second chance games

Search This Website of delight

Showing posts with label Spanish Civil War. Show all posts

  Spanish Civil War Commander by Civil War Commander  The Spanish Civil War is sometimes broken down to Republican versus Nationalists. This...

Spanish Civil War Commander by Civil War Commander Spanish Civil War Commander by Civil War Commander

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

Spanish Civil War

 Spanish Civil War Commander


Civil War Commander

 The Spanish Civil War is sometimes broken down to Republican versus Nationalists. This is a much too simplistic way of looking at it. The Republican side was a coalition of Communists, non-native fighters, and normal people who wanted a free Spain. Even the Nationalist side was splintered even though this had much more to do with personalities and jockeying for position in the post-Civil War Spain. Both sides also depended upon outside help from different countries. The Nationalists were helped by both Italy and Germany, but especially by Italy. The Republicans were helped mostly by the Soviet Union and to a much smaller amount other European countries. The Soviet Union was, however, giving aid to see a Communist Spain emerge from the Civil War. The Italians and Germans were also not helping the Nationalists out of the kindness of their hearts. They wanted to see a Fascist Spain come out of the Nationalist side winning the war. 

This is the brand new 2022 map with a turn record track for Nationalists and Republicans on each side of the map.

 The war was used and looked at by most countries as a proving ground to their different ideas of waging war. While the Germans were able to come up with the theory of combined arms and Blitzkrieg, the Soviets were not so lucky. Their idea of 'Deep Battle' (essentially Blitzkrieg) was shelved by them in exchange for turning back toward World War I tactics. This was to cost them dearly in the early years of their involvement in World War II. 

A Republican attack on the Ebro.

 Before I get into the components, I just want the reader to understand that this is a large game. The map itself is large and needs a big table. The playing pieces are numerous, as you can see above. To play the game also involves a lot of stickering, sometimes having to affix small stickers onto the plastic pieces. The game is also in the higher price range for wargames. All I can say is due to the game parts and play I believe it is fully worth it.

Closer image of the pieces.

  The Map is 48" x 35" and is made of canvas. It is a breath-taking work of beauty of the historical period of the Spanish Civil war. Pictures do not do it justice. It really has to be seen in person to get the full effects of it. The entire game comes in a large tube, so the Map is rolled up on arrival. It flattens out immediately upon it being placed upon a flat surface. It is an excellent piece of work.

 Next up, we have the list of components that come with the game:

1 set of 4 rule books
1 game board.
1 deck of game cards.
2 black pawns.
3 sand timers (red, blue, white).
1 set of tweezers.
2 transparent game trays (w/ covers).
5 sheets of labels.
7 flag poles.
10 yellow square border markers.
25 yellow wooden cubes.
20 black wooden cubes.
3 bronze metal cubes.
4 gold metal cubes.
12 silver metal cubes.
1 yellow fraction dice.
1 green victor die.
1 orange measuring stick.
6 × 100 RP tokens.
5 purple disc markers.

6 white ARMY counters
2 white AIR counters
2 white MOB counters
2 white Fleet counters

54 red ARMY counters.
25 red MIL counters.
8 red MOB counters.
6 red ART counters.
5 red AIR counters.
12 Naval counters.
5 red Fleet counters.
10 red Defense markers
10 red Attack triangle markers
12 clear red square Garrison markers

20 red transparent disc city markers
10 red transparent rectangle quality markers
35 red wooden cubes.
2 sets of red DD dice (7 dice).
1 red and black D2 die.
1 red and black D3 die (with dots).

54 blue ARMY counters.
15 blue MIL counters.
9 blue MOB counters
7 blue ART counters
8 blue AIR counters
18 blue Naval counters
5 blue Fleet counters
10 blue Defense markers
10 blue Attack triangle markers
12 clear blue square Garrison markers

20 blue transparent disc city markers
10 blue transparent rectangle quality markers
35 blue wooden cubes.
2 sets of blue DD dice (7 dice).
1 blue and black D2 die.
1 blue and black D3 die (with dots).

 And a partridge in a pear tree.

A Republican defense of Madrid and the surrounding area.

  The Republican pieces are red, and the Nationalist are blue. If you were looking closely at the list, you saw three sand timers included. I do not think I have ever seen a timer used with any game other than chess. More to come on these later. The wooden cubes are done perfectly no mismatch in size or extra hanging material on them. The five sheets of labels need to be placed on some of the red and blue plastic pieces/counters. Some of the smaller triangle and square pieces need to have labels on them, and so do the ship markers. These were the hardest pieces for me to put their respective labels on. Luckily, the glue on the labels is very forgiving and will still stick to the plastic even after being attached and removed several times. Unless you are very adroit it will take a while to finish all of the labelling. I know it seems like a lot to set up a game, but it is nowhere near as hard as a wargame with over 1000 pieces on the board at the beginning of a game. 

 All of the above comes in a large cylinder. This does help to keep the map in perfect condition. However, everything but the map and the four booklets come in two long plastic containers. These are fine for the original shipment, but they are not the sturdiest. Do yourself a favor and pick up a divided tray to put the pieces in as I did. Out of all the components, that is my only small gripe. Other than that, and the small size of some of the labels, these components are awesome. They really went out of their way to make the visuals of the game match the stellar map.

Some Republican counters

 There are four booklets that come with the game. These are:

Game Setup at eleven pages
Events at nineteen pages
Quick Reference at fifteen pages
Main Rules at nineteen pages

 The last is pretty amazing at its size. The reason I say this is that this is a full simulation of the Spanish Civil War, unlike almost every other game you need to keep track of your resources. I do not mean just your supply to your troops, although that is also in here. You have mines, agriculture, and gold reserves to worry about, along with much more. 

 The booklets themselves are made from thicker hard stock and are not glossy. They do come with some illustrations to help the reader understand how the game works. All four are printed in large enough type to make for easy reading. 

 The deck of cards is set up just like a normal deck of cards. They come in the four suits from king to ace. They have a picture on them that shows either a person in the war or a historical event. The cards match the other components in being well designed.

 This is an amazing piece to find at the start of a wargame rulebook. I know at least two other designers that add something like this to their rules. I just really like how this is written. Plus, the designer actually sends you his email address (redacted) if you buy the game. Here it is:

"The first and most important statement that the game
designer would like to make is: “have fun and do not let
the rules get the better of you”. What we mean by this is
that the game does have a substantial number of rules but
half of these are not crucial for gameplay; rather, they
exist to add realism and historical accuracy. Half of the
content is strict, but the other half is more in the spirit of
directions rather than rules. The rules are made in such a
way that, most times, if you were to forget to apply an
instruction, the repercussion might be very small. Also,
since all aspects of war are not certain, you can attribute
small imperfections in following the rules to the normal
course of events anyway. A few mistakes in playing may
not change the outcome too much and will certainly not
keep you from an enjoyable game play; so don’t stress!
Have fun.
If you have questions about the rules email the
designer directly:"

 That is a wonderful way to think when designing games.

Example of a Nationalist attack toward Madrid.

 This is the Sequence of Play:

LAND phase
Initiative player is first player to go. Players may study map for 1 min. before beginning turn.
1. Land Movement: roll D12+pay 1; start your timer; use rolled points actions; pause timer when done. 
Second player follows.
2. Land Combat: initiative player can attack any forces in range (one battle at a time) his timer runs while he
decides which attack to make or until he passes the round to the opponent; use combat/commander cards;
follow combat table on the board.
Initiative player will decide the next attack. When both do not want to attack further, they go back to step 1.
Repeat steps 1-2 alternating between players until color timer runs out or both are finished attacking.

NAVAL phase
1. Naval Movement: roll D12+pay; 1 min timer; use rolled points for actions.
2. Naval Combat: battle enemy units in same sea zone (one zone at a time); surviving units go to missions
(disrupt/escort convoys, disembark troops).

Each player:
1. Waste: (a) remove 1 in 5 cubes from map, or (b) 1 cube min., or (c) place Supply log at 0 (in that order).
2. Receive resources:
GDP = Industry + Agriculture ÷ 10. 
Income points: GDP + Foreign Aid – Depreciation – Convoys disrupted 
Resource points: Income Points roll dice × 10. Receive in points Resource box. 
3. Country cards (that you hold): roll aid; roll war; exchange gold or mines; sell mines.

1. Events: roll all four D12 dice; follow events.
2. Draw 5 cards from “New Cards”; give to players; study map 1 min; place in “Drawn Cards”.
3. Ships to bases: return all ships on missions to naval bases; leave any that are in sea areas.
4. Calendar: pick units to deploy from all or any of (a) current turn, (b) past turns and (c) “Any Turn”.
Pay with tokens and cubes in Resources box. Pick also fortifications (max 10 for all) and garrisons.
Subtract points from Men log (1 per Spanish army or reinforcement). Use credit if running low on
5. Deploy units selected above and supply cubes from Resources box.
6. Roll for war for countries with a yellow cube on the Foreign Aid log; remove cube as you roll.
7. Victory conditions check; move calendar markers to next turn.

The war at sea.

 Now you see where the timers come into play. The game comes with two scenarios but the second one is really a plethora of scenarios. The first is the historical scenario. The second is called the 'Probable Scenario'. This is because you roll a D4 to see which side all of the different cities start on. So, you can see you can have a ton of different starting points for this one scenario. They do lean historically to the side that they actually were on, but the die roll can change that.

 The game seems like it should be vastly complicated by the size of the map and the multitude of components. Luckily for us, it really isn't at all. It goes deep enough to satisfy any grognard, but it is still easy to play. I am really impressed at how the rules make it so easy to play. For a game that uses a measuring stick for combat, these rules are not that hard to learn either. Other countries can get involved due to various reasons. Each country that can intervene has a scale to show where they are in considering open war. The USSR for the Republicans and Germany and Italy for the Nationalists have certain forces in Spain without committing to a full war. However, the Republicans do have to pay to use the USSR help. The Nationalists do not have any cost associated with the different 'volunteer' groups from Italy and Germany. 

 Just because of the type of wargamer I am, I have always played the historical scenario. When dealing with an entire country's civil war there is enough variation for me to keep playing that way for a good long time. Just as it was historically, Madrid is a magnet for both sides in the beginning of each game. Most of the larger battles took place around it during the war. So, you as the Republican must make sure that you hold it with a good solid defense. The historical infighting of the Republicans is also taken into account during the game.

 I haven't even delved into the naval war aspect of the game. It takes on a much greater importance than I have seen in any other game. You have to keep your ports free to be able to receive aid, but also to bolster your economy. There are rules for submarines, air attacks on ships, and destroyers hunting submarines among others.
 So, if you were ever looking to put a toe into the miniature side of wargaming I believe this game is a perfect place to start. It definitely has a miniature feel to it. With its time constraints, if you use them, I can see where this would be a great game for a convention.

An example of a Republican attack.

 Thank you very much Civil War Commander, for allowing me to review this great and beautiful game. I might be a bit biased because the Spanish Civil War has always intrigued me. I am especially waiting, actually drooling, over one of your next releases: Roman Civil War Commander 49 BC to 30 BC. Their website says that American Civil War Commander will be the next release. 


Civil War Commander:

Spanish Civil War Commander:

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

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

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

Spanish Civil War

 Help Arrives!


Draco Ideas

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


 This is a blurb from Draco Ideas:

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

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

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

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

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


 This is what comes with the game:

4 isomorphic maps

8 overlays

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

1 Standard Rules booklet

1 Exclusive Rules booklet

7 Scenarios sheets for a total of 13 unique scenarios

3 Tables sheets (double sided)

2 Battalion sheets

2 six-sided dice

Scenario "Camino de los Toldos"

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

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

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

Battalion officers

Communist Commissars

Recon rules

Flamethrower tanks

International Brigades

Corpo Troppe Volontarie (C.T.V.)

Condor Legion

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

 This is the Sequence of Play:

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

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

• Command Phase

• Initiative Phase

• Activation Phase and Performing Actions

• Marker Removal Phase

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


 The game has rules for these and many others:

Spotting, and Line of Sight




Commissars and Chaplains

Air Support

Close Assault 

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

Molotov Cocktail

Dum-Dum Bullets


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

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

 These are the other games in the War Storm Series:

Paths to Hell (2016)

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

La Bataille de France 1940 (2015)

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

A las Barricadas! (2006-2015)

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

Normandy: The Beginning of the End (2018)

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

This is what comes with the Normandy game

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


Draco Ideas: Our games | Draco Ideas editorial

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

  Junkers Ju52/3m by Cobi  The Junkers Ju 52/3m was originally designed in 1930. In its first flight it was only equipped with one engine. J...

Junkers Ju 52/3m by Cobi Junkers Ju 52/3m by Cobi

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

Spanish Civil War

 Junkers Ju52/3m



 The Junkers Ju 52/3m was originally designed in 1930. In its first flight it was only equipped with one engine. Junkers soon realized that it was too underpowered with only one, and added two more engines. The Junkers designers used their J 1 aircraft (the first all metal aircraft) as its starting point. It was originally conceived as an airliner, but was turned into a bomber for a short time by the new Luftwaffe. It found its niche in life as a transport plane. As a transport plane before and during World War II, it was used constantly from 1936-1945. The German airmen and paratroopers called it 'Tante Ju' (Aunt Ju), or 'Iron Annie'. Very surprisingly the aircraft was also built by some other countries after the war. Some JU 52s were operational as late as the 1980s. It was also used as the personal aircraft of two countries' leaders during World War II. Both Hitler and Chiang Kai-shek had JU 52 personal airplanes. The plane type that Cobi has brought us was used as both a paratrooper and transport plane.

 The kit comes with 548 pieces. I was anxious to build this model for two reasons: One, I have always had a soft spot for the plane, Two, I had already built Cobi's Douglas C-47 (which is an excellent build and model), and I wanted to compare the builds and the finished product. 

  The building of the kit was as straight forward as usual with a Cobi kit. I believe I made one mistake, and just like during my other builds, it was my fault. Sometimes I get into a groove building these kits and I do not take the time I should to really inspect the instructions. However, a small flat edged screwdriver and some cursing always seems to do the trick. 

 The building of this kit was very enjoyable, as they all are. There is no glue stuck everywhere (especially on your fingers), and any mistake you make is easily righted. The Ju 52 took shape very early. The build starts with the wings so you know right away what the build is. Cobi tank kits mostly start out as a rectangle of blocks, and the tank does not show its excellent features until late in the process. With both of these plane builds I was able to see from the beginning how well the plane would look in the end. 

 As you can see, the kit in its finished form is a sight to behold. One thing, if you do not have much space to show off your kits, the bombers and transport planes are LARGE. The Douglas C-47 has a wingspan of 21" plus. The wingspan of the Junkers JU 52/3m is over 23". These are both big kits when finished.

 Once more, Cobi has given me a very enjoyable afternoon, and then followed it up with an excellent looking plane to add to my collection. Cobi kits are also great ways to start the young ones on the road to appreciating historical vehicles and the history behind them. I never really check how long a kit takes to finish. The building is so much fun and relaxing that the time just rolls by. I have never tried to speed build any of the kits. To me, that takes half the fun out the kit itself.

 The kit comes with two figures. A Luftwaffe pilot, and a Fallschirmj√§ger (Paratrooper). Just as with their kits, Cobi takes painstaking efforts to make sure they look as realistic as possible. So, once again I am in debt to Cobi for sending me this great looking Junkers Ju 52/3m kit. It is a magnificent build for anyone to display on their shelf. You can also buy the Junkers Ju 52/3m as a civilian version in white and blue, with Red Cross markings. The next Cobi kit I build will be a Sherman M4A3 (Easy Eight).



Blocks and toys for kids from Cobi - internet shop

Junkers Ju 52/3m:

Junkers Ju52/3m - WW2 Historical Collection - for kids 9 | Cobi Toys

Wars Across the World: Spain 1936 by Strategiae Avalon Digital  I had reviewed the base game and its ...

Wars Across the World: Spain 1936 by Strategiae and Avalon Digital Wars Across the World: Spain 1936 by Strategiae and Avalon Digital

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

Spanish Civil War

Wars Across the World: Spain 1936



Avalon Digital

 I had reviewed the base game and its scenarios (link will be at the bottom), and I was very impressed with some things about the game. This is the one game where you can play battles from ancient times to nowadays. Scenario designing across such a huge swath of time is a pretty huge undertaking. In games like these, we are used to some scenarios being great whereas some are not so. It is so much in the hands of the designer of the scenario. The one thing that I was not really impressed with in the game was the AI on several of the scenarios I played. I had been assured after the review that work was continually being made on the AI. So I was asked if I wanted to review the scenario Spain 1936. Instead of just a battle, this will be the entire Spanish Civil War. So, if the AI was going to stumble, this was a perfect scenario to test it on. Let us see how much, if any, it has improved and how good WAW does on a large war scenario.

 A quick synopsis of the war is that the Nationalists (Fascist) are fighting the Republicans (Communist, Republicans, and Anarchists etc.). Neither side has a real government at the start and they are both starting from scratch. Both sides do have parts of the Spanish Army, but the Nationalists have a leg up on the Republicans because of Franco's Spanish Moroccan veterans. These will be flown in from Spanish Morocco by JU 52s (Auntie Jus or Iron Annies). Speaking of which, the Spanish Civil War was used as the test bed of almost everything military in World War II. The Nationalists had the support of both Mussolini and Hitler, hence the JU 52s. The Republicans were supplied mostly by the Soviet Union, although they did get recruits from around the globe, along with some very well known authors. Enough of the history, let us go back to the game.

 As I had mentioned, there is a bit of anarchy on both sides in the beginning. The Country is split up into chunks of territory belonging to both sides. Playing as either side, you have to decide which areas you definitely want to keep control of and which you can let go. You are not going to be able to keep it all. Playing as the Republicans, you have to keep the coast so that you can get your supplies from the Soviets. I forgot to mention that the Spanish navy is also split between the two sides. So there is a naval component to the game.

 The game is turn based with area control and movement. It is not a card driven game, but it is augmented by cards that each player has. Some of them can be real game changers, and others just increase odds in battle or movement or some of your forces. The game is not just an Axis and Allies clone and is much deeper than it would seem at first. The rulebook is 116 pages long, so that should give you some idea. The scenarios do not seem 'cookie cutter' in that a tank is just an elephant in the 20th century battles etc. Play is fast and the somewhat small amount of forces (compared to a monster game) enables you to play maybe two scenarios in a gaming session. The price of most of the scenarios is $2.99, with a few larger ones being $4.99. Spain 1936 is the most expensive at $7.99. So you can see a little will go a long way. I was remiss in my first review and did not mention a free scenario about Innsmouth in 1928. Being an alumnus of Miskatonic University, I don't know how I missed it.

 Call me impressed, the game's AI seems to have come a long way, or perhaps just a ton of work was put into this scenario. The AI seems to be much more aware of itself and also of your moves. When I played before, in some scenarios it seemed that the AI was totally oblivious to your moves and its imminent danger. I will be honest and say I played mostly as the Republicans and not very much as the Nationalists. The Republicans are really the underdogs here and I almost always play the underdogs in games. So the scenario is by far the best I have played. I will need to revisit the ones I played earlier and see how much improved they are. There has also been made available a free download of a scenario editor that comes with some preset battles in it. You can now change what you want, and even create your own if you are so inclined. Thank you Strategiae and Avalon Digital for letting me review this very good add on to your game.

My review of Wars Across the World:


BATTLES FOR SPAIN from AVALON-DIGITAL This is a substantial package covering four major battles from the Spanish Civil War.  In e...


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

Spanish Civil War


This is a substantial package covering four major battles from the Spanish Civil War.  In essence, this provides a conventional wargame format of area movement with the digital equivalents of the cardboard counters of the board wargames that I love.  Even in that world of physical components the number of games on the Spanish Civil war are relatively few, so I was very enthusiastic to have the chance to review Avalon-Digital's presentation, especially as three out of the four battles have received treatment in magazine games that I possess.

All four of the scenarios listed below can be played as either the Republican side or the Nationalists against the computer A.I.  Also it's possible to hot seat the first three scenarios by choosing player mode for both sides.  Though on the whole I prefer my two player games to be ftf over a real game board on my table, to offer this option is always an added bonus that I welcome. 

The only battle that doesn't follow this pattern is the final battle, the Ebro.  Here, it's notable that the size of this battle is such that a separate scenario has to be chosen for each side to play against the A.I. and no hot seating is available.

Guadalajara    1937
Teruel             1937
Merida            1938
Ebro                1938

Each scenario has its opening outline of the historical situation and then the next screen details your objectives for winning.

What I particularly like is that each scenario offers a significantly different situation.  In Guadalajara, the Nationalists are attacking to take control of a major road that runs from west to east.  They have to clear a specific portion of the road to win, while the Republicans have to hold on long enough until reinforcements arrive and then try to eliminate enough Italian units for victory.

At Teruel, it is the republicans who're on the offensive, attempting to take the city.  This is very much a battle of encirclement and staving in the defence.

The third scenario, Merida, was the only battle with which I was totally unfamiliar.  We're back on the Nationalist offensive, attempting to close a pocket.  Though sharing some similarities with the previous scenario in its element of encirclement, the nationalists here start from a position where they have far more ground to cover and do not have a focal point to capture.  As a result it plays out quite differently.

Finally, the Ebro is a massive battle with a front line running the whole way from north to south.  It is the major scenario in the foursome and the longest to play.  I've got to say my personal favourites are Guadalajara and Teruel because of their situations, but all four games offer substantial rewards.  In part, this is because the system offers what is the near perfect presentation of all that I look for in a board wargame, but translated into computer format.

Armour, infantry, artillery and air rules are there and even a nod to naval in the Ebro, though this is only in the form of boats for crossing the river! In addition, card play has a significant role without being overpowering.  Each turn you will have a number of cards that you may or in some cases must play.  For example, reinforcements come by card play and are the first phase of a player's turn, weather too tends to be a compulsory play and often there will be at least one card that you will choose to play as it either boosts you in some way or hinders your opponent.  

Typical instances are cards that allow a softening up bombardment or prevent some of the enemy units from moving.  Inevitably some cards will give you bonuses in attack or negative factors on your opponent.  These are features I love to see in games and work very well here to add to the replayability and the uncertainty of every game.

The game sequence is typical IGO/UGO and follows these familiar Phases.

Draw Cards
Naval Movement [Ebro only]
Air Movement [Offensive]
Land Movement
Battles [and possible Breakthrough]
Second Air Movement [Defensive]
End of Turn

Most of the game's computer functions are fairly logical and most can be picked up by trial and error. [I say this as someone who is not by nature led to understanding at a glance computer games.]  However, there is a very good online rules manual that comes to 81 pages which I took the trouble to download and print out.  It is hugely comprehensive to the point of over-repetition at times and lavishly illustrated with screen shots accompanying detailed examples.  Much is largely unnecessary, but it is an excellent back-up for getting into important aspects like combat.

The presentation of the latter on screen is very well executed with both sides units lined up, the Attackers on the left and the Defenders on the right, with a 10 sided dice occupying the centre.  A single roll is compared with each unit's strength and hits and routs duly allocated.  Most combat lasts two rounds, but weather and card play may limit you to a single round.

Here you can see a typical battle showing the details of the leader and the top of the screen and his units lined up below.  A single die is rolled when you click on it and provided the score is equal to or lower than a unit's fire power a hit will be scored or if a one a rout will be the result.  It's worth pointing out that the roll applies to both acting units and defending units.  So though you want to be scoring low, you're going to be taken hits too.  Hence the need to send in strength against weakness, as here where you can inflict up to five casualties as opposed to your opponents one. 
As this illustrates, breakthroughs can also be achieved, as here where the enemy has been totally eliminated.

Always one of the finest aspects, as with any computer war game, is that all the fine details of rule requirements and especially those for combat is handled without you having to do all the maths or check that you've remembered all the rules and any exceptions or special circumstances.  As a result combat flows very swiftly and smoothly. 

By contrast, movement is a much more cumbersome affair and here I would love to have seen the function that I welcome most in all my favourite computer battles, namely that highlighting a unit/s causes the map to illuminate where you can move to.  In Battles for Spain, when you click on an area containing your units, you have first to open an onscreen box to check what units you have.  This is a time-consuming process in itself, though usually unavoidable in games that allow stacking. 

But having to find by trial and error where units can move to does add considerably more time and effort to play.  Fortunately, except for the final Ebro battle, the number of stacks is fairly manageable and so not too onerous.  It is also exactly what I'm used to experiencing in the physical world of board wargames that I'm usually immersed in.

A much simpler phase of the game is the movement of your air units prior to Land Movement.  Rarely do either side have many air units, but I like the additional touch of detail that their inclusion gives and the feel of flying out to engage the enemy.  Air defence is also handled well, as at the end of your turn your planes are automatically returned to base and can then be flown defensively to areas which you judge are likely to receive attacks.

The game offers a nice sense of planning your attacks and making appropriate thrusts against weak points in your enemy's line.  The uncertainty of how your A.I. opponent will respond is a great factor in the game.  Though I certainly haven't played any scenario often enough to comment on replay value, just playing each scenario from both sides has provided more than enough enjoyment to make this a worthwhile buy.  For me just the opportunity to play out and experience these four major battles from the Spanish Civil war is frankly reward enough in itself and so it's thanks too to Avalon-Digital for providing me with that opportunity.

Below is a link to the company's website.


World at War Issue #62 Spanish Civil War Belchite & Teruel by Strategy & Tactics Press From Decision Games  ...

World at War Issue #62 Spansih Civil War:Belchite & Teruel by Startegy & Tactics Press from Decision Games World at War Issue #62 Spansih Civil War:Belchite & Teruel by Startegy & Tactics Press from Decision Games

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

Spanish Civil War


 The Spanish Civil War has always intrigued me. Unfortunately, almost all of the books about it spend most of their type on the political history instead of the military history, especially all of the disparate groups on the Republican side. This is a bit strange because this War was used or looked at by the entire world to see what weapons, tactics, and strategy worked. Many countries came away with the wrong answers to the above questions. Some, particularly the Germans, came away with the correct answers to these military questions.

 Looking at this issue of World at War was a bit like going home, and a bit strange. It was like going to see your childhood home after it was entirely renovated. The visual look of the magazine is, in a word, stunning. Some of the maps are actually a full page in size. They are also well marked and easily read. The pictures in the issue are also very well represented. 

 The articles are very well done and full of normal information on the subject. They also have small insets that have incredibly interesting tidbits. I will give as an example of one. On December 31, 1937 four foreign correspondents were following some Nationalist units in a car. The car was hit by artillery and three of the newsmen were killed. The fourth was Harold 'Kim' Philby. Yes, that Kim Philby. I imagine the British government was not that happy he survived in retrospect.

                                          Some Counters

Strategy & Tactics Press is comprised of these four magazines:
   Strategy & Tactics
   World At War
    Modern War
    The new Strategy & Tactics Quarterly

 One thing that Decision Games has implemented that I think is excellent is that you can buy a subscription to get every single article that has been released over these many years. It does not include anything to do with the games, but that is still a stunning amount of military history. At $19.95 for 12 months, it is really a steal. You now get all of the articles from:
 Strategy&Tactics issues 1-300
 Modern War issues 1-19
 World at War issues 1-44

Teruel Map

 The articles in issue #62 include:
  The Spanish Civil War
  War Winner -  Allied Lend-Lease
  Operazione C3 -  The Italian Plan to Invade Malta
  Operation Causeway - Planned Allied Invasion Plan of Formosa-Amoy
  Observation post - Could the U.S. have won the Battle of Wake Island?
  Observation Post - Planed Swedish Invasion of Denmark
  Observation Post  - Russian Donkey the Polikarpov I-16

Belchite map
 The games included are of three battles from the Spanish Civil War: two in 1937,and one from 1938. The battles are Belchite, Teruel, and Alfambra. Both of the battles of Belchite and Teruel occurred because the Republicans were trying to take pressure off the Republican and Basque strongholds in the Northwest of Spain. The Nationalist forces had decided to conquer those areas after their failed attempt to conquer Madrid. Alfambra simulates the last battle for the city of Teruel in 1938.

 The battle areas are both somewhat small, with both of them fitting on a standard 22" x 34" map. One battle is orientated one way of the map and the other is the opposite. They both have their own turn record track etc. The maps are well done with terrain, roads, and towns easy to see and read. The games come with, naturally, a smaller number of counters. There are actually 180 of them. The game uses the 'Fire and Movement System' for its rules. 


 The Sequence of Play:

Movement Phase
Bombardment Phase
Combat Phase
Mobile Movement Phase - (only if the unit did not move in the Movement Phase)
Mobile Combat Phase
 The victory conditions in each game are as follows:

Belchite: You count up the amount of cities/towns that the Republican player controls on the Nationalist side of the front line, then subtract the number of cities/towns that the Nationalist player controls on the Republican side of the front line. If the number is seven or greater the Republican player wins.

Teruel: Whichever side controls the city of Teruel at the end of the game wins.

Alfambra: The Nationalist player must control any five hexes of the North-South road anywhere from hex 2505 to 1717 by the end of turn eight and still hold them at the end of the game.

Belchite Counters (Front)

  The rules are only sixteen pages in length, and the setup and separate battle rules take up four of those. The rules are in color and are well spaced and easy to read. The small maps and low counter density allows players to play multiple times to try out different strategies. Just as it was historically, the battles are a grind for territory. You are not going to be able to do any sweeping blitzkrieg moves (unless your opponent mistakenly allows it). The Spanish Civil War was mostly a replay of World War I with newer armaments. The rules and the units/terrain make the game historically accurate that way. This was why so many countries took away the wrong lessons from this war. The Soviets were very advanced as far as armored warfare for the time. However the Spanish Civil War had them rethink all of their ideas and that is why they fell so far behind the Germans by 1941 (among other reasons). 

Belchite Counters (Back)

 The wargames that have come out of Strategy&Tactics down through the years, and its offshoots, have given me tons of gaming pleasure. This issue is like many others in that respect. Strategy&Tactics has allowed the wargamer to game so many obscure wars and battles that we would have otherwise never seen on our tables. So, thank you for the chance to review this issue, and for all the other great gaming moments since I was a teenager.