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Heroes of the Motherland With the add-ons Dark July 43 - X-Maps for Dark July 43 by Lock 'N Load Publishing ...

Heroes of the Motherland with add-ons Dark July 43 - X-Maps for Dark July 43 by Lock 'N Load Publishing Heroes of the Motherland with add-ons Dark July 43  - X-Maps for Dark July 43 by Lock 'N Load Publishing

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X-Maps for Dark July 43

 An Argosy of wargaming goodness arrived on my porch a while ago. There is just so much that comes with Heroes of the Motherland that I have a real problem figuring where to start, and what to write about. I received not only HOTM, but also two add-ons for it. They are  Dark July 43: The Battles for Prokhorovka Third Edition, and also the X-Maps for Dark July. 

HOTM Counters

 The Eastern Front in World War II is probably the one campaign that has more games, tactical, operational, and strategic than any other. The types of weapons and troops you can use in this game span the depth and breadth of the war. Tanks that were built before the war to King Tigers and JS-2s are present for your gaming pleasure.


 LNL's premise for their tactical World War II era games is simple but breathtaking in scope. They have developed a core set of rules that span the years 1930-1959. This core set allows gamers to learn it, and then adds a few extra rules for each game. That means that gamers can game all of the conflicts and campaigns during those years with a single rules set. This has been tried in the past, but to my knowledge only for Ancient and Medieval gaming. The game scale is fifty meters wide to the hex. You play with squads, half-squads, and vehicle crews etc. 


 The Core Manual is sixty-six pages long. However, do not be discouraged. It is written in large script and has many pictures and examples throughout. The Module Rules and Scenario Booklet really has only four pages of rules to learn. This is how encompassing the Core Rules are. They are also constantly being updated. The rules are up to version 5.0 now.

 The game comes with:

14 x Color Geomorphic  8.25 x 12.75 Maps.
5 x CounterSheets with over 550+ counters. 
1 x Color Core system manual featuring the latest v4.1 rules.
1 x Color Game Module rules,  Examples of play with 12 scenarios and One Campaign.
3 x 11 x 17 Player Aid Cards.
2 8 x 11 Player Aid Cards.
1 x Heavy Duty box.

HOTM Campaign

 The sequence of play is:

Rally Phase
Operations Phase
Fire Combat
Laying Smoke
Melee Combat
Administrative Phase

 I really like this system for tactical gaming. That does not mean that I do not own and like others. You can ask my wife. I think it is a losing proposition to compare games against each other. Much like a parent, you can find good and bad traits in your children, or a game's rules and mechanics. We are Wargamers, so we buy Wargames, many, many Wargames. Back to HOTM, the rules have been worked on to be streamlined and as easy to understand as possible. The setup of the rules and scenarios are done in a sequence to make it easier on the gamer to learn.

 The components that come with any Lock 'N Load game are some of the best on the market. The counters are extremely well done, and for those who cannot play without it, they come already clipped. Almost all of them fall out of the sprues with nothing extra stuck to them, or the need for cleaning them up. The maps are once again well done. They are on thick paper stock. Some people prefer mounted maps, but I can play on either surface without giving it a second thought. 

 The Dark July module adds in the seminal fight between the SS divisions and the Russian forces rushing forward to make sure that operation Zitadelle is a German defeat. The module is a bit misnamed because there is also a scenario about the Battle for Ponryi on the northern flank of Zitadelle. So this means you can see how effective Ferdinands really were. There are only two pages of rules that come with Dark July, and some are optional. This is what Dark July comes with:

1 x 34 x 22 Color Map.
2 x Color Geomorphic 12.75 x 8.25 Maps.
1 x Counter Sheet with over 80+ counters.
1 x Color Module rules, Examples of play with 6 Scenarios.
1 x 8 x 11 Player Aid Cards.


                                  Dark July Counters

 The X-Maps add-ons that Lock 'N Load sells are worth every penny. The maps are the same as the ones that come with the module, for example Dark July. The difference is that the hexes are much larger. The standard maps in Dark July are 8.25" X 12.75". The X-Maps come in at 11" X 17".
So you get the same maps, but are able to play with less clutter, which is always a good thing. So if you do buy any of the main game's modules I suggest that you do invest in the X-Maps for it. The X-Maps for Dark July contain:

One Color Two Part 51 x 33 Map.Two Color 11 x 17 Maps.

One 11 x 17 Player Aid Card.

 Great system, great components (besides the lack of mounted maps, which again I could care less about), if you have any interest in the theater I think it is time and money well spent investing in HOTM. Thank you Lock 'N Load for letting me review all of this gaming goodness.

X-Maps Size