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Storm Over Jerusalem The Roman Siege by Multi-Man Publishing  Jerusalem: for many people down through the ages it was, and is, considered th...

Storm Over Jerusalem: The Roman Siege by Multi-Man Publishing Storm Over Jerusalem: The Roman Siege by Multi-Man Publishing

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

Multi-Man Publishing

Storm Over Jerusalem

The Roman Siege


Multi-Man Publishing

 Jerusalem: for many people down through the ages it was, and is, considered the center of the world. The first Roman siege of Jerusalem was in 63 BCE. Pompey the Great had just finished the Third Mithridatic War. Mithridates of Pontus was finally dead, and Pompey was now making a leisurely stroll through the territories that had now become adjacent to Roman lands. That siege actually lasted three months before the entire city was taken. Now, we go forward more than 100 years to the Jewish Revolt of 66 CE. The Jewish freedom fighters had almost completely thrown out the Romans from the whole of Judea. Nero then gave the task of reconquering it to the future emperor Vespasian. We are very lucky in the fact that Vespasian captured a man called Josephus who proceeded to write down the history of the revolt and the following Roman campaign. Jerusalem has probably a greater history of sieges than any other point in the world. The sieges started pretty much right after King David made it his capitol and have continued down through the roughly 3000 years since. Assyrians, Babylonians, and so many others have tried to make the city theirs. This game deals with the siege that Vespasian started, and his son Titus continued, in 70 CE. Strangely, with so many sieges, there are not many games about them, ancient sieges that is. For some reason wargame designers do not think to develop too many actual siege games. 

 So, here we are in 70 A.D. and about to either try to take the city or defend it. This is what Multi-Man Publishing says about the game:

"By the year 70 of the Common Era (CE), the province of Judea had been in revolt against Rome for nearly 4 years. The protests and riots that began in 66 CE had quickly turned into open rebellion. The standard Roman punitive force under Syrian legate Cestius Gallus, having failed to capture Jerusalem, was wiped out at Beth Horon. General Vespasian was given command of the Roman army in the region and ordered to crush the rebellion and restore order. Turmoil in Rome, however, saw Vespasian recalled to become Emperor. In early 70 CE, Emperor Vespasian dispatched his son Titus (a future Emperor) along with four legions to end the rebellion in this important province. Titus arrived in Jerusalem in April to find the city still at war with itself. Throughout the rebellion, differing Judean factions had fought a bitter internecine war among themselves. The primary factions fighting each other in Jerusalem at this time were controlled by Simon bar Giora and John of Gischala. With the arrival of Titus and his legions, however, they were now faced with a common threat to their immediate survival.

The brutal siege of Jerusalem lasted nearly five months. During the siege, city walls were breached one-by-one, much of the city devastated, and the Temple—central to both the Jewish religion and the defense of the city—destroyed and burned. With the capture of Jerusalem, Titus had effectively ended the Judean revolt, with the last of the rebels finally cornered and eliminated in the legendary siege of Masada in 73 CE.

Storm Over Jerusalem is a card-assisted, area-movement game based on Multi-Man Publishing’s Storm Over series of games (Storm Over Stalingrad, Storm Over Dien Bien Phu, and Storm Over Normandy). Cards augment the game play and increase the tensions and choices faced by each player.

As the Judean player, you are outnumbered and surrounded; you must use your forces wisely to hold out as long as possible behind the Walls of Jerusalem. As the Roman player, you must breach the Walls to capture the city, eliminate the rebels, and end the Judean rebellion before time runs out."

 So, we see that the game's pedigree comes from the highly acclaimed games in the 'Storm Over' series. We also see that it is card assisted and has area movement. Let us take a look at the components. This is what comes with the game:

One 22"x34" full-color map
Two full sheets of counters (162 3/4" counters and 88 5/8" counters)
Full-color rulebook with examples
Two double-sided player aid cards
Card deck with 55 full-color cards
4 six-sided dice

 For those of us who have any knowledge of Jerusalem, be it secular or not, the map is an amazing piece of time travel. We get to see the city exactly as it was laid out at this time in history. Other than being completely historically accurate, the map was designed as a wargame map. It was not designed as a piece of art that you would hang on your wall. However, that does not detract one bit from it. The colors and illustrations are perfect for its use. The artist has truly given you the image of an oasis in the midst of desolation. The map paper comes with a coating that will help with its longevity. No, do not bring your different beverages around the game table to see if it endures; it will not. The counters are what my daughter used to call as a child "big huge". All of the Jewish and Roman units, along with a few of the gameplay ones, are 3/4" sized. They have a nice picture on them to denote their weaponry. The numbers on them that are needed for the game are very large. Their very physical and number size bring tears to an old grognard. There are two identical full-color Player Aids. They are made of light card stock. The writing on them is not large, but it is also not really small as some I have seen. The fact that some of the parts/tables are in different colors helps you find what you are looking for. The two decks come together in cellophane, but they are also in a cardboard holder. That is a nice touch so that you do not have to find something yourself to keep them from sliding around the box. The decks are different colors on the back; red and blue is the game's theme. The front of the cards is done in a gold coloring, and each has a very nice piece of artwork as the background. The cards' covering makes them pretty slick and they do try to get away from you. The information size is comparable to any others. The Rulebook is only twelve pages long. It is easy to read and understand. It comes in full color and has a great many examples of play. That is pretty great for only twelve pages. The components are very well done as a whole. 

The Sequence of Play is:

Each turn the following sequence is performed:
A. Draw Phase: The Roman and Judean players draw 
enough cards to fill their hands. If a player has more cards in 
hand than their hand size, they must discard down to their 
hand size. The Game Turn track indicates the hand size of 
cards each player has for that turn. Note that there is one value 
for the Roman player and another for the Judean player. Control of Area 19 (Tyropoeon South) or Area 30 (Lower City) with 
no enemy units in the area provides one additional card to the 
controlling player (see 5.1) for each area.
B. Impulse Phase: Both players perform alternating impulses (see 6.0). The Roman player takes the first impulse on each 
A player may pass if he does not wish to perform any actions 
for their impulse. If a player has no units that can perform 
actions and does not have any cards remaining in their hand, 
they automatically pass.
If the Roman player passes the turn enters the end phase, 
unless the Judean player immediately discards one of their 
tactical cards (the card is not played, just placed in the discard 
pile). Exception: Judean card #54 (Romani ite domum) can be 
immediately played after the Roman player has passed, it does 
not require another card to be discarded. If a card is discarded, the game turn continues normally, with the Judean player 
taking their impulse, and then the Roman player taking their 
impulse, and so on.
C. End Phase: Both players perform the following sequence 
listed below.
• Cards may be discarded (see 5.3), with the Roman player 
discarding first.
• Remove any Out of Supply markers from the map.
• If the Roman player controls areas 1 through 11, the Roman player rolls a die to see if the Judean Supply Restrictions will increase on this turn (13.3).
Then the Judean player must check the Judean Areas Unable to Refresh (13.3) to determine how many areas containing spent Judean units will not flip to their fresh side 
during this End Phase. The Judean player should mark 
the affected areas with an Out of Supply (OOS) marker. 
If there are not enough locations with spent Judean units, 
any excess OOS locations are ignored.
• Next, players should flip all spent units and siege towers 
to their face-up (“fresh”) side, other than the units in areas 
that the Judean player designated as OOS in the previous 
• The Roman player may remove any Siege Towers from 
Roman controlled areas.
• The Roman player now receives up to 6 reinforcement 
units for the turn and places them on their fresh side in 
any area adjacent to their Reinforcement Zone (see 11.0). 
Roman reinforcements do not all have to come from the 
same Reinforcement Zone. If there are no units in any of 
the Reinforcement Zones, this step is skipped.
• If the Roman player controls both Area 22 (Temple Mount) 
and Area 27 (Herod’s Palace) the game ends with an automatic Roman victory. 
• Each player that controls Area 22 (Temple Mount) or Area 
27 (Herod’s Palace) gains 1 Victory Point for each area. If 
the Judean player controls all city areas (12-31), they gain 
1 VP.
• The Roman player gains 1 VP for each Judean Leader that 
was not placed on board this turn. After this, remove any 
Judean Leaders on board so they can be placed during the 
next turn.
• At this point the turn ends. If it is not turn 8, the turn 
marker is advanced one space on the Game Turn Track, 
and the sequence of play is repeated. If the current turn is 
turn 8 (or 7 if the Judean player played Judean card #54), 
the game ends. Both players must discard all cards and all 
Escape the Siege cards discarded at this time will trigger 
as an event.

 The gameplay is great. The game actually feels like a historical siege. One of my grail games is the Art of Siege by SPI. So, it shows that I find wargaming sieges as not only viable as a wargame but very entertaining as far as gaming. Each player is situated under his own Sword of Damocles. The Romans only have at most eight turns to take the city, or to accumulate enough victory points. The Roman player also has only so many options based on the cards and game length. He has to build Siege Towers and these cost both a card and an impulse. However, the walls of Jerusalem when undamaged give the defender a +4. The Roman player also has cards, Onager, Catapult, Battering Ram, and Siege Ramps, that will help him to breach the walls. Conversely, the Judean player can repair that wall using a card to do so. The Judean player has to decide when to attack or just wait for the Romans. The game makes counter attacking a really bloody part of the game at times. That is why the player has to really think about each attack. Because if it is a failure or does not really hurt the enemy, those attacking units are placed on the backside of the counter. These leave them extremely open to the other player's counterattack. 

 To add to the historical side of the game, the Judean player has to deal with having two leaders and their supporters. The Roman player has no leaders, but the Judean player has both a John and Simon counter. These represent Simon Bar Giora and John of Giscala. Historically before the siege started, and a little while after, there was serious fighting between the different factions in the city and even between the zealots themselves. A player has to use them wisely. They give both defense and attack bonuses to the Judean player. However, if they are eliminated in battle each of them is worth one point to the Roman player for every subsequent turn. 

  So, we have a game that historically feels like a siege and is also fun and nail biting to play. What more could a grognard ask for. The short and easy to understand Rulebook, coupled with simple but innovative rules help to make this game as great as it is. This has everything that I would want in a wargame. It is about ancients and features a siege. Kudos to Multi-Man Publishing for doing an ancients game and to Scott Blanton for designing it. 

Map close-up

 Thank you very much Multi-Man Publishing for allowing me to review this great game. It has been a long time since I played a 'Storm Over' game, and it looks like I will have to dig one or two of them out. This game is part of MMP's International Game Series. There are also Storm Over Stalingrad and Storm Over Dien Bien Phu available from MMP.

P.S. I have really warmed up to the map since I started playing. It is a piece of art that you would hang on your wall.


Multi-Man Publishing:

Storm Over Jerusalem: The Roman Siege:

  A Victory Awaits Operation Barbarossa 1941 by Multi-Man Publishing   Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union by Germany, took place o...

A Victory Awaits: Operation Barbarossa 1941 by Multi-Man Publishing A Victory Awaits: Operation Barbarossa 1941 by Multi-Man Publishing

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

Multi-Man Publishing

 A Victory Awaits

Operation Barbarossa 1941


Multi-Man Publishing

  Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union by Germany, took place on June 22nd, 1941. Many people do not know that Germany was incapable of fighting a long war. This is because of having limited natural resources, and especially oil, to fuel their economy, as well as their armed forces. Hitler had decided to attack the Soviet Union to procure all the oil etc. that Germany needed. After the abysmal showing of the Red Army against Finland in 1939/1940. The German High Command thought that it would be relatively easy to conquer the European parts of the Soviet Union. 

 This is what this game is all about. As the Germans, you have nine turns to get from one side of the map to the other, taking as many victory points as you can along the way. The Soviet player has to throw his forces at the German meat grinder to try and slow, if not stop, their forward motion.

 This is a blurb from Multi-Man Publishing about the game:

"Famed Japanese designer Tetsuya Nakamura, who created A Victory Lost, Fire in the Sky, A Most Dangerous Time, and What Price Glory?, returns to the East Front with A Victory Awaits.
Using a lightly modified version of the A Victory Lost system, the game covers Operation Barbarossa from June 22 to mid-September. Game play features the same chit-pull mechanics used in AVL, with 10 one-week turns. Players can play either the full campaign game, or the Army Group North, Army Group Center, or Army Group South scenarios. Each of the scenarios plays on a single map, or play the full campaign game on all three maps!
This design was originally published as a series of three games in Japan: Fierce Fight! Leningrad Blitzkrieg, Fierce Fight! Smolensk Blitzkrieg, and Fierce Fight! Kiev Blitzkrieg. The game also includes rules for multiplayer (four to eight players) and a series of optional rules. The rules have been expertly translated into English, with detailed assistance from the designer.
On the wide steppes of the Soviet Union can you emerge victorious from the opening blows of the Russo-German war?"

 So, the pedigree of the game is clearly shown. The fact that it was a trio of magazine games (boo, hiss, eye rolls) makes no difference whatsoever to me. Some of my best times in wargaming were had with magazine games. The way the game is setup you have the ability to play the full first part of Barbarossa, or you can play a scenario of each German Army Group (North, Center, and South).

 This is what comes with the game:

Three maps
Three countersheets
15-page full color rulebook
4 player aid cards
2 dice
box and lid
Solitaire Rating: Excellent
Complexity: Low
Playing Time: 3-15 hours
Scenarios: 4

Game scale: 
Each hex is about 10 miles (16 km).
Each turn is 10 days.
Units: Divisions.

Part of the Middle Map and Army Group Center's Attack

 This game is a bit like Barbarossa on $5 a day. You will get the full panoply of the immense invasion cut down to its bare bones. The Rulebook is only fifteen pages long. The actual rules for the game are only a little over ten pages. Then come some optional rules, the scenarios, and it also has rules for playing with up to eight people. The rulebook is in full color. Unbelievably, it has enough space to have a good number of rules examples included in it. There are two full color hard stock Player Aid Cards, one for each side. These both have the terrain chart on one side with the CRT and Sequence of Play on the other. The other two Player Aid Cards are for the four of the games separate scenarios (Leningrad, Kiev, Smolensk, and the Campaign Scenario). I am torn as far as the counters go. At first glance, I thought they were a little garish. I believe these are the deepest hues ever used for counters I have seen. They have grown on me. There is no problem reading the information on the counters. The counters do not use the 'NATO' designations that we are used to. I want to say that the designation shapes are from German sources from WWII, but I could be completely wrong.  You are also given alternative counters that show a silhouette of tanks and mechanized units instead of the rectangles and quadrilaterals. The maps are very well done. Each hex terrain is easy to see, and the artwork of the maps is plain to see. You are given three maps: Leningrad, Smolensk, and Kiev. These represent the areas of action for the German Army Group North, Center and South. So, other than the color choice on the counters, the games components pass muster.

This is part of the Northern Map

 This is the Sequence of Play:
 Game play proceeds using the following sequence. Once through the sequence comprises one game turn. After nine complete game turns, the game ends and victory is determined.

(1) Selection Phase. Each player secretly selects which of their command chits will be put into the cup for this turn. The command chits are mixed together into a single cup.
(2) Command Phase. One command chit is drawn blindly from the cup. The owner of the chit becomes the active player. The active player enacts the command chit (7.0).
(3) Activation Phase. If required by the command chit, the active player activates the appropriate HQ unit and any other eligible units (8.0).
(4) Operations Phase. Activated units may move and attack.
 • Movement Segment. The active player may move his activated units (9.0).
 • Combat Segment. The active player may attack enemy units with his activated units (10.0).
 After resolving steps 2-4 above, if any command chits remain in the cup, return to step 2 (Command Phase). If no chits remain in the cup, proceed to the End Phase.
(5) End Phase. Advance the turn marker into the next space on the Turn Track. Any Axis units in that space are moved to the Axis Available Box.  Return to step 1 (Selection Phase) and begin the new turn (6.0).

Part of the Kiev Map

 The game does not have separate air units. The two Air Forces strength has been built into the ground forces strength. As mentioned, this game was based upon boiling down all the extraneous rules and thoughts that are in almost all other Eastern Front games. As the German, you do not have to worry about rebuilding railroads either. That rebuilding has also been built into the system. 

 The supply rules are also different than most Eastern Front games. In all of the scenarios, the German player does not have to check if his units are in supply until turn four. As all the scenarios are nine turns, that means that he has almost half the game to run rampant on the Soviet player. 

 The game is only nine turns long. As the German player you have to get moving and keep moving. One thing to keep in mind is that destroyed Soviet units will come back to haunt you. The rebuilding of destroyed Soviet units is one of the few standard rules of Eastern Front games that is in this game. However, Soviet units that are starved out by lack of supply do not come back to haunt Ebenezer Scrooge, the German player, later in the game. So, as the German player you must hit the Soviet Union like the Road Runner. Put the Soviet units into sacks and then tighten them. Then you will not have to worry about them rising from the grave.

 The Soviet player is completely caught on his back foot. Time is generally on your side in Eastern Front games, but not this one. So, you must always be worried about if and when you strike back at the invaders. You have to be very careful not to attack and then find those same units out of supply. Of course, there are times where you just have to dig in and take those unit losses.

 The game is built on the chit pull system. There is even a chit pull for supply. So, neither side will know where the next blow will fall. This a fast-paced game even if it is actually a mini-monster. The sheer size of this part of the Soviet Union is what puts it into that category. If you have the area to play the full campaign, that is excellent. However, do remember that you can play three different one map scenarios.

Part of the Leningrad Map

 Thank you, Multi-man Publishing for allowing me to review this game. Mr. Nakamura has added another excellent game to his stable. My apologies to MMP for my tardiness with this review.

 Multi-Man Publishing has games about battles and campaigns all over the globe and from many different time periods. These games go from real monsters to much simpler easy to learn and play ones. They have numerous series of games to choose from. These include, among others:

Standard Combat Series
Operational Combat Series
Tactical Combat Series

 When looking through my collection earlier this year, I was surprised to see how many of their games I actually owned.


Multi-man Publishing:

A Victory Awaits:

  The Last Stand The Battle for Moscow 1941-42 by Multi-Man Publishing  This game allows the players to simulate the last part of Operation ...

The Last Stand : The Battle for Moscow 1941-42 by Multi-Man Publishing The Last Stand : The Battle for Moscow 1941-42 by Multi-Man Publishing

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

Multi-Man Publishing

 The Last Stand

The Battle for Moscow 1941-42


Multi-Man Publishing

 This game allows the players to simulate the last part of Operation Barbarossa in 1941, or the Russian counterattack at the end of the year into the beginning of 1942. Moscow was not seen as an important goal for Operation Barbarossa by Hitler. It was, however, always seen as an integral part of the invasion of the Soviet Union by the OKH (Oberkommando des Heeres) the German Army's High Command. Indeed, Army Group Center under field Marshal von Bock was poised to strike at the city much earlier. However, Hitler had forced Army Group Center to release Guiderian's Second Panzer Group (later upgraded to the Second Panzer Army) to aid in the vast encirclement of 600,000 + Soviet troops around Kiev. But now at the end of September, the OKH had finally dragged Hitler into the idea of an attack on Moscow. This was to be called Operation Typhoon. Three Panzer Armies (Hoth's Third, Hoepner's Fourth, and Guiderian's Second), along with the rest of Army Group Center are to be unleashed toward the city of Moscow. Multi-Man Publishing is putting you in command of either the German or Soviet Armies in this last do or die struggle of 1941. The Germans were able to see the spires of Moscow before being pushed back. Can you do better than von Bock or Zhukov?

 The game was designed by Masahiro Yamazaki, who has also designed 'Stalingrad Pocket', and 'Red Star Rising', among many others. This is what comes with the game:

One 34" x 22" map
560 ½" counters
32 page full color rulebook
2 player aids

 This is the blurb from Multi-Man Publishing about the game:

Solitaire Rating: very good to excellent
Complexity: Medium
Playing Time: 3-10 hours
Scenarios: 3
Game scale: Units are divisions, turns are ten days, and hexes are 17.2 kilometers across.

 This is a straight up old school hex-and-counter wargame that someone in 1978 would be able to sit down and play. It is not card driven, or has blocks for the units. The map is very well done, and has many of the charts and tables needed for play on it. There are no ambiguous hexes, as far as terrain, and rivers are all on their appropriate hex sides. All of the different Soviet defense positions around Moscow are on the map and easy to see. The Rulebook is twenty-seven pages long, with an abbreviated sequence of play on the back cover. The Rulebook is in full color. It is also printed in very large print. This makes it very easy on us old grognard eyes. The rules are setup very well, and are easy to follow. There are three Player's Aid cards. Two are the same and have the CRT and the weather die roll (this is optional) etc. on them. The other Player's Aid card has the setup for Scenario Two on one side (The First Scenario Setup is on the map), and the reinforcements for all three scenarios on the other. The counters are well done and not too 'busy'. You can easily read the information on them. The Soviet counters come with both historical and unknown strength sides. This allows the players to start with the historical Soviet strengths or unknown. While not a work of art, the game is up to the usual standards I have seen in my other MMP products. The cover of the game and Rules Booklet is another story. This is a picture right off a Soviet propaganda picture from the Second World War. 

 The three scenarios are:

The German Attack - This is ten turns long.
The Winter Counteroffensive - This is six turns long.
The extended Game - This is twelve turns long.

 This is an abbreviated sequence of play:

A.) German Player Turn
 1.) Supply Phase
  a.) Weather
  b.) Reinforcement/Supply Placement
  c.) Receive Air Points
  d.) Combat Unit Supply Check
  e.) Isolated Attrition Check
  f.) Supply Unit Removal (Snow Turns)
  g.) Soviet Morale Chit Pull (if applicable)
 2.) Movement Phase
  a.) Unit Movement/Overrun
  b.) Supply Unit Consumption
 3.) Combat Phase
  a.) Resolve Combat
  b.) Remove Supply Units in Expend Mode
 4.) Soviet Reaction Phase (The Soviet Player is allowed to move  and overrun with eligible Mechanized units)
 5.) Exploitation Movement (all German units may move again with one half of their movement allowance)
B.) Soviet Player Turn
 1.) Supply Phase
  a.) Reinforcement HQ and Combat Unit Placement
  b.) Receive Air Points
  c.) Combat Unit Supply Check
  d.) Isolated Attrition Check
  e.) Red Army Morale Check
 2.) Katyusha Gun Phase
  a.) Katyusha movement
  b.) Katyusha Fire
 3.) Movement Phase
 4.) German Reaction Phase (Like the Soviets in his reaction phase, but with different parameters, the German player may conduct reaction move with his eligible Mechanized units).
 5.) Combat Phase
  a.) Ski Unit placement
  b.) Resolve Attacks
 6.) Exploitation Movement (identical to the German Phase)

 You can see by the above picture that both sides receive air points, and there are special rules for the Soviet Katyusha rocket weapons (Stalin's organs). As the German player, you have to strike hard and fast to have any chance of gaining victory. The German player is not going to be able to make up lost time and space in the latter part of the game. The Soviet player has to be ready to have his lines torn open again and again by the German Player. He then must throw everything available to try and stem the German tide, and pray for winter. The game can be played with the historical weather for each turn, or optionally by deciding the weather by a die roll before each turn. This makes a big difference in the game. If the German player is lucky on his die rolls the game is much easier because some of the various modifiers for Rain, Snow, or Frozen weather conditions will not hamper him. Supply for both sides is dealt with entirely differently. A German unit is in supply if it is eight hexes from a friendly map edge. Farther than that, it depends totally on its parent unit's German Supply Unit. For example, a Fourth Panzer Army unit cannot use a Supply Unit from the Second Panzer Army. This is an easy elegant way to show how tenuous the German supply lines became during the battle. The Soviet Units have to be five hexes from a friendly map edge, or within five, (or four for mechanized), hexes of a Headquarters Unit that has an unbroken line to a friendly edge. The German player can also use the Supply Unit to help with odds shifts in two combat situations. However, once he has done that he loses the Supply Unit and must build it up again. 

The Defenses Around Moscow

 The game does a great job at giving the German player the idea that it is now or never. He must bust through the line and get going to get to Moscow before his tank's oil freezes. He also must face what seems like a zombie apocalypse of Soviet Units. Time and time again, he must break through Soviets' defensive lines. The Soviet player is also faced with deja vu. He must carefully construct defensive lines one turn to see them torn to ribbons by the German Units the next. As the Soviet player you must get ahold of the idea of sacrificing units. You must play to save the units that you can to fight again, whilst also knowing which ones to use as speed bumps against the German advance. I believe the game puts both players in their historic commanders seats. As the German you get to see how easy with clear weather and just a month earlier it could have gone. Playing as the Soviet the player can visualize just how close the Soviets came to losing this battle. When the Soviet counterattacks kick in, both players get to change their respective strategic roles. The German player has to try and hang on by the skin of his teeth while the Soviet gets to try and wipe him out. The only thing you can ask for in a wargame is that it replicates history for the players, without being ugly as hell. Judging by those criteria the game definitely passes muster. Thank you Multi-man Publishing for allowing me to review this very good game. 


Multi-man Publishing:

Last Stand: The Battle for Moscow 1941-42:


Monty's Gamble: Market Garden by Multi-Man Publishing  The Wehrmacht had been rocked back on its heels sever...

Monty's Gamble: Market Garden by Multi-Man Publishing Monty's Gamble: Market Garden by Multi-Man Publishing

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

Multi-Man Publishing

Monty's Gamble: Market Garden


Multi-Man Publishing

 The Wehrmacht had been rocked back on its heels several times during World War II. In late 1941 the Russian winter and Soviet counterattacks had caused it to stumble backwards. In late 1942 the Soviet surrounding of Stalingrad brought it again to the brink of disaster. Now it is 1944, and the Allied invasion of Normandy, followed by the breakout and then the Falaise Gap, had caused it to almost cease to be a fighting force on the Western front. The Allies had them on the run and it did not look like it would stop until Berlin was taken. Most Allied intelligence had the Wehrmacht in the West as a spent force and that the war would be over by Christmas. The only thing that stopped the Allies were supply problems. The Allied Armies had to stop and take a breather right then at the most inopportune moment. They were poised on the Netherlands border, waiting for their precious supplies to catch up. At this same moment the German Field Marshal von Rundstedt was put back in charge of the German forces on the Western front. He was given the Herculean task of trying to make the streaming refugees that were now the German forces into a fighting machine once again. That he succeeded was a testament mostly to the average German soldier during the war. At the same time, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery was in command of the northern area of the Allied Armies poised in Belgium. Montgomery, who was a master of the set piece battle, decided to break free of his mold and devise an uncharacteristically bold plan. He would drop three Allied Airborne Divisions in a line, described as a 'carpet', to capture bridges in the Netherlands, with the British First Airborne tasked with taking a bridge over the Rhine at Arnhem. The Rhine was the last natural barrier between the Allied Armies and Germany itself. The British First Airborne would be landed more than sixty miles behind enemy lines! The topography of the Netherlands, with it being mostly land reclaimed from the North Sea, made the task for the British land forces to connect with all of the Airborne troops that much more difficult. The stage is set for you to fight for 'Hell's Highway'. You are put in the shoes of von Rundstedt or Montgomery to refight this epic battle. 

 Multi-Man Publishing was founded in 1994 by four Avalon Hill playtesters and a graphics art designer. They originally tried to get the rights to Advanced Squad Leader from Avalon Hill, but it did not go through. Curt Shilling (yes that one, sorry I am a Yankee fan), also tried to buy the rights to ASL. He was put in touch with MMP and joined as a 1/3 partner in 1995. Once Avalon Hill was sold to Hasbro, Hasbro did allow MMP to license the ASL name for their products in 1999. In 2002 MMP acquired The Gamers, and increased their game line greatly. ASL continues to be a huge part of MMP's stable with many new and revamped modules sold every year. The games from the 'Great Campaigns of The American Civil War' series have been or are in the process of being reissued, with even more added content to the games I have looked at. So, there we have the history behind the game and the company, so let us head to Monty's Gamble: Market Garden.

Let us first see what comes with the game:

1 Unmounted Mapsheet
3 Countersheets
1 Rulebook
4 Setup Cards
4 Six-Sided die

 The game is an area movement one and is played in impulses. The scale of the map is approximately 1" = 1.5 miles. The map is divided into sixty-five numbered areas. The game also comes with a new addition for this printing. This would be a new scenario that was originally published in Operations Special Magazine #2. The scenario/full game is 'Fortress Holland', and deals with the German invasion of the Netherlands in 1940; more on this later. The rulebook for Monty's Gamble is thirty-four pages long with an additional ten for Fortress Holland. The rulebook is in full color and a good number of pages are dedicated to examples of play. The printing of the rules is in large size and can easily be read and more importantly understood. The rulebook comes with an index on the first page; that is always a nice touch. The map is also very well done with a good number of the player aids built into it. The map is marked for all three of the Allied Airborne Divisions' different Operational Sectors. The three divisions are, The British 1st Airborne Division and Polish Brigade, The American 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions ( respectfully the Red Devils, All American, and Screaming Eagles). As the game deals with an airborne assault to take and hold bridges, most of the rules have to deal with airborne landing and bridge seizure or demolition. There are also rules dealing with playing the Extended Game, and a few interesting Optional Rules. One of these deals with Optional D-Day Landings for the airborne troops. The historical landing area for the British 1st Airborne was particularly far from the bridge that they were entrusted with.

 This is the sequence of play:

The game has four turns (there is an Extended Game you can choose to play). Each turn has four Phases and a variable amount of Impulses. Each Turn is comprised of:

1 - Dawn phase (place Reinforcements, reset markers, and make a Weather Die Roll if it is September 19th or 20th)
2 - Daylight Phase (players choose Assault, Bombardment, infiltration, or Pass Impulses)
3 - Refit Phase (Refit and place Supply Depots)
4 - Regroup Phase (move any units into adjacent Free Area)

 The Turn sequence for the first Turn is changed from the above and replaced with four special D-Day Phases:
1 - Air Bombardment Phase
2 - Artillery Bombardment Phase
3 - Airborne Landing Phase 
4 - XXX Corps Ground Assault Phase

The Germans conduct their Refit Phase first. The Refit Phase is as follows:

1. Supply Depots are placed and moved to eligible Areas on the map.
2. Units use supply points to Refit. After All units have finished refitting Impulse advance/retractions may be purchased with reserve Supply.

3. Isolated Units may have to make a Surrender die roll.

The Germans have five Depots that they can use. Also German Units in Zone I may automatically Refit without using a Supply Depot, as long as it is German controlled.
The Allied Player has five Supply Depots for XXX Corps and three for the Airborne Units, and an air Supply Marker.

The Air Supply Marker is worth five Supply Points. The German Supply Depots are worth five Supply Points in clear weather and six in cloudy weather. The Allied Supply Depots are always worth five Supply Points regardless of the weather.

The above is a simple and elegant way to portray how units recover from movement or battle etc. The Player is not forced to keep a log of each Unit's supply throughout the game. The flipping of the Unit to its Spent side and the Disruption Markers also make it easy to keep track of the abilities of each Unit. Map Areas that are heavily contested, and are small on the map, do lead to a bit of congestion, but it never reaches a problem point.

Another interesting and seldom seen ‘historical reality’ is that if the Allied Player uses Air Bombardment in a contested area, there is a chance that his own troops will be hit by some of the bombing.

 The Allied Player must deal with German Interdiction from FLAK Towers, FLAK Units, and Air Interdiction Markers when trying to Invade, Supply, or reinforce his Airborne units. Bad die rolls on the Airborne Landing Phase can possibly turn the game into a first turn nightmare for the Allied Player. Airborne Units can be landed Fresh (available for use), Spent (cannot do anything else), to even being disrupted. For the Allied Player, speed is of the essence to get and keep those bridges. For the Allied XXX Corps it is just as imperative to keep moving as quickly as possible to the next bridge. The Allied Player will understand why the name Hell's Highway was put on the roads leading to Arnhem. For the German Player it is naturally the reverse. Delay the Allies at every turn, and if in danger of losing a bridge destroy it if possible. The historical recipe of the battle cannot help but make a tense and eventful game for a player of either side. To make it more nerve wracking the designer added the 'Advantage Chit'. This chit starts in the Allied Player's possession and when it is used goes to the German Player, and so forth during the game. The Advantage Chit has various uses, including rerolling a die roll etc. In speaking with the designer he had this to say " The fact is the game sets up and plays quickly and yields consistently historical results, better than most other Market-Garden games." 

 One part of the rules is a little perplexing: knowing the history of World War II airborne attacks. The only way that an Airborne Unit that is landing in a Drop Area becomes Disrupted or Spent is if a German FLAK Unit, FLAK Tower, or Air Interdiction Marker is in or adjacent to the Drop Area. Going by what really happened during the war in air drops I think that you should use a house rule and have every Airborne Unit have to pass a die roll to see if it is Disrupted or Spent on landing. This would represent the actual chaos that ensued during the different airdrops in WWII.

 The addition of the scenario of the attack on Fortress Holland is a great plus for the buyer. This is one of the few Western Front battles of WWII that has not had too many games done on it. The scenario uses many of the same rules from the main game. There are some additions like a German Armored Train and some other interesting twists to the rules, so that it does not seem like the scenario was just cookie-cuttered in.

 The designer is correct in that the game sets up rather quickly. The play, except for new players, goes along at a good clip. As far as being historical, the events that happen during games are well within the historic might-have-beens of the battle. Thank you Multi-Man Publishing for letting me review this very good and very different approach to 'A Bridge Too Far'. The 'almosts' that happen in a game really portray the nature of the battle, without the player getting bogged down in details.


Monty's Gamble:

Link to my review of Baptism by Fire by MMP:


Baptism by Fire by Multi-Man Publishing   Hitler, the worlds worst poker player from 1941 on, was just as fool...

Baptism by Fire by Multi-Man Publishing Baptism by Fire by Multi-Man Publishing

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Multi-Man Publishing


 Hitler, the worlds worst poker player from 1941 on, was just as foolish in his foray in North Africa as elsewhere. The Germans had had to intervene once more for the Italians' sake in a theater of war. The Afrika Korps under Rommel gave as good as it got into late 1942. The German North African campaign is a study in what not to do logistically. Because of early foolish decisions on their part, the supply to their North African troops was spotty at best. The Afrika Korps is then beaten at the Second Battle of El Alamein in early November 1942. Then the Afrika Korps begins reeling backwards towards Tunisia. Next, the Allies invade North Africa with the Torch landings. Hitler decides to double down on a bad hand and proceeds to put in as many troops as he can spare into Tunisia instead of cutting his losses. This is the back drop for the first battle between the American Army, with some Allies, against the German Army. This battle was, in reality, a relatively inconsequential one in the scheme of World War II battles. The Germans had no real master plan for the battle (the game shows this nicely with its mechanics). All they could possibly do is forestall their inevitable defeat for a little while. So that is it for the history. 

First Counter Sheet

 Here is the components that come with the game:

  • BCS rulebook (version 1.1, in full color)
  • Two BCS Charts and Tables
  • BCS Crib Notes Booklet
  • BBF Game Specific Rulebook
  • Two 22” x34” Full Color Game Maps
  • 560 Counters (one sheet of units and one BCS marker sheet)
  • 6 scenarios total, 3 one-map scenarios
  • Box and Dice 

One part of the Map

 These are the scenarios that are included:

  • Kasserine Campaign, 2 maps, 10 Turns
  • Operation Spring Wind, 1 map, 4 Turns
  • Mid-Campaign Start, 2 maps, 5 Turns
  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place, 1 map, 5 Turns
  • End Campaign Start, 2 maps, 3 Turns
  • High Water Mark, 1 map, 3 Turns 

Another part of the Map

 The game itself is the second one in the 'Battalion Combat Series'; the first one was 'Last Blitzkrieg' about the Battle of the Bulge. If one were able to travel in time to say 1978, one would really only be surprised about how the components and rules of the game were miles apart from any other game you looked at. This game does not come with all the bells and whistles that some new games come with, but so what? This is a hex and counter game that any wargamer from 1978 would immediately recognize and probably want to play. Age is a thing that varies in many different things. A forty year old Ali or Tyson, not good. An eighty year old Rolls Royce is a work of art. So just because the game follows an older pattern does not really mean anything. If the original pattern for a dress still looks good today, why change it? An aside: I have no problems with bells and whistles and actually like them, however a game does not have to have them to be good. The old analogy of putting lipstick on a pig works well here.

Marker Counter Sheet

 The first thing you will notice about the components is that while the game does come with two full counter sheets, the amount of units is very small. You will not need to be juggling stacks or using tweezers in this game. The game's complexity is higher on the scale than most of the games I have been reviewing lately. To explain, this is not a knock on the game. Sometimes a deep war game is exactly what the doctor ordered. The fact that the longest scenario is ten turns, coupled with the fact that there are so few counters, helps the learning curve immensely. The game states that it is a medium complexity one, with solo gaming also getting a medium.

Back of the box

 The sequence of play is:

1. Pre-Turn Phase
   1. Reinforcements and Weather
2. Assignment
    1. Both players can change units to (or from) support and/or assign (or reassign) Arty Asset Points. There is no Assignment phase on the first turn of any scenario.
3. First Player Determination
    1. If not assigned by the scenario, both players roll two die. The highest wins.
    2. Activation Phase: Players alternate Activating Formations
    3. Flip and/or orient  HQs to their Unused sides.
4. Game Turn End

   As with most series games, there is a rulebook for the actual series and another smaller one for the game itself. The series rulebook is forty pages long. It is in black and white, with some red inserts for certain game features. The rulebook also has a good number of colored examples of play. The rulebook for the game itself is sixteen pages long. The actual rules for Baptism by Fire game are only four pages long. The rest of the booklet are the scenario setups and it also has four pages of designer notes and historical background. There are also two 'Series Rules Crib Notes'; these are for version 1.1 , and are very handy for the players. The charts and tables for the game are on a two-sided sheet. The maps are very well done and pleasing to the eye. They are somewhat colorful given the terrain they have to show. The counters are 1/2" in size and I have to admit they are a bit busy with the printing on them. Older eyes might have to glance at them more than once to make sure exactly which one you are looking at. They use the standard NATO symbols so that is a help. The ground scale in the game series goes from 500m to 2km per hex. The maps are huge in comparison to the amount of actual unit counters. There are two full sheets of counters, but roughly one third are actually unit counters. The Designer notes explain that because of the actual conditions during the battle, many stories show how bad the mud conditions were. The road network is much more important than most people are used to in North Africa games. One of the game's main points is to show the infighting on the Axis side about what exactly this offensive was supposed to do, or what its goal was. Rommel, Kesselring, and the Italian High Command all had their spoons in the soup. The campaign game starts on 2/14/43. The real suspense starts on the 2/19/43 turn. It is then that the Axis player pulls a chit to see which objective he is really going for; is it Tebessa or Le Kef? So up until that turn the Axis player must try and make some headway to both just in case. The Allied player is equally left in the dark for the entire game, but can usually guess by the 2/19/43 turn which one the Axis player has pulled. The other scenarios all start with the Axis player knowing what objective he is headed toward. One of the other designer features that went into the game is that the American forces did not in reality perform as badly as they have been portrayed. There were some problems at the higher echelons, but the actual individual units showed themselves pretty tough for their first time seeing the elephant. The game's other rules follow the typical wargame ones with some of its own takes on the subject. Zones of Control, Terrain effects (on movement and combat), Command radius for HQs, Stack Activation and Movement, are all here. One rule that is different than most is the ability for a player to try for a Second Activation of a Formation in one game turn. The way this is handled is immediately after the first Activation, the owning player rolls a die and checks it against the HQ's Rolled Activation Number. Attack and defense during combat is decided by the addition or subtraction of Combat Modifiers. Then two die are rolled to determine the actual consequences of combat. This is called the Combat Table instead of the CRT.

 The game is, for lack of a better word, tense. It is mostly due to the above design decisions. The game rules are based on the real world strategy of keeping your units together as a cohesive force. A player who willy nilly throws separate units about the board will pay for it. To help the new player even more, there is even a glossary of the terms used throughout the Series Rulebook on page four under '1.6 Terms'. There is also an excellent 'Designers Notes' section in Series Rulebook. This goes into the gestation of the game series and all of the thought processes that went into the rules. You will see that the Battalion Combat Series was an offshoot of the Operational Combat Series. It is a very interesting read and follows the designers' rough road to actually bring this series to what it is now. I know the first game in the series 'Last Blitzkrieg' received many kudos, but it is a monster game. Baptism by Fire will allow many players who were put off by the latter's sheer scale to enjoy the series with a much smaller time stamp. For someone who has only a small interest in the North Africa campaign, I seem to be reviewing a lot of games about it. Even with my lack of interest(I am not interested in the Battle of the Bulge either), I know a good game when I play one. The way that the game keeps both sides guessing in the longer scenarios is excellent. The Axis player has to try and push forward to both objectives. He cannot afford to gamble on one or the other. The position is reversed for the Allied player. He must defend both objectives as well as he can. MMP have come up with a real winner. Having short scenarios which only use one map makes the game playable for even people with limited space, or who can only keep a game up for so long.

 I received permission from 'Hugewally' on BGG to post these excellent inserts for the  counter bags for this game. I have never seen their like, and am kicking myself for not thinking of something like it much sooner. Speaking of BGG, the game was a nominee for the Golden Geek Best Wargame of the year in 2017.

 The game has been given a high rating by players on BGG, and here is the link to the game on BGG: