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Leningrad '41 by VentoNuovo Games  The city enraged Hitler and he wanted the cradle of Bols...

Leningrad '41 by VentoNuovo Games Leningrad '41 by VentoNuovo Games

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

Block Wargame




Leningrad '41

by

VentoNuovo Games














 The city enraged Hitler and he wanted the cradle of Bolshevism utterly destroyed. However, once his troops got there, he was so afraid of the house to house fighting in a city that he decided to surround it. So, Leningrad was forced to suffer a siege of almost three years. What went wrong, and could you have done better than von Leeb in 1941? This game was produced to answer that very question.



Map


 This is a block wargame, just like all of VentoNuovo's games. The map is a beautiful piece of work (as are all of their maps). The map is divided into areas, and is large at 62cm x 84cm. This is the second game of this series on campaigns from the Eastern Front. Moscow 41 and Stalingrad Inferno on the Volga are the other two, soon to be followed by Kiev 41. The blocks are 15mm x 15mm, so they are smaller than most used in block games. Some areas on the map are small, so even with the smaller blocks there is congestion to deal with. The stickers are, again, small pieces of art that really should be larger to show them off. The whole game production exudes quality. The game comes with four full sized and thick full color players' aids. There is a five page historical analysis which is excellent all by itself. Here is a list of what you get with the game:

Heavy Cardboard Map 62cm x 84 cm
110 Wooden Block Units
124 PVC Stickers
100 Other Wooden pieces for initiative, Bombers, Defensive     Positions etc.
2 Lightly Laminated Player's Guides
3 Short Scenarios, and the Campaign Game




Stickers



 This is the sequence of play:

Logistic Phase (2nd,3rd,4th,5th,and 6th Turns)
Impulse Phase (Combat, HQ Activation etc.)
Final Phase




Soviet Navy Counter



  The game itself is a challenge for both players. It plays almost exactly like Moscow '41 (a favorite of mine) except for the addition of the new terrain. The German player can, if he is good enough, take Leningrad. The Soviet player seems weak, but he can forestall his opponent's attacks, and slow him up to take the win. The game is very finely balanced between playability and history. All of the scenarios start after the Germans have already captured Riga. There are tactical HQs for both Zhukov for the Soviets, and Mannerheim for the Finns. Both can be game changers if used correctly.
Random reinforcement makes the game a very good solitaire game. Once you get closer to Leningrad, the terrain is heavily forested with some swamp. This means that the German player has to slow down regardless of the opposition. The German player can make good time through Estonia etc., but then has to slog through these areas along with tougher Soviet opposition. The German player also has to decide what he is to do with the Finns. Historically the Finnish troops only moved to take back what territory they lost in The Winter War in 1939, so they were really not much help to the Germans. The rules allow the Finnish troops to attack first in any battle (a nice touch). As the German player, you also have to decide whether to spend any resources to try and take Murmansk. So, the game comes with the chance to blitzkrieg, but also attack and defend in swamps. The varied terrain taxes both sides to play their best. As with the rest of Vento Nuovo Games this game is also very suitable for solitaire play. I will caution the German player that Leningrad looks a lot closer on the map then it will turn out to be.




Playtesting shots



 VentoNuovo has been able to take the simplicity of block games, and add in rules, while easy to understand, that represent the historical campaigns to a tee. So a player gets the best of both worlds. The game is easy to setup, learn, and play, but still be deep enough for us grognards. The formula is a guaranteed success, and it shows by all of their games' ratings by players. Thank you VentoNuovo for the chance to review Leningrad 41. Here are links to the game and company, and some links to other reviews I have done on their games. I cannot wait to do a review on Kiev 41.


Accessories you can buy


Vento Nuovo Games:
www.ventonuovo.net/

Victory: World War II Second Edition by Columbia Games      This is another game where I am entering uncharted t...

Victory: World War II Second Edition by Columbia Games Victory: World War II Second Edition by Columbia Games

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

Block Wargame

Victory: World War II Second Edition

by

Columbia Games



  




 This is another game where I am entering uncharted territory. I was a dedicated hex and counter gamer for many years. Within the last two years I have been shown the errors of my ways as far as block and area wargames. Now Columbia Games has sent me a huge bundle of the game and add-ons for their game Victory. Victory is not a historical wargame. I know I shuddered too when I realized it. Victory allows you to fight a sandbox World War II, and what a sandbox! Especially with the add on maps, you can create pretty much any type of map configuration you want. I haven't seen anything with this randomness except in computer games. Of course, I have to add that until this game I held my nose up over non-historical wargames. Guess what, once more I have had to adjust my thinking about wargames. Let us see what comes with the base game:

4 Geomorphic Maps
100 Wooden Blocks
Logistic markers
Game Rules
4 Dice

Add-ons I was sent:

Victory Blockset Orange
Victory Blockset WW2 German (Black)
Victory Blockset WW2 USA (Green)
Victory Blockset WW2 Soviet (Red)
Victory Dirty Dozen 12 Map Bundle (3-4, 7-16)

There are too many other add-ons to list that can be purchased to enhance the game. Here is the webpage:





 Like the rest of Columbia Games, it is a deceptively easy game to begin playing. The rules are only nine pages long, and that includes a page of Advanced Rules. Let us look at the sequence of play:


[1] INITIATIVE: Each player rolls 2d6. Highest total becomes Player Turn 1 for this Game Turn. Roll again to break ties for highest roll. 
 [2] MOVE PHASE: All players move, starting with Player-1, then clockwise in sequence.In turn, a player may move any/all unpinned units, but must make Strategic Moves (5.9) first. Hex control changes immediately
 [3] COMBAT PHASE: Each battle where Player-1 is the Attacker is fought to a conclusion in any sequence chosen by Player-1. Then resolve all battles where Player-2 is the Attacker, and so on. Reveal blocks only when a battle is fought. Aircraft involved in a battle, land after their battle ends.
 [4] SUPPLY & VICTORY CHECK: (Simultaneous)Check Supply of your units (See 7.0). Unsupplied Ground/Air Units immediately lose 1 step. Naval units ignore supply.• Determine if the game has been won by any player. Otherwise go to step [5].
[5] PRODUCTION PHASE (Simultaneous)Build with available PPs in supplied cities. 




Add on German, Soviet, and USA Stickers


 The game is one where both sides have exactly the same units and unit values (except for some of the historical units). I haven't played a game like this since Tactics II in the 1960s. I will tell you this, I had completely forgotten how tense and fun Tactics II really was. I always looked back at it as a quaint way to get into real wargaming. How wrong I was. The fact that you do not have a panzer unit with a strength of twenty-four or have to worry about your opponent having one puts an entirely new spin on wargaming. Oh sure, you could try to put all your tanks together, but that leaves the other player the chance to attack at numerous other points and possibly cut off your tanks. It is like a boxing match where both of the boxers have the same punch and strengths. So you are forced to play as well as you possibly can. I have included a link for the games FB page. There you can find user made scenarios, and some of them are historical in nature. As usual with a Columbia Block Game, the blocks have their different strength steps printed out on the block. This way you just turn the piece instead of looking for another counter. You can also handicap each player if needed by starting some of their units at a lower or higher strength.The built in fog of war that block games have is present as usual, although I have had no problem playing any of their games solo so far. 


 These are some of the unit markers used in the Advanced Rules:

Factories
Storms
Destruction Markers for destroyed bridges and canals
Airfields
Mulberries




Logistic markers


 This is the second edition of Victory: World War II. The 'elite' units, which have been tweaked and modified, are now included with the main game. I am a bit confused as to why there are not more reviews of this game, and not much postings or talk about the game either. It doesn't have many votes, but is very highly rated on BGG. As I mentioned, I had forgotten how much fun a sandbox game can actually be. Thank you, Columbia Games, for letting me review Victory, and for reminding me of my wargaming roots.



One of the Add On Maps You Can Buy

 This is a neat idea to take your Victory battles to a lower level:



Have an climatic battle taking place in Victory? Use Combat Infantry, Columbia Games’ tactical World War 2 wargame to play that battle out at squad level!




 
 This is the link for Columbia Games:

http://columbiagames.com/

 This is the link for the game:

http://columbiagames.com/victory/ 

This is a link to the Victory FB page where you can find user created scenarios:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/346333536011986/


 

Dunkirk by Worthington Publishing  Operation Dynamo was an outstanding success, carried out under the Ge...

Dunkirk by Worthington Publishing Dunkirk by Worthington Publishing

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

Block Wargame

Dunkirk

by

Worthington Publishing







 Operation Dynamo was an outstanding success, carried out under the German noses. Was it helped by Hitler's private thoughts about England, or his memories of Flanders, we will never know. The game itself is not just about the Battle of Dunkirk, but about the entire German invasion of France in 1940. Let us see what comes with the game:


  • Hard mounted game board
  • Wooden blocks with labels for German and Allied armies
  • Deck of 55 game cards
  • 6 German strategy cards (larger than standard game cards)
  • Rules
  • Dice





 When you open the game it seems a little sparse, but many times good things come in small packages so I kept an open mind. The map is on the smaller side, but adequately shows the area of Northeast France that is needed for gameplay. The hexes are large, which really helps with block games, especially when you can have more than one block per hex. The other components are likewise, more workman like than artsy. I wouldn't say they were Spartan, but they show the player everything he needs to know without extra glitter. The game also comes with cards for both the German and Allied player. 



 Even though there are cards for both players, they are not the process that runs the the game. To quote the designer, "The game is not card driven, but card enhanced. The game is chit driven". The most interesting part of the design is the 'German strategy cards'. These give the game a lot of longevity and replayability. Sure, the German player could try the 'sickle cut' maneuver, but he could lose nine out of ten times depending on what strategy card he chose at the start of the game. The Allied player is put on the horns of a dilemma, which strategy card did the German player pick. So one of the the things the designer notes suggests is for the German player to make moves to head toward different cities etc. to keep the Allied player guessing. The rulebook is only twelve pages long, and three of them are taken up by designer notes, etc. However, unlike the other Worthington games I have played, the rules are a lot more  in depth. The other games were simpler, but still good games. The rules are deeper than you would assume for the game. This is the sequence of play:

1) Add or Remove Command Chits per the Turn Record Chart.
2) Deal each player a card(s) as indicated on the Turn Record Chart.
3) Seed the opaque container with the Command Chits indicated on the Turn Record Chart.
4) One player (does not matter which) draws a Command Chit from the container. That Formation is now the Active Formation.
5) FHQ (Formation Headquarters) ACTIVATION: The owner of the Active Formation reveals to the opponent the location of the FHQ (in order to prove the FHQ's Command Range).
6A) FORMATION MOVEMENT PHASE: In-Command blocks of the Active Formation may move to their full Movement Rating, limited only by terrain and enemy blocks.
6A) POSSIBLE SHQ (Strategic Headquarters) STRATEGIC MOVEMENT: The owner of the Active Formation may, if desired, spend a SHQ step(s) to perform a Strategic Move with a block(s) of the Active Formation. This may be done concurrent with the Movement described in 6a above, BUT NO BLOCK MAY USE BOTH Formation Movement and SHQ Movement during the same Activation.
7) POSSIBLE SHQ OUT OF COMMAND MOVEMENT: The owner of the Active Formation may, if desired, spend a SHQ step(s) to perform Out of Command movement with a block(s) of the Active Formation.
8) combat phase: Battles exist in any hex containing enemy blocks and at least one block of the Active Formation. Owner of the Active Formation selects the sequence in which battles will be resolved. 
8A) BATTLE CARD PLAY: Each player may place ONE (1) Cattle Card per battle, if desired. Players simultaneously declare (show) a Battle Card if they wish to play one.
8B) BATTLE ROUNDS: Each battle lasts for one round of combat. A second round may be purchased BY THE ATTACKER ONLY using SHQ steps or possibly) a card play. No battle may have more than two Rounds per Activation. A side may NOT play a Battle Card in the second round of battle, if that side played a Battle Card in the first round.
9) Repeat steps 4 through 8b until no Command Chits remain in the opaque container.
10) REINFORCEMENTS & RESERVES PHASE: Players may play ONE Reinforcement card, adding steps per the Reinforcement rules. Players may ALSO spend SHQ steps to conduct a SHQ Reserves action, returning an Eliminated block(s) to play, per the Reserve rules. Players also add one free SHQ step to their SHQ block (Note: there is no Reinforcements/Reserves phase at the end on Turn 6.
11) Start the next turn with step 1 above. At the end of Turn 6, calculate Victory Points to determine the winner of the game based on the German Strategy Card selected.





 

 As you can see, any game (no matter what German Strategy Card is used) lasts only six turns. Airstrikes/Artillery strikes take place when a player uses the correct Battle Card for them. Airstrikes/Artillery strikes cannot eliminate an enemy block. 






 I think it's a good game with a little bit more added  to the rules than most block games. The rules are spelled out plainly for the players. There are also some optional rules that can be added to balance out the play between two players. You can "dial down" certain blocks to make it easier for the opponent. You could also remove certain powerful cards from one player's deck, among a few other things, to make the game more balanced. I have reviewed quite a few block wargames now, and have had a complete change of heart. I used to look down my nose at them as some kind of 'Stratego' game made into a wargame. The block wargames are just as good, and play just as well as hex and counter games. This is another good and relatively quick game that Worthington Publishing has added to their stable of growing games. You will be playing as either von Bock or von Rundstedt, or the Allies in no time flat. Thank you, Worthington Publishing, for letting me review this game.

Link to Worthington Games:
https://www.worthingtonpublishing.com/

Link to Dunkirk:
https://www.worthingtonpublishing.com/collection/dunkirk-france-1940

Worthington Publishing's newest kickstarter 'Napoleon Returns 1815':
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1456271622/napoleon-returns-1815?ref=dkeeld

Grant's Gamble review:
https://www.awargamersneedfulthings.co.uk/2017/11/grants-gamble-game-by-worthington-games.html



Robert

Blocks in Afrika by VentoNuovo Games     Apparently block wargames have been around for a lot longer than I had ev...

Blocks in Afrika by VentoNuovo Games Blocks in Afrika by VentoNuovo Games

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

Block Wargame


by





 

  Apparently block wargames have been around for a lot longer than I had ever thought; who knew? We hex and counter guys thought we had the wargame world to ourselves for many years. Block wargames are generally not considered to be that 'deep'. What I mean by that is that usually the rules are not that long and the map and extras are usually not that expansive. The block wargames have a very good history of being 'players games': easy to get into and relatively short and very good for game night. We normally associate hex and counter with monster or mini monster games, ones that will take a lot of space and the players pore over them, much like Napoleon and Berthier did over maps. So now we have this game from VentoNuovo Games that is at least a mini monster. So, let us see what we get when we actually open the box:

• N° 1 87x62cm Mapboard (double laminated)
• N° 1 A4 Strategic Map
• N° 1 A4 Tripolitania Extension Map
• N° 1 24 pages BLOCKS IN AFRIKA Rules Manual
• N° 1 24 pages BLOCKS IN EUROPE Rule Manual *
• N° 1 24 pages THE BLOCKS TRILOGY Scenario Booklet
• N° 2 Play Aid
• N° 8 Order of Battle
• N° 15 wooden light blue blocks (France)
• N° 29 wooden black blocks (Germany)
• N° 22 wooden light green blocks (Italy)
• N° 1 wooden tan block (Turn Tracker)
• N° 1 wooden dark green block (US)
• N° 22 wooden blue blocks (UK)
• N° 3 wooden orange blocks (Axis Forts)
• N° 66 wooden brown blocks (Minors)
• N° 23 wooden gray blocks (Axis Navy)
• N° 46 wooden white blocks (Western Allies Navy)
• N° 8 wooden pink blocks (Soviet Navy)
• N° 240 PVC stickers (laminated, 2x for the Turn Tracker)
• N° 35 wooden yellow cubes (General Production Points)
• N° 25 wooden white cubes (Navy Production Points)
• N° 10 wooden red cubes (Armor Production Points)
• N° 10 wooden blue cubes (Air Production Points)
• N° 10 plastic black cylinders (Oil Production Points)
• N° 5 plastic white cylinders ("Out-of-Supply" Markers)
• N° 10 white plastic Shipyards *
• N° 5 yellow-black-dotted dice






 This is the list of the actual counters and record keeping pieces:

• 3 Axis Forts: Orange (not used in BIA Scenarios – details in BIE)
• 15 French Units: light blue
• 29 German Units: black
• 22 Italian Units: light green
• 23 Axis Navy Units: grey
• 46 Western Allies Navy Units: white
• 8 Soviet Navy Units: pink
• 1 American unit: dark green
• 22 British units: blue
• 66 Minor Powers Units: brown
• 2 Turn recorders: tan
• 2 Replacement stickers for BITW American units




 What we actually have here in our hot little hands is an incredibly thorough almost simulation of the Second World War in the Mediterranean and adjoining areas in Asia. It comes with a Basic set of rules (still very deep), and then an Advanced set of rules followed by some optional rules. What I especially like is that the naval war has not just been tacked onto the game as an afterthought. It receives the scrutiny and importance that it deserves. After all, the area of the map is mostly sea. There are actually some naval only scenarios.
These are the scenarios that come with the game:


1940 Operation Compass, November 1940 - March 1941

1941 Operation Exporter, June - July 1941
1941 Middle East Uprising, May - September 1941

1941 The Desert Fox, March - July 1941

1942 Axis Hype, June - December 1942

1942 El Alamein, October 1942 - February 1943


These scenarios are primarily NAVAL!

Punta Stilo, 9 July 1940

Capo Teulada, 27 November 1940

Capo Matapan, 28 – 29 March 1941

Harpoon, 21 June 1942

 This is the Basic game sequence of play:

The game is played in turns, each representing the lapse of one
month. Each turn is divided into phases and steps that must be
performed in a precise order.
After the weather is checked, the Axis player completes his
phases first as described in the sequence below. Next, the Allied
player completes his phases.
When both players have finished their phases, victory conditions
are checked. The turn is now over and a new one may begin.
A. Weather Determination Phase
The Weather is always considered good when playing BIA.
B. Axis Phases
1. Strategic Warfare Phase (See Scenario Special Rules)
2. Supply Phase
3. Production Phase
4. Strategic Rail Movement Phase
5. Movement Phase
6. Defender Reaction Phase
7. Combat Phase
8. Blitz Phase
9. Final Supply Status Phase
10. Armor Exploitation Phase
C. Allies Phases
As for Axis Phases 1-10
D. Victory Phase





 I may not be the best person to do a review of VentoNuovo Games. I have to admit that I am an unabashed fanboy. All of the games I have reviewed so far from them have been, I dare say, great. The rules are well written and the components are first rate. This game is not any different. The components are very well done. The map is colorful, but if there was anything to bash the game is that the map is a bit too busy. There is, however, a very good reason for this. The map hexes represent 43 miles (70km) across. So that is a lot of territory and information to fit into some hexes. The map itself is 87cm x 64cm large. There is one questionable design decision with the map. There is an extra piece of the map that comes with the game. It is slightly larger than a copier sheet and represents the area around Tripoli. The only issue is that it also has needed game information on the other side. I realize in this day and age most people could just copy the back, but it still seems a weird decision. This game is part of a trilogy from VentoNuovo Games that includes this game and 'Blocks in the West' and 'Blocks in the East'. Some of the components that are included are only used if playing all three together. I will have a review of 'Blocks in the West' coming up. I will also have links to the different games and rules etc. at the end of the review. You can also separately purchase a pack of twelve special event cards.





 So how does it play? The scenarios are all very short as far as turn length. There are only 1-5 turns in each of the scenarios. The naval scenarios go from 1-3 turns.There are also listed in the rulebook the difficulty levels of each scenario. These go from 1-6 on a 1-10 scale. The rulebook is only 28 pages and that includes four pages on the scenarios. So even with the Advanced Rules it is a comprehensive, but still playable game of the Mediterranean theater during 1940-1943. The gameplay is nowhere near as fast and furious as other VentoNuovo Games. It really cannot be. There are just too many things to think about, especially once you add  the Advanced rules to the mix. This is a mulling over and thinking block game. That is not to say the other games did not have depth, just not to the extent that this game has. There was more to learn in this rulebook than the others, but it is written in an easy to learn manner. It is a great game and a huge undertaking when you combine even two of the fronts together. It is a game you can truly get lost in. The campaign game when all three games are together is a staggering 79 turns. Thank you VentoNuovo for the chance to review this game.

This is a link to Blocks in the West:

http://www.ventonuovo.net/games/blocks-in-the-west

A Link to Blocks in the East:


http://www.ventonuovo.net/games/blocks-in-the-east

A Link to the rules for Blocks in Afrika

http://www.ventonuovo.net/download-afrika


Robert



Commands & Colors Ancients Expansions 2-3 Reprint by GMT Games   Commands & Colors Ancients was designed...

Commands & Colors Ancients Expansions 2-3 Reprint by GMT Games Commands & Colors Ancients Expansions 2-3 Reprint by GMT Games

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

Block Wargame

Commands & Colors Ancients Expansions 2-3 Reprint


by


GMT Games






 Commands & Colors Ancients was designed by Richard Borg and first took the wargaming world by storm in 2006. This GMT game has exploded into all of these eras:

Samurai
Medieval
American Revolution
Napoleonics

 As you can see, the wargamer has a smorgasbord of eras, battles, and armies to choose from.






 For those of you who have not read about or delved into the Commands & Colors world, here is a a simplified breakdown of the game. The mapboard is generic with extremely large hexes. The player adds tiles to the board per the scenario instructions. The game itself is of medium complexity, and is a perfect segue to add new Wargamers to the fold. The game is card driven, so the player is always forced to think ahead. Each scenario lists the amount of Command Cards each player starts with. The player's opponent may make a mistake that the player is just dying to take advantage of. Unfortunately, the player only has a Command Card that only allows him to move or attack on a completely different part of the field or other troops. The rules are now up to the 3rd edition. The rules have been tweaked down through the years to rid them of any ambiguities, etc. This is the sequence of play:

1. Play a Command Card
2. Order units and leaders
3. Move
4. Battle ( combat between units)
5. Draw a new Command Card



This is actually a picture of the first printing. The only thing different on the newer box is that it says "Second Reprint"


 Much to the gaming community's relief, an anonymous donor was kind enough to bankroll the re-release of the game and all of the expansions for it. May he be blessed by the wargaming Gods. The base game, Commands & Colors Ancients, is needed to play all of the expansions. This review is of the new combined expansions 2-3. The expansion does not come with a mapboard as they originally did. This was to cut down on both shipping costs and the overall price of the expansions. 

 This is what comes with the combined expansion:

  • 3" Box
  • 457 red, green, gray and black blocks
  • 1 sheet of terrain tiles
  • 7 sheets of labels
  • 2 reference cards
  • 1 combined rule and scenario book 




 Expansion #2 covers battles that feature Roma versus various Barbarians. The battles range in time from the Battle of Closium in 225 BC, to the Battle of Cefn Carnedd in 51 AD. There are seven battles alone that deal with the revolt of Spartacus. The next, Expansion #3, deals with the various Roman Civil Wars. These go from the Sullan Battle of the Colline Gate, to the last battle that was fought in the civil war between Pompey and Caesar, the Battle of Munda.


 The game components are ones you typically see in GMT Games, meaning that the production values are extremely high. The blocks are of four different sizes. The largest is for elephants, the next size is for leaders, and the medium size is for cavalry. The smallest blocks are for your Infantry forces. About the blocks, there are a ton of them to be stickered, and I mean a ton. For those of us who have arthritis or some other problem (I have a mashed right-hand thumb), it might be worth your while to pay someone to do it. Other than that, for those of you who are lucky, or unlucky, enough to have kids living with you, corral them into helping. The stickers themselves are very nicely done. It is easy to distinguish between the forces by the size and their colorful picture. The two expansion rule books are well written and done in full color. This makes it extremely easy to setup the battles. Both expansion booklets have special rules for the battles listed.





 There is not much else to add. The game system is tried and true and has continually been upgraded. This expansion is a must for an ancients wargamer. The game itself brings the color and feel of ancient battles with shorter game times compared to other ancients games. One addition that I tremendously appreciate is the number of battles of Sertorius that have been included. A big thank you to GMT Games for letting me review these two expansions. GMT has also posted that there will be another expansion coming up dealing with early ancient warfare and chariots. These are links to the main game and all of the expansions:

Link to the downloads for Living Rules:
Commands & Colors Ancients main Game:
Commands & Colors Expansion 1:
Command & Colors Expansion 4:
Commands & Colors Expansion 6
Robert

Pacific Victory Second Edition by Columbia Games   Columbia Games touts itself as 'the home of block wargami...

Pacific Victory Second Edition by Columbia Games Pacific Victory Second Edition by Columbia Games

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

Block Wargame



by







 
Columbia Games touts itself as 'the home of block wargaming'. With the amount of games and how long they have been producing them, who am I to argue? I have reviewed two of their games so far: 'Julius Caesar' and 'Combat Infantry'. Julius Caesar is a good game, and it has a large following. However, I think Combat Infantry is a great game and a blast to play. So, they were kind enough to send me the second edition of 'Pacific Victory'. I never played the first edition, so I cannot compare the two. I will look online and see other people's comparison and see if there are any good or bad things that there are a consensus about.

 So first let us look at what comes with the game:
  • Large 9 panel mapboard
  • 2 sets Rules v2.5, in color with improved balance and victory conditions
  • 8 6-sided dice
  • 132 wood blocks plus some replacements in four (4) colors:
    • orange: IJN, 66 blocks;
    • blue: US, 39;
    • brown: British, Indian, ANZAC, 17;
    • yellow: China, 10.
  • Block artwork is new.

 The game also comes with two rule books, which is an excellent idea. Now two gamers can read their own copy, so you do not have to waste your time copying the rule book. More games should do this.


Back Of The Box

 There is a campaign game and these are the additional scenarios:

1941: Rising Sun - 4 hour playing time
1942: High Noon - 3 hour playing time
1943: Setting Sun - 2 hour playing time

 The victory conditions are:
Pacific Victory is played until one
player gains a Decisive Victory, or until
completion of the Jun/45 Turn. At this
time, the Japanese player totals Victory
Points (VPs) and consults the table below:
JVPs Victory Level TPs
25+ Japanese Decisive 3
16–24 Japanese Victory ('45) 2
13-15 Stalemate ('45) 1/1
6-12 Allied Victory ('45) 2
0-5 Allied Decisive 3
Victory Points are equal to supplied
Production Points.
Tourney Points (TPs) can be used to
compare game results. 


Map


 The game also comes with nine different optional rules. Some of these are:

Banzai: 
 Japanese individual Infantry or Marine units can declare a Banzai attack. This increases the unit's firepower for one fire against a target unit. But the unit is eliminated unless it eliminates the target unit.
Fanatic Defense:
  Japanese Infantry or Marines have D2  defending any minor base, but cannot retreat.
ASW:
 Submarines become their own target
group. They can be attacked only by
Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) combat.
Allied naval units (except CV) have ASW
firepower of N2 and the Japanese have
N1. The firepower of Air units, Carriers,
and Submarines are unchanged.

 The game also covers the entire Pacific War. The game does come with rules so that the Chinese part of the war is removed. This makes for a quicker game.

Stickers

 The map is large, and is relatively simple looking. However, this approach works well for the game. It is easy to read and figure out the different terrain. The large amount of blocks to sticker might be a problem for some people. I lucked out and lassoed my daughter into helping me. The stickers are very good looking. They  are also simple without any great embellishment. The blocks are the standard size, so they are easy to read and see at a glance what units you have where.



Map Closeup

 Each unit is marked with an  A,B,CD, or E. These represent where during a combat round a unit attacks. A goes first etc. If both sides have the same letter in the combat round, the defender attacks first. Battles can be fought for a maximum of three combat rounds. During a combat round a unit can either fire/attack or retreat. The blocks, as usual, are marked with dots on each side to show their strength at that moment. The number of dots also represents the number of die that the unit can roll during firing. In the lower right hand of the stickers is a list of numbers, for example  1-2-3. This corresponds to the die roll an enemy would have to roll for a hit. The numbers 1-2-3 would equal the die roll for attack by an Air, Naval, or Ground unit, A/N/G in the rule book.



Back Of The Rule Book

 I have played some monster games on the Pacific War. I have also played some much smaller and simpler ones that played very quickly. I would place this game in the middle of these two types of games. This game is able to be played in one gaming session, but it is also deep enough to keep players coming back for more. I am not a fan of light 'beer and pretzels' games. So be assured this is not one of them. The only real disagreement I would have with the designer (Tom Dalgliesh) is the choice of units and unit strengths. The battles are quickly played out in the game. So, you might even be able to get two games in on gaming night. This is a good game in that while it doesn't try to be a simulation of the Pacific War is still a good fun game for players. 



Counters Closeup

 As far as it being the Second Edition (with 2.5 version rules), people seem to only have good things to say about it compared to the first version. It has larger map, more leaders, and overall the rules have been tweaked to be even better.Thanks again to Columbia Games for letting me review this game. Now, get to work on the Eastern Front for Combat Infantry.

Robert

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!

Block Wargame



by







 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 
PixelPLaybox.co.uk