality of the Command simulation.
The decision was not difficult and a team of military experts was dispatched to Epsom to evaluate Command, this resulted in further collaboration and the CMANO team were invited to visit the Pentagon.
Ongoing Validation and Verification of the Simulation has established its suitability for Professional use and this has resulted in a specialist Division of the Slitherine Group, Matrix Games LLC, being established to manage Military contracts.
The Command Professional Edition of the software has expanded significantly to specifically manage experimentation & statistical analysis, the creation and testing of new and experimental platforms & systems and Warfighter training, much of which is operated within a classified environment.

A number of prominent Government Agencies and military contractors are also using Command PE and last week Lockheed Martin’s Centre for Innovation in Suffolk, Virginia hosted a week long training session for key members from Government Agencies, specialist Contractors and representatives from various Militaries, gathered from around the globe to participate in a comprehensive week long training event.
The latest evolution and development of Command PE, whose advanced features are not available in the commercial edition, has rapidly progressed to suit the needs of the Military and substantial new upgrades were announced at the event. Command PE is now spearheading this innovative new business venture that has become an integral part of the physics-based research and experimentation of the defense sector.

"Turning a commercial off the shelf (COTS) video game into professional software is not a simple task", said JD McNeil, Chairman of the Slitherine Group. "We have spent the last three years collaborating with and accommodating the very specific needs of our Military clients. We are continually modifying and improving the software to fit their very specific needs. It's a fundamentally different development environment that requires a diverse approach to the range of issues to be considered. The Slitherine Group and its development partner WarfareSims are investing significant resources, developing what has become an integral part of our future growth".



- Joe Beard

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THE WAR OF THE WORLDS from DVG With the last DVG game I reviewed, I spoke of how they had stepped into the multi-player world o...

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS THE WAR OF THE WORLDS

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

July 2018

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS

from

DVG

With the last DVG game I reviewed, I spoke of how they had stepped into the multi-player world of light Euro-style games, but for me a little too light.  With this latest product, The War of The Worlds, we're back on the familiar ground of solo gaming, but still with a Euro-game feel.  

From my early childhood copy of H.G.Wells' novel, through the L.P. [yes I am that old!] of Jeff Wayne's soundtrack with Richard Burton as the narrator and the less than faithful films that have been made, the story has been part of my DNA.  So, it was great to have received this from DVG for my latest review, but I was a little apprehensive about how this seminal story had been handled as a game.

Two previous games had focused on the geography of the novel keeping setting in the limited environs of London and the south-east of England as a more or less conventional hex-based war game.  DVG have gone for a broad-brush strategy approach featuring the whole of the UK [and. as you'll see, potentially further!].

I've no hesitation in saying that from  the moment of lifting the game out of its, as always, safe and secure packaging I was hooked.  My first delight was the box graphics that promised a wholly appropriate Victorian feel to the game. London where some of the most violent moments in the novel take place  is immediately evoked by the central image of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, with people in panic-stricken flight from the Martian machines.

This authentic feel was instantly reinforced on unfolding the superbly presented game board [which my camera work does not do anything like justice to].
In particular, the picture does not bring out the rich wood-effect of the deep surrounding edge to the board with its stylish cogs and gears that have an almost 3D quality.  The five roundels along the top [four of which are also displayed on the box lid] will be used to hold the different waves of Martian machines [Tripods] and the magnifying glass in the bottom right corner serves as an enlargement of the capital city London to make game play easier when that area is inevitably invaded.  






This sort of attention to small details is admirable.  It's great to see these functional needs turned into further ways to reinforce the game's artistic appeal and reinforce the visuals of the original story. This emphasised on inspecting the four superb glossy counter sheets.  The Martian machines [the Tripods] are done in bold primary colours, while most of the rest are in a faded shade.  Favourite for me among so many are the individual counters for figures who featured in Wells' narrative: the Narrator, who tells the first-person account, and his wife, the curate he meets in the ruined building, the artillery man and so on.  Best touch of all is using both on the box cover and the counter an image of Wells himself for the Narrator!

Above I've gathered the counters for most of the individuals who can appear in the game through some of the random Event cards - more about the cards later.



The Thunder-Child battles the Martian machines.


The all-embracing conception of the art complements the theme perfectly.  Though Wells focuses the events in his novel on a small portion of southern England, we can see it as a microcosm for the whole world.  It certainly allows for this core game [The War of The Worlds: England] to span the whole of the United Kingdom and enterprisingly beyond to other editions subtitled East Coast America, France and Japan!  An option, called League of Terran Nations, is offered at the end of the rule book, which allows you to play multiple nations simultaneously.  Though I know that I'll never aspire to this challenge, it is a nice extra.  



The rule book is typically attractive and admirably laid out with plenty of illustrations and examples supported by a first class play aid [see below]. 


Three pages of component exposition and roughly one page of set-up brings you to a step-by-step explanation of each Phase of a turn.  Unlike most of DVG's solitaire games that demand substantial pre-planning that is very much a part of the game experience, TWoTWs has the simplest of set-ups that reflects the moderately low complexity of the game and its predominantly strategic level.

Three Handling machine counters begin the game on the map; one in Scotland, one in Wales and one in Leicester.  Leicester?  Very strangely the substantial Zones [that cover several counties] in England are named after various cities.  Next, Wave 1 of the Tripods is randomly placed according to a die roll [and that Zone's Production marker is replaced by a Devastation marker] - none of the possible locations are anywhere near where Wells' chose for them to land in his novel.  In fact the most likely arrival spot is Scotland.  Again, game mechanics designed to give you, the Human player, a chance of victory overcome the facts of the source novel.  The final item to roll for is the placement of the first Cylinder which will ultimately produce a subsequent Wave of Tripods.   

Once everything is set up, it's down to acquiring the rules to begin play.  Most of the stages in the play sequence are brief to read and equally brief to execute.  The A.I. for the Martian side is governed by die rolls and card draws and many of your own actions will be executed by rolling the same special dice that contain three green faces, two yellow ones and a single red one.

However, do read the rules carefully, especially as the sequence of Phases is quite unusual and contains small elements that may trip you up.  The sequence is as follows:





First up is the Production Phase where you gain points mainly to buy and place on the board the units and other items essential to winning the game.  A very simple action, but as always deciding what to purchase with your limited resources is the  problem.  Typical items are Infantry, Cavalry and Guns, but also rather oddly Harbours [which are randomly selected when purchased]. Imagine the scenario: I want to escape from Liverpool, oh sorry, sir, that Harbour hasn't been one of the lucky ones to be bought yet!   Like some other aspects of this game, a clever mechanic, but wholly unrealistic! 

The Battle Phase follows next.  Here there is a more to take in. The key point to have in the front of your mind is that this Phase only occurs when you have a Wave counter in the same main mapboard Zone as a Field Gun or Siege Gun.  This tripped me up initially. finding it strange not to have a Battle because you only have infantry or cavalry units.  It was equally strange to discover the roles these units play: Infantry are used for dice rolls to gain the all-important Earthworks that protect and conceal your guns, while Cavalry provide similar dice rolls to gain Battle Plans.  The latter as expected give you various advantages in the upcoming battle.

Should the Battle Phase thus occur units are shifted to a small tactical board.  It would have been an added richness if this had also been mounted, but the glossy thin cardstock is adequate.  The placing of the Tripods and their actions during the battle are governed by the draw of battle cards.  Inevitably there is a strong element of chance here, but not only is it essential to a solitaire game to have some sort of A.I., but it adds greatly to the tension of the game and the cat and mouse feel.
The right hand board is for use in the Battle Phase
The Tripods are randomly placed, according to card draw, in the top row.  You choose where to place any Human characters and units in the bottom row of hexes and your guns and any accompanying earthworks are placed in any of the hexes in the row above [marked with artillery symbols].  There are some strange peculiarities here that remind me that this is more a Euro-game than a war game. 

Why will the Tripods only fire at guns and only those that have been revealed by having all their earthworks stripped away?  Why do all the Human units cluster in the hexes on the bottom row and cannot move?  This is especially strange as all Human units in a hex that a Tripod enters are captured and gain the Martian side a victory point.  So, they just sit there hoping that the cards that move the Tripods send them on past without entering their hex.  It adds a great deal of tension, but there's little skill on your part whether your units live or die.  

A rare moment when the tripods were heavily outumbered


There are some inconsistencies too; for example, we are told that any guns in the bottom row hex are destroyed if a Tripod enters the hex, but guns set up on the row above.  Is this a hangover from an earlier rule that didn't get caught in proof-reading?  I've assumed that the rule is simply applied to the hex row the guns are set up in.  Also the rules occasionally omit or at best leave the player to make an assumption.  Typical of this is the instruction that the end of a battle comes when there are either no Human units on the board or no Tripod units.  What isn't made clear is that ultimately the Tripods will be forced by the movement instructions to exit the bottom edge of the board. 

I mention such points, as they have led to a range of uncertainties and questions.  Nothing major, but these small points do add up and an especial warning if, like me, you often look online to BBG [Boardgamegeek] for useful playthrough/how to play videos.  Though only 3 months old the video provided by Kevin and Dan Verssen contains many significant differences in the rules from what's there in the published game!

Having survived [or not] any Battles, you move straight on to the Devastation Phase where - surprise, surprise - a die roll is made in every Zone where there's a Wave marker.  This quickly and very abstractly will determine a variety of losses, including some or all of the following:  1 or 2 Human VPs, 1 Human unit and upto 5 Workforce, as well as creating a number of Refugees. The next Phase, Human Action, will pass just as quickly.  All Human units/Characters can move one Zone and Infantry instead of moving can roll either to see if they destroy a Tripod that hasn't yet emerged from a Cylinder or to place a Powder Keg.

The Escape Phase promises exactly what it says.  Any Refugees currently in a Zone with a Harbour roll to attempt to escape.  The first roll determines whether they are successful in fleeing with a two thirds chance of success.  Otherwise they stay put in the Zone, but if you think that having successfully fled the danger's over, it's not!  All it means is that you've successfully boarded a freighter to take you to safety.Now you roll again - 50% chance of making a clean get away, but if not you'll have to fight your way to safety against either one or two Tripods on the Naval Board.  

A Naval Battle has similarities to a Land Battle, though frankly is more enjoyable as you have to manoeuvre your freighters - and possibly a Warship or two if you can afford to buy them - from the top of the board to the bottom.  Meanwhile the Tripod is governed by the same card drawing and die rolling process as in a Land Battle to randomly move and fire on your ships.  It's enjoyable, but seems a rather prolonged process in order for you to gain usually at best one or two VPs or for the Martians to gain one or two VPs.

Rather oddly it's at the end of this Phase that you tot up how many VPs you've earned this turn, one point for every Refugee escaped and 1 point for every Production site not devastated.  As you start the game with 10 out of your 11 Production sites operable, that's a 10 VP start at the end of the first turn.  10 VPs turn into 1 Germ and 10 Germs win you the game - so, a simple bit of maths and it's  100 VPs for a win.  [Spoiler alert - avoid next paragraph, if you haven't read Wells' novel, The War of The Worlds, and you want to do so before playing the game].  

Why Germs?  Well, as a nod to the novel - the plucky British don't triumph against all odds, a deus ex machina, good old Mother Nature does the job - germs kill off the Martians!  So, let's turn VPs into germs and then if you win, hey presto, you can say the germs got them - though in game terms, it's escaping Refugees, killing Tripods and mainly having undevastated production Zones giving you VPs each turn that brings you out victorious.

So, back to our game.  Only two swift Phases left.  First the Martian Action Phase, which is far less dramatic than it sounds.  Another simple die roll for each Zone that contains a Martian Wave marker.  The possible results are as follows: the Wave moves to a different Zone [that's right roll the die to find out which one], the Wave gains an extra Tripod or part of the Flying Machine is built.  There is usually a one in six chance of the latter happening and if all four parts of the Flying Machine get built the Human player loses the game.  This single detail has so far been the most criticised aspect of the game, as a series of early bad rolls and you are toast.  In my most recent game, I was doing very nicely on 84 VPs, the Narrator's Wife had safely escaped [a nice thematic touch] with the Martians trailing on 54 VPs, when the fourth part of the Flying machine was built. Game over.

Just to prove how near I got!

The last task in this Phase is to roll for each Zone that has a Destroyed marker to see if it turns into a Red Weed Zone and add up Martian VPs. 2VPs for each destroyed Zone and 4 VPs for each Red Weed Zone.  Like the Human player, 10 VPs are turned into a Colonisation Point and 10 Colonisation points mean that the Human has lost.

The final Phase is the Assembly.  In every Zone where there is a Martian Handling machine and a Cylinder, roll the die and if the colour matches the colour of the Handling Machine, the Cylinder is replaced by the next numbered Wave marker.

The only other feature to mention is the deck of Event cards.  I really like how this is handled, as the deck is made up of Events labelled for every Phase of the turn, but the top card is only played when it matches the current Phase.  So, at least one Event card will definitely be played each turn, but the earlier the Phase that this happens the more likely it is that you will get the next card matching a later Phase in the turn and so on.  Some turns I've had a single Event card playable, at others up to four and once five!

A typical selection of the many Event cards that add greatly to the thematic element of the game.

So, final conclusions.  A fairly swift and easy game with some minor uncertainties in the rules that have largely been cleared up on BGG, but as yet no definitive Errata/FAQ published.  Components are excellent and greatly add to the flavour of the game.  A light game that depends heavily on dice rolling which brings in an equally heavy slice of luck. For me, it's not so much the luck element as the lack of major choices on the player's part that makes me want more control.  That said, there are often many micro-moments of decision that add to the already frequent tension generated by so many of the die rolls, especially as the game moves into its later stages.  DVG are obviously looking to widen their appeal and I think this game has a potential to hit the lighter end of the market, but for my own tastes I prefer their typical meatier historical war games.

Once again many thanks to DVG for supplying the review copy.


Standard Price
$59.99

£55.99

And my next review up will certainly cover a very heavy weight grognard's historical war game on three battles of the Crimean war!

So, look out for Bloody Steppes of the Crimea in a few weeks' time.





















3 comments :

At Any Cost Metz 1870 by GMT Games  The Franco-Prussian War; not many besides historians and wargamers have even ...

At Any Cost Metz 1870 by GMT Games At Any Cost Metz 1870 by GMT Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

July 2018

At Any Cost Metz 1870 by GMT Games



by






 The Franco-Prussian War; not many besides historians and wargamers have even heard about it. The Franco-Prussian War is really the catalyst for the events of the next seventy-five years in European history. If France had not lost this war, and had Germany not taken Alsace-Lorraine from her as one of the spoils our world might be very different. France's burning desire for revenge and the return of those areas was one of the main reasons behind World War I. Had Germany not lost World War I there would have been no need for a second war with Germany looking for revenge. The Franco-Prussian War was the last act in Bismarck's successful attempt to unite Germany under Prussia. 


Full Map


 The next part about the Franco-Prussian War was not just how France lost, but how she lost so badly. There have been few wars where one side had weapons that were so technologically enhanced over the other side yet still lost (except for wars of liberation). The French rifle, the 'Chassepot', had a range twice that of the Prussian rifle. It also had a higher rate of fire. The French also had the Mitrailleuse that was the first well functioning machine gun used in large numbers on the battlefield. Time and again, the Prussians and their Allies stormed into the hail of lead that was thrown at them by the French forces. The Mitrailleuse was, unfortunately for the French, used as an artillery piece, and rarely made its presence felt as much as it should have. The war came down to a lop-sided game of chess between the efficient Prussian Generals, and the lax, and almost comatose French generals. The French High Command acted like prey transfixed by the eyes of a serpent. More than a few times, the Prussians and their Allies broke or almost broke under the weight of French fire while attacking. The French High Command could not overcome their malaise, and constantly pulled defeat from the jaws of victory.


First Counter Sheet


 At Any Cost is a simulation (I hate using the word 'game' for a wargame) of the French Army under Marshal Bazaine's attempt to escape from the environs of the fortress of Metz, and meet with another army under Napoleon III. The six scenarios of the game take place during August 15th to August 18th 1870. They run from small two corp battles on each side to two different campaign scenarios. 


Second Counter Sheet


 This 'game' uses the 'Blind Swords System' to play out the different battles. It is essentially a chit-pull system that emphasizes the three 'FOWs' of war: fog-of-war, friction-of-war, and fortunes-of-war. The Blind Swords System is meant to put the player on the horns of a dilemma and to keep him there during the entire game. The game itself is based upon infantry brigades, cavalry, and artillery. This was the last war where cavalry really made any useful contribution on the actual battlefield. The situation that the Prussians find themselves in is that they have lost the French Army. The Prussians outnumber the French, but due to fatigue and weather Bazaine's Army has escaped their grasp. The French forces are trying to go West, however their somnambulist state plays against them at every turn. The Prussians find the French, but assume that it is their rearguard. Unfortunately for them it is actually the slow moving French vanguard. 


Map Close up from the 'A Day Of Battle' scenario


 So what do you actually get with the game:

 RuleBook - With play examples
 Playbook - This contains the scenarios, and the historical notes
 Game Track Card
 Prussian Strategic movement Card
 4 - Player Aid Cards ( 2-Prussian, 2-French)
 4 - Ten-sided Die (1-Blue, 1-Red, 2-White)
 22" x 34" map
 Two Standard Size Counter Sheets

 The six scenarios are :

 The Afternoon Crisis (Small Battle Scenario)
 Twilight Of The Guards (Small Battle Scenario)
 A Day of Battle (Full Battle Scenario)
 Bloody Thursday (Full Battle Scenario)
 A Beckoning Victory (Campaign Scenario)
 It Will Cost What It Will (Campaign Scenario)

 The sequence of play is:

1. Planning Phase
2. Chit Draw Phase
3. Activation Phase
 A. HQ Command Step
 B. Fire Combat Step
 C. Movement Step
 D. Assault Combat Step
 E. Rally Step
 F. Out Of Command Step
4. End Turn Phase
 A. French Command Step
 B. Prussian Command Step
 C. Victory Determination Step
 D. Housekeeping Step
 The Rulebook is twenty-eight pages long. Both it and the Playbook are in color and well set up and easy to read. The counters and map are your typical GMT fare. Which means they are extremely well done with great artwork. On the map each hex represents 500 yards. 

 This is a few of the French Event Chit Descriptions:
 Beaten Zone: Play immediately of hold. Any one French Infantry or Mitrailleuse unit conducts an immediate fire combat following all normal procedures.
 Command Initiative: Hold. Play at the end of any enemy's HQ Command Step (after the opponent assigns an Order to the activated HQ units). Roll a die and apply the following.
 1-2 = Active HQ unit is given a different Order by the Prussian Player.
 3-4 = Active HQ unit is given a different Order by the French Player.
 5 = Active HQ unit must be given a March Order.
 6 = Active HQ unit must be given a Defend Order.
 7 = Active HQ unit must be given a Regroup Order.
 8 = Active HQ unit must be given an Attack Order.
 9-10 = National Doctrine: French HQ must be given a Defend Order. Prussian HQ must be given an Attack Order. 

 So, you can see by the chits how the Blind Swords System at times actually gives your opponent the chance to change your own forces' orders. This unique use of the chit pull system has now become the ultimate in fog-of-war. You,as the French Player, could give your HQ's defend orders only to see the Prussian Player able to change your orders to attack and vice versa. Remember that the chief goal of the French Player is to escape (in the campaign scenarios). So, not only is good play needed on the tactical level, you must also be ready to have all of your well thought out plans thrown to the winds. The system took an old grog like me a little bit of getting used to. Then I was able to embrace it, and see how artfully it depicts not only the fog-of-war, but also the friction, and fortunes-of-war. 

This is the setup for my favorite scenario 'Twilight Of The Guards'

 I have been a student of this war since I was a child. I have played out these battles in my mind and table for the last fifty years. I can say, unfortunately for me, this game is the best tactical representation of the conflict I have played. I said unfortunately because I have always wanted the French to win these battles. The smaller scenarios, including my favorite 'Twilight Of The Guards' are able to show how close the French came to victory, and can actually have the French winning them. The campaign scenarios are a bit tougher on the French side to win. The 'French Army Morning Deployment Rule' (they are essentially laying in their tents waiting for water to boil for their cafe) in the campaign scenarios really hamstring the French Army's retreat. This is not a bad thing, and is totally historic, but it is tough to overcome. I have liked the postings I have seen by the designer Hermann Luttmann, and his very prompt answers to game questions. He also does not treat the rules as if they were etched in stone, but encourages players to experiment with changes to them. That is the one thing that board games will always have over computer ones. If you find a rule that is non-historical or doesn't work, don't use it and make your own. It's your game.

 I can unequivocally recommend this game to anyone with an interest in the era. I can also recommend the Blind Sword System to grogs who are looking for a change of pace. The system is going to be used in a number of upcoming games from the 19th century.

 This is a link to the Rulebook:

 This is a link to the Errata and FAQ:
 This is an excellent write up about the Battle of Gravelotte-St. Privat:

Robert

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We're finally getting a first look at the big sequel to Panzer Corps, the aptly named Panzer Corps 2! In what should be th...

Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #1 Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #1

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July 2018

Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #1







We're finally getting a first look at the big sequel to Panzer Corps, the aptly named Panzer Corps 2! In what should be the first of many developer diary posts, we finally get to see some details on the features of the sequel and some screenshots to gawk at. You can head over to the official post here, or see the contents below:


Welcome to the first issue of Panzer Corps 2 Developer Diaries. The initial announcement of Panzer Corps 2 was a little while ago now, and we understand that it left many people waiting for more information. In this issue we will try to provide a general overview of where we are going with this project and what to expect from it. We will provide much more information on each individual aspect of the game in future diaries.



Gameplay changes

Panzer Corps was intended as a spiritual sequel to the classic Panzer General series, and we were very careful to preserve the traditions of that series that made it so great for its day. We are taking the same very careful approach to game design in Panzer Corps 2. We are not trying to fix things which are not broken in the first place. Many aspects of the game, including the list of unit classes and unit stats, remain unchanged, and Panzer Corps veterans will feel themselves instantly at home with the new game. At the same time, we are giving the player a number of new tactical options, which will make the playing experience even more interesting and engaging. Here are some examples of these options:

Overrun. This was probably the most requested feature in Panzer Corps, and we had no other option other than to include it. Overrun is a unique ability of tanks to run over crippled enemy units and destroy them in the process, without spending their move or attack action. This feature not only helps to better represent the role of tanks in WW2, but also gives many interesting tactical implications from a pure gameplay point of view.

Encirclements. Panzer Corps is a “wargame” in the first place, and for most players its “war” aspect is the most interesting of all. On the other hand, moving around non-combat supply units, counting supply points etc. is much less fun. For this reason, we decided early on that the new game would not include a full-blown realistic model of supply. However, we felt that cutting enemy units from supply was a very interesting and useful tactical option, so we have included it in the game. It works like this: when a group of units is encircled by the enemy (only “passable” terrain needs to be blocked), it no longer receives any supply, and on top of this, encircled units will get a progressive combat penalty every turn. So now, the player has a choice: tackle the next objective head on, or try to encircle it and weaken the defenders before dealing with them.


Infantry unit is isolated on a small peninsula by the sea and the enemy. It does not get any supply here.

Splitting units. In Panzer Corps 2 any unit can be split into two equal halves (of course, at a cost of additional unit slots) which will act on the battlefield as two independent units. Splitting has countless tactical uses, especially in combination with encirclements as described above. Certain unit classes can especially benefit from it, like recon.

Captured units. Captured units in Panzer Corps campaigns were so popular, we’ve decided to make them a part of core game mechanics. When you force enemy unit to surrender, its equipment is captured and added to a pool. Later you can use this pool to create new units or replenish existing ones for free. This adds yet another tactical consideration: shall I destroy this unit, or try to make it surrender instead?

Unique hero abilities. Unlike Panzer Corps, where heroes only gave stat boosts to units, in Panzer Corps 2 they will have many unique tactical abilities, and some of these abilities will be synergistic. So, using your heroes in the best way possible will be a different task in every playthrough.

Air and Naval Warfare. Other major changes will happen in air and naval warfare. Ground combat was the most sophisticated and interesting part of Panzer Corps. With so many different rules, unit classes and terrain types, ground war was a varied and rich gameplay experience. We felt that air and naval warfare was somewhat lacking in comparison. Our ultimate goal in the sequel is to make them interesting enough to allow dedicated “naval only” and “air only” scenarios, and to achieve this goal, we are looking at various “naval only” and “air only” hex-based wargames for inspiration.
The most important change in the air war is that all aircraft act from airfields now, and return to their base automatically at the beginning of their turn. Also, just as in real life, the effectiveness of aircraft drops as the distance to their base increases. This means that all air rules and mechanics from Panzer Corps (like mass attack, interceptors etc.) remain in place, but at the same time the airfields, their location on the map, timely capture and proper defense become key elements in air warfare.
As for naval war, naval terrain is “by definition” less interesting than ground terrain, with endless sea hexes going in all directions. To compensate for this, ships themselves will be more complex entities, with various factors (like orientation and position of turrets) affecting combat effectiveness, and a damage model (inspired by Pacific General) going beyond the simple “strength number” under the ship. Carrier and submarine classes will be much better fleshed out to represent their unique roles in naval war. A more advanced naval model will allow this series to branch out into any theatre of war in the future, including the “naval-heavy” Pacific, something which Panzer Corps never did.

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