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Atlantic Chase The Kriegsmarine Against the Home Fleet 1939-1942 Intercept Volume One by GMT Games   The box cover, I believe, shows the Bis...

Atlantic Chase: The Kriegsmarine Against the Home Fleet 1939-1942 by GMT Games Atlantic Chase: The Kriegsmarine Against the Home Fleet 1939-1942 by GMT Games

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

GMT Games

Atlantic Chase

The Kriegsmarine Against the Home Fleet 1939-1942

Intercept Volume One


GMT Games

 The box cover, I believe, shows the Bismarck and the Prinz Eugen breaking out into the North Atlantic during 1941 Operation Rheinubung. This would lead to the sinking of both the H.M.S. Hood and the Bismarck. At first glance, the naval balance between Britain and Germany looks ridiculous. How are the Germans supposed to try and attack the Royal Navy? In 1939, the Germans have two battlecruisers and two battleships being built, with some heavy and light cruisers. In battleships alone, the British Navy had fifteen on hand with another seven being built. It seems on paper that Britain had nothing to worry about. In actuality, the British Navy had to patrol the North Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea, and Southeast Asia. So, it was spread pretty thin, especially after Japan declared war on Britain. Obviously, there was not going to be another Battle of Jutland during the Second World War. All of the German ships would be used in the North Atlantic as commerce raiders. So now let us see what comes in this hefty box. This is a review of the 2nd printing of the game.

The mounted map

 This is what GMT says about the game:

"Atlantic Chase simulates the naval campaigns fought in the North Atlantic between the surface fleets of the Royal Navy and the Kriegsmarine between 1939 and 1942. It utilizes a system of trajectories to model the fog of war that bedeviled the commands during this period. Just as the pins and strings adorning Churchill’s wall represented the course of the ships underway, players arrange trajectory lines across the shared game board, each line representing a task force’s path of travel. Without resorting to dummy blocks, hidden movement, or a double-blind system requiring a referee or computer, players experience the uncertainty endemic to this period of naval warfare. This system also has the benefit of allowing the game to be played solitaire, and to be played quickly.

The German player’s task is clear: sever Britain’s lifeline to its overseas colonies and allies.  All hangs on the fate of convoys. Ultimately, success or failure in Atlantic Chase will hinge on the Kriegsmarine’s ability to breakout into the Atlantic and find convoys while frustrating British attempts to catch his raiders. The game chronicles the development of the Royal Navy’s strategy to contain the German fleet by pitting players against each other in five successive operations that comprise a Campaign Game. Seven additional scenarios treat specific historical actions, including a Sink the Bismarck scenario, a PQ17 scenario, and the Channel Dash. The game features battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, convoys, and pocket battleships, while U-boats, elusive armed merchant raiders, and air assets play an important role too. Operations during the Campaign Game and stand-alone historical scenarios each take 1-2 hours to play."

Some counters

 This is what comes in the box:

22 x 34" mounted game board
Two 8.5"x11" Inset Maps
Three 11"x17" player aid cards
Two 8.5"x11" player aid cards
Two Task Force Displays
Sheet and a half of counters
240 wood segments and cylinders
Rule book
Advanced Battle Rules
Tutorial booklet
Solitaire Scenario booklet
Two-player Scenario booklet
Four six-sided dice

Some scenarios and setups

 These are the awards it has won:

2021 Charles S. Roberts Wargame of the Year Winner
2021 Charles S. Roberts Best World War II Era Board Wargame Winner
2021 Charles S. Roberts Best Solitaire or Cooperative Board Wargame Winner
2021 Charles S. Roberts Best Board Wargame Rules Winner
2021 Charles S. Roberts Best Board Wargame Playing Components Winner

 After the list above, I should just post this and say "Goodnight Gracie".

A game in progress

  I am not often staggered by the contents of a wargame. I have more than a few that are monsters. However, I was really surprised about the number of contents that GMT Games was able to stuff inside the box. It was like a cornucopia, and seemed to be a never-ending stream of things, especially Rulebooks. I was a little trepidatious about what I had gotten myself into. Read on to see if I had bitten off more than I could chew. 

 For the contents, we will start with all of the booklets. First off, all five of them are made from glossy magazine type paper (although thicker). They also all come in full color. The printing, examples, and pictures throughout them are very large. It is always nice to see a game company help out us old timers. The Rulebook is sixty-three pages long! However, remember that everything in them is large. The Tutorial Booklet comes in next at fifty-five pages. Once again it is filled with large examples of play. The last four pages are the Design Notes. Please read this because it explains the missing elephant in the room. After that comes the Solitaire Scenarios Booklet. This comes in at seventy-one pages, and the last three pages are Historical Notes. The Two-Player Scenarios Booklet is sixty-three pages long. The runt of the litter of booklets comes next. This would be the Advanced Battle Rules Booklet at a mere fifteen pages. This is a bit funny if you have been keeping track of the pages from the other Booklets. Before the Advanced Rules Booklet, the total pages are a whopping 252! I was beginning to wonder if playing the game would give me some college credits.

 The next component is the mounted map. The map goes from the Canadian Maritime provinces to the top of Greenland on the western edge. On the eastern edge it goes from Gibraltar to the top of Norway/USSR. There are boxes to represent all of the different ports on the map. The Battle Board that is used to plot out ship gunnery exchanges is on the right side of the map. It also has sundry tables/charts that are needed for play. The colors are muted, and nothing was added to take away from gameplay. As in most naval wargames, the majority of the map is the big blue ocean. There is also a double-sided hard card stock map. One side has the western side of Norway on it and the other side has the North Sea hemmed in by Britain, Norway, and Denmark. There are two double-sided and fold out Players Aids. These are both easy to read and nice and sturdy. Up next are two double sided Player Aids that on one side have the Campaign Player Aid and the other has the British/German Force Pool Schedule. After that comes two single-sided British/German Task Force Displays. Then we have the last one, another foldout and double-sided Advanced Battle Rules Player Aid. 

 The last things to talk about are the wooden pieces and the counters. The wooden pieces are all uniform in their segments and cylinders, meaning that there are no flash or missing chunks of wood in any of them. When I saw them, I gave a sigh of relief. Why, you ask? Because they are already pre-marked for the game. I was not looking forward do dealing with 240 stickers. I have stickered many a game, but I do not enjoy it. The counters are fully functional and easy to read. The capital ships, cruisers and above, are represented by large rectangular counters that are almost universal in naval wargames. These have the obligatory silhouette of the ship in question. The leaders and 'Intel' markers are 5/8" square. The other markers are 1/2" in size.

 I know we grognards are a hard to please bunch. However, GMT Games should be proud of their endeavors with this game's manufacturing (so should we game buyers). I really have not had a game from them that was subpar in components, and I do not think it is because I am lucky.

Game situation

  The missing elephant in the game box are U-boats. When the designer (Jeremy White) started talking about his new design, the first question was "where are the U-boats?". When he answered that they were not really present in the game, the next query would be "so, it is another sink the Bismarck game?". Apparently when told the answer to that question most people were a bit confused. He writes that some grognards even begged him to put in U-boats. The various Air and submarine assets of both sides are represented as adjuncts to the surface war. I will let him address the issue from his Design Notes:

 "U-boats appear in Atlantic Chase as an effect rather than a fleet of machines. The U-boat arm operated independently (and invisibly) of surface vessels, for the most part, but because they hunted the same waters, this game presents opportunities for their operations to overlap with those of the surface arm. The player should understand that Admiral Donitz and his fleet of Steel Wolves are busy throughout this game, but that activity is not particularly visible."

 The story of how this game started out in the 1990s because of working on command and control in the American Civil War is a very interesting story. The designer definitely does a deep dive into the background story of the game and its mechanics. 

 So, the first thing you absolutely need to know that this game is not one that you can set up and glance through the Rulebook and be at it in no time flat. The tutorials are your friend and spoon feed you bit after tasty bit of what you can handle from one to the next. The complexity level of the game is only marked at a five, and I believe that is correct. There are a lot of things going on in the game, but none of them by themselves is a deal breaker or insurmountable object. You will not feel like Sisyphus while learning the game. The hardest part, and that is not correct either, is learning about the trajectories. Those would be the different colored rectangles snaking across the map. The thing you have to remember is that you are playing the admiralty of either nation, not an admiral at sea. So, you somewhat know where your forces are heading and what bearing they will be following, but because of radio silences etc. you are not quite certain exactly where they are at any given moment. The designer explains that the board is not meant to represent the actual ocean, but instead the operational maps that were hung up in the Admiralties of London and Berlin. These would have the trajectories charted out with colored string and pins. He has just brought the representation to the 21st century for us to have a blast with. Because of the new way of representing naval warfare, it is a bit hard to describe. All I know is that the system works extremely well but does not take the fun out of gaming. 

 Thank you, GMT Games, for allowing me to review this really excellent and innovative game which works just as well as a solitaire game and a two-player one. You do not need a shoehorn to make it fit into one or the other. Much like the word love, innovation is used far too often for just a change or even a slight change in a gaming mechanism. The Atlantic Chase mechanism is really innovative and, as many people have said, is ripe for being used in so many other situations in wargames. The designer should be wearing shades, because his future looks bright indeed. Pardon me, I have to now go to YT and listen to Timbuk 3.


Atlantic Chase:

GMT Games:


  Skies Above Britain by GMT Games  It is 1940 and Britain stands alone in Europe against Germany and Italy. So many books have been written...

Skies Above Britain by GMT Games Skies Above Britain by GMT Games

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

GMT Games

 Skies Above Britain


GMT Games

 It is 1940 and Britain stands alone in Europe against Germany and Italy. So many books have been written about Churchill's 'Few' that I would be surprised if any grognard hasn't read at least a few of them. To either soften Britain up before Operation Sea Lion or to win the war all on its own, both have been put forward as German plans. The Luftwaffe is ready to take on the Royal Air Force. From Norway to the French coast Heinkel 111's, Dornier 17's, and Messerschmitt 109's are starting their engines to start flying over Britain. It starts with Aldertag (Eagle's Day) which was August 13th, 1940. The Battle of Britain actually started in July. Aldertag was the start of a massive German attempt to bring the RAF to its knees. Luckily for the free world the British won the battle. In actuality the Germans lost so many aircraft that they had to switch to night bombing at the end of the blitz. By the end of October 1940, the Germans had pretty much given up on anything more than nuisance raids. The British Spitfires and Hurricanes had won the day.  

 This is what GMT Games has to say about the game:

 "Skies Above Britain is a solitaire game depicting a Royal Air Force squadron of Hurricanes or Spitfires waging a desperate effort to disrupt and destroy German daylight bombing raids over southeast England in the summer of 1940. The player’s individual aircraft—each represented by a stickered block—must locate the incoming raid, intercept it, and evade or defeat swarms of escorting German fighters that usually outnumber you and whose pilots have superior experience and tactics. The game simulates the dogfighting and fighter-vs.-bomber action at an individual aircraft level using a card-assisted system that simulates key tactical decision-making without losing the feel of fast-paced aerial combat. A player can fly scenarios representing an individual patrol or use the patrol generator to create an endless variety of realistic individual patrols, multi-patrol campaigns, or larger campaigns covering the entire Battle of Britain. Each patrol will take a half hour or more to play, while a campaign can last anywhere between 6 and 28 patrols."

 So, the game follows in the footsteps of 'Skies Above the Reich' and 'Storm Above the Reich'. It is a solitaire game where the player tries to stop the German bombers at all costs. 

  This is what comes with the game:

1 Interception Game Board
1 Squadron Display Game Board
1 Me-110 Circle Display
4 Counter Sheets
1 Rules Booklet
1 Situation Manual
1 Optionals Booklet
3 Player Aid Cards
200 Playing Cards
1 Pad of Roster Sheets
2 Historical Log Sheets
1 Sheet of Stickers
38 Wooden Blocks
10 Wooden Cubes
1 Wooden Cylinder
2 Dice

 So, compared to the last two games in the series you now get to fly for the good guys. You also get to tackle bombers that are much less dangerous to your fighter than B-17s and B-24s were to the German fighters. Of course, your weaponry in 1940 is nowhere near the strength of the weapons on a 1944 German fighter. Your planes are mostly armed with eight .303 caliber machine guns, essentially the size of a rifle round. 

 The games in the series have two things in common. One, you are flying fighters against enemy bombers. Two, the boxes are heavy enough to start a curling routine with. Once opened, a cornucopia of items seem to come spilling out of the box. Looking quickly at the six decks, pilot logs, and all the other components might lead you to think "what have I gotten myself into", or "this is too much of a game for me". Then you get a glimpse of the three different rules/manuals that come with the game, and you are certain you have bitten off more than you can chew. Just relax and sit back and take a few slow breaths. It is nowhere as bad as it seems at first. 

 The first thing that you will look at upon opening the box are the above stated three rules/manuals. The Rulebook is sixty pages in length (remember to breathe). Even though it is the same size as most rulebooks it just seems larger to me. It is made with glossy paper, and it comes with wonderful extremely large printing. Everything about the Rulebook is big. On every page is a beautiful full color example of play or illustration to help you learn the rules. Next up, we have the Situation Manual. This has the different scenarios and is also chock full of example of play. It is fifty-one pages in length and is also made of glossy paper and has large print. The Optionals manual is produced the same as the other two and is nineteen pages in length. It comes with the optional rules and a historical pilot roster which can be copied and used. I think this is a very nice touch. Then comes a page and a half of Designer Notes followed by a nice sized bibliography. 

 One difference from the other games is that the German bombers come on large tiles, as counters, instead of them being on the game board. There are two full counter sheets of these large tiles. These represent the Heinkel 111, Junkers JU-88, Dornier Do-17, and Stukas that you will be trying to shoot down. Then come two more counter sheets. These are mostly 5/8" in size with some being as large as one inch. These come with either nicely done pictures of different fighter pilots, or the different control markers needed for the game. They are very artistic in their style and are some of the most pleasing to the eye counters I have seen. Next comes a small sticker sheet which are used on the wooden blocks that come with the game. These are just as artistic as the counters. The thirty-eight wooden blocks are mostly black squares that the stickers will be attached to. A small amount of dexterity is needed for this, unless you have some freeloaders (sorry, I meant children) around to do this for you. There are six decks of cards: Escort Reaction, RAF Advantage, Luftwaffe Advantage, Bomber, Tailed, and Head on & Tailing. These are heavier than usual cards that do not feel flimsy to the touch. The front of the card has one of the names above while the back shows you one or more example of how it is used. Then comes two card stock Pilot Rosters. On one side is a squadron with names and on the back are Squadron Logs. These Pilot Rosters are also historical for the 303 and 54th squadrons. You also get a pad of the same with no names of pilots or a squadron number on them. As I mentioned above, the addition of some historical names really helps with the immersion and is a great addition. There are three large folding Player Aids that are made of card stock. They are for the Interception Sequence, Pilots, Raid Vector Sequence, RTB Sequence, Intercept Bombers, Intercept Escort, Sequence of Play. So, everything is right at hand without having to peruse the Rulebook each turn, at least in the beginning. There is also a 'Circle Display' for the defensive maneuver that BF 110s used. Next is a small, mounted map with the Squadron Display on one side and the Advanced Squadron Display on the other. Last, but not least, is the mounted Game Board which is mostly taken up by the Interception Map. It also has some other charts and tables on it. These are exactly the type of manufactured components that we have come to expect in a GMT game. The heft of the combined components has already been mentioned for those of us who still give some credence to the weight of the box and its worth.

 Apparently, the idea of a Skies Above Britain for a game was not received by some as actually a game that could be designed. Here is a quote from Gina Willis, one of the designers:

"Call me stubborn, but the cold water that Mark and Jerry (Jeremy White and Mark Aasted designers of Skies Above the Reich and Storm Above the Reich) tossed on wishes for a "Skies Above Britain" only made me more curious to see if and how such a game really could be made to work."

 These two quotes from Gina Willis are about the design itself:

"Since German bombers depended more on escorting fighters for protection than their own armament, a Battle of Britain "Skies" would need to move the fighter-vs.-escort aspect of combat more to the foreground than it was in the earlier volumes."

"One new wrinkle was putting the bombers on moveable tiles instead of printing them in a formation on a board. Tiles on a tabletop could be removed or pushed apart to show disruption and attrition effects on bomber formations in a direct, spatial way."

 Some of the Optional Rules are:

Confirmed Kills - Bomber kills are recorded one for one. However, to show how many times claims were not accurate, four fighter kills equal one kill.

Weave - One section will fly above and behind as a lookout. This costs more fuel.

Random Events - Self-explanatory, and too numerous to list.

Cratered - Your aerodrome has been damaged and you must fly from a nearby one. Parts and replacements are not there, and no one can return from hospital.

Graduated replacements - This replaces the one pilot replacement after every patrol. It is done by die roll now.

 Some of these can only be played when using the Advanced Squadron Display. The Advanced Squadron Display adds more rules to the game. It is much like playing with basic and advanced rules.

 As far as my opinion of the game: do I like it? No, I love it. This next information will tell you exactly how the wargaming community in general viewed the game:

2022 Charles S. Roberts Awards Winners Announced
Best Solitaire or Cooperative Wargame:
WINNER: Skies Above Britain, GMT Games, designers Jerry White and Gina Willis

 That pretty much sums up my feelings as well. One of the best parts of the design is the fact that the Rulebook actually tells newbies "You don't have to read the whole Rulebook to start playing." Even with the number of things in the box and the three different rules/manuals, it is still an easy game to learn and to start playing. You can start the dogfighting pretty much right away. The way that the designers have added so much historical flavor to the game is also a wonderful bonus. Let us not forget the RPG part of the game. You actually feel for your small fighter pilot friends. To be able to, hopefully, follow them through a campaign let alone a single sortie is a sign of a great designed game. The tension in the game is palpable. Do you break off with your ammo getting low, or do you choose to go for that one lone bomber? Each of your decisions can be found to be the wrong one by the game's highly, (I cannot say intelligent), evolved matrix of choices the designers have given it. Just like in reality ditching your plane over Britain is usually followed by a safe parachute flight. However, woe to the poor pilot who has to eject over the Channel. This is one of those games where you look at the clock and see four hours have passed but you still sit and play a few more sorties. 

 Thank you so much GMT Games for allowing me to take Skies Above Britain out for a spin. I knew the history more from the German point of view rather than the British. This game has made me read some books that deal with the British side of the Battle of Britain. If that is all I got from the game, it is worth playing but there is so much more than that in this box.


GMT Games:

Skies Above Britain:

Link to the Rulebook:

My review of Storm Above the Reich:

  Inferno: Guelphs and Ghibellines Vie for Tuscany 1259-1261 by GMT Games   Most people would equate the name Hohenzollern with the German E...

Inferno: Guelphs and Ghibellines Vie for Tuscany 1259-1261 by GMT Games Inferno: Guelphs and Ghibellines Vie for Tuscany 1259-1261 by GMT Games

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

GMT Games

 Inferno: Guelphs and Ghibellines Vie for Tuscany 1259-1261


GMT Games

  Most people would equate the name Hohenzollern with the German Empire. These were parvenus to the Emperors of the Hohenstaufen dynasty of the Holy Roman Empire. Two Emperors from this line were named Frederick. The first was Frederick I Barbarossa (red beard), the second Frederick II was nicknamed 'Stupor Mundi' (the wonder of the world). Both had problems with the Italian city states and the different Popes. Since Pope Leo III crowned and invested Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor in 800 there had been a power struggle between the Popes and Emperors. The citizens of the Italian states were divided over their allegiance to Pope or Emperor. The Ghibellines stood behind the Emperors, and the Guelphs stood behind the Pope. This of course is a oversimplification of the rivalry and fighting for power between the Italian families and states. 

 On the back of the box is a quote from Dante Alighieri's Inferno:   "You thirsted for blood now drink your fill". Sometimes it is translated as “You did thirst for blood, and with blood I fill you”. The meaning is much the same. However, the latter seems to me to be an even darker way of saying it.

 This is what GMT Games has to say about the game:

"Tuscany, 1259. As wealth from crafts and foreign trade elevated northern Italy's urban families above the landed lords, rivalries within and among their cities hardened into conflict between two great parties. Ghibellines aligned with the Hohenstaufen imperial dynasty that ostensibly ruled Italy, while Guelphs backed rival imperial claimants and the greatest challenger to each Emperor's authority, the Pope. Should any faction gain advantage, others coalesced to resist.
The comuni (republics) of Firenze (Florence) and Siena dominated inland Tuscany at the head of these competing alliances. As Guelphs sealed their control of the populous Firenze, Ghibelline Siena turned to Hohenstaufen King Manfredi of Sicily for reinforcement. Local rebellions and reprisals escalated on each side, as political exiles stirred the pot. After Manfredi dispatched German knights to protect his loyal Tuscans, Firenze mustered its people and allies to march on Siena, which responded with its own great army. Pisa and Lucca, Lombardia and Orvieto joined in. Guelph and Ghibelline in September 1260 at last faced off en masse in the center of Tuscany, at Montaperti—the result, a bloody Florentine defeat. But when Ghibelline exiles returned as masters of Firenze, its Guelphs rallied to Lucca and Arezzo, portending an eternal conflagration.
Inferno—the third volume in Volko Ruhnke's Levy & Campaign Series—fires up the cauldron 13th-Century Tuscan warfare, factional conflict fueled by the gold florins and teeming populations of up-and-coming cities and well-to-do valleys. Expert Italian wargame designer Enrico Acerbi brings the age to life within Volko's accessible medieval-operation system. Gathering transport and provender may not be as much the challenge here as the sudden treachery of rebel towns and castles along key roads. Italy's plundering berrovieri horsemen, famed elite crossbowmen, and distinctive palvesari shield bearers are just a few of the unique inhabitants of this volume. Muster, mount up, and find out whose blood will make the Arbia run red!"

The Game Setup

 This is a few hundred years before Machiavelli, but the Tuscan Lords and all of the personages that took part in this bit of history seem to know his tenets by heart. The two earlier games in Volko Ruhnke's Levy & Campaign games (Nevsky and Almoravid), did make the player have to worry about treachery. However, in this game it becomes almost a byword. 

The Game Map

  This is what comes with the game:

One 17x22 inch Mounted Map
175 Wooden pieces
106 Playing Cards
Three full-color Countersheets
15 cardboard Lord and Battle mats
One Lords sticker sheet
Four Player Aid sheets
Two Screens
Rules Booklet
Background Booklet
Six 6-sided dice

Command Card Sample

 The components are as beautiful as any Euro game that I have seen. Which, of course, is exactly what the designers and artists were looking for. Let us take for example this next piece from the game. This will show you the artistry that went into the design of this game.

Front Picture From one of the Screens

 The map itself is on the small size. However, it is definitely bellissimo! I am not sure if wargames are male or female in Italian. From the illustrations that adorn it to the actual Middle Ages look of it, it oozes the work of an artisan. The map picture above makes it look much smaller and busier than it actually is. There is plenty of room on the map for things not to get congested. It has the Turn Record Track at the top of it. The wooden pieces are all copacetic as far as size goes. They also have smooth edges. They are on the small size and if your dexterity isn't what it once was it might be a bit of a problem. The Playing Cards are divided into four decks. Each side has a 'Command' and an 'Arts of War' deck. The Command Decks have a Lord or City name on the front side along with its associated coat of arms. In the Command Deck you will find both 'Pass' cards and 'Treachery' ones. The Art of War decks have a nice picture of a knight on the back. The front has the instructions for the use of the card along with some nice pieces of art around the sides of the card. The counters are very colorful and come in a few different sizes. The large rectangular ones are for the Lords or Cities. The most numerous counters are 5/8" in size and come pre-rounded. These come out of the sprues with ease. There are a number of 1/2" counters that need to be cut the old-fashioned way. If you have looked at either of the other Levy & Campaign games, then you know that they come with Lord & Battle Mats. These are hard 5" square mats to keep track of troops etc. I first saw these in Almoravid and have been a fan since then. The mats help keep track of each Lord and city thereby keeping clutter on the map down. Next up, we have the small round Lord stickers. These fit on top of the round wooden pieces. There are twenty-eight of them so, one for both sides of the Lord token. There are four Player Aid sheets. These are made of hard stock and are just as nice looking as the rest of the game components. One of the sheets shows the Guelph (boo hiss) Lords and Vassals while the other side has the Ghibelline Lords and Vassals (Yay!). The next sheet shows the Revolt against Guelphs and Ghibellines Tables. The obverse side has the Revolt & Treachery Summary. The next two sheets fold out to make four Player Aid cards, one for each player. On these are:

Battle & Storm
Sequence of Play

A Selection of Art of War Cards

Assorted Command Cards

  We have already talked about the Screens. The Rules Booklet is thirty-two pages long. It is in full color and the pages are shiny like a magazine with thick pages. The rules are twenty-five pages long. The next pages have the setup for the game's six scenarios. Then comes a two-page index. Now we come to the Background Booklet. It is sixty-four pages long and has to be seen to be believed. This booklet is chock full of full-page examples of play. Reading the booklet will give you all of the necessary information you need to know. I also think that reading it should give you at least one credit toward a college course on Medieval Italy. It also goes through the information on every card in the game. The bibliography spans two pages. The only problem for me is that the books that are in English I have already read. The rest of the books are in Italian. Unfortunately, the only Italian that has stayed with me cannot be used in mixed company. Oh, and there are six die. They are three for each side; one set is in purple and the other gold. 

Assorted Lord/City Maps

 This is the 'General Course of Play' per GMT Games:

"In Inferno, players take one of two enemy sides, Guelphs (purple) 
or Ghibellines (yellow-orange, hereafter “gold”). The wealthy 
city-state republic of Firenze leads an alliance of Guelph towns 
aligned with the Pope. The Ghibellines comprise city-states Siena 
and Pisa and allied landholders. Guelph expeditions from northern 
and eastern Italy can join in, while Manfredi Hohenstaufen, King 
of Sicily, sends German detachments to back the Ghibellines.
In turns covering 60 days each, Guelph and Ghibelline players 
will levy lords and vassal forces, gather transport, and recruit specialists. Each lord’s forces and assets are laid out on a mat. Players then plan and command a 60-day campaign with their lords.
Cylinders on the map show the lords’ movements, as they seek to 
take strongholds by siege, storm, or revolt and perhaps face each 
other in battle. Markers on a calendar show how long each lord 
will serve, varying by hunger, pay, political events, and success or 
failure in their campaigns"

Ghibelline Lords and Vassals Player Aid

  I understand completely why the years 1259-1261 were chosen for the game. If I had my druthers, I would wish that it took place earlier during Frederick I Hohenstaufen's campaigns to put down the Guelphs in Northern Italy. Putting my own thoughts aside, we have a game that, just like its brethren, give a wargamer the chance to try and herd Jello or cats if you like. Playing either side gives you a good look, not just a glance, into how medieval campaigns were run. You must make a plan for each sixty-day turn. Then you may or may not see the plan completely destroyed before the other player even moves a piece. Your Lords and Vassals may decide to show up and be a part of your grand scheme. However, they might decide to leave you in the lurch or even worse, try to stick a nicely made Italian dagger in your back. Each turn will see you being taught another lesson from the school of hard knocks. After all, this is the arena where Machiavelli learned everything he wrote down. So, while you are herding your vassals toward your objective, and looking over your shoulder for the glint of steel, good luck.  The immersion in the game is highly palpable. You might want to take a short course on impolite Italian and the correct way to bite your thumb at an opponent. 

 Logistics and supply are a large part of the game. It does you no good to have a group of knights ready to descend on your enemy, only to have them fall out of their saddles from starvation. This is where your planning each turn really shines. You must carefully amass enough supply and carts to assist your forces in their endeavors. Conversely, you can put a monkey wrench in your opponent's plans by stopping him from foraging and ravaging his lands.

 My favorite scenarios are C and F. Scenario C has German Knights from Manfredi Hohenstauffen helping to stop some Guelph rebellions. Scenario F is the Campaign Game. There is also a nice learning scenario about the Battle of Montaperti. This was the largest battle of the time fought in1260. This is included to teach you how a battle works in the game.


 "I come to take you to the other shore, into eternal darkness, into heat and chill" (Inferno III 86-87)

 Thank you, GMT Games for allowing me to review this bright new star in the firmament. All of the game components were designed for utility and also beauty. Even if the gameplay was sadly lacking, and it isn't, any player would be proud just to show off the game on his table. If you have played any of the Levy & Campaign games, then you will not find this game hard to play. Each of the Levy & Campaign games have to have some tweaks to reflect the different situation. However, gameplay is pretty similar across the board.


GMT Games:
Inferno: Guelphs and Ghibellines Vie for Tuscany 1259-1261:

  Barbarossa Army Group Center, 1941 by GMT Games  On July 22nd, 1941, Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union. Barbar...

Barbarossa Army Group Center, 1941 by GMT Games Barbarossa Army Group Center, 1941 by GMT Games

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

GMT Games

 Barbarossa Army Group Center, 1941


GMT Games

 On July 22nd, 1941, Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union. Barbarossa (Red Beard) was the nickname of Frederick I Hohenstaufen the Holy Roman Emperor. He is supposed to be in a cave somewhere in Germany waiting until the country really needs him (much like King Arthur). It seems when we look back, it was an insane move made by a lunatic. However, at the time it wouldn't have looked like a bad decision. The Soviet Union had just finished the Winter war against Finland. This had not gone well at all for the Soviets. It was only because of the tremendous size difference between both countries' armed forces that Finland was finally defeated. The German officers also remembered how in World War I the German forces were able to consistently beat the Russian horde. So, how were they to know that the Soviet Union had made such strides in a little over twenty years.

 The plan to attack the Soviet Union had three German Army Groups attacking at the same time. These would be Army Groups North, Center, and South. The high command's plan always envisioned Army Group Center and its attack straight to Moscow as the biggest and most important part of Operation Barbarossa. It was given two Panzer Groups (while the others only had one). These were Panzer Group II under Guderian, and Panzer Group III under Hoth. The first six months of this titanic struggle saw another struggle in the German High Command over which Army Group was the most important. The High Command really wanted to conquer Moscow. Was this hubris because of Napoleon's capture of the city, or was it based on definable reasons? Hitler was more interested in the Ukraine and Leningrad.

Half of the Scenario 3 Map

 These are the game's components and features:

Four 22x34 inch full-color maps (Series Maps C, D, H, and I)
One 22x8.5 inch map (Map WA) (in 2nd edition only)
1400 multi-colored die-cut ½ inch counters
Rule Book
Play Book
4 - 22" X 17" Double-Sided Scenario Setup Cards (Axis and Soviet)
1 - 8 1/2" X 14 " Soviet Setup Card
1 - 22 X 17" Double-Sided Hard Stock Map (Scenarios 3 and 6)
1 - 8 1/2" X 11" Hard Stock Double-Sided Card (One side is the map for Scenario 1, the other side is the Axis Super-Heavy Artillery Effects Table)
2 - 22" X 17" Hard Stock Double-Sided Player Aids (Identical)
2 - 22" X 17" Hard Stock Double-Sided Player Aids (Identical, with the Expanded Sequence of Play)
1 - 8 1/2" X 11" Hard Stock Turn Record Track (One-sided)
1 - 8 1/2" X 11" Hard Stock Step Reduction Organization Card (One-sided)
2 - 8 1/2" X 11" Hard Stock Player Aids (One-sided, one for each side)
2 - 22" X 17" Hard Stock Double-Sided Player Aids (Numerous tables and charts)

TIME SCALE 2 days per turn
MAP SCALE 5 miles per hex
GROUND UNIT SCALE Division/Regiment
AIR UNIT SCALE 40-80 aircraft per counter

 Can you say plethora! I thought I was handed instructions to build a small Ikea house. Yes, the game has tons of players aids and is extremely large all by itself. However, the designer Vance von Borries has been working on the Eastern Front The Russo-German War Series since the late 1990s. The idea is to have the games and maps complement each other so that someone with an unused room in their house could have the entire Eastern Front sprawled out in front of them. You can see above that the map scale is five mile per hex! You might think that this is a game that you might want to wait until you are retired to dive into. This is not the case. The game and scenarios are designed for the grognard to get into the pool slowly without getting overwhelmed. If you look at some of the earlier games in the series right now you would definitely suffer sticker shock. These are:

Typhoon: The Drive on Moscow, 1941

Barbarossa: Kiev to Rostov, 1941

 Fortunately for we grognards, it looks like GMT is reissuing the series. Barbarossa Army Group North and Army Group North are on GMT's P500 right now. Do yourself a favor and pick them up now instead of when they are priced like hen's teeth.

Information from GMT about the game:

"Eight scenarios allow players to vary their level of involvement, complexity, and starting point, from introductory to full campaign
An asymmetrical sequence of play that highlights Axis armored breakthroughs and Soviet difficulties in combined arms warfare. This includes a “non-op” Soviet HQ system to simulate the rigid, yet fragile, Soviet Command structure. Detailed air rules which integrate with land combat and weather rules. Incredibly detailed Order of Battle, including special coverage of artillery, rocket artillery, engineers, bridge units, armored trains, and much more
Modifications to the proven “EFS” include many revised rules and procedures, as well as new Order of Battle information
Extensive bibliography and design/historical notes"

 So, the blurb about the maps is not really accurate. The game actually comes with five laminated paper maps and three hard stock ones of various sizes. The three hard stock are for small learning scenarios. The maps are gorgeous, in a subdued manner. They are uncluttered and you are able to distinguish all the terrain in the hexes. The counters are all 1/2" in size. They have to be, or the game would be twice as large and twice as costly. They are color coded to help the player see which belongs to what units, etc. The counters are not crowded or too busy looking. However, just because of their size I can see some people needing their specs to see the different formation information on them. As mentioned, the Player Aids are made of hard stock. If you took the time to add them up, you will see that there is an astonishing seventeen of them! Every one of them is also in full color. For your first few playthroughs it does take a bit of time to find the exact table or chart you are looking for. Soon you will become an old hand at it. The Rule Book is sixty-four pages long. It has some parts of it in color but is mostly black and white. Each page has two columns of type that is large enough for easy reading. It has both a Table of Contents and an Index. These will both come in handy when you will be starting out with the game. The Playbook is fifty-two pages long. It is printed out the same as the Rulebook. The first twenty-five pages start with some information about setting up the scenarios and the scenarios themselves. Pages twenty-six to thirty-nine are full of play examples. The next four pages are called the Designer's Section. These include the Designer's Historical Notes and Second Edition Notes. Next, we have the Counter Manifests. The last few pages are the Expanded Sequence of Play. All of the components are produced at a level that we have come to expect from GMT.

 These are the map/size needs for the scenarios:

Scenarios One, Three, Five and Six use only one map or the smaller maps.
Scenarios Two and Four use two maps.
Scenario Seven uses three maps.
Scenario Eight uses all of the five larger maps.

 This is a game that is not really meant for the tyro or neophyte entering our wargaming hobby. While it is true that there are smaller and simpler scenarios, you will not get the full panoply of the game until you have played some of the larger ones. It is a large game and has a rule book that is sixty pages long. 

This is a list of some the units:

Ground Unit Type Symbols:
Armored (motorized) units
Armored anti-tank
Armored engineer
Assault gun
Motorized Units
Reconnaissance (Recon)
Motorcycle infantry
Motorized infantry
Motorized engineer
Motorized anti-aircraft
Motorized anti-tank
Non-Motorized Units
Mountain infantry
Airborne infantry
Parachute infantry
Security infantry
Border guard
Ski infantry
Base unit
Special Units
Armored train
Artillery Units
Field artillery
Coast defense artillery
Rocket artillery
Railroad artillery
Super-Heavy Artillery (mobile mode)
(range value is blank)
Super-Heavy Artillery (firing mode) (silhouettes
vary) (includes an attack DRM and range)

 To this list you would need to add Air Units and Ground non-combat Units.

 The game has two types of Supply. They are General Supply and Attack Supply. Supply should always be a part of deeper wargames. A unit is in General Supply if it can show an unbroken supply line of seven hexes, not including the unit itself. This is subject to Zone of Control and terrain in the hexes that make up the supply line. Attack Supply is shown on the map by MSUs (Mobile Supply Unit). These can also be turned into Supply Dumps. Units also have to make a seven hex supply line to Attack Supply (both MSU and Supply Dumps). A unit can attack without Attack Supply, but it will suffer various negative effects during the attack and in losses that might happen when deciding the attack.

 The game also gives the player a large amount of historical detail in the rules. Take for example, the difference in plans on the German side. Most scenarios start with the German player using the OKH (Oberkommando des Heeres) Plan. On game turn sixteen the German player is forced to change it to the Hitler Plan. He can try to change it back to the OKH plan on turns seventeen to nineteen (the player loses two victory points and rolls one die), then checks on the table. If it is moved back to the OKH Plan, it automatically goes back to the Hitler Plan on turn twenty-six. 

 To help you with the record keeping these are also in the game:

Player Aid Markers:

Ammo Level - S-HA
Axis Logistics Pause
Bridge (completed)
Bridge (under construction)
Bridge Destroyed
Citadel Destroyed
Declared Attack
Declared Attack - Mandated Attack
Do Not Move GT 1 (front)
Do Not Move GT 2 (back)
Emergency Supply
Ferry (completed)
Ferry (under construction)
Fortified Belt Destroyed
Fortified Line Destroyed
Fuel Shortage
Game Turn
Garrison Hex
Interdiction Level (Axis and Soviet)
Mandated Attacks Not Yet Made
Naval Evacuation [use only with Naval Module]
Number marker

 These are only about half of all of the markers used in the game.

 This is a game for a grognard to sink his teeth into. There is so much put into the game including:

Soviet Armored Trains
NKVD Units
Soviet Militia

 If you wanted to, a player could get lost in the minutia. However, the original rules were printed in 1998 and have been repeatedly revised over that twenty-five-year span. This is some statements about the series two rules:

Without a doubt this area presented the greatest challenge.
The whole rules book has been rewritten, reorganized, added
to and trimmed of excess, and it includes more clarifications.
In our discussions we determined the original rules also needed
clarity and to be more accessible. Accordingly, we made more
use of bullet points, brief examples, and references to related
rules sections. The old rules had too many instances of critical
points scattered over the length of the rules. We prioritized
bringing these points together as opposed to a strict following
of the sequence of play. The Expanded Sequence of Play should
answer most of your questions on sequencing of functions. We
also provide a rules index to facilitate finding a rule. Then here
in the Playbook you can find several comprehensive examples
of play to illustrate important concepts."

 When I first opened the box this phrase popped into my mind "To drool or not to drool, that is the question". My love of large deep wargames goes back probably to 1976 or so. That means that for almost fifty years I have been overawed by games like this. 
As far as the gameplay goes there is not much to say. When it was first released, the series captured a large amount of grognard fans. This is the beginning of the Russo-German War brought forth in all of its glory for wargamers. The German player is placed on a knife edge of two disparate thoughts. The first is how much damage can I inflict on my opponent while using my Panzer Groups to slice through the Soviet lines and surrounding them. The second is how the devil am I supposed to keep my units supplied? In the rules, there is a separate section for Axis Fuel Shortage. The Soviet player must have a mindset of Marshal Zhukov. Throw everything at the invaders including the entire contents of the kitchen and not just the sink. You must always try and save what you can from the pockets that will be created while also building defense lines farther back. Be prepared to see your opponent break through your carefully made defense lines time and time again. The game length is fifty turns, from June 22nd until September 29th. Some players will doubtless say that one side or the other has an easier time of it. Others will look like Sherlock Holmes while examining the rules. My take on the game is just enjoy it for what it is, a grognard's dream come true. Either side can win the campaign or the separate scenarios. I believe Mr. von Borries and GMT have created an excellent and deep game of the first part of the first campaign in the war. Thank you GMT for allowing me to review this game.


GMT Games:

Barbarossa Army Group Center, 1941:


The Last Hundred Yards Volume 3 The Solomon Islands by GMT Games  The South Pacific Islands are some of the most beautiful and desirable pla...

The Last Hundred Yards Volume 3: The Solomon Islands by GMT Games The Last Hundred Yards Volume 3: The Solomon Islands by GMT Games

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

GMT Games

The Last Hundred Yards Volume 3

The Solomon Islands


GMT Games

 The South Pacific Islands are some of the most beautiful and desirable places to live on earth. They can also be one of the most inhospitable places that you would want to be in. Heat, humidity, and some of the most impenetrable jungles are present on a lot of the islands. Of course, the soldiers had to do their fighting on the latter and not the former. It was a campaign where your uniform rotted while you were wearing it. These islands also had their fair share of nasty critters, like poisonous snakes and crocodilians. The Japanese and Allied soldiers that had to fight on these islands considered the climate and terrain as much of an enemy as each other. Once the Allied forces decided on the 'island hopping' strategy, many Japanese soldiers were left to starve to death. The Allied command of the air, in the latter stages of the campaign, sometimes led the Japanese to cannibalism while they were still fighting the Allied troops. The US Marines were always knee deep in many of these battles. However, the US Army and its Allies also had to fight in these green patches of hell on earth. The sheer size and mileage of the campaign is breathtaking. For most airmen, their flights during World War II were measured in hundreds of miles. In this campaign it could be sometimes measured in a thousand or more one way.

 The Pacific Theater in World War II has had many games devoted to the full campaign and smaller parts of it. These are usually strategic in view or based on the separate campaigns. Most of the tactical level games are based on the naval war.  There are not too many that are tactical that are based solely on the island battles. One would assume that some grognards are not interested in being the hunkered down Japanese in most of these battles. With this game we have the early battles of 1942-1943, with one scenario from 1944. This is mostly before the Japanese would dig in and dare the Allied forces to take their defenses. So, let us go back to the years where the air would be rent with the yells of Banzai (literal translation 'may the Emperor live for 10,000 years). Notice it is not Bonsai, a small shrub or tree.

American Counters

 This is a blurb from GMT Games on The Solomons: The Last Hundred Yards:

"The Last Hundred Yards Vol. 3: The Solomon Islands is the third game in the Last Hundred Yards Series. This game focuses on the vicious and brutal Solomons Campaign, including actions to control the islands of Guadalcanal, Bougainville, and New Georgia.

When you play the Solomon Islands Campaign missions, you will experience some of the fiercest small unit actions in the Pacific Theater. The game will focus on actions involving the 1st (The Old Breed) and 3rd (Fighting Third) Marine Divisions, as well as the Army’s 25th Infantry Division—the unit that finally drove the Japanese off the island, earning them the nickname “Tropic Lightning.”

Take to the jungles of Guadalcanal with the 1st Marine Division as they begin the first ground offensive of the war. Landed onto Guadalcanal and with intermittent naval support as the struggle for naval supremacy raged offshore, the Marines fought tooth and nail to secure their small foothold around Henderson Airfield. They fought against Japanese Reinforcements coming from all over the South Pacific area. Engage in bitter jungle fighting with the 3rd Marine Division as they attempt to hold and expand the beachhead on Bougainville Island against the Imperial Japanese 6th Infantry Division.

Finally, serve with the 25th Infantry Division’s famed 27th Regiment, the “Wolfhounds,” as they try to reduce Japanese positions on Guadalcanal’s Galloping Horse Ridge (an action that is portrayed in the movie “The Thin Red Line”). You will also fight with the Wolfhounds in the jungle around Munda Point for the airfield on New Georgia. Each of these actions involved tense jungle warfare and the routing out of fanatical Japanese units from hidden bunkers and pillboxes. You will understand the nerve-racking frustration of clearing an enemy position, only to have infiltrators attack you yet again from a different direction, at night!"

Japanese Counters +

 This is what comes with the game:

4 double-sided geomorphic maps (8 total)

4 full-size counter sheets

1 half-size counter sheet

1 full-color Rules booklet

1 full-color Playbook

5 Mission Cards (10 missions)

2 Combat/Terrain Charts

1 Game Turn Track

4 10-sided Dice

Assorted Counters

  "How do I love thee?" Let me look at your counters. I am pretty sure that Mrs. Browning would not approve, but it seems appropriate for our beloved hobby.

 The game comes with four two-sided hard stock maps. This means you get a total of eight maps in total. The maps are numbered instead of lettered as in most games I have played. The colors on the maps are a bit muted, but they work just fine with the dank and dark areas that they represent. The hexes are 1 1/4" in size. This is really big for most wargame hexes. Each hex represents 50 yards across. The only thing that put me on edge with the maps is that they come with terrain height lines, with some of the hexes being at multiple height. I will explain later how the game deals with this in the rules. The counters are nicely done. They are also large at 3/4". The numbers on them that you need to resolve combat etc. are large enough. The numbers and letters that are used for setup are small. Each counter that has a gun or an armored vehicle has its actual name underneath it. Those are very small. The pictures on them are well done, so that if you know anything about WWII weapons, you will have no need of trying to read the names beneath. The counters are somewhat muted also to fit in with the maps. Setup for the units is almost always by Company or Platoon. As I mentioned, those numbers are small but still readable. 

 The Series Rulebook v2.0 is thirty-nine pages in length. It is also in full color. There is a two and one-half page Index included as well. I love when companies add that in. As this is the third iteration of the Last Hundred Yards games the rules are clear to me. The only part I had to go over a few times is devoted to the use of mortars in the games. The designer has tried very hard to mimic their use in real battles. That is why those rules are more involved than others. The Playbook is simply amazing. It is thirty-six pages in length. The first twelve pages show full color examples of most of the rules in the game. This part made even a dolt like me understand any rule that had some nuance to it. From page thirteen to twenty-seven there is a play example of four full turns. If the first part of the Playbook didn't help you to 'get it' these certainly will. The last pages of the Playbook are the Designer Notes. These are a full nine pages in length. Once again, this is incredibly in depth. It is almost like the designer, Mike Denson, invited you over for coffee and you talked at length about the game and his design decisions. 

 There are five double-sided Mission Player Aids. These are made of hard stock and have a picture of the map that you use with that scenario. That map picture also shows you north (don't laugh I have seen maps that didn't), and what sides your troop consider home territory. Being double-sided, this gives you a total of ten missions. The next two Player Aids (one for each player) are a four-page fold-out that have all of the charts and tables for resolving all of the combat etc. They also have the terrain effect table on one page. The last Player Aid is a fold out; this has these on it:

Casualty Track

Random Event Table

Time Track

Fate Table

Coordination Table

Time Lapse

Mortar Support

Sequence of Play

 This is the Sequence of Play:

"I. Initiative Phase: Both players make a die roll. The player having
the Initiative on the previous game turn applies their Initiative die
roll modifier, if applicable, to the Initiative die roll [each mission lists the Initiative die roll modifiers for each player.] The player with the higher modified die roll wins the Initiative and becomes the active player. The losing player is the non-active player. In the case of ties, the Axis player wins the Initiative if the modified die roll is odd, while the Allied player wins the Initiative if the modified die roll is even. The Initiative marker is adjusted on the Game Tracks player-aid card to reflect the side that won the Initiative. A player without a Platoon Leader or an AFV in play at the end of the Initiative Phase — and after any Random Event results — automatically forfeits the Initiative to the other player. If neither player has a Platoon Leader or AFV in play, play proceeds to III. Fire Resolution Phase. In all cases, if the unmodified Initiative die roll is 1 or 10, that player must consult the Random Event Table on the Game Tracks player aid [18.0].

II. Activation Phase: The active player conducts Actions with units
of friendly activated platoon(s) [7.0], followed by both players
conducting Reactions [8.0]. Units of an activated platoon without
a Platoon Leader in play are restricted in their Actions [].
Once all platoon Activations and Reactions have been completed,
play proceeds to the Fire Resolution Phase.

III. Fire Resolution Phase: Fire attacks are resolved in any order.
Each DRM marker in play represents a single Fire attack. (Fire attack die rolls are based on the DRM markers in the hex at the beginning of the Fire Resolution Phase, even if players find an error was made when the DRM marker was originally placed.)

IV. Assault Resolution Phase: The active player determines the order
in which assaults are resolved [14.0].

V. Mortar Fire Adjustment Phase
1. Remove MDRM, Smoke, and Illumination markers.
2. Determine Mortar Recovery [11.4.8].
3. Forward Observers (FOs) that elect not to extend, or are currently
on their Final side, or in a hex without a friendly unit, are removed
— along with the corresponding Primary Impact marker — and
placed in the Mortar Support Pending Box on the Game Tracks
player-aid card.
4. Conduct Mortar Fire Extensions [11.4.9].

VI. Determine Time Lapse: The active player makes a die roll on
the Time Lapse Table to determine the Time Lapse (in minutes) and
adjusts the time on the Time Lapse Track accordingly.

VII. Clean Up Phase
1. Remove Overwatch and Motion markers from all vehicles that
did not conduct an action during the game turn.
2. Place returning Platoon Leaders [].
3. Recombine squads [10.3.3].
4. Conceal any units not in LOS of an enemy unit.
5. Reset counter orientation and record earned Promotion Points
6. Check whether the Mission Objective or Victory Conditions have
been met."

 It is the designer's contention that all battle is first and foremost confusing to the participants, especially at the tactical level. Many games try to take this into account, but others give you 'God mode' like powers to change your units mission and orders on a dime. As Mr. Denson writes in the Designer Notes "This has always bothered me about tactical level games, and one of the goals of LHY is to at least give the 'eye in the sky' cataracts." In this I believe that the design has done exactly what they started out to do. 

 The next important difference of this game to others is the 'Time Lapse System'. The game does not actually have game turns in the usual sense. In most games you will see each turn listed as 'X' amount of time as in fifteen minutes etc. After the turn is done you actually roll a die to see how much time has elapsed. This is meant to put the players on the proverbial hot seat. The amount of time it takes a player to complete their goals is added to their final score. So, dawdling is not encouraged. The only trick to this is that you have to roll the die at the end of each turn to find out how much time has passed. This could be anywhere from two to five minutes. This is to simulate the one factor that is completely out of your hands, which is the time it will take your units to do any action. To add to this, if a player rolls a one or a ten for initiative, they must consult the Random Events Table. If the player rolls a one, they are allowed to remove a concealment marker from an enemy unit that is five hexes away and in the LOS of a friendly unit. If you roll a ten you must consult the 'Fate Table'. These naturally are either a good outcome for the player or a bad one with some being worse than others. 

 Initiative is also done differently than other games. With LHY it is treated more like momentum and is slightly difficult for the opposing player to regain the initiative. So, it is not just the standard die roll at the beginning of a new turn. It sort of makes it like you need to wrest the initiative back from your opponent. If you have the initiative the game allows you to more easily go for broke.

 One other thing to take into account is the actual map size. Most are only 650 yards long. There is no maneuvering before battle really. You are dropped right into the midst of a knife fight. The terrain elevation of each hex is measured by what terrain height the actual center dot of each hex shows.

 What is the verdict, you ask? I believe the designers have hit one out of the park. They have achieved what they set out to do which was to make a tactical game with many new ideas and nuances. Playing this game made me go out and buy the other two volumes. If that isn't an endorsement, I do not know what is. The rules really give you some immersion. You are at times both happy with your units and then mad. You even take the Time Elapse roll as a personal affront at times. 

 Thank you, GMT Games for allowing me to review this game. Count me as being very impressed by this new system. The game volumes are:

The Last Hundred Yards:

The Last Hundred Yards Volume 2: Airborne Over Europe:

The Last Hundred Yards Volume 3: The Solomon Islands:

Coming up are:

The Last Hundred Yards Volume 4: The Russian Front:

The last Hundred Yards: Mission Pack 1: