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Subject: Don't Stop Believing - a review of TitE rss

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You know how you go see Journey in concert after all these years, and they've been playing the same hits for so long that they are ridiculously tight and polished? That's what TitE is. Nothing evolutionary or progressive, but every old-school aspect of wargaming you fell in love with is polished to a high sheen. It finds its place alongside GMT THE DARK VALLEY as the top-notch Eastern Front full-campaign wargames.

COMPONENTS - are uniformly excellent with one exception. As a grognard who started wargaming in 1976, I have to chuckle at the LARGE counters and hexes which help aging eyes manage data. But they are full of information and sturdy, pre-clipped and laser-cut. The play aids are well-organized if a bit crowded. The map makes great use of color and is printed on studry ASL-style cardstock. The only quibble is the far eastern map sections (beyond Moscow towards the Urals) have a slightly different color intensity - an unfortunate but minor issue.

SYSTEMS - in a word, elegant. Logistics unobtrusively drive the fighting. You can ignore them if you like, but you will lose. TitE correctly portrays how supply concerns drive war, but does so from behind the scenes. You don't have to count supply points, but you better think about supply lines and the delays involved in moving network hubs. The combat is simple, but with multi-levels of baked-in chrome - odds shifts for terrain, airpower, frontages, supply concentrations, and various other issues (card play). Combat results are familiar but nuanced, so that each battle can give a wide array of outcomes with varying consequences - i.e., who chooses losses, who retreats who, what units can advance and how far, et al. Airpower is integrated with low overhead. FOW is handled through flipped units with uncertain combat strengths. Nothing takes much time, but everything matters, setting you free to make a host of quick decisions with a host of quick consequences. This is good old-fashioned panzer-pushing from a designer who's been there and back again, and knows which bits are fun. There is NOTHING complex here, but learning to play well is going to be a long-term challenge. The systems integrate so well that you will be laying in bed thinking about how to better-execute your next operation.

RULES - simple and effective. The rulebook is laid out according to SoP, for the most part, but scatters a few issues. It took me a few tries to properly execute the various air missions, and to remember when ZOC's apply and when they don't, and for whom, but once it clicks you will find it very simple.


PLAYABILITY - this is where TitE is a 10 out of 10. It's FUN! You will think long and hard - not about rules or mechanics, but strategy. The game is very deep strategically, and I imagine players will be arguing over strategies for a long time. TitE is a classic on birth. We will be playing this for years.


OBSERVATIONS - I have a few minor quibbles; there are no Finns. That's a quirky design decision which (I guess) has to do with the modular plan to make TitE part of a full-meal war-in-Europe series. But it's a bit irksome. I'm sure they will be included with the Scandinavian module, but it seems they belong here. My other quibble is smaller - Berlin is not on the map. The test of an East Front campaign-level game, IMHO, is the prospect of capturing Berlin as the Soviet. What else motivates you to endure all the hammering you will take in the earlygoing? Again, I understand that Berlin will be included when the other modules come out, but seems to belong here.


FINAL THOUGHTS - this is an instant classic, a masterpiece from a skilled designer and developer, and a game you definitely want to have and play over and over. I could not give a higher recommendation. Alan and Lance and Frank and their team have hit a home run. When we were young this is what we dreamed of. Have fun, my friends, and stay thirsty. 8-)
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Is this game suitable for non wargamer?
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Alek P.
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jupiter999 wrote:
Is this game suitable for non wargamer?

*snickers*
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Terry Lewis
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jupiter999 wrote:
Is this game suitable for non wargamer?

Good Grief, Charlie Brown!!!!!! shake
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I only got experience on computer TOAW.
Now turn into this true strategic level wargame, I have this question inevitably
That's why I ask...
Now only ploughed through page 15 of TitE rulebook robot
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jupiter999 wrote:
I only got experience on computer TOAW.
Now turn into this true strategic level wargame, I have this question inevitably
That's why I ask...
Now only ploughed through page 15 of TitE rulebook robot

I would describe it as more of a grand operational level wargame. Close to strategic level, but it’s soul is still operational.


Strategic one would be something like Unconditional Surrender - there you run the whole faction, allocate all resources of the nation, and make decisions that visibly alter situation on the globe.

TitE belongs to the class of “monster wargames”, and while it does make a solid effort to streamline rules for the sake of fuidity and greater playability, it also aims to grow into a combined massive campaign that would dwarf all other games of its class.

As such, I struggle to call this a game for non-wargamers... ‘tis game aims to be the wargamiest wargame of them all.

I don’t mean to scare you away, but make sure you understand what you are getting into. Monster wargames are not the faint of heart, and require a commitment.
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Michael Olsen
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Imaginary Star wrote:
Monster wargames are not the faint of heart, and require a commitment.

... and table space.

Out of hundreds of wargames passing through my house (or staying for that matter), this is only the second that does not fit my table.
It would probably serve you well to investigate the table space needed first (and thus not repeat my mistake...).
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Terry Lewis
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Imaginary Star! wrote:
jupiter999 wrote:
I only got experience on computer TOAW.
Now turn into this true strategic level wargame, I have this question inevitably
That's why I ask...
Now only ploughed through page 15 of TitE rulebook robot

I would describe it as more of a grand operational level wargame. Close to strategic level, but it’s soul is still operational.


Strategic one would be something like Unconditional Surrender - there you run the whole faction, allocate all resources of the nation, and make decisions that visibly alter situation on the globe.

TitE belongs to the class of “monster wargames”, and while it does make a solid effort to streamline rules for the sake of fuidity and greater playability, it also aims to grow into a combined massive campaign that would dwarf all other games of its class.

As such, I struggle to call this a game for non-wargamers... ‘tis game aims to be the wargamiest wargame of them all.

I don’t mean to scare you away, but make sure you understand what you are getting into. Monster wargames are not the faint of heart, and require a commitment.


Alek, "TItE" will not dwarf the original entry into this arena:

"Drang Nach Osten!" (Europa Series #1) [Strategic / Operational – 5 maps, 1,792 counters]; 1973; Game Design Workshop: GDW; Rich Banner, Frank Chadwick.

"Unentschieden" (Europa Series #2 / Expansion of DNO) [Strategic / Operational – 4 maps 2,128 counters]; 1973; Game Design Workshop: GDW; Rich Banner, Frank Chadwick.

Remake and up date of the above:

"Fire in the East" (Remake & update of "Drang Nach Osten!"); 1984; GDW; John Astell, Rich Banner, Frank Chadwick.

"Scorched Earth" (Sequel to "Fire in the East," which one must have – upgrade of "Unentschieden"); 1987; GDW; John Astell, Frank Chadwick.

"Urals" (Europa Series #13) (Sequel to "Fire in the East" and "Scorched Earth," which one must have – upgrade of "Unentschieden"); 1989; GDW; Games Research/Design: GR/D; John Astell, Dennis J. Dubberley, Shelby Stanton.

I acquired these classic monster games of the East Front when they were first published in 1973 and they are still among my favorites; the 1980s updates are not too shabby either! I have nearly all of the Europa Series in my collection. Oh, by the way, all 14 games can be combined to simulate all of WWII in Europe.

One might want to check out the two sites below, and the following recent BGG discussion on the Europa Series:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamefamily/104/europa-series [including subsections]

http://www.classiceuropa.org/

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/30927010#30927010


Alek, in my opinion you are correct, "Monster Games" are not for the faint of heart!!! However, I have been following reviews of "TItE" and it might not be so "monsterish" as the Europa Series [16 miles per hex] or certainly not SPI's 1974/1976 entry into the field with "WIE" (WItE/WItW) with its 9 maps and emphasis on a higher level of abstraction and industrial production. I think you are again probably correct in categorizing "TItE" as "grand operational" in scope and scale, and because of that dynamic I am actually considering adding it to my collection. The four maps of "TItE" and 30 miles per hex are also intriguing, although I tend to gravitate towards operational simulations with smaller units and fewer miles per hex, even fewer than the Europa Series, these days.

TML [a retired professor in Oregon and a "war gamer" for 50+ years]

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Alan Emrich
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Thanks for the kind words, everyone. Starting from the premise that this is the game we wish we had in High School give a real target to hit.

Table requirements will be about the same size as SPI's War in Europe, but that is why Vassal was created (and the Vassal kit for TITE is a wonder of the world).

We're still working on the ETO series and plan to do so for years. Here is an example, on my desk right now we are sorting out Operation Torch, the Allied landings in French North Africa. In terms of Vol. II: THE MIDDLE SEA, it will look something like this:

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Michael_Olsen wrote:
Imaginary Star wrote:
Monster wargames are not the faint of heart, and require a commitment.

... and table space.

Out of hundreds of wargames passing through my house (or staying for that matter), this is only the second that does not fit my table.
It would probably serve you well to investigate the table space needed first (and thus not repeat my mistake...).

Michael, consider temporary [removable] extensions for your gaming table.
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TCLCATSPAW8MCHS wrote:
Michael_Olsen wrote:
Imaginary Star wrote:
Monster wargames are not the faint of heart, and require a commitment.

... and table space.

Out of hundreds of wargames passing through my house (or staying for that matter), this is only the second that does not fit my table.
It would probably serve you well to investigate the table space needed first (and thus not repeat my mistake...).

Michael, consider temporary [removable] extensions for your gaming table.

Thanks, but I am not sure how that would work. I would have to find something of the exact same height. Plus, the edge bends a bit, so it seems this is not a possible solution.

Thanks for suggesting though.

I toyed briefly with the idea of getting a new table, or maybe 2 to put together (most tables I found were not big enough!). But I ended up coming to my senses... no game is worth that much money.
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Mr. Lewis, when I was talking about the game's scope I was speaking with an eye towards the overall grand plan of the series - a mammoth unified grand map of all Europe and some outlying territories.

TitE's maps will not even be a quarter of the eventual grand composite map.

But, it appears that Alan did bring out the fact that SPI's game will still be comparable in size to the ETO's grand campaign, so I stand corrected there.

Any recommendations for "operational simulations with smaller units and fewer miles per hex, even fewer than the Europa Series"? Sounds like you have a wealth of wargame suggestions up those sleeves of yours.


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Oh, dear. If you really want to "see the elephant" of where we see the table footprint for this series and every envisioned expansion, this article explains it all (and should scare away the faint-hearted): https://www.victorypointgames.com/blog/etos-combined-tableto...
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Alan Emrich wrote:
Oh, dear. If you really want to "see the elephant" of where we see the table footprint for this series and every envisioned expansion, this article explains it all (and should scare away the faint-hearted): https://www.victorypointgames.com/blog/etos-combined-tableto...

Exhibit A: here we see a game designer scaring people away from his own game
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Alan Emrich wrote:
Oh, dear. If you really want to "see the elephant" of where we see the table footprint for this series and every envisioned expansion, this article explains it all (and should scare away the faint-hearted): https://www.victorypointgames.com/blog/etos-combined-tableto...

Alan, what's the projected timeline for this? A game every 18 months? Two years? I have the first game, which is excellent, and am looking forward to the next one.
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Michael_Olsen wrote:
TCLCATSPAW8MCHS wrote:
Michael_Olsen wrote:
Imaginary Star wrote:
Monster wargames are not the faint of heart, and require a commitment.

... and table space.

Out of hundreds of wargames passing through my house (or staying for that matter), this is only the second that does not fit my table.
It would probably serve you well to investigate the table space needed first (and thus not repeat my mistake...).

Michael, consider temporary [removable] extensions for your gaming table.

Thanks, but I am not sure how that would work. I would have to find something of the exact same height. Plus, the edge bends a bit, so it seems this is not a possible solution.

Thanks for suggesting though.

I toyed briefly with the idea of getting a new table, or maybe 2 to put together (most tables I found were not big enough!). But I ended up coming to my senses... no game is worth that much money.

Michael, build them yourself -- one does not have to be an expert cabinet maker to build game tables. Plywood and 2" x 4"s for supports and legs are inexpensive. A table can be built easily so that the playing surface can be easily expanded or detached -- a 3' x 4' table can easily expand to 4' x 6'. Put it on wheels and you can roll it around for easier storage and/or play. Paint or stain results in a pretty good looking end product. If you don't have the tools, invite some gaming buddies over and make it a group project.

Post Script: Most lumber yards in my experience will cut lumber for you. Draw up your plans ahead of time, and they will cut to your dimensions. Then its just a matter of drill and driver to assemble.
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TCLCATSPAW8MCHS wrote:
Michael, build them yourself

Yeah, that will never work out.

Thanks for the suggestion, but there is no way that would go well. Absolutely no way ever.
Replacing a light bulb is the limit of my capabilities when it comes to manual labour, and I say that with an absolute straight face.

But the suggestion is appreciated. Thanks again.
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Quote:
Replacing a light bulb is the limit of my capabilities when it comes to manual labour, and I say that with an absolute straight face.
I recently changed a light bulb and my wife remarked, "You're crowing like you just built a bridge."

Quote:
Alan, what's the projected timeline for this? A game every 18 months? Two years? I have the first game, which is excellent, and am looking forward to the next one.
Two years or so sounds about right; you never know with a new publisher, though, so I can't say with any certainty.

I can tell you this, Vol II: THE MIDDLE SEA is 50% bigger than TITE with more than twice as many (time-consuming to get "just right") scenarios and an all-new system for the Naval Game (which is pretty cool, by the way -- if you liked the Air System, you'll love the Naval System).

Volumes III (Decision in the West) and IV (Northern Fire) will be much faster to pull together.

Volume V (Victory at All Costs) will be a design and development Labors of Hercules project. Putting everything together and having the entire "big picture" synchronize perfectly -- we're being mindful of that every step of the way, but my goodness, actually accomplishing that for a game of this scope? It is daunting, but I have plenty of notes and files for us to tackle when we get there.

The expansions won't be too bad. The Urals will be easy (there were originally in TITE, but the map got unwieldy) and the Mid-East expansion has some new wrinkles because of the new nations (Iraq and Iran) and all of their political shenanigans (so that will take a bit of time). The Spain expansion might be the hardest, as we want a Spanish Civil War scenario in there, of course. And don't even get me started on Dark Beginnings.
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Imaginary Star wrote:
Mr. Lewis, when I was talking about the game's scope I was speaking with an eye towards the overall grand plan of the series - a mammoth unified grand map of all Europe and some outlying territories.

TitE's maps will not even be a quarter of the eventual grand composite map.

But, it appears that Alan did bring out the fact that SPI's game will still be comparable in size to the ETO's grand campaign, so I stand corrected there.

Any recommendations for "operational simulations with smaller units and fewer miles per hex, even fewer than the Europa Series"? Sounds like you have a wealth of wargame suggestions up those sleeves of yours.


Thanks for the kind words, Alek! I wouldn't know where to begin with recommendations -- most of my 300+ simulations are operational in scale. Check out my BGG profile page, both the written profile and my list of games. The big categories are Napoleonic, WWI, and WWII, but lots in other eras as well -- they run the gamut from ancient to WWII.

Check out Eric Walter's BGG profile page and fantastic collection [ for example start with --
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1195258/building-wargame-wa... ]. Also see the BGG profile pages and collections of M St [Markus SHUMPTER]and Jason Cawley -- you can pick up their BGG profile pages from their posts in this thread -- https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1984437/what-driving-philos....

tml
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TCLCATSPAW8MCHS wrote:
Imaginary Star wrote:
Mr. Lewis, when I was talking about the game's scope I was speaking with an eye towards the overall grand plan of the series - a mammoth unified grand map of all Europe and some outlying territories.

TitE's maps will not even be a quarter of the eventual grand composite map.

But, it appears that Alan did bring out the fact that SPI's game will still be comparable in size to the ETO's grand campaign, so I stand corrected there.

Any recommendations for "operational simulations with smaller units and fewer miles per hex, even fewer than the Europa Series"? Sounds like you have a wealth of wargame suggestions up those sleeves of yours.


Thanks for the kind words, Alek! I wouldn't know where to begin with recommendations -- most of my 300+ simulations are operational in scale. Check out my BGG profile page, both the written profile and my list of games. The big categories are Napoleonic, WWI, and WWII, but lots in other eras as well -- they run the gamut from ancient to WWII.

Check out Eric Walter's BGG profile page and fantastic collection [ for example start with --
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1195258/building-wargame-wa... ]. Also see the BGG profile pages and collections of M St [Markus SHUMPTER]and Jason Cawley -- you can pick up their BGG profile pages from their posts in this thread -- https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1984437/what-driving-philos....

tml

My preference, first and foremost, goes to games that are most pleasant to play solitaire. Does that narrow it down any?
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Alan Emrich wrote:
Oh, dear. If you really want to "see the elephant" of where we see the table footprint for this series and every envisioned expansion, this article explains it all (and should scare away the faint-hearted): https://www.victorypointgames.com/blog/etos-combined-tableto...

Based on that I don't see how the complete game could even be played. It's a 6' reach to the center of the table. You'll need croupier sticks to handle the action in Poland... and possibly binoculars as well.

I was interested in TiTE theoretically, it looks really cool, but it alone is too big for my 3x6 table. I have no interest an electronic version. If I wanted to play a computer game, I'd play a computer game.
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Imaginary Star wrote:
I would describe it as more of a grand operational level wargame. Close to strategic level, but it’s soul is still operational.


Strategic one would be something like Unconditional Surrender - there you run the whole faction, allocate all resources of the nation, and make decisions that visibly alter situation on the globe.

TitE belongs to the class of “monster wargames”, and while it does make a solid effort to streamline rules for the sake of fuidity and greater playability, it also aims to grow into a combined massive campaign that would dwarf all other games of its class.
Honestly, I'm still confused between strategic, operational, and monster wargames, sometimes... shake Man...
Imaginary Star wrote:

As such, I struggle to call this a game for non-wargamers... ‘tis game aims to be the wargamiest wargame of them all.

I don’t mean to scare you away, but make sure you understand what you are getting into. Monster wargames are not the faint of heart, and require a commitment.
I'll try the Vassal version if it clicks for me or not
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Alan Emrich wrote:
Table requirements will be about the same size as SPI's War in Europe, but that is why Vassal was created (and the Vassal kit for TITE is a wonder of the world).
Not just the table. I don't have game rooms for that also
That's why I go for Vassal TitE for the time being.
Sir Alan, is TitE Vassal a full game, or I need to pay for full game?
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Alan Emrich wrote:
Oh, dear. If you really want to "see the elephant" of where we see the table footprint for this series and every envisioned expansion, this article explains it all (and should scare away the faint-hearted): https://www.victorypointgames.com/blog/etos-combined-tableto...
I wonder if it will be bigger than World in Flames, eventually...
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cfmcdonald wrote:
Alan Emrich wrote:
Oh, dear. If you really want to "see the elephant" of where we see the table footprint for this series and every envisioned expansion, this article explains it all (and should scare away the faint-hearted): https://www.victorypointgames.com/blog/etos-combined-tableto...

Based on that I don't see how the complete game could even be played. It's a 6' reach to the center of the table. You'll need croupier sticks to handle the action in Poland... and possibly binoculars as well.

Heh, me and Alan discusissed that very question not that long ago. One potential soultion is to set up map of Europe with a gap between tables length-wise so that the players can stroll down the middle. Croupier sticks are always handy, of course. I have one for TitE alone.
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