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  Help Arrives! by  Draco Ideas  The Spanish Civil War July 17, 1936 - April 1, 1939 was a pivotal moment in European history. It was your t...

Help Arrives! by Draco Ideas Help Arrives! by Draco Ideas

Help Arrives! by Draco Ideas

Help Arrives! by Draco Ideas

 Help Arrives!


Draco Ideas

 The Spanish Civil War July 17, 1936 - April 1, 1939 was a pivotal moment in European history. It was your typical Civil War featuring brother against brother that somehow makes the hatred between both sides that much deeper and darker. However, the war is much more important because it was the training ground for both the Allies and Axis Powers right before the outbreak of World War II. The war saw actions that were much more akin to World War I actions than World War II. The lessons learned or not understood by some of the WWII belligerents can be correctly placed at the foot of the Spanish Civil War. The fighting broke out between the Republicans and the Nationalists. The Republicans ran the gamut from Communists to Socialists, and regular believers in Democracy. They also had some help by the International Brigades made up of citizens from other democracies who went to fight against Fascism. The Nationalists had one advantage in that they were pretty much all Fascists. They also did have infighting because the Nationalist generals were all intriguing to become the leader of Spain after the Civil War ended. The Nationalists also had the help of the two Fascist Powers of Europe: Italy and Germany. The Italian Army was up to par for fighting a war in the late 1930s. Italy only ran into trouble in WWII because their Army was still an army equipped to fight a war in 1936. The technological advances from 1936 to 1940 passed them by. The Germans brought in their Condor Legion. These were 'enlisted' troops and airmen from the German Armed Forces. Both sides had a mish mash of obsolete and new weapons in their armories. The Republicans received help from the Soviet Union in the form of armaments and 'trainers' who actually fought and flew in the war. As mentioned, a lot of the fighting resembled WWI trench style fighting rather than the slash and dash of WWII. So, this is a tactical game about the fighting in the Spanish Civil War.


 This is a blurb from Draco Ideas:

"The Spanish Civil War, recreated in this tactical wargame with a classic “hex&counter” flavour. Choose your side! You can fight not only with the main Spanish military units, you’ll have international support, too. International Brigades, Corpo Truppe Voluntarie, Condor Legion, soviet T-26B, German Pz I Ausf A, POUM militias, all of them will fight in the fierce battles that Help Arrives! brings to your table.

With the improved version of War Storm Series system rules, it adapts the series to the conflict and introduces campaigns such as the Battle of Madrid, Guadalajara or the Ebro, and more.

In addition, the new Tactical Skill of the officers will make military training or lack thereof, one of the key elements in the conflict, along the morale of the combatants.

The scale is set to platoon level, with units representing groups of between 30 and 40 servicemen. Each hexagon in the map portrays a distance of 150-200 meters (roughly 165 to 220 yards). The scenarios are divided in turns that symbolize approximately 12 to 15 minutes of action.

The saga is based in the principle of the simultaneous execution We Go. In each activation you will move a single company, so there is no waiting between turns! This title also brings a set of adapted and didactic rules, to ease the learning curve for new players. After a few pages, you will be able to play the first scenario. The heart of the War Storm Series relies in the command, being the officers the keystone of the game. Help Arrives! goes one step further, introducing a new concept in the series: Tactical Ability. The game uses isomorphic maps and each one may be linked with the others by any of the edges."


 This is what comes with the game:

4 isomorphic maps

8 overlays

5 counters punchboards (3 of 5/8 and 2 of 3/4”)

1 Standard Rules booklet

1 Exclusive Rules booklet

7 Scenarios sheets for a total of 13 unique scenarios

3 Tables sheets (double sided)

2 Battalion sheets

2 six-sided dice

Scenario "Camino de los Toldos"

 The four isomorphic maps unfold to around 11" x 15.5". They are of hard stock material. The above says it comes with eight overlays. I seem to count only seven. These are of lighter stock than the actual maps. You do have to cut the smaller overlays out of the page they are on. The maps and overlays have easy to discern terrain and terrain height. The different features of fields and towns and villages etc. are nicely done. The 3/4" counters are very nicely done with a picture of the weapon (tank, machine gun, or artillery etc.) and its capabilities easy to see. The 5/8" counters are a bit busy and the numbers to see on them are a bit small. Draco Ideas went for artwork on the counters instead of just function. It does add immersion and is much nicer to look at, but some gamers might have problems. The only thing that I do not like about the counters is that they are pretty thin. They are a bit hard to move with old fingers. The scenario Player Aid sheets are wonderful. They are of thin hard stock and are full sized. My game came with seventeen scenarios, not the thirteen listed above. They are also easy to read and understand. I really like that you have separate scenario sheets instead of there just being a booklet of them. This will increase their life and not leave you with a beat up folded scenario booklet. The Player Aid sheets are made of the same stock and are easy to read and are in full color. There are two Rules Booklets. One is for the Series Rules and one is for Help Arrives Exclusive Rules. Both are in full color and filled with examples of play. The Series Rules are forty-six pages in length. The Help Arrives Exclusive Rules are only seven pages long. These are both very nicely done. You also get an eight page booklet to be able to use with Draco Ideas 'Alone in the Storm' (their solitaire add-on for their War Storm Series). To use this you also need to have purchased their Alone in the Storm. So, except for the thickness of the counters, the components are really well done. I know this is nitpicking, but inquiring minds want to know. Do they work as counters? Of course, and they are nice to look at and really add to the immersion.

 I own one of the earlier War Storm Series games 'A Las Barricadas'. This is another game produced by Compass Games about the Spanish Civil War. So, I was already used to the system. For those of you who have had the pleasure of playing A Las Barricadas, these are some of the differences:

"HA while utilizing "PTH" base rules, incorporates new and adapted rules and additions for this new tittle. The WSS promises many hours of fierce fighting between the infantry, tanks, artillery and aircraft belonging to the armies enveloped in this conflict. Just a few of the additions include:

Battalion officers

Communist Commissars

Recon rules

Flamethrower tanks

International Brigades

Corpo Troppe Volontarie (C.T.V.)

Condor Legion

One 8'5 x 11" chart with many overlays"

 This is the Sequence of Play:

The game is divided into turns. Each turn represents about 12-15 minutes of real 

combat time. Each turn is divided into the following phases:

• Command Phase

• Initiative Phase

• Activation Phase and Performing Actions

• Marker Removal Phase

  So, we know that the game is in WEGO or simultaneous execution. Draco Ideas describes it as "a hybrid system of turns and real time". The Rulebook starts you off with the basic rules and then adds more layers to the cake. The War Storm Series emphasis is on command through your officers.


 The game has rules for these and many others:

Spotting, and Line of Sight




Commissars and Chaplains

Air Support

Close Assault 

 The rules also allow you to fight a campaign with your troops. Another great addition is the Optional Rule that puts Events into play. Some of these are:

Molotov Cocktail

Dum-Dum Bullets


Kif (Hashish) This was imbibed by the Moroccan Soldiers on the Nationalist side.

 This is a very good tactical simulation of the Spanish Civil War. I am a bit of an aficionado about the war, so my thoughts might be a bit skewed. However, this game also allows you to use World War I and early World War II armaments. You get to see many of the actual artillery and tanks that span both eras. The game can put you in the shoes of Russian tankers when they first met the German dreaded '88'. As mentioned, this was a war much like World War I with an extra twenty years of armament development. The rules are very clear. This is, after all, the fourth game in Draco Ideas War Storm Series. Many of the concepts will be familiar to players who have delved into tactical wargames. One addition to the game is the ability to create your own scenarios. You are given whole tables of the different units and armaments along with their respective recruitment costs. I am definitely going to buy their solo addition to their games 'Alone in the Storm'. I have seen only good things about how the games play with Draco Ideas solitaire rules.

 These are the other games in the War Storm Series:

Paths to Hell (2016)

A title that retakes the battles of the Eastern Front, adding specific rules such as political commissar, recce motorcycles, flame-thrower tanks and railways.

La Bataille de France 1940 (2015)

It does recreate the most important battles in where the Blitzkrieg tactics were widely used in the Western Front during the invasion of France.

A las Barricadas! (2006-2015)

This was the first title in the series, depicting the fiercest battles between the Nationals and the Republicans across the bloody Spanish Civil War.

Normandy: The Beginning of the End (2018)

It does recreate events related to the Normandy landings and allows the players to revive, at the tactical level, the most relevant battles on the D-Day, from the American beaches to the outskirts of Saint-Lò.

This is what comes with the Normandy game

 Thank you very much Draco Ideas for letting me review this beautiful game. While there have been some games about the Spanish Civil War, not many at all are at the tactical level.


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Help Arrives!: Help Arrives! – Spanish Civil War | Draco Ideas editorial