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White Star Rising Nations At War Second Edition by Lock 'N Load   "Macht Schluss mit dem Krieg, ihr...

White Star Rising Nations At War Second Edition by Lock 'N Load White Star Rising Nations At War Second Edition by Lock 'N Load

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

Western Europe

White Star Rising

Nations At War Second Edition


Lock 'N Load 

 "Macht Schluss mit dem Krieg, ihr idioten" (End the War, or Make Peace, you idiots). This was said by Field Marshal von Rundstedt to lacKeitel, sometime after the Normandy invasion. This is the second game of the 'Nations At War' series by Lock 'N Load that I have reviewed (the first was 'Stalin's Triumph'). This game takes us to Western Europe and the battles range from the landings in Normandy to the end of the war.  The name is a bit of a misnomer because it also includes counters and scenarios for the British troops who fought during the same campaign. I liked the game system in the first game, so let us see how it translates to this side of the continent.

One Counter Sheet

 The counters, as usual from Lock 'N Load, are wonderfully done and come pre-clipped. They are a bit busy for their size, although the use of different colors should help all but the color blind. The four double-sided maps are not mounted, but are still well done. The rulebook and the Module Rules and Scenario book are done in full color with large print. The various Players' Aids are also well done and visually appealing. So let us look at what you get with the game:

Four Double Sided Seasonal Maps.

Four Counter Sheets with Over 350+ Counters.

One Color Module Booklet

Twenty-One Scenarios

One Core Game System v2.0 Manual

Two Unit Cost Sheets 11” x 17”

Four Player-Aid Cards 8.5” x 11”

Two D6 Dice


 The sequence of play is:

Operations phase: Players alternate pulling a marker from an opaque container. These can be Formation, Administration, Chaos, or End Turn markers.

Formation Impulse; If a Formation is activated this is the sequence:

 1. Unit Formation Marker removal

 2. Check Command Status

 3. Perform Rallies

 4. Perform Fire Missions: Mortar/Artillery

 5. Perform Operations: Movement, Assault, etc.

Players' Aids

 The meat of this chit pull system is the 'end turn' chits. There are always two, sometimes three, of these in the mix of the other chits. Once the second end turn chit is pulled, the game turn is over; do not pass go or collect $200 etc. So, the players have no way of knowing if all or any of their units will be able to do anything this turn. It is possible to pull the end turn chits one after the other as the first two chit pulls. In time limited, or scenarios where one side has a lot of terrain to cover, this means that one turn has just been lost. Another nice touch is the addition of a 'Chaos Chit' to the chit mix in some scenarios. Once the Chaos Chit is pulled, two six-sided die are rolled. Then you consult the Chaos Table to find out what event or result has been rolled. This is a nice way of adding even more fog of war into the game. The game also includes the use of 'Fate Points' by each player. Each scenario lists how many Fate Points each side has to use. As the rules state, " Fate Points can be thought of as currency and can be used to purchase an event that can change the game". These can be used from re-rolling one dice to being able to remove an 'Ops Complete Marker' from a unit. There are not many rules that apply only to this module. Most of the rules used are just the normal Second Edition Core Rules. This module only rules include:

 Bridge Demolition
 British Cruiser Tanks Extra Movement
 British Headquarters
 American tank Gyro Stabilizers
 American White Phosphorus Rounds (Willy Pete)
 German SS Fanatics
 German Mobile Assault 

 The Core Rules also deal with rules for these and more:

 Close Air Support
 Anti-Aircraft Units
 Mines and Mine Removal


                                Closer Counter View


   There is really not much more to say: The 'Nations At War' series from Lock 'N Load is a well done and thought out game. You really get the best of both worlds in these games, meaning that you are really playing a tactical game without all of the minutiae that come with tactical games. Not that there is something wrong with tactical games, just sometimes I know I am not in the mood for that many rules etc. There were some incidences when the second editions came out with problems with the printing, rules, and some counters. I did find a paragraph in the rulebook about 'Line of Sight' that still needs to be fixed. The spacing in it is non-existent for the most part. From what I have read, Lock 'N Load was quick about sending out new counters etc., and did their best to make things right. The rulebook that came with the game was version 2.0. On Lock 'N Load's website they have posted  a version 2.2. I will put a link at the bottom of the review. As I mentioned, I liked the first game I reviewed, 'Stalin's Triumph', a lot. This game is no different. I can easily recommend it to anyone who has a hankering to play a platoon size late World War II Western Front game. One of my favorite scenarios is 'The Hill of Death'. This is about the fight for Hill 112 in Normandy. Look for my forthcoming reviews of 'Heroes of The Motherland' and the 'Nations At War Compendium'.

 White Star Rising Second Edition Vassal Module:

 White Star Rising Second Edition Clarifications & Corrections Version 2.2:

 Nations At War Core Rules Version 2.0 Clarifications And Corrections:

 Nations At War Core Rules Second Edition:
 There is also a link to download them on the page.

 This is a link to my 'Stalin's Triumph' review:


Combat Infantry by Columbia Games  Tactical games, much more than operational or strategic ones, have been left ...

Combat Infantry by Columbia Games Combat Infantry by Columbia Games

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

Western Europe


 Tactical games, much more than operational or strategic ones, have been left in a quandary. The problem is how to represent movement, fire, and elapsed time in a coherent and logical manner, without the rules approaching the size of 'War and Peace'. Some of the most heated discussions online and off are about tactical games, and how each game does or doesn't fulfill the above in the gamer's eye. 

 Combat Infantry portrays the Normandy landings, and the fighting in the Bocage right after them. It is strictly a U.S. infantry and their supports against the Germans. More add-ons are planned to include other armies and terrain. 

 Columbia Games states "The game delivers a high level of tactical realism, yet is very playable". If you were going to sum up this game in one sentence, I do not think you could do better.

 The rule book is only twelve pages long. The game is a block game and uses that format to simulate the 'fog of war'. One innovative rule is that once a tank moves or fires, its block is shown face up for both sides to see. The designer states that infantry could locate and distinguish between tanks by their engine sounds. Listening to the different cars around my neighborhood in the morning, I believe he is correct. 

 The game focuses heavily on the command part of small unit tactics. You have both PHQs (platoon headquarters), and CHQs (company headquarters) to order your units with. The command/leadership rules really require the player to maintain unit integrity. As in real life, mixing up units from different commands is not a successful tactic. The game does not use cards. In another innovative way, the game also has no combat results table. I know, heresy, simply heresy. As I said, the rules are not long and are well written. It will not take long at all to start playing.

 It was meant to be a two player game, but the solitaire gamer has not been forgotten. You can play it just playing both sides, and there is an optional rule for a chit pull system for the enemy activation.

 The game's two maps are 16.5" X 22", and they represent the beaches and some territory further in. They are hard cardboard maps. The scale of the hexes is 100 meters per hex. The blocks are standard and there are 66 for each side (green and black). There are also 22 yellow markers to show smoke etc. The only problem with the rules and maps are in relation to the Bocage hedgerows. The rules are written as if the hedgerows were actually represented on the hex sides, where they are actually portrayed in the hex itself. It is really not that big of a deal, and once you understand the gist of the rules it becomes a non-issue. The line of sight rules are also easy to understand. The game comes with all of the rules and markers needed for tactical gaming ie. counters for foxholes, mines and barbed wire etc. Their are also rules for airstrikes. The game rules can be downloaded here:

 Here is a link to the games FAQ:

 This is the sequence of play:

1.0 The active player on the first turn is specified by the scenario. In each successive turn it is determined by a high roll on one ten die.

1.1  The active player activates any one HQ per company. When commanding multiple companies, the player will have multiple HQ activations, each resolved one by one.

1.2  Units in command (or have passed a no-command roll) can do one of the following actions: Rally, Fire, Special Action, Move. HQ actions take place after all other commands.

1.3 Assaults, units that have moved into an enemy occupied hex now trigger up to three rounds of combat per assault. 

 After all activations are resolved, the enemy player now conducts his player turn. Player turns alternate until both players complete four player turns. This then ends one game turn.

 This is just a synopsis.

 Deciding victory in the game is standard and straight forward. In each scenario certain hexes are victory hexes, and each eliminated enemy unit adds to your score.

 The rule book contains a 'what's not in this game' section, with an explanation of why. Some of these are:

"Opportunity Fire:
Opportunity fire, always a difficult game routine, was not that common in reality. World War II infantry and vehicles simply did not move through open terrain without clinging to every tiny bit of cover available, nor without fire support to keep the enemy heads down. The standard 'fire and move' tactics, where one or two platoons gave fire support, allowing the third platoon to move, was specifically intended to eliminate enemy opportunity fire".

"Status Markers:
Status Markers should not be missed. Cluttering maps and units with markers such as 'used', suppressed', or 'final fire' is not necessary. Units are upright, face-up,  or face-down depending on their action"

 Units have their blocks revealed by tilting them face-up when firing. One hit is scored for each die roll that equals or is less than the firing unit's (modified) firepower. So there is no need to cross reference a table. The unit either hits or misses. If it is a hit, the target unit's strength has one step deducted, and the block is flipped to its appropriate side. 

 You can use a headquarters unit to rally any unit under it, as long as it is in command range. If the rally attempt succeeds, the unit gains one step back to its strength. The unit is then flipped down on its face, and can do nothing else that turn.

 So, the question becomes does the game system work, and the answer is a resounding yes. One thing to keep in mind is that movement points are expended crossing hexsides, and not entering the hex. There are some innovations and changes from the usual in tactical games. So gamers should approach the game with an open mind, and not automatically look askance at it. Columbia Games has succeeded in making a highly realistic, but fun and fast wargame to play. As mentioned, different armies and theaters are to be added, and I am looking forward to them.