The Mighty Endeavor is a game in MMP's/The Gamer's Strandard Combat Series (SCS). This means that it has a series rulebook, covering the basics of movment, combat and supply. Then there's a game specific rulebook, which adds extra rules to better simulate the battle or campaign in question.
The campaign in question is the liberation of France and the beginning of the allied invasion of germany. Starting from the 6th June 1944 to the 30th April 1945. The full game takes about 6 to 7 horus to play.
The game comes with 280, counters representing divisions. They're pretty standard half inch counters, with NATO symbols, nothing special, but perfectly acceptable. It also has one 22x34 map, that covers almost all of France (Except brittany) Holland, Belgium and the western of Garmany, the hexes are 15km across. As for graphic design, the map is a standard Gamers map, clean, attractive, and fucntional. Apart from the instrusive thick dark blue sea lines (To designate hexesides which can't be crossed), they stand out a bit too much.
The Series rules are pretty standard wargaming stuff. The counters are x-x-x (Attack, defense, movement) and you attack with a CRT (Combat Results Table). Moving in an enemy ZOC (Zone Of Control) consts an extra two movement points, so a tank division with a high movement allowance might be able to move thorugh a gap in the enemy lines, but an infantry division will be too slow.
You can also overrun (Attack) with a stack of units in your moevment phase. There's also an exploitation phase, where exploitation capable units (Mainly tank or panzer divisions) can move an overrun again after combat. So, if a unit is very unlucky it can get attacked three times, overrun, combat and then exploitation overrun. Supplly must be traced to a designated area with a line of hexes free from enemy ZOCs other wise you become out of supply.
These rules, are simple, clean and easy to learn. If you've ever played a hex and counter wargame before, you'll learn them in under five minutes, if you're new to wargames, what took you so long?! Ahem, if you're new to wargames, it won't take much longer.
The series rules cover the sort of things you'd expect, beach ports, capturing ports, airborn landings and allied air support. These rules add a great deal of flavour to the game and play very well. In the main campaign game you have six beach ports you can place nearly anywhere, once placed you can ship units from the England (Or Mediteranean) box, which is basically and enormous pile of units you can use to invade with.
But there are some important things to consider, there are different classes of beach, with better beaches allowing more troops to land quicker. The best beaches are in Normandy, but Normandy is covered with Bocage, meaning progress will be very slow, and since Normandy is a sort-of-peninsula, it will be easy for the Germans to keep the Allies bottled up for a while. But eventually the allied quantatative and qualitative superiority will push the Germans back and they can start to chase them back to Germany.
Alternativly, you could land in Holland, and you'll be much closer to Germany, but the beachs are rubbish, and it will take a while for significant forces to build up. You can also land in the South where there are several good beaches, or on the west coast, where there are a few good beaches.
There are also rules for airborn insertions, which are fun, you can even do your own Market Garden. In fact, the airborn division are nearly essential in getting across the Rhine, because, unlike the other rivers, this can only be crossed at certain points, and attacking across those bridges will ahve to be done at horrible odds.
One of the best things about this game is the replayability, there are so many different ways to inavde, do you want to concentrate at Normandy or do you want to attack in three different places, so that the Germans are stretched too thin? And the German player will have a different tactical challange each time, how much force should they send to each area, where would be the best place to counterattack?
However, this is a rather uneven situation, barring massive Allied incompetance, the Germans will be driven out of France and probably Germany too, the only question is: "How quickly?". The Germans have a fair but of punching punching power with their panzer divisions, and teh CRT is asymetrical (At 2:1 odds, a 7 seven rolled by the Allies gives A1D1r1 (Attacker loses 1, defender loses 1 and retreats 1), the same roll would get the Germans a D1r1. So they can counterattack, but mostly they play a reactive game.
Another gripe, the Allied supply rules. They need their beach ports to provide supply, or when those go away (As they will) they can use captured ports for supply. So far so good, this recreates the desire to capture ports as quickly as possible that they had historically, but to get this supply elsewhere requiers chains of trucks and HQs, which while they recreate the supply difficulties they faced, are significantly fiddly. An annoying amount of time was spent counting movement points, makings sure as many of my troops were supplied. Since I've been playing this solo, I've declared that an allied troops "close" to a supllied truck of HQ are also in supply, without bothering to count MPs. (That's one advantage of solo play, your opponent never complains about your house rules.)
The components and rules are good. The playing time is reasonable. The initial invasion is very entertaining, and is definitely the best bit. But after that, the Germans being pushed back is inevitable, and there's no real sense of risk on the Allies' part, they don't have to struggle to succeed at all, they just have to struggle to do as efficiently as possible. And trying to be as efficient as possible isn't what I look for in a wargame (That's what Euros are for)
It's an entertaining game, but not a great one.
I felt that the game had enormous potential, but lost it with too few scenarios. This game would really shine, if it had one good scenario covering only the summer part of that campaign in France, maybe the first ten turns or so. I find the slugfest near the Rhein pretty boring compared to the thrill of fighting for those beach heads.
knowledge is power
I pretty much agree with your summary. But... I think the Allied player has the responsibility to be inventive or creative with their play.
The game for me has 3 parts.
1. Start: beach landing and securing the beach head(s).
2. The push out
3. Crossing the Rhine
There is a lot of replayability for the Allied player for choice of the 6 invasion hexes, and that to some extent determines the course of play afterwards. But there is good opportunity for bluff.
I really think the hard job is with the Axis player who has little option but to 'hold the line' and take the occasional pot shot at some weak Allied stack. But I might be a bit premature with this not having played the Axis side...
I also agree with the fiddly comments about the supply. This is especially true of the requirement of the number of attack HQ's available, limited due to # of beaches. Having said that you do get a good appreciation of the difficulity facing Allied supply types in this situation. As anyone who has tried to push Northward into Holland will tell you! All those rivers/marshes!
Good game with a few fiddly elements, possibly a bit limited for the Axis???
Nice review. What are some options simliar to this one in complexity and Western Front? I like the opportunity to try other invasion points.
nice review and very easy to follow. Could clearly visualize the game with the elements you gave.