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Crossing The Line Aachen 1944 by Furor Teutonicus Games  I have been inundated lately with games coming from sm...

Crossing The Line: Aachen 1944 by Furor Teutonicus Games Crossing The Line: Aachen 1944 by Furor Teutonicus Games

Crossing The Line: Aachen 1944 by Furor Teutonicus Games

Crossing The Line: Aachen 1944 by Furor Teutonicus Games

Crossing The Line

Aachen 1944


Furor Teutonicus Games

 I have been inundated lately with games coming from small game companies, mostly new, in Europe. Mostly they have been from Italy, but this game comes from Germany. To those of us who long for the halcyon days of wargaming in the 1970s and early 1980s, I have news for you: this could very well be the 'Golden Age' of wargaming. Whilst it is true that the individual games do not have sales numbers like their predecessors, the sheer plethora of games and companies now is nothing short of amazing. The components in the games are also many times better than what we were used to. Well, enough of the speechifying, onto the game.

 This is the historical breakdown from Furor Teutonicus Games:

 "While Operation Market Garden was in the final stage of preparation, Lieutenant General Hodges led the leading elements of the First Army towards the Westwall fortified line south of Aachen. If successful, he might have the opportunity to drive through the fortified line crossing the Roer River and perhaps reaching the Rhine River.
 The Game Crossing the Line – Aachen 1944 is an operational level simulation of the Battle for Aachen, which took place from September 12th to October 21st, 1944. The game is intended for two players but is also suitable for solitaire and team play.
The goal for the US player is to hit the Germans hard and to seize specific victory locations. Of course, the German player the German player wants to prevent this from happening. The game is played in a semi-interactive way and makes both players sit on the fence at all times…"

 The Scale
• A hex represents 1.2km of terrain from side to side.
• Each turn represents a period of two to eight days.
• Combat units are mostly battalions.

 This is what comes with the game:

• One rulebook 
• One scenario booklet including four scenarios and extensive historical notes
• One 22”x34” map sheet
• 360 extra large counters of which 160 are combat units
• Four Player aid charts
• Setup charts
• Reinforcement & Withdrawals charts

 Right now 'Crossing The Line' is the sole game in Furor Teutonicus Game stable (although they do have some interesting ones in the queue). What is surprising to me is the polished look and quality of the games components. The Rule Book is in full color, and is very well done. It is very nicely laid out and also has a three page glossary at the end. This is very handy for looking up the game's rules and concepts. The map is beautifully done and its size is large for the battle. Everything on the map is easy to read and make out, including terrain. The counters have what the company calls a 'linen like' finish. Whatever it is, it works. The counters are extremely well done. They are also slightly rounded for the gamers who care. The Player Aid cards are also very well done and easy to read. The manufacturing is all done very well. There are four Player Aid Charts, each player getting two (labelled A and B). The Combat Sequence is even spelled out in one on a flow chart that even I could understand. 

For the German player the armored vehicles included are:

Panzer IV
Jagdpanzer IV (although the silhouette looks more like a Jagdtiger)
Tiger II

The US player gets to maneuver:

M4 Sherman
M8 Greyhound
M10 Wolverine

 This is the sequence of Play:

Admin Phase: Consists of the following segments in that order:
1. Recovery Segment
2. Assignment Segment
3. Victory Plan Segment
4. Replacement Segment
5. Reinforcement Segment

"Ops Phase: Consists of various repetitions of the Ops Cycle, which itself consists of:
1. Initiative Determination 
2. Formation Activation:  Activating a formation allows the initiative player to activate all subordinate units, including Independent units currently assigned to it, to conduct one or more Actions (see 7. Actions).
Most game activities will take place in this phase. At the end of the Ops Cycle, the turn marker will be moved into the next box on the turn track."

 The game has stacking limit rules for each hex. One hex can have one HQ, two AFV (Armored Fighting Vehicle), and one Infantry unit in it. Overstacking causes automatic disruption to the units. The game's Zone Of Control rules are easy to understand and implement. Infantry has a ZOC over all six of the surrounding hexes, unless they are urban or Industrial hexes. AFVs only have a ZOC on clear or Pillbox in clear hexes. Disrupted units have no ZOC whatsoever. The game rules seem to be a mixture of  both solitaire and two-player together. The game purports to be solitaire friendly (it actually is), so it is possible that is the reason for the rules and mechanics being the way they are.

  The game is based upon the player's 'Formation Units', meaning their parent organization. You activate only formations, and not willy-nilly counters that are close enough to an HQ. Independent units are also used in the game, especially for the Germans. These can be attached to HQs if they are in the HQ's command range. They can be reassigned if they are in the command range of their current HQ and the new HQ. Initiative is rolled for at the beginning of each Operations Phase. The roll for initiative is modified by certain conditions, ie. interdiction level etc. The player with the initiative can choose to activate formations, or transfer the initiative to the other player. The next two features of the game mechanics is what elevates the game to a higher level than normal. First, a formation has to be activated before the player can use its units. This is pretty standard. However, in this game each time you activate a formation its activation level is reduced by one. Then you roll to see how many 'Action Points' you receive for the formation, but the lower the 'Activation Number' equals lower numbers for your 'Action Points'. So, this mechanic shows the gradual reduction of the units' abilities, even without combat. Second, the inactive player does not just sit there waiting for his turn. The inactive player can try for a 'Reaction Attempt' when an enemy unit triggers it by certain actions, ie. moving into a ZOC etc. Victory in the game is determined by control of Victory Hexes and German strength point losses. 

 There are four scenarios in the game:

First Blood
The Stolberg Corridor
Across the Wurm
Campaign Scenario

 The first scenario is a solo one played from the American side. The German units are static. The American player has from two to five activations of the 1st Infantry Division to clear three victory hexes. Victory is determined by how many activations the player needs to take the three hexes. Two activations is a Decisive Victory whilst five is a 'poor' performance. The other three scenarios play the game normally. The Stolberg Corridor scenario goes from turn one to turn three. Across the Wurm scenario is played from turn five to eight. The Campaign scenario plays all eight turns. The American player has to use finesse to take all of his objectives and not be a bull in a china shop. The German player has to remember that this is late 1944 and not early in the war. Furor Teutonicus has created a nail-biting operational level late war game. 

 This is one very well made and great to play game. This is all the more amazing, being that this is Furor Teutonicus's first game ever. I actually checked to see if the designers were old hands that moved on from other companies and that is not the case. For neophytes to come up with this design and know how to make sure what they have in mind gets placed in the map, counters, and rules is quite an accomplishment. They have created a tense and historical game that is a joy to play. The game mechanics and units make for a tough game for playing as either the US or the Germans. Thank you very much Furor Teutonicus Games for letting me sail on this maiden voyage with you.  Count me very impressed.

Furor Teutonicus Games Crossing The Line: