Perry Pender
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Helston
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The smell of acrid cordite fills the turret interior and tired and stinging eyes scan for targets through the ziess sights.

Welcome to Kursk, and more in particular the area just south of Prokhorovka and and the slopes of hill 252.2. Lock N Load Tactical move the eastern front to the rolling plains of central Russia and unleash a heavy metal storm that will make any tread head grin from ear to ear.

Right, now the small prologue is out the way, here is my very humble overview/review of LnL Tacs Dark July.

Dark July comes in a zip lock bag which makes it easy and also cheap to post, so a bonus there straight away.

Maps:
The maps that come with DJ are to the usual LnL standard, again though I would of liked to of seen them as the x-maps size as standard, but again as in my review of HotM it is a small gripe.
The main map is cracking, main Kursk to Belgorod railway line running along the Eastern (read bottom) of the map, Hill 252.2 in the south (read left side) of the map and the Oktabrskai state farm off in the eastern mid map area. Good open fields of fire due to the Dark July Special rules covering grain/wheat fields (more on this later) and a rather pesky anti tank ditch covering the mid east side of the map (historically this was south of Hill 252.2 but who cares).

Counters:
My only real gripe if I am honest (maps I can deal with so they are really not a gripe), LnL missed a trick here, I would of liked to of seen more Panzers and T-34', with say some Russian Churchill and M3 lee's to add some real nice Kursk flavour to the counter mix, and numbers, I would of liked to of seen say 10 Pz IVH counters, another 10 T-34 counters, say 5 each of M3 Lee & Churchill, with maybe 2 FlamPanzer III. Also the added SS figures and such do add to the counter mix nicely.
I have wondered if we will ever see National counter sets from LnL, I bet they would sell well.

Rules:
Simple add ons to the main core rules, these add a nice little bit of flavour to the system, and yet again LnL should be commended for making a nice addition to the system.

Scenario:
A good mix of fights, using both the main map and the extra normal sized maps. I found all of them a blast to play, some very hard on the Germans and you really have to use what assets you have to achieve your goals.


Conclusion:
Dark July is a great addition to the LnL series, it could of been even greater if they added a few more AFV counters to the mix, but apart from that I can not recommend it enough to anyone who owns Heroes of the Motherland.

all the best

Perry
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Stéphane Tanguay
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Hi Perry!

I might be mistaken ehre but I think they went with the historical OOB, which might explain why you doN,t see too many different AFV in this extension
 
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G.W.
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Sebastopol
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Is Dark July a campaign (i.e., linked scenarios with points scored and losses carrying over)? Or just a set of separate scenarios? Or just one big battle on a historical map?
 
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Vance Strickland
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Nepean
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It's a set of scenarios.
 
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Norman Smith
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Good overview and I agree a nice addition to the line-up. The main map is a single sheet 22" x 34" job and 5 out of the 6 scenarios are played out on this. Of those, 4 out of the 5 use a small portion of the map and one scenario is a full mapper.

the new edition also comes with two of the small standard map boards and I am trying to recall from memory whether the earlier editions of this expansion simply required the player to use two map boards from the old NOT ONE STEP BACK module (that is now included in the Heroes of the Motherland base game) - but with overlays.

If there is one thing that I think the new team at L'nL should be applauded for is their idea that overlays will no longer be used and instead a new modified version of the original mapboard is produced, with the overlay feature printed directly to the board. That kind of support for specific scenarios says much about the philosophy of this company.

The decision to have the SS forces represented by black counters meant that their vehicles also had to be redone in black and so while HofM already has many of the required vehicles, they have been repeated here, but in a different force colour, so the capacity to have spare vehicles on the sprue to give a wider order of battle was used up, but as Stéphane states above, it is a historical module so no real argument there.

Looking at the space available for play and that for the most part it is open terrain (the wheat fields will not effect tanks), it does give the game to get onto the middle and higher 'to hit' columns on the back of the counter, so that the differences between vehicle types is more pronounced (nice for armour based scenarios).

Of note, gamers using the Not One Step Back expansion should rescind the 15.7 rule, Open toped T-34 and T34/85 now DO get the -1 die mod on the OFT as it is now felt that the open hatch (though it was in front of the commander) did not prove enough of an obstruction to be detrimental to firing.

I am looking forward to this game getting some on-table time in January.
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Perry Pender
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The point about the extra AFV is the lack of numbers of PZ IV H and PZ III J/L and T-34 76, also historically Kurks saw a lot of Chrchills and M3 Lee's fight around Hill 252.2, and Prokhorovka. 5th Guards Tank Army had an entire Regiment comprised of Churchill (36th Guards Heavy Tank Regiment ) IIRC, so the lack of them is an historical mistake OOB wise, I have said I love this game and system, I just wish LnL would do national counter sheets so you could fight bigger battles and so on.

Map wise, the main anti tank trench was South of hill 252.2 but as I said that is a very small point, and the Oktabryskai farm was north north west of hill 252.2 by just over 500 meters, but again the map for the module works, and is IMHO pretty good. LnL should commended for its commitment to quality, I love what they are making, and only wish them to expand and add to the system.
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Perry Pender
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stanguay wrote:
Hi Perry!

I might be mistaken ehre but I think they went with the historical OOB, which might explain why you doN,t see too many different AFV in this extension


It is historical to a point, but some AFV that fought there have been left out.
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