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User Rating Comment Status
Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
United States
New Orleans
Louisiana
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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10
Sep 2014
FINALLY A RUSSIAN FRONT GAME WHERE MINSK CAN FALL ON THE FIRST TURN AS IT DID HISTORICALLY!

Raicer is to be commended here. This is a throwback design in many ways, but one that feels not so much fresh as different from the rest of the pack. I noted that Minsk can fall on turn one. In addition the game encourages the creation of pockets. I do wish a few things were not so scripted but that might be asking too much. As it is this is the playable monster on the Eastern Front. Now when can we get scenarios for Typhoon, Uranus/Mars/Saturn, Korsun, Budapest, and Vistula 1945?

Lastly, no SS Charlemagne or Nordland but plenty of Tiger battalions? I thought this was suppose to be a complete order of battle?

"Ted, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!"
2015-01-16
Owned
Philippe Bruneau
Canada
Charlottetown
PE
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10
Jan 2014
This game rocks ! The chit-pull system is brilliant, keeps both players active and interested. Good map, great counters. Great development. Rule book a little odd in how it's layed out: you have some critical rules in the playbook - I would expect them to be in the rule book.
2014-01-04
Owned
Rich Allen
United States
Salisbury
Maryland
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10
Jan 2014
A different take on the subject. Innovative system and yet surprisingly intuitive.
2013-12-25
Owned
Want To Play
Duncan McGill
United States
manassas
Virginia
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10
Dec 2013
Love east front games. This one is not too big and it's not too small. It is just right.
2013-12-30
Owned
Peter Manning
United Kingdom
Leamington Spa
Warwickshire
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10
Feb 2014
A great game with pretty simple mechanics and a clean system which hums along really nicely. Not fussy but it all works so well…the design doesn't need chrome bolted on as it just all works so well to bring about results which feel like they should. You get a real flavour of the Blitzkreig and slugfest in turns…For me too long to play the whole war using this game (for that I'd turn to No Retreat). But for the scenarios, or for using the scenarios and jumping of and on points for extended campaigns it is excellent - and I suspect how it will be most used and respected. If your at all interested in the Eastern Front of world war 2 this and No Retreat in your collection are the way to go...
2014-12-18
Owned
Chris Hansen
United States
Sun Valley
California
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10
Jan 2014
In terms of scale, playability, and time, this is the best game on the Eastern Front that I've played in a long time. The rules are not complicated at all for a game of this nature, yet there is definitely a learning curve required to get the most out of the system.
2014-01-29
Owned
Doug DeMoss
United States
Stillwater
Minnesota
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10
Feb 2014
One of the few Eastern Front games I've played that really gets the flow of the campaign right in 1941 - the Soviets get blown away almost wherever they defend, but still have the teeth to counterattack. The action chits do a GREAT job of modeling the changing command effectiveness in the opposing armies.
2014-02-05
Owned
Want To Play
Rohan Eckardt
Australia
California Gully
Victoria
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10
May 2014
My favourite East Front game. Right up there with Across The Pacific as my favourite wargames. Playable, gives you a great feel for the East Front Campaign. Love the fact it's at a Divisional level
2014-05-17
Owned
Jason Koskey
United States
Kahului
Hawaii
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9.8
Dec 2013
P500 - GMT
2013-12-15
Owned
United States
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9.5
Jan 2014
In the middle of my first game. Rulebook could be more helpful and better organized. I think more notes could have been added to the player aid cards as well. Ted is giving excellent support for the game here and on CSW.

Excellent feel for the eastern front so far. The Germans have to work to make Barbarossa successful, its not an 'auto' like it is in some games.

For only two maps, Ted has aligned the campaign area at an angle, thus allowing more of Russia to be shown than in most EF games. You can truly see the distance that AGS travelled as compared to AGN. In most other EF games, this is not readily apparent.
2014-01-04
Owned
Matt Dangla
France
Chelles
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9.5
Mar 2014
Very clever design which highlights the big encirclement battles of the summer and fall 1941.

The Red army is obliged to make usually doomed counter-attacks planned by the Stavka.

My only reproach would be about the map and counters art. I would have prefered the usual brown color for the soviet units. I try to like the map art but I don't succeed in it...
2014-02-21
Owned
Chris Buhl
United States
Pittsfield
Massachusetts
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9.5
Apr 2014
This is a truly unique take on the Russian front. I only played solo turn 1 so far, and played it badly, but this game is very, very good.
2014-04-03
Owned
For Trade
Preordered
David Ells
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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Here the truceless armies yet / Trample, rolled in blood and sweat; / They kill and kill and never die; / And I think that each is I. // None will part us, none undo / The knot that makes one flesh of two, /
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Sick with hatred, sick with pain, / Strangling -- When shall we be slain? // When shall I be dead and rid / Of the wrong my father did? / How long, how long, till spade and hearse / Puts to sleep my mother's curse?
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9
Aug 2010
P500 from GMT.
2012-10-03
Want To Buy
Preordered
Chris Friend
United States
Sierra Vista
Arizona
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9
Feb 2014
Best East Front game I know. Caviat - there are many out there I am not familiar with.
2014-02-08
Owned
St.John Wright
United Kingdom
London
London
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9
Dec 2013
The best Eastern Front wargame I have ever played. Absolutely superb.
Chit pull system makes play exciting and unpredictable - a great boon for solitaire gamers.
Map is excellent even though some hard peering is required to pick out some set-up regions.
Counters are fine, although I would have preferred NATO symbols for armour.
The rules are a pleasure to read and are easy to follow.
The most pain-free monster game ever!
2014-02-03
Owned
Preordered
Bradley Fletcher
United States
Maine
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9
Apr 2015
Beautiful and playable game in the old classics tradition. Streamlined play, straightforward rules, and interesting mechanics. Modified chit pull makes it a superb solo experience. (I've slightly downgraded this to a nine--not much, I know, and I still really enjoy the game, but I am kind of frustrated at the number of small but important rules, etc... that I keep forgetting! My memory is at fault, I realize, but there are a lot of early turn exceptions and special rules, and a really well-designed player aid card could help a lot here. Ted has posted one, but it feels like a rough draft to me. Nonetheless, this is a great game!)
2014-01-21
Owned
Rob F
Wales
Aberystwyth
Ceredigion
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Memento Mori
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9
Jun 2014
I am so in love right now.
2014-01-24
Owned
masama doji
Spain
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9
Apr 2014
Me está encantando este semimonster de Ted. Sólo puedo comentar la media partida en solitario que llevo.La mecánica de chits esta muy bien engranada, y la logística es sencillamente genial. De los pocos juegos que he probado, en donde estoy sufriendo por el estiramiento de mis líneas de suministro.
Las reglas, en general son sencillas y ya están testadas en otros juegos, pero aquí están colocadas y engranadas de manera magistral...( creo que me estoy pasando, se nota que me gusta mucho)
Por ponerle una pega, el tiempo de juego.....olvidaros de jugarlos en una sentada..., es un juego muy, muy largo.
2014-04-24
Owned
Fernando Darlington
Spain
Madrid
Madrid
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9
Mar 2014
Excellent game. Doesn't get a 10 for being released with so many errors.
2014-03-11
Owned
Doug DeMoss
United States
Stillwater
Minnesota
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9
Dec 2014
Wow. This game, more than any other I have ever tried, gets the flow of the campaign basically RIGHT at every stage. Weight rating is more for how much you have to think than rules themselves.
2015-02-10
Owned
Want To Play
Evil Bob
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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9
Jun 2015
Initial Impression: Wow! This is the Eastern Front game that I never realized I was looking for. This game has been described as a "playable mini-monster" game. I concur with that description. The game encompasses many of the decisions of the Eastern Front without bogging down with rules and mechanisms. Although supply is essential, it's not the focal point of the game and has been abstracted to a playable form. Similarly with the aerial support/supply. The use of the chit-pull mechanism in this game is pure brilliance, allowing for uncertainty with respect to command and control. As well, the chit-pull allows players to only have to focus on a few units at a time. That, and the simple rules breaks the monster down into playable bite-size chunks. After having packed the game away, it still haunts my mind. I'll be bringing it to the table again soon.
2015-07-12
Owned
Andre Oliveira
Brazil
Sao Paulo
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8.5
Jan 2015
The Dark Valley is a very playable semi-monster. It might possibly be THE ONE WWII East Front game.

It seems to me that the learning curve is tilted pretty strongly against the Germans. Winning with the Wehrmacht should be an interesting puzzle, specially on the Barbarossa scenario. I'm thinking about auctioning off negative VPs at the start of the game to allow a player to start with the Soviet Union: The player who forfeits more VPs starts with USSR. At least until my buddy and I figure out how not to die with Germany.

I really like the fact that the mechanics is based on the chit-pull system. It really improves the experience, adding uncertainty to the planning process and putting some value on your improvisation abilities. It also makes for a really enjoyable solo experience.
2015-01-13
Owned
A RQ
Spain
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8.5
Jun 2015
Monster jugable.
Dos mapas y una cantidad generosa de counters, aunque aún dentro de lo manejable.
El arte gráfico y los componentes son correctos, personalmente el diseño del mapa me gusta.

A favor

- Las reglas son bastante asequibles aunque tienen su enjundia (pequeñas excepciones propensas al olvido y que afectan de forma importante al desarrollo de la partida).

- El juego es desafiante y con bastante profundidad. El alemán tiene ante sí una labor titánica al comienzo de la campaña. Cada movimiento cuenta y hay que sacar el mayor provecho de él.

- La mecánica de extracción de chits es divertida y original. Le da un sabor diferente al juego y evita la monotonía ya que cada turno es diferente.

- Tiene el chrome justo. En un juego de este tamaño, haber aplicado un exceso de detalle lo podría haber hecho injugable.

En contra

- Como Alemán durante la campaña uno se puede sentir un poco frustrado pq por mucho que se optimice cada counter, no se llega a todo.

- El orden de los chits influye MUCHO. No es fácil preparar una estrategia coherente pq el próximo chit puede cambiar completamente la visión de conjunto.

- La campaña es muy larga. Los primeros turnos necesitan muchas horas para completarse pq tienen muchas activaciones.

- La regla de muerte súbita para el Alemán de 29 puntos en invierno de 1941 es irreal e injusta. En general las condiciones de victoria podrían estar mejor pensadas.

- Hay algunas erratas en manual y counters. No son muy importantes pero hay que considerarlas.

- Dada la optimización imprescindible (sobre todo como Alemán), es muy posible que el juego se disfrute más usando Vassal más que en vivo.


Se trata de un buen juego, no para jugar todos los días, eso si. Tiene algún aspecto mejorable para ser redondo, pero consigue refrescar este teatro con una mecánica diferente a lo ya visto.
2014-10-05
Owned
Darren Kilfara
United Kingdom
Dunbar
East Lothian
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8.5
Jul 2015
My favorite large simulation of the Eastern Front in WWII, but the effort involved in playing it means I'm sticking with No Retreat! when I want to scratch that itch (at least for the moment)
2015-07-03
Owned
Gilles Paoletti
Ireland
Dublin
Co. Dublin
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8.25
May 2015
Game greatly benefits from the documents created by the community in BGG (special rules per turn, etc), and from the Vassal module (use the one on VASSAL's website, not the one on GMT's website). Can't complain about the rules, they are much clearer / shorter than in Red Star Rising for example ; however there is plenty of chrome rules that you won't remember while playing. Set-up information could be more detailed (at least in the Barbarossa scenario). It would have been great to have the weather-related DMs with the weather table on the map, as well as the cost of movement per type of terrain with themap keys, as I like to have all these info on the map rather than on player aids.

Current rating is based only on the Barbarossa & Fall Blau scenarii.

2015-05-16
Owned
Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
Germany
Düsseldorf
NRW
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8
Sep 2014
Very good: East Front - Operational - Easy / Medium

The game was announced and launched in a modest fashion but is slowly rising. I am convinced this game has has the potential to become a classic like Paths of Glory.
It has all major '41-'45 campaigns, an accessible system, quick gameplay, extreme high replay value because of the chits, great components. Oh, and the price is just great too!
First impressions are positive and hope the other scenario's are as good as Barbarossa.
2014-09-14
Owned
Matt Irsik
United States
Clearfield
Utah
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8
Jul 2014
For a "mini-monster" it is surprisingly easy to get into the game as the basic rules are well done, plus not as long as you would think for a game this size. The chit activation system is good and bad-good because you can actually simulate the large pockets at the start of Barbarossa or the Russian momentum in '44-45. Bad in that it seems to make the turns longer and if the chits are pulled in the wrong order it can heavily skew the shorter scenarios. Overall, a good game.
2014-07-14
Owned
Anthony Terrana
United States
LaGrange
Georgia
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8
Jan 2014
Looks like a playable East Front WWII game. Time will tell.
2014-01-08
Owned
Eric Hinrichs
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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8
Jul 2015
Dang! Still can't get 29 VPs by the end of Barbarossa.
2015-07-20
Owned
Dave Langdon
United Kingdom
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8
May 2014
It's very good solitaire, it's very compact in size, it's a monster game without monster rules or a monster map!
2014-01-17
Owned
Roderich Billermann
Germany
Singen
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8
Jul 2014
Ich kenne kein besseres "Barbarossa"-Game, zumindest keines, das einer historischen Simulation näher käme. "EastFront" ist leichter handhabbar, spielt gegenüber DV jedoch eher in der Landesliga.
2014-07-25
Owned
Hans Jung
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8
Feb 2014
A good Russian front game in the same style as the Russian Campaign -> Russian Besieged series, but with two maps and divisions as well as corps/armies so the scale is a bit more detailed. I've tried the Barbarossa scenario and found the Russian's tough to break through, a chronic failing of mine it seems. I don't think a good combined armor/air strategy matters nearly as much as in War Without Mercy. On the other hand, the second activation for some panzer armies on some turns rewards paying careful attention to cohesion of your armored forces. The varied pool of activation chits is an elegant way of capturing the ebb and flow of logistics, expertise and doctrine for the two sides.

Materials are first rate and rules clear.
2014-02-08
Owned
Piotr Paweł
Poland
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8
Mar 2014
Gift for my 2014 birthday.
2014-03-29
Owned
L. Silver
Sweden
Umeå
Select a State
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8
Apr 2014
The Dark Valley falls between a number of other east front games. It is a relatively easy game to understand and play. I rarely felt that I have played it wrong. It does require some puzzling in terms of finding out how to achieve that encirclement, paving the way for supply and generally moving forward. The chit draw system, which essentially is what makes it different than many other traditional east front games, does not feel as wild as in A Victory Lost. Due to the fact that there are so many units it is hard to see that an individual chit draw will decide the game.

The game has a lot of counters and therefore takes quite some time to set up. On the other hand there is really no need to keep tab on every individual Russian infantry division. You might as well have a generic set up (instead of the specific division starting in Krasnodar you could have five 1-4 inf div and 1 3-8 mech or whatever).

I would actually compare this with Fire in the East, Ty Bombas east front division game, Proud Monster, and actually Gary Grigsby´s computer game (one of a very few instances where you could actually compare a boardgame with a computer game). Fire in the East is a little bit grander, much better looking and with a fun airgame subsystem. Fire in the East is too old in mechanics though and is a substantially greater investment of time and space. It was a while since I played Proud Monster and I do prefer TDV. Gary Grigsby´s War in the East has the same type of encirclements as this one and is a really good choice as well.

So how does it rate? So far as a very good effort. I would like to play the mid-term scenarios to get a better overview, but the chit draw system is good and the fact that the number of chits, and the type of chits each players receive is excellent. The rest of the game is pretty straightforward, which is good because it takes some getting used to the chit draw system and the strategies that goes along with it.
2014-04-18
Owned
Erwin Lau
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Unspecified
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8
Sep 2014
A very solid game. This game eliminates my unfavorable bias towards Raicer since Stalin's War.

I did not p500 it and then tried friend's copy before decide to buy.

Nice historical chrome, epic scale, easy to play and some techniques to master.
2014-09-11
Owned
John Gordon
Australia
Adelaide
SA
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8
Dec 2014
A great mechanism which works well to create the chaos of the Eastern Front. Unfortunately this monster game requires a heavy commitment of time - which presently I do not have.
2014-12-01
Owned
Mike Willner
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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8
Nov 2014
See my review in the Dark Valley "Reviews" forum on BGG or in the Metropolitan Wargamers of NYC folder on CSW.
2014-11-01
Owned
Tom Stearns
United States
Houston
Texas
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7.5
Mar 2014
Restarted solo game. Love the chit pull mechanic.
2014-03-08
Owned
Preordered
Phil Miller
United States
Michigan
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7.5
Jun 2015
A worthy treatment of the Eastern front if you can find the time and table space to play.
2015-06-28
Owned
Lawrence Hung
Hong Kong
Wan Chai
Hong Kong
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7
Jul 2014
Another Ted Racier's design on the Eastern Front! I am always interested in the German invasion of Russia. Keep'em coming and double the size!
2011-02-28
Owned
June Hwang Wah
Singapore
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7
Nov 2014
Components look gorgeous, and the rules seem simple enough. However, counter errors drag down the score.

Will update again when I have had one or two games.
2014-03-16
Owned
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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7
Jul 2014
Very interesting game that I've just dipped my toe into. The chit draw system is very well designed.

My rating is a provisional rating. I want to play more.
2014-07-13
Owned
Filip Labarque
Belgium
Kortrijk
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7
Aug 2014
A bit disappointed with the rules, a lot of exceptions.
2014-08-19
Owned
Derek Gillam
United Kingdom
Bridgwater
Somerset
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7
Mar 2014
Holy Grail for East front veterans? Not too sure as yet, but seems to play well & have a good balance.
2014-03-18
Owned
Want To Play
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Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
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"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
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7
Jun 2015
I had to lower my rating once it became evident that the game is hopelessly broken. The reason it can salvage a 7 is because I can play it solitaire and try to play not by what the rules allow, but by what would be historical and watch it unfold. Because there is no hidden information, this is entirely impossible.
Within those limited confines, this game has a lot of great ideas built into the chit pull. Of course, it's Ted Racier, so you are going to be straight-jacketed into a LOT of limitations and exceptions. Just be sure to download the fan-created player aids in the BGG-files section.
Along with great ideas, it will keep you busy for a long time as it is a monster game, but a playable monster, but like I said, unfortunately, a solitaire-only playable monster.
2015-06-08
Owned
Davis Brasfield
United States
San Jose
California
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6.5
Sep 2014
Really wanted to enjoy this game from Ted. Enjoyed the opening moves of massive German breakthroughs but then the Russian masses of 1-4 units made it extremely expensive for the large powerful German units to get an EXCHANGE no matter what the odds. Think the large German units should be able to over run the tiny 1-4 without, or with an extremely small chance of loss. In our second game I, as the German, am working hard to avoid battle, even at odds of 30 to 1, so I will not have my large panzer units take a step lose with exchange. The German desire is to avoid battle from 1942 on to save the army to fall back slowly and win by avoiding the Russian capture of victory hexes. Not fun.
2014-09-04
Owned
Sam Carroll
United States
Champaign
Illinois
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Soli Deo Gloria!
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6
Jan 2015
I'm starting to think that this will become THE heavy East Front game . . . maybe.

Update: Well, it's just a bit too fiddly for me, and too many special rules, and it's just not the one. I'll stick with Eastfront.
2015-01-08
Prev. Owned
Mauro Bertolino
Italy
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6
Mar 2015
I would like to know how many of the players who gave a 9 or 10 to this game played a complete campaign game. Because I agree with them, the Barbarossa scenario is a 10, it's where the game shines. But then, it becomes boring until summer 1944, where the Russian have the power to strike. In between, in our game we saw no combat for 3 years north of Orel: the Germans are happy enough to stay where they are, the Russians attack at half strength (Zhukov and Stavka were needed in the south, where most of game was played, to recover the terrain lost). South of Orel there was a slow Russian advance from Stalingrad to Kiev, with a lot of BL results and one hex retreats by the Germans. The German panzer divisions can just stack around 20 SPs in one hex, so that their counterattacks usually end in BL results against the powerful guard armies (I managed to destroy one of them cutting the retreat path but it was just a 1/3 chance): not so interesting, again.
2014-06-18
Prev. Owned
Cezary Domalski
Poland
Szczecin
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5
May 2015
Another try of Ted Raicer to crack good Eastern Front game. Interesting scale and mechanics, average written rules. It's semi-monster but plays smoothly with high solitaire rating.
BUT fails to achieve its target, because it is too much programmed in terms of chits availiability. It shows, that designer have not definite "feel" of Eastern Front struggle. Chits Move/Combat did not works with hundred miles front, when some of units fight and some moves SIMULTANEOUSLY.
Another factor is unbalanced Barbarossa and Campaign scenario, which ends in January 1942 in first Victory check. There is no chance to win as a Germans without changing VP's value.
BUT there is a second, good aspect - Dark Valley shows in decent form how big gamble was Barbarossa itself.
2015-04-01
Prev. Owned
Chris Beckman
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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5
May 2015
Jury is still out until I play a campaign, so it gets a midrange rating. It seems solid so far, and I suspect my rating will increase with more play, we shall see.
2015-05-02
Owned

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